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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

After a closed trial in February 2005 at which he was not permitted to hire a lawyer, [Nurmuhemmet] Yasin was sentenced by the Maralbeshi County People’s Court to 10 years in jail for inciting Uyghur separatism with “Wild Pigeon.” He was transferred in May 2005 to Urumqi No. 1 Prison, and has been permitted no visitors since his arrest.

What is love?

from Radio Free Asia: 'What is Love?' An Essay by Jailed Uyghur Writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin

There Was a Massacre in Andijan
(Translation of a song by Dadakhon Hasanov)

from Institute for War & Peace Reporting: Musical Thought-Crime in Uzbekistan

[Ammar Kurbi] said "[Yasser] Melhem was previously imprisoned for belonging to the Communist Action Party and [Omar] Idlibi is a poet and winner of a prize for Arabic literature."

"The security agencies ordered to transfer the new detainees to Damascus," Kurbi's statement said, indicating that "the arrest was a violation of the law since it was not ordered by a judicial authority."

from United Press International: Two more activists arrested in Syria

Writing from Paris in August 1948 to relatives in the new state of Israel, Paul Celan, having survived the "Final Solution," explains that a poet cannot stop writing, "even when he is a Jew and the language of his poems is German."

from The New Republic: A visit to Israel sparks an exchange between two great poets

A newly formed foundation, the Mazisi Kunene Foundation, was created in his honour, and ensures that Kunene's work is identified, archived, translated and published.

from Daily News: Foundation created to honour Zulu poet

"I hadn't expected it at all. There was a lot of gabble, but at the time I was only 56. I genuinely thought, No Chance. I knew, maybe, I was on a list somewhere, but I wasn't thinking, well, will it come this year? Look at the people who haven't got the Nobel Prize." [--Seamus Heaney]

from The Guardian: The mythmaker

Behind us is the sea. Behind the house is the railway line. The door opens a few inches to reveal a handsome woman in a red dressing-gown.

"Seamus is in the shower," Marie Heaney says, shutting the door to release the chain and looking slightly alarmed to see three of us (a delivery man has arrived at the same time, and she thinks for a moment we are a film crew).

from The Age: Back on home turf

In the poem she [Emily Balch] wrote, "This is a letter of love that I am sending you . . . Of course there are many differences between us . . . But how much more are we alike! Alike we suffer. We laugh and we cry as only men can do."

from MetroWest Daily News: Buckley: The good and loving woman of Wellesley

[Bettany Hughes] added: "I haven't found Helen of Troy, but this is the first time that anyone has realised that she exists beyond a multilayered fantasy object ... She relates to late-bronze age aristocratic women, who were in charge of much of palace society in the eastern Mediterranean and mainland Greece."

from The Guardian: Saving Helen: from Trojan fantasy girl to real woman

"You can't find a first-grader who writes bad poetry. The gift of writing, the ability to write poetry is something that has to be actively taken away from you. Which our culture's happy to do, as most cultures are," she [Sharon Olds] says.

from Orlando Sentinel: Putting her life into words

The next round, to take place tomorrow at 9 p.m. Eastern time, will pit the former United States poet laureate Robert Pinsky against Julianna Baggott, a poet and fiction writer. Visitors to the site will be able to see and play back the completed poems by 9:30.

from The New York Times: QuickMuse

Great Regulars

Bet you didn't think a moldy house in South Texas could have anything to do with the Middle East conflicts.

[Naomi Shihab] Nye is known for her poetry of small things; that is, her way of threading together bits and pieces of everyday objects, places and people into her poetry.

from Angela Becerra: WOAI: Tired of War? Plant a Garden

[Fiona] Sampson is working on the very outer edges of language here, seeking for the truths that emerge at the instant when syntax, vocabulary and even the shape of words on the page dissolves.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: A good distance apart

And it is extraordinarily, indescribably powerful. As Margaret Atwood invokes a "silence (that) crystallises . . . like a halo", I am struck by the appropriateness of the description for what has just happened to the audience: we sit rapt, breathless, barely daring to clap.

from Sarah Crown: Culture Vulture: Poetry pleases

[Nick Laird] engages in less smalltalk than [Owen] Sheers, but his sonorous voice is compelling and lends resonance to his powerful poems. The sound of the rain, meanwhile, surrounds the tent, sheltering us from the outside world and allowing the poets' voices to sing out amid the deepening silence within.

from Sarah Crown: Culture Vulture: Verse luck

Up to that point, poetry had not played an important role in his life. "As an engineer, I had very little interest in poetry," [Ed] Clautice admits. "Nearing retirement, though, I composed a humorous complimentary poem for a fellow retiree and, suddenly, I found I could write!"

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record: Poetryork: Thirty years of laughter and verse

This week's poems begin with the poet Annie Finch remembering being a child in her parents' garden, followed by a poem by her mother, Margaret Rockwell Finch, sitting in her garden.

from Elizabeth W. Garber: Village Soup: A Year of Poetry from a Wealth of Maine Poets: Mother and daughter poets in the May garden

The poet's name is José Rizal, a true renaissance man, and now hailed as the liberator of the Philippines. He had written this poem the night before he was executed in 1896 by the Spanish, who still occupied and ruled the Philippines as its colony.

from Linda Sue Grimes: BellaOnline: Philippine Bill of 1902 and a Poem

Everywhere I travel I meet people who want to write poetry but worry that what they write won't be "any good." No one can judge the worth of a poem before it's been written, and setting high standards for yourself can keep you from writing. And if you don't write you'll miss out on the pleasure of making something from words, of seeing your thoughts on a page. Here Leslie Monsour offers a concise snapshot of a self-censoring poet.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 061

The penetrating, subtle plainness of language, like the distinct, skillful rhyming, harks back to the time of [John] Dowland, though the poem is thoroughly contemporary.

