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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

"Somebody said, well wasn't it preventable, but don't you know if it was preventable we would have prevented it? Thirty-two people are dead--four colleagues and a lot of students. We didn't ask your parents to send you to us so we could send you back in a box. Of course we would have prevented it. I taught that boy. I thought he was evil." [--Nikki Giovanni]

from CBS2 Chicago: Renowned Poet, Va. Tech Professor Speaks In Peoria

"I don't want to be accusatory, or blaming other people," [Lucinda] Roy said. "I do just want to say, though, it's such a shame if people don't listen very carefully, and if the law constricts them so that they can't do what is best for the student."

from San Jose Mercury News: Evil or vivid? Hard to discern

The poem starts with a teacher coming into a class and announcing the theme for the day would be violence and it would be a lesson "you'll never forget."

The teacher then cuts, hacks and shoots students.

from Calgary Herald: Mom decries violent poem

Because of my recycling, the bomb squad came, then the state police. Because of my recycling, buildings were evacuated, classes were canceled, the campus was closed. No. Not because of my recycling. Because of my dark body.

from New America Media: War on Terror Reaches the Poet

A good place to start on this urban poetry walk is the bus stop at Maple and Grant avenues, where the Langston Hughes poem "Mother to Son" is posted. Written in the early 1920s, this plea to a disheartened son was inspired by Hughes' landlady, who encouraged him as he struggled to find work after dropping out of Columbia University, according to E. Ethelbert Miller, a poet and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University in Washington. (Read the poem.)

from USINFO: Urban Poetry Walk Takes Verse to the Streets

Today, many of Montreal's finer poets work in relative obscurity, by which I mean that they have often been omitted from influential anthologies, from the syllabi of university courses and from the shortlists of major national literary awards. The chief accomplishment of Language Acts is in reviving critical interest in these poets.

from The Gazette: Anglo Montreal as poetry hub

The waiting rooms of history were disgorging millions onto the city pavements, the battle was on. He needed to find a foothold in the precarious city, it was so easy to go under. But like the protagonist of the poem, he never really felt at home in the city; it turned my father from a poetry-loving man to a mechanical, self-absorbed one.

from Tehelka: 'A Metropolis of Destinations, a City of No Return'

It's a druggy poem, written at a druggy time. The voice, which [Edward] Dorn handles with mad aplomb, continually transforms from hipster to Hollywood cowboy to mock literary, spouting scientific terms and speculations on the nature of language as it all proceeds, vaguely in the direction of Howard Hughes in Las Vegas.

from The New York Times: Black Mountain Breakdown

[David] Kirby continuously tries to reinvent what a poem can mean. In Ultra Talk, he writes, "[F]or the greatest part of our common Western history, the poetry was, though quite formal, entirely unrhymed. Those were the days ... almost everybody went to a poetry reading at least once a week. They called it church."

from Creative Loafing: David Kirby: Flights of fancy

Another painting by [George] Romney depicts one of [William] Hayley's poetic heroines, Serena, sitting forlornly in a pastoral setting, draped in a classical dress in white -- the colour of melancholy.

from 24 Hour Museum: Poets in the Landscape at Pallant House Gallery Chichester

In its command of language and rhythm, it has the assurance that is unique to the mature Shakespeare.

Though only 18 lines long, it's a precious addition to the canon, a tiny taste of what poetic glories would await us if only Love's Labour's Won ever turned up.

As the dial hand tells o'er
The same hours it had before,
Still beginning in the ending,
Circular account still lending,

from Telegraph: Is there a lost Shakespeare in your attic?

Great Regulars

Sherman Alexie's read his fiction and poetry to musical accompaniment many times, but never to the music of Jim Pepper.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Alexie said from his home in Seattle. "I love Pepper's music. I'm not really a big jazz aficionado, but Joy Harjo gave me a CD of Pepper and I really got into it.

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: Taking flight in words and music

The poems, written in the popular ballad style of the 1920s and 1930s, celebrate hobos, prostitutes and, above all, her fugitive lover.

In one, entitled I'll Stay, [Bonnie] Parker writes:

Just like the ramblin' roses
Round the porch in summer do
Tho all the world forget you
That's the way I'll cling to you

from Olivia Cole: The Sunday Times: Found: Bonnie's ballads to Clyde

The rhythm is so compelling that I found a few years ago I had it by heart without ever having consciously learned it ...

Tamer and Hawk by Thom Gunn

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: After war yesterday, today another love poem.

I'm not so keen on the first stanza and final line, which feel to me slightly superfluous, but [Tobias] Hill's portrait of the intimate glimpses afforded from the train is one I cherish. I highly recommend the whole collection, in fact - there's a fantastic 12-poem sequence that charts the city's changing face over a year. Great stuff.

To a Boy on the Underground

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: Another week, another poem of the day . . . this time on summer in the city.

And I love the unashamedly demonstrative tribute of the final section's abbreviated heroic couplets.

What a poem. I should warn you that I am now sitting at my computer, spoiling for a fight with anyone who presumes to disagree!

In Memory of WB Yeats by WH Auden

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: The best thing Auden ever wrote (in my very humble opinion . . .)

[Yeats] didn't publish the poem at the time he wrote it for fear of upsetting Lady Gregory, and one can see why.

Separately, these poems are superb; read together, they're devastating. And in terms of war poetry, they blow Owen, Sassoon et al out of the water.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: Finally, some Yeats.

So, in honour of my experience, and with apologies for the crashing solipsism, I give you a poem by the wonderful Anne Stevenson, a sometime resident of the north-east, whose lines on the Tyne and its bridges always come into my mind whenever I cross the river on the train to - or from - home.

On the 17.14 out of Newcastle by Anne Stevenson

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: Today, something from Anne Stevenson.

His poems are all heavily copyrighted, so here's the marvellous opening, and a link to read the rest of it somewhere more official.

In Country Sleep by Dylan Thomas

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogblooks: Poem of the day: What a day--time for some Thomas.

But what seems deadening in a single poem becomes beguiling as the poems accumulate. By limiting herself to fundamental nouns--knives, pails, snow, hearts, ice--[Sasha] Dugdale creates a spare, mythical tone that fits itself perfectly to the elemental Russian landscape in which much of her collection is set.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Staying still

And he [Stan Hugill] tells us that there were many songs of African-American and Latin mixture, around southern Mexico and British Honduras:

A de hala hombre poquito mas,
Down below for rolling go!


Chyrra me Yankee, chyrra me rao,
What's de matta de loggin' no go?

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Songs of the sea

But purpose of the poem is clear: it says, "we're better than you because we adhere to a vague sense of self-righteousness"; it consists of ideological talking-points that demonstrate a blind political stance, ungrounded in historical fact or the reality of current events.

Kudos to [Charles] Bernstein, however, for writing a poem that is bad for you. He's a man of his word.

from Linda Sue Grimes: 'The Ballad of the Girlie Man'

She and her big hips move in an expansive universe of large, profound ideas and significance that transcends the little ideas of petty thinkers like the minds that would call a big mama an unkind name because of the size of her hips.

She says, "these hips/are free hips/they don't like to be held back."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Clifton's 'homage to my hips'

Then he supposes that being African American does not make him all that different in the things he likes as other races. So the question occurs to him: "So will my page be colored that I write?"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Hughes' 'Theme for English B'

The tone of the wind's deep roar, the porch sagging under time's sway, the leaves behaving like a snake all add up to "something sinister." Then the speaker surmises what is causing all this somber and sinister activity: the word is out that he is in the house alone. His secret has somehow gotten out.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Robert Frost's 'Bereft'

Now, it is becoming clear that the speaker is once again comparing the young man's youth to nature; just as trees were once useful with their full branches, the green or youth gets bundled up and is "Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 12

You know the sound economy of fathering offspring, because you yourself had a father, so let your son say the same thing. Get busy and marry and produce sons!

