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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


Here's another very moving poem. A middle-aged daughter, with her dead mother's death certificate and birth certificate in her hands. The very clever use of rhyme ("birth" and "worth") makes a sort of formal centre to a poem that has a deceptively conversational tone, at odds, deliberately, with its tragic subject matter.

from The Guardian: 'There are things going on here beyond the words'

"What would a man not give," declares Plato in the Apology, "to engage in conversation with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer?" Can we do something of the sort? If not to engage in conversation, then at least to glimpse them as they go about their holy and unholy business?

from The New York Times: First Chapter: 'The First Poets'

Whenever he is front and center, [Michael] Schmidt himself is a fascinating guide who wins the reader's trust.

"The First Poets" covers about a half-millennium of writing up to the third century B.C. Its chronological organization is ideally suited for those seeking an introduction to Greek poetry, although the book needs better maps of the Mediterranean world.

from The New York Times: 'The First Poets': Starting With Orpheus

How many of us, alone at a grave or coming upon the site of some remembered event, find ourselves speaking to a friend or loved one who has died? In this poem by Karin Gottshall the speaker addresses someone's ashes as she casts them from a bridge. I like the way the ashes take on new life as they merge with the wind.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 021

[Henry Wadsworth] Longfellow called his poem 'A Psalm of Life'. He put it aside at first, unwilling to show to any one; for as he later explained, 'it was a voice from my inmost heart, at a time when I was rallying from depression'. But later he allowed it to be published and it went straight to the hearts of millions of people.

from News Today: A timeless psalm of life

As with Walt Whitman, Jones Very enlisted the aid of that master Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson recognized in Very a unique talent, and when asked to help Very edit a volume of poems and essays for publication, Emerson agreed to do so, despite that fact that Very was reluctant to follow Emerson's guidance.

from BellaOnline: Jones Very's Soul-Sickness

At first reading, this poem is a straightforward description of an old gardener who is apparently a little unbalanced or "not quite all there". However, the poet?s characterisation of the gardener is more complex than that.

from The Malaysia Star: More to him than meets the eye

The isolation of brevity heightens the aura of each word and thing. Like the "eggish water" in Goodyear's poem, the "milk-house" has a suggestive shimmer; it makes me think of the peaked triangular roof at the top of a cardboard milk carton--the little protective roof that in the normal course of things gets torn open.

from The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

In 1955, 14-year-old Till was visiting relatives in a small Mississippi town when he was accused of giving a white woman a "wolf whistle" outside a market. Her husband and his half-brother pulled Till from the house where he was staying, drove him to the banks of the Tallahatchie River and shot him in the head.

from NPR: 'Emmett Till': A Poem of Sorrow, and Hope

Entitled "What Did Hanadi Say?" the collection includes a poem glorifying [Hanadi] Jaradat's act of suicide terror, calling it "the highest goal":

"O Hanadi! Shake the earth under the feet of the enemies! Blow it up! Hanadi said: 'It is the wedding of Hanadi, the day when death as a Martyr for Allah becomes the highest goal that liberates my land.'"

from Arutz Sheva: PA Ministry of Culture Glorifies Murderer of 19

Yet turning to confront [James] Dickey--speaking, as a traditional lyric poet would, with an automatic sense of I and You--would have required a certain kind of coldness from [James] Wright. And while such a chill might have enabled him to say a few things he never managed, it also might have prevented him from writing the fine and gracious work that is his alone--and therefore most truly ours.

from The New York Times: I and You

Special Section: Four Poetry Deaths

Dr Aftab [Ahmad] was a great literary critic and a writer of eminence. He wrote extensively and incisively on Ghalib, Faiz and Iqbal. Apart from his literary merit he was also a great researcher who painstakingly gathered bits of history to draw a picture. His picture of history as he saw it, may not have been liked by many, but he had no inhibition in describing what his research had revealed to him.

from The News International, Pakistan: Dr Aftab Ahmad--Yet another literary luminary passes into history

Australia's "poet lorikeet", Denis Kevans, died at Sydney's Westmead Hospital on August 22, following complications from heart surgery.

