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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

Nigerian poet Tolu Ogunlesi has written a poem for the BBC's Weekend Network Africa programme to commemorate the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.

Lorenzo and Maria

from BBC News: Remembering slavery in verse

Freedom A Come Oh! is a work song composed circa 1807, speculatively, when the trade was about to be abolished and they expected full freedom.

Talla ly li oh!

from Stabroek News: Arts on Sunday: 'The Middle Passage to Nationhood'

"The writer is first and foremost a citizen and the writer's responsibility is not different from that of a citizen," [Wole] Soyinka said, nursing a glass of wine in the garden of a Lagos gallery where he came to see an exhibition of Nigerian paintings. For him the only difference is that the writer can make good use of language, "the most immediate means of communication. But that's about all."

from The Sunday Times: 'A writer is first a citizen'

[Henry Wadsworth] Longfellow, as was his habit, showed the manuscript of "The Building of the Ship" to his coterie of friendly critics. This time, they expressed unease over the coda--the 26-line ending--that described the demise of ships as he had heard it from childhood, "Wrecked upon some treacherous rock, Or rotting in some noisesome dock . . ."

It took a few weeks for Longfellow to accept the criticism, which he had sought from a wide group that recommended making the ending a paean to the nation in its difficult time.

from Village Soup: Longfellow the patriot trumped Longfellow the poet

[Shmu'el HaNagid's] oeuvre of nearly two thousand poems, most of them unpublished until the 1930s, includes an impressive body of satire, elegies, and hymns of praise, but his most intriguing writings, to my mind, are the short, erotic "gazelle" (tzvi) poems, the gazelle (or fawn, deer, doe, or roe) being the pervasive emblem of desire for the Hebrew poets of Spain, following, as they did, the convention of the ghazal, the Arabic designation for the erotic poem that is also a cognate of the Hebrew tzvi.

from Bookforum: Quoting Scriptures

[Amiri] Baraka refused to resign amid the uproar that followed. The governor and Legislature were barred from firing the poet laureate, so McGreevey eliminated the post.

The 3rd Circuit also found that the officials did not withhold the money over Baraka's views because the Legislature had not yet appropriated it.

from The Patriot News: Deposed N.J. poet laureate loses suit over lost post

In what circumstances do readers of a first-person poem assume it is drawn from "what really happened"? What are the signifiers that convey to us that a poem is or is not autobiographical? And why does this window onto a text even matter to readers (and writers)?

from Slate: Autobiography and Poetry

" . . . Of course you are not merely a machine. One's own DNA matters because the poem has been through a particular personality. The best poems come from the world, go through the poet and go back in to the world . . ." --Paul Muldoon]

from The Guardian: Invisible threads

The various settings in which he [Rainer Maria Rilke] wrote poems were chosen from a catalog of the great houses of Europe. Titled women who owned the houses found themselves in receipt of his finely judged letters, delicately suggesting that if hospitality should be extended to him when the wind was in the right direction, masterpieces would ensue.

from Slate: Rainer Maria Rilke: What his career--taken along with Bertolt Brecht's--tells us about fame.

Although the poem was published courtesy of the Frost estate with the intention of making it public, [Robert] Stilling suspects that [Robert] Faggen would have preferred to see "War Thoughts" presented more squarely within "the scholarly apparatus," and not, as it became, for a general audience.

from The Smithsonian: Frost Bite

Dozens of A4 copies of the poem about the unsolved case were put up on lamp-posts and in bus stops near where Paul [Kelly], 32, was stabbed on New Year's Day.

The verse names and taunts the alleged killer and cops are appealing for the author to come forward.

from The Sun: Mystery poet names 'murderer'

Great Regulars

Poets in Middle Eastern societies historically have been held in high regard, and many, including Agi Mishol and Ghassan Zaqtan, achieve a level of celebrity and authority not common in the West. They are writers working in a place of conflict, providing a voice for many who feel they do not have one.

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East

Ghassan Zaqtan (through translator): A complete people has lost its future, has lost the location, has lost its place. And, obviously, poetry is one of the most expressive forms in order to reach the people. This is why the poets were the first to remind these people of their identity.

This is yours.

Jeffrey Brown: Zaqtan does this by writing about the small details of life.

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: In Palestine, Identity Is Regained Through Poetry

Aharon Shabtai: Most people are very good, also in Israel. But to continue living, they have to lie to themselves, or to repress it, or to disavow it. And this also ruins the fabric of the language itself, because the language loses its sort of transparency.

Jeffrey Brown: The language in his own poetry now sounds ripped from today's headlines. One poem, which speaks of the anger he sees in Israeli society, begins this way.

Aharon Shabtai: "As we were marching."

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: Israel's Poetry Reflects Story of a Nation

Metaphorically, the depths [Jenny] Lewis plumbs are internal. Her poems delve into her own past, recalling with powerful specificity her mother, who "always had fresh flowers"; a beloved grandmother who "said 'hark!' instead of 'listen!'"; the loneliness of boarding school, its chill undiminished by the passage of time.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Dale and depth

In other words, if I understand them correctly, it is one thing to try to reconstruct the way an individual in late 16th-century England might have felt about the vanishing, or the abiding, legacy of Catholicism--what Shakespeare could have thought about the afterlife, for instance, about purgatory or intercession for the souls of the departed--and quite another to try to involve him or his father in some plot.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Was Shakespeare a crypto-Catholic?

In [Agi] Mishol's free verse poem, "Woman Martyr," the speaker describes a horrific event of a young woman walking into a bakery and blowing herself up. About how she wrote the poem, Mishol says, "With that poem it was the suicide bomber's last name, Takatka. . . .Her name sounded like the ticking of a bomb--taka-taka like tick-tock. . . ."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Agi Mishol's 'Woman Martyr'

In stanza 4-7, the speaker muses on the sun, and declares that the sun is surely an amazing entity: "The more I looked, the more I grew amaz'd/And softly said, what glory's like to thee?" Her amazement led her to understand how some civilizations have considered the sun a god: "Soul of this world, this Universe's Eye,/No wonder some made thee a Deity."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Anne Bradstreet's 'Contemplations'

She also loves the beloved with a kind of respect and admiration that she thought she had outgrown; this group of people could be a fairly large one, including friends, teachers, relatives, and even religious "saints," the term she uses. But the key word is that she "seemed" to lose this love, but with her beloved, that love is returned to her.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Browning's 'How do I love thee?'