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 13

The sun is hot, that is why the wax wings melted. No one notices that Icarus fell into the sea, even though there was a splash, which meant that Icarus was drowning.

The poem focuses on the fact that such a significant event is portrayed as insignificant to the people in the poem who were not drowning. The event was "unsignificant" and "unnoticed."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Williams and Auden

Looking at the array of styles within the 60 works in the collection, I had to ask: At what point do pieces that move and make noise have more in common with other forms--film, maybe, or installation pieces--than with traditional fiction or poetry?

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Getting a handle on just what is e-literature

While wishing death on another human being is extreme, noise does funny things to people; neighbours have been known to kill one another over noise, and persistent or interruptive noise, the kind that prevents any continuous cognitive thought process, can make a person genuinely ill if they have not already succumbed to a murderous impulse.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Duck-billed platitudes

Poem: "875" by Emily Dickinson.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of April 23, 2007

Houdini never gets far from the news. There's always a movie coming out, or a book, and every other magician has to face comparison to the legendary master. Here the California poet, Kay Ryan, encapsulates the man and says something wise about celebrity.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 108 (pdf)

"Lucky Jim" also loosed in Kingsley [Amis] an almost unceasing flood of productivity--poems, essays and journalism, as well as novels. At the end of his life, when he was suffering the effects of a lifetime of hard drinking and possibly of early Alzheimer's, he was unable to give up the habit of hours at the typewriter, even if it was just to type the word "seagulls" over and over.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: The Amis Inheritance

Plausible explanations for the general--though not absolute--indifference include an insensitive population, a culture out of balance, the overwhelming power of context, and the elusive nature of beauty. A more optimistic possibility would be that people on their way to work automatically resist, and perhaps unconsciously recognize, the anarchic and disruptive power of beauty.

William Butler Yeats's "The Fiddler of Dooney" suggests that idea:

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

Khaled Nusseibeh


from The American Muslim: Poetry: Aggrieved

Audacity to speak

Mirza A. Beg

During the long night of colonialism, Urdu poets gave voice and sustenance to the freedom struggle of India. In the Urdu cadence, this poem is dedicated to all yearning to be free.

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Audacity to speak

Khaled Nusseibeh

Forbidden Tree

from The American Muslim: Poetry: Forbidden Tree

Elegy in a Kensington Churchyard by Muriel Spark

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Elegy in a Kensington Churchyard by Muriel Spark

Three Poems by Jon Woodward


from Guernica: Poetry: Average

Four New Translations of Paul Celan

by Ian Fairley

I hear the axe has flowered,

from Guernica: Poetry: Four New Translations of Paul Celan

'First Person Inventory'
By Janet Conner

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'First Person Inventory'

By Dan McCarthy

How Do You Break Up with a Friend Like Jonah

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

Beagle or Something
by April Bernard

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Beagle or Something

The Room
by Stephen Dunn

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Room

smitten with Spring
[by Lori Ubell]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Alexander Steussy
Cherry Hill High School East
I Lack All and Reason

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem

With the coming of the John Murray Archive to Scotland, an ideal way to reacquaint ourselves with an old friend is by dipping into Lord Byron: Poems (£3.99), a new volume from Faber & Faber's series where contemporary poets introduce writers from the past. This volume is introduced by Paul Muldoon; here is one of his choices.

So, we'll go no more a-roving

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: So We'll Go No More A Rovin'

"In-Flight Couplets Composed During a Bomb Alert"
London-St. Petersburg, Aug. 14, 2006
By Alfred Corn

from Slate: "In-Flight Couplets Composed During a Bomb Alert" - By Alfred Corn

'Mild Ward of a Mental Clinic' by Elizabeth Jennings

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: 'Mild Ward of a Mental Clinic' by Elizabeth Jennings

Poetic Obituaries

In Memory of All Those We Have Loved and Lost

from Virginia Tech: In Memoriam: April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech expresses its shock and profound sadness regarding the tragic campus shootings of April 16, 2007. To honor and remember the victims, this website has provided an opportunity for those within the university community and around the world to share condolences, thoughts, and prayers.

from Virginia Tech: April 16th Memorial Website

For the most part, the campus of Virginia Tech looked like any other on Monday, a week after the nation's worst mass shooting. Students, laden with overstuffed book bags, shuffled across the sidewalks and greens, cradling cups of coffee and bottles of water. Books were open on desks, and chalk scratched across boards.

from The New York Times: Virginia Tech Struggles to Return to Normal

Click on a photo to learn about the individuals who were killed in the shootings at Virginia Tech, and share your memories of the victims.

from The New York Times: The Victims

Thoughts and prayers from those on campus and around the world continue as we remember those who lost their lives.

Click On The Names Below To Learn More About Those Who Lost Their Lives At Virginia Tech:

from CBS News: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech: In Memoriam: Victim Profiles

The identities of Virginia Tech victims have been slowly revealed Tuesday. Here are remembrances of some of those who died.

from NPR: Virginia Tech's Victims

Photos of the VT Massacre Victims

from Fox News: Photo Essay: The Victims

My mother [Margaret Dorothy Killam Atwood] loved to read aloud: All three of her children got the benefit. She was a hilarious storyteller and an alarming mimic, although, unlike her sister Joyce Barkhouse, the children's author, she had no interest in writing. She composed only one poem in her life: It was about flying, the kind with wings, a feat she never accomplished.

from Globe and Mail: Margaret Dorothy Killam Atwood

James Campbell, 32, a teacher in Toronto, said his father [Archie Campbell] had "the soul of a poet" and loved literature, reading to his two children when they were younger and even offered to recite poetry from his death bed.

"He was a very poetic and passionate man," Campbell said of his father.

from News1130: Archie Campbell, 65, judge who headed SARS, Bernardo inquiries, dies

Tran Bach Dach or Tu Anh had a rich revolutionary life. As a journalist, Dang, whose real name was Truong Gia Trieu, was well-known for his incisive commentary on the government's policies regarding corruption, the welfare of the poor and labourers, and many other issues.

from Nhan Dan: Tran Bach Dang--fine writer dies at 82

A nationally acclaimed Chaucer scholar who published more than 40 scholarly articles and authored The Epic Voice, [Rodney] Delasanta will be remembered as an outstanding scholar who cared deeply for his students and made a lasting influence on the college.

from The Cowl: 'He was a Renaissance man'

The death on Good Friday of one of Nigeria's finest script writers and poets, Obinali Ebereonwu in a ghastly motor accident sent shock waves across his friends, his colleagues in the Nollywood industry, friends and kinsmen in the literary clime.

from Vanguard: Ebereonwu: In memoriam

Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier, both 16-year-old students at Melbourne's Upwey High School, were missing for a week before their bodies were found yesterday, hanging from a tree in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

From last December to February, on one of her websites, Jodie posted three odes to suicide, the second one titled Suicide in the Night.

It reads: "It's over for me, I can't take it! I hear it over and over again, It feels like it always rains.''

