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News Articles, with Rus Bowden


News at Eleven

For poets, of course, [Robert] Burns has never gone away. The vigour, directness and sheer beauty of his verse has always enraptured them. As Seamus Heaney says: "He did not fail the Muse or us or himself as one of poetry's chosen instruments."

Here is the poem he has written as a tribute which is included in the book.

A Birl for Burns by Seamus Heaney

from Telegraph: Seamus Heaney: A Birl for Burns
also The Guardian: theblogbooks: Podcast: Poetry for Burns night
also The Official Gateway to Scotland: Burns Interactive

There is no romanticising of the past, no obsessive elegising in [Núala] Ní Dhómhnaill's work. It is something far more disturbing than innocence or order she wants to recover.

'Of course,' the narrator remarks, 'there's a long history of merfolk in Ireland'--that is, a long history of men and women forced out of their element, forced to make unwilling concessions, forced into a self-denying forgetfulness and translation.

from The Guardian: Like a mermaid out of water

[Natasha] Trethewey was teaching at Auburn University and had gone to Gulfport to take her grandmother, Leretta Dixon Turnbough, out to dinner. They were in a restaurant talking about the time her grandmother's brother, Hubert, met Al Capone when the gangster took a boat full of people out to Ship Island to gamble. Trethewey said a woman from a nearby table came over and said: "'There's something else you need to know about Ship Island.'"

The woman told her about the black soldiers.

from The Associated Press: Poet Revives Neglected History

In "The Forgetting," [Robert] Pinsky begins with the acknowledgment that "The forgetting I notice most as I get older is really a form of memory:/The undergrowth of things unknown to you young, that I have forgotten." To read this and the other poems in the book is to see how individual memory flows into cultural memory.

from The Boston Globe: Poems of vitality and mortality

In the midst of admiring the Polish writer Adam Zagajewski in his essay collection, [Adam] Kirsch reflects, "Here (in the United States) poetry is such a minor, sidelined pursuit that its practitioners seldom even consider the possibility that their art has a duty to a larger cause. . . . The moral crisis of Eastern Europe under Communism gave poetry an urgency and stature it can never have in the United States, where it is largely a hobby confined to writing workshops."

from San Francisco Chronicle: 'The Modern Element' lauds some poets, takes others to task

[George] Oppen rejected both these strategies as self-congratulatory, untestable: "We must cease to believe in secret names and unexpected phrases which will burst the world." Without fanfare, he refused the notion that a poet could fulfill his social responsibilities by writing any kind of poem, and neither did this refusal engender any contempt for poetry.

"Is it more important to produce art or to take political action," he asks in the daybooks.

from The Nation: A Test of Poetry

For [Paul] Durcan, no sacred cow is beyond his satiric reach, which makes him rare in a country where reverential lip-service is so often obsequiously paid to the "great tradition".

These poems describing his mother's early life, marriage, loyalty to husband and especially her troubled eldest son, and finally her decline into old age and Alzheimer's, are very moving.

from The Guardian: A sharp and subtle voice

Their eyes might come across the words on the page, but they would create no frisson of recognition: "Casting a dim religious light"; "What hath night to do with sleep?"; "New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large"; "They also serve who only stand and waite"; "Better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven"; "Farewell remorse, all good to me is lost?/Evil be thou my good"; "O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon"; "Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail?/Or knock the breast".

from Telegraph: Why Milton needs restoring to glory

But [Germaine] Greer draws too sharp a contrast with life in the villages around Stratford. Tudor market towns were part of the countryside. Cows were milked there; butter, cheese and eggs would not, as she suggests, have been brought to Mary but purchased after a few minutes’ walk to the marketplace; Greer is not right about there being bakeries in every street: most families still had their own bread oven.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Germaine Greer and Mrs Shakespeare

But hidden in the poem was Mr [Saw] Wai's message about the regime's 74-year-old senior general, Than Shwe. In Burmese, the word for million is "Than" while the word for gold is "Shwe".

Myat Khaing, the editor of Love Journal, told journalists that he had been unaware of the poem's hidden meaning. It was published beneath a drawing of a heart with an arrow through it and the words, "I love you".

from The Independent: Secret message in Valentine's verse lands Burmese poet in prison

[Paul Ursell] said: "What I'm doing is perfectly peaceful but the council sees it as antisocial behaviour.

"They've confiscated my intellectual work. It's like the cultural revolution under Chairman Mao."

Mr Ursell, from Woolwich, used to set up his display of poems on Bankside where he would recite them to passing tourists and give out copies.

from South London Press: Poetic licence required . . .

Great Regulars

"It's sad," she [Marianne Keddington-Lang] says of life with the OHS [Oregon Historical Society] Press. "I loved it, and I felt like we still had work to do. There aren't that many opportunities for those kind of regional history books to be published. There are bright spots and new presses in town like Tin House and Hawthorne Books, but publishing memoirs and literature is not the same as publishing history."

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: The State of Northwest Publishing

Good luck with that, we opened the door to those spooks decades ago and never bothered to close it. The Washington Post claims that the Special Forces are also desperate for a good old South Asia tourist experience and have kindly offered to come to Pakistan and undertake the task of training our armed forces. The fact that we have the seventh-largest army in the world, and one that seems to be doing their job just fine, doesn't concern anyone. Shouldn't it?

from Fatima Bhutto: The News International Pakistan: The New Year

The conflict remains ongoing; are artistic responses to it premature? Is it possible for a man [i.e. Brian Turner] so intimately involved in a war to avoid glorifying or pitying those also caught up in it? Well, the jury's still out on the first question, but when it comes to the second, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Out of conflict

Last week, AL Kennedy's novel, Day, was named by Costa as their book of the year, beating Simon Sebag Montefiore's biography of Stalin, Jean Sprackland's poetry collection Tilt, Catherine O'Flynn's debut What Was Lost and Ann Kelley's novel for children The Bower Bird to the overall prize.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Podcast: AL Kennedy

" . . . I've had some bad times and I'm not too well now, so I suppose I have reasons to be pessimistic, but even now, in the last part of my life, what's there is still something I can be glad of, and use. There are very good reasons for thinking things are OK. And I go on doing that." [--Edwin Morgan]

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Zest and grit

It was recently announced by the university library in Heidelberg that a printed book in its possession contains a marginal note, handwritten in October 1503, confirming that Leonardo was at work on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. This is taken as proof of the traditional identity of the sitter for the Mona Lisa. Vasari, it turns out, was right. Leonardo's portrait shows the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a known historical figure. The Italian title, La Gioconda, means both "the happy woman" and the wife of Signor Giocondo.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Portrait of a lady

"It seems to be easier for John Updike to stifle a yawn than to refrain from writing a book," he wrote about his short-story collection Licks of Love.