Blue Mountains-based Kevans built a reputation as "the people's poet" through his close identification with Aborigines, Irish political prisoners, workers, environmental causes, republicanism and the anti-war movement.

from Green Left Weekly: 'Poet lorikeet' folds his wings

Dr [Margaret] Scott became an audience favourite on the ABC's Good News Week in the 1990s, and also appeared on World Series Debates.

Dr Scott was dedicated to human rights and was one of the first people to sign a book protesting against the treatment of asylum-seekers in Australia.

She was known for her support of the Port Arthur community and the arts community--particularly the writing community--and won many awards for both her writing and her service.

from ABC Online: Writer, poet Margaret Scott dies

After retiring in 1989, [Paul] Zitner turned to writing poetry, a passion he had abandoned after success in placing various poems during the 1950s. The result was three published books of verse: The Asparagus Feast (1999), Before We Had Words (2002) and, posthumously, The Hunt on the Lagoon (2005).

from News@UofT: In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Sheldon Paul Zitner


Deadly Sun Illuminates Israeli Blue Moon

By Genevieve Cora Fraser

from Scoop: Poem: Deadly Sun Illuminates Israeli Blue Moon

Then it hit me: I've read about this case before, in the form of poetry. The poet is Martin Espada, a Puerto Rican wordsmith that I had the pleasure of meeting last year in Manhattan. One of his most powerful poems is entitled "Imagine the Angels of Bread," where he asks us to imagine a world turned upside down, a world that usually seems out of reach.

from Common Dreams: Life Imitates Poetry

In this fascinating poem by the California poet, Jane Hirshfield, the speaker discovers that through paying attention to an event she has become part of it, has indeed become inseparable from the event and its implications. This is more than an act of empathy. It speaks, in my reading of it, to the perception of an order into which all creatures and events are fitted, and are essential.

from Wilber's: Weekly Poem: American Life in Poetry: Column 020

Nor is there much reflection about how she [Amy Clampitt] writes or what she hopes to achieve in her poems. This insight, from a March, 1978 dispatch, is a rare treat: "I seemed to know in a vague way what it was that wanted to be said, or perhaps more accurately that I myself wanted to say - it was to lament the waste and the ugliness, and in the process to say something about what poetry might do but somehow doesn't."

from The Christian Science Monitor: Politics, purses, poetry: the letters of a poet

[Wong Phui Nam] describes his limbs as having "forked ends"; the word "forked" has negative connotations, reminding us of the snake?s forked tongue, or perhaps the devil?s pitchfork.

In stanza three, the actual moment of birth is described in brutal, ugly terms: "bunched gel", "red grapes shot thick with ash". These images suggest something hard, lumpy, almost volcanic.

from The Malaysia Star: Death at the point of birth

On Veteran's Day, 1993, O'Brien-Tyrrell and her fellow war nurses went to Washington D.C. for the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

"One of them came back to the hotel one night and said, 'Mary, your poem is at the Smithsonian,' and I said, 'Oh yeah?'" O'Brien-Tyrrell remembered. "They said, 'Mary, it really is.'"

from WCCO: Vietnam Nurse Heals From War Through Poetry

Passengers of the Chechen Friendship Train which made a stopover in Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia, handed over 100 volumes of the collection of Chechen folk poetry of the 19th-20th centuries to libraries in the Lake Baikal area.

from ITAR-TASS: Chechens hand over collection of legends to Baikal residents

[Edwin Morgan] said that as soon as he started writing, he got "very, very involved", adding that everything about Wallace made it hard not to feel strongly moved.