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Death pact teen's grim poems

Dr. [Kelsie B.] Harder wrote or edited more than 1,000 articles, books, reviews, notes and poems, and presided over organizations like the American Name Society, whose magazine he edited. He advised the Random House Dictionary and other lexicons and headed the usage committee of the American Dialect Society.

from The New York Times: Kelsie B. Harder, Name Expert, Dies at 84

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, poet laureate of Tulare County, lay dying but began dictating "Apparition" a few weeks before she finally stopped breathing.

"It was peach time August
And we worked so gladly
And the dim packing shed

from The Fresno Bee: Tulare County poet laureate kept writing until the end

[Essop] Patel had been a judge in Pretoria for the past four years.

'He was not one to compromise quality'

Patel was extremely meticulous and thorough with his work, [Bernard] Ngoepe said. As a result he would sometimes appear to others to be a bit dilatory. "But he was not one to compromise quality. He was also a scholar, a writer and a poet of note. We have lost a dedicated judge."

from Independent Online: High Court to honour Judge Patel

[James Benson Scoville] founded Scoville Fish Hatchery, raising mature northern pike for the purposes of stocking local lakes. He also raised pheasants, ducks, and wild turkeys. Mr. Scoville was a noted collector and historian of Plains Indian artifacts and Western artists and illustrators. His collection is known as "The Scoville Museum of the Indian Wars." He was also a fine artist and poet.

from The Chicago Tribune: Scoville, James Benson

Lucia Thibodeaux was just 16. She wrote poetry, danced hip hop and had a beautiful singing voice.

from St. Petersburg Times: 2 killed as girl steps in motorcycle's path

[Amy Whitt's] artistic abilities were multi-faceted. Her eye for details, whether in pen and ink or in clay, were incomparable. She loved to read, collect and write poetry. After being disabled in a car accident, she became a loving and devoted mother and homemaker who was committed to helping others with debilitating illnesses and physical disabilities.

from The News Journal: Whitt, Amy


News at Eleven

Poet Nikki Giovanni, the final speaker at the prayer service, delivered a rousing speech and then raised her arms to encourage the chanting crowd. (Watch Giovanni stir the crowd with a cry of 'we will prevail' )

"We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while," said Giovanni, an English professor at the southwestern Virginia university. "We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech," she said. "We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly. We are brave enough to bend to cry, and sad enough to know we must laugh again."

from CNN: Shooting victims remembered with 'hearts full of sorrow'

[Nikki] Giovanni makes clear her call for a poetic response in the 21st century: "When love calls it must be poetry that answers bringing the sweet perfume of gentleness as our hearts pound and pound; when courage calls it will always be poetry that answers as we rise above ourselves to bring about a better thing."

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Giovanni hails the 'Acolytes,' sounds the call for power poetry

"I said he could go ahead and collect (the letters) but he's going to publish them without me seeing the book," [Les] Murray said [of Peter Alexander]. "It's ruined and it won't happen. This is theft."

from The Australian: Murray says book of letters is 'theft'

The recent death of her [Gillian Allnut's] mother yields grief-struck grapplings with childhood memories and the evasiveness of family truths--the bare lines breaking off, like interrupted haiku. [Yves] Bonnefoy regards "interruptions" as integral to the poetic experience, throwing it back into the world of time.

from The Guardian: A shrewd eye on the world

"She did scream, rather loudly, and asked, 'Is it for real?'" [Paula] Vitaris said [of Natasha Trethewey]. "I assured her it was, and she was overcome."

Later on Monday, students and colleagues greeted her with cheers and applause as she arrived at a gathering for visiting author Edmund White at the Callaway Center.

from The Emory Wheel: Faculty: Professor Wins Poetry Pulitzer

In fact, when talking about her writing process during the question-and-answer session, Oliver said the first thing she does is "kill all the adjectives I can" but adds that she's not afraid to "risk the word beautiful."

Her voice sounds like a Mary Oliver poem -- melodious like the waters of Blackwater Pond, one of her favorite sites and subjects near her home in Provincetown, Mass.

from Go Triad: Poet has feet planted firmly on ground

"Even famous poets such as Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams were rarely asked to read their poems." But hearing a poem read aloud "can be like reading it many times. You have a helping hand to get you into the poem. You have an actual body, an actual voice, and a series of gestures."

from The Christian Science Monitor: Donald Hall: an advocate for the understanding of poetry

Poet, teacher, and curator Kevin Young offers an even loftier proposal.

"A book of poetry can change one's life," says Young, the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and Guggenheim-winning author of five collections of poetry.

from The Christian Science Monitor: Poet Kevin Young teaches 'to liberate all the voices'

[Mark] Doty is a capital "L" literary writer who separates his chapters of narrative with brief "Entr'acte" -- short meditations on topics such as dog names and photographs, grave sites, time and God. These observations alternate between pithy -- "The saddest dogs in the shelter are the ones without any names" and downright sententious: "Sometimes I think the place where God is not is time; that is the particular character of the mortal adventure, to be bound in time, and thus to arrive, inevitably, at the desolation of limit."

from The American-Statesman: Mark Doty's 'Dog Years'

Some poets might balk at the notion of explaining the meaning of their poems to an audience.

But not Tony Hoagland.

"I don't mind that at all," he said. "This is a process of education as well as art."

from Winston-Salem Journal: An Elbow To the Ribs: Poet says he likes to shake folks up a bit, show reality


By Kurt Vonnegut

from The New York Times: Worship

Great Regulars

Still, poems such as C.D. Wright's "Remarks on Colour" appear to have all elements pistoning at once. If, at first glance, we classify "Remarks" as a list poem, then it can be read as an ode to ideas about color or even as a meditation on color, as the title suggests.

But Wright's 41-item catalogue has an accumulative effect, too.

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry

As a poem, it's very far from being perfect: the need to maintain the structure forces [William] Empson into some contrived rhymes ("rills" and "shrills", in particular, feel awkward) and the inversion of noun and verb in the first line jars unpleasantly, but the creeping ominousness of the "poison" and the potent sense of dread conjured by the repetition of "the waste remains" are, I think, irresistible.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the day: Unconvinced by yesterday's Daljit Nagra? How about some Empson?

Allow me to present to you, therefore, one of my favourite love poems: an untitled sonnet from ee cummings. Generally speaking, he's not an out-and-out favourite of mine--I find him too whimsical a lot of the time--but here, he balances his linguistic playfulness with big, solid, simple nouns (as in the "sun" and "star" of line 12) to produce an almost incantatory paean to the power of love.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the day: Yesterday, death; today, love.

About a year ago, I was struggling to understand the options I had for living in a more earth-friendly way--for reducing my negative contributions to the global warming crisis. After reading some suggestions that environmentalist Bill McKibben had made on the Nature Conservancy Web site, I wrote to him to express my frustration and ask his advice.

from Bill Diskin: The York Daily Record: Poetryork: Slowing climate change one conversation at a time

I write out the poem in a storytelling way so I can get a strong beginning, middle and end. Only then do I rework the words a hundred times into a poetic form and meter. Then I add rhyme last. [--Jenny Whitehead]

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Verse your kids in poetry

But somewhere in the reader's memory is the same sight, having observed a bird's rapid eye movement, but here the poet's dramatic portrayal gives the reader back that memory.

It is absolutely correct, a perfectly accurate observation, that those little black eyes "looked like frightened Beads." And then the bird's head began to move: "He stirred his Velvet Head."

from Linda Sue Grimes: 'A Bird came down the Walk'

"Beware the Jabberwock , my son!" From that command alone, the reader understands that the Jabberwock is a dangerous thing, but the next line underscores that understanding quite in sensible English, "The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!" And then "He took his vorpal sword in hand" shows that the lack of an adjective does no damage to understanding the importance of the action.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky'

Finally, the speaker tells the visitor to do as he pleases, and if his pleasure results in fatality, "And your grave will be this glass of wine, / Your epitaph--a tear;/Go, take your seat in Charon's boat;/We 'll tell the hive, you died afloat."

