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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

Hay in your headphones

Can't make Hay this year? Never fear: we'll bring the festival to you with our daily Hay podcast - or Haycast, if you will. Presented by Sarfraz Manzoor, the 30-minute programme will be full to the brim with interviews with our pick of the festival's authors, features on Hay fashion and bookshops, and roundups of the daily highlights.

from The Guardian: The Guardian's daily Hay podcast

Or . . . if your taste runs toward the grisly, you and your Muslim extremist cronies might offer $11,319 on the open fatwa market to buy a head; specifically, the head of "notorious woman" and dissident writer Taslima Nasreen.

Separated from her body, of course.

from The Morning Call: Fatwah can't silence 'warrior woman' poet

A brief return only turns the knife for the exile.

"You feel that it is not your home that is in your mind, that it's somewhere else," Bei Dao said. "It belongs to a strange world to which you don't belong."

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Exile from land where royalties talk replaces culture

"No-one escaped," he [Oumar Farouk Sesay] says.

"Status did not matter. I began to realise that soon we all would exit and then I began to consider what would be left behind. This is why I wrote My Will."

from BBC News: Sierra Leone's poems of war

Namdeo [Dhasal] is a guerrilla poet. In one phrase, one line, he'll juxtapose dialect and the slang of Kamathipura with European references in very sophisticated Marathi. These shifts and transitions of register make translating him very hard. Translating someone like Namdeo is in a sense like Method acting--you have to find a space for him inside you, make room, and then act it out. [--Dilip Chitre]

from Tehelka: Street Fight Poet

It rained the whole time we were laying her down;
Rained from church to grave when we put her down.
The suck of mud at our feet was a hollow sound.

The woman being buried is, one presumes, the poet's mother, but Native Guard doesn't have the whiff of the personal the way so much contemporary poetry does.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poems give voice to the forgotten

[Roderick Joseph MacSween] is considered one of Canada's most significant literary essayists and reviewers. And if that isn't enough, literary critic and poet Louis Dudek eulogized him as our "great unknown poet."

So why don't we know more about him?

from The Halifax Herald: MacSween: Canada's 'great unknown poet'

We know that the world into which a child grows is always substantially different from that of his fathers, not only in terms of its physical changes, mores, attitudes and temperaments but also in terms of other subtle but substantial qualities to which his father has been desensitized as a result of the latter's extreme intimacy with the world. It is the recognition and apprehension of these qualities that make literary generations.

from Vanguard: Writers extending literary frontiers

[Gary] Snyder argued to the contrary that nuclear waste remains a serious threat, and further, that any move toward nuclear energy and the large-scale enrichment of uranium would surely increase the risk of the spread of nuclear weapons. He bluntly called Lovelock's plea for more nukes "demented," and warned the crowd:

Keep your eyes peeled for trick arguments trying to lead us back to nuclear power.

from Grist: Gary Snyder: James Lovelock's arguments for nuclear power 'demented'

"I had my own bedroom and I think it was a way of getting a bit of space. My grandfather gave me Alice in Wonderland when I was seven and I loved it so much that, when I finished it, I started writing some more of the story for myself. That book tipped me into this world of making up stories." [--Carol Ann Duffy]

from The Guardian: The great performer

Our first visitor was a blonde French woman wearing fishnet stockings, crop top and an over-sized belly-button ring, who asked us where we would like her to perform.

"Wherever you like!" we said, shifting nervously on the bed.

She elected to stand while she read us a selection of risqué rhymes, pausing only to smile seductively.

from The Argus: Poetry Brothel on Muesli Mountain

Great Regulars

And to whet your appetites, you can listen now to our preview Haycast, in which Sarfraz talks to Claire Armitstead, Clare Purcell of the Hay festival office and me(!) about what's coming up at this year's festival.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Listen to our Haycast preview programme

Catching the train from Paddington to Hereford at the end of May is definitely one of the highlights of my year: those of you who've been up there in years past will know that unless you're a rigorous upholder of the Derridean view that il n'ya pas de hors-texte, there really is nowhere better for a book lover to be than Hay.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hooray! We're off to Hay

In these few quiet moments before the crowds descend, the festival site feels oddly unconvincing - like a school without children, or a film set without actors. The walkways, food stalls, picnic tables and deck chairs are all in place, but nothing comes to life until the people are here to fill them.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: Settling in

The festival is also taking its role as a pioneer of ethical, organic, locally-sourced eco-tasticness more seriously then ever: there are stand-pipes from which to fill your water bottles, solar panels dotted about the place and bins for all your different rubbish needs.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: stand back, it's all kicking off

Sarfraz [Manzoor] talks to Beryl Bainbridge and her documentary film-maker grandson Charlie Russell about Beryl's Last Year. Beryl superstitiously believed she was going to die at the age of 71 and Charlie followed her for the year as she contemplated her own death. And books editor Sarah Crown talks to Steven Hall about his debut novel The Raw Shark Texts.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Haycast: Beryl Bainbridge on death and Steven Hall on memory

They have a board up outside the event decorated with dozens of words chosen by festivalgoers - from the sublime (freedom, peace, passion) to the ridiculous (gobbledigook, gallivanting), and even (philofocus, dodihendron) the made-up.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: the power of words

Education Action, one of the festival's official charities, is using the 'Words for the World' campaign to draw attention to their support for education for children in conflict zones. Festival visitors are being asked to donate £1 to add their favourite word to a pinboard outside the charities' tent, and Education Action is calling on everyone from authors and journalists to politicians and members of the public to visit the website and add their own favourite words.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Hay snorkles for top words

Anxiety-inducing as it undeniably is, however, I'm finding the podcasting side of this year's festival deeply enjoyable, and even managed a Guardian scoop of sorts when talking yesterday to David Mitchell, who revealed--exclusively, ladies and gentleman!--that his next book will be (and I quote) "a historical, Dutch-Japanese novel set in the Napoleonic war". Bring it on.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: I'm anxious, it's pouring, they're dancing

Literary editor Claire Armitstead talked to Kiran Desai about her Booker-winning novel The Inheritance of Loss and Sarah Crown asks David Mitchell, author of Black Swan Green, what is was like writing a conventional novel.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Haycast 02: Gordon Brown, Kiran Desai and David Mitchell

The pounding rain and tent-bowing wind were the perfect sound effects for this wild, natural poem: when [Simon] Armitage stood at the front of the darkened stage, lit up like an oracle, words and weather came together in a moment of symbiosis the equal of which I haven't seen at this festival or any other.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: A dark and stormy Simon Armitage


AA Gill, in a pinny, serving almond tart at the River Cafe event.

Dara O'Brian picking up where AC Grayling left off, on the dance floor at the Sky party.

A teenager picking her way through the mud, muttering, "This is worse than Glastonbury."

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Hay festival: Why is AA Gill in a pinny?

Sarfraz Manzoor talks to Dave Eggers about his latest book What is the What, a memoir of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee separated from his family during the Sudanese civil war.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Haycast 03: Dave Eggers, Ian Rankin and a gastronomic tour of Hay

Sarfraz Manzoor takes a look at what poetry is on offer at Hay. He talks to Sarah Crown about the Poetry Gala, which finds seven poets reading their work, then Gillian Clarke takes us on a tour of the Poetry Bookshop.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Haycast 04: Poetry Gala, Gillian Clarke, Richard Dawkins and Clive James

In the second quatrain, the speaker continues to compare the attributes of the poem to those of a woman. He finds a woman to have bright eyes, but the poem's eyes are even brighter and "less false in rolling." And what the poem gazes upon becomes gilded: it saves for future generations the subject that is placed into it.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 20

She is smoking and the cigarette is almost down to the butt, being "fifty seconds from her fingers". If it burnt more quickly, the glowing embers might reach her skin and wake her in time to save herself.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Driven to the edge

Poem: "The Wind Blows High" by Anonymous. Public domain.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac:

In libraries and back rooms and parents' basements, men and women just like me are sitting at computers with stacks of books around them, legal pads full of notes, Post-its, index cards, photocopies, and they are trying to not answer the phone or check e-mail, trying to meet a deadline. It's like a lingering illness: There are good days and bad days.

from Garrison Keillor: Star-Telegram: Of making many books there is no end

Though the dog chose domestication, cheerfully enjoying human food and protection, most of the world's species look upon us with justifiable wariness, for we're among the most dangerous critters on the planet. Here Minnesota poet Freya Manfred, while out for a leisurely swim, comes face to face with a species that will not be trained to sit or roll over.

Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 113

[Peg Boyer's] reference to a central incident in E.M. Forster's novel A Passage to India operates as allusion should, as a compact, rapid inclusion of themes: in this case, the ambiguity of events, especially erotically charged events, the sinister underside of privilege, the prolonged receding and the long reach of colonial history, the interweaving of private life and social reality:

Playa Colorada

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

Just as one wouldn't try to see the whole state in a day, the poems are best read a few at a time. Individually, they are like postcards. Wish you were here, the best seem to say, and you may find yourself wishing to visit. Before long. Before the tide comes in.

Night Beach (from "Deer Drink the Moon")
[by Peter Sears]

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Natural enchantments rule in Oregon poetry

For my part, when I read the delirious mirth of an unskilful author, I cannot be so barbarous as to divert myself with it, but am rather apt to pity the man, than to laugh at anything he writes.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: False humour --Joseph Addison

While the poems are often delicate and grounded in a moment of particular calm, they also can bite, sting even, as their full import sinks in. I want to end with a small selection of his [Taneda Santÿka's] work, poems written during the fall over a number of years. All translations are by Burton Watson from "For All My Walking" (Columbia University Press, 2003).


from Good Times Weekly: Poetry: Along Comes Taneda Santÿka

Prelude by Derek Walcott

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Prelude by Derek Walcott

Wholesale Romania
by Chris Tanasescu translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Martin Woodside

from Guernica: Poetry: Wholesale Romania

Excavating 95th and Metcalf
By H.C. Palmer
(For Sharat)

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'Excavating 95th and Metcalf'

By Rachel Baker

Eating a Hershey Bar!

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: By Rachel Baker

By Stephanie Heinbockel

It was like any other day.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: By Stephanie Heinbockel

By Tara Lemma
West Deptford High School

The Wedding

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: By Tara Lemma

By Keeleigh McGowan

Inside This Object

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: By Keeleigh McGowan

By Coral Rudnick
Hammonton Middle School

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: By Coral Rudnick

Homeland Security
by Marvin Bell

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Homeland Security

Never-ending Birds
by David Baker

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Never-ending Birds

by Elizabeth Macklin

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Wise

The poet Nick Drake's first collection, The Man in the White Suit, won the Forward Best First Collection prize in 1999. This second collection features a moving sequence of poems about the death of his father, poems which are no less intense or beautiful for the obvious ambivalence of the relationship they portray.

Along the study wall, maps of his world

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week

"Two Novembers"
By Laura Van Prooyen

from Slate: "Two Novembers"--By Laura Van Prooyen

Poetic Obituaries

[Frank Borchardt] loved poetry, and was renowned for expecting his students to memorize German verse. He himself was learning Goethe's Faust by heart during the last months of his life, and recited its Prologue for his colleagues at one of their final gatherings in March.

from Duke University News & Communications: German Studies Professor Frank Borchardt Dies

The following poem was written by S. Bose, a writer-poet (Tamil) from Vavuniya, Sri Lanka and was translated by a friend of mine for Global Voices Online readers. Chandrabose Sudhakar or S.Bose was shot dead by armed men in his own home on April 16th, 2007.

from Global Voices: Sri Lanka: S. Bose (1975-2007), Poet, Editor & Writer

The family has dedicated two trees on Westwood Avenue in River Vale, each with a plaque in front of it, as a memorial for [Dave] Buschow. One plaque is inscribed with one of Buschow's favorite quotes: "Grow wild according to thy nature," and the other with a poem he wrote titled "Wind Chimes."

from The Record: Family sues school over desert death of River Vale hiker

Pi [Chun-deuk] became known as a distinguished poet and modern essayist. His masterpiece essay "Inyeon" (Karma) is included in middle-school textbooks in South Korea and remains etched in the memory of a majority of Koreans.

from The Korea Times: Master Essayist Dies

How many times Major Robert Neal Collins, Sr. (1921- 2007), US Air Force Veteran of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, flight instructor, lover of flying, read or quoted "High Flight" by John Gillespie McGee, Jr., I know not. But the poem so characterizes Mr. Collins that I reproduce it here in his memory and for our consideration as we observe Memorial Day, 2007.

High Flight

from Union Sentinel: A Memorial Day Tribute to Major Robert Neal Collins Sr.

[Sayed Jamel] Houssein was a poet and humanitarian who served as the "ambassador" to the United Nations from the Afghanistan government-in-exile during that country's war and occupation by Russia in the 1980s.

from Houston Chronicle: Houssein, poet, retired businessman

[Mary Agnes Johnson] was a member of the Fortnightly Study Club, the Writer's Club and the Piano Teacher's Club. Mary wrote many poems over the years, some of them eventually becoming published.

from The Mining Journal: Mary Agnes Johnson

[Elke] Parker shared a poem Sean [Kennedy] had written that she discovered in his room.


from Towleroad: SC Hate Crime: Mother of Sean Kennedy Speaks Out

[Shirley] Klein was especially known for her sensitive poetry that ranged from deep personal experience about love and desire for companionship to noting the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act to writing poetry specifically for rallies and protests that drew thousands of people.

from California Disability Community Action Network: Shirley Klein, Beloved Friend, Poet and Advocate Passes Away at Age 74 in Nevada City, CA--"Celebration of Life" Memorial to Be Held Saturday

As well, tucked into the pages, was an essay on Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson and a brief poem Jordan [Manners] had written in 2002: "I was outside walking in the snow/snow like a warm blanket/that warms the earth."

A 10-year-old boy from Jane-Finch who wrote poems and drew mature pictures and showed, from all indications, that he was a jewel, someone who could rise successfully from these mean and impoverished surroundings.

from The Toronto Star: 'Don't die, Jordan,' best friend pleaded

[Theodore (Theo) Morris] once showed me some poems he had written. I guess he was seeking my encouragement, as he would have been well aware that I could not properly evaluate the quality.

from Stabroek News: I knew Theo since the fifties when we would meet at his great aunt's home in Buxton

Roy Ringer, a longtime aide and speechwriter for former California Gov. Pat Brown who later worked as an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times, has died. He was 88.

Ringer, who in retirement had been actively engaged in his passion of writing poetry, fell ill suddenly and died Sunday of pneumonia at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, his wife, Vivian, said.

from The Los Angeles Times: Roy Ringer, 88; longtime aide to California Gov. Pat Brown

During his years of teaching, he [John Robbins] also ran the soap box derby, coached various sports and special tutoring. He married Phyllis Huse on June 2, 1951, in Elcho. John enjoyed landscaping, politics, music and poetry.

from Green Bay Press-Gazette: Robbins, John

Noted young poet Habibullah Sanji Sujawal expired here on Thursday after a protracted illness. He was a cancer patient.

from The News International: Poet Habibullah Sanji expires

Father [Conrad] Ly's [Li Shaofeng's] "literary skill as a poet was brought to good use in translating the Psalms and canticles," the website says.

from Indian Catholic: Mainland Bishop's priest-brother dies after their reunion in Taiwan

Kelly Wallace loved animals. She loved her dog, Zero, and her two rats, Sophie and Chloe. She loved books and writing poetry. "Music and reading and words," says friend Nikkie Wordell. "Those were her life."

from The Phoenix: Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007


News at Eleven

The most interesting development of LTTE's current recruitment drive was when their Aasthana Kavingian (Official Poet) Puthuvai Rathinathurai's grand son was forcefully taken away for training.