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

If telling me about themselves helps a poet say something astonishing--hey, I'll listen. But if it is only prattle, I won't be interested long. Remember, I have had to fight for my life and regain it after treatment for breast cancer. So my patience is great but not to be squandered. [--Tess Gallagher]

from B.T. Shaw: Gallagher on new book: a search for her ghosts

At the present time there is a manifest preference for the "conversational" in poetry--the style of "direct speech," opposed to the "oratorical" and the rhetorical; but if rhetoric is any convention of writing inappropriately applied, this conversational style can and does become a rhetoric--or what is supposed to be a conversational style, for it is often as remote from polite discourse as well could be.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: 'Rhetoric' and poetic drama --TS Eliot

There is a whole series of converging reasons why it is somewhat easier for a poet than a prose writer to feel at home in an authoritarian society. To begin with, bureaucrats and other "practical" men usually despise the poet too deeply to be much interested in what he is saying. Secondly, what the poet is saying--that is, what his poem "means" if translated into prose--is relatively unimportant, even to himself.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Prevention of literature --George Orwell

Like Religion, Love, Nature, while those terms are indispensable, and we all give a sufficiently accurate meaning to them, in my opinion no definition that has ever been made sufficiently encloses the name Poetry; nor can any rule of convention ever so absolutely obtain but some great exception may arise and disregard and overturn it.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: A backward glance --Walt Whitman

A Christmas Poem

with Many People

Written to be Read in May

by Wendy McGrath

from Edmonton Journal: The Poetry Project

The Toad and The Mouse by Seamus Heaney, translated from the Scots of Robert Henryson (c 1420-1490)

from The Guardian: The Toad and The Mouse by Seamus Heaney, translated from the Scots of Robert Henryson (c 1420-1490)

'Page 2B'
By Ray Finch

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

Oevers van pijn
Ramin Farahani

from MR Zine: Ramin Farahani "Edges of Pain"

The Lagging Hour
by Erica Ehrenberg

from The New Republic: The Lagging Hour

Elias Galicia is a third generation El Pasoan. He loves the Sun City for its power and beauty in sounds and images. He currently lives in Santa Barbara, California.

from Newpaper Tree: Poetry: Stepping Off a Plane into the Smoggy L.A. Air

With its many repetitions and steady beat, the poem carries the hypnotic power of a nursery rhyme. We are in the magical world of a child’s mind encountering life and nature, while hearing adult voices seeking to guide and warn.

from Portsmouth Herald News: Spotlight Poems from the Hoot

"The Dead Are Not"
By Patricia Traxler

from Slate: "The Dead Are Not" By Patricia Traxler

Poetic Obituaries

"He was a very social person," he [Kan Chhatwal] said. "He would establish an immediate and genuine connection."

When he working for the community or visiting friends and family, [Kuldeep Singh] Chhatwal would focus on poetry. Kan said his father appreciated all kinds of poetry but it was verse in Urdu, an ancient language, that he liked the most.

from SikhSangat News: Ontario Sikh community loses founding member

In 1949 he [Avigdor Dagan] immigrated to Israel and settled into a career at the Foreign Ministry, where he served as an envoy to Japan, Burma and Yugoslavia, and was Israel’s Ambassador to Poland, Norway and Austria. He began his literary career already in his youth in Prague, where he published a number of poetry anthologies, including "Hebrew Melodies," which earned him an important literary award in Czechoslovakia and was later translated to Hebrew.

from Yedioth Internet: Writer Avigdor Dagan passes away

"He was an athlete, an actor and a poet," said his [Paul Gleason's] daughter, Shannon. "He gave me and my sister a love that is beyond description that will be with us and keep us strong for the rest of our lives."

"My dad was an intelligent, hard-working Renaissance man," she added. "His motto was to always keep working."

from Actor Paul Gleason Dies at 67

[Don Orton] who could define any word thrown at him and who never allowed a grammatical mistake to slip through his children's lips is himself undefinable.

She [Leslie Orton] tries to find the right words but instead defines him through snapshots of his life, which ended May 17 at the age of 88.

from The Salt Lake Tribune: His capacity to relate to others defined his life

[The Rev. Sonny] Dean said the communities in this mountainous county are "real tight. If we lose one, it saddens all of us."

At [George] Petra's funeral, the Rev. Franklin Stewart read a poem the miner had written recently titled "Almost Anything Will Do" about his Christian faith.

from The Gleaner: Funerals begin for five miners

As befitting a postmodernist, he chose forms that contrived to puncture expectations, leading readers into what one reviewer called "one hall of mirrors after another."

[Gilbert] Sorrentino wrote eight volumes of poetry in addition to the novels, and also had worked as an editor.

from Los Angeles Times: Gilbert Sorrentino, 77; Avant-Garde Novelist, Professor

In a poem Michael Zombeck had sent to friends, he wrote, "Follow me . . . Love life . . . Live every moment out. Don't forget to cry, love, and laugh, grieve, smile, scream, play . . . Don't forget to love life."

from Contra Costa Times: Classmate shared love of life


News at Eleven


Yes, poetry. It seems that the crème de la crème of verbal construction, what the philosopher Martin Heidegger, in a rare lapse from impenetrability, called the essential form of speech, has taken to cyberspace the way dandelion seeds take to a gust of wind.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Online poetry: A thriving community

In a letter to Anne Stevenson in the 1960s (which [Alice] Quinn quotes), [Elizabeth] Bishop writes: 'My outlook is pessimistic. I think we are still barbarians, barbarians who commit a hundred indecencies and cruelties every day of our lives, as just possibly future ages may be able to see.'

from London Review of Books: Awful but Cheerful

Instead, she reinvented herself; Molly Turpin became Valentine Ackland. The process took several years of experimentation, but she declared her independence immediately by putting on trousers.

from The Guardian: Labours of love

[Carl Phillips] "knows how to make the sentences become vocal, so that they approach actual song. The expressive, sinuous, intricately unfolding energies of grammar, delayed verbs and attenuated clauses, the pleasure in feeling the syntax loosen and snap.... He goes right to the emotion, without blah-blah about anything inessential." [--Robert Pinsky]

from Riverfront Times: Chapter & Verse

"After reading one of Deborah's poems, you change from the inside out. You become more alive and sensitive to your surroundings than you were before. Deborah Fries invites you to reflect. And that is always a good thing." [--Joanne Leva]

Fall Rut

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Beyond the pain of the past Deborah Fries, poet laureate of Montgomery County, reaches for a new sense of hope in her work.

