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News Articles, with Rus Bowden

12/30/2003


Rumi says that we know separation well only if we have tasted the joy of the union. Longing becomes more poignant if in the distance you can't tell whether your friend is going away or coming back and the ecstasy of grief is both human and divine.

"I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow
and called out, "It tastes sweet, does it not?"
"You've caught me," grief answered, "and you've ruined my
business. How can I
sell sorrow, when you know it's a blessing?"

from The Daily Star: A peep into Rumi's treasure



It was in this art, Chuni [Dorji], an ordinary jop, excelled. That he was neither a scholar, monk or a lama with whom the art lozey was credited added to Chuni’s appeal.

He was the toast of villages and girls gasped and hung on his every verse. His presence heightened the excitement of being in religious, marriage and other social gatherings.

In a duel of lozey people would hold their breath when it was Chuni’s turn to deliver the lines.

from Kuensel: A yak herder and a yak song



[Ernest] Berry and his partner, artist Triska Blumenfeld, have lived in Picton for 10 years where Berry says he gets inspiration for ideas from simply walking down the street.

"I never seem to get writer's block, ideas just come from the tiniest things. Wherever you look there is a haiku waiting to happen."

from Stuff: The Marlborough Express: Local poet more famous abroad than at home



"There were a number of things which the writer just didn't take on board," she said, "which was how happy Ted and Sylvia were . . . and that they'd had a huge circle of friends. This was all left out. When I actually saw the film, I was very disappointed.

"In this film, [Sylvia] was portrayed as a constant depressive. The film is unremittingly dark . . . When they lived in Devon, there was so much laughter and fun," explained Ms [Elizabeth] Sigmund, for decades a campaigner against chemical weapons.

from Independent.co.uk: Sylvia Plath film has lost the plot, says her closest friend



Of himself, John Newlove said the following: "My life consisted of one desire only. Get pissed. Get out of it."

Yet, despite an obsessive need to be honest--or at least not to err in his own favour--there was something else he wanted, Susan Newlove said. "To make the most perfect poem he could."

from Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Sask.-born poet dead at 65



"But even more to the point, I remember seeing statistics indicating that the 20th century was the first century in which human agency was the primary cause of disaster--not earthquakes or fires, but human agency."

So there's a reason we don't see particularly chirpy or cheerful verse these days. "I've always thought of poetry," Creeley says, "as being like the canary in the mine shaft." If the poets are looking a little the worse for wear these days, watch out. You're next.

from The Toronto Star: Death, aging haunt Robert Creeley's poetry



Where have these critics published their learned opinions? But this needn't detain us. Madiba is my attempt to exorcise the sense of failure, of hopelessness and despair that seems to define my generation; a generation grievously marked by the terror of a shooting war and the continuing violence of our governments' undeclared low intensity war against the citizenry; a generation that I describe in one of the poems as "stillborn."

from allAfrica.com: Can Any One Speak of Freedom in Nigeria? Asks Poet, Ogaga Ifowodo (2)



In 1555 he published the first edition of his book, the "Centuries," a collection of prophecies written as quatrains, four-line rhyming poems. Each "century" was 100 of these little poems. Centuries concerned itself mostly with calamitous events, including some that would befall important people like monarchs, in France and the rest of the world.

Nostradamus became famous as a prognosticator after predicting the way King Henry II of France would die.

from The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: 500 years later, Nostradamus is still king of the quatrains



In "Pink Dog" she [Elizabeth Bishop] sees something grotesque, exposed, indecorous: "Oh, never have I seen a dog so bare!/ Naked and pink, without a single hair." In other words, man's best friend is best when he (or she) doesn't resemble us too closely. In this Bishop agrees with Auden: "Let difference/ remain our bond, yes, and the one trait/ both have in common, a sense of theatre."

from telegraph.co.uk: The barking bards



Poetry in its highest form allows the writer to express things that are normally beyond words: the warmth of a father and son fishing together, the philosophical lessons gleaned while working a fly rod in a flowing stream, the rekindling of a lost connection with nature.

But let's be honest. Poetry also affords the less serious among us the opportunity to tell a fun tale that rhymes, if only sometimes.

from The Palm Beach Post: Angling verse


12/16/2003


It's gotten to the point where the few people left reading poetry can't stand to see one more free verse poem about some funny or awful incident that happened in the poet's life.

