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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


That era is thankfully at an end. The emergence of a poet like [Richard] Wilbur as a hero to a new generation of critics is cause for hope: that readers, not gatekeepers, might rediscover poems written in the spirit of generosity and care, and disciplined by the idea of an uncaptive audience.

from The New York Times: The Well-Adjusted Poet

It's as if he [James Schuyler] sat down one afternoon and looked out over the top of the tulips, on to the trucks on Second Avenue, and across to the woman jogging her baby, and the poem, like the view, just sort of presented itself, as if the world was waiting to be carried over into words.

Except, of course, that's not what it's like.

from The Guardian: Waiting for the mailboat

"I had eight birds hatcht in one nest,
Four Cocks there were, and Hens the rest."

No, Anne Bradstreet is not bragging about her chicken coop; she's whimsically portraying the fact of her large family.

from BellaOnline: Anne Bradstreet - America's First Poet

Along with Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, Philip Freneau takes his place in American poetry as the third important American poet. Born 2 January 1752 in New York, Freneau actually becomes the first American poet born on American soil, as both Bradstreet and Taylor were born in England.

from BellaOnline: Philip Freneau - Father of American Poetry

Acadian poet and editor Gérald Leblanc has died at age 59 after a long battle with cancer.

from CBC British Columbia: Poet Gérald Leblanc dies

The thing to remember about the classics is that different aspects of a work emerge as important at different times, so there's never going to be one translation that stops everyone in their tracks and says, "This is it."

from La Raza: Why the classics are retranslated

If we are to accept the dictum of Carlyle that, in order to see, we must oversee, it is not probable that Goethe will ever be mastered. In order to do this, the critic must be greater than his subject, and such a Titan is not likely to appear.

Further, it is not the greatness of Goethe alone which baffles us, but his complexity and we must admit, his glaring inconsistency.

from News Today: The Shakespeare of Germany - Goethe

In a letter to his teacher-poet Richard Watson Dixon he [Gerard Manley Hopkins] wrote: 'My Liverpool experience laid upon my mind a conviction, a truly crushing conviction, of the misery of town life to the poor and even more than to the poor, of the degradation of our race, of the hollowness of the century's civilization.'

from News Today: The magical melody of poetic words

Archie Bevan, an old friend and co-editor with Brian Murray of his Collected Poems, acknowledges that towards the end of his life he revised some poems in which he’d given religion and some its champions a hard time. Like a lot of poets, says Bevan, Mackay Brown was an inveterate tinkerer and given an opportunity to improve on an original, he'd take it.

from Sunday Herald: Still singing for the islands

Some slithered into the communion line, receiving the host although they were not Catholic, but rather were strident atheists and enemies of religion, and thus desecrated it and the poet’s [Philip Lamantia's] memory.

from FrontPage Magazine: A Mystic and Tormented Believer

"He surprised me by quoting one of my poems from memory," said [Al] Young. "It was one called 'Conjugal Visits,' about a black woman visiting her husband in San Quentin."

"You wouldn't think I'd like a poem like that, but I do," Young recalled the governor telling him, "because I follow hip-hop and I, too, am for prison reform."

from Contra Costa Times: Laureate's work makes a Capitol impression

Special Section: Remembering War Poets Who Remembered

Steve Mason, poet laureate of the Vietnam Veterans of America, died Wednesday at his home in Ashland, surrounded by friends and family. He was 65.

He had been battling cancer.

from Mail Tribune: Vietnam vets' poet laureate dies

[Keith Douglas] had understood, even then, that the screen had brought the war to these people, and yet they had failed to see it. They had seen the plane, but they had not seen the pilot panicking inside, fumbling with his belt, or the sorry trail of consequences and grief spiralling away from his imminent death.

from The Guardian: Lest we forget

In eighteen lines--one long sentence--James Doyle evokes two settings: an actual parade and a remembered one. By dissolving time and contrasting the scenes, the poet helps us recognize the power of memory and the subtle ways it can move us.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 009

The following poems, by ex-Marine and published poet Calvin Atwood of Amelia Island, are presented in honor of Memorial Day.

from News Leader: Memorial Day

Although the poems are generally considered to be the inspiration for the use of the red poppy to symbolize the remembrance of war dead, both were written in 1915, two years before the U.S. officially entered the war.

from Tahlequah Daily Press: Memorial Day honors dead of all wars


Elizabeth McFarland Hoffman, who as poetry editor of Ladies' Home Journal sandwiched the work of W. H. Auden, Adrienne Rich and Sylvia Plath in between "Is Your Marriage a Masquerade?" and "Bing Crosby's Kitchen for His Bride," died last Thursday in Philadelphia.

from The New York Times: Elizabeth Hoffman, 82, Editor for Ladies' Home Journal, Dies