Feminist critics, however, from the late 1960s onward, found Hope's poetry a field rich in opportunities to burn him in effigy. The males in [A. D.] Hope's poems were aroused by the beauty of the females, were they not? Well, then.

from The Times Literary Supplement: The primacy of A. D. Hope

A great opera with a bad libretto is a contradiction in terms. And a potentially great libretto remains lifeless clay until music gives it breath.

The poet in Mr. [J. D.] McClatchy can live with that. "Words prompt music," he said. "Composers know best how true it is that they depend on the librettist."

from The New York Times: Touch of the Poet, Soul of the Collaborator

"He had thought that his tall uncles in their dark clothes were princes of an elite brotherhood. He had thought the synagogue was their house of purification...But he had grown to understand that none of them even pretended to these things. They were proud of their financial and communal success . . ." [--Leonard Cohen]

from All About Jewish Theatre: Leonard Cohen: Poet, Prophet, Eternal Optimist

[Benjamin Zephaniah]: When I was 11, I had a conversation with my mother. She had beef on the table and I asked: "Where did the beef come from?" She said: "From the man in the van", so I asked: "Where does the man in the van get it from?" And she said that it came from the man on the farm. So I asked: "Where did the man on the farm get it from?" And she said, from the cow. So I asked: "Where does the cow get it from?" and she said: "You silly boy! It is the cow!" At that moment I realised that I had never connected the two things.

from Infoshop News: Benjamin Zephaniah--Poetic Thoughts

The University of Tehran presented the Diploma of an Honorary Doctorate in Persian Language and Literature to the renowned American poet Coleman Barks today, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday.

from Mehr News Agency: University of Tehran grants honorary doctorate to Coleman Barks

Jackson Hille's recitation of Billy Collins' poem "Forgetfulness" Tuesday night earned him the national title and a $20,000 scholarship from the National Arts Endowment and the Poetry Foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine.

from United Press International: Ohio student takes national poetry crown

Great Regulars

[Mario] Roffi's alteration may make the poem more bluntly concrete, but it's a willful undoing of the original.

This translation makes me defensive for Keats and for a defining moment in English poetry, too--defensive in a way I don't usually feel when reading translations into English when my lack of familiarity with the other language softens into suspended disbelief.

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry

In the afternoon, Carolyn Conners from Tenant's Harbor takes us out walking into the gentle warmth of the day. Conners chooses to publish her poems online at her website ( to encourage the cultural community to share poetry.

Walking the Boundaries

from Elizabeth W. Garber: Village Soup: A Year of Poetry from a Wealth of Maine Poets: Gentle May days with black flies and peepers

Most of us have taken at least a moment or two to reflect upon what we have learned from our mothers. Through a catalog of meaningful actions that range from spiritual to domestic, Pennsylvanian Julia Kasdorf evokes the imprint of her mother's life on her own. As the poem closes, the speaker invites us to learn these actions of compassion.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 60

In that photograph I saw of young [Stanley] Kunitz, the child in his ill-fitting shirt and awkward necktie stands as straight as a guardsman. His face is solemn and fierce with determination. In my mind, that courageous, even defiant moment of grief defines Kunitz: He was determined to live, to fight death to the last millimeter, to endure.

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

At any rate, I think this will enable us all to get at the truth of the subject better than by simply having my piece by itself and nothing more. You can comment online at So go to!

Of course, you can also comment here, too.

from Frank Wilson: Books Inq.: About online poetry . . .

Most writers--poets in especial--prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy--an ecstatic intuition--and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought--at the true purposes seized only at the last moment--at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view--at the fully-matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable--at the cautious selections and rejections--at the painful erasures and interpolations--in a word, at the wheels and pinions--the tackle for scene-shifting--the step-ladders, and demon-traps--the cock?s feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio. [--Edgar Allan Poe]

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Philosophy of composition --Edgar Allan Poe

Teaching to Shoot by Valentine Ackland

from The Guardian: Original poetry: Teaching to Shoot by Valentine Ackland

Reversal of Fortune

By Juliana Harris

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

Ramin Farahani

from MR Zine: Ramin Farahani, Escape

"Drake's Psalmistry"
By Jim Powell

from Slate: "Drake's Psalmistry" By Jim Powell

Poetic Obituaries

In a writing career spanning two decades, she [Clare Boylan] wrote short stories, non fiction and fictional works, many of which were translated.

Works included 'A Nail on the Head', 'The Literary Companion to Cats' and 'Emma Brown'.

from Novelist was acclaimed for style and wit across the globe

Mr. [Wallace T.] Collett published a volume of poetry and enjoyed creating art with a typewriter and color. His 1982 interpretation of two toppling towers--a premonition of 9/11--was exhibited at the Friends Center in Philadelphia.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Wallace T. Collett: Company executive, 91

"He inspired a lot of children," [Thomas] Tran said.

[Victor] Dao was unusually gifted with languages, speaking at least seven, including French, Russian, German and Spanish, in addition to Vietnamese and English. "He also loved to write poetry," Tran said.

from The Washington Post: Video Captures Men With Victim's Card

The former miner [John Geehan] was one of the most colourful characters in the history of Erewash Borough Council, where he was a member for 20 years.

