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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

The average number of sexual partners for professional artists and poets was between four and 10, compared with a mean of three for non-creative types. Statistics also showed the average number of sexual partners rose in line with an increase in creative activity.

Psychology lecturer Dr Daniel Nettle, from the university's school of biology, said there were two key reasons for the findings.

from The Age: Creative tension does wonders for your sex life

Theirs was an aristocratic predisposition while Wordsworth, Coleridge and William Blake (1757-1827), an eccentric 'romantic' who started a bit earlier, had an interest in the less exalted classes. They emphasized attention to 'ordinary' people, the use of 'ordinary' language styles and poetic forms.

from Stabroek News: Arts On Sunday: The poetry of the Romantic Tradition

Sylvia Plath, the American prizewinning poetess who gassed herself to death at age 30, had no immediate connection to the Holocaust. Yet her poetry draws repeatedly on Holocaust imagery to convey the writer's intense emotional suffering.

from The Commentator: Sylvia Plath and the Holocaust

The purity of her vision has remained unscathed by fashion and fame.

In a world where famous writers are encouraged to publish the contents of their wastebaskets, [Wislawa] Szymborska's modesty and economy are welcome.

from San Francisco Chronicle: Polish poet's light touch goes deep

[Kenneth] Koch didn't openly write about the war until the last years of his life. Then, he did so in only a few poems. Perhaps his memory of moral chaos gave him at least part of his commitment to joy in life and his sense of literary fun; that he wrote to create his own happiness-seeking sense of counter-order.

from San Francisco Chronicle: During bohemian era, WWII vet used poetry to fight death

From his near-quarantine in his quiet Cache Valley home, retired professor Ken Brewer is teaching his last class, a class he never wanted to teach, a class he may not even realize he is teaching.

from The Salt Lake Tribune: Poet's final work: Going gracefully into that good night

Seattle's poet populist [Pesha Gertler] has dedicated her life to bringing the power of poetry to everyone.

"I want people to know that the same healing power is available to the nonprofessional poet as is available to the professional poet," she says. "The common denominator is the healing power of poetry."

from The Seattle Times: Pesha Gertler, Seattle's poet for the people

She began to perform in dialect in 1938 at the age of 19 and the Gleaner newspaper began to carry her verse in 1943. After that Louise Bennett soon became celebrated and loved throughout the West Indies, and well beyond, as a serious folklorist, a dialect performer, and a poet.

from Stabroek News: Ian On Sunday: Our literature is richly nourished

At fourteen he [Gabriel Aresti] began to study Basque on his own, reading the classics in the City Library and listening to popular verse improvisers.

His poetry evolved from the symbolism of his youth to the social criticism of his later years.

from EITB24: Gabriel Aresti (1933-1975)

Hassan Sabbagh, an Iraqi political refugee now living in Sydney, was detained in Villawood detention centre for five years. One of his poems traces a journey begun in 1986 and describes life, and torture, under Iraq’s Baathist regime; his experiences during the Gulf War in 1991; the flight from his homeland and his illusions of a safe haven in Australia.

from World Socialist Web Site: Poignant cries for freedom

[John] Lawless first introduced Angier students and teachers to his poetry after a pesky chipmunk remained inside the school, unable to be removed.

"I'm horrible, I'm heinous, I'm headless and I'm here . . . I'm furry, fast and fangy, in search of something tangy," wrote Lawless in a poem to the students.

from Newton TAB: Poetry by John Lawless The Angier Chipmunk

Great Regulars

Personally, I favour a loosely generic approach (poetry, plays, fiction, biography history; travel and cookery books on the bottom shelves) with a bookcase full of favourites in the bedroom and a good selection of bathroom literature in the loo.

from Sarah Crown: Case study from Guardian Unlimited: Culture Vulture

Today seems like a good day to be reminded of that. In a note that accompanied the poem, Ms. Spangler wrote: "I have written poetry most of my 77 years." Thank you, Elois. Thank you for writing. And thank you for noticing.

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record: Poetryork: Poetry reminds us to be thankful

In this poem by Pittsburgh resident Jim Daniels, a father struggles to heal his son’s grief after an incident at school. The poem reminds us that when we’re young little things can hurt in a big way.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 034

Reading these two quiet, lyrical poems by Robert Louis Stevenson side by side, we have the chance to reflect on the past and the future—to compare our earliest moments and whatever expectations we may have of our very last. How will our departure vary from our origins?

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Today

Slogging through snow in "Depression in Winter," she [Jane Kenyon] sees herself unheroically, caught in the cycle where misery loves not only company but itself, literally graceless:

I sank with every step up to my knees,
throwing myself forward with a violence
of effort, greedy for unhappiness. . . .

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

The poem is conveyed by a direct and declarative voice, with many end-stopped lines - lines that close with punctuation at the end of a grammatical unit. (Walt Whitman was a master of this style.) I especially like Rhonda [Palmers]’s choice of the words "honeycomb," "riddled," "lured" and the similes in the next two lines.