In the first stanza, the speaker says she likes "to see it lap the Miles/And lick the Valleys up/And stop to fee itself at Tanks." The subject of this riddle sounds like an animal lapping up water perhaps, and licking up a salt lick or food, but then it stops to "feed itself at Tanks."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Dickinson's Riddles

José Rizal was in prison waiting to be executed when he wrote this poem as a final statement to his fellow Filipino countrymen. He had been involved in activity to secure his native country's independence from Spain. In the first stanza, the patriot says his final farewell to his native land, describing it as "Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost."

from Linda Sue Grimes: José Rizal's 'My Last Farewell'

The speaker tells the lad that the lad did not have to earn his loveliness from nature. Because nature has been so unselfish in bestowing on the young man his pleasing qualities, the speaker hopes to instill in the young man a duty to continue what nature has begun.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 4

The speaker's final warning uses an accounting metaphor: though nature may delay her "audit" or reckoning of the youth's years, they will definitely be counted, because it is just the way she operates. She will make him aged and feeble in the end.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 126

"Good, old-fashioned storytelling was oral, and storytellers often changed their stories according to context and circumstance," [Sue] Thomas said. "You only have to look at how simple fairy tales and urban legends evolve whilst still often keeping the core of the narrative intact to realize that they need a fluid environment to stay alive and fresh. Multimedia prevents the stagnation of fixed type and maintains a much longer tradition, stretching way back beyond the last 500 years."

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Does storytelling change in context of new forms of media?

After image, memory is aided by rhyme, and learning a poem such as The Tyger (note William Blake's archaic spelling) is as good a place as any to begin.

This is not just a poem about a tiger; it is thought to have a political sub-plot which involves revolution, and possibly the defeat of the British at York Town in 1781 during the American War of Independence.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Something of the night

Poem: "The Art of Disappearing" by Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © The Eighth Mountain Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 26, 2007

At some time many of us will have to make a last visit to a house where aged parents lived out their days. Here Marge Saiser beautifully compresses one such farewell.

Where They Lived

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 104

"Fitter" suggests "maker," the Greek root of our word "poet." The secret life of the gasfitter suggests the poem's maker, laboriously fitting words and sentences into a pattern befitting turbulent feelings and metaphysical dilemmas, as in the ninth poem of "The Gasfitter":

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

The Federal government arranged for Marion Anderson to give her concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where she sang to a large, integrated audience. The recital was also broadcast to a large radio audience.

This fact and legend--familiar but worth repeating--played a part in my upbringing, and remains part of my patriotism.

from Robert Pinsky (responding to Joshua Lipton): Forbes: Robert Pinsky On The American Dream

[Elizabeth] Horan also consulted many unpublished letters of [Gabriela] Mistral in the U.S. Library of Congress.

"For me, it's important to think about whether or not she was crazy," said Horan. "I think that she wrote some of her best poetry when in some sense she was crazy. There are certain disorders that are evident when you read her letters, and certain groups and people that she saw as her enemies."

from Cate Setterfield: The Santiago Times: U.S. Writer Says Chile's Gabriela Mistral Was Crazy

So when I saw the first U.S. edition (it was published in 2005 in the United Kingdom) of Lewis Theroux's "The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures," with its tiny flying saucer hovering over an equally small midcentury sedan parked on a swath of desert, I couldn't help it. I thought, "Road Scholar: Part Deux."

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Result lacks completeness in search for the weird

[Wole] Soyinka's proposition, that "the writer is first and foremost a citizen" is fundamentally the same as that of any totalitarian regime, according to which individual human beings are principally units of the state. In the immortal words of Sam Goldwyn, "Include me out."

from Frank Wilson: Books Inq.: I'm not sure I agree . . .

And, indeed, the worst conversation I ever remember to have heard in my life, was that at Will's coffeehouse, where the wits (as they were called) used formerly to assemble; that is to say, five or six men, who had writ plays, or at least prologues, or had share in a miscellany, came thither, and entertained one another with their trifling composures, in so important an air, as if they had been the noblest efforts of human nature, or that the fate of kingdoms depended on them; and they were usually attended with an humble audience of young students from the inns of court, or the universities, who at due distance, listened to these oracles, and returned home with great contempt for their law and philosophy, their heads filled with trash, under the name of politeness, criticism and belles lettres.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Great talkers --Jonathan Swift

Simplicity, without variety, is wholly insipid, and at best does only not displease; but when variety is joined to it, then it pleases, because it enhances the pleasure of variety by giving the eye the power of enjoying it with ease.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: The straight line and the serpentine --William Hogarth

Museum, 19 Princelet Street, Spitalfields by Gillian Allnutt

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Museum, 19 Princelet Street, Spitalfields by Gillian Allnutt

'A Small March'
by Philip Miller

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'A Small March'

In a Baghdad Market
By Max Sutton

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

The Despoiling of the American Mind
by Peter McLaren

from MR Zine: Peter McLaren, 'The Despoiling of the American Mind'

In a Little Apartment
by Adam Zagajewski

from The New Yorker: Poetry: In a Little Apartment

Littlefoot, 34
by Charles Wright

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Littlefoot, 34

The Museum of Stones
by Carolyn Forché

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Museum of Stones

Sequestered Writing
[by Carolyn Forche]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

Flight of the Firstborn by Peggy Carr

To mark International Poetry Day on 21 March, the SPL launched a new anthology of poems from the Commonwealth: Poems United (SPL/Black & White Publishing, £7.99). There are some feelings that are shared across continents, as in this tender mother's poem from the island of St Vincent in the Caribbean.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week

"Clearing the House"
By Rebecca Kaiser Gibson

from Slate: "Clearing the House" - By Rebecca Kaiser Gibson

In India, however, en route to the Far East with the South Wales Borderers, [Alun] Lewis met and fell in love with a married woman. This was Freda Ackroyd, to whom the letters collected in a new volume, Cypress Walk, published by Enitharmon, were addressed. The book will be reviewed in a forthcoming issue of the paper. In the meantime:

Raiders' Dawn

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Poetic Obituaries

At the age of 92, Sophie [Barton] booked a flight to New York City, flying solo to attend a poetry conference and to read some of her poems. In downtown Manhattan, she was advised by the hotel's doorman not to venture outside at night but she insisted -- there were stores she had never been to.

from Nanaimo News Bulletin: One of city's oldest citizens dies at age 107

[Yadollah] Behzad's poems reflect his introspective nature and the sense of loneliness caused by a technology-reliant world, using a unique epic style of poetry that celebrated Iranian civilization.

from Press TV: Iran's poet Behzad laid to rest

[Prof. Kausar Faruqi] was immensely talented in poetry with a command of more than 5 languages.

Late Moulana Ali Mia hinted that Professor Faruqi wrote in the style of Allahma Iqbal in his poetry and his speeches matched that of Mohammed Ali Jawher's style of writing.

from Bhatkallys News: Prof. Kausar Faruqi passes away

When I started writing, I was in my 30s, and I saw a need: that was to create a beautiful image of my people. When I was a little girl, I was called a little savage, a cannibal. I didn't know what cannibal meant--all these derogatory things I heard when I was a little girl. [--Rita Joe]

from rabble: Let me teach you about me

Real estate was not Benjamin Franklin Kahn's only passion. He also had a love of language befitting his name. He coined aphorisms ("Conservative principles create principal to conserve" was a favorite) and wrote silly poetry. He shared Benjamin Franklin's love of tinkering, creating useful items like curved rear-view mirrors for cars.

from The New York Times: B. Franklin Kahn, 82, Developer Credited With the REIT Strategy, Dies

[Howard] Stanley left CBS in 1949 to join WEAM(AM) Washington as VP and general manager, where he also adopted the on-air persona of the Lonesome Guy, wearing a mask and singing love songs and reading love poetry on-air. Far from a lonesome guy himeslf, Stanley married the former Winifred Elzona Hampton in 1945, a union that was to last 59 years.

from Broadcasting & Cable: Veteran Broadcast Exec Howard Stanley Dies

Cody [Morgan Stone] attended school at the Phoenix Program, an alternative school that serves students with behavioral problems.