A firebrand Labour man, he occasionally took the heat out of debates by quoting his latest verse.

from Ilkeston Today: Poet councillor dies

"He was especially fond of E.E. Cummings," said Susan Petit, Mr. [Jack] Gill's wife. "He liked his theme of aliveness, and his affirmation of life, and his belief that it is important to live in the present to live life fully, not just in the abstract."

from The Mercury News: Jack Gill, dedicated teacher of English

"It just wasn't fair. His dad is having a really tough time with it."

Josh [Groves] was a Grade 11 student at Ridgevalley School in Crooked Creek. He loved to write poetry, listen to his favourite band, Slipknot, and use his sarcastic wit. "He joked around all the time, about everything," [Shaylene] Penner said.

from Edmonton Journal: Teenager killed after being struck by car on Hwy 43

Norma [Ruth Iverson] enjoyed many hobbies including water color painting, doll collecting, photography, poetry and collecting antiques and household items. She also enjoyed studying her Norwegian heritage and belonged to the Sons of Norway, Black River Falls Lodge.

from Appleton Post-Crescent: Iverson, Norma Ruth

"The poem comes in the form of a blessing," he [Stanley Kunitz]] said simply of his work. "Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of life."

from U.S. Department of State: Washington File: U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz Dies at 100

[Albert George LaFave] owned and operated his own construction company for numerous years. He also enjoyed playing the guitar, singing and writing poetry.

from The Daily Press: Albert George LaFave

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Jacques-Hugues Letrange on May 17, 2006 on descent from the summit of Everest," the expedition?s home team has reported.

from Everest North: Jacques-Hugues Letrange lost on descent from the summit

A poignant poem written by murdered teenager Michael McIlveen was a moving centrepiece at his funeral today.

As thousands of people--many in Celtic and Rangers jerseys--lined the streets of Ballymena, the teenager's words echoed round a church amid a tidal wave of tears.

from Belfast Telegraph: Sea of tears as schoolboy's funeral takes place

As a popular columnist in various Saudi newspapers, poet, prose writer and literary critic, Abdullah Nur?s career spanned five decades. He was admired as a pioneer of modernism in Saudi writings.

from Arab News: Renowned Saudi Journalist Dead at 77

The rai godmother [Cheikha Rimitti] was born in Tessala, a small village in the countryside of western Algeria. She was the first women voice to denounce through rhythmic poetry and songs women's repression in society.

from morocco Times: Cheikha Rimitti Rai diva dies

Despite a career often spent speaking out against television, [Eli A.] Rubinstein watched a fair amount of it, especially after his wife, Minnie, died in 1985, his daughter said.

He also let his three children watch television while they were growing up. They were each allowed to choose one hour a week.

from Los Angeles Times: Eli A. Rubinstein, 87; Studied the Effects of TV Violence on Children

"It's a polite way of calling someone a nut. These things I uncover aren't conspiracies. They're simply the way powerful people conduct business."

The indefatigable Mr. [Sherman] Skolnick, 75, who chased scoops until the end, died Sunday of a likely heart attack at his South Side home, family said.

from Chicago Tribune: Sherman Skolnick, activist and political gadfly, dies at 75

A comic genius who was also able to write what is perhaps the bleakest novel in American fiction, The Sky Changes (1966)--a novel about divorce in America, and his first--[Gilbert] Sorrentino set himself challenges with each new book, generally indifferent to how critics would react.

The range of his work and his absolute dedication to inventing and exploring character are unequalled by any of his contemporaries.

from Center for Book Culture: Gilbert Sorrentino Dead at 77

"The liberal sees outer, removable institutions as the ultimate source of evil; sees man's social task as creating a world in which evil will disappear. His tools for this task are progress and enlightenment. The conservative sees the inner unremovable nature of man as the ultimate source of evil; sees man's social task as coming to terms with a world in which evil is perpetual and in which justice and compassion will both be perpetually necessary . . ." [--Peter Viereck]

from The New York Times: Peter Viereck, Poet and Conservative Theorist, Dies at 89


News at Eleven

Stanley Kunitz, the elegant centenarian of American poetry, whose musings about life, death, love and memory brought him a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award and two terms as U.S. poet laureate, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 100.

from Los Angeles Times: Poet Stanley Kunitz Dies at 100

The piece is only nine lines long, but one was missing for 17 years until the perfect words arrived in the poet's mind: "white apples and the taste of stone." [Donald] Hall liked its sound enough to name the poem "White Apples" and make the entire missing line the book's title.

from Portsmouth Herald Accent: Donald Hall's 'White Apples and the Taste of Stone' chronicles 60 years of poetry

Here are the full texts of selected poems by writers from California's San Joaquin Valley.

Gospel, by Philip Levine.

from Selected poems from San Joaquin Valley poets

Its lyrics are in Pashtu, the main language of this ethnically diverse nation, as agreed in the 2003 Constitution.

They are based on a poem by Afghan poet, Abdul Bari Jihani.

from Hindustan Times: Afghanistan gets new national anthem

"I am free," Mr. [Ahmed Fouad] Negm said, as he scratched his head with long, carefully cut fingernails. "I am not afraid of anybody because I do not want anything from anyone."

And then, looking down from his rooftop perch upon a pile of rotting trash, where children, dogs and donkeys competed for scraps, he lamented what has become of Egypt.

from The New York Times: A Poet Whose Political Incorrectness Is a Crime

"But look at me now," she implores Seyavash. "What excuse can you have to reject my love, why do you turn away from my body and beauty? I have been your slave ever since I set eyes on you, weeping and longing for you; pain darkens all my days, I feel the sun itself is dimmed. Come, in secret, just once, make me happy again, give me back my youth for a moment."

from The Washington Post: Michael Dirda

"Other countries fight terrorism with guns and bombs, but in Yemen we use poetry," says Mr. [Amin al-]Mashreqi later. "Through my poetry I can convince people of the need for peace who would never be convinced by laws or by force."

from The Christian Science Monitor: In poetry-loving Yemen, tribal bard takes on Al Qaeda--with his verse