Such fun poems reveal that [Philip Freneau,] the "Father of American Poetry," who was also the "Poet of the Revolution," enjoyed his musing more than fussing over politics.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Philip Freneau

About "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Garrison Keillor, who habitually bemoans the fact that poetry is not always a barrel of laughs, has asserted, "a small, dark mopefest of a poem in which old Pru worries about whether to eat a peach or roll up his trousers? This poem pretty much killed off the pleasure of poetry for millions of people who got dragged through it in high school."

Keillor and his ilk, for whom old Pru killed off poetry, need simply to reread the poem with the attitude that the poem is not serious; it is making fun of certain modernist angst-ridden stances that were making poetry and the arts unintelligible and worthless.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Prufrock's Love Song

Much of McKuen's "poetry" is seriously flawed, but some of his poetry is actually better than some well-respected "poetasters" such as Robert Bly and Jorie Graham. Still, McKuen brought undo criticism on himself by calling himself a poet.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Rod McKuen

If one is not a pleasing individual with worthwhile qualities, then it is fitting that such a one should not marry and father children, but he asks the young man to realize that the young man is exceptional, he is gifted by nature bounteously, and he should "cherish" that bounty, not let it slip away without passing on those pleasing qualities.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 11

Those revolutionary heroes struggled to reach their worthy goals and did not try to shirk their duty. They could not be "bribed" to settle for less than victory; they did not sell out but struggled on valiantly for a peace with honor. Unlike his contemporaries, who seek the easy way out, who do not struggle against such evils as the war with Mexico and slavery.

from Linda Sue Grimes: The Vain Peaceful Noise

The peelers of apples are talking about the peelers that are policemen, and one wonders how close to the matters under discussion the men might be. The apple peelers all put down their knives, which I imagine also signals their sudden silence, except for the boy's father.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Apple of his father's eye

Poem: "Alaska" by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Fuel. © Boa Editions, Ltd.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac For the week of April 16, 2007

Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, and travels widely, an ambassador for poetry. Here she captures a lovely moment from her childhood.

Supple Cord

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 107

But lyric poetry also contains history, on a domestic scale. Rafael Campo's new book, The Enemy, along with poems responding to the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, contains "A Simple Cuban Meal," about the way a family dinner includes people who are no longer present in body:

We gather at the table, even those

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

Sheridan Hay's debut novel, The Secret of Lost Things, is altogether enchanting, not least by virtue of its exquisitely lyrical prose:

The labyrinthine city waited. It anticipated me. I was swallowed whole, surrounded by a populace buzzing and purposeful, a remedy for grief and a goad to it. I was utterly alone, and lived at first without the imposition of order, too scattered and overwhelmed to effect any. . . . My own voice was alien and took my ear strangely.

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: Through the prism of enchantment

In reality, when we read or contemplate an artistic production by a new author, the fundamental question which arises in our soul is always this: "Well, what kind of a man are you? How do you differ from all other men whom I know, and what new thing can you tell me about the way we ought to look upon our life?" No matter what the artist may represent, "saints, robbers, kings, lackeys," we seek and see only the artist's soul.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Commanded by art --Leo Tolstoy

But a literary critic should have no emotions except those immediately provoked by a work of art--and these (as I have already hinted) are, when valid, perhaps not to be called emotions at all. Coleridge is apt to take leave of the data of criticism, and arouse the suspicion that he has been diverted into a metaphysical hare-and-hounds.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Critics and critics --TS Eliot

For the month of April, we highlight the work of Dane Cervine.

The Jeweled Net of Indra

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Dane Cervine

Postcard from Paradise by Kapka Kassabova

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Postcard from Paradise by Kapka Kassabova

by Oni Buchanan
Where Are They Now, Unwilling Friends

What visions do they see in Siberian snow-storms?
What hallucinations in the circle of the moon?
--Anna Akhmatova, from Requiem, Dedication

The swans are angry, their beating wingtips studded in ice

from Guernica: Poetry: Two Poems

The Way I Am
by Mark Rudman
for G.J.

from Guernica: Poetry: The Way I Am

By Katie Lashbrook

Are Your Troubles Like Mine?

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

Geckos in Obscure Light
by William Logan

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Geckos in Obscure Light

Mercury Dressing
by J. D. McClatchy

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Mercury Dressing

To My Soul
by Jean Valentine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: To My Soul

"Civil Twilight"
By Terri Witek

from Slate: "Civil Twilight"--By Terri Witek

Poetic Obituaries

List of confirmed deceased

from Collegiate Times: Breaking News

[Helene G.] Andrian was a writer at the Lynn Sunday Post, Lynn Telegram, and Daily Evening Item. She wrote a column, "Sometime, Somewhere," for the Hellenic Chronicle for 17 years. She wrote for and served as editor of the St. George Bulletin.

She was past president of the North Shore Manuscript Club, where she had her poetry published. Her poetry was also published in the Lynn Item.

from The Boston Globe: Helene G. Andrian, writer, poet, at 95 (scroll down)

MarciAnna [Y. Rivera Bennington] enjoyed singing, writing poetry and making jewelry. She was a former cheerleader at Winnacunnet High School and a member of the ROTC program. MarciAnna had also earned a black belt in tae kwan do.

from Exeter News-Letter: MarciAnna Y. Rivera Bennington

Egon Bondy, a poet and philosopher whose idiosyncratic cocktail of whimsically demented verse and profoundly subversive metaphysics lubricated the underground movement that helped topple Communism in Czechoslovakia, died on Monday in Bratislava, Slovakia. He was 77.

from The New York Times: Egon Bondy, Czech Writer and Critic, Dies at 77

"This is the only person I know who could recite, without anything written in front of him, hundreds of poems," [Sidney] Poitier said [of Roscoe Lee Browne]. "He was a connoisseur of poetry. He made his living partially visiting places where poetry is revered, and he would perform, he would read, he would discuss, he would analyze poetry. He was a remarkable person in that regard, in addition to being a consummate actor."

from Los Angeles Times: Roscoe Lee Browne, 81; award-winning film, stage, TV actor

Melissa J. Curry was a quiet, innocent woman and an avid reader who wrote poetry, kept a journal and someday hoped to publish a book.

She loved the television show "Law & Order," and it was likely her fondness for the series that led her to take online courses to become a legal secretary, a friend said.

from Asbury Park Press: Woman found dead in Shrewsbury may have gotten lost months earlier

[Bob Dyer] wrote "Jesse James and the Civil War in Missouri," a book which won him a Missouri Heritage Series award from the University of Missouri Press. He published a collection of poems and recollections about the 1993 flood on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, a collection of his own poems and a history of his hometown of Boonville.

from Boonville Daily News: Boonville's Renaissance Man

Joy Holland--artist, poet, scholar, actor, fashion designer, neighborhood activist--died peacefully in her sleep April 3.

from Berkeley Daily Planet: Artist, Activist Joy Holland

Frances Spatz Leighton, 87, a prolific writer and journalist who made a career chronicling the lives of people who work backstage, backstairs or in backrooms in official Washington, died April 6 of congestive heart failure at Manor Care in Arlington. She lived at Lake Barcroft in Falls Church.

from The Washington Post: Washington Chronicler Frances S. Leighton, 87

[Kurt Vonnegut's] last book, in 2005, was a collection of biographical essays, "A Man Without a Country." It, too, was a best seller.