On a cold, windy day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, [James] Wood doesn't disavow these statements.

from John Freeman: The Times: John Freeman on fearsome literary critic, James Wood

Because of the way Milton handles the theme in this sonnet, the reader will realize that the speaker pursues the issue in a compartmentalized way as in the Elizabethan (also called Shakespearean or English) sonnet; therefore, a discussion based on quatrains/couplet is in order.

In the first quatrain, the speaker portrays his concern that he is going blind and worries that his "one talent," his writing, may suffer.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Milton's Blindness

Even if the beloved removes to a far planet, the lover can follow in thought.

This speaker is quite taken with the speed of thought, and by wishing his body had such powers, he begins to realize the efficacy of the creative powers inherent in thought. He finds a contradiction, but also a paradox, but waits for the next quatrain to resolve its mystery.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 44

And when the man on the roof opposite vanishes, we could draw the conclusion that he was possibly imprisoned (and tortured) as a consequence of living in a country under siege.

While this is only conjecture, we know that he is an artist who, by the end of the poem, can no longer paint.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: An infatuation killed by reality

Poem: "Opinion" by Baron Wormser, Subject Matter: Poems.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of January 28, 2008

I've written about the pleasures of poetry that offers us vivid scenes but which lets us draw our own conclusions about the implications of what we're being shown. The poet can steer us a little by the selection of details, but a lot of the effect of the poem is in what is not said, in what we deduce. Lee McCarthy is a California poet, and here is something seen from across the street, something quite ordinary yet packed with life.

Santa Paula

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 148

Not my soon-to-be ex-wife, surely. Was I going to invent an ideal lover as Petrarca had his Laura? Was I going to use the memory of a former lover or the haunting image of someone I had briefly met and barely spoken to as Dante had done with Beatrice in the "Vita Nuova"? Perhaps the solution would come to me as I wrote.

from Anthony Maulucci: Norwich Bulletin: Sonnet form elevates poetry with structure, rhythym

At the same time he was writing "In a Station" he [Ezra Pound] was also writing a lot of verse that was old-fashioned and formulaic. In principle, he declared that poetry ought to be concrete and immediate; in practice, and in the "Cantos" especially, he often wrote poems so allusive and erudite that to understand them you had to be as well-read as Pound was.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: Il Miglior Fabbro

Meanwhile, Tibetan dancers are being trained to repeat Beijing's official line to the international community during the Olympics, the source said.

"They were told that they will perform Tibetan cultural dances in Beijing during the Olympics but in reality they are being trained to condemn His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] and propagate to the international community at the Olympics that they are happy under Chinese rule," a Tibetan source said.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: China Cracks Down on Tibetan Buddhism Ahead of Olympics

In myth, a hero is a totem animal--bull or dragon or bear--and resembles or becomes that animal. So Jay Parini, remembering his mother's storm-dark stories about crows, associates her power with the storm, and with those dark, powerful birds:

The Crow-Mother Tells All

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

by Belinda Subraman

"The implausible still interests me.
I am amused
when someone states
an interviewee is insane or mislead"

Posted on January 24, 2008

For the Critic of Ideas

from Donna Snyder: Newspaper Tree: Poetry: For the Critic of Ideas

by Andrew Hudgins

In the Arboretum

from The Atlantic Monthly: Poetry: In the Arboretum

by Stephen Sandy

Sea Chest

from The Atlantic Monthly: Poetry: Sea Chest

The fuss is that these poets who insulate themselves consciously (you can't blame the subconscious ones) are often the same poets complaining about the pathetically small audience for poetry.

Here's the deal. You can't consciously insulate yourself with senselessness and then bemoan the fact that people don't read poems--the poems you are purposefully excluding them from. You cannot have it both ways.

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Poetry for the People

Incident by Jane Griffiths

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Incident by Jane Griffiths

by Glen Enloe

The aura of the oak

from The Kansas City Star: "Rainstorm in Winter": A poem by Glen Enloe

by Jean Valentine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Coyote

The Future
by Billy Collins

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Future

[by Don Colburn]
Snow is falling everywhere, even up [. . .]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Angelica M. Bratsis

Somewhere in the World Right Now

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Angelica M. Bratsis]

[by John J Nyhan]
An Agenda for Love?

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: An Agenda for Love?

[by Judy Curtis]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Reflections

While still clearly influenced by the heady surrealism which dominated so much of his early work, these poems increasingly reflect a preoccupation with the terrible events of our times. They are deeply moral, while not being cloyingly so; where [Charles] Simic can use a word, a phrase, an image to subtly explore or delineate a particular circumstance or event, he does.

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Sixty Poems by Charles Simic

"Body of Book"
By Rachel Hadas

from Slate: "Body of Book" --By Rachel Hadas

Poetic Obituaries

A Ledbury man who wrote for the Spectator magazine is to have the honour of a memorial service at an Oxford University college.

Godfrey Bullard, who was 78, died in November at Hereford Hospital but had just managed to make last-minute proof corrections to his second collection of humorous verse Mingled Measure, which came out this week.

from Ledbury Reporter: Farewell to an amazing person

[Ginny Bundy] recalls that her parents' greatest love was music and she inherited their talent. She sang with a band while still in high school and her beautiful voice was always in demand. She also was a great poet and composed poems for all occasions.

from The News-Herald: Virginia M. Bundy

As recently as Monday, noted Nancy Deutsch, who leads a writing group Mr. [Francis] Clay participated in for many years, he was laughing and reading his poetry for an audience of 300 seniors.

Mr. Clay's initial four-year stint with Waters included a 1960 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival - the first by a blues performer - preserved on the "Live at Newport" album.

from San Francisco Chronicle: Francis Clay--star blues drummer--dies at 84

Glynda Cox, a co-owner of Chicago House, the long-closed but fabled downtown Austin coffeehouse and performance venue, died Sunday at home in Austin. She was 64.

"We suspect a cardiac event," said her partner, Peg Miller. "It was peaceful ... for her."