[Axel Alejandro] Pinpin, 34, an Agriculture graduate of the Cavite State University, is a 1999 Fellow of the University of the Philippines (UP) Writers? Workshop and author of a self-published poetry compilation titled Tugmaang Walang Tugma (Rhyming without Ryhmes). Friends say he had been compiling poems for a second book at the time he was arrested.

from Bulatlat: 'Destabilizing' Artists

Killing and collective guilt are often on [Franz] Wright's mind. "Not all mankind will be cast into fire," he says in "Everyone's Elegy," "though/quite a number of them were/during the decade preceding my/birth and no doubt even more will be/shortly."

from The New York Times: In Pursuit of Revelation

In "The Oulipo Factor," Marjorie Perloff describes [Caroline B]ergvall?s "sonic, verbal and rhetorical devices" as being derived from "post-punk music and sound poetry," building on the Duchampian pun with sophisticated word play. "More Pets," for instance, starts with repetitive disjunctions:

a more--cat a more--dog doga more--horse

from The Brooklyn Rail: The Fruits of Risk

Among the best is the poem from which the title derives--about his [Gary Soto's] first boyish attempt at romance--which refers not to flame but to an orange "so bright against/The gray of December" that from a distance "Someone might have thought/I was making a fire in my hands."

from The Washington Post: Poetry for Kids

Great Regulars

During his earlier period, he [Andrew Marvell] produced what is arguable one of the most artfully perfected poems in the English tradition, "To his Coy Mistress".

from Caron Andregg: BellaOnline: Andrew Marvell--To His Coy Mistress

"I believe that poetry and lyrics are very similar," Zack [Jackson] says. "In a standard situation, whether I'm writing a song or a poem, there's structure, rhyme-scheme, etc. And like poetry, many songs nowadays actually lack traditional structure, and a lot don't even use rhyme."

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record: Poetryork: Where poetry and songwriting come together

J Ebon Proctor is a poet living in York, PA.

For You Mom

from Bill Diskin: Yorkblog: For You Mom (by J Ebon Proctor Sr)

I was aware of all of us sharing a similar appreciation, as if all of us were silently creating the same poem of praise for all we were seeing, a collective ode for spring. I woke up the next morning and wrote this poem.

When The Word Went Out
[by Elizabeth W. Garber]

from Elizabeth W. Garber: Village Soup: A Year of Poetry from a Wealth of Maine Poets: In the time of yellow, blossoming

Contrary to the glamorized accounts we often read about the lives of single women, Amy Fleury, a native of Kansas, presents us with a realistic, affirmative picture. Her poem playfully presents her life as serendipitous, yet she doesn't shy away from acknowledging loneliness.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 059

What is a prose poem? Who knows? Usually, the term is defined in contrast to poems written in lines that printers call "ragged right." Instead, maybe it should be defined in contrast to conventional prose narratives. For example, here is Elizabeth Bishop's translation of "Brazilian Tragedy," a prose poem by Manuel Bandeira.

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

The quintessence of all these emotions and sentiments were packed into his [Bankimchandra Chatterjee's] 'Bande Mataram' song which became the song of millions in the days of our struggle for freedom. It became the life breath of our Maha Kavi Bharathi as well who sang in Tamil: 'Vande Mataram Enbom!'

from V Sundaram: News Today: The founding bard of Indian nationalism

A man who wishes to pass for a saint or a philosopher on the strength of a button in his hat, or a buckle in his shoes, is not very likely to be either; as the button in the hat or the buckle in the shoes will answer all the same purpose with the vulgar, and save time and trouble. Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Truth about education --G K Chesterton

This is why all the best criticism of the world has been written by men who have had within them, not only the reflective and analytical faculty of critics, but also the gusto of artists--Goethe, Carlyle, Lessing, Schlegel, Saint-Beuve, and, to drop a story or two, Hazlitt, Hermann Bahr, Georg Brandes and James Huneker.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Criticism of criticism --Hl Mencken

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

from The Guardian: Original poetry: Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Mom Taught Me
By Paula Johnson

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase: Mom Taught Me

by Gilberto Moreno
The View from the Rescue Mission

from Newpaper Tree: Poetry: The View from the Rescue Mission

South Delhi Roadside, 8 AM
[by Michael Creighton]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

"Three Shards"
By John Skoyles

from Slate: "Three Shards" By John Skoyles

Poetic Obituaries

Kuwaiti writer and poet, Abdullah Al Ansari, passed away at dawn today at the age of 84.

from Bahrain News Agency: Kuwaiti Writer Dies

Another teacher, Manju Rakshit, said: "Archana [Arora] used to write poetry and compose bhajans. She would sing at school functions. She never bunked classes and her sincerity was exemplary."

from The Telegraph India: Studious girl, caring daughter

[Jim] Corbin had climbed peaks in South America, Mexico and Europe but was as comfortable dining in the city with his family as spending the night on a moonlit ridge, Patty Corbin said.

He had recently taken up poetry. He also "was a master at leftovers," Patty Corbin said, and could transform refrigerator hodgepodge into a frittata.

from The Seattle Times: Man who died on hike was veteran climber

"One of the interesting things about his teaching was, all of his students played differently and at a very high level," Anthony said.

[Gordon] Epperson also wrote for professional music journals and published several books, including "The Art of Cello Teaching: The Musical Symbol," "The Mind of Edmund Gurney," a book of poetry called "Sonnets From India" and a novel, "The Guru of Malad."

from Arizona Daily Star: Epperson, teacher and cellist, dies at 85

The leading biographer of Poland's literary legend Bruno Schulz, Polish poet and author Jerzy Ficowski died in Warsaw Tuesday aged 82, Poland's Writers' Guild confirmed.

A Polish anti-Nazi resistance fighter during the World War II Ficowski was also renowned for his tomes of poetry touching on the tragic fate of Polish Jews in the Holocaust.

from KSL Television & Radio: Renowned Polish poet and author Jerzy Ficowski dies at 82

"The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once, and my conviction is to report that dialogue," he [Stanley Kunitz] once said. "It is a rather terrifying thought that is at the root of much of my poetry."

from The Washington Post: Pulitzer-Winning Poet Stanley Kunitz Dies

[Ryan J. Larsen] was on his way back to his dorm after attending classes when the crash occurred, according to his father, Jeffrey Larsen.