It concludes with a poem written by Mr. Vonnegut called "Requiem," which has these closing lines:

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.

from The New York Times: Kurt Vonnegut, Novelist Who Caught the Imagination of His Age, Is Dead at 84


News at Eleven

Over the next several days, he [Saad Eskander] wrote his thoughts in an online diary (

Monday, 5 March

This day will be always remembered, as the day when books were assassinated by the forces of darkness, hatred and fanaticism. . . . Tens of thousands of papers were flying high, as if the sky was raining books, tears and blood. The view was surreal. Some of the papers were burning in the sky.

from The Washington Post: An Archive of Despair

Indeed, although [Naguib] Surur was never prosecuted at the time for writing The Umiyyat, the Mubarak regime took legal action against his son more than 20 years later.

At one point in the poem, Surur addressed his young son and urged him to speak for him when he was gone.

from The Guardian: comment is free: One angry poet

"Poetry is not about sentences. It's about lines and it's about the music of the language. There is an inherent music in the American oral tongue and it seems to me that a word should not only be used for its definition but also its history, its baggage, its music, its sound, its possibility." [--Lucille Clifton]

from Evening Observer: Poetic Justice

"Contests like this often involve comparing apples and oranges. And I take the responsibility of judging very seriously. The choice I make reflects on the reputation of the press and the series, and I know first-hand how much such an award means to the poet who wins. It's not only a book. It's instant literary respectability."

from Inside CSULB: Webb Gives Back to Poet World

The last leaves fell like notes from a piano
and left their ovals echoing in the ear;
with gawky music stands, the winter forest
looks like an empty orchestra, its lines
ruled on these scattered manuscripts of snow.

These self-devouring figures, turning the toolkit of poetry into metaphor (the cane fields are "set in stanzas," his "ocean kept turning blank pages"), speak to something almost unsaid--writing was [Derek] Walcott's escape from the islands. The metaphors whisper their quiet acknowledgment of guilt.

from The New York Times: The Poet of Exile

Below: poet George Szirtes speaks from an in-between position that is neither British nor Hungarian; author Miroslav Jancic from the former Yugoslavia writes - in English - about the contradictions of ethnic and national identity and the fears of having joined another nation composed of smaller ones; and an anonymous Kosovo Albanian child recounts saying goodbye to the land of her childhood and stepping onto the shores of a new land.

from openDemocracy: "From Outside In: Refugees and British Society"

You write meaningless poetry, of course it's not going to have any effect on the world, and so the thing to do is to establish your meaningless poetry as a standard, to write poetry that caters only to the obscure and self-indulgent. A poet can do so much more, and if you travel around the world you see the effect that a poet can have on their society. [--Martín Espada]

from The Brooklyn Rail: A Bard from East New York: MartÍn Espada

[Juan] Pascoe's house buzzed with conversation. Instead of pulque, there were toritos to drink: ninety-six-proof alcohol with rice milk or (for the suicidal) peanut milk. With my own eyes I saw a group of Infrarealists (mission: sabotage) throw the contents of a glass over [Octavio] Paz (very smartly dressed, in an elegant blazer), who shook out his tie and continued the conversation with a smile, as if nothing had happened.

from The Nation: Bolaño in Mexico

A meditation on the faces of Civil War dead (Di Piero characteristically specifies both the photograph and the year the shot was taken) ends with an image of empty combat boots arrayed as a memorial to contemporary casualties, the boots "clownish and collapsed/for lack of feet they never fit quite right."

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poet offers a moving viewpoint rich in detail

Surely, in the interests of a lively creative culture, we can at least ensure that 10% of the paid price of a book goes to the writer? This might create some upward pressure on price, but it might not. It might just mean that the supermarkets' margins took some of the pressure, instead of everyone else's.

from The Guardian: It's a steal

"Publication was just one stage in the never ending reworking and revisiting of the his text. This is an excellent example of that process and it is an important addition to the collection we hold here," added David [Wilson].

from 24 Hour Museum: Rare Wordsworth Manuscript Secured by Wordsworth Trust

Great Regulars

David Grossman: You can see, in such distorted situations, like ours, how the language serves as a buffer between the human being or the society and the situation, between the individual and the politics of his or her government. And I think exactly here is the place where writers can change something in this situation.

Jeffrey Brown: So what can you change?

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: Author Explores Both Sides of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Most previous editions instruct the actress to kiss the dead Romeo and then stab herself, as if to portray the last kiss as restorative.

In the Folio version there is no instruction for Juliet to kiss Romeo. Indeed, the stage instruction to kiss occurs only seven times in the Complete Works.

from Olivia Cole: The Sunday Times: Cut that out, the Bard didn't write it

Today, though, a move away from the bucolic to something a little more robust. Inspired by liberaldogooder's quotation from the opening of Eliot's The Waste Land yesterday, here's my favourite chunk in full: the joyless coupling between the typist and the house agent's clerk--the "young man carbuncular".

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Poem of the Day: Our second National Poetry Month poem--a little bit of Eliot for you.

In honour of the quietude, then, here's poem about a moment of stillness by Don Paterson from his Whitbread- and TS Eliot-winning collection, Landing Light. It knocked me sideways the first time I read it and still has the power to bring tears to my eyes.

Waking with Russell

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Poem of the Day: Today, something by Don Paterson.

I'm delighted that so many seemed to enjoy Friday's Don Paterson poem, and decided to follow up today with another--very different--contemporary favourite of mine: Look We Have Coming to Dover! by Daljit Nagra.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Poem of the Day: After Don Paterson on Friday, here's another contemporary poem.

[Corporal Harold] Steward and [Lieutenant James] McAuley loathed the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Henry Treece, and other modernist poets, and they considered the modernist movement "pretentious nonsense." They decided to expose the poetry that reminded them of "free association" tests, so they assigned three rules for writing the nonsense that would debunk the avant-garde, surrealistic poetastry:

from Linda Sue Grimes: The Ern Malley Caper

Because these walls don't seem to want to stay repaired, the speaker repeats his opening line, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," to which he now adds, "That wants it down!"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Frost's 'Mending Wall'

As a music score has its individual parts that when combined produce a pleasing sound, a good marriage that produces pleasing offspring has the power to enrich the world in a like manner.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 8

Not only would the world weep like a widow, but it would also morn that fact that the young man left no pleasing heir to follow him.

A widow may continue to enjoy her children and in them the memory and appearance of the husband.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 9

The speaker does not want to believe that such "murderous" crimes of hatred are, in deed, maintained in the bosom of this pleasing young man. The speaker rhetorically asks the young man if it is easier to hate than to love.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 10

The song lyric is more dependent on rime and meter than the poem. The song lyric is usually less dense than the poem, that is, while the song may employ the same literary devices as the poem, it usually does so less frequently.

from Linda Sue Grimes: What is Poetry?

Then, the speaker begins to catalogue the various laborers he hears "singing": he first hears the mechanic, and each mechanic is working in his own special way, a way which the speaker qualifies as "blithe and strong."

Next, he names the carpenter whose song includes the measuring of planks and beams.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Whitman's 'I Hear America Singing'

The speaker beseeches Duty to guide him so he will become strong: "let my weakness have an end!" Slavery to the senses leads to ruin, but becoming a "Bondman" to Duty frees the heart, mind, and allows one to follow one's true self, the Soul.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Wordsworth's 'Ode to Duty'

"At first, a couple of the regular commenters took her seriously, argued with Pitney or insulted her, and others quickly figured out that she wasn't real. Some people have had some fun with her, playing along."