When Puthuvai Rathinathurai approached the captors to use his influence, he was bluntly told "you are an old Tiger and we are new Tigers".

from Daily News: Upsurge in LTTE child recruitment

But nearly 30 years after China began dumping the Maoist system, aren't we missing out on something? Why are nearly all the Chinese writers we know living in exile? Or is it too early to expect anything else?

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Rock star poets and revolutionary verse

Versed in Chinese painting and poetry of all periods, but especially that of the literati artists of the Ming and Qing dynasties; familiar with the reigning schools of official Japanese art; inculcated with Neo-Confucian thought and interested in Daoism and Buddhism, [Ike] Taiga was exceptionally erudite but not an aesthete; his work often has a visceral directness.

from The New York Times: In Japan, When Word Was Wed to Image

E. Ethelbert Miller: Migration is an important theme in African American literature. Do you see Katrina being written about many years from now?

Kalamu ya Salaam: Hopefully, Katrina will be understood as part of a larger issue of urban development in the 21st century. I'm not sure that Katrina will be a major issue because I foresee momentous changes in front of us in the aftermath of the Iraq debacle, larger environmental issues, and the shifting geo-political system that sees the rise to singular dominance of China.

from Foreign Policy in Focus: Interview with Kalamu ya Salaam
also see Foreign Policy in Focus: You can't survive on salt water

I ask him [Wole Soyinka] who he thinks would win in a fight between Hamlet and Iago and--delight, delight--he actually rubs his chin.

"That's a very Zen question. There's so much to it that I think the situation would demand continual rematch. Hamlet is deeply intelligent, yes, but Iago is cunning. And intelligence so rarely wins out over cunning. If it did, the history of Nigeria's leadership would have been very different."

from The Telegraph: The god of war is my muse

The Garden of Lost Vespers [by Nicos Alexiou], published by Salonika Press, a Seaburn Publishing Group imprint devoted to poetry, is available at Seaburn Books in Astoria.


from Greek News: The Garden of Lost Vespers: Poems by Nicos Alexiou

It's now certain that the ailing Donald Hall, 78, will be leaving his post as U.S. poet laureate soon.

from Post-Gazette: Hall out, but Studs parties on

[Jill] Balcon was on occasion visibly distressed by having to explore with me her husband's [Cecil Day-Lewis's] references in his verse to other women he was involved with during their almost 23 years together. Yet she always finally saw the bigger picture - the search to understand the poetry.

from The Independent: The literary wife: Working with the widow

Lack of confidence was not his [John Keats'] problem. He would just have liked to live, thrive and grow wise. There is no good reason to believe that he would not have gone on developing: there are reasons, but they are all bad.

from The Times: Cultural Amnesia

In the essay, "Writers and the War against Nature," [Gary] Snyder makes clear the role of the eco-poet: to be a "mirror of truth" and give in to a "heart of compassion."

from Santa Barbara Independent: Eco-Poet Gary Snyder to Read at the Third Biennial Ojai Poetry Festival

For rent: 3 bdrm apt, w/d hookup, $1,100 a mo., Centralville. Btw, Jack Kerouac was born here.

from The Lowell Sun: You can live in Beat history--for $1,100 a month

Great Regulars

The brief lines and strong simple words create a feeling of spaciousness and hush that I found intensely beguiling.

Coda to Briggflatts by Basil Bunting

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the week: This week, Basil Bunting

The education secretary, Alan Johnson, who yesterday launched his campaign for the Labour party's deputy leadership, announced this morning that every state secondary school in England will be able to choose 20 of the titles in order to set up a dedicated "boys' bookshelf" in the library.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Education secretary arranges boys' bookshelves

I should also say thanks to the editors at The York Daily Record. They have not only agreed to publish local poetry in the daily paper, they have embraced and encouraged the idea. I deeply appreciate the support and guidance Scott Fisher and Jim McClure have offered over the past two years. It was a life-long dream of mine to write a newspaper column and I have enjoyed the opportunity, with this "Poetryork" column, to shine the spotlight on so many talented local poets.

from Bill Diskin: The York Daily Record: Poetryork: Thanks to York for supporting poetry

The way mustard gas affects the respiratory system mimics drowning, and thus the speaker is accurate is portraying the dying man as a drowning victim. The speaker likens the sight as "under a green sea" denoting the way the air would look after they had been bombarded with mustard gas.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est'

He wakes in the morning; ". . . you know how if you've had a few/You'll wake at dawn, all healthy, like sea breezes,/Raring to go . . . And then, oh Jesus,/It hits you." He looks down at the skip and sees his life there, "still sodden, on the bricks;/there lay my poor old life, arse over tip./Or was it mine?"

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Whose life is it anyway?

Poem: "Tornado Weather" by Vincent Wixon, from The Square Grove: Poems.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of May 21, 2007

Not only do we have road rage, but it seems we have road love, too. Here Elizabeth Hobbs of Maine offers us a two-car courtship. Be careful with whom you choose to try this little dance.

Slow Dancing on the Highway:
the Trip North

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 112

Then [Carl] Dennis makes the future seem impractical, even delusional: those impatient drivers, honking to move on, seem oblivious to the inevitable loss, maybe even the incipient panic of having "started already" across a bridge that is narrow, with no turning back.

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poets Choice

To the Moon by Soselo (Josef Stalin)

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: To the Moon by Soselo (Josef Stalin)

'Last Night'
By Tonette Long

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'Last Night'

A Cartoon of Hurt
by Michael Ryan

from The New Yorker: Poetry: A Cartoon of Hurt

In Prison
by Jean Valentine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: In Prison

A Walk in March
by Grace Paley

from The New Yorker: Poetry: A Walk in March

[by Janice B. Mulcahey]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Strength

We recognize these poems, and we recognize ourselves in these poems, but in a way that goes beyond the power of words to make clear. As Wittgenstein put it, "I do not understand [[Georg] Trakl's poems]; but their tone pleases me."

Here's "De Profundis," one of my favorite of Trakl's individual poems:

from Powells: Review-A-Day: The Poems of Georg Trakl

Jane McKie's first collection, Morocco Rococo travels far and wide - poems about Egypt, Brighton, France, Callanish, the Sahara, written by a woman living in Scotland and published by Cinnamon Press in Wales.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: Borderer by Jane McKie

"The Ball of Earth and Heaven"
At Shea Stadium
By Richard Marx Weinraub

from Slate: "The Ball of Earth and Heaven"--By Richard Marx Weinraub

When the TLS published "View from an Upper Window" in July 1957, [C.] Day Lewis had just finished his tenure as Professor of Poetry at Oxford; and in 1968, four years before his death, he was made Poet Laureate. A review of [Peter] Stanford's book will appear in a forthcoming issue of the TLS.

View From an Upper Window
for Kenneth and Jane Clark

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Poetic Obituaries

[Dame Mary Douglas's] most recently published book, "Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition," came out this year; it offers interpretations of texts structured in circular patterns like the Book of Numbers, Chinese novels and Zoroastrian poetry.