[His stepmother Phyllis] Smith described Cody as a loving person who liked to draw, write poetry, write songs and ride his go-cart.

from Naples Daily News: Teen killed crossing Davis Blvd. stopped earlier by deputy

Shimon Tzabar was probably the only Israeli who could claim to have once been a member of all three anti-British underground groups active in Palestine before the establishment of Israel in 1948: Haganah, Etzel and Lehi (aka the Stern Gang). In the course of his long, jolly and very active life, he was many things for many people: a friend, a husband, a father, a lover, an artist, a cartoonist, a satirical writer, a mycologist, a journalist, a poet and an activist.

from The Independent: Shimon Tzabar


News at Eleven

[Rainer Maria] Rilke's late work is knotted and dense, and any rendering into another language of these final poems is bound to fail, however honorably. The finest translation of "Komm du" that I know of was published in the Times Literary Supplement in December 1975 accompanying an essay on Rilke by Walter Kaufmann:

You are the last I recognize; return,
pain beyond help that sears the body's cells:

from The New York Review of Books: Translating Rilke: An Exchange

How comes it that ye toil and sweat
And bear the oppressor's rod
For cruel man who dare to change
The equal laws of God?
How come that man with tyrant heart
Is caused to rule another,
To rob, oppress and, leech-like, suck
The life's blood of a brother?

Nothing is known of AW: he or she is one of the lost voices of the Chartist movement, one of the thousands of working men and women who turned to verse to express their hopes for social justice.

from The Guardian: Lost voices of Victorian working class uncovered in political protest poems

"This verdict is sadly yet another example of the judicial system being used by the political authorities,"; Reporters Without Borders said. "It is outrageous that cyber-dissidents get severe prison sentences just for the views they express. Yet again, they are being made to pay a heavy price for their commitment. After [poet] Zhang [Jianhong]'s conviction, we fear that the same fate is in store for Chen [Shuqing] and Yang [Maodong]."

from Reporters Without Borders: Cyber-dissident Zhang Jianhong ("Li Hong") gets six years in prison

[Zbigniew Herbert] conceived of poems not as machines to chronicle and evoke emotion but as gestures of hard-earned illumination, shards of learning, core samples of (mostly) Western civilization:

only blood
busy with scansion of dark tautologies
binds together distant shores
with a thread of mutual agreement

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: The impersonal poet, sharing rays of light

Here's another from Yi [Yon-ju]'s poem "What's Wrong?": "When the speculum was pushed deep into her lower belly/she felt a refreshing sensation as if she'd escaped from a stuffy subway."

The overall effect is a gripping mix of Plath and K-Horror, totally outside of the nationalist literature that [Don Mee] Choi tells us wants its female poets to "evoke something gentle and motherly."

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry: Whistling in the Wind

[Derek] Walcott speaks with Jacki Lyden about his years spent as a "fortunate traveler," when he split his time between Boston, New York, Europe and at home in the West Indies.

Sea Grapes
by Derek Walcott

from NPR: Derek Walcott: A Life in Poetry

No matter what the count and countess thought of each other, it seems--on superficial reading--that [Philip] Larkin had no doubt about what eternal truth their effigies represented. "What will survive of us is love." But read the verse again. "Time has transfigured them into untruth." What will survive of us will not be love.

from Mail&Guardian: The lost joy of 'difficult' poetry

With elegant simplicity and indirection, [Charles] Bernstein demonstrates how a poem that claims to be "purely emotional" is not, how conventional poems written in the mode of the confessional lyric may purport to "fully [express] / the feelings of the / author," but may in fact conceal the writer's emotions just as effectively as an irreverent avant-garde poet steeped in poststructural theories of authorial effacement.

from The Brooklyn Rail: Nonfiction: Technocrats of the Mind

[Nikki Giovanni responds,] "I don't feel futile, but I don't think the powerful go to Barnes and Noble and ask for my book. . . .

"I think poetry's accomplishing what poetry's always accomplished," she says, remembering that people hung poetry from lampposts after Sept. 11. "It helps people think, and it provides a comfort."

Perhaps the poem "Revolutionary Dreams," from the 1970 collection Re:Creation, provides a clue:

from The Providence Journal: Personal, Political Poetry

Here was a poet [in Frederick Seidel] who used "I" like a scalpel. With it he cut the outer dermis of each poem, then wiped the tool clean and put it away after every incision.

In My Tokyo, his poetry is every bit as decadent as the work of the beats he grew up just behind, but with almost none of the tomfooling showmanship, the scatological self-revelations.

from The Australian: The last American dandy

This feeling of trepidation is shared by Richard M. Berlin in his poem "First Night on Call, Coronary Care Unit." He likens the experience to ". . . driving a knife-edge/mountain ridge at midnight,/no lines, no guard rails,// . . . I don't know who will die tonight, / . . . but I grip the wheel tight,//knuckles lit white by high beams,/my own heart pounding . . ."

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Trying their hand at medicine and poetry

Great Regulars

"That tranquillity was so deep, I can't fathom it, and that ecstasy so unearthly that I can't answer it with the ordinary answers. I know I am involved utterly and entirely in what is happening, and I know that more depends on it than just life . . . Because it's hard to breathe, Freda, and there is nothing that can save today, darling, you not being here." [--Alun Lewis to Freda Aykroyd]

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: Unearthly ecstasy

Such knowing manipulation of form also serves another function: by demonstrating his education and familiarity with poetic traditions, the poet is validating his cause; he is not an automaton to be worked until he drops, but a thinking, feeling man.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Radical lines of a thinking, feeling man

With the perspective afforded by the breadth of the Atlantic, I'd say both have a point: the Foundation's raft of initiatives and awards (not to mention its really-rather-good website) are undeniably doing great work in improving access to poetry, but I can't help feeling there's some merit to the argument that Goodyear puts forward, via a quote from poet Joel Brouwer, that "contemporary poetry's great good fortune (despite contrary claims from certain hand-wringers mad to see poems affixed to every slot-machine, taxi stand and flowerpot in the land) is that it has no mass market, and so no call to pander."

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbook: How populist should poetry get?

"I hope to make poetry more accessible to people who would not normally read poetry," [Julia] Tilley says. "I look for ways to get the words off the page and out into the general population. The Treasure Trove Project dispenses a poem for a quarter out of a bubble gum machine."

from Bill Diskin: The York Daily Record: Poetryork: Elevating the mundane--with a gumball machine

Ella [Wheeler Wilcox]'s most famous poem is titled "Solitude" from which come the oft-quoted lines, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you;/Weep, and you weep alone." The poem consists of three rimed eight-line stanzas. The poem continues to dramatize that same theme: that the positive attracts while the negative repels: "For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,/But has trouble enough of its own."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Mankind cannot spoil the Lord's precious gifts, because "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." Everything renews; man may disregard God's grandeur, but the sun will rise tomorrow.

