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His voice gathers strength as he describes listening to the crickets in his garden: "Outdoors all afternoon/under a gunmetal sky/staking my garden down/I kneeled to the crickets trilling/underfoot as if about/to burst from their crusty shells . . ." When he reaches lines that speak of generative force at the core of all life, [Stanley] Kunitz speaks with sudden vigor, "What makes the engine go?/Desire, desire, desire/The longing for the dance/stirs in the buried life./One season only, and it's done.'

from Provincetown Banner: Poet Stanley Kunitz still blooming at 100

In July 1855, Walt Whitman, clerk, teacher, printer, editor, will put all these observations on paper, in free verse, and speak to America in a startling, new voice.

Stop this day and night with me and you shall posses the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and the sun. . . .there are millions of suns left,
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand. . . .nor look through the eyes of the dead. . . .nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

from The Star-Ledger: Walt Whitman: He heard America singing

"If you look at these nineteenth-century legal forms," explains [Ed] Folsom, "they tended to be printed on paper that is virtually identical to the size of the paper on which the 1855 Leaves of Grass was printed. While we've always had this discussion that Whitman chose this large size of paper for the first edition because he wanted to let his lines flow across the page, people would be sort of up against it when they had to explain the second edition--which is a very small edition--in which Whitman didn't seem to think twice about breaking every line he wrote sometimes even three or four times. We may be looking at a choice of convenience."

from Humanities: Whitman's Lifelong Endeavor: Leaves of Grass at 150

And in a letter to Barbara [Bray] in 1994, she describes the Lenox house: "there is also my own little studio--first time in my life, a studio that's mine . . . which looks out on an expanse of New England meadow, with animal tracks to puzzle over every morning, and squirrels to be observed at their food-gathering, a thing I'd never watched before, so that one might be in the back wilderness, though in fact there are next-door neighbors to a few steps to the left and right."

from Berkshire Eagle: Enjoy Lenox poet Amy Clampitt through her letters

Good jeans, tight-fitting Seventies-cut black shirt, brown trainers.

"We both know why I'm being singled out from the others on the shortlist," he [Nick Laird] says softly in his Northern Irish lilt. "I know it's because of my wife. So please let's not talk about the prize." He looks at me pleadingly, "I don't want to piss off the judges or the contestants."

from Telegraph: Mr and Mrs Smith

The world's most magnificent book is also one of the unluckiest: it was lost on the Titanic, bombed and its bookbinder drowned.

But finally the jewelled binding of Persian poet Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat may have had a stroke of luck.

from This Is Local London: The world's unluckiest book?

It is precisely this promise and its atrocious failure during the Third Reich that bedevil [Paul] Celan's poetry. In his most famous poem, "Todesfuge" (rendered "Death Fugue" in editor Pierre Joris's selection), Celan imagines a man--a German, most likely a member of the SS--who plays with snakes while writing of "Margarete's golden hair." Margarete (Gretchen is the diminutive by which she is known) is of course the heroine victim of Goethe's "Faust."

from Forward: Untranslatable Sentiments

In a spark I crave a star.
And in a star a sun.
My journey has no bourn.
No place of halting, it is death for me to linger.

Iqbal, like Rumi and Goethe, believes that evil is necessary for the development of man. Had there been no evil, there would have been no conflict, no struggle and no striving.

from The two faces of life

[Emily Dickinson] describes hope as a small bird--it is "the thing with feathers", it "perches" and "sings". In other words, she gives the abstract idea 'hope' a concrete, recognisable shape.

Why has she chosen a bird to symbolise hope?

from The Malaysia Star: Abstract ideas made concrete

There are thousands upon thousands of poems about love, many of them using predictable words, predictable rhymes. Ho-hum. But here the Illinois poet Lisel Mueller talks about love in a totally fresh and new way, in terms of table salt.

from Greenwich Village Gazette: American Life In Poetry: Column 016

Now the woman wraps
Her arms
around children
tight, as if she sews
them close to her waist,
where memories of
womb remain.

from Scoop: Poem: Portrait of a Palestinian Woman

PE Marsh's Pantoum was an exception and strikes me as being the real pick of the bunch. The form he chose--the pantoum or pantun--is of Malay origin and travelled west in the 19h century, finding favour, particularly, in France.

from The Guardian: Murdering your darlings


Don't turn just because they don't look like you or you think they're different. We must work together."