While nearby Sixth Street grew rowdier during the 1980s and '90s, Cox and Miller kept the quiet, soulful Chicago House alive in a two-story building on Trinity Street.

from The Austin American-Statesman: Longtime Chicago House co-owner Glynda Cox, 1943-2008

Edith [Mary Essex] was also a poet, with two small locally published books to her credit. The poems, often humorous, were about the seasons, nature, and her neighbors. Like the small community she lived in, Edith is now gone. In January 1996, during a frigid winter storm, Edith evidently got up during the night to put more wood on the fire and fell.

from Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Living Simply: Creating a New Life Off the Grid

Richard [Gomm] also compiled and wrote the first word anticipation computer program, to help him with his studies. He married Penny Morgan and the couple were living in Cirencester when he died.

One of Richard's poems:

Thinking of You in Switzerland . . .

from Gloucestershire Echo: 'Our Son Had a Wonderful Life'

Eddie [Graham] was a talented artist who spent a good deal of time each year making colorful cards with poems he wrote and giving them out for major holidays, as well as making beautiful collages for people's birthdays. He made hobbyhorses for kids on the block and saved the newspapers for neighbors every day.

from The Villager: Edward L. Graham, 62, the 'Mayor of E. Fourth St.'

Qazi Izhar used to be recognised in Pakistan with reference to his profound association with literature and poetry. He had produced eight compilations in Sindhi and Urdu poetry.

He was a great social worker and kept himself engaged in social welfare activities even after his retirement as Assistant Director Social Welfare.

from Associated Press of Pakistan: Noted poet Qazi Izhar passed away

"If my son did something wrong, he should pay, but not with his life," Oscar Martinez, 52, said [of Oscar Andres Martinez] at the family's Woodbridge home. "He was a poet, a writer and an athlete. He loved nature. He was never under any circumstances [violent]."

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is conducting an investigation into the shooting.

from Potomac News: Family wants answers in son's shooting

[Dr. Samuel Maxwell Plaut] loved to write poetry and sent her many poems during their courtship, his daughter recalled.

After going to medical school at the University of Colorado, he did his residency with the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

It was a mutual friend from his residency days who encouraged him to come out to San Bernardino.

from San Bernadino County Sun: Doctor 'treated . . . patients like family'

Bodhi [Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter] was also partial to filmmaking and dreamed of attending film school. She penned her thoughts, philosophies and poems in a journal every day and had a profoundness uncommon for a girl her age, said her mother, Leah Sherzer.

from San Bernadino County Sun: Not-guilty pleas made in slayings

[The Tamarack Review] was also the most influential of the many influential projects in [Robert] Weaver's long, creative career as coach, guide and cheerleader for the best writers of the time--Alice Munro and Mordecai Richler, Al Purdy and Hugh Garner, and many more.

Weaver's day job for all of his adult life was at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he served as literature's ambassador to radio.

from National Post: The best friend the Canadian short story ever had

[Keith Wilson] had aspirations of becoming a professional rapper but most recently talked of becoming a pediatrician. He had four sisters and a stepbrother and expressed the importance of family through poems he wrote, she [Keith's mother Rochonta Blackhawk] said.

from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mother of boy killed in crash professes no ill will


News at Eleven

In a forthcoming review to be published in March in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, an American poetry journal, Mr. [William] Logan writes: "Obliged though readers must be for this unknown Frost, the transcription is a scandal. To read this volume is to believe that Frost was a dyslexic and deranged speller, that his brisk notes frequently made no sense, that he often traded the expected word for some fanciful or perverse alternative."

But Mr. [Robert] Faggen suggests that Frost, who died in 1963, did often employ "odd spellings" in the notebooks.

from The New York Times: Editing of Frost Notebooks in Dispute

In the diorama battles between high and low, cooked and raw, there's no doubt of [Geoffrey] Hill's loyalties--you don't write on Holbein, on Blake, on Burke, on Handel without staking your claim in cold didactic ground. What to make, then, of his offhanded exclamation that "Things are not that bad. / H. Mirren's super"? So, Hill watches "Prime Suspect." Is he secretly boogieing to Eminem and P. Diddy? Not quite yet--but he talks about "lyric mojo."

from The New York Times: Living With Ghosts

Sam Porpora, a former church historian who led the fight to preserve the cemetery, claimed last summer that he cooked up the idea of the Poe toaster in the 1970s as a publicity stunt.

"We did it, myself and my tour guides," Porpora, a former advertising executive, said in August. "It was a promotional idea."

Porpora said someone else has since "become" the Poe toaster.

from KFWB News 980: Controversy Doesn't Deter 'Poe Toaster' From Annual Visit to Edgar Allan's Grave

I can't speak for others, but reading her [Nasra Al Adawi's] poems was like balm to a wound in my spirit. Hearing understanding from the voice of a stranger is an incalculable gift and one that I'll always treasure. I can't help but believe that the women to whom she has read these and other poems receive the same presents of hope and understanding that I received.

from Blogcritics: Brave Faces by Nasra Al Adawi

Sometimes he [Robert Alter] merely inverts the King James phrases. 'For I am poor and needy' (86) becomes 'for lowly and needy am I'; 'The sea is his, and he made it' (95) turns into 'His is the sea and He made it'; or similarly, 'Thy way is in the sea' (77) is now 'In the sea was Your way.' There are inversions on nearly every page and after a while, wonder, one does, if it's not the swamp of Yoda the Jedi Master we're in.

from London Review of Books: Praise Yah

His reputation rests today partly in the hands of the so-called Language poets, who find in [Louis] Zukofsky's brilliant subversions of syntax, word games and indeterminacy (his poem, after all, is called "A," not "The") an augury of their own methods. But "A" is not about anything as simple as "language" or "life": it is a poem about working on "A"--about the daily elations and impediments of an artist who sought, over the course of decades, to make something really hard really good.

from The New York Times: Alpha Poet

In Civil Engineer, the steady rhyme scheme mirrors disaster as seen through the lens of a by-the-book engineer:

A dense mist grips the mangled girders, a body bag or shroud

for the protruding beams, angled in unlikely shapes that crowd

into the water, pursuing the drowned

heart of the bridge. Efficiency our motto in engineering. No acting, nothing clowned.

Regionally, and for others interested in the event itself, Falsework [by Gary Geddes] is a very important artistic document--half creative product, half official narrative--and should be bought for every shelf in Vancouver.

from The Globe and Mail: A bridge too frail

[Anna] Beer's account of all this is vigorous, well researched and primed with piquant detail. How you prepare the heads of executed felons for display (answer: parboil them in bay salt and cumin seed to prevent putrefaction and to stop birds eating them) is not, for example, advice you come across in every biography.