By not sticking to conventional rules of grammar and punctuation, Cummings creates poems which communicate a sense of immediacy – that is, the sense that the poet is experiencing the feelings at the same moment as he writes about them. It seems as if he has recorded his emotions and experiences as they occur to him; he has not thought about them and refined them into a more formal, conventional style.

from Malaysia Star: Tribute to Mother

Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of poems have been written to express the grief of losing a parent. Many of the most telling of these attach the sense of loss to some object, some personal thing left behind, as in this elegy to her mother by a Nebraskan, Karma Larsen:


from American Life in Poetry: Column 008

"I wanted to give up," she [Sara Nunley] wrote. "I picked up the broken bits of pink flower, and I cried even more. The plant was gone, but the flowers were gone, too. I knew that the little flowers wouldn’t be there tomorrow or the next day or maybe ever again, and I think now I wanted them to be."

from William and Mary News: Literary award winners find audiences with their art

"The real source of poetry," [W.S.] Merwin said in a recent interview, "is individual experience, the great depth of feeling in the particular moment."

We return to a poem time and again because it "stands for the whole of experience," he said.

from The Wichita Eagle: A poet's harvest

This poem by Mac Thien Tu extols the magnificent seascape:

The sea blanches and the tide rises at the day’s first light,
Sails glide and smoke flies,
In a fathomless abyss the dragon fish bides its time,
In the quiet waters the moon is mirrored . . .

from Vietnam News: Ha Tien charms humans and fairies alike

Many of his [Georg Heym's] poems follow the course of a river or procession, or pan across cityscapes and landscapes: "The blue snow lies upon the level land/that spreads out winter. And the signposts here/show one another, each with outstretched hand,/the violet silence of horizons bare./Here, on their path into the waste, four ways/have met together. Low, bald rowans crouch/like beggars. Red and gleaming berries gaze/like their dull eyes." ("Winter")

from The Guardian: Vanishing points

[Norman] MacCaig's longest work, 'A Man in Assynt', was commissioned by the BBC in 1967 and beautifully captures his love affair with the Highlands:

Who owns this landscape?
has owning anything to do with love?
For it and I have a love-affair, so nearly human
we even have quarrels

from Scotland on Sunday: Well versed in a labour of love

[Stanley Kunitz] came to the poem's haunting conclusion:

Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Mr. Kunitz can move about by himself, though he usually uses a walker.

from The New York Times: A Poet in Winter Relishes Spring in His Garden

Li Po spent most of his adult life trying to get a job as an official in court, but I think it safe to say he didn't have the required characteristics, as reflects his short poem, translated as "Self-Abandonment": "I sat drinking and did not notice the dusk/Till falling petals filled the folds of my dress./Drunken I rose and walked to the moonlit stream/The birds were gone, and men also few." Not really civil service material.

from Fairfield County Weekly: Poetry in a Bottle

Art too is just a way of living, and however one lives, one can, without knowing, prepare for it; in everything real one is closer to it, more its neighbor, than in the unreal half-artistic professions, which, while they pretend to be close to art, in practice deny and attack the existence of all art--as, for example, all of journalism does and almost all criticism and three quarters of what is called (and wants to be called) literature.

from Swans Commentary: Letters to a Young Poet (Letter Ten)


Economy of language was a feature of the most achieved, with these writers knowing well how to suggest and evoke, how to be concise without losing the power of detail. These poems were lucid and subtly musical.

from The Guardian: 'Very much alive and healthily varied'

Being a musician might account for [Don] Paterson's unflinching discipline. Above and beyond his affection for rhyme, Paterson imbues his lines with a particular musicality and uses music as a recurring theme. He even goes so far as to include a concrete poem, a piece in the shape of a guitar, which is ballsy if not a little batty.

from City Pages: Poking Things of Great Importance

Leonard Nathan is a master of short poems in which two or three figures are placed on what can be seen to be a stage, as in a drama. Here, as in other poems like it, the speaker's sentences are rich with implications.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 007

[Camille] Paglia comments:

She is sleepless because her eyes are open; she can't be fooled. Is her insomnia the burden of modernist anxiety, or is she trapped in the infernal "dark circles" of private miseries and compulsive thoughts? . . . And who gains great advantage from those haunted eyes? [. . .]