[Scott] Stein says it's not his intention to fool people; each site features a picture of the book's cover somewhere.

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Interactive fiction's latest twist--characters from novels blog

They imagine that they can control the vehicle despite insane speed and overtaking on blind corners in the belief that there is nothing coming, because today, of all days, they are "flying". The fate of Icarus becomes a metaphor for all whose conceit persuades them to risk hubris, and forget their human limitations when showing off in an attempt to glorify themselves.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Just drowning

Poem: "The Movies" by Billy Collins from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems. © Random House.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of April 09, 2007

By describing the relocation of the moles which ravaged her yard, Washington poet Judith Kitchen presents an experience that resonates beyond the simple details, and suggests that children can learn important lessons through observation of the natural world.

Catching the Moles

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 106

Their enduring images of beauty are staging posts in the continuing human search for a "paradise lost"--for the moments in which Piper said we "can see in things something significant beyond ordinary significance: something that for a moment seems to contain the whole world; and when that moment is passed, carries over some comment on life or experience besides the comment on appearances".

from Andrew Motion: The Guardian: Songs of experience

That people stopped to hear [Marian] Anderson's performance "everywhere" is not mere hyperbole: The performance was broadcast to a large, attentive radio audience. [Kevin] Young's poem is partly about broadcast media: Radio, with its "bouquet of microphones," enabled this historic event that still blooms along some central avenue of our national imagination.

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

[Emma Howell] returns again and again to certain images, building for the reader an emotional vocabulary. Colors, particularly green. The heft of gourds, squash, pumpkins. And the elements, particularly water.

And it's there, in the private obsessions, that Howell's lines can't be divided from her life.

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Poetry

by A. Rashid Siddiqui

We Wait . . .

from The American Muslim: Poetry: We Wait . . .

from one
by Jen Hofer

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry by Jen Hofer, from one

by Sean Flaherty
Jolly Rancher

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry by Sean Flaherty

by Steve Dalachinsky
rumor has it...... for raymond ross

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry by Steve Dalachinsky

Joking apart, the triolet is not a difficult form, but, as the 13th-century mirrors are turned in the hard light of the 21st, it is almost inevitable that we hear the creak of tiny hinges. Could there be such a thing as a great triolet (in the way that Dylan Thomas's 'Do not go gentle' is a great villanelle?) I suspect not, but I am happy to be proven wrong.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Carol Rumens' workshop

Flame by Elaine Feinstein

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Flame by Elaine Feinstein

The Star presents the second of three excerpts from the books that won the 2006 William Rockhill Nelson Awards. The poetry category was won by Kevin Prufer of Warrensburg, Mo., for Fallen From a Chariot.

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner

By Beverly Boyd


from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

Burial Rites
by Philip Levine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Burial Rites

The United States
by C. K. Williams

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The United States

"Bent Orbit"
Elaine Equis

from NPR: National Poetry Month 2007: "Bent Orbit"

W.S. Merwin

from NPR: National Poetry Month 2007: "Language"

"Oil & Steel"
Henri Cole

from NPR: National Poetry Month 2007: "Oil & Steel"

Michael Schmidt, founding editor of Carcanet Press and the journal PN Review--celebrating its 30th anniversary this year--and the first Professor of Poetry at Glasgow University, is less well known as a poet himself. The Resurrection of the Body (Smith/Doorstop, £8.95) is his recently published collection.

She spun a line. She knew he was listening to her.
She spun it and he took the fraying ends.

from The Scotsman: Conceit by Michael Schmidt

"A Volcano"
(Bartolome de Las Casas, Inferno de Marsaya, 1536)
By Daniel Tobin

from Slate: "A Volcano"--By Daniel Tobin

Tony Harrison's Collected Poems are published this week, on the poet's seventieth birthday. It is in the sixteen-line poems of The School of Eloquence, a sequence which assembled itself gradually over a number of years, that Harrison sets out his particular history as a child who transcends (and is subsequently separated from) a working-class background by the force of a learned articulacy."Continuous", one of the ninety or so pieces in the finished series, was first published in the TLS in 1980.


from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Poetic Obituaries

Bloggers in India have been mourning the untimely death of Shakti Bhatt, who passed away in Delhi last Saturday night after a sudden and unexpected illness. Shakti--who was in her mid-twenties--was the editor of Indian publishing house IBD's newly launched Bracket Books and the wife of well-known Indian poet Jeet Thayil.

from Global Voices Online: Bloggers in India Mourn the Untimely Death of Shakti Bhatt

A devoted Marxist and socialist, he [Egon Bondy] became one of Czechoslovakia's first anti-communist dissidents in the 1950s, and was a leading personality in the Czechoslovak underground in the 1970s.

Bondy also wrote lyrics for The Plastic People of the Universe, a nonconformist rock band banned by the communist regime, which jailed its members.

from International Herald Tribune: Czech poet, philosopher Egon Bondy dies at age 77

Only a few years older than his students, Father [John] Fogarty's first assignment was teaching English at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. His love of literature, particularly poetry, combined in a manner that taught students to dare to touch their own essence.

from Catholic Explorer: Memorial highlights priest's love of life, faith

Margaret [Frommherz] was a woman with great imagination and poetic ability that was exhibited at an early age. She won 4 1st places and 1 3rd place in a creative writing contest at Appleton High School in 1931, a record that was unparalleled at the time. Her poems appeared in many publications, both locally and nationally.

from Appleton Post-Crescent: Frommherz, Margaret M. (Brooks)

On April 5 the country public said farewell to People's Poet Gabil (Gabil Imamverdiyev), the renowned representative of Azerbaijan's contemporary literature, State Prize laureate, honor figure of art, individual scholar of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Corpse of the late was put on the pedestal on the stage of Azerbaijan State Theater of Song.

from Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani people's poet Gabil dies

Viola M. Gale, a poet and owner of Prescott Street Press, has died at age 90.

Gale, known as Vi, founded the publishing company in 1974. She was active in the business until her health began failing about three years ago.

from The Oregonian: Viola Gale, a poet and ally of others, dies

[Artie Gold] took chances in life and in his art, which to him were one and the same. And though he wrote:

I will hitch-hike out of here one day
with my hair in my eyes and a good breeze blowing
and cause a little confusion I'm sure--
though no more than a hair
discovered in a gravy

I disagree. Artie was more than a hair in the gravy, more like a pain in the heart. No picnic, Artie. Artie irritated life.

from The Gazette: The Real Thing: Artie Gold, Poet

[Helen] Holt's name will grace the existing library until it moves into its new space, which will bear her name, Graziano said.

In addition to her accomplishments during nearly 40 years as Lincoln's librarian, Holt was a published poet.

from The Des Moines Register: Lincoln librarian's legacy inspires memorial

[Clarice Smith Milam] loved playing with her grandkids. She always had something to show them in her woods and by the creek. They in turn, loved it when it was their special time to be with her. She gave them individual undivided attention, playing games, teaching them poems and making sock monkeys together.

from The Paper of Montgomery County: How to live to be more than 100

Painter, musician and poet, Lillian Vanous Nutt was a quintessential Annapolitan whose exuberance for the arts reverberated throughout the community.

from The Capital: Lillian Nutt, Annapolis artist, socialite dies

Rachel [Scott] was the first of 13 victims of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo. on April 20, 1999--the worst school shooting in American history. But her story began long before her death that day.