This has meant poetry has become even less of a serious literary form than 100 years ago, when it was already losing its hold on the intelligent reading public.

from Toronto Star: It's high time we put reason to rhyme



The Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan, who has died aged 86, forcefully expressed a nation's sense of loss and defiance. Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general, likened reading one of Tuqan's poems to facing 20 enemy commandos. In Martyrs Of The Intifada, Tuqan wrote of young stone-throwers:

They died standing, blazing on the road
Shining like stars, their lips pressed to the lips of life
They stood up in the face of death
Then disappeared like the sun.

from The Guardian: Fadwa Tuqan: Palestinian poet who captured her nation's sense of loss and defiance



She [Kaitlyn Kiger] writes in blank verse, eschewing rhyming words for one- and two-word lines that add up to a single expression of emotion.

Like the poem that appears in "The Writer's Slate," much of Kiger's poetry "tries to get to the deeper part, not just the surface," she said. "That poem was really a true poem."

from ThisWeek Community Newspapers: Bishop Watterson High School Student's poem part of national journal



Continuing reciting his works, Adler-Belendez spoke about the need to find new viewpoints on things while staying true to what he feels. As an example of this goal, he referred back to an image in one poem comparing love to two octopi wrestling.

"I fall in love quite often," he said. "And, when I'm not in love, I'm in love with the idea of being in love."

In dealing with his cerebral palsy, Adler-Belendez simply stated that he sees it as another element of his life, much like writing.

from the setonian: Reading raises money for poet's surgery



"Everything is going to be all right," he [David Whyte] repeats, for emphasis.

"Good poets don't normally go in for any form of fluffy positive thinking, so that last line is incredibly intriguing -- especially from an Irish poet [Derek Mahon] who comes from a tradition where everything has emphatically not been all right."

It's a poem, Mr. Whyte says, that brought him comfort when he was trying to work up the courage to leave his own misguided job in the corporate world.

from The Globe and mail: Soul training: For poet David Whyte and the executives who hire him, work is a 'pilgrimage of identity,' he tells Alexandra Gill



"[Kevin] Stein faces the challenge and opportunity of being a poet laureate who can bridge the rural and urban worlds," Allen said.

The search committee reviewed more than two dozen nominees and named two finalists. The other was Rodney Jones of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Looking at photos of Austin, Sandburg and Brooks on Thursday, Stein said he felt like the Chicago Bulls player who was told, "`You know what? Michael Jordan's going to retire, and you're the guy who's taking his place.' If this doesn't quake my knees, then I'm not human."

from Chicago Tribune: State's latest laureate crafts verse in a garage



The war memorial will display digital copies of the diary.

Among his many tanka, on April 1, 1943, [Yoshikazu] Tamura wrote:

Sitting in the shade of a coconut tree/Looking across the sky above the ocean waves/ Thinking about home from New Guinea/With the heat, it hurts to realize/How far this place is from home.

from The Japan Times: Soldier's diary returns to family after 60 years



Being the finest contemporary exponent of a form of elegaic poetry in Urdu called Marsiya, Anees’s verses lamented the end of Hussein’s heroes who were denied water for three days by the angry Yazid.

Barchiyan khatey chaley jatey hain talwaron mein,
Maar lo pyason ko hai sitamgharon mein

(They get speared and cut by swords
The tyrants are calling one another to slay the thirsty)

His audiences wept as he recited, but still, Anees is today not as popular among the masses as his peers Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Ghalib.

from Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.: Remembering an Urdu poet on his 200th birthday



[Francine] Prose comes up with one example of a “male muse?—Denys Finch Hatton inspired his lover, Isak Dinesan, to write Out of Africa, by listening raptly to her stories when he visited her in Kenya. Switching gender roles may allow the muse/artist relationship to flourish as women become more prominent in the arts and sciences. Or a more symbiotic version might develop, a la Yoko Ono and John Lennon.

from Psychology Today: Muse or Ruse?