However, the poet denied he could be fanning anti-English sentiment. "I don't think so," he responded mildly.

from The Herald: Poet's passion keeps spirit of Wallace alive

Dear Mr. Alatas,

Reporters Without Borders would like to draw your attention to the case of U Win Tin, a Burmese journalist and adviser to the National League for Democracy (NLD), who has been imprisoned since July 1989.

from Reporters Without Borders: UN special envoy asked to intervene on behalf of Win Tin

Renowned Hebrew poet and Israel Prize laureate Dalia Rabikovitch was found dead in her Tel Aviv home on Sunday.

from Haaretz: Renowned Hebrew poet Dalia Rabikovitch dies at 69

The shy reclusive girl [Dorothy Parker] grew up to become a diminutive doe-eyed terror. She was dismissed from the Blessed Sacrament Convent School in New York before reaching her teens--apparently for claiming the Immaculate Conception had something to do with spontaneous combustion--and then boarded at the now defunct Miss Dana's School in Morristown.

from The Star-Ledger: Long Branch honors its native daughter The quotable Dorothy Parker

[Shakespeare] left some lines unfinished in the rapidity and restlessness of creation. In Timon of Athens the protagonist is described as begging "so many" talents; Shakespeare clearly meant to add an exact figure at a later stage. But he simply had to get on. He hardly ever punctuated, preferring to rely instead upon the roll and rush of creation.

from The Times: Extract: 'He relied upon the roll and rush of creation'

Special Section: Poetry Going Big Time

Die-hard fans of [Jean-Louis Lebris de] Kerouac can only now keep their fingers crossed that the book they love so much does not become mangled on its journey, at last, to the big screen. For some, the fear of sacrilege may be too much. Kerouac once said: "Offer them what they secretly want and they, of course, immediately become panic-stricken."

from The Independent: Jack Kerouac's classic finally gets the Hollywood treatment

[Angelina] Jolie, popularly known in gossip magazines as the queen of darkness, is reported to be playing a "queen of darkness who tempts the Viking [Beowulf] during his quest to become king".

from The Belfast Telegraph: Tome raider: Angelina Jolie lands star role as Hollywood gets its hands on 'Beowulf'

Inspired by the words of Maya Angelou, breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John is spotlighting the disease with a musical version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's poem "Phenomenal Woman."

The song is the lead single to Newton-John's upcoming 10-song collection, "Stronger Than Before."

from Reuters: Newton-John set raises funds to fight breast cancer

The importance of the play is not that it is adapted from a poem by [Mahmoud] Darwish, but rather that it renders an artistic interpretation of existence.

Moreover, the play makes the complexity of the poem comprehensible; it brings the metaphorical verse down from the metaphysical realm and presents the experience on the communal level of reality.

from The Daily Star: Palestinian National Theater tackles Darwish


I feel great pity for the ants though, when I see them. And I do feel a great urge to do them some good. I even would if I could, for some time abandon the civilized Myrmicine society and live, along with flocks of Myrmica brethren, among the ants in their colony, and bring about some reformation in their society--heck, to that extent am I prepared to sacrifice! [--Rabindranath Tagore, tr. Debal Deb]

from The Independent: Tagore's Oriental Postmodernity

At the beginning of the famous novel, "Remembrance of Things Past," the mere taste of a biscuit started Marcel Proust on a seven-volume remembrance. Here a bulldozer turns up an old doorknob, and look what happens in Shirley Buettner's imagination.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 019

This is an interesting image: the pupils are turning pale under a coating of powder, making them all look the same; anything interesting or individual about them is being erased by this powdering of dullness.

from The Malaysia Star: Learning by teaching

This is a poem being sent from a Marine to his dad. For those who take the time to read it, you'll see a letter from him to his dad at the bottom.

from ChronWatch: Poem: The Marine

Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted [John] McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to [Lieut. Alexis] Helmer's grave."

from Braintree Forum: In Flanders Fields

[Melanie Grobler] told the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, who gave her the prestigious award, that the resemblance was due to "pure negligence" and the "absorption that takes place naturally when one is an avid reader".