"Writings that used to baffle and dismay unprepared readers, when read correctly, turn out to be marvelously controlled and complex compositions," she wrote.

from The New York Times: Dame Mary Douglas, 86, a Wide-Ranging Anthropologist, Is Dead

In other work, Dr. [Donald M.] Ginsberg studied superconductors made from films of lead, tin and mercury. He also wrote and published often humorous poetry on subjects related to physics and laboratory research.

from The New York Times: Donald M. Ginsberg, 73, Expert in the Working of Superconductors, Is Dead

Ruby [Lee Green] gave her family a great legacy in a beautiful history of her family, a book of poetry, and many original paintings. She also wrote and published her husband's family history, which is on record at the Ketchum Community Library.

from The Idaho Mountain Express: Ruby Lee Green

Spc. [Kyle A.] Little had already done some thinking about heroism. As a teenager, he had penned a poem about the subject after the 1999 Worcester warehouse blaze in which six city firefighters died.

"All of those men . . . were definitely heroic," he wrote. "When anyone gives their life for other people you must respect them. I will always honor these people, as long as I live."

from Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Son, husband, hero

The mother found many of the poems her daughter [Jennifer McCallum] enjoyed writing. Her daughter's friends say she was working on a novel--probably science fiction.

from The Dallas Morning News: Missing woman's body is identified

[Murari Prasad Mishra] had written and published a number of lyrics, poems, Sambalpuri folk songs short stories and plays. Some of his popular dramas are "Akbar Rai" and "Gountia Babu".

from The Times of India: Former Orissa minister Murari Prasad Misra dies

[Zain Mohammed Qadri Al-Saqqaf] penetrated the inner expression that goes beyond the Egyptian prose known as "Zagal." His writings are closer to home, and touch the life of villagers and city folk alike. These feelings are not accidental, but represent a shared concern for the neglected and isolated mass in the village and inner cities.

from Yemen Times: The voice of the village

A technical writer, book editor, reviewer and poet, Ryan was also the author of the pithy prose for the long-running Chronicle cartoon T.O. Sylvester. But the work that brought her a popular audience was the memoir that critics called "unforgettable."

from San Francisco Chronicle: Ryan spread her mom's wisdom to vast audience


News at Eleven

[by Natasha Trethewey]

from The Clarion-Ledger: Poet earns praise, Pulitzer Gulfport native joins an elite class

A Natasha Trethewey poem

from The Roanoke Times: Eulogies inspire Pulitzer-winning poet

"Part of the reason for doing this," [Donald] Hall had said in an interview Wednesday, "is that English and American poetry in the '50s and '60s was a sort of continuum," in which poets on both sides of the Atlantic stayed familiar with each other's work. After that, for reasons he doesn't know, "we drew apart."

from The Washington Post: Crossing The Pond With Poetry

[Rabindranath Tagore] had no time for [Mahatma] Gandhi's rejection of European machines and preference for primitive Indian ones like the 'charkha', or the spinning wheel.

"If a man is stunted by big machines", Tagore wrote, "the danger of being stunted by small machines must not be lost sight of. The charkha in its proper place can do no harm . . . but where . . . it is in the wrong place, then the thread can only be spun at the cost of a great deal of the mind itself. The man is no less valuable than the cotton thread."

from Mangalorean: Tagore--his work will live for generations

And they are, admittedly, fantastic. No one could possibly deny the brilliance of Auden's early crack-of-doom phrase-making, which maps the mythic and the psychological on to a landscape. "Who stands the crux left of the watershed,/On the wet road between the chafing grass".

from The Guardian: Saviour and scapegoat

[Siegfried Sassoon] wasn't nicknamed "Mad Jack" lightly--his displays of courage were manic. On one occasion (spurred by the trauma of witnessing a friend shot dead in the forehead before him) he single-handedly charged and captured a substantial German trench, only to flop down into it, pull a poetry book out of his pocket and begin to read from it.

from Daily Mail: Siegfried Sassoon: A very strange kind of rebel

Less than two months after his [Roque Dalton's] return, he was arrested, held incommunicado, tortured and interrogated by the CIA, and again sentenced to death.

As he awaited execution, there was another miracle: the 1965 earthquake struck. The prison was fractured in half and Dalton simply walked out into the streets and freedom.

from Party for Socialism and Liberation: The revolutionary poetry and life of Roque Dalton

We sit and look Across the room. You shift your elbow, smoke And tap your pipe by turns . . . There are enormous silences between groups of words, big enough to make Pinter sound overstacked, as if she [Josephine Dickinson] is waiting for the resonance of each to be thoroughly gone before the next arrives.

from The Sunday Times: The silence and the lambs

by Heather A. McMacken

The Gods of Poetry

from Metro Times: Gets hard for language

"It's not war, it's not freedom, it's just hair," said Ms. [Suzanne] Shah, who points out to her students how Ms. [Mohja] Kahf is more observer than judge. In the poem about American women seeing her grandmother washing her feet before prayers, for example, Ms. Kahf writes, "They fluster about and flutter their hands, and I can see a clash of civilizations brewing in the Sears bathroom."

from The New York Times: She Carries Weapons; They Are Called Words

A poem arranged as a picture . . . a blurred street grid of Seattle . . . a dancer's feet drawn with her feet . . . Yes, these lines are art. What do they mean?

All sorts of stuff.

from New Haven Independent: Talk The Line

Great Regulars

Audiences are clamouring for art of almost all kinds (they never clamour for poetry), and the only way to satisfy the demand is long-term investment. The arts must escape the prison of state funding or die. Slowly.

All the big arts companies have been diversifying their income streams, with a good deal of success.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: The gift that keeps on giving

"Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus" is one of Catullus' sillier, bedroom romps of a poem. As an invocation of sexual fantasy, it dramatizes sex not as romantic or tragic (that comes elsewhere), but as comic. Still, I suspect that some, like Mrs. [Margaret] Kennedy, will find the poem's sensual trance a delight.

Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry

"Publishing is one of the industries in which women have been able to forge careers that takes them to the top, but I still think it hides a lot of very talented women who are achieving huge things," said [Catherine] Clarke, explaining the need for the prize.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Macmillan director scoops women's publishing prize

The image is such a simple one that in the hands of a less skilled poet it would almost certainly have drifted into banality; Frost, however, sustains it effortlessly, turning its simplicity into a virtue. Here it is, in full.

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Poem of the week: This week, something from Robert Frost.

"Certainly what I'm seeing at fiction readings, and not just mine, are audiences made up almost entirely of women," [Jennifer] Weiner said. "I'm really grateful from a purely personal point of view. But it is strange to think men have abandoned fiction and women have ceded the rest of the culture."

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Not just for chicks

When poetasters spew forth their garbage and call it poetry, both poetry and potential readers of poetry lose. The speaker refers to poetasters as "half poets," and the so-called poetry of "half poets" "is not poetry."