If the sun goes out, what bright, more glorious orb may this God offer to place in its stead.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Father Hopkins' Sonnet

Of course, the legs are no problem there, since a casket viewing entails only the upper torso, but the nose has been reconstructed by the mortician, and he has applied make-up and dressed her in "a pink and white nightie."

The magic of the mortician's hand has turned his poor girl's body into something she would have been proud to live in.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Piercy's 'Barbie Doll'

Carving time and drawing lines upon the forehead results in the wrinkles that all old people have. But for his love, the speaker demands that time let his love go "untainted" so that the generations who follow will also be able to appreciate his love's beauty.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 19

"Ye shady groves, your verdant gloom display"

The speaker then addresses the trees, asking them to "shield your poet from the burning day." She exaggerates somewhat as she calls their shade "verdant gloom." But the comparison is playful and serves well to foreground the brightness of the sun and the colorful morning sunrise.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Wheatley's Classical Influence

When the tramp bites over her original bite mark, it is an intensely intimate moment; the food is shared--tramp's saliva meets poet's saliva by buffalo mozzarella proxy. It is a union of sorts, and this idea is emphasised by the use of the words "nuzzle" and "caress" as the tramp eats what the poet has dropped.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: A slice of life

Poem: "First Day of Spring" by Ann Hudson, from The Armillary Sphere. © Ohio University Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 19, 2007

One of the ways a poet makes art from his or her experience is through the use of unique, specific and particular detail. This poem by Rick Snyder thrives on such details. It's not just baseball caps, it's Tasmanian Devil caps; it's not just music on the intercom, it's James Taylor. And Snyder's poem also caught my interest with the humor of its flat, sardonic tone.

How Are You Doing?

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 103

[Deborah] Garrison's first book, A Working Girl Can't Win (1998), won readers by approaching the material indicated by its title with directness, modesty and unshowy wit. Those qualities also mark her new collection, The Second Child. This time the material includes parenthood and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 with their aftermath.

Into the Lincoln Tunnel

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

Given Pablo Neruda's socialist values, the award seems especially fitting for a Cuban poet. It comes, however, at a somber time for [Fina] García [Marruz], who at age 84, is dealing with sickness among much of her family, including her husband. She said that her husband, a poet himself, has been so happy since hearing about the award that his pain has abated.

from Cate Setterfield (alongside Shannon Garland): The Santiago Times: Chile Awards Pablo Neruda Priza to Cuban Poet

Brick walls dust sidewalks
with rust crumble as far
as the empty factory
worn as the body

I force snail-like
to my morning window
where sunrise now burns
glass shards and paint peel.

These stanzas are themselves worth taking a closer look at. "Brick walls dust sidewalks"--all nouns, though dust serves as a verb as well. The empty factory is worn as the body is by the soul, the same body the speaker forces to the window to see the burning sunrise.

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: How faith looks to one who lives it

Literature is now 'further removed from the centre than ever before'. It has become 'one-sided, inevitably because it is over-introverted, often so deeply concerned with the inner world, and so little concerned with the outer world, that it . . . becomes a literature for specialists, themselves nearly always equally introverted . . .'

While I have never fully subscribed to [J.B.] Priestley's conceptual framework, I continue to be impressed by how insightful his application of it has proved.

from Frank Wilson: normblog: Writer's choice 94

Anas Coburn
Back home

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Back home

Poetry by
Rosa Alcalá selections from Tired Parties

from The Brooklyn Rail: Rosa Alcalá

Poetry by
Jennifer Kronovet

The mountains are made into a road
and the land has direction

from The Brooklyn Rail: Jennifer Kronovet

Poetry by
Marc Nasdor from Sonnetailia

from The Brooklyn Rail: Marc Nasdor

[Barbara] Bloom has taught composition and creative writing at Cabrillo College for more than 20 years. Her first full-length book, "Evidence," will be published by Hummingbird Press in May.

The Horse Trainer's Advice

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner

Wallflowers at Beverley by Ian Duhig

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Wallflowers at Beverley by Ian Duhig

'Hillside in the Park'
By Bill Bauer

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'Hillside in the Park'

By Paula Johnson

Le Bon Sommeil

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

The Death of the Painter
by James Arthur

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Death of the Painter

What the Trees Say About Love
[by Herman Asarnow]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

"Second Coming"
By Ellen Wehle

from Slate: "Second Coming" - By Ellen Wehle

When we last held a poetry competition, in 2003, the first prize of £2,000 was won by "The Long Way Home" by Stephen Knight, of Swansea.

The Long Way Home

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Poetic Obituaries

A local poet and artist, Abdul Sattar Andaz, was hacked to death allegedly by his brother-in-law and accomplices in his house near Choohar Jamali on Thursday night. Two women and two relatives of the deceased were also injured in the incident.

from The News: Poet hacked to death

[Ted Boyd's] inspirational poems were published in "Sumpin to Think About" and his inspirational thoughts in "Off the Cuff." A poem he wrote to his wife when she was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame is framed and hangs in a hallway in their home.

from The Indianapolis Star: Author and poet was always writing

The 20-year-old English major [Heather Brink], who lived in a room by herself, fell out of a 10th-floor window in Sanford Hall, Bland said.

A student found her body about 10:20 a.m. and called campus police, he said. Emergency officials responded as well, he added.

from The Charlotte Observer: UNCC sophomore dies after fall from 10th-floor window

Governor General's Literary Award-winning poet Robert Dickson has died of cancer at the age of 62.

Dickson, Franco-Ontarian poet, author, and Laurentian University professor, contributed to French-Canadian culture for nearly 35 years.

from The Sault Star: Poet plugged French-Canadian culture for 35 years; Sudbury's Robert Dickson dead of cancer at 62

Father Robert "Albert" Gallegos, known to many as the poet priest, lived his life in faith, devoted to God and to humanity.

He died after collapsing Thursday morning while celebrating the morning Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Peralta, a parish he served for the past 11 years.

from Valencia County News-Bulletin: Father Albert collapses during Mass, dies

The other four victims included two young artists -- blind musician and painter Remigijus Audiejaitis and poet Mantas Gimzauskas. Both died after jumping from the sixth floor in an attempt to escape the blaze.

from The Baltic Times: More fires ravage Baltic homes, victims jump to their deaths

Retired Rockford College professor and former English Department Chairman M. Enamul Karim died recently at age 72.

Karim was a professor at Rockford College for more than 30 years, beginning his career there as an assistant English professor in 1968. He taught courses as wide ranging as the works of William Shakespeare and women's literature.

from Rockford Register Star: Professor's legacy includes knowledge of Kipling's works

[Sean Powell] played guitar and loved poetry.

[Debra] Flynn knows there is no rhyme or reason to what happened to her son. She said she's just thankful she was able to apologize for giving him up for adoption before it was too late.

from WKRN: "Affair Between Teacher And Student Becomes Deadly"

[Eddy Pruett] said it has been an agonizing three years wondering when his son [Robert Clayton "R.C." Pruett], who loved white tigers and writing poems, would ever come home.