from Cape Times: Poet accused of plagiarism gives back her prize

Sketches and workbooks seemed to confirm [Araki] Yasusada's identity as an A-bomb survivor who had worked as a postal worker in Hiroshima until his death in 1972. But on closer inspection, his life was rife with impossible claims: For example, he had attended Hiroshima University 20 years before its founding and communicated with poets (Paul Celan, for example) who had not yet published in their own countries, let alone in Japan.

from The Boston Globe: Gotcha!: The pleasures of literary hoaxing

[Carl] Phillips confirms all that and admits it sometimes makes his poetry rather complex reading as well as work that challenges the current, rather Puritanical bent of certain factions of the nation.

"A lot of poets use plain straight-forward English," he says, "but there is also a place for elevated speech--for my poetry--which is not so conversational in style."

from The Saginaw News: Winner of Roethke Prize a fan, too

Through his innovative use of upper case, italics, hyphens, and positioning on the page, [Frank] Bidart has brought to the poetic line an unimagined nuance of expression, as in this example from his poem "The War of Vaslav Nijinsky:" "Then, God said to me://GO HOME/AND TELL YOUR WIFE YOU ARE INSANE.//I said://Thank you, thank you, God!/I am not evil. I am insane.//I got up. I wanted to go home,-/and tell this news//to my wife . . . . " (from The Sacrifice, 1983).

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Poems explore the nature, motives of artistic creation

By winnowing the formal and rhetorical possibilities down so far, [W. S.] Merwin was asking his poems to be vehicles for wisdom or nothing at all. To be sure, you felt as though if you coughed in their presence, a trapdoor would open under your feet and plunge you into the dungeon.

from The New York Times: 'Migration': The Solemn Art

The trick will be to convey some kind of feeling/emotion/reaction simply through description of physical things. I'm banning the use of abstract nouns. Have fun!

from The Guardian: Adèle Geras's workshop

Special Section: Three by Cancer, One Unearthed

Mansour al-Kharqawi, a prominent Kuwaiti poet, died on Friday in London, UK, following a bout with cancer.

from Kuwait News Agency (KUNA): Prominent Kuwaiti poet Mansour al-Kharqawi dies of cancer

Jamal Eddine Bencheikh, a famous Algerian writer known for his "1,001 Nights", a combination of Arabian folk tales and original manuscripts, died on Monday at the age of 75, after a long battle with cancer, reported the Paris based weekly le Nouvelle Observateur.

from Morocco Times: '1,001 Nights' French version author dies

Afrikaans poet Ina Rousseau has died in Cape Town. She had cancer and was 79.

Well appreciated and loved for her accessible, sonorous poems and dry sense of humour, she wrote in the tradition of Afrikaans poets who criticised social injustice under apartheid.

from Cape Times: Afrikaans poet Ina Rousseau dies in city after a long illness

They found human remains buried there.

Police have not yet identified the body. But neighbors say the man who lived in the house [Oscar Washington], is a well-known poet, has been missing for several months.

from KSDK NewsChannel 5: Human Remains Found Buried in St. Louis Backyard


Twelve-year-old student Corrinah Siluwa Dom's poem, "A Prayer for Harmony", stole the limelight at the signing ceremony for the Hidden Valley gold project.

from The National: Poem outlines 'prayer for Harmony'

Especially notable in the collection were three sets of chained epics (or genealogical epics), which the project team was the first to find, of the Ot Drong of the M'nong people, the Dong of the Ba Na people and the Dam Diong of the Xe Dang people. Each set included about 100 works in complete line, making them the longest epic works in the world, according to specialists.

from VietNam News: Tay Nguyen epic poetry, song collection reaches cadence

In the poet's breast pocket, the officials found an identity card and a small, bloodstained Serbian exercise book in whose margins [Miklós] Radnóti had scrawled "Forced March," alongside a dozen or so other poems of equally astonishing lyricism and power.