His father said he enjoyed playing guitar and had a strong interest in eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Larsen was also an avid writer and enjoyed poetry, Jeffrey Larsen said.

from Rutland Herald: Marlboro college student, 19, dies after crash into tree

[Arvind] Lele, who was jailed during the emergency, was a member of the assembly from Kasbapeth Constitutency in the city in 1978 and 1980.

The senior BJP leader had translated the poems of the former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee in many languages.

from Zee News: Senior BJP leader Arvind Lele dead

In his poem, "Nightfall In the Jemez Mountains," he [Robert Lloyd] writes how stands of pines have calligraphic meaning: "only the brushstrokes/of these pines stand/over the closed circle . . . stars in clearings/overhead . . . over this closed circle/now without horizon/the evening cleared/to the closing black . . . blackness/only the eyes can read/kalligraphia/ in beauty it is written/in beauty it is written."

from The Albuquerque Tribune: A life in full

They described him as a free-spirited young man with a talent for art and poetry who hadn't found his direction in life after he dropped out of high school.

Mr. Labbe and other friends of Pfc. [Brian M.] Moquin said that while they are against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, they supported his decision to join the Army.

from Worcester Telegram & Gazette News: Fallen soldier?s creativity recalled

[Robert S. Sargent] published 11 books, starting with "Now Is Always the Miraculous Time" (1977). His literary subjects included family, the South, jazz and his adopted daughter, Lula Jane. Many of his poems were printed in literary journals, including the Antioch Review, and poetry anthologies.

from The Washington Post: Robert S. Sargent, 93; Weapons Specialist, Poet

[Sophie M. (Seitz) Siller] was published twice in the National Library of Poetry.

She was a 58 year member and sang in the choir at First Presbyterian Church of Willoughby. She was a member of the Mentor Senior Center and a former member of the Maple Grove Grange and Willoughby Women's Club.

from The News-Herald: Sophie M. (Seitz) Siller

During the service Reverend Howe read two original poems that [Frank J.] Tarazewich wrote in 1993, while mourners listened intently. In his poem titled "A Loss," the speaker reminds readers that time "brings forth spiritual cleansing and healing of soul" that "leaves us with memories/and thoughts of love everlasting."

from District, State mourns Tarazewich


News at Eleven

Imprisonment is the favour weapon of authoritarian rulers to silence journalists and more than 100 currently languish in jails around the world. The picture is much the same from year to year and China, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran and Burma are still the countries holding most journalists.

from Reporters Without Borders: World Press Freedom Day: Our annual survey and new list of predators

[Rabindranath] Tagore glances at play after play, before judiciously washing his hands of both the English poet and the culture he belongs to: 'I hope it is needless for me to say that these observations are not intended to minimise Shakespeare's great power as a dramatic poet but to show in his works the gulf between Nature and human nature owing to the tradition of his race and time.'

from 'Triumphant Eclecticism'

Asked about the multiple audiences she addresses and her hybrid identity as an Arab-American, [Suhier] Hammad elaborated on how she strove, especially in her latest poetry collection, ZaatarDiva, to forge an Arabic-English slang, a "language that would fit over this grey matter, language that is not purely oriental, or occidental, but accidental."

The poems below, from Hammad's ZaatarDiva (Rattapallax Press, New York), are reproduced by kind permission of the poet.

from Al-Ahram Weekly: 'Not purely oriental, or occidental, but accidental'

At first consideration, a story told in poetry might lead some readers to say "No, thanks." But after reading Pieces of Georgia you'll wonder if the tale could be told any other way.

Geared to readers ages 10 to 14, but sophisticated and subtle enough to satisfy adults, the story, written by Chester County's Jennifer Bryant, focuses on a young girl struggling with the sudden death of her mother seven years earlier.

from Philadephia Inquirer: Girl's tale told in verse

The Profile Awards were given to recipients chosen for their contributions to the state in preserving New Hampshire's heritage, culture, resources, traditions and history.

Here is [Shannon] Finney's poem, "Remembering the Old Man:"

from Manchester Union Leader: Londonderry girl earns Profile Award for Old Man poem

Roger McGough, the popular Liverpudlian poet and Everton fan, yesterday published Reasons for Winning, a 22-line poem to remind the team that an extremely diverse nation has its hopes pinned on them.

from Telegraph: Win it for the man in the street, poet tells England team

After the Lannan Foundation's Literary Fellowships, the Jackson Poetry Prize of $50,000 will be the largest award for an early to mid-career poet.

The prize is designed to provide what all poets need, time and the encouragement to write.

from Redlands Daily facts: New award offered for American poets

Jeffrey Brown: There's a poem called "Artifact." Tell us about that, and then maybe you could read it for us?

Claudia Emerson: All right.

from PBS: Newshour: Claudia Emerson Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Not many of the poems are obscure but we turn to those notes repeatedly to discover, sometimes in [Elizabeth] Bishop's own words, the human events swirling around the writing.

There is one example of Bishop's draft-to-finished-poem process. The 15 drafts of "One Art" are included in the appendix (regrettably minus notes).

from The Guardian: Caught in mid-creation

But it's an ill wind, and, as [Maggie] Fergusson notes, "Tuberculosis had freed him [George Mackay Brown] from all responsibility for the future, and the disease became his 'ally', real but also psychosomatic, returning to rescue him at critical junctures from developments in his life that he feared or felt unable to face".

from The Guardian: Orcadian rhythms

"All right class, let's begin," he says calmly, as he adjusts his thin-framed glasses. [Brian] Daldorph's subtle English accent fills the room, even more apparent when he utters the words "heart" or "car." As he speaks, the inmates are listening intently to everything he mentions.