Plus she asserts that the real poets "among us" must be "literalists of the imagination." And until they are, their work will be examples of "insolence and triviality."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Marianne Moore's 'Poetry'

We should have moments in our lives when we take a holiday from our "must-have" anxieties to enjoy a "what-we've-got" axolotl epiphany, evolution being evident in our state of mind and not our most recent acquisition.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Happy with their lot

Poem: "Mrs. Kirkorian" by Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of May 14, 2007

As poet Felecia Caton Garcia of New Mexico shows us in this moving poem, there are times when parents feel helpless and hopeless. But the human heart is remarkable and, like a dry creek bed, somehow fills again, is renewed and restored.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 111

[Cecil] Day-Lewis was continually hampered as a poet by difficulties in finding a convincingly original voice. At the outset he sounds like a latter-day Georgian, then he is overwhelmed by the cadences and imagery of his friend WH Auden, then he discovers a plainer style that owes a great deal to Hardy and Frost.

from Andrew Motion: The Guardian: The begetter of poetry

[William] Blake reverses conventional expectation from his title onward, with a violent and exuberant forward thrust. A poem in Dorianne Laux's recent collection Facts About the Moon also has the quality of speed, incorporating reversal into a more zigzag movement:

Little Magnolia

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

"We put together a very comprehensive agenda for her (Atkinson), which allowed her first of all to realize the profound respect that that this community has for Gabriela Mistral, and secondly, to get to know the work that Dibam has been carrying out with affection and thoroughness for over a decade," said [Nivia] Palma.

from Cate Setterfield: The Santiago Times: Gabriela Mistral's Lost Works to Return to Chile

24. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Weak points and strong --Sun Tzu

Terrorist (Hero II) by John Ash

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Terrorist (Hero II) by John Ash

What the speaker says will reveal some flaw in their own character and/or that of the subject under discussion. So a dramatic monologue involves four different people - the speaker, the listener, the subject and the reader (who has to decide where their allegiance lies).

from The Guardian: Daljit Nagra's poetry workshop

New Translations of Polina Barskova

by Ilya Kaminsky

Manuscript Found by Natasha Rostova During the Fire

from Guernica: Poetry: New Translations of Polina Barskova

The Star and the Writers Place founded the William Rockhill Nelson Awards five years ago to recognize literary excellence by Kansas and Missouri authors.

Today's excerpt consists of three sections of [Wayne] Miller's four-part poem "A Year in the Present Tense."

1. Summer

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner

Unknown Age
by W. S. Merwin

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Unknown Age

Poem: A woman with her child
[by Keper Connell]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: A woman with her child

The following poem was inadvertently left out of the Random Acts of Poetry Anthology inserted into the May 6 Herald Sunday.

Poet Laurie L. LaMontagne writes, "My family and friends as well as my horses are my inspiration and to them I say 'Thank You!'"

Only in my dreams--

from Portsmouth Herald News: Random Act of Poetry gets its due

"First Day of the Hunt"
By Paula Bohince

from Slate: "First Day of the Hunt"--By Paula Bohince

The shortlisted poems will also appear on this site.

The first time readers were handed authority over a TLS poetry competition was in 1986, when they selected "A Friendship" by Connie Bensley as their first prize-winner.

A Friendship

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week

Poetic Obituaries

The Politburo of the ruling MPLA party addressed Monday a message of condolences to the family of the Angolan poet and dancer Olga Baltazar, who passed away last Friday, here, due to long illness.

from Angola Press: MPLA Politburo Addresses Condolence Message on Olga Baltazar's Death

[Tim] Nilsen and [Gina] DeBartolo described their friend [Jennifer Boehle] as an incredibly artistic young woman who loved music, writing, reading and painting. She was also a poet.

Nilsen said Boehle loved the writer Richard Braudigan. "She tried to get me to read him but I never got in to him. He was a poet, too."

from Asbury Park Press: Friends remember artistic teenager who died in crash

Mathew Brown wrote this poem for his mother a couple of years before he died, she said. The 14-year-old was killed by a hit-and-run driver in October 2005.


from Cape Cod Times: Cape mom struggles after son's death

Nearly all of his [Eddie Littlejohn's] poetry encompassed overcoming life's challenges and was sometimes read in front of the congregation at Calvary Baptist Church, 3301 Francis St., which Eddie attended.

"A stone makes smooth, wet cement to turn back the hands of time," he wrote.

from Jackson Citizen Patriot: Poetry, public life defined Jackson man

[Eugene Pulice] also was an artist who worked with media from stained glass to sand. He won several prizes through the years for his sand sculptures of smiling faces and trains on Fort Myers Beach.

Traveling was an activity he relished almost as much as the cool mist of sea spray and the thrill of catching big fish.

from The News-Press: Accident victim loved life, family

[Sanjay K.] Raut served in various media units of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in Orissa and Delhi. He was known as a thorough professional and an able administrator, Raut was also a poet and a short story writer in Oriya language.

from Sanjay Raut, senior IIS officer passes away

Friends said [David] Starnes drew on his life experiences and love for creative writing and poetry in his lectures--a quality that made him a favorite among students and colleagues.

from Savannah Morning News: Georgia Southern professor killed in Sunday collision on I-16

Ask anyone who knew George Suetsugu well, and they'll tell you he devoted his life to perpetuating Japanese beauty through music, poetry and gardens.

The former owner of Seattle's Kyoto Gardening and Landscaping was a master sensei of Kokufu Shigin, the art of reciting poetry to traditional Japanese music.

from Seattle Post-Intelligencer: George Sadao Suetsugu Sr., 1917-2007: Master sensei was devoted to art, beauty


News at Eleven

One poem, "Donor," is a meditation on [Lucille] Clifton's daughter, Lex. When the poet was pregnant with the girl and worn down from caring for her large family, she tried to abort the developing fetus. She failed, and Lex grew up to donate a kidney to her ailing mother, thus saving her life.

from The Baltimore Sun: Wise woman of words

The air is still heavy with heat and damp,
and smells like diesel and herbicides.
the scent reminds me of failed gestations.
My reproduction, the plants', and the water's,
each struggling in the same web of resistance
and survival.

When I was a girl, my grandfather taught me
to put a small clump of soil in my mouth,
and to swallow it. I watched him.
Then I did.
[--Margo Tamez in her poem "My Mother Returns to Calaboz"]

from Blogcritics Magazine: Book Review: Naked Wanting and Raven Eye by Margo Tamez
also see Blogcritics Magazine: Interview: Conspiring with Poet Margo Tamez

"To have something that has lasted for more than 360 years and is written in her own handwriting is very exciting," said Sue Ellen Holmes, the library director. "It's in such fragile condition, but it's still here."

Preparations for displaying the [Anne Bradstreet] manuscript have been by necessity elaborate, due to its delicacy.

from The Boston Globe: In North Andover, pages from an early poet

[Deborah Garrison]'ll fall asleep at midnight reading a manuscript, while on the other side of the bed, he's still thumbing his BlackBerry. ("I'm not half/of what I meant to be./Among other things, the mother/of three. Too tired, tonight,/to seduce the father.")

from The New York Times: Poet, Mother, Editor, Wife

It is, however, the moment of their coming together in his death that resonates: "That Monday, while I phoned, you waited loyally/for my return, before your last breath." In "Hands" he says in hospital, "Hold my hand . . . I feel/I won't die while you are here". But his conjured-up voice dissolves back into the air.

from The Guardian: Memorial to a marriage

A Russian "stomping game", featuring a goat and a princess, nestles beside a lyrical Mongolian parting song, which sighs "the boat of dreams is travelling to the stars", while in earthier homegrown rhymes, girls are commanded to "show your knickers to the football team".

from The Guardian: A world of frogs, wolves and knickers

Exploring [Joseph] Brodsky's early affinities with existentialist writers such as Camus and Lev Shestov, Losev identifies what would be a theme in his poetry for decades: the opposition between aesthetic fullness that is realized in poetry, and emptiness, which took the form of various bleak images in his poems such as deserted rooms, deadened organic matter, disembodied light.

from The Times Literary Supplement: The great Brodsky

"I didn't come into it thinking of the web," he [Will Eaves] admits, "but I've realised that it's crucial. People want a direct connection these days, unmediated access. The web makes it more difficult for big publishers to deal with literary fiction - having to compete with Amazon--but it makes it much easier for small presses to find an audience."

from The Guardian: Feeling among the fragments

PennSound says it has permission from every poet, or their estate, to offer the recordings. There is such a small market for poetry readings that royalties are not as big a concern as they are in the music business, [Charles] Bernstein said.

