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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


When we had only the Oxyrhynchus portion, we had only line-ends, preceded and followed by line-ends of other poems, and it was not clear where one poem ended and the next began; the left-hand margin, where this would have been signalled, was missing. That question is now settled. We have a poem of twelve lines, made up of six two-line stanzas.

from The Times Literary Supplement: A new Sappho poem

This simple poem tells of a young child riding in a wagon with his or her grandfather, receiving a lesson in good manners from the old man. The poem is set in America in 1918, nearly a hundred years ago.

from Malaysia Star: Lesson for the modern world

Perhaps your family passes on the names of loved ones to subsequent generations. This poem by Andrei Guruianu speaks to the loving and humbling nature of sharing another's name.

from Greenwich Village Gazette: American Life In Poetry: Column 012

[Emile] Nelligan, born in 1879, the son of an Irish father and a French-Canadian mother, was known for his melancholy turns of phrase. He has often been compared to France's Arthur Rimbaud.

The poet's entire output came between the ages of 16 and 19, at which point he was admitted to a mental hospital, where he lived until his death in 1941.

from CBC Montreal: Nelligan's poem sells for $23,000

[Shelton Lea's] February diagnosis of Jack Dancer (as he liked to call his lung cancer) left him three months to live. He made the most of it, pushing through the release of his ninth book Nebuchadnezzar (through Black Pepper), while poems from it were accepted by The Age and The Australian.

from The Australian: Bard of the back streets

Greek poet Manolis Anagnostakis, held to be one of most important poets to emerge from Greece in the post-war era, died on Thursday at Amalia Fleming hospital in Athens at the age of 80, after a long bout of illness.

from Athens News Agency: Greek poet Anagnostakis dies, aged 80

"A book of Welsh poetry came out from Faber," he [Maurice Lindsay] recalls, "and I wrote to [TS] Eliot when I was at the War Office in London in 1943 and said, 'How about doing a book of Scottish verse?'

"So he said 'Come and have tea with me'. We had cucumber sandwiches, as I remember, and Eliot said, 'Yes we'll do it.'["]

from Scotsman: Maurice Lindsay and his way with words

It was [TS] Eliot who said that "the poetry of Dante is the one universal school of style for the writing of poetry in any language," and that "there is no poet in any tongue - not even Latin or Greek - who stands so firmly as a model for all poets".

"Dante and Shakespeare," said Eliot, "divide the modern world between them; there is no third."

from The Guardian: Il miglior fabbro

It was on Monday, April 6th, 1327, in Holy Week, that in the Church of St. Clara, in Avignon, [Francesco] Petrarch saw for the first time that incomparable, golden-haired Laura. She became his beloved and held his mind and heart captive for the next 21 years. Her eyes and voice, habitual reserve and tender pity, inspired poem after poem.

from News Today: A voice immortal

But the poet [Robert Frost] was old (89) and he couldn't see the words because of the sun's glare that bright, cold January day. The poem's newness to him and his unfamiliarity with and uncertainty about the way it went caused him to stumble uncertainly with his voice and tone and he gave up. Instead he fell back on an old one he knew perfectly [. . .]

from News Today: America's unofficial Poet-Laureate

[Pablo] Neruda froze with stage fright and desperately resorted to reading his poetry. Greeted by "stony, Chilean silence", he waited tensely for their verdict and in what he described as "the most important event in my literary career", one man, possibly the union leader, said "Comrade Pablo, we are totally forgotten people. And I can tell you that we have never been so totally moved ...", before breaking down in tears.

From then on, says Feinstein, Neruda "abandoned any desire for obscurity and complexity" in his poetry.

from Green Left Weekly: Poet of the poor

Thru the indirect medium of your writing I can tell pretty well what I am up against. The main outline is hardly doubtful. If the 20th century is to realize a great art comparable to that of Chaucer or Shakespeare, the foundation will have to be your poems. [Robert Lowell to Ezra Pound, 1936]

from The New York Times: 'The Letters of Robert Lowell'


"When The Waste Land was published, its defenders insisted that the poem was planned from the beginning and that it was a poem of extraordinary unity. Now that we can trace the processes and the choices that Eliot is making, the poem turns out to be something quite different," Prof [Lawrence] Rainey said.

from The Guardian: How The Waste Land was done

[Robert Lowell] admires her [Elizabeth Bishop's] sanity; after describing a reading by Roethke ("the wallow of flesh, the obscenity, the shyness . . . driven on like a great baggy blue serge sail before the wind"), he notes "all this contrasted with you, the most all there of anyone I've ever known." Only with Bishop does he discuss in detail his dilemma as a writer, which is "to bring together in me the Puritanical iron hand of constraint and the gushes of pure wildness."

from NY Newsday: A poet in private

Being buried in the forest "makes you very aware of everything. You start listening a lot. People who live in forests listen a lot. You don't see so well unless you're on the lakeshore, so sounds become very significant. This is a bear area." [--Margaret Atwood]

from The Herald: The hard lady of literature

The following beautiful lines are from The Prophet. They are very popular among musicians and pop dancers in the West.