The 17 inmates are sitting in a circle, dressed in their oversized, baggy jumpsuits.

from The University Daily Kansan: Poetry behind bars

Great Regulars

Whatever the man's personal actions, his writing remains some of the most lyrical and gorgeous of the Romantic poets. For Mothers Day, it's appropriate to rediscover a classic from Lord Byron in praise of all beautiful women, everywhere.

from Caron Andregg: BellaOnline: Lord Byron--She Walks in Beauty

The speakers at the debate were the actor and writer Stephen Fry and the journalist Christopher Hitchens, and their frequently heated discussion covered issues of freedom of speech, religious tolerance, multiculturalism and orthodoxy.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian's Culture Vulture: Listen to Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens debating blasphemy at last year's Guardian Hay Festival

This spring poem is an exquisite intertwining of stories, images and wonderings that opens up into the mysteries of life and beauty, leaving us to pause afterward, with a sigh, now that?s a poem!


from Elizabeth W. Garber: Village Soup: A Year of Poetry from a Wealth of Maine Poets: New Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl

A worm in an apple, a maggot in a bone, a person in the world. What might seem an odd assortment of creatures is beautifully interrelated by the Massachusetts poet Pat Schneider. Her poem suggests that each living thing is richly awake to its own particular, limited world.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 058

These two poems, so different in tone and story, both exemplify how poetry, like memory itself, can reside in the infinite, overwhelming realm between the powerful dead and the living who hear their voice or feel their touch.

(Michael Collier's poem is from his book "Dark Wild Realm." Houghton Mifflin. Copyright © 2006 by Michael Collier. Victoria Chang's poem is from her book "Circle." Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. Copyright © 2005 by Victoria Chang.)

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

If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again--if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man--then you are ready for a walk.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Walking --Henry David Thoreau

Reading by Bei Dao

from The Guardian: Original poetry: Reading by Bei Dao

by Cecco Angiolieri translated by Robert Bly

from Guernica: Poetry: Sonnet

Three Haiku
by Tomas Tranströmer translated by Robert Bly

from Guernica: Poetry: Three Haiku

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2006
By Max Sutton

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase: Holocaust Remembrance Day 2006

Artists Muse Whether Art Follows Life or Life Follows Art
by Huibin Amee Chew

from MR Zine: Huibin Amee Chew, "Artists Muse Whether Art Follows Life or Life Follows Art"

What I Hate About You
[by Emily Nguyen]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

"What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him"
By Todd Hearon

from Slate: "What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him" By Todd Hearon

Poetic Obituaries

That's what he [Grant McLennan] was going for, a poetic song that would stick in your head."

[Robert] Forster, who told the Australian news media that his old bandmate was as happy as he had ever seen him, says that the group will not continue without McLennan.

from Los Angeles Times: Grant McLennan, 48; Co-Founder of Australian Pop Band the Go-Betweens

Pattabhi Rama Reddy, the filmmaker who made one of India's most internationally acclaimed film Samskara, died on Saturday morning in Bangalore. He was 87.

Pattabhi had shot into the Telugu literary world in 1939 with his volume of 12 poems titled Fidelu Ragala dozen which was translated as A dozen Ragas played on the fiddle.

from NDTV: Pattabhi Rama Reddy passes away

"Of all the insane things to do," Robert Trammell once said, "to be a poet in Dallas."

Mr. Trammell, who died Monday in his East Dallas home, persisted in his insanity, writing nearly a dozen books of poetry, including Lovers/killers and George Washington Trammell.

from WFAA: Robert Trammell: 'The grass-roots poet in Dallas'


News at Eleven

Today, as a new generation of Iranians struggles to define itself in opposition to a widely reviled religious regime, the "Shahnameh" is re-emerging as the supreme expression of a cultural identity transcending all notions of politics or piety. Radio Tehran, "the voice of the Islamic Republic," begins every morning's broadcast with a reading from the poem.

from The New York Times: The Epic of Iran

Convinced that poetry is a high calling, he [Leonard Cohen] says in Thousands that only one or two of thousands are genuine poets:

Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.

from The Globe and Mail: Leonard Cohen's higher calling

In the extensive notes of this book (I know now, having read all three of her books, that notes are a favorite trick of hers--a second text to overlay on the poems), Brock-Broido mentioned a nasty review in the Washington Post Book World (1988), in which the reviewer identified her aesthetic as "haute couture vulgarity"--a term she smartly re-appropriated for its wit.

from Bookslut: Trouble in Mind by Lucie Brock-Broido

Roll my bones
In the Mortiary
My terms
And deed of mortgagry
And death & taxes
All wrapt up.?
(page 20)

I had no idea what exactly this meant--still don't--but it was like turning on a mental air-conditioner.

from Poetry Foundation: Kerouac Versus Alan Alda

It's an uncanny, abrupt, tantalising ending: a typical move for this poet, who likes to astonish his reader.

[Billy] Collins repeats this miraculous performance in many of these poems, as when stepping into a massive painting by an artist of the Hudson River School in "The Brooklyn Museum of Art".

from The Guardian: Americans ahoy

[Jillian] Weise weighs the conflict between intimacy and artificiality, expectation and reality; while the speaker grapples with her situation, her lovers and strangers almost all tip-toe around the fact--even when they probably mean well, they reveal a profound ignorance (one says, "I love you/despite your leg").

from Popmatters: Bookmarks: Brief reviews of new and overlooked books

She chose to read "First Poem After Serious Surgery" by June Jordan, the acclaimed poet, activist, and essayist who wrote, among other topics, about her personal bout with breast cancer in KISSING GOD GOODBYE.

from Huntington News: A Poem a Day: Day 29: First Poem After Serious Surgery by June Jordan

by Felipe Benitez Reyes

from National Public Radio: 'Fears'