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Paglia does poetry

Then he [Ted Kooser] gets to the really good part:

"Then set it aside again for as long as you can stand to. Like a Petri dish, the longer you leave a poem by itself the more stinky fungus will surface."

from The Kansas City Star: A poet's toolbox

"One's poems don't just suddenly come to you. You carry them around for years ... but then there comes a time when you feel, `Ah, that is the one I want to leave behind for others to read.' And it's quite simple; you don't really have any choice," he [Stanley Kunitz] says.

from The Charlotte Observer: Kunitz works on poetry ahead of tribute

The kind of silence I'm describing shouldn't be confused with nothingness. It's more like a honing of concentration, or like the attentiveness of a hunter waiting to see what new life might be coming into view. A good poem creates some fresh distillation of life, worth remembering, worth revisiting. [Jane Hirshfield]

from Christian Science Monitor Blog: Diving in with Jane Hirshfield

The thought of extinction terrifies him [Philip Larkin]--"Not to be here/Not to be anywhere,/And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true".

One of the remarkable things about the poem's gathering pace, its terrible momentum, is that (again, one thinks of Horace's Odes) it demands we share its metaphysical outlook.

from Telegraph: Larkin's beautiful visions of hell

Meanwhile, the drugs had destroyed [Jane] Kenyon's gastrointestinal tract. Her mouth was in excruciating pain; she often could not eat or drink. She was in a state of clinical depression. She also suffered from incontinence and constipation by turns, awful bouts of nausea, horridly painful feet, herpes, shingles, an incidence of insulin shock and then lung failure--but was pounded back to life.

from The Journal Gazette: Memoir details wife's agonizing cancer

Justice Lahoti, writing for the Bench, said "national anthem is the representative of the ethos of the country. Any classic, once created, becomes immortal and inalienable; even its creator may not like making changes into it. Any tampering with the script of the poem would be showing disrespect to the great poet Rabindranath Tagore."

from SC dismisses petition seeking deletion of "Sindh" from anthem

Melbourne writer Euan Mitchell likes to think of himself as a "punk publisher". He's not waiting for the establishment to get his drift. Instead, Mitchell published and sold 7000 copies of his first book, Feral Tracks. It cost about $20,000 to produce, including art and film work, printing and promotion and made a profit of about $4000.

from The Age: Punk publishers


"Of course," [Donald] Hall writes. "The third thing that brought us together, and shone at the center of our lives and our house, was poetry, both our love for the art and the passion and frustration of trying to write it. When we moved to the farm, away from teaching and Jane's [Kenyon] family, we threw ourselves into the life of writing poetry as if we jumped from a bridge and swam to survive."

from The Nashua Telegraph: Poet turns to prose: Hall's memoir recounts his life with Kenyon

[Maxine] Kumin's first poem for the class was--by her account--a "sappy, sentimental" sonnet that began with the verses:

When lonely on an August night I lie
Wide-eyed beneath the mysteries of space . . .

"At least I could write iambic pentameter," Kumin says. But [Wallace] Stegner was profoundly unimpressed. "Say it in flowers, but for god's sake, don't write any more poems," Stegner told the Radcliffe first-year.

from The Harvard Crimson: Say It in Flowers

"First, don't write poetry; second ditto; third ditto," [Walt] Whitman said. "You may be surprised to hear me say so, but there is no particular need of poetic expression. We are utilitarian, and the current cannot be stopped."

from NY Newsday: Newly discovered interview reveals poet's cantankerous character

John Donne was the Cole Porter of his day, a writer of subtle popular songs rather than just the author of cerebral poetry, according to new research.

The discovery of four musical scores by various composers of the day reveal that Donne intended some of his words to be sung rather than read.

from The Times: John Donne, 17th-century poet of pop

Rhyme has a way of lightening the spirit of a poem, and in this instance, the plural, spirits, is the appropriate word choice. Lots of readers can relate to "Sober Song," which originally appeared in North Dakota Quarterly.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 006

Reading, we accept the experience of a poem and make it a part of our lives, just as we would take in the look of a mountain we passed on a trip. The poet's use of the words "we" and "neighbors" subtly underline the fact that all of us are members of the human community, much alike, facing the changing seasons together.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 005

The poet, in other words, is not there to tell people how they should feel but to try to understand, to share and to give shape to their feeling.

That's a tall order, of course. Part of it, in [Dennis] O'Driscoll's case, is done in technical terms, so that when employing similes, for example, the comparison of the ordinary is frequently not to the extraordinary but to the even more ordinary, in seeing that the extraordinary lies in the comedy of their coexistence.

from The Guardian: The business of being

But a great finality beckoned to him; this book was his strangely exuberant way of facing the darkness.

A. R. Ammons was one of our supreme originals. "We never/thought we would live forever (although we did)/and now it looks like we won't," he confesses in "In View of the Fact," where his resolve is clear and strong, his feelings undefended.

from The New York Times: 'Bosh and Flapdoodle' and 'Radiance': A Walker in the Suburbs

[Friedrich] Schiller's fever attacks often became so severe that rumors of his death spread frequently. But again and again he managed to leave his sick bed and return to the writing desk.