from Forward: Forced March

The 18-month imprisonment of the four men--two university scholars, a poet [Ali Dumaini] and their attorney--had galvanized protests from international human rights groups and prompted a rare public rebuke of Saudi Arabia's autocratic political system from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

from The Washington Post: Saudi King Pardons 3 Jailed Dissidents and Their Ally

[Torquato Tasso] glorified man and his contempt for death. The following splendid lines on the ruin of Carthage bring out this aspect:

Great Carthage is laid low. Scarcely can eye
Trace where she stood with all her mighty crowd;
For cities die; kingdoms and nations die;
A little sand and grass is all their shroud;
Yet mortal man disdains mortality:
O human mind, inordinate and proud!

from News Today: Tasso: Timeless and Titanic

[George Mackay] Brown found his subjects, as Frost did, close at hand, in his case in the rocks and tides of Orkney, where he was born in 1922 and where he died in 1996. The past of the island became for him over the years almost a metaphor of Eden. At other times, and more interestingly, he employed its present life and landscapes as metaphors of the human condition in exile from Eden.

from The Tablet: Poet's exile in an island Eden

The rhymes throughout are a kind of second "skin" for the meaning. And from the beginning of the poem until the concluding word, I hear a beautiful, rhythmic interpretation of the toughness of living--the music of that toughness, I mean--along with the clarity of the poet's [Christian Wiman's] awareness of what it is to be alive.

from The Oregonian: It's not about the rhyme: Is a poem good, is it true?

Gordon Edwards and Ogden Nash did correspond at least once, in 1969, long after the war and their soldiering were over. The poem is not just amusing; it reflects very real attitudes from our American social history, portrayed as only the pen of Ogden Nash could do it:

"Four Prominent Bastards"

from Bigfork Eagle: Out of wedlock

Every reader of this column has at one time felt the frightening and paralyzing powerlessness of being a small child, unable to find a way to repair the world. Here a California poet, Dan Gerber, steps into memory to capture such a moment.
--Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate

from The Seattle Times: American Life in Poetry: A new poem every week

And here and there [Ted] Kooser provides moments when some metaphor that seems as old as poetry itself turns up renewed, refreshed: "There's sun on the moon's back/as she stoops to pick up/a star that she's dropped in her garden."

from The New York Times: 'Flying at Night': In the Heart of the Heart of the Country

In its early days, [Stanley] Kunitz's garden contained a moribund wild cherry tree, situated in a bed of ivy, which proceeded to use the tree as a trellis until the tree disappeared under a dark green cloak. It resembled a mourning figure, bent over with an almost unsustainable burden of grief and Kunitz dubbed it the lamentation tree.

from The News & Observer: His garden, his poems, his life

Special Section: Recent Deaths

[Vizma] Belsevica became honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in 1990, she has received many literature awards in Latvia, and was nominated for Nobel Prize in 2000.

from LEVA: Popular poet and writer Vizma Belsevica dies

While working at black-owned Supreme Life Insurance Co., where he started as a clerk, [John H.] Johnson founded Johnson Publishing Co. in 1942. Its first magazine was "Negro Digest" a journal that condensed articles of interest to blacks and published the poems and short stories of black writers.

from CBS 2 Chicago WBBM-TV: Pioneering Black Publisher John Johnson Has Died

[R Ramachandran] was one among the pioneers of modernist movement in Malayalam poetry. At the same time, his poems had distinctive quality which made him stand apart from other practitioners of modernism in poetry.

from Newindpress: Poet R Ramachandran dead

Jean Henold Buteau, a physician and Aristide opponent, said kidnappers dripped melted plastic on his [Jacques Roche's] feet and crushed his fingers and toes with pliers during his 18-hour ordeal in April.

"It was very, very cruel," recalled Buteau, 52. "The pain was terrible."

from Chicago Tribune: Haiti tense as key election approaches:

Most recently he [John Tuschen] published the Free State Street Poetry Sheet, which consisted of one poem by Tuschen or another local poet with an advertisement on the back.