May Day, 1986

(for Tadeusz Slawek)

from The Guardian's Culture Vulture: Remembering Chernobyl

Ehab Lotayef, one of the evening's poets, was caught between the police and the tables and was shoved to the floor. "Inside, the police were saying nothing," says the 48-year-old McGill computer systems manager. "They were just ignoring everybody, and going towards Jaggi."

from Montreal Mirror: Police crush poetry

The Dogs--a group of poets, scholars, translators, editors, university professors and retired profs who have about 70 published books to their credit--are here to talk poetry.

from The Vancouver Sun: In Vancouver, poetry goes to the Dogs

Great Regulars

[Nicholas Murray's] quick, vivid snapshots of nature often suggest food, too; the sight of "berries on their rambling stalks" leads him to imagine "their oozing weight/dark beneath a sweet and sugared crust" with mouth-watering zest.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Food for thought

So, who's up for the challenge? You can read the judgment in full here [pdf]--and do let us know if you crack it: we'll be terribly impressed and probably send you a book or something. Not The Da Vinci Code, though.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian's Culture Vulture: Can you crack it?

"Music is another way I express myself," says [Matthew] Miller. "As important as the 'written word' has become to me, the sound, arrangement and lyrical content of music has inspired me greatly over the years."

from Bill Diskin: York Daily Record's Poetryork blog: Music, poetry go hand-in-hand

This year each winner will be awarded $1,500 and publication of the winning work in an upcoming issue of the magazine. The categories are poetry, fiction and essay.

Now here's the catch: Deadline for submissions is May 18.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: A payday for writers

Here is a feast of poems for spring's arrival!

from Elizabeth W. Garber: Village Soup: A Year of Poetry from a Wealth of Maine Poets: Oh joy! Oh heaven! This is the miracle of spring!

A sure sign that this poem is a meaningless exercise is that the poet [Robert Bly] uses it under a different title in one of his books; instead of "The Cat in the Kitchen" he calls it "The Old Woman Frying Perch."

from Linda Sue Grimes: BellaOnline: Clarity in Writing as a Spiritual Tool

A Different Sensation
Asher Reich

from Tsipi Keller: Zeek: A Different Sensation --Asher Reich

If anything, by adding prayer, she just makes the poems that much stronger.

If [Mary] Karr sometimes portrays herself as shellshocked by life's batterings, Jim Harrison is all smiles: rueful ones, perhaps, but smiles nonetheless.

from David Kirby: The New York Times: Poetry Books by Mary Karr and Jim Harrison

Midwestern poet Richard Newman traces the imaginary life of coins as a connection between people. The coins--seemingly of little value--become a ceremonial and communal currency.

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 057

The Polish poet Adam Zagajewski thinks about such material from an opposite direction, from the viewpoint of the mythologized--how it feels to be part of a nation that others perceive as more like a unicorn than an actual country.

Poems on Poland

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

Poetry of bad personal feeling, insult, revenge: It's central to the art. The best-known poem in the category may be Walter Raleigh's epitaph on the Earl of Leicester:

Here lies the noble Warrior that never blunted sword;
Here lies the noble Courtier that never kept his word;
Here lies his Excellency that governed all the state;
Here lies the Lord of Leicester that all the world did hate.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: Dissed in Verse: The art of the poetic insult.

"I like the challenge of, say, Proust or even Gertrude Stein, to use one of the most obvious examples, rather than poetry or literature which is all available at one viewing or reading." [--John Ashbery]

from Andrew Varnon: Valley Advocate: Some Poet

There is no one story and one story only by Adrienne Rich

from The Guardian: Original poetry: There is no one story and one story only by Adrienne Rich

Now do the opposite. Praise-poems invite you to study an object, place, person or creature with extreme heightened awareness; near-hallucinatory attention; a near-sixth sense.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Jen Hadfield's workshop

Whipping Frogs
By Dan McCarthy

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

by Danielle DeFrank

from Newpaper Tree: Poetry:

[by M.E. Hope]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Don Bogen

from Slate: "House" By Don Bogen

Poetic Obituaries

Pramoedya Ananta, Indonesia's most beloved writer, died in his East Jakarta home on Sunday at the age of 81.

from All Headline News: Celebrated Indonesian Writer Dies

A homemaker for most of her adult life, Mrs. [Ruby Leong] Choy's passion was writing. She was a published writer and poet who specialized in haiku and inspirational writing, her family said.

from Oroville Mercury Register: Berkeley woman who became a writer after brain injury dies

[Janet Campbell Hager] started college at the age of 29 as a mother of two and completed a 4 year degree in 3 years at the University of Minnesota--Duluth graduating with honors. She was also the first married Co-ed to graduate from the university.

from The Mining Journal: Janet Campbell Hager

[Marion W. Herget] poetry and essays, which reflected her love of nature and its creatures, appeared in newspapers and magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and Art Times.

from Richmond Times-Dispatch: Marion W. Herget, former editor, dies

[Rotan] Lee died Monday of heart failure. He was 57. The lawyer, newspaper columnist, radio talk show host, and lover of poetry and music will long be remembered as a tenacious advocate not only for schoolchildren but for the whole town.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: A champion for children--and the city

When country excursions had become more difficult, she [Ivy McClelland] wrote a short poem which reveals her love for her adopted Scottish land and its creatures, but something, too, of her contemplative self. Let it be her epitaph:

It would be nice

from The Herald: Ivy McClelland

[Jean-Francois] Revel, author of about 30 books whose subjects ranged from poetry to gastronomy to politics, became known in later years for his conservative position and pro-American stance as editor-in-chief of the newsweekly L'Express and commentator at that magazine and later at rival Le Point.

from Guelph Mercury: Jean-Francois Revel, philosopher, writer dies

Mrs. [Joyce M.] Watters had volunteered with the School for the Blind, Eagle Mount, RSVP, Chamber of Commerce, Meals on Wheels and Senior Companion. She was also involved in Toastmasters. She was an artist and musician and had some poems published.

from The Billings Outpost: Joyce M. Watters


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