She kept journals, writing down thoughts and poems and in one final essay discovered hidden between her mattresses was a proposition for others.

from The Journal-Register: Remembering Rachel: Students, parents and teachers discover kindness and compassion through Columbine victim's story

National Poet G S Shivarudrappa has expressed deep grief over the death of his favourite student Poornachandra Tejawi.

GSS who grew nostalgic while expressing his condolences said that he discarded cities and embraced his hometown Mudugere his entire world.

from newindpress: GSS mourns death of his best student


News at Eleven

To mark National Poetry Month, is featuring a series of newly published works selected by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about this and other titles at the academy's New Spring Books list.

"Letter Home"
Pamela Alexander

from NPR: National Poetry Month Selection: 'Letter Home'

The poems selected this April are fresh in their diversity: funny, sad, shocking, honest and beautiful as "a music you never would have known to listen for," as Irish poet Seamus Heaney wrote. Enjoy.

from The San Luis Obispo Tribune: From soul to paper

[Nikki Giovanni] has a tattoo honoring the death of Tupac and listens to "Let It Whip" on her iPod.

She is not worried about poetry's popularity.

"Poetry, no more than opera, needs to be popular. If it was popular, something must be wrong with it," she said.

from Des Moines Register: Poet with a longtime passion for social issues comes to D.M.

The sonnet reminds us of [William] Wordsworth's best poetry, and tells Toussaint not to die, reminding him of his great feat which will live on. "There's not a breathing of the common wind/That will forget thee; thou hast great allies" among whom is "man's unconquerable mind."

William Cowper (1731-1800) is, however, the poet most quoted in the abolition movement.

from Stabroek News: Master of Public Health

Daniil Kharms died of starvation in 1942 in the prison clinic. Alexander Vvedensky died in 1941 during a prison transport. Nikolay Oleynikov was arrested and shot in 1937, Nikolay Zabolotsky was arrested in 1939, Leonid Lipavsky fell in the war in 1941. Yakov Druskin lived until 1980 in constant dialogue with the departed.

from Olga Martynova: The source we drink from

This play of fact and figure is crucial to my understanding of Confessional poems. I think one thing that marks the Confessional gesture is the attempted substitution of facts or the atmosphere of facts for figure and the atmosphere of figuration.

from Slate: Autobiography and Poetry

I walked into a room in Harat, in western Iran, and it said, "Harat Literary Association." It was the toughest audience I had ever faced. Unbelievable. But they seemed to approve of me. And they asked me about one American poet that you would never guess. They said, "What do you think of Charles Bukowski?" And I said, "I love him." And they said, "He translates really well into Farsi."

from Common Ground: Rumi's Timeless Resonance

"There are risks of sentimentality," he [Tony Harrison] says. "But my metre starts ticking in the presence of dumbness and inarticulacy. Coming from a very inarticulate family made me try to speak for those who can't express themselves, and created a need for articulation at its most ceremonial--poetry."

from The Guardian: Beats of the heart

"The next morning I tried to go shopping but had to abandon the idea because I was getting mobbed by people who had heard me on TV and wanted to thank me for the poem. To this day, someone in India would just come up to me and say they remember that night. The night when I went on TV and told the true story of the minority."

[Benjamin] Zephaniah is also known as Britain's most filmed and photographed poet--a 'title' that he is not proud of because it came about not through his poetry, but the political work and campaigns which he is involved in.

from The Star: Revolutionary poet

Later on, the grandfather's eyes are "dark, watery" and his neck is "thick and oily" as the teenage [Barack] Obama relishes the sound of words and begins to feel his way around the kinds of things they can do.

In one line Barack "shinks" away from grandpa, a strange word that, according to, means "an evasive sinking manouevre", which is clever and poetic.

from The Guardian: The lyrical Democrat

"We met 6,000 poets from across the Arab states and produced a shortlist of 700, which we slimmed to 48 for the contest here in Abu Dhabi," she [Nashwa Al-Ruwaini] says. This pre-production stage was shown as a three-hour documentary before the contest began its run on December 7, 2006, in the 2,000-seat Al Raha Beach Theatre.

from The Guardian: Declaim academy

Great Regulars

He was peeling an orange at that time, so I looked at him, and I said, "I will only listen to your orders if you give me half of your orange." And the soldier just looked at this crazy woman, and he didn't know what to do with me. He sat there, he peeled the orange, gave me half of it, and after that, he told me, "OK, you can go home now." [--Suad Amiry]

for Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: Palestinian Architect Now Rebuilds with Words

Stateside bloggers, meanwhile, are observing the month by posting a poem a day on their blogs, so in support of our American brethren and sustren, I've decided to do the same. Here's today's--particularly suitable for this time of year, I think--technically a month early, I suppose, but piercingly beautiful, whenever you read it.

The Trees by Philip Larkin

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Happy National Poetry Month!

"'Summer Evening' is one of about five poems I've written inspired by the rail trail in York County," [Marilyn] Neuburger says.

For Neuburger, who typically writes about family life, nature, traveling and world events, the rail trail offers a certain serenity--and connection with others--that she enjoys translating into writing.

from Bill Diskin: The York Daily Record: Poetryork: Rail trail inspires local poet

For a poet to forget about song would be like living in a house and forgetting ever to go upstairs, or not realising that the door at the end of the corridor led into the west wing, or strolling to the edge of your garden and thinking: there's a path over there leading down to the sea, but I'd better not take it . . .

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Song lines

And although the sentence seems to end, the idea continues in the next stanza with "Till"--I shall continue drinking until the highest order of angels remove their "snowy Hats," and saints hurry to the windows to watch me "Leaning against the--Sun--"; and these events will never take place: seraphs do not wear hats, and saints would hardly be interested in peering through windows to observe a "little tippler."

The poem, in the Johnson version, ends with a dash--indicating further that the speaker never has to stop her drinking, as those drinking the literal alcohol must.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Dickinson's Spiritual Intoxication

Snow is Literal not Metaphorical

The carpe diem reading results from interpreting "snow" in the last line to be a metaphor for the cherry blossoms. And while that interpretation is not impossible, the poem's achievement is greater if "snow" is taken literally.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Housman's 'Loveliest of trees'

The beauty of all the things portrayed in the octave pale in comparison to the beauty evoked by the "soul" to whom she is dedicating his sonnet, "To E." (Presumably, her husband Ernst Filsinger.)

The beautiful things described in the octave are natural phenomena, the "black silences" of night," the "shower of sunlight over Italy," and "water singing on the rocks," and the English lark, but there is also man-made beauty, the city of Ravello and the music of Bach.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Sara Teasdale's 'To E.'

In the second quatrain, the speaker calls time "never-resting" and compares summer to winter. But he modifies winter with the adjective "hideous." And winter is hideous because the sap in the trees can no longer flow smoothly, being "check'd with frost." He is metaphorically comparing the sap in trees in winter, when the cold prevents it from flowing smoothly, to the young man's blood in old age.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 5

In the second quatrain, the speaker shifts to a finance metaphor, by claiming that fulfilling his duty of producing offspring is a legitimate use of his beauty; by lending his beauty and fair qualities to his offspring, he makes the cosmos happy, as people who are willing to repay their loans are satisfied by complying with the regulations for borrowing.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 6

The speaker in Sonnet 7 "Lo! in the orient when the gracious light" begins his continuing entreaty of the young man to father a child by directing the young man to think about the passage of the sun through the day.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 7

But his emphasis is on the fact that the people as well as the whole atmosphere have changed, even the "drunken, vainglorious lout," whom he disdained has changed. And once again, in stanza three, he repeats, "A terrible beauty is born."