The stifling Soviet presence is palpable here, the sense of claustrophobia, isolation and fear: in the small kitchen, with its dreary line of washing; in the dining room, where you can hear a recording of the poet, reading her devastating "Requiem"; in Punin's narrow study, where Akhmatova lived with him for years; in her own room, where she moved in 1938, when she and Punin "parted."

from The New York Times: The Lairs of Russian Literary Lions


12/9/2003


As he, Robinson, was made to see when of a sudden, on his island, he came one day upon the footprint of a man in the sand. It was a print, and therefore a sign: of a foot, of a man. But it was a sign of much else too. You are not alone, said the sign; and also, No matter how far you sail, no matter where you hide, you will be searched out.

from The Guardian: JM Coetzee's Nobel lecture



DNA testing showed that Ugolino didn't have much to bite the kin he spent his last days locked up in a tower with. The count, at an estimated 80 years of age, was nearly toothless.

from zoomata: Italians Clear Dante's 'Cannibal' Count, Rebury Him



Other audio clips expand on Hughes’ famous affinity with nature. He started writing poetry when, aged 15, he "began to look at animals from their own point of view, after a childhood spent hunting them" and came to see poetry as "a continuation of my earlier pursuit. This is hunting, and the poem is… a new specimen of the life outside your own".

from 24 Hour Museum: Meet The Real Ted Hughes At The British Library



By the time you get down to the series of short sentences (one per line practically) near the end of the poem, you might get the feeling that the poem is desperate to increase the "finite number " of things to be observed. It's here that the poet [Talvikki Ansel] is "wishing to nudge" even more into the poem, to locate all that is "flickering" in the world.

from The Oregonian: Poetry: Lyric lines, the shape of sentences and the spiral of the imagination



Olena Kalytiak Davis' poems read like entries in a diary. She jots down feelings, emotions and notes to herself in verbal shorthand that is simple but rich. When she comes upon an interesting word, she stops and plays with it, turning it around, upside down and inside out. If the word becomes something else -- a nursery rhyme for example -- then she plays with that awhile before returning to her original thought.

from Anchorage Daily News: Olena Kalytiak Davis drawn to wordplay



Earlier "collected" and "complete" editions were compiled by Moore herself and suffered from the fact that she was her own harshest critic. A poem such as "Poetry" was reduced by Moore from its original 30 lines to just three:

I, too, dislike it: there are things
that are important beyond all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a
perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the
genuine.

In this new edition, lovingly compiled by Moore's friend the New York critic Grace Schulman, "Poetry" is restored to its full glory, as are more than 100 poems that Moore had excluded altogether.

from telegraph.co.uk: 'It is better to be forgotten'



None of his [George Herbert's] poems in English had appeared in print during his lifetime. When he was dying he arranged for his handwritten book of them to be taken to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, the founder of the religious community at Little Gidding. This was his message to Ferrar: "If he think it may turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul, let it be made public; if not, let him burn it." By the end of 1633, the book was in print.

from The Guardian: A poet true to himself: For Wendy Cope, the poems of George Herbert - 'expressions of Anglican piety at its best' - continue to inspire



She [Barbara Clark] goes on to say that creative people exhibit flexibility, fluency, originality and the ability to easily expand on an idea.

Rachel Hunter is a student who fufills the definition of giftedness. She is an 9-year-old poet who plans to be published this year.

from The Advertiser: Young poet determined to publish



As a child I barely understood Dylan Thomas' story of Mrs. Prothero's fire and the rest of one comical Christmas day in his childhood. And that mattered not a bit.

What I loved was the lyrical prose, the cadence that became part-song, part-story. I loved the image of a carol-singing sea.

from Star-Telegram: The world through prose-colored glasses



Not then extending beyond the realm of academic debate, "Romanticism" now permeates the way we see and construct the world at every level. Without it, we would not be what we are. In that sense the search for Wordsworth at the moment he resided in Goslar is a search for our cultural roots.

My guess is that Wordsworth knew exactly how important Lyrical Ballads would prove, and was determined to build on what he had achieved.

from The Guardian: A Romantic journey: What was it about Goslar, a small German town, that inspired Wordsworth in the bitter winter of 1798 to begin 'The Prelude'? Duncan Wu spent last Christmas following in the poet's footsteps to find out


12/2/2003


It is easy to get on one's soap box and pontificate; to tell humanity that we suffer from terrorism too. That is too easy though; and perhaps too intellectually cowardly. [Saudi Prince] Talal [Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed of Hail] was a well-known poet in Saudi Arabia. He comes from a family that ruled Arabia long enough to be recorded in history. He was and will always be a beacon of Art, whatever that word means.