"There's very little commercial value in poetry recordings," he said. "What there is, is exchange value."

from University of Pennsylvania archive offers poetry for download

Generally, government grants are not a healthy addition to publishing, he [Scott Griffin] believes, and he usually doesn't seek them. Not so when it comes to poetry, though.

"The industry itself is structurally flawed, and if it doesn't have support it will go under,'' he declares emphatically.

Dwayne Morgan has approached market failures in the poetry business in his own self-made way.

from NOW: Poetry Profits: Free-market poets' economy of words

[Martin McGuinness] himself dodged many bullets, once admitting that he had been "fired at by the British army on countless occasions over 20 years". He also managed to avoid a determined loyalist assassin who was intent on killing him. He was good at evading the law, serving just two short prison sentences. He often, however, saw the inside of police interrogation centres, fending off detectives determined to make him crack.

from The Independent: Martin McGuinness: Peacemaker and poet

Great Regulars

The justification for its collection was being undermined by fundamental ethical issues (why should the Parthenon Marbles be in London and not Athens?) and postmodern doubts (why should all the accumulated meanings of all this loot be mediated by a bunch of dusty, cloistered types in Bloomsbury?).

[Neil] MacGregor's solution was so suavely done that nobody noticed how radical it was.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Times: Behind the scenes at the British Museum

It's Alright, Ma and Subterranean Homesick Blues, and these innocent but adoring English kids. "When I look at those songs, I really believe it will never happen again. They were the key; they were what held that dour English audience bound to their seats."

from Bryan Appleyard: The Times: This reel's on fire

"I absolutely feel good about not naming him," [Terri] Jentz said. "I didn't want him to become a celebrity because of this book. and I didn't want to feed into that culture. I met Marc Klaas, the father of (12-year-old murder victim) Polly Klaas, and told him I couldn't remember the name of her killer. He said they worked really hard to make that happen, to make it not be about him."

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: 'Paradise' has new look, same pull

Here, then, to alleviate the post-bank holiday slump, is an offering from Ted Hughes, chosen by WillDuff, who recommends it to us "because of its energy and movement, which I find exhilarating in a very musical way, and the way it rolls and pushes through to the end with the larks. . . ."

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the week: Poem of the day is dead: long live poem of the week.

Laurels to Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer, the editors of Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems. Katz and Prufer did something simple but effective here: They asked 75 contemporary poets to select an 'unjustly neglected poem' and write a brief commentary on it. Those comments appear along with the poems.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: To hell with obscurity

What does seem present in the poem is a melancholy sense that love between the black and the white boy is not to be expected in the immediate future.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Colour blind

The speaker then claims that such was appropriate because they were "at the essential such as rearranging/languages." Minds that are capable of memorizing large quantities of number are also able to manipulate words.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Barbara Guest's 'A Way of Being'

The speaker is always very clever in making use of word choices that refer to both situations: the fathering of heirs and the writing of poetry. The speaker is producing "line of life" in his poetry, and he is encouraging the young man to do the same with his heritage.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 16

Yet the speaker asserts that his sonnet is a mere "tomb"; it does not actually do justice to the young man's qualities. The poem actually "hides your life." The poems barely represent "half your parts." Thus the speaker asks, "Who will believe my verse in time to come . . . ?"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 17

He wants to make her think he is unsophisticated like a young man. So he pretends to believe her lies, in order to get her to believe his pretense at being younger than he is.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 138

Some of the jokes are delicious, Six Feet Under-esque moments in which any topic is fair game, even monitoring the car radio for songs to die to. "If your car skids into oncoming traffic, and you die listening to the Archies sing 'Sugar Sugar,' it's your own damn laziness."

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Spreading rabies and an odd sort of wisdom

"This process gives individual citizen-users more agency to tell their stories in their own words and with their own images," [Brent] Jesiek said.

To put it another way, as the site's home page declares: "We are all Virginia Tech."

The April 16 Archive is at

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: The April 16 Archive tells a new kind of Virginia Tech story

Everything has a smell and a flavour to be inquired after, from CDs (plastic and tasteless), to fresh cuts that bleed (tinny), worms (they wriggle deliciously, but don't ask) and the old favourite; flies (food that vibrates as it's swallowed).

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: That dream we had

Poem: "Heaven on Earth" by Kristin Berkey-Abbott from, Whistling Past the Graveyard.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of May 07, 2007

"David is the model for all of us," said Joseph Travis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences [of David Kirby]. "He is, if anything, more committed to his students than ever, even after being recognized so often for his many, many accomplishments. David continues to reach new levels as a writer, scholar and teacher, and it's almost unfair to have that much talent combined with that much dedication in a colleague who is also just a genuinely swell guy."

from (On) David Kirby: FSU News: Kirby wins 'Distinguished Teacher Award'

I've talked a lot in this column about poetry as celebration, about the way in which a poem can make an ordinary experience seem quite special. Here's the celebration of a moment on a campus somewhere, anywhere. The poet is Juliana Gray, who lives in New York. I especially like the little comic surprise with which it closes.

Summer Downpour on Campus

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 110

From the recent Selected Poems of Derek Walcott, edited by Edward Baugh, here is Walcott's title poem from the earlier volume Sea Grapes, published in 1976--many years before Walcott took up Homeric material, transformed to a Caribbean setting, in his book-length poem Omeros:

Sea Grapes

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

[Elmore] Leonard would probably think the comparison pretentious, but the way in which the voices of the characters and the threads of narrative are introduced and interwoven reminds one of nothing so much as a well-crafted fugue with its subject, countersubject, episodes, false entries, and stretto (where everything can seem to be happening at once).

from Frank Wilson: The Philadelphia Inquirer: The keen-eyed storyteller spins another tall one

Of course, as D.H. Lawrence pointed out in the last book he wrote, Apocalypse, those who warn of apocalypse secretly crave it, the way puritans tend to be turned on by the very vices they so loudly denounce.

The Road is just the latest installment in the pornography of despair.

from Frank Wilson: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Slogging through best-sellerdom

Angela Jaeger
Nine Poems

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry: Angela Jaeger

Alex Lemon

Interview with a Ghost

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry: Alex Lemon

Tan Lin

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry: Tan Lin

It is a mistake to read too many books when quite young. A man once told me that he had read all the books that mattered. Cross-questioned, he appeared to have read a great many, but they seem to have made only a slight impression . . .

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Hobbies --Winston Churchill

At Quail Hollow
[by David Sullivan]

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry of David Sullivan

Dear Prisoner,
[by C.D. Wright]

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry of C.D. Wright

My Grandfathers' War by Adam Thorpe

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: My Grandfathers' War by Adam Thorpe

'The Carnage of the Streets'
By Stanley E. Banks

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'The Carnage of the Streets'

by Charles Simic

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Listen

On Time
by Phillis Levin

from The New Yorker: Poetry: On Time

"Stupid Time" is included in Marvin Bell's latest collection of poems, "Mars Being Red," much of which deals with war, to be released by Copper Canyon Press in June. A faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Bell is living in Portland for a quarter while teaching at Portland State University.

from The Oregonian: Poetry

[by David Craig]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Stonehenge

Eleanor Livingstone--Old Dogs
You could think of this poem as an implicit criticism of me--but it's rather more explicitly about dogs.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week

"Old Woman With a Goiter"
By Erica Levy McAlpine

from Slate: "Old Woman With a Goiter"--By Erica Levy McAlpine

"Variation in 'V'" was published on November 22, 1985, two years before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Joseph Brodsky died in 1996, at the age of fifty-six.