But, by comparison, Milton's poetry gets little coverage.

from The Sunday Times: Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot by Anna Beer

At last the great Shakespearean drama has begun. It moves from "Sylvia" to "Dearest darling Sylvia" and "Darling Sylvia Puss-Kish Ponky" and on to "Dearest Sylvia kish and puss and ponk" to settle finally at "Dearest Sylvia"--and then it is over.

"Sylvia killed herself on Monday morning," begins his letter bluntly to one of his closest friends. It is shocking in its rational, descriptive flatness.

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Letters Of Ted Hughes

No more than these writers should [Rabbie] Burns be forced to represent nationalism or rude ideology--that is not the way in which he is political, but more, much more, in the subtle manners of his comprehension when it comes to human freedom. Burns spoke in ways that not only defend the rights of the human imagination, but which embody that freedom in the manner of its defence.

from The Guardian: The people's poet

"Most of the kids were very remorseful," he [Sgt. Lee Hodsden] said. "Some were crying. . . . Two of them were indifferent to it, thought it was a big joke."

Hodsden said the parents of those involved were cooperative.

"I think a lot of how they found out their children were involved was at the supper table," said Middlebury Police Officer Scott Fisher, MUHS's school resource officer. "I would get calls, pass information along to Sgt. Hodsden."

from Rutland Herald: 28 face charges in Frost vandalism

Great Regulars

Books, Inq is a blog produced by Frank Wilson, the literary editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, which assiduously points you in the direction of countless literary links. Jenny Diski ( ) and Susan Hill ( ) produce good examples of writer's blogs, though the latter recently made the rooky blogger's mistake of including pictures of her cats.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Times: Bryan Appleyard on art on the web

Waterboarding was a favourite of the fanatics running the Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century Europe and now it's a Gitmo specialty.

American army officials have been loath to call waterboarding a form of torture. They dance around the description and say that while it's surely uncomfortable, it can't really be called torture. That's what a democracy is all about, I suppose.

from Fatima Bhutto: The News International Pakistan: The road to Guantanamo

[Charles] Nicholl himself acknowledges that it was [AL] Rowse who first made full use of the notebooks of the doctor or magus Simon Forman.

It is through these records of consultations that we learn such facts of daily life as that, on September 10 1597, Marie Mountjoy lost in the street two rings and a French crown piece. She visited Forman in order to see if, by his astrological calculations, he could discover the present whereabouts of her property.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Bard times

Nevertheless, the speaker, before her hard-hitting yet softly-applied critique, makes it clear that winter holds much to be honored; after all the season is "Generic as a Quarry/And hearty--as a Rose." It generates enough to be considered a repository like a stone quarry that can be mined for all types of valuable rocks, gems, and granite.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Dickinson's Winter Welcome

The speaker in Shakespeare Sonnet 43, "When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see," claims that he sees best when he "sleeps," or visits the astral, mental world, because it is then that he experiences his beloved--the poetry muse.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 43

Don't judge her [Joyce Carol Oates] on the basis of, say, six titles, or 10, or even 24. Keep reading and her talent will emerge eventually.

That approach is like the one a relative of mine used to find the Brazil nut piece in the box of chocolates, taking bites out of all the other pieces until the right candy was found.

from Bob Hoover: Post-Gazette: Have you read your Oates today?

[Wordsworth] tells us that his beliefs might be "from heaven sent", for in his mind that must be where nature herself originates. And, when his appreciation of his surroundings leads him to thoughts of "what man has made of man" by way of contrast, he asks us "Have I not reason to lament?"

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: Happiness through nature

But it was in poetry that she [Muriel Spark] first made her name. From 1947–49 she was editor of the journal Poetry Review and her collection The Fanfarlo (1952) preceded her first published fiction. One of the poems in that book, "Chrysalis" was published in the TLS in June 1951.


from Mick Imlah: The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Chrysalis

Poem: "How To Kill" by Keith Douglas, from Keith Douglas: The Complete Poems.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of January 21, 2008

Those who bemoan the self-absorption of the postliterate generation will be happy to know that before the self-indulgent, amateurish blog there was the self-indulgent, amateurish log. "We understood that in our own way we'd performed an act of Zen," the book's last pages declare. The problem is that my Zen is just peachy; to me, your Zen is a snooze.

from David Kirby: The New York Times: Pas de Deux

But how can poetry do this?

One way is to recite the bare facts, in the hope they will resonate with the reader. In a poem about Korea titled "On Visiting the DMZ at Panmunjom: a Haibun," and containing information about military and civilian deaths and quantities of ordnance expended in that war, [Robert] Hass writes, "There is no evidence that human beings have absorbed these facts, which ought, at least, to provoke some communal sense of shame."

from Karl Kirchwey: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Images of war, 'sweetness' of art

Our earliest recollections are often imprinted in our memories because they were associated with some kind of stress. Here, in an untitled poem, the Nebraska State Poet, William Kloefkorn, brings back a difficult moment from many years before, and makes a late confession:

I stand alone at the foot

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 147

He finds a gar, a trash fish, imprisoned in a decorative pond. Its displacement resonates with "meat packing plants"--what hunting has become within a city landscape. At the end, as [John] Moritz turns his thoughts to poetry--Dante and Ezra Pound--he connects movement of consciousness to the gar's thrashing: all fight against confinement.


from Denise Low: Ad Astra Poetry Project: John Moritz (1946-2007)

Their stories are at least self-sufficiently interesting and often actually amazing, but their special claim on our attention has to do with the ways they allow us to apprehend symbolic values at the same time as we enjoy actual events.