Those who killed him are those who want the word silenced. [Dr. Muhammad Talal Al-Rasheed]

from Independent Media Review and Analysis: MEMRI: Saudi Columnist: 'We Have Bred Monsters ... We Are the Problem and Not America'



So he [Rumi] continues:

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Self-awareness is the key to inner freedom and happiness. Waging a war of control and repression has never made anyone happy.

from Sebastian Sun: Persian poet holds one key to a happy life



"The prime minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that he has in mind, on the occasion of the forthcoming list of New Year's honours to submit your name to the Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire."

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised.

from The Guardian: 'Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought': An invitation to the palace to accept a New Year honour... you must be joking. Benjamin Zephaniah won't be going. Here he explains why



And Stallworth was as surprised as anyone when her students not only studied the poetry but embraced it. These are kids who typically score the lowest on standardized tests, kids who have been detached and hard to reach, Stallworth said.

Now these eighth-graders from the city's most diverse middle school are writing poetry in their free time.

from The Anchorage Daily News: Feelings into verse



A 14th century jug unearthed in a Tuscan castle might shed new light on one of the most touching and mysterious female figures in Dante's Divine Comedy, according to Italian archaeologists.

Legend has always linked Castel di Pietra, a castle near the village of Gavorrano in the Tuscan Maremma, with the sad fate of Pia dei Tolomei, a lady supposedly imprisoned there and then murdered by her jealous husband.

from Discovery Channel: Discovering Dante's Damsel in Distress



Gwendolyn Brooks, undisputed queen of the colored girl, was buried in Chicago. She undoubtedly went to glory in stockings that sagged, dressed as if dressing never mattered, perhaps in a print with gazelles leaping and trees swaying and her thin silver hair hidden beneath an African gasp with the sound of her laughing beneath. Someone probably commented on how small she suddenly looked and, if there is a God, at least one person demanded that he show Himself and explain this, His skewered timing, His wacky choice of angels. [Patricia Smith]

from About Poetry: Two Poems for Gwendolyn Brooks



He repeatedly told the troops on active service, at whom his words were primarily aimed, that they should not be fighting. "Had you had the sense to eliminate Roosevelt and his Jews or the Jews and their Roosevelt at the last election, you would not now be at war."

These, and similar sentiments, rasped out week after week to troops in the field, surely were treason, as was his assertion that the United States was "illegally at war".

from telegraph.co.uk: Ezra Pound was more guilty than Haw-Haw



The classic Martian poem was a procession of startling visual analogies: a weightlifter was like a glazed mantelpiece frog, a jockey like a circus-monkey, a beetle lying on its back "like an orchestra/ Struggling with Beethoven". The poems were triumphs of three-minute culture, each an advertisement for advertisement. What was impressed on the mind was the branding, the style of each image, rather more than the product, the whole poem.

from The Guardian: Is there still life on Mars?: Christopher Reid's new collection, For and After, contains a clutch of very good poems, but the dazzle and profundity of his earlier work have gone, says John Redmond



Poets may die younger because they are more likely to suffer from mental illness, especially depression, which is a risk factor for suicide.

“Poetry may appeal to people who are more likely to be self-destructive,? he [James C. Kaufman] says.

“I think Professor Kaufman is way off course,? says former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, who so far has lived five months longer than the average poet. “The assumed association of poets with mental disorders and depression is a romantic holdover.?

from Health Behavior News Service: Research Seeks Answer to a Poet Dying Young



At this point one can raise a question about the survival of the very notion of authorship and of the work of art, as an organic whole. And I want simply to inform my audience that this has already happened in the past without disturbing either authorship or organic wholes. The first example is that of the Italian Commedia dell'arte, in which upon a canovaccio, that is, a summary of the basic story, every performance, depending on the mood and fantasy of the actors, was different from every other so that we cannot identify any single work by a single author called Arlecchino servo di due padroni and can only record an uninterrupted series of performances, most of them definitely lost and all certainly different one from another.

from p2pnet: Will books become obsolete?


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