"When he finally died, the duke said, 'Let's cut him open,'" wrote Schiller's biographer, Rüdiger Safranski.

from Deutsche Welle: The Sorrows of Young Schiller

Burning the fire of non-violence in the land of insurgents, a young lady has made an extraordinary protest against injustice in a Burma-bordering state. Irom Chanu Sharmila started her fast-unto-death four and half years ago, demanding that the Indian government repeal the 1958 Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the Norhteastern Manipur State.

from Mizzima News: Fast-unto-death for Four and Half years in Manipur

This year--as more and more mothers, in America as well as Iraq, mourn their fallen sons and daughters, lost to the insanity of organized violence--Julia Ward Howe's call for women to not allow their men to constantly play at war is suddenly back in fashion.

from WorkingForChange: "In the name of womanhood and humanity . . ."


Gwyneth Lewis, who wrote the inscription at the front of the Wales Millennium Centre, has been named the country's first national poet.

from BBC News: Lewis is chosen as national poet

Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell were perhaps "too English" for the Scots, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon could be too Scottish for the English. Gibbon, now regarded as a classic and taught in Scottish schools and universities, wrote a trilogy of novels, A Scots Quair (What on earth is a quair? Oh it's just a book, dear. Well, why can't he say so?) in a Scotticised English which was a rhythmically (even at times metrically) reconstructed version of north-eastern Scottish speech, beautifully done but taking some getting used to.

from The Scotsman: Border lines

Tin Aye Kyu, a poet and lawyer who has been detained since 1989, was released from Mandalay Prison in central Burma on the morning of 26 April.

from Democratic Voice of Burma: Burmese lawyer and poet Tin Aye Kyu released after 16 years

In "Bubble of Air," a poem from the same period, [Muriel] Rukeyser imagines the "angel of the century" singing to her that "three lions of heritage"--woman, American and Jew--stand as her guardians. They alone allow her to "resist the evil" of the age. It turns out that these guardians stand respectively for life, freedom and memory and they offer the poet three imperatives--give, create and fight.

from Forward: The Recklessly Relevant Poet

"We've not necessarily gone out and looked for hyphenated Americans," Mr. [Jeffrey] Levine explained. "But we seem to be building a core of wonderfully talented first and second generation American writers. I think we're seeing a renaissance of interest in hyphenated American writers, particularly Asian-American writers. But on the other hand this is really nothing new. Poetry is founded on first and second generation writing."

from Voice of America: First, Second Generation Immigrant Poets Make Their Voices Heard in America

While the poem ["In Limbo"] reveals a state of intermittent and intermediate consciousness, it also demonstrates poetry's inclination to seek out what is just beyond our reach, be it childhood, war, art, desire, death, birth, god or, finally, even home.

from The Oregonian: Richard Wilbur's style packed with imagery, never in limbo

Through five ''reels'' of around 15 poems each, [Kevin] Young tells the story of a private eye named A. K. A. Jones, who in classic noir fashion falls for his gorgeous but duplicitous client in the early going, then descends into the underworld of ''Shadowtown''--a burg so noir ballgames are ''called . . . /On account of too much sun''--trying to solve a mystery, get the girl, and outwit the sundry thugs and floozies who try to break his legs and heart along the way.

from The New York Times: 'Black Maria': Verse Noir

After a long pause, [EE] Cummings looked at her [Nancy Thayer] directly, and asked, "Did anyone ever tell you I was your father?"

"You cannot mean it," she replied.

"You don't have to choose between us," said Cummings.

Just at that moment Marion [Morehouse] returned. Sensing the stillness and the tension in the air, she asked what was happening. "We know who we are," answered Cummings.

from The Guardian: 'Did anyone ever tell you I was your father?'

In short, if you believe Mr. Giorno, Dial-A-Poem helped spark the world of the Internet. Now the Internet has given Dial-A-Poem back to us. But it's changed, changed utterly.

Every now and then, you get a hint of what the old Dial-A-Poem must have been, a sudden jolt, a vibration in the ear.

from The New York Times: Dial-A-Poem Enters the Internet Age

Then the computer generates the poem.

From here the creative process gets more hands-on. The poet can highlight a word, a line or however much of the poem he or she is less-than-satisfied with, and the program will generate new language replacing the old.

from The University of Chicago Chronicle: Gnoetry creates powerful poetic language of human and machine

More recently, in his Selected Poems, Charles Simic wrote of his shoes ("Shoes, secret face of my inner life:/Two gaping toothless mouths,/Two partly decomposed animal skins/ smelling of mice nests"), and Carol Ann Duffy edited an anthology, Out of Fashion, on this rich theme.

Clothes, which simultaneously reveal and conceal, tell us much about ourselves and our cultures. They can provide a strong focus--or starting point--for a poem.

from The Guardian: Moniza Alvi's workshop


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