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poems from the Hoot

Poetic Obituaries

Fernando Alegria, a Chilean-born writer who introduced the study of Latin American literature to U.S. universities, has died. He was 87.

from United Press International: Writer Fernando Alegria dead at 87

[Strath] Clague was from Musselburgh and was well-known on the folk scene for his humorous, quirky songs and poems.

from The Scotsman: Folk world loses Strath

[Darlene M. Crile] helped her husband on the family farm for 60 years in the Trenton area and was devoted to her special-needs sons. She enjoyed gardening, songbirds, writing poems and letters and antique collecting.

from The Fairfield Ledger: Darlene M. Crile

Mildred [Davis] was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Order of the Eastern Star, Disabled American Veterans and was on a local bowling team. She was an accomplished poet, receiving several Golden Poet Awards.

from Black Hills Pioneer: Mildred Davis

Ms. [Laquinta] Peeler said her younger brother [John Alvin Haynes] was a big fan of R&B and rap, wrote music and poetry and loved basketball. He had what she referred to as a "sunshine smile."

"He loved his nieces and nephews to death," she said. Haynes had seven nieces and nephews.

from Shelby Star: Dead man's family wait for a call from police

[Jane Kauders] was a writer whose work included essays, poems, songs, and a piece called "All in Favor, Say No," published by Vogue magazine in the early 1950s, said her daughter, Peggy. The story was about women who spent long hours outside the home volunteering and serving on committees.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Jane Kauders: Teacher, volunteer, 96

Renowned Zimbabwe national anthem author Professor Solomon Mutsvairo was laid to rest at his rural home in Chiweshe on Saturday after being granted provincial hero status.

from Zimbabwes Biggest Daily Online Newspaper: Zim National Anthem Author Laid To Rest

The funeral for the late Basilio Pujana, the Bertsolari or Basque extempore poet, will take place in Zeanuri (Bizkaia) at 18.00 today. Pujana was a very important reference in Bertsolaritza during the years following the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and reached the final twice in the Bizkaia Bertsolari Championships.

from Berria: Basilio Pujana passes away

But if Lawson [Reams] could be remembered for anything, I think he would want it to be as Kingsport's unofficial poet laureate. Whenever anyone at his church, First Broad Street, or in his beloved civic club Civitan celebrated a special event, Lawson would commemorate it with a poem.

from Kingsport Times-News: Kingsport has lost two titans--Lawson Reams and Claudius Clemmer

Colonel Smyth, as he liked to call himself in his retirement years, remained mentally active to the end. He had written poetry during the war years (and occasionally in later life) and in 2003 a number of his poems were published in the anthology Time Standing Still.

from The Telegraph: Edward Smyth

"But when I got there, it wasn't just a fight. It was something horrible."

Police, with neighbors including Yolunda's mother, Frances Warren, on their heels, found Yolunda and Anastasia had been stabbed to death about midnight.

from The Shreveport Times: Cullen remembers slain woman, daughter as close, kind


News at Eleven

The Chinese journalist and poet Shi Tao will not be in New York on Tuesday November 22 to collect his Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Press Freedom Award - he is serving a 10-year prison sentence with forced labour in Chishan Prison, Yuanjiang City.

from The Guardian: Muffled voices

Possibly the ambition & thirst of Dominion in some is design'd as the punishment of the national views of others, tho' it bears the appearance of greater Barbarity than that of the uncivilz'd

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part of mankind. [--Phyllis Wheatley]

from National Public Radio: The Hand of America's First Black Female Poet

Most of the poems are signed "Dylan" or "Dylanism," the earliest known use of his nom-de-tune, according to Christie's auction house.

The rare cache of Dylan poems were bought at Christie's by an anonymous European collector, said a spokeswoman.

from NY Newsday: Dylan poetry sells for $78,000 at Christie's auction of rock memorabilia

Beethoven was a Catholic, and Eliot famously converted to Anglicanism aged 38, nine years before writing Four Quartets.

In 1933 Eliot said he wanted to get "beyond poetry, as Beethoven in his later works, strove to get beyond music".

from The Guardian: A meeting of minds

Like prayer, poetry invites us to slow down and be still, to appreciate everything and everyone around us and consider what matters most in our lives and the world we live in. Meditative in nature, poems are an expression of gratitude.

from The Post and Courier: As language of the soul, poetry is like a prayer

[Nikiforos] Vrettakos was born in a small village near Sparta. "Taygetos isn't a mountain" I didn't/discover it, but found it beside me/when I was born, It stood by. Later/I dreamt of it as a kind of church--/as the center of the earth./Its bells chiming, scattering/petals over the nations" (from "Stone Petals".)

from The Hellenic News of America: Thirty Years in The Rain: Vrettakos in English

As Wendell Berry writes, she was "a poet who had set up shop smack in the middle of another poet's subject." Her [Jane Kenyon's] response to comments like that was to evoke Mt. Kearsarge, which she could see from her writing desk: "That mountain treats everybody the same."

from The New York Times: Meditations on the Commonplace

[Amelia Rosselli's] extraordinary verse collection, War Variations, remains one of the most daring literary experiments of postwar Italy. The verse bristles with the influence of Ezra Pound and the brazen avant-garderies of Italy's Group 63, a leftist coterie set up in 1963 by disaffected Italian writers and critics, among them the then unknown Umberto Eco.

from The Guardian: Fleeing the barbarians

Police said there had been a struggle inside the home. [Jon] Newlin was badly beaten but was "conscious and mobile" when police arrived at 11:58 a.m. The woman was fatally stabbed and was dead on the scene, police said.

from The Times-Picayune: Woman stabbed to death, writer beaten

" ... I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove;
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love."