"You're always wondering and you always see him in somebody else and you know I'll see him and times I'll be working and I'll see somebody walking down the street and I'll say there he is, but it was never him.

So you're always looking no matter where you go and it's very depressing and painful," Eddy said.

from KCEN-TV/DT: Skeletal remains found in Gatesville last December identified

George [Rapanos], who was instrumental in building the Arnold Center, also helped build more than 100 homes in Midland, and owned and operated the Executive House Motel, the Pickle Barrel Restaurant and Camelot Dinner Theater.

Not only did George work to provide for his family, but he also found love in writing both poetry and books.

from Midland Daily News: Longtime Midland businessman Rapanos remembered for his insight

Christian [Jesus Sanchez] also wrote a poem titled "Where I'm From" last year while working on his writing skills in a program at the southwest Detroit agency.

"Where I'm from you're scared to go to the corner," Christian wrote in the poem. "Wearing the colors you're not supposed to because the folks might get you."

from Detroit Free Press: Marred graffiti costs teen's life

"We were devastated when Felicia went missing," said the girl's aunt, Darlene Osborne. "The papers kept saying she was a sex trade worker and a gang member, but she wasn't. Felicia was a very respectful person, a good student who loved to write poetry.

"People forget she was our sister, a daughter, our friend and a granddaughter."

Police have never found evidence showing Solomon-Osborne was a prostitute or gang member, said police homicide unit Sgt. Scott Bell.

from Canoe: cnews: Missing, murdered women remembered

The Rev. Dr. Herman G. Stuempfle Jr., a Lutheran church leader best known as the president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, died Tuesday following a long illness.

He served as professor, dean and president for a total of 27 years, and was known for his outstanding contributions as a preacher, professor, president and poet.

from The Evening Sun: Former Lutheran seminary president dies


News at Eleven

I said, "oh, that's my mother." And she looked out of the window and she said, "but it can't be. Sylvia Plath committed suicide and your mother is walking across the forecourt with your father." [My father and stepmother] had just dropped me off. And I remember sitting on the bed, so shocked. I didn't really believe her.

from Time: Q&A with Frieda Hughes

Renowned poet Abdul Zahra Zaki took over, mounting the wreckage of what was once the popular Al-Shabanda cafe to recite a poem entitled "Words, words, words."

Zaki described the wasteland before him, mourned the desolation wrought by the bombers, and concluded, "There is nothing here, there is nothing but burning words."

from Middle East Online: Poets mournful but defiant amid Baghdad rubble

[Martín] Espada make his point with an economy of language, concealing a dense terrain of imagery and meaning. In this universe, the dead are not ghosts, but fully fleshed--staving off the soldiers, marching in the battlefield, struggling in the streets, and inspiring new generations. Read these and you'll see what I mean:

"The Soldiers in the Garden"
Isla Negra, Chile, September 1973

from Blogcritics: The Republic of Poetry--Poems by Martín Espada

" . . . It's the other pole of life, the negation that lives beneath the yes; the fierce chilly gust of silence that lies at the core of music, the hard precision of the skull beneath the lover's face. The cold little metallic bit of winter in the mouth. One is not complete, it seems, without a taste of that darkness; the self lacks gravity without the downward pull of the void, the barren ground, the empty field from which being springs." [Mark Doty]

from Los Angeles Times: 'Dog Years: A Memoir' by Mark Doty

"It changed everything, it changed the way I wrote, it changed my life. I think very early on in our development we form a notion of reality: what is a street, what is a house, what is a city, and these very early maps are laid down in our minds. When I went back to Budapest for the first time I could feel the old map rising through the new map. It was disorientating, almost hallucinatory." [--George Szirtes]

from The Scotsman: To Budapest and back

The old man (who dreams of Poe) is asked, "Had a good nap?" He answers, "Better than that:/I sprang a tale of mystery and imagination." That use of the word "sprang" is very Morganesque--an unexpected word but one that gives you a slight jolt and question--and, typically, not negative.

from The Scotsman: A cell, a shirt, a pen

[U Win Tin] told a friend who is allowed to visit him: "All political prisoners must be freed and the democratic parliament must meet. We must not abandon these demands."

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association said: "The inhumanity of this military junta, which has imprisoned a sick, 77-year-old man for nearly 18 years, needs no further proof. By refusing U Win Tin the right to early release, the regime breaks its own laws and promises. We call for him to be freed at once."

from Reporters Without Borders: On 77th birthday, U Win Tin demands respect for his rights as detainee in Insein prison

[Michael] Lund remembers becoming aware of the significance of the work when he was in college. It was then that he read [William Carlos] Williams, and it dawned on him the work hanging in the hallway of his parent's house was by Williams.

from KFVS12: Historic literary work now calls Southeast Missouri State University home

Every poet who comes after [Patrick] Kavanagh owes him a huge debt; I certainly do. The bardic caste of poetry that existed, especially at the end of the [Celtic revival of the late 19th century], would have made it very difficult for you to go into your kitchen and think "This can be the site for a poem." If you were to think that, it would be Kavanagh who let you think that. [--Eavan Boland]

from The Boston Globe: Exploring poetry's 'lesser space'

In the hands of a poet like [Albert] Goldbarth, however, it is a Pear Belle-Hélène arriving at your table for dessert. Each ingredient is a delight--crème, poached fruit, ice cream and a small pot of melted chocolate. Each mouthful is a velvety zig of heat lightning moving from tongue to brain. The whole is so much more than the dribblingly delicious sum of its parts, your jaw just has to drop.

from Los Angeles Times: 'The Kitchen Sink' by Albert Goldbarth

"Why do you want to write poetry?" If the young man answers: "I have important things I want to say," then he is not a poet. If he answers: "I like hanging around words listening to what they say," then maybe he is going to be a poet.

from The Sunday Times: So you think you can write?

Great Regulars

This, you could say, is the "bottomless mud" that [Siegfried] Sassoon defines, endless war brought on by pompous and incompetent leaders, for whom poetry does well to give one particular sort of salute: satiric condemnation.

Memorial Tablet

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Satirical poets skewer foibles of war

"Elephants and whales," he [Hogarth] says, "please us with their unwieldy greatness. Even large personages, merely for being so, command respect: nay, quantity is an addition to the person which often supplies a deficiency in his figure."

from James Fenton: The Guardian: The author's progress

This Petrarchan sonnet is a finely crafted worthwhile experience. The octave's first two lines bravely and brazenly declare, "Down to the Puritan marrow of my bones/There's something in this richness that I hate." Then she claims, "I love the look, austere, immaculate,/Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Elinor Wylie

In the sestet, the Mother of Exiles speaks, "with silent lips": "Give me your tired, your poor,/

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The silent-lipped mother opens her arms to the world’s outcasts and lifts her light to guide their steps to their new home.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Lazarus' ''The New Colossus'

Again, the speaker startles the reader, by quickly reversing her claim that the carriage riders passed the setting sun; it appears that the sun actually passed the riders. And without further comment about the reversal, the speaker claims that a certain frigidness engulfed her as the air turned cold and dew began to form.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Looking Back from Eternity

By the last stanza, the speaker has descended into total madness as she screams: "There’s a stake in your fat black heart/And the villagers never liked you./They are dancing and stamping on you./They always knew it was you./Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through."