This combination of figurative and factual power is something that all creative artists aspire to--which helps to explain why one of the best-known myths, the story of Orpheus, should have been so often retold through the centuries.

from Andrew Motion: The Guardian: Foreword

All we can say for sure is that in the late 1630s Milton "almost single-handedly created the identity of the writer as a political activist, [and] of writing as a political vocation"--developing his remarks in "Lycidas" into a fully armed assault on church corruption, and then adding a pamphlet on divorce which immediately became (and to some extent remains) notorious for its insistence that "meet and happy conversation" rather than sexual fidelity be the foundation of a good marriage.

from Andrew Motion: The Guardian: The mystery of genius

Imagine the scene: an army tears through the streets of an ancient city, slaughtering every man, woman and child in its way. One soldier is about to charge into the nearest house to slit the throats of the occupants when he notices a scrap of paper pinned to the door. Tearing it off, he discovers a sonnet has been written on it.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Today: A Reading of 'When the Assault was Intended for the City' by John Milton

In its apparent simplicity and urbane candor, its detail, its allegiance to a past that is transitory and lost except in memory, these lines about a past "Appalachia downtown" remind me of the traditional Chinese poetry [Charles] Wright admires and often evokes. For instance, here is Burton Watson's translation of a poem by the 11th-century poet Su Tung-p'o, "Rhyming with Tzu-yu's 'At Mien-ch'ih, Recalling the Past' (1061)":

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

As is the Christian convention, [Pierre Jean] Jouve collocates language and metaphysical experience. Both are, in a sense, forms of thought. According to "Langue III", near death "one seeks the meaning and the letter and the spirit: the meaning is dear to God: the meaning is what reaches the God-consciousness".

from Fiona Sampson: The Guardian: The sunken piano

In every sense of the word he [C W Damodaram Pillai] was a great Pioneer and worthy Precursor of Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer in the field of retrieval, re-editing and reprinting of ancient Tamil Classics.

Damodaram Pillai's most notable achievement was the editing of Tholkappiyam with Nachinarkiniyar's commentary. Tholkappiyam is generally considered to be the most ancient complete and whole single work in Tamil now extant.

from V Sundaram: News Today: A pioneer in Tamil and Tamil literature from Jaffna

[Edna St. Vincent Millay] was born in Maine, of a long line of Maine families, and the sea coast provides her with many of her early images--of anchors, shells, ships and sea-farers, but there was also a certain distance from her milieu:

"Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:

Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand."

from René Wadlow's The Flutes of Dionysus: Newropeans Magazine: Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892--1950)

You might just find yourself reading every last piece in the book, even those about poets you've never heard of. Most of all, you're likely to begin sensing that poetry is less a literary activity than a mode of being, and that you want the same thing [Christian] Wiman does: a "complete saturation of the actual . . . not merely my imagination trying to attach itself to reality."

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: A poet reconciling verse and living

[Maram al-Massri's] work has appeared in many international anthologies and been translated into French, English, Spanish, Corsican, Serbian and Italian. The following poems, taken from "A Red Cherry on a White-tiled Floor," have been translated into English by Khaled Mattawa. He is the author of three books of poems. He teaches in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Poetry by Maram al-Massri

The River Road

by Sean O'Brien

from The Guardian: Saturday Poem: The River Road

By Jon Herbert Arkham

[Sea of Glass]

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: 'Sea of Glass': A poem by Jon Herbert Arkham


by John Hollander

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Fidget

Science Fiction

by Les Murray

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Science Fiction


by Ciaran Carson

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Through

Listen to Maya Pindyck read her poems

Long Distance


Tin (Please) Is Real

from Nextbook: Three Poems by Maya Pindyck

[by Ann Staley]

At the back door on Church Street a note reads,

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Malique Daniels

The sky, a big blue hot air balloon balancing over the sea

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Malique Daniels]

By Alfred G. Wagner

Pleasant Valley School

Zodiac Signs

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Alfred G. Wagner]

[by Bob Moore]


from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Justice

[by Lucie Therrien]


from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Stilettos

Fortunately for English-language readers, Joan Margarit's poems are getting easier to find. Tugs in the Fog (Bloodaxe), translated by Anna Crowe, is a great introduction: and Barcelona publisher Proa has also produced his Barcelona Amor Final in Catalan, Spanish and English, with black and white photographs, an evocative love song to the city.

My Ode to Barcelona

The city, wherever you go it will go.


from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week

"Food Lion, Winchester, Tennessee"

By Joe Osterhaus

from Slate: "Food Lion, Winchester, Tennessee"--By Joe Osterhaus

Poetic Obituaries

Yolanda met Eric [Barker] at a dance club seven years ago. He wrote her poems and surprised her with gifts. A year later, they married.

Yolanda Barker was five years younger than Eric and came to depend upon him. "I couldn't make a decision without him," she said.

He knew his way around the kitchen and knew how to cook food the kids would eat. He baked cakes for their birthdays because he believed store-bought wasn't "from the heart," his widow said.

from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Slain officer wanted to give his kids a father

After his death in 1982, she [Myrtle Butcher] began writing poems as part of the grieving process, and they were published in several American poetry anthologies, according to her daughter Maxine Nichols of West Lafayette, Ind.

Butcher was chosen for the Champion Windows ads after she had the windows installed at her home.

from The Enquirer: Myrtle Butcher seen in Champion Window ads

"Death comes as a new birth to Eternity. Live and love, then--Heaven is now," runs the last line of the poem that Fr. Paul DC Cunanan composed last New Year's eve.

On Saturday, January 19, 2008, at around 3:00 PM, he faced what he called "a new birth to Eternity", as he

from Philipine Information Agency: Davao's Fr. Paul Cunanan, 68

Georgia Frontiere was a chorus girl, a club singer, a philanthropist and a creative eccentric who wrote poetry and liked astrology.

She dined with movie stars and sang at Joseph P. Kennedy's mansion. At various times, she owned homes in London, Los Angeles, New York, Arizona and her native St. Louis.

from St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Georgia Frontiere: 'An extraordinary life'

After retiring, Mrs [Barbara] Hill took a creative writing course at Dewsbury College, where she developed her interest in poetry and prose.

She went on to write two collections of stories and poems, Dips and Rainbow Thoughts, which went on sale at Sue Carter's bookshop, Crackenedge Lane.

from Dewsbury Reporter: Tributes are paid to the prolific 'Dewsbury poet' Barbara Hill, 73

[Nikola] Kljusev has been a member of the council of the governing center-right VMRO-DPMNE party since 1997.

During his lifetime he published numerous studies on economics as well as several books of his own poetry and essays.

from Balkan Investigative Reporting Network: Macedonia's First PM Dies

Andy Palacio--a man who has worn the hats of teacher, singer, guitarist, drummer, composer, producer and poet--fell sick just over a week ago. On Saturday, he was diagnosed at the Belize Medical Associates with high blood pressure, and days later, his cholesterol level was found to be at dangerous levels.

from Amandala: R.I.P. Andy P

A bright girl, she [Chrissy Predham Newman] was involved in theatre in school, liked writing poetry and was named an Ontario scholar for having achieved at least an 80 per cent average in every high school subject.