The conclusion would seem to suggest that desire--love--is wholly out of our control, whatever the emotional agonies endured or other physical penalties paid.

from The Guardian: 'Two loves have I'

For 15 years, Dana Gioia was a man whose heart was pulled in two directions. As he rose through the marketing ranks at General Foods, resurrecting the Jell-O brand and ultimately reaching the position of vice-president, he also was writing serious poetry.

from Fast Company: Poet-in-chief

Great Regulars

Katy Giebenhain, an American living in Berlin, Germany, depicts a ritual that many diabetics undergo several times per day: testing one's blood sugar. The poet shows us new ways of looking at what can be an uncomfortable chore by comparing it to other things: tapping trees for syrup, checking oil levels in a car, milking a cow.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 033

Memory, then, depends on the poetic. Without that other, non-prosaic way of understanding, we drown in the "sea of forgetting."

This is [W.S.] Merwin's quiet, oblique way of celebrating poetry, or the psychological need for poetry.

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

Here is how he [Gerard Manley Hopkins] puts it in his matchless poem, 'As kingfishers catch fire':

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves--goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying, What I do is me: for that I came.

Your task this month is to write an inscape poem in which you describe something that "Selves--goes itself", something that "speaks and spells" its identity.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Lucy Newlyn's workshop

Moon Hymn by Alice Oswald

from The Guardian: Original poetry: Moon Hymn by Alice Oswald

Then he is a monarch who gives a constitution to his people; a pontiff who preaches the equality of souls, and releases his servants from their barbarous homages; an emperor who can spare his empire.

The heroes of the hour are relatively great--of a faster growth; or they are such, in whom, at the moment of success, a quality is ripe which is then in request.

from Purple Patch: Daily Times: On great men--Ralph W Emerson

Poetic Obituaries

Iranian eternal figure in poetry for the year 2005 Manuchehr Atashi died of a heart attack after kidney surgery at Tehran's Sina Hospital this afternoon.

from IranMania News: Iranian poet Manuchehr Atashi dies at 74

Fellow poets celebrated the memory Wednesday of the man his community called the Poet Laureate of Pawleys Island. George Brown, self-made poet, gentle giant and leader in a dwindling black community, died Saturday.

from Myrtle Beach Sun News: Poetry community mourns loss

Lindsay Brooke Chain, 20, a 2004 Baldwin County High School graduate, was one of two women killed in the accident, which occurred at 11:10 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 95 south of St. Augustine, according to Lt. William Leeper of the Florida Highway Patrol.

from Mobile Register: Bay Minette native killed in Florida wreck

In 1966, Mr. [Lou] Myers published his first short story, "The Landlord," in The Evergreen Review, as well as some poetry in Niobe, a literary journal. Throughout the 60's, he illustrated magazine and newspaper articles in publications that included Monocle, Ramparts, Holiday, Show, Esquire, U & L C and The New York Times.

from The New York Times: Lou Myers, Cartoonist With a Satiric Style, Dies at 90

Gregarious and outgoing, Mrs. [Marge] Salin was a free spirit remembered by her family as, "a true character and cultural visionary." A hurricane of energy, few could keep up with her. Into her 80s, and nearly blind, she hitchhiked around the Bay Area attending art and literary events.

from Point Reyes Light: Poet, cartoonist, artist Marge Salin dies at 83

Sepasi had no reason to suspect her daughter [Sasha Sepasi]--a published poet, a gifted artist and a talented athlete--was experimenting with the new Russian roulette of the 21st century. According to experts, many parents and school administrators have no idea about the new phenomenon and its potentially fatal consequences.

from The Acorn: New trend proving deadly

"He loved to write poetry," she [Alease Stimpson] said. "He wrote some very good poetry."

Fire officials said they aren't sure why [Jeffrey Lee] Stimpson couldn't make it out of the apartment.

from News & Record: Man killed in early-morning blaze

[Louis Joseph Taucher] also wrote poetry.

He enjoyed cooking and was an expert craftsman in woodworking.