Stanzas four and five focus on a philosophical musing about how the heart becomes hard whether one is steadfastly dedicated to a cause or simply sacrificed too long.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Yeats' 'Easter, 1916'

U. A. Fanthorpe's poem Spring Afternoon makes me feel there is something slightly surreal in the air the moment the doves purr in the trees. Doves, when they coo, do sound rather as if they are purring, but since purring is associated only with cats, the use of the word elicits a sense that the world we are about to be presented with is not a normal one.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Spring shadows

Poem: "Notes from the Other Side" by Jane Kenyon, from Constance. © Graywolf Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of April 2, 2007

[Derek] Walcott is aware that the African diaspora echoes the ancient diaspora of another people: "not Anno Domini," he writes, but "After Dachau." Poetry, for him, is the human compensation for an absent god and an absent faith: "Never get used to this, the feathery, swaying casuarinas,/the morning silent light on shafts of bright grass,/the growling Aves of the ocean, the white lances of the marinas,/the surf fingering its beads, hail heron and gull full of grace. . . ."

from Karl Kirchwey: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Derek Walcott selection invites deeper reading

I've talked often in this column about how poetry can hold a mirror up to life, and I'm especially fond of poems that hold those mirrors up to our most ordinary activities, showing them at their best and brightest. Here Ruth Moose hangs out some laundry and, in an instant, an everyday chore that might have seemed to us to be quite plain is fresh and lovely.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 105

The music wasn't turned up high, but it rocked sufficiently that the anesthesiologist bobbed his head, the O.R. nurse tapped her toe, and the member of the team in charge of all the clamps and retractors drummed his fingers on the instrument tray. "It all depends on who's in the room," Dr. [Atul] Gawande said of his selections. "You can't play anything hard-hitting if there's anyone over 45."

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: Atul Gawande Rocks in the O.R.

Whether or not buyers believe the picture is of [Jane] Austen will make a big difference to the sale, of course, and so Christie's is auctioning the painting in its New York salesroom, presumably on the theory that Americans are less apt to get bogged down in historical nitpicking and may not care that the National Portrait Gallery has turned down the Rice Portrait on five different occasions.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: Pretty Words, Jane; Would That You Were Too

Poetic attention gives the circumstances of a moment in one life some of the enduring qualities of myth. Here is an extraordinary poem of that kind from Tom Sleigh's new book, Space Walk:

The Hole

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

Unlike most modern fictional sleuths, with their proletarian bona fides, Dante hasn't a democratic bone in his body. He's a snob, both intellectually and socially. In fact, he's a misanthropic crank sorely in need of anger management. A great poet, no doubt--and no one is more aware of this than he--but only a so-so human being.

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: Medieval poet an unlikely crime sleuth

Often the night got into my head as it had done in the boarding-house in the Brompton Road, and I would wander till dawn in all manner of odd places-liquor-shops, gambling-and opium-dens, which are not a bit mysterious, wayside entertainments such as puppet-shows, native dances; or in and about the narrow gullies under the Mosque of Wazir Khan for the sheer sake of looking . . . Much of real Indian life goes on in the hot-weather nights.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: All in a day's work --Rudyard Kipling

Life has sucked my belief out of many things. But in poetry, there faith remains mostly whole. Often my poems hide from me throughout a whole winter. They're hanging out below the ground, groveling with earthworms, but I can't believe that. My faith in writing falters, until spring calls it back.

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Faith, Doubt and Poetry

Pain by Shi Tao

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Pain by Shi Tao

[Judy] Kaber uses the same 'riddle' technique. As we read the poem we remember the story anew--and remember the fated pregnancy cravings and the garden of luscious vegetables. Every clever metaphor and simile in the poem is green and cabbage-inspired, and as we read the poem and enjoy the play of these, our enjoyment suddenly seems out of place, we are wrong-footed--this is a tragedy, after all.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Parallel worlds

'0 4 33'
By Jon Herbert Arkham

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner '0 4 33'

By John Clifford

Acting Like a Parent

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase

First Passion
by Mary Kinzie

from The New Yorker: First Passion

Lincoln's Dream
by Dan Chiasson

from The New Yorker: Lincoln's Dream

[by Charles Simic]

Country Fair

--for Hayden Carruth

from The Oregonian: Poetry: Country Fair

By Sarah Anderson
Midnight Awakening

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem

By Daria Tavana
Eastern Regional High School
Soapbox in Salem

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem

By Kyle Wang

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem

By Niara Wright and Angelique Humber
We're Sisters

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem

Poetry inspired by works of art has a long history. At the March Hoot, Jane Vacante read this lovely and imaginative poem:

Figure in Front of a Mantel

a painting by Balthus

from Portsmouth Herald News: Spotlight Poems from the Hoot: When art becomes more than a visual

"I believe poetry is a primal impulse within us all," Stephen Fry declares in his new book, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. Anyone who can speak and read English can write poetry. "Poetry is made of the same stuff you are reading now, the same stuff you use to order pizza over the phone."

from Powells: Review-A-Day: The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within

Beside the Eden River in East Cumbria winds a poetry path, featuring 12 short poems by Meg Peacocke, carved into stone: an exhibition of the poems and landscape photographs is on at the Scottish Poetry Library. This hill-farmer poet is alert to what connects us to our places and to distant friends.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: To a Friend in America

"Wild Mustard Remembers"
La Carbonera, Lammas 1842
By Jim Powell

from Slate: "Wild Mustard Remembers"--By Jim Powell

"The Hunt By Night", published in December 1980, became the title-poem of [Derek] Mahon's collection of the following year. It derives from a painting displayed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

The Hunt By Night

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Philip Terman

The Exile

from Zeek: The Exile and The Shank: Two Poems by Philip Terman

Poetic Obituaries

"He was a beautiful, beautiful man and he didn't deserve to die like this. Why didn't anybody help him?"

Family and friends are grappling with the death of [John] Crews, 60, a man they described as a hard-working, outgoing person who adored art, music and poetry.

from Long Beach Press-Telegram: 'He didn't deserve to die like this'

[H.S. Dilgir] was former chairman of Department of Mass Communication of PU.

He will be remembered as a poet par excellence, a journalist, a dear teacher, an author, film producer and above all as an excellent human being.

from Punjab Newline: Dilgir lives long even after his death

"He was so intelligent and such an asset to the city of Groveland," [Doris Thompson] Davis said. "He was so knowledgeable for us--for the council and for me. I was the first woman mayor, and if I didn't have Sherb, I wouldn't have made it."

[Sayward] Sherburne retired in 1998 and moved to New Port Richey. He continued his cartooning and wrote poetry.

from Orlando Sentinel: Sayward Sherburne: 1936-2007

[Mary] Techmeier, who had a degree from a Belgian university, earned a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a doctorate from Laval University in Quebec, then went to work at St. Norbert in 1966.

After retiring and gaining professor emeritus status, she wrote a semiautobiographical novel, "The Memoirs of Catherine Herbaut," which was published in 1995. She also wrote poems and short stories in English and French.

from Green Bay Press-Gazette: Longtime SNC French professor dies

Shimon Tzabar, who has died aged 81 of pulmonary infection, was a renaissance man: painter, writer, poet, and satirist, as well as an amateur mycologist--he discovered and named at least one species of mushroom. Above all, he was a rebel.

from The Guardian: Shimon Tzabar


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