The poem is an example of contrived adolescent bullying of man who has died, and the reader has no evidence from the poem that he deserved any of the evil that has been heaped upon him.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Plath's 'Daddy'

And the heir, the child of such graces, will prove that the old man was a handsome beauty in his younger days by the very fairness and boundless beauty the child will possess, having inherited it from his well-endowed father: "Proving his beauty by succession thine!"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 2

Ordinary sentences turned into comical stories with wicked punchlines as he spoke, and the audience rapidly dissolved into gales of laughter that built into a storm of hilarity. I found myself bent double, tears of hysterical mirth rolling down my cheeks, when suddenly it dawned on me that I was the straight guy, and I was on next.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Paws for thought

Poem: "Dishwater" by Ted Kooser from Delights and Shadows. © Copper Canyon Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 05, 2007

Poem: "To Hold" by Jean Nordhaus, from Innocence. © The Ohio State University Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 12, 2007

[Brad] Leithauser's not kidding: in the "Angles" part, he writes about beetles, mushrooms, millipedes and ants; the rare human is no bigger or more expressive than these mites of the forest floor. His view here is telescopic as well as microscopic, though, and he writes too of the solar system, the moon and earth, a falling star, snow.

from David Kirby: The New York Times: Human/Nature

Those of us who have hunted morel mushrooms in the early spring have hunted indeed! The morel is among nature's most elusive species. Here Jane Whitledge of Minnesota captures the morel's mysterious ways.

Morel Mushrooms

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 102

Indeed, The New Yorker now treats poetry almost exactly as [Dana] Goodyear suggests the Poetry Foundation does--as a brand-enhancing commodity. Rather than actual discussions of poetry as an art, The New Yorker offers "profiles" of poets, which are distinguishable from profiles of, say, United States senators only in that the poets' stories potentially include more references to bongs.

from David Orr: The New York Times: Annals of Poetry

The lines of this poem that are often quoted, and that recall the murderous bombing of a book market, are the first two lines of Yeats's final stanza. They bear repeating:

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare.

Contrary to the notion of the poet as a dealer in fantasies, while politicians must deal with reality, this poem deplores the brutal fantasies of rhetoric.

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

According to the Poets House, an organization in New York City that started displaying an annual collection of new American poetry books in 1993, about 2,000 poetry books are now published in the U.S. each year. Given that fact, having three Montague poets [Kristin Bock, Elizabeth Hughey, and Christopher Janke, all] with first books in the works is quite a coincidence.

from Andrew Varnon: The Recorder: Poems that bind

Then he was to go away for they were birds ever going and coming, building ever an unlasting home under the eaves of men’s houses and ever leaving the homes they had built to wander.

Bend down your faces, Oona and Aleel.
I gaze upon them as the swallow gazes
Upon the nest under the eave before
He wander the loud waters.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: The augury --James Joyce

There is a view in which all the love of our neighbour, the impulses towards action, help, and beneficence, the desire for stopping human error, clearing human confusion, and diminishing the sum of human misery, the noble aspiration to leave the world better and happier than we found it,--motives eminently such as are called social,--come in as part of the grounds of culture, and the main and pre-eminent part.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: A case for culture —Matthew Arnold

Readers want to see man shaping his destiny or, at least, struggling with it, and this is the stuff of history. They want to know how things happened, why they happened, and particularly what they themselves have lived through. . . .And now more than ever, when man's place in the world has never been so subject to question, when "alienation" is the prevailing word, the public also hopes to find some guidelines to destiny, some pattern or meaning to our presence on this whirling globe. . . .

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: The Historian’s Opportunity --Barbara Tuchman

Bottleneck by Louis MacNeice

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Bottleneck by Louis MacNeice

by Coleman Barks
Calm in the Midst of Lightning

from Guernica: Poetry: Four new translations of Rumi

'D Store'
By Patrick Dobson

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'D Store'

Poet's Showcase
By Katie Lashbrook

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

by Jack Gilbert

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Elegy

The Graveyard Shift
by Nicholas Christopher

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Graveyard Shift

The Team of Workhorses
by Robert Bly

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Team of Workhorses

Scotland's largest poetry festival, StAnza, begins in St Andrews on Wednesday, celebrating its tenth year with a galaxy of poetry readings. One of the stars is Jenny Joseph, whose characteristically wry, even disconcerting, poem on the commercial art market is taken from her Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, £8.95).

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: Cutting off one's ear for someone else is wrong

Dulles Access Road
By Stephen Burt

from Slate: Dulles Access Road--By Stephen Burt

Derek Mahon's versions of the Swiss-born French-language poet Philippe Jaccottet, later collected in the volume Words in the Air (Gallery Press, 1989), were one example of a perfect match. The title poem of the collection was published in the TLS of June 19, 1987.

Words in the Air

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Words in the Air" by Philippe Jaccottet

Poetic Obituaries

[Gary Azon] was the arts editor and columnist for Downtown magazine for 10 years beginning in the mid-'80s, and he was an organizer of art, poetry and political events.

from The Villager: Gary Azon, 57, Downtown photojournalist, art critic

[Jean] Baudrillard, whose simulacrum departed at the age of 77, attracted widespread notoriety for predicting that the first Gulf war, of 1991, would not take place. During the war, he said it was not really taking place. After its conclusion, he announced, imperturbably, that it had not taken place.

from The Guardian: Jean Baudrillard

At a time when conservative poets were reluctant to write poems on subjects relating to the down trodden, P Bhaskaran wrote number of poems and revolutionary songs for the Party, without any hesitation. He never thought that the association with the Left would amount to shrinking of creative genius.

from People's Democracy: The Sunset Of An Era

Theodore F. Brunner, a retired UC Irvine classics professor who helped establish the world's largest computerized database of the Greek language, revolutionizing the way scholars research ancient texts, has died. He was 72.

from Los Angeles Times: Theodore Brunner, 72; UC Irvine professor created Greek database

[George Seymour Gabb] burst upon the Belizean art scene during the mid 1950s with his signature woodwork pieces of the rare high contrast zericote hardwood turned on a lathe.

With time he progressed from sculptures in mahogany and zericote, to poetry and drama.

from The Reporter: George Seymour Gabb, Artist extraordinaire passes

During his tenure there, the union published more literary works than at any other time.

[Mohammed Hussein] Haitham fed the literary movement in Yemen with poetic and prose creations.

from Yemen Observer: Haitham: A literary candle extinguished

Mohammed Hayawi, a bald bear of a man, stood in his shop, the Renaissance Bookstore, along Baghdad's storied Mutanabi Street.