Mr. Taucher was well known to generations of children in the Klamath Basin as Santa Claus.

from Herald and News: Longtime resident dies

Michael Thwaites, who has died in Canberra aged 90, was an improbable spook--a poet who became director of counter espionage in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and supervised the defection of the head of Soviet intelligence in Australia, Vladimir Petrov, and his wife, Evdokia, in the 1950s.

from The Guardian: Michael Thwaites


News at Eleven

[Lawrence] Cosgrave said [John] McCrae commented on the beauty and power of the scene and then walked over to a parked ambulance overlooking the cemetery, and taking a seat on the back, wrote In Flanders Fields in 20 minutes to "relieve his emotions."

Here's where differing accounts of the story begin.

from Ottawa Citizen: Saving Flanders Fields

He was a war hero who won the Military Cross, a poet whose work has been compared to Wilfred Owen’s and whose literary legacy was almost lost when he was killed on the Western Front.

The story of John Munro illuminates the gap between the millions of first world war dead whom we commemorate on Armistice Day and our fading memory of the fallen as individuals.

from Sunday Herald: The warrior poet who lived next door

The 25-year-old Afghan [Nadia Anjuman] had garnered wide praise in literary circles for the book Gule Dudi--Dark Flower--and was at work on a second volume.

Friends say her family was furious, believing that the publication of poetry by a woman about love and beauty had brought shame on it.

from The Sunday Times: Woman poet 'slain for her verse'

The condemnation to death of [Kenule Beeson] Saro-Wiwa and his kinsmen drew a lot of criticisms and even blatant ire against the federal government but Abacha (the Nebuchadnezer of his days) would not budge.

Before the mandatory 30 days for which the condemned could apply for commutation of sentence would expire, Abacha had ordered the hangman to swing into action and the Ogonis were killed in what came as a rude shock to the entire world.

from The Tide: Tribute to Ken Saro-Wiwa

"This reminds me of what Prof. Zhou Nanjing of Peking University once said in a letter to me. One of the reasons for the anti-Chinese campaign in Indonesia is a lack of communication.

"Therefore, I must introduce Chinese culture to the Indonesian community by translating Chinese literary works," he [Wilson Tjandinegara] noted.

from The Jakarta Post: Cross-cultural poet and translator

[Phil] Kawana's childhood, 'built with ice block sticks' where 'Even the dog/was communal', is the source of the poems' strong and angry voice confronting political and social injustice: 'We don't allow/your kind in the house', he was told by a friend's mother at a birthday party.

from Scoop: Phil Kawana Returns to His First Love--Poetry

This was a new turn in the history of religious conversion. Where for millennia the cutting edge of faith had been the difference between pagan myth and Christian revelation, [C. S.] Lewis was drawn in by the likeness of the Christian revelation to pagan myth.

from The New Yorker: Prisoner of Narnia: How C. S. Lewis escaped

"We got the last three copies of his book," he [Harold Augenbraum] says, explaining that the print run sold out.

The poems often talk about [Vern] Rutsala's father's struggle with blue-collar work, and despite the fact that he spent much of his life teaching at a private college, the hardscrabble world still holds some appeal.

from Portland Tribune: Local poet blinks in bright light of national attention

What flow through the poems all the time, forming them and breaking them up, are the conflicting voices of 21st-century America: the cheering ones, the demoralised ones, the soulless ones, the coercive ones. "There is a warning somewhere in this," "Coma Berenices" concludes, "but I do not know if it will be permitted."

from The Guardian: Attention, shoppers

"Alcohol does change one's way of thinking," says [Professor Hannah] Steinberg, "which is often very appealing to writers. It can reduce inhibitions and allow thoughts to flow freely. Then the effect wears off, so they go back to alcohol to try and reinstate that sensation until, eventually, the craving becomes stronger than their creativity."

from Sunday Herald: Booze & The Muse: a Heady Cocktail

And he'll always have his dream. Somewhere in the piles of paper and scribbled notes is the seed of a great idea, an International Poetry Museum, a temple of words where artists can share voice and image. It is necessary thing, a vital institution. It has to happen.

At least for now, it [Herman] Berlandt's job to dream it.

from Marin Independent Journal: Rhymes are his reason

Great Regulars

Dana Sauers is Hanover's new poet laureate. She takes over the laureate post following the successful tenure of her friend and fellow Hanover Poet, Anna Bowman.

Sauers has wasted no time getting involved.

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record: Poetryork: Tuesday's Art Lesson

Unlike so much contemporary poetry that wants to startle us into some distorted way of viewing the things around us, these poems are as natural and unassuming as a shadow. They gently take us by the hand or point with an accurate finger to the things that have moved the speaker.

from Linda Sue Grimes: BellaOnline: A Southern Line and Other Poems--A Review

Descriptions of landscape are common in poetry, but in "Road Report" Kurt Brown adds a twist by writing himself into "cowboy country." He also energizes the poem by using words we associate with the American West: Mustang, cactus, Brahmas. Even his associations--such as comparing the crackling radio to a shattered rib--evoke a sense of place.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 032

The fiery insides of things are [Tony] Hoagland's goal. His poem "The Change," in which he finds himself unable to keep from rooting for "the white girl" in a tennis match, has even succeeded in disturbing and angering some readers -- another contribution that makes him worthy of a prize named for Mark Twain.