Newman was involved in caring for children and the elderly at a young age, spending time babysitting and volunteering at a local nursing home.

from The Western Star: One year later: no one arrested, charged in Chrissy Predham Newman murder

Mr. [James LeVoy] Sorenson also was a poet and composer of LDS hymns, publishing some of them in a book titled, "Just Love the People, the World Is our Family."

After beginning his career selling pharmaceuticals to physicians for Upjohn Co. in Salt Lake City, Mr. Sorenson started buying real estate in the Salt Lake area. In 1957 he co-founded Deseret Pharmaceutical, and the company became the foundation for the establishment of Becton Dickinson Vascular Access.

from Deseret Morning News: Inventor James L. Sorenson dies at 86

[Hone Tuwhare] won two Montana Book Awards for poetry: in 1998 for Shapeshifter, and in 2002 for Piggy Back Moon.

He was honoured as the Te Mata Poet Laureate in 1999, and held Auckland University, Hocken Library, and Burns Fellowships. In 2005 his poems were set to music by artists as diverse as Don McGlashan, Goldenhorse, and Whirimako Black.

from The Epoch Times: Tribute to Great NZ Poet Hone Tuwhare


News at Eleven

Though the mood and spirit of these poems are my own, they are formally modelled on poems by Herbert: in the cases of "Host", "Flash" and "This" on "Love (III)", "Virtue" and "Prayer (I)"--some of the loveliest of his poems, and among my favourites. One of the oddities of "Prayer (I)" is that it has no main verb, and I have kept to this feature.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Three poems inspired by George Herbert

From the first excruciating moments of infatuation with the woman he called "Lesbia," through the torrid transports of physical love, to the betrayals that leave him stricken, [Gaius] Catullus told it all, and, in so doing, did more than anyone to create the form we recognize today as the love story.

from Los Angeles Times: Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides: to 'My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, From Checkhov to Munro'

At home, Bill [William Stafford] would rise at 4 a.m. every day to take a walk and write. He was very private with his creative process. Once, he showed Dorothy [Stafford] some poetry and she added a few corrections.

"He never showed me again," she said with a smile.

from Lake Oswego Review: The Secret to A Long life: Poetry, Friends and Family

Before postmodernism, says [Robert] Hass, many poets assumed they did know the thoughts of animals, because their worldviews were shaped by their religious beliefs. "Poets went to nature because they thought of nature as a divine book written in divine hand," he says. "I don't think that metaphor is dead anymore, but the feeling is that our sacred books and churches told us what divine was, and then we read it into nature."

from The Jerusalem Post: Natural poet

"Give me one good reason for reason", remonstrates a birch tree in "Scientists Have Discovered". [Sam] Gardiner experiments with Wordsworth's wise passivity in the face of nature, but finds the human-to-nonhuman gap too wide to bridge: "Trees are simply green things without thoughts/that stand in our way," he writes admiringly in "Believe It"; "Only by becoming brainless can we understand them."

from The Guardian: The lab rat's guide to happiness

At a reading at Amherst College's Ford Memorial Chapel, for example, in a previously uncollected typescript, we find him [Robert Frost] musing: "I was thinking the other day I could tear these books, tear the leaves out, and I could lay the poems pretty nearly to cover the little thirty-acred farm. I could find places where every single one of the poems took its rise. I could make a little map of the farm; in fact one of my children made such a map and from her incomplete work could locate as many as twenty to thirty of the poems."

from The Guardian: Chicken feed for the soul

Yet [Hershel] Parker shows convincingly that [Herman] Melville was immersed in thinking about poetry, aesthetics and the lives of poets. Perhaps more important, he reveals that if Melville wanted to engage the loftiest or the deepest matters, then poetry, meaning verse, was the appropriate cultural form in which it should be done. His first published book of poems was "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War," the title suggestive of art, music and, grimly, other kinds of fragments.

from Los Angeles Times: The great American author didn't write poetry by accident, Parker argues, but entirely by plan.

[Louis] Zukofsky is neither an easy poet nor one you can warm up to immediately. But greater familiarity with what he does--more and more readings of his shorter poems--helps to crack the seeming code, and then you can begin to hear this special music, and possibly tackle some of the longer works.

from The Jewish Exponent: 'Vessels of Light'

In 1948 or thereabouts, [Marjorie] El-Kadi fell into a brief orbit around the man who once dismissed Walt Whitman as an "exceedingly nauseating pill." Invariably, Pound wore a hospital robe and a towel wrapped in a turban around his head. "He had a nervous twitch," she says, and he "turned a pencil over and over with his fingers."

Pound "wanted me to be his political secretary," and--dazzled by his celebrity, albeit dubious--El-Kadi ran errands for him.

from Herald-Tribune: War fuels the muse of a poet for peace

And it suggests an alternative to imperialism and violence--[Daniel] Berrigan's alternative. "Seed hope. Flower peace."

[Adrianna] Amari's project resonated with the publishing staff at Apprentice House for many reasons. [Gregg] Wilhelm, [Kevin] Atticks, and the students believed in the artistic merit of the book and were excited about the support it had already received. Not only had [Howard] Zinn written the book's introduction, but Martin Sheen and Kurt Vonnegut had read and praised the manuscript.

from Baltimore City Paper: University Press

But neither man was carrying a horn, or any instrument, when they arrived Tuesday at the Jazz Standard club on East 27th Street. The nation's current poet laureate, the 69-year-old [Charles] Simic, and its former poet laureate, [Robert] Pinsky, were there to do their practiced thing, read poems. And while they'd share the stage with three jazz musicians, it was still undecided, two hours before showtime, whether the two groups would perform together. In the best jazz tradition, the night was going to be an improvisation.

from Los Angeles Times: Poets and jazz artists find rhythm and rhyme

Great Regulars

It was here she [Elizabeth Barrett Browning] produced the remarkable poem Casa Guidi Windows, a stirring response to the Florentine bid for freedom in the late 1840s. Casa Guidi lies on the junction next to the church of San Felice and just around the corner from the Pitti Palace and from its windows the Brownings could witness the swerving political fortunes of their adopted city.

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: Elizabeth Barrett Browning's ode to Florence

[John Donne's] poems combine sensuality with intelligence--what we think of as metaphysical. Which is to say, they are passionate and meditative simultaneously. And, they are examples of poems, in Theodore Roethke's phrase (and Roethke adored Donne, by the way), that think by feeling.