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance.

from News Today: An unquenchable spirit

[Alice] Oswald is like a medium except that she is not listening for sounds from the other side. She is intent on this side--wind, water, birdsong. 'I almost feel that I am not part of it. I believe the poet shouldn't be in the poem at all except as a lens or as ears.'

from The Observer: Into the woods

"It's like two different countries," [Peter] Gizzi said. "California is further from us than Europe is."

After all that, he found his way back to Massachusetts. "I like that sense of used-ness of New England," he said. "I like the fact that every hill--that there's already been a thousand ideas in every vista."

from Valley Advocate: Mr. Poetry Nexus

Here David Wagoner, a distinguished poet living in Washington state, vividly describes a peacock courtship, and though it's a poem about birds, haven't you seen the males of other species, including ours, look every bit as puffed up, and observed the females' hilarious indifference?

from Greenwich Village Gazette: American Life In Poetry: Column 011

[Kathleen Jamie] travelled to Orkney for the winter solstice, studied the salmon leaping on the Braan river, raised her eyes to Edinburgh's skyline, watched the peregrines that had nested near her home.

"Between the laundry and fetching kids from school, that's how birds enter my life. I listen. During a lull in the traffic: oyster catchers; in the school playground, sparrows," she says.

from The Guardian: In the nature of things

"It's good to have the,/to have the technology", writes Richard Price in his poem "Softened, bright". The deliberate accident of that little stutter--the skip of a CD? Or a human stammer?--undermines the apparently banal and confident statement.

from The Guardian: Margin of horror

The well-known Irish poet and former RTE producer/director, Michael Davitt, has died suddenly. He was 55.

from RTE News: Poet Michael Davitt dies suddenly

Richard Eberhart, the Dartmouth poet, died June 9 at the age of 101. Here is one of his best known poems, "The Fury of Aerial Bombardment."

from Concord Monitor: 'The ruthlessness and senselessness of war'

[Jorie] Graham points out she didn't arrive at Harvard and marry [Peter] Sacks until 2000, but she does not deny they knew each other at the time of the contest. In fact, Graham felt awkward enough about it to ask the series editor, Bin Ramke, to make the call. Ramke chose Sacks, and Graham concurred.

from Los Angeles Times: In Search of Poetic Justice


Richard Eberhart, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet considered one of the foremost writers of lyric verse in the 20th century, died on Thursday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 101.

from The New York Times: Richard Eberhart, 101, Poet Who Wed Sense and Intellect, Is Dead

Eugenio de Andrade, one of Portugal's most revered poets, died Monday after a long illness, said a poetry foundation devoted to his work. He was 82.

from The San Francisco Chronicle: Portuguese Poet Andrade Dies at 82

Kunio Tsukamoto, an avant-garde tanka poet who had an enormous impact on the classical Japanese poetry field following World War II, died Thursday of respiratory failure at a hospital in Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, his family said Friday. He was 84.

from Yahoo! Asia News: Tanka poet Tsukamoto dies at 84

Tsangyang [Gyatso] died at the age of 24--disappearing in mysterious circumstances--and suspicions abound that he was murdered.

But Mr [Paul] Williams argued that his legacy lives on not only in his work, but in Tibet's modern political situation.

from BBC News: Erotic verse sheds light on 'playboy Lama'

Debasement is the password of cowards,
Nobility is the epitaph of the nobleman . . .
Let me tell you, the world,
I / do / not / believe!
If a thousand challengers lie under your feet,
Count me as the thousand and first challenger.

This is from the poem "The Answer," which the protesters read in Tiananmen Square.

from Joongang Daily: A Beijing memorial that may one day be

This poem looks at the difference in lifestyle between two Malaysians--a privileged, university-educated man and a hard-working, uneducated satay vendor. Although the poet [Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof] describes the satay vendor's life as being tough and exhausting, he also seems to envy it.

from Malaysia Star: Two different lifestyles

Just listen . . .