Variation in 'V'

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Variation in 'V' by Joseph Brodsky

Poetic Obituaries

The Saudi Arabian monarchy announced the death of Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Ibn Abdul Aziz on Tuesday.

The 84-year-old former minister was the son of the former king Faisal. The prince is renowned in the Arab world not only for his political career, but also as a poet and businessman.

from Monsters and Critics: Saudi Arabian royal family mourns death of "poet prince"

In 2004, Ralph [Baker] was honored by the Delaware National Guard when all training sites were named in his honor. His name was placed on the sign at the Bethany Beach Training site.

from The News Journal: Baker, Ralph

"The 2-year-old is not understanding that Mommy has gone to heaven," [Portia] Thompkins said.

Thompkins and [Vanessa] Richardson described [Jessica] Davison as a smart woman who loved poetry, could style hair and put her children first.

from Dayton Daily News: Fatal crash victim was 3 days from graduation

[David C. Fowler's] interest in Cornish literature was sparked by the Middle English poem "Piers Plowman," the authorship of which was a point of academic debate. Fowler's work included the study of the 14th-century scholar John Trevisa (whom Fowler believed wrote the poem), the history of the English ballad and the Bible in medieval English literature.

from Seattle Post-Intelligencer: David C. Fowler, 1921-2007: Professor led UW fight in 'Bible trial'

This is the poem left on the Vampirefreaks website by Stephanie Gestier.

from Herald Sun: Stephanie's final poem

[Pham Ho] was one of the few poets who was loved by many generations of Vietnamese children. Once he said: "If I could live in my next incarnation, I would still be a poet, a writer and a painter for children. I consider my love for children as my contribution to the Vietnamese people and State".

from Nhan Dan: Goodbye forever to Pham Ho, beloved poet of all Vietnamese children

[Cedric "C.J." Mills] had dreams of playing in the National Football League like his father, who once played on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. The teen also loved poetry.

from The Tampa Tribune: Activist Wants Park Named For Slain Teen

The girl's locker says it all. The 7th grader [Gelnirys Ortega] was loved by many and known as a poet with an infectious smile.

"Everyone can remember her walking down the halls and laughing and just being a kind and respectful student," said [teacher Christine] Ritterpusch.

from News 14 Carolina: Mother, daughter shot in apartment

[The Rev. John Kimball "Father Kim"] Saville's writing about saints culminated in his book "Saints in Sonnets," a collection of portraits in poetry of heroes of the Christian faith. His saints are a diverse group, from Mary, mother of Christ, and St. Patrick, missionary to Ireland, to German reformer Martin Luther, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., about whom he wrote: "Hard road to Washington, great call to dreams;/In Memphis martyred, yet love's light still gleams."

from Redlands Daily Facts: 'Father Holy,' Kim Saville, dies at 90


News at Eleven

Book World recognizes National Poetry Month by highlighting some works that stir emotions and soothe the ear.

from The Washington Post: Celebrating Poetry

The poem calls attention to his [David Kirby's] process ("I think I am inventing something totally new") even as he detours into the minds of other writers. He slaps himself on the forehead at one point, realizing Marianne Moore has 'beat me to' his vision of a jagged left margin.

from The New York Times: Good Golly

The character of Richard Cory is sketched impressionistically in the poem. Robinson furnishes no concrete information about his occupation or family. When Paul Simon rewrote the poem for his 1960s song, he decided to give Robinson's shadowy character greater definition.

That's [Scott] Donaldson's tactful way of saying Simon padded [Edwin Arlington] Robinson's poem to thicken the irony and heighten its palatability for a pop audience.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: A poet's life that's worth resurrecting

Poetry, [David] Simpson said, keeps people alive by sharpening the senses.

"I think we need to be in the moment," he said. "I want people to be alive."


from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poet's vision belies his blindness

Dorothy [Wordsworth] did not write poetry, but did play a vital part in shaping the impressions of both men. She was a conduit for their senses and a critic for their poems. Dorothy joined them on their long walks through the countryside.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: A friendship that sparked great poetry

By the late 1880s, cast iron plaques containing stanzas from the elegy were common at all national cemeteries, which were then controlled by the War Department.

The poem was also a popular verse on early Decoration Day postcards, where O'Hara was usually credited.

from The Murfreesboro Post: Civil War: Famous elegy written by Confederate officer

These extracts show us how in a few, well-chosen words, [Faiz Ahmad] Faiz and [W.H.] Auden explain as well, or better, than novels or works of history hundreds of pages long do how Partition was not just a false dawn but a very bloody one, how an event meant to fulfil long-cherished hopes instead served only to dash and crush them.

from The Telegraph, Calcutta: Poems of partition

[Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's] amorous conquests have been exhaustively catalogued by the hundreds of writers who have pored over the captivating facts of Saint-Exupéry's quixotic existence. Yet there remains one curious omission, all the more odd because the woman concerned was undoubtedly the love of his life.

from Telegraph: Secret love of a Renaissance man

Even when the couple had relaxed enough to consummate their relationship shortly before they married, Day-Lewis had responded with a poem on the transience of love. This must have been a difficult stanza to read for the woman who had just surrendered her virginity to him:

His pretty came among the primroses
With open breast for him. No more denied
Seemed no more ideal. He was unsatisfied . . .

from The Times: The lustful Laureate

"The Heat of Autumn"
By Jane Hirshfield

from Chicago Sun-Times: The here and the now

[George Smith's] accomplishment is all the more impressive given that he built some of his interpretations on guesses about words that no one had ever deciphered, in lines that often were only fragments of their full selves. Smith's writings are full of discoveries that have stood the test of time, often involving intuitive leaps beyond literal surfaces.

from The Smithsonian: Epic Hero

Great Regulars

[John] Burnside has always been fascinated with edges, boundaries. He has written about the Irish phrase "idir eatarthu", defining it as "a boundary that is neither one place nor another, but the space between the two ... the magical space where anything can happen".

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: A space that nobody owns

Jeffrey Brown: There's a poem here that you wrote called "Monument." Would you read that for us?

Natasha Trethewey: I'd be happy to.


from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Pulitzer Prize Winner Trethewey Discusses Poetry Collection

This to and fro perfectly sets up the sublime third stanza, when the poet embraces both sun and lover, leading to the final couplet, in which the solipsism of love is ennobled and made glorious.

The Sun Rising by by John Donne

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the day: Another old favourite--this time by John Donne.

I bought the book [by Edwin Morgan] for a couple of quid and have treasured it ever since. In honour of the great man's birthday, then, here is the first of his sonnets to his city.


from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the day: Happy birthday, Edwin Morgan . . .

What I'd like, therefore, is for you to email me ( with the poems you'd like to discuss, and I'll post them for you. How does that sound?

And to mark this phoenix-from-the-ashes reinvention of the poem of the day, here is my final choice - for now - this sonnet from Michael Drayton. Take note of the final couplet - and see you all on Friday!

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the day: Not goodbye, but au revoir . . .