The two most beautiful poems read by the 20-plus speakers were by Billy Collins and Ben Okri.

Before reading extracts from Collins' poem, The Dead, comedienne and author Jo Brand said: "Londoners are tough bastards and they get over it."

from The Age: Among all the words, silence speaks loudest

We have just learned the death of our friend, poet, and companion of struggle, journalist and Haitian citizen savagely assassinated by the mercenaries of former president Aristide.

Aïbobo Jacques !

from AlterPresse: For Jacques

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest on 12 July of poet and journalist Abdallah Al-Ryami for criticising human rights violations in Oman, and deplored the strict censorship of writers and journalists which the Omani authorities have been enforcing for the past few months.

from Reporters Without Borders: Poet and journalist Abdallah Al-Ryami jailed for criticising human rights violations

[Nikolay] Gumilyov was shot by the Soviets on a trumped-up charge in 1921. Their son Lev found himself penalised from the age of nine as the child of an enemy of the people. [Anna] Akhmatova mourned the past and the future in a prophetic poem, warning anyone close to her that her presence spelt destruction.

from The Telegraph: A fortress hewn from rock

"When the white people came we were put on the mission stations, we had our culture from our ancestors but it was cut out because they (white people) wanted us to learn the way they live. Before the invasion we used to have bush babies, then there were buggy babies, babies on the road, buckboard babies and then car babies.

"In the late 1960s, early 1970s, they started accepting us at the Maitland Hospital just after the reconstruction. Our people gave the hospital $500 to help to build it. A doctor used to come from Ardrossan to help the midwives deliver the babies when the mums didn't want to go to hospital", Elaine [Newchurch] said.

from Yorke Peninsula Country Times: Living history on YP: Using stories from our past to help define our future

"In many countries, especially Thailand, these charms are being incessantly destroyed because people see no value in them. Besides, the countries are growing so fast that we ignore our own identities and roots. We have adopted Western culture and beliefs. Now we're like rootless people. What I want to do is preserve some of the original beauty that can still be found among our neighbours. I want to use poetry to record the beauty of certain places at certain times." [--Naovarat Pongpaiboon]

from Bangkok Post: Capturing Laos

[Horace] does not hope to rival the mighty masters on whose works his genius has been fed. Hence he writes:

To think of adding to the mighty throng
Of the great paragons of Grecian song
Were no less mad an act than his who should
Into a forest carry logs of wood.

from News Today: A genius of satire

He describes his behaviour in an interesting way, saying that he has learnt "to wear many faces/Like dresses"--like dresses, he changes his 'face', taking one off and exchanging it for something more suitable: "homeface/officeface/streetface" and so on.

We can look at these faces as a series of masks or false faces, which show no real emotion. These faces, unlike hearts, are not sincere.

from The Malaysia Star: Longing for lost innocence

Here Georgiana Cohen observes a woman looking out her window and compares the woman to the sunset. The woman's "slumped" chin, the fence that separates them, and the "beached" cars set the poem's tone; this is clearly not a celebration of the neighborhood. Yet by turning to clouds, sky, and breath, Cohen underscores the scene's fragile grace.

from Poetry X: American Life in Poetry: Column 014

Here, Texas poet Janet McCann gives us insight into the significance of one woman's collection. The abundance and variety of detail suggest the clutter of such a life.

from Greenwich Village Gazette: American Life in Poetry: Column 015

District rules regarding student publications indicate that material must be free of vulgar terms, and "content that . . . is inappropriate for the maturity level of the students."