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

from The Washington Times: Mythical 'Casey' was baseball's first fallen star

[Douglas M.] Parker refers to his poem "Always Marry an April Girl" as the one poem that best captures [Ogden] Nash's relationship with his temperamental wife:

"Praise the spells and bless the charms,/I found April in my arms./April golden, April cloudy,/Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;/April soft in flowered languor,/April cold with sudden anger,/Ever changing ever true- /I love April, I love you."

from The Cape Codder: Beyond light verse

"Popular literature in verse form developed here in Brazil as in no other place in the world," said Audálio Dantas, a collector of cordel and curator of "A Century of Cordel," an exhibition that was held in São Paulo in 2001. "The cordel pamphlet was for decades practically the only vehicle of information that the people of the backlands could count on."

from The New York Times: The Troubadours of Brazil's Backlands

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

[John] Masefield's "cheap" is not snobbish but pleased, evoking an egalitarian sufficiency of such goods across England (the list runs neatly northeast to southwest, from Tyne coal to Cornish tin).

from The Guardian: Pie tray in motion

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So Wrote one of Scotland's great eccentrics, Sir William Topaz McGonagall, self-styled poet and tragedian, proud owner of the spoof title "Knight of the White Elephant, Burmah" and better known as the "World's Best Bad Poet".

from Scotsman: The world's best bad poet


When we hear the sound in the depth of language, our body--which is aware of our transience--can absorb into its rhythms the words, weakening their network of meaning, allowing things and beings to appear before us, within us, with an immediacy by virtue of which we escape the anguish of non-being, which is the fatal consequence of knowledge through concepts. [--Yves Bonnefoy]

from The Guardian: 'Poetry is a never-ending task'

To adapt a Basho teaching, "Seek not the Japanese haiku, seek what it seeks." Otherwise, these haiku would not only not be Japanese haiku, they wouldn't be haiku at all.

from Daily Yomiuri: Go-Shichi-Go/Hint of humor serious matter for haiku

This could begin with a bodily pang or a stray image, even a mood. The feeling could arise from memory or a dream, yearning, confusion, fear, anger, love or contemplation. It's just a feeling, a consciousness, an absence of words, a loss for words.

The written poem develops when a poet translates his or her wordless feelings into language.

from The Oregonian: Translating wordless feelings into language

[Iain] Bamforth's language works hard with the eye and the ear to the degree that it mirrors patterns of synapse development, in which particular and even disparate stimuli trigger fresh and complex observations. As a result such work is rich in perceptual acquaintance, making it not only intelligent but also extremely sensual.

from The Guardian: Say it bucket, say it

By the time she [Emma Lazarus] started writing as a poet not out of Jewish identity, but out of Jewish consciousness of some kind, the poetry got stronger. One way to look at that is that only when she gave voice to impulses could she draw on deep wellsprings that empowered her better poetry. And that the poetry was better because it was Judaic. [--John Hollander]

from Nextbook: Torch Bearers

In the process of this interconnected reading, [Vicki] Bertram resurrects Plath's poems as live products of imagination and truth which continue to mesmerise readers. In contrast, Hughes's poems are dismissed for their tonal flatness, passivity and the fixed positioning of the reader which disallows any vibrant interaction.

from The Hindu: Gender counts: for better or for verse

It was all part of my mania and nonsense. For two months, I was striding and posturing, writing letters, making wild plans. Then it all passed--again I was home. You mustn't feel that you have done anything irreparable. All that was lost is returned. We even bring back certain treasure from our visits to the bottom. [--Robert Lowell, to Theodore Roethke]

from The New York Review of Books: A Tragic Grandeur

This technique of using an apparently simple story to deliver a more profound, hidden meaning is called allegory.

The first four lines suggest a world which overturns our familiar rules. For example, the tablecloth does not need to be on a table, it can be "spread out anywhere". However, this does not mean that there are no rules at all.

from Malaysia Star: A free future world

Warren Norwood, author, teacher and musician, died of liver disease in Weatherford, Texas on Friday June 3, 2005 at the age of 59.

from SFWA: Fantasy and Science Fiction News: Warren Norwood (1945-2005)

The poet and novelist Marge Piercy has a gift for writing about nature. In this poem, springtime has a nearly overwhelming and contagious energy, capturing the action-filled drama of spring.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 010

[Edwin Morgan] says that the use of language "clamps a country to glory", and, after naming a list of items such as icons, gondolas and didgeridoos as being "very fine", said that the power of the word is more important.

from The Herald: Morgan warns MSPs not to dismiss the importance of literature

Voltaire would probably have become a great lawyer, or possibly a great statesman, had not this fundamental characteristic of his been shot through and through by a vehement sensitiveness ? a nervous susceptibility of amazing intensity, which impregnated his solidity with a fierce electric fluid, and made him an artist, an egotist, a delirious enthusiast, dancing, screaming, and gesticulating to the last moment of an extreme old age.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Voltaire --Lytton Strachey


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