But these birds have a name - they are egrets. And to persist in referring to them without naming them may begin to sound obfuscatory, or pseudo-poetic. While to call them egrets, even if not every reader will be confident of identifying an egret, at least has the merit of avoiding an unwanted ambiguity.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Paint me a picture

He admits that when it was early spring and easy to see a little yellow flower where no other flowers were blooming, he had willingly stopped his walk to peer at the "smile" from the yellow violet. But when the "gorgeous blooms of May" were displaying their splendor, he overlooked the little humble flower.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Bryant's 'The Yellow Violet'

As a poem, this list is seriously flawed. Robert Frost would probably be embarrassed that people are fawning over it as an important Frostian find. It is merely a list that seems to wax profound trying to compare a bird fight to the war in France.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Frost's 'War Thoughts at Home'

But the ponies are dead now with everyone else who is dead, but they "wait like children under their granite breastplates,/lucid and helpless." The speaker is reminded of the nightmares that terrified her, when she was a child, and she begins to suspect that she might have been a rape victim or a victim of incest: "children under their granite breastplates."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Louise Glück's 'The Pond'

Then the speaker does make a prediction that if the young man does not produce a pleasing son to carry on those worthwhile qualities, when the young man dies, so will those qualities: "Or else of thee this I prognosticate:/'Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.'"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 14

Here is the young man at the height of his prime "Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,/To change your day of youth to sullied night." This is the time when nature begins to inflict the downward course from youth to old age.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 15

In the octave, the speaker claims that she intends to place Chaos into a sonnet, and she intends to "keep him there," and he will be able to flee only if he "be lucky." She suspects he will try to conjure up ways of escaping; she asserts, "let him twist, and ape/Flood, fire, and demon."

from Linda Sue Grimes: The Sonnet as a Cage

There are always those who are "out of tune" with nature and the spiritual life, and even before the onslaught of the dreadful Industrial Revolution, there was the process of getting and spending, and most of the getters and spenders would have been oblivious to nature and would have failed to walk a spiritual path.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Wordsworth's Romantic Cry

"Remember the lost faces burned in the last glances?" she [Eavan Boland] writes, giving those ghosts their hurting physical selves back for just a moment, so we can't look away.

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: An Irish poet writes of her land

I offered to sign an agreement that I would not get pregnant during my period of employment there, but my offer was rejected with mirth.

My desk grew in malevolence; it represented not just hard work counting other people's money, but injustice; I was working for less pay than the man sitting two desks away.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Taxing times

Poem: "Instrument of Choice" by Robert Phillips, from Spinach Days. © The Johns Hopkins University Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of April 30, 2007

One big test of the endurance of any relationship is taking on a joint improvement project. Here Sue Ellen Thompson offers an account of one such trial by fire.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 109

The power of his [Osip Mandelstam's] example seems related to the fact that he is not a polemical or essentially political writer. He is above all a great artist who happens to have acquired political meaning as well. The idea of a Poetry Month shouldn't include turning away from such meaning, toward mere marketing.

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

Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

The Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life by Anthony Hecht

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: The Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life by Anthony Hecht

'Wood Carver'
by Robert C. Jones

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'Wood Carver'

Littlefoot, 14
by Charles Wright

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Littlefoot, 14

by Patti Smith

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Tara

by Everton Sylvester

from Newspaper Tree: Poetry: Need

Gwendolyn Brooks' best-known work tells the chilling life stories of seven young men in eight short lines.

She took her inspiration for "Seven at the Golden Shovel/The Pool Players" from a pool hall in her native Chicago.

from NPR: All Things Considered: April poetry series: Gwendolyn Brooks Captures Chicago 'Cool'

I explained to him in my heart about all the decades
and the causes and the events, why I am now here
and my father's shop was burned there and he is buried here.

In another poem, "The Diameter of the Bomb," [Yehuda] Amichai describes how a single act of violence reverberates through history, encompassing the whole world and God with it.

from NPR: All Things Considered: April poetry series: Love, War and History: Israel's Yehuda Amichai

All Things Considered concludes its April poetry series with Stafford's 1990 interview. Stafford described his relationship to the land and the ways in which the "lucky mistakes" of writing flow together, like a river's current, to guide the direction of a poem.

from NPR: All Things Considered: April poetry series: A Pacifist's Plainspoken Poetry

The Prince of Changsha's Tomb Outside West Gate

[by Fan Chengda; tr Lois Baker]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Brianna Conyers
Orchard Valley Middle School
Born in 1936 on April 8th

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poems

spring, so . . .
[by E.R. Allen]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poetry

As Usual
[by S.L. Manning]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: As Usual--by S.L. Manning

"Gnostic Gospels"
By Edward Hirsch

from Slate: "Gnostic Gospels"--By Edward Hirsch

On February 17 last year, the TLS published three poems by [James] Fenton, including "Memorial", which was originally commissioned by the BBC to honour journalists and their colleagues killed while covering wars.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Memorial" by James Fenton

Poetic Obituaries

However, he [Robbie Allen] will perhaps be best remembered for his dialect poetry, which ranged from books and cassettes to the hilarious reports on Bellingham cricket matches which used to be pinned on the noticeboard at the Rose and Crown under the by-line Nella.

from Hexham Courant: Bellingham News

But the sometimes "authoritarian" lawman [Glen Cheek] had a gentle side--he wrote poetry for Dunn when they were married, and he was passionate about nature.

"He loved the outdoors," she said. "He loved fishing and laying trotlines. He loved to sit in a swing and watch the mountains, not saying a thing."

from The Houston Chronicle: Longtime Precinct 5 Constable Glen Cheek dies at 65

After work, on weekends and in retirement, he [George Chesnut] translated children's poetry from Chinese to Spanish and English; compiled Serbian and Afghan Pashto dictionaries; translated a French movie script into English; and biblical texts into Dinka, the language of southern Sudan.

from The Washington Post: George Chesnut, Spy, Linguist, Dies at 89

"She was at the library a lot; she could read a 200-page book in a day," she said as she sat in front of the bright yellow home she shared with her sister [Shelby Kane] and their mother.

Holly Kane said her sister also enjoyed art and poetry and recently self-published a book of her poems called Waves in Motion.

from Orlando Sentinel: Woman, 21, dies crossing busy New Smyrna highway

Members of New York's Russian community were frequent guests in Margaret [Maxwell]'s home. She was a Russian scholar, translated Russian literature and poetry and wrote "Narodniki Women," memorializing unsung women revolutionaries who fought for freedom and equality in Russia from the 1870s to 1917.

from The Villager: Margaret Maxwell, passionate professor, dies at 93

[Michael Moniz] had participated in the American Association of Teachers of Italian Poetry Contest for Stonybrook University and also participated in the Long Island Language Teacher's Poetry Contest.

In addition, Michael also volunteered his time to teach a class of middle school students about Italian culture.

from 1010 WINS: State Police Say BMW Traveling in Excess of 100 MPH

[Joseph A. Newman] earned a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and had numerous poems published in various creative writing journals.

He returned to the Boston area in 1978 and began his career in bookbinding while taking classes at the Harcourt Bindery.

from The Boston Globe: Joseph A. Newman, bookbinder, at 58 (scroll down)

In the 1970s, he ran the Chit-Chat Café in White Rock. He was also a custodial worker for the City of Burnaby.

In his spare time, [Walter] O'Keeffe cultivated his love of poetry, music and carving. He passed many happy hours in the workshop behind his house, creating hundreds of woodcarvings.

from Surrey Leader: Irish orphanage survivor dies at 76

Thursa Bakey Sanders, 90, who was personal secretary to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish when he served as Librarian of Congress, died April 11 at her home in McLean.

from The Washington Post: Thursa Sanders, 90; Secretary To MacLeish

"We are one family," she [Mary Carter Smith] often told her audiences, "and a family has a good time when we come together."

Called a folklorist, entertainer and the Mother Griot, the former Baltimore schoolteacher and librarian became nationally known as she helped popularize traditional African stories, dress and songs to American audiences and students after visiting Ghana nearly 40 years ago.

from The Baltimore Sun: Griot brought African tales to Americans

Stewart's family did not know he wrote poetry. However his mother, Gerri McDonald, found a poem while preparing for his funeral that he had written right after the Sept. 11 tragedy.

This is a poem entitled "Soldiers" written by PFC Russell William Stewart:


from The Atmore Advance: Marine dies in infantry training


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