Air and Angels

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry

Consolation is hard to come by in Will Stone's universe. His view of humanity, present as enfeebled victims or pitiless murderers, is grim, religion provides little in the way of solace ("the ashen Christ sags helpless/hooked like a haunch of meat"), and his landscapes are heavy with morbidity.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Light verse

The last 12 months in poetry have definitely belonged to Sean O'Brien. After winning the Forward prize for best collection an unprecedented third time in October, the poet was tonight named the winner of the 2007 TS Eliot prize, making him the first author ever to take the UK's two top poetry awards in the same year.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Sean O'Brien wins unprecedented poetry double

Walter Bargen--a poet at home with writing in almost any style, from rural reveries to enigmatic surrealism--is the first poet laureate of Missouri.

His books include The Feast, in which some of the speakers, trapped in isolation, take on the persona of the biblical Jonah in the belly of the fish. In other works, such as the poem "Office of Forgetting," he is content to evoke nature, or the Midwestern seasons.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Missouri names its first poet laureate

"The goal," said [Robert] Henri, "is not making art. It is living a life. Those who live their lives will leave the stuff that is really art." To inspire this kind of spirit in his students, he used to read to them from Walt Whitman.

The Ashcan artists were often cartoonists and illustrators--they grew up in a golden age of newspaper art--as well as painters.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Living a life

"It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us," he [Robert Hass] writes in "The Problem of Describing Trees," as if sick of it all.

But then what? Time and Materials, which recently won the National Book Award, seems to ask itself that question over and again: If not lovemaking, or the amber shiver of trees losing leaves, what are our elemental things? Is war the seasonal ritual to which we should become accustomed as our planet's seasons merge?

from John Freeman: Charleston City Paper: City Paper reviews the National Book Award winners in fiction and poetry

In the fourth stanza which is the second single couplet of the poem, the speaker claims that her fireworks display is so bright that it "shine[s] in the windows and light[s] up the trees." And then she says that this display comes from her hatred of the person to whom she is speaking.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Amy Lowell's 'Fireworks'

The speaker then speculates about the nature of loss, and he decides that if he loses that particular poem, he still wins because he has the ability to create others. If he loses the ability to create others, he would lose both that poem and any future poems he might create. And that loss would indeed result in his having a "cross" to bear.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 42

In the second stanza, the speaker reports his affection for the simple act of waking up to the sounds of the city: "I love to be roused/From silent sleep/By the early hum/Of active-city drum." The colorful description of a city's rousing itself awake infuses what may seem to be merely a "hum-drum" experience with new interest and appeal.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Yogananda's 'City Drum'

(We often forget that some men suffer very real domestic abuse.)

Line by line, the poem describes a life of persecution in a landscape that has been wantonly vandalised in the name of "love", which we can clearly see is something else entirely.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: When love turns to abuse

"Father in the Railway Buffet" [by U. A. Fanthorpe], which appeared in the TLS on February 27, 1981, is a typically measured release of certain private tensions.

Father in the Railway Buffet

from Mick Imlah: The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Father in the Railway Buffet

Poem: "The Very Rich Hours of the Houses of France" by David Kirby, from I Think I Am Going to Call My Wife Paraguay.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of January 14, 2008

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a new name for "shell shock," a term once applied only to military veterans. Here the poet Marvin Bell describes a group of these emotionally damaged soldiers, gathered together for breakfast. I'd guess that just about everybody who reads this column has known one or two men like these.

Veterans of the Seventies

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 146

Poetry can greatly enhance our emotional health and grant us an increased sense of well being. Poetry can strengthen the vital core of a quiet mind. It can calm our emotional turbulence and deepen our serenity of soul. In short, poetry can be an essential ingredient of our inner peace.

from Anthony Maulucci: Norwich Bulletin: Poetry can help us work through our darkest hours

The two categories overlap, strikingly so in the poems of James Schuyler, which are attentive to the evidence of the senses but with a distinctive personality. In "Evening," Schuyler emphasizes what he sees while also reflecting on it in his distinctive way:

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

There is much to be said for [Pierre] Teilhard [de Chardin]'s attempt to harmonize faith and science. The prologue to the Fourth Gospel refers to Christ as the Logos. [Christoph] Schönborn points out that the Greek word logos, while it does mean "word," can also mean "essential determining factor." In this respect, it has much in common with the Chinese word Tao; in fact, the Chinese translation of the Fourth Gospel begins with the phrase, "In the beginning was the Tao. . . ."

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: A Catholic theologian on God and science

Out of the corner of the eye, and in and out of [Laurie] Byro's swooping time shifts, the Wild Fir is a baleful presence, possessive rather than protective, and jealously intrusive at moments of happiness or fulfilment.

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: After De la Mare

If your poem is slight, but it pleases you all the same, that's fine. If it's so slight that you feel it's pointless, put it to one side and start another. Of course, you may have to go out for another walk. This is starting to sound like a new year health programme as well as a writing exercise . . .

from The Guardian: Jean Sprackland's workshop

Rockface by Angela Leighton

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Rockface by Angela Leighton

by Michael Schiavo

Of Bedlam in its prairie pride. Of the roach that winds between the stars, triumphal. Of well-water served in garnet goblets. Of crusted penknife sitting on the pillow in the crib. [. . .]

from Guernica: Poetry: from The Mad Song

By Walter Bargen

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: 'Consolation,' a poem by Walter Bargen

Fishing Around
by Robert Mezey

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Fishing Around

Old Marx
by Adam Zagajewski

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Old Marx

Poems by Sam Davis

An Age Old War

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Sam Davis]

By Hannah Taggart

William Allen Middle School

The Greatest Love Ever

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Hannah Taggart]

By Cameron Verge

Pleasant Valley School


from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Cameron Verge ]

[by Joann Snow Duncanson]
City Planning

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: City Planning

[by Lincoln Edward Akerman]
The Marginal Way

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: The Marginal Way

[by Bob Moore]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poetry on the Seacoast: The music of Bob Moore's words

Post-Holiday Blues is Gerry Stewart's first collection from Flambard Press.

Should you have a touch of the post-holiday blues yourself, exploring the work of a poet is a very good antidote.

As well as the beautiful title poem, others like this one will refresh your mental palate at the start of the new year.