Some 300 copies of the magazine were printed, and about 100 were sold after it became available June 6. Parents began calling, Johnson said, and by week's end administrators had removed the unsold copies and sent them to the printer for shredding.

from The Seattle Times: School shreds magazine, citing profanity in poem's title

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield read a poem written by a fallen Wilson soldier on the floor of the House of Representatives Tuesday morning.

The poem, titled "A Soldier's Reflections," was written by Cpl. Phillip C. Edmundson shortly before his death last month.

from Wilson Daily: Congress hears a poem


I turned my head and called to the child clinging on my back.
"Repeat after mother."
"Bye, Pyongyang. Take care of yourself."
"Bye, Pinga-take care ub youselp."
The sweet voice of the young one who had not even learned to pronounce words properly stung my heart again and again.
So that was it. That was the last farewell that my son and I had with Pyongyang.

An excerpt from "Choi Jin I, the Woman Who Crossed the Border Three Times"

from JoongAng Daily: For a poet of the North, artistic freedom

Which brings us back to Mr. [Nurmuhemmet] Yasin and his poem. After a closed trial in February 2005 at which he was not permitted to hire a lawyer, Yasin was sentenced by the Kashgar Intermediate Court to 10 years in jail for inciting Uighur separatism, a sentence which was later upheld on appeal.

from alt.muslim: Can A Poem Get You 10 Years In Jail?

Consider "Sparrows," written in Yemen in 1981:

"This morning I saw a sparrow/on a thin stalk of yellow corn,/the only plant adorning/the seaside hotel./The sparrow cleaned itself;/the stalk shook./Another sparrow came;/the stalk bent./A third sparrow;/the stalk bowed quickly./Then suddenly,/and in unison,/the three sparrows took off,/leaving the hotel./And under my shirt/a thousand sparrows/shivered." [--Saadi Youssef]

from The Daily Star: New translations do justice to a poet 'of the human universe'

Immersing himself in Horace and Virgil, [David] Ferry tried to interpret them in English--not hip and contemporary, but not falsely antique, either. As it came out in the poems, strange things happened, which you can't miss when you read his versions. The old poets weirdly appear, as if they were in the room with the reader, talking about recognizable human life. They seem like real guys.

from The Boston Globe: For poet, classics translate into success

Glyn Maxwell's new long poem, The Sugar Mile, also probes this question of how cataclysmic events are painted onto the canvas of a life.

The poem concerns three characters in a New York bar on Broadway and 86th, between 8 and 9 September 2001.

from The Guardian: Heard the one about three men in a New York bar?

"I showed them the return portion of my ticket and told them I am a quite well known writer and would not be able to just disappear underground, but they wouldn?t listen. I am hesitant about travelling to the UK again. I am meant to be going to Edinburgh to attend the book festival but I don?t want to be hassled so I don?t think I will go now." [--Chenjerai Hove]

from Sunday Herald: African poet to pull out of book festival

[Rozanne] Knudson believes there are reasons Utahns, unlike easterners, do not know [May] Swenson and her work.

Poetry is about comfort, and Mormons, she says, find comfort in their own scriptures and inspirational writing rather than in poetry. Knudson was raised LDS in Virginia and was educated at Brigham Young University in Provo.

from Salt Lake Tribune: Utah poet finally handed her laurels

[John] Haffenden calls it one of his [William Empson's] greatest poems for its "sheer emotionalism." Yet on the recording Empson made of it, he reads the whole poem in a melodramatic, even ghoulish voice, as if he were some evil magician casting a spell.

Could this be less an expression of sheer emotionalism than one more dark, if scintillating, joke?

from The Washington Times: An eccentric poet's unruly life told in great detail

Robert Green Ingersoll, a forgotten 19th century iconoclast and orator, gave the funeral oration, calling Whitman a "poet of humanity and sympathy."