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

According to Kennedy Robert Frost coupled poetry and power. He saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. To quote the exact words of President Kennedy: "When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses".

from V Sundaram: News Today: Arrogance vs Humility in Indian politics

[Lucius Annaeus] Seneca wrote for his own uneasy times; but his voice has been heard in all the centuries since. Even now, 2000 years after he lived and wrote, troubled minds find comfort in his philosophy: 'Do the best you can, enjoy the present, rest satisfied with what you have'.

from V Sundaram: News Today: Teachings that surpass times

Mametz Wood by Owen Sheers

from The Guardian: Mametz Wood by Owen Sheers

Poetic Obituaries

Jim Barker, a former co-owner of the Avant Garde coffeehouse on Prospect Avenue in the 1960s, died Nov. 5 in Santa Fe, after reportedly falling ill in October.

from Former Avant Garde owner Barker dies in Santa Fe

Two teenagers killed Saturday by a southbound Amtrak train were facing and possibly hugging each other before one made eye contact with the engineer and they stepped in front of the oncoming train, the train's engineer told investigators.

Police identified the girls Sunday as Arielle A. Daniel, 17, and Heather Bates, 14, both of Oak Creek.

from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Police name girls killed by Amtrak train

Hanging up the phone, he felt something must have happened to his oldest daughter. Something bad.

Three weeks later, Kendall and his wife would discover what it was: Merrian Carver had flown to Seattle from Boston for an Alaskan cruise and had vanished while the ship was at sea.

from The Arizona Republic: Daughter vanishes while on Alaskan cruise

Not many would have understood poverty better than former president K R Narayanan who died on Wednesday. Born into a poor Dalit family on October 27, 1921, Narayanan had a tumultuous course of life, ridden with poverty and hunger, till the early part of his youth.

from Newindpress: From Kocheri to Delhi via London

Until [Dorothy Law] Nolte decided to claim ownership of the poem by basing a 1998 book on it, she never earned a dime from the work often credited to "anonymous." She also hadn't realized it was so revered.

"I simply wrote it and put it out there, where it has apparently moved through the world on its own momentum," Nolte told The Times this year.

from Los Angeles Times: D.L. Nolte, 81; Wrote Poem on Raising Kids

Soldier-poet Gopendra Singh Rathore, who served as aide-de-camp (ADC) to K. R. Narayanan when he was President, followed his Supreme Commander in death as well. Major Rathore, or Gopi as he was called, was killed during anti-terrorist operations in Jammu & Kashmir on Thursday, a day after Narayanan passed away.

from The Hindu: Narayanan's ex-ADC dies a day after

[David] Ruiz told the Houston Chronicle in 2002 that the building tenders used fear and intimidation to enforce their will.

"They had permission to carry knives, hammers, blackjacks, sticks," he said. "The majority of the prisoners also packed. It was a jungle; the strong survived."

from Houston Chronicle: Inmate who fought for prison reform dies

One of Madison's most successful unknown poets, Carl Thayler, was found dead of natural causes Sunday in his small apartment a few blocks off Park Street.

He was 72 and leaves family in California, several books of sometimes contrarian, sometimes lyrical poetry and an unfulfilled desire to buy a candy-apple red Harley.

from Wisconsin State Journal: Madison poet, erstwhile B-actor Carl Thayler dies

[David] Westheimer's POW experience served as the basis for many of his novels.

Von Ryan's Express tells the story of an American who leads a daring escape from an Italian prisoner-of-war camp by taking over a German train bound for Switzerland.

Westheimer's The Great Wounded Bird, his recollections of World War II, was the winner of the Texas Review 1999 poetry prize.

from Houston Chronicle: Von Ryan's author Westheimer, 88

Robert Woof, who died on Tuesday aged 74, was the first director of the Wordsworth Trust and a leading expert on English Romantic poets and painters.

from Telegraph: Robert Woof


News at Eleven

Amrita [Pritam] incarnates herself, through Pooro, to express her hatred for social conventions and male lust. Resigning themselves their fate is what lies in store for the entire womanhood of India, according to Amrita. Throughout her life, Amrita had been a symbol of liberation for contemporary women writers.

from The Tribune: Always Amrita, Always Pritam

Although her [Mona Lisa Saloy's] cousins persuaded her to flee on Aug. 28, the day before the hurricane hit, she expected to be away only a few days. She drove to Baton Rouge, taking her dog, an elderly neighbor, and changes of clothes--but not her notebooks, filled with half of a book-length poem about her grandfather, Frank Fitch.

from The Wall Street Journal: Words Can't Describe What Some Writers In New Orleans Lost

"She had an apple on her desk and kept offering it to me if I would take the scarf off, but I wouldn't do it," [Geri] Digiorno says. "So she reached over and ripped it off my head. Then she had the whole school walk through her office to look at me."

from San Francisco Chronicle: Poet of the people

End Pieces
by Paola Corso

from Monthly Review: "End Pieces"

[Edmund] August's work is full of such surprises. And the surprises seem to come out of his ability for complexity. The poem "James Earl" reads, in its entirety--

from The Courier-Journal: A trio of Bluegrass poets

"There's no improvement. They are not kinder just because they executed Zhang then and are only giving Zheng Yichun a seven-year sentence now. It's the same kind of human rights abuse," Zheng Xiaochun said.

from Mail&Guardian: The making of a cyber dissident

Obviously not a young man who believes that less is more, Master Taylor goes for the big finale: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber where they will sleep in their manger. I'll be happy Jews have died."