On shelves eight rows high rested books by communist poets and martyred clerics, translations of Shakespeare, predictions by Lebanese astrologers, a 44-volume tome by a revered ayatollah and a tract by the austere medieval thinker Ibn Taimiyyah.

from The Washington Post: The Bookseller's Story, Ending Much Too Soon

Excerpts from the poem, "I Am" written by Cody Holp, shared his own hopes for his life. The poem was passed out to the approximately 1,500 mourners attending his funeral.

"I dream big so I have something to strive for in the end."

from Middletown Journal: Overflow crowd pays respects to player killed in bus crash

After retiring, he [Sidney Karlin] moved to Sarasota from New York City in 1975.

He also enjoyed gardening, writing poetry and following local politics.

from Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Retiree discouraged youth from smoking

"Tribute to our Harmilda"
[by Dorothy Mathews]

from Northwest Herald: Local poet helped name Harmilda

[Brian Charles] Obey's sister, Missie, said her brother was also a talented writer and singer who had worked with their famous aunt, Buffy Sainte-Marie. He was writing poems up to the day he died, she said.

from CBC News: Gallery owner mourns 3 slain artists

Most teachers wouldn't feel compelled to show their respect for their Advanced Placement English students by writing a poem for them in the school newspaper.

But then again, Linda Oshinsky was more than a teacher. Stratford High School legend is a more apt title.

from The Post and Courier: Stratford High laments death of teacher, 54

Veteran Pashto poet Saifur Rehman Saleem died of cardiac attack here Thursday. He was 77.

from The News: Eminent Pashto poet passes away

A master of orchestration with a passion for literature and indigenous musical traditions, [John Holland] Thow produced a series of works featuring unusual instrumental combinations and vivid texts.

from UC Berkley News: John Thow, internationally acclaimed composer, dies at age 57


News at Eleven

"There are no Americans or Iraqi politicians here--there are only Iraqi intellectuals who represent themselves and their homeland, plus stationery and book dealers," said Abdul Baqi Faidhullah, 61, a poet who frequently visits the street. "Those who did this are like savage machines intent on harvesting souls and killing all bright minds."

from The New York Times: Baghdad Car Bomb Kills 20 on Booksellers' Row

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

This little poem is really a version of Paradise Lost in eight very short lines.

from The Guardian: The invisible worm

As Auden had written in the face of Hitler in 1939, "All I have is a voice/To undo the folded lie." Yet a mere voice can still outlive an ogre. Only 21 years after he wrote those contemptuous lines about the Soviet army in Prague, it was words alone--and poets and singers--who brought down the edifice of falsehood and brutality that had been imposed on Prague.

from Los Angeles Times: Auden: A poet for our times

The Vietnamese government has announced that it is to award a prestigious prize to four poets--50 years after they were imprisoned and their works banned.

Hoang Cam, Le Dat, Phung Quan and Tran Dan were part of a movement which criticised life under communism but which was crushed in the late 1950s.

from BBC News: Vietnam recognises jailed poets

Security service MI5 tried and failed to covertly interview the poet WH Auden over his connections with KGB double agent Guy Burgess, according to archive papers declassified on Friday.

Burgess, part of the "Cambridge Five" spy ring that penetrated British intelligence during World War Two, had phoned Auden twice on the eve of his defection to the Soviet Union in May 1951.

from Reuters UK: Auden evaded MI5 quiz over links to spy

"But I lived for 30 years with, to my mind, one of the best poets in the world. I'd have to be an idiot to have learned nothing.

"I had no idea that poems would come into my life. I think I have George to thank for that, among all the other gifts he gave me."

[--Kathyrn Starbuck]

from Tuscaloosa News: Scribbles to poetry

The reader can view these on a Web site ( but failure to reproduce even some of these with the poems seems hard to justify. Frieda Hughes is an award-winning visual artist as well as a poet, and a project such as she has undertaken here needs to be judged also on the integration of visual and verbal.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poets' daughter faces midlife with art

'The great and the good' is the kind of thing we get rather too much of in [Simon] Armitage: he will slide in an ironic modernism when he can. [Bernard] O'Donoghue's 'in style: not a care in the world' is not quite so trendy, but is still fitted on like a prefabricated part. (And although he has forsworn alliteration he does have 'leading lords'.) Is either of these an improvement on Tolkien?

from London Review of Books: Who has the gall?

[Edwin Morgan] responds with "Gorgo and Beau", a robust dramatic dialogue between a cancer cell and a normal cell. The former regards his like as such all- conquering heroes "Homer would hymn them". The normal cell speaks of suffering:

Afternoon. Chemo man hunched on bed
Vomiting into his cardboard bowl, and I mean vomiting,
Retching and retching until he feels in his exhaustion
His very insides are coming out

from The Guardian: The lifeline of love

[Robert] Faggen calls [Robert] Frost's notebooks a "laboratory" and so they seem. What they capture is a figure bent on examining above all how to say things he considers true. "I have made a life study of what I can say," Frost writes. For "all we have learned is clouded with a doubt."

from Los Angeles Times: He only made it look easy

Frost and Eliot represented dueling sensibilities, the empirical and the transcendental. In contrast, Longfellow intended his narrative and lyric poems---genres disdained by modernists---as inspiriting guides to the nation's honorable past and challenging future. Yeats ascribed Longfellow's popularity to his accessibility---"he tells his story or idea so that one needs nothing but his verses to understand it."

from Newsweek: Longfellow: A Founder

Great Regulars

In the debris left behind by a flooded river he [Roger Moulson] imagines seeing his elusive neighbour Mary ("the way she dressed/like a princess in clothes she never washed/and wore to rags"), recast half as Ophelia and half as the Lady of the Lake: "I looked deep in the willows/fearing to see lodged in a twisting fork a face, a limb, a hand offering an apple."

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: Over the world's edge

"In the beginning were the words.
After that I heard the boom."

Where did that come from? "Every time something happens like an explosion or suicide bombers," she [Agi Mishol] says, "when we watch television, somebody, a witness, always says, 'and then I heard the boom.' Being a poet, I want to 'taste' this sentence. I must put it in a poem."

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: With Agi Mishol in the Farmlands South of Tel Aviv: "And Then I Heard the Boom"

On the other hand, if it bothers me so much, I could of course just stay away from the cinema altogether. But here's the thing: as far as I'm concerned, these books are MINE. I don't want to have to boycott the film; I want to know why, when it came to casting decisions, I wasn't consulted.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Stay out of my library, Hollywood

"We have poets and visual artists whose work deserves national recognition. I wish more of the York poets would submit work for publication."

And for poets who might not aspire to achieve national recognition just yet, [Carol Clark ] Williams points out that the local poetry scene has plenty to offer.

from Bill Diskin: The York Daily Record: Poetryork: National attention does not distract local poet

Here is something for the Sylvia Plath fan, a self-portrait at the age of 17, done in pencil. What would you price it at? The catalogue (which is often a good read) tells us that Plath was a "modestly able amateur artist", but that her watercolours and oils tend to "heighten the imperfections of her technique".

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Catalogue of concerns

And if a non-Hiroshima survivor, even a Westerner, wants to try to imagine those thoughts and feelings, as [David] Dwyer did in creating the elderly Ariana, he is perfectly within his rights to do so and to try to publish them, as long as he does not try to deceive the publisher and the public into thinking that those works were created by a true Hiroshima survivor.