"He uttered the great American voice, uttered songs worthy of the great republic," Ingersoll boomed to several thousand gathered mourners. "No man has ever said more for the rights of humanity - more in favor of real democracy or real justice. He neither scorned or cringed - was neither tyrant or slave. He asked only to stand beneath the great flag of nature, the blue and the stars."

from The Baltimore Sun: America's poet remains a vital voice

Tennyson's poem, first published in 1830, can't be dismissed as a fossil from another era. It mixes a geological time frame with Christian theology in a way that gives creationists and evolutionists pause for thought. It presents a portrait of the psyche that anticipates Freud, and encourages us to identify with a repulsive freak in an age of demonization.

from The Epoch Times: The Antidote - Pain-Free Poetry

In the last years of the 16th century, Emperor Akbar, the illiterate Mughal ruler of India, ordered his finest calligrapher and his workshop of artists to craft a luxurious edition of one of the great works of Persian poetry, known as "The Pearls of the Parrot of India." The book had 31 full-page illustrations painted with delicacy and beauty. For many years, looking at most of them has been a private experience, limited mainly to scholars.

from Los Angeles Times: A pearl of poetry and paint


[Robert Beloof] was knocked at least 25 feet, landing directly in front of the bookstore. By the time Roger Roberts reached his front window, where the blinds are usually drawn to keep the afternoon sun at bay, Beloof was already surrounded.

"Two young women were giving him mouth-to-mouth," Roberts said. "They worked like hell on him. They were really good. They must have taken the course."

from The Oregonian: If I should die, and you should live

"Wine of Nishapur", a translation of a great number of Omar Khayyam's poems from the Rubaiyat, was one of [Karim] Emami's outstanding works.

"The Love Is Always Alone", a selection of poetry by Iranian blank verse poet Sohrab Sepehri, was translated by Emami in 2003.

from Mehr News: Iranian author, translator dies at 74

[Ellen] Johnston-Hale published nine books and won at least 25 awards from the North Carolina Poetry Society and the Poetry Council of North Carolina.

One of her books, "We Don't Do Nothin' In Here," won the Poetry Council of North Carolina's award for "best book of poetry in 1977 by a North Carolina poet."

from The Herald-Sun: Poet Johnston-Hale dies at 75

Gustaf Sobin, an American-born writer who for more than 40 years wove the history, sensations and language of his adopted Provence into his poetry and prose, died on July 7 at a hospital in Cavaillon, Vaucluse, near his home in Goult in the south of France. He was 69.

from The New York Times: Gustaf Sobin, 69, a Writer Who Celebrated Provence, Is Dead


[Naze] Ezizi said, "Art is my life. There is no meaning for me to be alive if my poems and songs are not allowed to exist" and "Even if I have been threatened with being "honour killed", I will not give up my art".

from Persian Journal: Iranian woman singer threatened with "honour killing"

[U Win Tin] has been in a poor state of health, exacerbated by his treatment in prison, which has included torture, inadequate access to medical treatment, being held in a cell designed for military dogs, without bedding, and being deprived of food and water for long periods of time.

from Amnesty International USA: Myanmar: 75 year old editor U Win Tin must be immediately released

Hence, he [Friedrich Schiller] writes in one place: 'The artist, it is true, is the son of his age; but pity for him if he is its pupil, or even its favourite! Let some beneficent divinity snatch him when suckling from the breast of his mother, and nurse him with the milk of a better time, that he may ripen to his full stature beneath a distant Grecian sky. And having grown to manhood, let him return, a foreign shape, into his century; not, however, to delight it by his presence, but terrible, like the son of Agamemnon to purify it'.

from News Today: A great bard of liberty

For nearly four centuries the Shakespeare sonnets of 1609 have posed the greatest puzzle in the history of English literature, but author Hank Whittemore claimed today that the age-old riddle has been solved.

from Send2Press: Shakespeare Sonnets Solved, Author Claims

"The bombs bursting in air," were truly the most deadly weapon the English had at their disposal and accounted for the four deaths and 24 wounded among the defenders.