In its defense, the publisher of the book says that the poem states at one point "I am Adolf Hitler."

from Haaretz: Straight Talk/Poisonous poetry

[John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester,] "would work out who was sleeping with who and then employ a footman to doorstep people as they came out of a house they shouldn?t have been in," says [Stephen] Jeffreys. "He would write it up and by the time the unfortunate party was in the coffee houses or riding around Pall Mall he would have something on paper. But it was circulated mainly among his friends."

from sunday herald: Tennyson and Brontë loved his poetry. So why is the Earl of Rochester remembered only as a drunken lech?

But in her [Anne Stevenson's] early collections she also wrote free verse and entirely personal lyrics (some of the most affecting are about the death of her mother) and grounded her intellectual and metaphorical flights in autobiographical moments, as in her anthology piece "The Victory" or in this little erotic/metaphysical gem, "Sous-entendu":

from The Guardian: A lifetime's symphony

[Margaret Howe] Freydberg writes honestly of "hoping, though she fears it may not happen, / that an old man will come along, / ?and take her hand in both of his, / asking for the last dance." Or she chooses "?lonely, lonely, / bleak, but vitalizing / common sense. / It is like cold fresh air."

from The Martha's Vineyard Times: In Print: Daring to give praise

Although discreet expressions of Sufism are now openly tolerated, and pictures of Whirling Dervishes are prominently used in Turkish government tourist brochures, the open practice of the Sufi mysticism that Rumi represented can still technically result in a seven-month prison sentence.

from The Guardian: What goes round . . .

Great Regulars

An enduring poem goes beyond politics and headlines. When a poet writes a poem--about war or anything else--he or she writes as one voice singing for the human tribe. And that voice must always be, as Marianne Moore says, "unfalsifying."

Moore's "Keeping Their World Large" is a response to a 1944 newspaper article the day after D-Day.

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry

The mystery of where God is looms large in our lack of understanding, but the great yogi/poet Paramahansa Yogananda takes us even further than all the great thinkers such as Socrates and Thorearu, because this great guru/spiritual leader for the 21st century is able to dramatize the answers to complex questions, making them simple and direct.

from Linda Sue Grimes: BellaOnline: Where is God?

All of us have known tyrants, perhaps at the office, on the playground or, as in this poem, within a family. Here Long Island poet Gloria g. Murray portrays an authoritarian mother and her domain. Perhaps you've felt the tension in a scene like this.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 031

But from [Edward] Lear's topsy-turvy perspective, it's in the slow lane that you really go places. The "moony," or, in other words, possibly lunatic social misfit--dwelling in imagination, dream and rapture--journeys to far-off, fantastical Karnak.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Today

His new book, Star Dust , begins with this poem, which is about the nature of art and the contribution of technology. Without fuss or wasted gesture, [Frank] Bidart defies conventional limits of what a poem can undertake, and what a poem should undertake:

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

Thus Wordsworth recalls, in richly musical blank-verse lines, two boyish pranks of snaring birds and robbing birds' nests, and then observes, 'though mean our object and inglorious, yet the end was not ignoble'. The incidents themselves may have been 'mean and inglorious', but the end, the shaping of a grown man, was not ignoble.

from V Sundaram: News Today: Great poets as great psychologists

That's a lot to get across in 13 lines--yes, the poem is a line short, broken off, like the echo, like the young life.

Hoffman's lines are so smooth it is easy to miss their subtlety: " . . . reality is vintage and delicious . . . it comes as love comes, heart-skip sudden,/Yet long as a lifetime in a once past wishes . . ."

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: Hoffman demonstrates his clear command of sonnet

While this week's entry isn't exactly poetry, the writer uses poetic language to describe his feelings about fall. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

from The Beacon: Poetry Corner

This poem stands out for its skilled and knowing use of language, and for its sheer musicality. Here is a very good example of a writer taking one of the most over-used animal characters in poetry, the cat, and not only making it fresh and unsentimental, but also treating the world of cats with the same respect normally reserved for the human other.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Other lives

Poetic Obituaries

Poet Nadia Anjuman was beaten to death, and her husband and mother have been arrested. The United Nations condemned the killing Tuesday as symptom of continuing violence against Afghan women four years after the fall of the Taliban.

from Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Afghan poet Nadia Anjuman beaten to death

John Fowles, the novelist who died on Saturday aged 79, combined a rare narrative instinct with a scholar's interest in literary form; as a result he enjoyed the unusual distinction of both professorial attention and enormous sales.

from Telegraph: John Fowles

A devoted Beatles fan, Stephen [Magee] loved to read and had a particular fascination with the works of Shakespeare.