It was "the most beautiful, concise and efficient literary publication in the United States.

from The Janesville Gazette: Madison's longtime poet laureate, John Tuschen, dies


[Stanley] Kunitz reads from his poem, "The Long Boat."

from National Public Radio: Poet Stanley Kunitz at 100

Before he was born, Kunitz's father committed suicide. His stepfather died of a heart attack when Kunitz was a teenager. In ''Father and Son," he writes, ''At the water's edge, where the smothering ferns lifted / Their arms, 'Father!' I cried, 'Return! You know / The way. I'll wipe the mudstains from your clothes.' "

from The Boston Globe: Stanley Kunitz at 100

[Stanley Kunitz'] hope of a literary/academic career was crushed when the word was passed indirectly, as he put it once in an interview, that ''Anglo-Saxons would resent being taught English by a Jew."

He went home and got a job as a reporter for the Worcester Telegram, and covered the notorious Sacco-Vanzetti case. He was so outraged by what he saw as the injustice of the two men's 1927 execution for murder that he was known as ''Sacco" around the city room.

from The Boston Globe: One hundred years of plenitude

[Dorothy Parker] marched in Boston and got herself arrested. She wheedled donations out of millionaire admirers, persuaded all the journalists she knew to condemn the supposed injustice, and naturally, fell in love with the head of their defence committee--a Hemingwayesque journalist called Gardner Jackson. Despite her efforts, the two men [Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti] went to the chair, but the effect on her was irreversible.

from The Guardian: Now, seriously . . .

"If you're a poet, you've earned the right to blow off whoever you want," he said. "There used to be dozens of cranks and scolds, but there aren't any anymore."

But as much as he plays what he calls the "apostate poet" and brushes off the work of better-known contemporaries--"very few famous poets are interesting to me"--Mr. [August] Kleinzahler's colleagues praise his poetry, if not always him.

from The New York Times: In Addition to His Pugnacity and Charm, He Can Write Poetry

After I revealed that I was seeking Keesiana, a librarian in San Francisco said, "Read his 'Robinson' poems. They're amazing." Everyone says that. The four "Robinson" poems are [Weldon] Kees' great innovation, creating the character of a successful capitalist who vacations in the finest places, maybe keeps a fine mistress, yet suffers a hellishly bleak existence.

from SF Weekly: Kees to the City

"I write only what I believe to be the absolute truth," he [Theodore Roethke] maintained in an essay for a writing class, "even if I must ruin the theme in so doing. In this respect I feel far superior to those glib people in my classes who often garner better grades than I do. They are so often pitiful frauds,--artificial--insincere. . . . Many an incoherent yet sincere piece of writing has outlived the polished product."

from The New Yorker: Primal Ear: Roethke, Wright, and the cult of authenticity

From these themes George Mackay Brown could construct a poem with a unique music, and in that regard his work is full of complexities and sophistication. If you care to take a pencil and map through any Brown poem the placing of vowel and consonant sounds, the half-rhymes and occasional full rhymes, what is revealed is a dense web wherein no sound is left alone and unsupported, unless for good reason.

from The Scotsman: Primal seam

"I find poetry difficult," some people say. My response to this remark is: "Yes. And that is only one of the good things about it." Difficulty, after all, is magnetic, much desired: hence the video game, the crossword puzzle, golf. They are reliable, packaged forms of difficulty.

from The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

Nearly all of us spend too much of our lives thinking about what has happened, or worrying about what's coming next. Very little can be done about the past and worry is a waste of time. Here the Kentucky poet Wendell Berry gives himself over to nature.

from American Life in Poetry: Column 017

But how does a translator know if she's getting it--if her translation captures the true feeling of the original?

"You know it inside yourself first," [Susanna] Nied said. "With Inger [Christensen], I'd read a poem in English, she'd read it in Danish, and often I'd say, 'This is the way my mother would have said it.' And she'd say, 'Ah. That's the way I want it.'["]

from Union-Tribune: Translator finds the music in the original


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