Why is this not obvious to Kent Johnson?

from Linda Sue Grimes: The Araki Yasusada Hoax

At the urging of her mother, [Edna St. Vincent] Millay entered this poem, originally title "Renaissance," into a poetry contest that was intended to select pieces to appear in a publication called The Lyric Year. The poem placed fourth, but those who placed above her were embarrassed when they read the poem and realized it was far superior to their own efforts.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Millay's 'Renascence'

In the couplet, "Pity the world, or else this glutton be,/To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee," the speaker asks the young man to take pity on the world, because he is consuming what the world should have by lavishing all his attention on himself

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 1

In the couplet, the speaker implies that he is so sure of what he has just dramatized about the nature of true love, that if anyone can prove him wrong, then he never wrote and no one ever loved. This assertion places his potential adversary in a very difficult position, for we know he has written, and we also know others have loved.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 116

With their exhaustive yet riveting work, Israeli writers Koren and Negev give us a full picture of the woman Hughes once called his "true wife and the best friend I ever had."

The Assia Wevill of their biography is dramatic, quick-witted, Old World sensuous, imperious, and uneager to settle down with one man.

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: The other woman became, like Plath, a suicide

Those big cherry flavored wax lips that my friends and I used to buy when I was a boy, well, how could I resist this poem by Cynthia Rylant of Oregon?

Wax Lips

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 101

The final poem in Linda Gregerson's new book is an extended meditation on a Nobel-winning discovery about cell death and regeneration in the common roundworm C. Elegans. The poem, "Elegant," ponders a scientific vision of death's relation to life. Its pages also contemplate intellectual beauty.

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

"He lived his whole life in an absurd universe of pain," she [Isabel Gómez] said [of Antonin Artaud]. "Many have said that he was a prophetic and magical poet. In my book, I wanted to pay homage to his poetry, enter into dialogue with it, and in some way let him know that people today continue to be the same tormented beings."

from Cate Setterfield: The Santiago Times: Chile's Poet of Madness Launches New Book

Poetry: At Kinko's

Mustafa Paul Bergner

from The American Muslim: Poetry: At Kinko's

Poetry: Flies and Fools
Abu Hassan

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Flies and Fools

Poetry: I Am Not An Ethnic National
Samar Luberto

from The American Muslim: Poetry: I Am Not An Ethnic National

Poetry: Modesty

by Ayesha Ansari

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Modesty

Poetry: Mouth *
Michael Wolfe

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Mouth

London by William Blake

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: London by William Blake

By Lindsey Martin-Bowen

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner

By Judith Bader Jones


from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

[by Kevin Young]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

I was trying to honor this history, and make up my own Confederates, from Gwendolyn Brooks, who opens the book, to Lionel Hampton, the jazz musician, to my friend, Filippe Wamba, who died.

This is "Redemption Song," a poem about personal grief but also about the transformative power of beauty and the healing power of time.

'Redemption Song'

from PBS: Newshour: Young's New Poetry Collection Retraces the South

Place can be defined by its physicality "'like the rocks commonly found there'" and we are certainly often defined by our place; sometimes even more so than by our lineage.

For Grace, My Granite Girl
[by Tammi Truax]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Spotlight Poems from the Hoot:

"The Gaijin in the Teachers' Room in December"
Wakamatsu, Japan
By Freeman Rogers

from Slate: "The Gaijin in the Teachers' Room in December" By Freeman Rogers

Latterly, he [DJ Enright] was a director of the publishers Chatto and Windus; the following anecdotal poem, published in the TLS of June 30, 1978, stems from this period.

Anecdote from William IV Street

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

At the Mikveh, Age Four
Maureen Sherbondy

from Zeek: At the Mikveh, Age Four: Maureen Sherbondy

Variations on a Theme by Wiesel
Richard Chess

from Zeek: Variations on a Theme by Wiesel: Richard Chess

Poetic Obituaries

Robert Busby is being remembered as the man who revived Old Town, then welcomed all newcomers to make the place magical.

Rina Risper, resident: "If you were performing at the Creole Gallery, you were somebody, so he gave us the opportunity to be somebody."

from WLNS: Community Outpouring for Busby

Tonight we regret to report that on Thursday night well known Belizean philosopher, poet and sculptor George Seymour Gabb passed away at his home following a prolonged illness.

from Channel 5 Belize: Belizean icon George Gabb dead at 79

[Sgt. Jeffrey L. Kirk] also loved to write poems.

"It was like he knew. He wrote a poem for me and had it framed for my last birthday present," Lisa Kirk said.

from The Orange County Register: Marines honor one of their own

[Waterloo Village] also hosted pop concerts and ethnic festivals and the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival has called Waterloo home for 20 years.

"He was really one of New Jersey's incredible figures, and he left behind a tremendous legacy," said former Gov. Tom Kean, a friend and supporter [of Percival Leach].

from The Star-Ledger: Percival Leach, founder of Waterloo Village, dies

Tom [Leygraaf] was talented in poetry. This is an excerpt from his poem "My flower my wife." Now when life's autumn frost touch your petals as time passes by. Then me & my flower will wither & die, but what better way for life to pass by then being together my flower & I.

from Appleton Post-Crescent: Leygraaf, Thomas J. "Elvis"

"I was having trouble back then with the 'Spread Love' track," [Bill] Myers said. "I called my cousin, Jason, to see if he wanted to come in and do some rap lyrics."

Jason showed up and rapped, "Bullets are flyin'/brother are dyin'/father are tryin'/mothers are cryin'."

"In those lyrics he outlined what we're living through," Myers said.

from The Indianapolis Star: Slain father showed promise in the arts

"He was a revered professor," Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School, said [of Rev. B. Davie Napier] in an interview with The Times this week. He was also known as a charismatic preacher and a poet. He wrote his first book, "From Faith to Faith," in 1955 while he was at Yale.

from Los Angeles Times: Rev. B. Davie Napier, 91; civil rights activist led Pacific School of Religion

Gardening was just another facet of [Terry] Russell's creative side. He was a watercolourist, photographer, poet and gourmet cook.

"I think essentially he was a very creative person," says Bess Jillings, who knew Russell for about 40 years between Regina and here.

from Times Colonist: Volunteer helped tame Abkhazi Garden

[Henri Troyat] published his most recent work, a biography of poet and novelist Boris Pasternak, last year.

"A day without writing gave him a feeling of sin," his friend and fellow member of the Academie Maurice Druon wrote in Le Figaro newspaper in a tribute to mark his death.

from The Moscow Times: 'Born Teller of Stories' Troyat Dies

American poet Emmett Williams, a founder of the Fluxus movement of performance-oriented, avant-garde art of the 1960s, died at the age of 81 in Berlin.

Williams became a prominent part of the European faction of the Fluxus movement with its first performance festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1962, The New York Times said.

from The New York Times: Emmett Williams, 81, Fluxus-Movement Poet, Dies


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