His sister Anna Elliot said: "Steve would rather read a train timetable than nothing at all. He also loved to write and had some of his poetry published.

from Bexhill Today: Popular Teacher Dies at 42

It was unfortunate that Mr. [Kandiah] Thangarajah passed away at a time when his services were needed to the Tamil community. Tamil people in this region had not only lost an educationist, writer, poet but also a Tamil activist who was contributing to the liberation of Tamil people.

from TamilNet: Leading Tamil educationist passes away


News at Eleven

"Victory" is, I think, Pasolini's last great poem. As he wrote it, he was making The Gospel According to Matthew; his attention shifted to filmmaking and the poems became sketchy. It is a bold poem: I would refer the reader to the final pages, with their exhortations to violence against neocapitalism. "Victory" has never before appeared in print in English. It will be I hope an inspiration to poets who write in English.

from DIRELAND: A Hitherto Unpublished Pasolini Poem

Dismissed by some as "phoney cosmic crap," dubbed by poet Allen Ginsberg as "spontaneous bop prosody," Kerouac's influential writing was an attempt to perfect a form that would blend the colours and sounds of experience into a potent mosaic capable of transmitting the shape, taste and feel of perceived reality directly into the reader's consciousness.

from Montreal Gazette: Beat goes on as new Kerouac surfaces

In the new volume, [M.K.] Asante introduces a form called "screen poems," which use dialogue, verse, even director's cues. A piece titled "Sinema Noir" illustrates this poetic experiment. "The goal is to eventually take the screen poems and make films out of them," says Asante, who will graduate with a master's in screenwriting.

He also addresses politics, racial identity, and misogyny in hip-hop.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Artists in Progress: M.K. Asante Jr.

We have known that you live in the US. But is your nationality American too?
Yes, I am an American citizen because I was born in the U.S. However, I consider myself the citizen of the world. Nationality is not important to me. What I contribute to the world is important to me.

from Cultural Heritage News Agency: Flying Fingers that Published the 7-year-old

Bloc MP Caroline Saint-Hilaire said she was touched by [Raymond] Lévesque's decision to reject the Governor General's Performing Arts Award and decided to try to raise $15,000--the cash amount of the prestigious prize--for the long-time sovereigntist chansonnier.

from The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Bloc MP raises cash for poet rejecting GG award

"It was a lampoon . . . of the poor Afghan economy" under the Taliban, [Badr Zaman] Badr recalled. The article carefully instructed Afghans how to identify Clinton if they stumbled upon him. "It said he was clean-shaven, had light-colored eyes and he had been seen involved in a scandal with Monica Lewinsky," Badr said.

from Newsday: Writers jailed in 2002 for political satire

Regarding the human race "on a small and lonely planet," it concludes:

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

from Smithsonian Magazine: 35 Who Made a Difference: Maya Angelou

In a recent essay, "Compromise, Hell!" he writes: "We are destroying our country--I mean our country itself, our land. . . .Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us."

from Smithsonian Magazine: 35 Who Made a Difference: Wendell Berry

[Allen] Braden was the last of his line to work that land, and the loss lurks in his plaintive writings, beneath the animals, tools and harvests.

"As in any dream, you're a little unsure/where and when the will was spent, when your old man became an old man, for now the fields all around are dowsed/as the flames weaken, then dissolve, and he says he's had enough of this life."

from The News Tribune: Enough Poet reaps rewards of persistence

Indeed, in "Magic Papers" the sexual-psychic fate of man and woman is conceived as terrifically, tragically brutish. ("And the day's head splits the darkness,/breaks forth, bruises her womb;/she screams; he burns and rises./He carries a message across the sky/from darkness into darkness,/mounting furiously toward vengeance,/falling asleep so soon. . . .")

from Commentary Magazine: Collected Poems 1954-2004 by Irving Feldman

For [Margaret] Atwood, these girls had been complicit in Penelope's plot to outwit the men, and their speedy dispatch by the returning Odysseus points to their status as a mythic underclass--of peasants, slaves and servant girl--which our favourite heroic tales are happy to trample on or (at best) ignore. "We had no voice/we had no name/we had no choice . . ." as their final chorus puts it.

from The Guardian: A new spin on Homer

Great Regulars

For obvious reasons, these beautiful verses of appreciation to a member of the medical profession held the spotlight: "had it not been for that would I/have been here this morning/at home after a night's rain as/the first sunlight touches the drops/at the tips of the leaves I owe/you the sight of morning".