The shelling continued for more than 25 hours; almost 2,000 rounds were poured on Fort McHenry.

from Argus Leader: The story behind our national anthem

Whether witty, ingenious, mordant, cynical, satirical, epigrammatic, whimsical, nonsensical, ironic, cool, neat, savage, ribald or punning, light verse requires that its poet be a master of a playful conversational tone while at the same time demonstrating formal polish and elegance. In other words, the poet must have a good ear and a sharp tongue.

from The Oregonian: Cope creates light verse worthy of heavy praise

This poem describes a relationship which has broken down in some way; the two people involved are not separated, but they do not seem to be communicating with each other. They come almost to the point of confronting each other and speaking, touching each other emotionally, but then at the last moment turn away from each other.

from The Malaysia Star: Life as in a dance

Take the poem "Fancy Man", which explores the emotional hollowness of a speaker who prides himself on embodying such qualities: "In photographs in Sunday magazines/of contemporary buildings and galleries/there is always a room that I am in./I am looking out at you in sunglasses./I stand in the shadows so that you cannot fully see me./Someone did something to me once/and I have never forgiven everybody."

from The Guardian: On the town

Birthdays, especially those which mark the passage of a decade, are occasions not only for celebration, but for reflection. In "Turning Forty," Ohio poet Kevin Griffith conveys a confusion of sentiments. The speaker feels a sense of peace at 40, but recalls a more powerful, more confident time in his life.

from The Repository: American Life In Poetry: Column 013

The latter thereupon challenged [Andrew] Munro to a long poem contest, leaving the theme to Munro, who chose "any incident in the life of William Wallace". The resultant poem became "a labour of love" and was finished some 36 years later in 1894.

from The Herald: Museum buys wordy Wallace ode

Under repressive regimes, where language is beaten-up, kept down or thrown out, poetry often becomes freedom's last refuge.

In liberal societies, of course, poetry isn't under that kind of pressure; but while it might be difficult to think of a contemporary Marvell finding a workable subject for an Horatian Ode, the fact is that what used to be called 'the wider world' is now next door.

from The Guardian: David Harsent's workshop

Special Section: An Obituary Cluster

Mr. [Christopher] Fry will mainly be remembered as the most gifted of the writers who were impelled by the example of T. S. Eliot to attempt a revival of verse-drama in the verbally arid theater of the 1940's and 1950's.

from The New York Times: Christopher Fry, British Playwright in Verse, Dies at 97

Wherever Philip [Hobsbaum] went, literature flourished. Once might have been a fluke, but what are the odds against being so outrageously lucky three times in a row? To be the sponsor of three great movements of poetry — in London, Belfast and Glasgow (the last two not previously noted for being nests of singing birds) — is no small achievement.

from The Herald: Philip Hobsbaum

Gerald Chan Sieg was a diminutive woman with a strong sense of community, a sparkling personality and a nationally-recognized poet.

Sieg died Thursday night at Azalealand Nursing Home. She was 95.

from Savannah Morning News: Oct. 1, 1910-June 30, 2005: A poet, a writer and a civic supporter

[Marjorie] Sinclair went on to write a pair of novels ("Kona" in 1947 and "The Wild Wind" in 1950) and a biography ("Nahi'ena'ena: Sacred Daughter of Hawaii," in 1976). She also wrote a number of poems and short stories that reflected the native Hawaiian experience in the early 20th century.

from Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Marjorie Putnam Sinclair Edel: 1913-2005

She likened poems to visual art: "A few strokes and you catch the image and emotional tones of an event."

Her poetry, written under the name Hilary Tham, drew on everyday life and reflected her fascination with how customs and beliefs affect human behavior.

from Los Angeles Times: Hilary Tham Goldberg, 58; Poet Bridged Cultural Gap

Lorenzo Thomas, a much-respected fixture on Houston's literary scene and a poet who married bluesy lyricism with a social conscience, died Monday. He was 60.

from Houston Chronicle: Lorenzo Thomas, professor and poet


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