[W.S.] Merwin's poems are, most simply, delicate--delicately loving, delicately humorous, and delicately savage.

from Angela Becerra: WOAI: Merwin: The Real Magician

As the final sequence reaches its close, he [Micheal O'Siadhail] reflects repeatedly on the tragedy of being at the end of a story--after "Eros has turned a promise into memory"--rather than its beginning.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Man of constant sorrows

Beyond poetry, [Anna] Bowman is also accomplished as a visual artist. She's an award-winning watercolorist and promoter of handmade books. She has taught bookmaking throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Her poem "No Parking Here to Corner" was inspired, according to Bowman, "by that all-too-familiar sign, so tempting to ignore."

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record: Poetryork: Inspiring poets in Hanover

"A Lady's Adieu to Her Tea-Table?"--features a poem affirming liberty

from Linda Sue Grimes: BellaOnline: Darjeeling in the Harbor

Naomi Shihab Nye lives in San Antonio, Texas. Here she perfectly captures a moment in childhood that nearly all of us may remember: being too small for the games the big kids were playing, and fastening tightly upon some little thing of our own.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 030

One of the fathers of the Korean independence movement was Manhae, an important figure not only in poetry but also in religion, culture and politics. An American poet reads with a gasp that Manhae, a monk who profoundly influenced Buddhist thought and practice, was also a coauthor of the Korean Declaration of Independence.

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice

Among the many eloquent speeches Robert Ingersoll made in his life time, these 'few words' spoken at the grave of a child, whose father was his friend, stand out as unusually beautiful and inspiring. They are all the more significant in view of the fact that they were spoken by a man who was called an 'unbeliever', and who had done much to tear down conventional and cherished beliefs.

from V Sundaram: News Today: A perennial philosophy of life and death

The 36-year-old [Samuel] Johnson signed a contract in 1746 for 1,575 pounds (about $270,000 today) to produce a dictionary, thinking he could do the job in three years. He underestimated by six--the first edition was published in 1755.

Still, not bad considering that the Academie francaise and the Florentine Accademia della Crusca, both expressly founded to produce dictionaries, took 55 years and 30 years, respectively, to complete their tasks.

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: Sparkling tale of 1st great English dictionary

Third Day by Grey Gowrie

from The Guardian: Original poetry: Third Day by Grey Gowrie

The specificity of this scene draws the reader/listener into the room where the details tell us about the relationship (Lenox china, the provenance of the salt shaker) and the woman's mood (ham steak smoldering, burned toast spread with reprisal as well as butter).

The details don't tell us about the speaker's feelings.

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poems from the Hoot

Poetic Obituaries

Above all, he loved language. [Warren] Benson regularly walked out of the Pittsford Public Library bearing armloads of cheap discards. For three decades, he led poetry sessions at First Unitarian Church of Rochester. He wrote poetry and fiction, and in 1999 he celebrated his 75th birthday with the publication of . . . And My Daddy Will Play the Drums: Limericks for Friends of Drummers.

from City Newspaper: Warren Benson

[Maurice W.] Britts taught for more than 20 years at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul and helped develop a training program for minority teachers.

A lifelong educator, community activist, poet and writer, Britts, 76, died of heart failure Wednesday.

from St. Paul Pioneer Press: Professor was lifelong activist

Students reflected upon their reverence for this courteous teacher, veteran poet, and experienced translator who devoted his long life to the nation's literary heritage.

Alongside the serious, rigid nature of a teacher and researcher, [Gian] Chi also possessed the artist's profound love of poetry.

from VietNamNet Bridge: Famed scholar, poet dies at 102

Akron's Pauline Meeker was a poet and a businesswoman.

"She made the best apple dumplings, drove until she was 74 years old without ever receiving a moving violation, and could even skin a bear," said son David Meeker.

from Beacon Journal: This poet learned to skin bear

"It was possible at that time to write something and send it to a magazine or a newspaper or to a journal or even give it to somebody to read and people would appreciate it. Let's say you created the first story accidentally; you now make effort to create a second. If you do not receive the kind of encouraging response that would help you to progress, you are likely to stop. So, when you combine all these other factors, including the fact that one is in the university where one has the freedom to think whether to be anarchical or positive, and the fact that you have access to well known writers, these things help a lot." [--Ezenwa Ohaeto]

from Vanguard: Ezenwa Ohaeto: Sunset for the wordsmith

When Amrita [Pritam] goes to sleep, it is only then that I rest for an hour or two. My daughter-in-law stays with her then, but Amrita wants me alone to sit by her side, all the time, every moment. She used to drink a lot of tea earlier, but perhaps she is losing her taste too now, it seems. She doesn't even like tea anymore.

from Outlook: 'I Will Meet You Again'

Many of the poems were superb. But there were also verses, of no literary value, by women so obscure that all details of their lives have disappeared. She [Catherine Reilly] felt it was important that these should not be left out because they helped modern readers to understand the mindset of the generation that endured the great war.

from The Guardian: Catherine Reilly

I immediately knew something was seriously different when he refused a cup of tea and a cigarette when he woke up. We have been married since 1975 and this has never happened before :-)!!!! I called a priest who performed extreme unction and then the district nurses and the final 'futonside' vigil began in earnest.

from The Gazebo: A Letter From Richard Zola's Wife


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