Jeg Skal Aldri GrĂĄte (I Shall Never Cry)

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week

"My Young Mother"
Elvera Ryan (1911-2006)
By Michael Ryan

from Slate: "My Young Mother" --By Michael Ryan

Poetic Obituaries

Selim Al Deen was, again, an individual who went beyond the call of writing. As a teacher of drama at the university he worked for till the end of his life, he passed on to the young men and women under his tutelage the essential idea that Bengali history was necessarily underpinned by an understanding of the lyrical quality of the nation's poetry and the hard, prosaic facts of the lives of the people of Bangladesh. His satirical expositions of the social scene said it all.

from The Daily Star: A man of unbounded creativity

A medieval scholar and a poet and writer, Sister Consuelo Maria [Ahern] researched and wrote histories of her congregation and contributed book reviews and articles to the Catholic Historical Review. She was an editor of and contributor to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion. It was published in 1979, and that year she presented a copy to Pope John Paul II.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Sister Consuelo Maria, 92, history professor

[Dani Simpson] Burch was a local artist and poet who formerly lived in Potter Valley. Her clay sculptures and funerary urns have been exhibited and sold in galleries in Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Mendocino counties, including the Grace Hudson Museum store in Ukiah.

from The Press Democrat: Lakeport artist found dead in suspicious circumstances

[Ashley] Cook, who previously had lived in Bridgeville and attended Chartiers Valley schools, moved to North Fayette Township and was a senior at West Allegheny, where she wrote a poetry book for her senior project.

from Elwood City Ledger: Teen critically injured in crash pronounced dead

Cousin Jason Emerson read from a poem written by [Meredith] Emerson at age 14, prefacing it by saying, "I don't think she would want us to be permanently bitter about what happened. She would want us to see the light in the darkness."

from Gainesville Times: Emerson memorial: 'Meredith's love shines down on you today'

From 1992 until his death, he invested in and managed residential rental properties.

True to his English-major roots, Mr. [Austin] Frum enjoyed poetry, fiction and history. He also liked local minor league baseball and George Washington University basketball.

He loved the outdoors.

from The Washington Post: Austin Frum, 74; Housing Lawyer

[Angel Gonzalez] also became a member of the literary movement Generation of 1950, which resisted the 1939-1975 regime of Franco.

Gonzalez, who went on to publish books of poetry and edited several anthologies, won the Prince of Asturias Award as well as a myriad of other honours in Spain, across Europe and in the U.S.

from CBC News: Spanish poet Angel Gonzalez dies

[Thelma Gooch] also enjoyed writing poetry and had poems published. In later years, she enjoyed activities at the New Horizon Center in Des Moines.

from Journal-Express/The Reminder: Thelma Gooch

Together they edited a publication for the Young Poets Project in Santa Fe.

[Deborah] Posen Hill had been a bankruptcy attorney in Eugene for several years.

from The Register-Guard: Freak accident takes life of lawyer

At the heart of Orgosolo's transformation from a hotbed of brigandry to a protest-art hub was Peppino Marotto, shepherd and bandit turned union organiser, poet and singer of shepherd songs inspired by the calls of animals and the sound of the wind.

from The Guardian: Vendetta fear after poet murdered

"He [Ian McDonald] was very gifted and had a natural ability to fix cars. He loved writing short stories and poetry too, and was good at oil painting. He liked creating things that had a meditative feel about them."

from South Manchester Reporter: Jail for drink driver who killed two

Jaleh Mohajer-Esfahani, who has died aged 86, was perhaps the last survivor of the 1946 intellectual gathering that launched the modernist movement in Persian poetry. The First Congress of Iran's Writers and Poets provided a springboard for a new generation of Iran's writers, inspired by the surrealist, free verse and modernist movements in France and the powerful wave of socialist ideals.

from The Guardian: Jaleh Mohajer-Esfahani

Andrés Henestrosa Morales, a prolific poet, essayist and journalist whose lyrical writings helped raise the cultural profile of Mexico's indigenous people, particularly the Zapotec Indians of southern Oaxaca state, and whose wide circle of friendships and intellectual partnerships included Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Langston Hughes, died Thursday at his Mexico City home after a months-long battle with pneumonia.

from Los Angeles Times: Andrés Henestrosa Morales, 101; writer promoted Zapotec Indian culture

[John O'Donohue] also saw that "a lot of suffering is just getting rid of dross in yourself, and lingering and hanging in the darkness is often--I say this against myself--a failure of imagination, to imagine the door into the light."

So it makes sense that O'Donohue's last book, To Bless the Space Between Us, would be nothing but invocations and blessings--a simple, how-to book that, in effect, takes him back to his father praying in the fields.

from The Huffington Post: John O'Donohue (1954-2008): Our New Friend on the Other Side

[Bill Purdie] was also a regular contributor to the Bucks Free Press with his letters, and an accomplished poet.

His son David, who owns a photography gallery in East Sussex, said: "He was a professional trouble maker--not in a nasty way--but he liked a bit of friction."

from Bucks Free Press: Political activist dies, aged 89

He was a gentle man, accepting of others, no matter who or what they were. Victor [Rodriguez] treated everyone with respect and didn't pass judgment.

In his spare time, he wrote his thoughts in the form of poetry penned in Spanish. And he read scores of history books.

from Orange County Register: Victor Rodriguez urged loved ones to be happy

"My son loved his two dogs, loved camping in Yosemite and climbing the Dome, and loved writing poetry and song lyrics.

"He was a gentle, loving man who never hurt anyone in his life. A big part of our family died with Kenny that night," she [Kenneth Russell's mother Joan Ahern] said.

from Los Angeles Daily News: Let's help police find a hit-run killer

Third-grader Alysha loved to draw. Fifth-grader Kendra loved to write poems and short stories.

As the girls' mother Marla told KMEG 14 in an exclusive interview, Kendra and Alysha [Suing] were inseparable.

from KMEG 14: Suing Sisters Laid to Rest on Friday

[George V.] Tsounis was a POW for 11 months after being shot down by antiaircraft artillery, receiving two flak wounds as the result of enemy fire. For several months he was listed as missing in action until he was discovered by the Red Cross in a stalag camp in Eastern Germany. He wrote poetry, read the Bible three times and a Greek Orthodox prayer book from the Holy Cross Seminary in Pomfret, Connecticut.

from The Queens Gazette: George Vlassios Tsounis, WW II Vet, Dies At Age 84

[Dr Aled Rhys Williams] was honoured in 1975 with the White Robe of the Gorsedd of Bards for his service to Wales, adopting the bardic name of Aled ap Steffan.

In 1964 he was awarded the chair at the Lampeter National Eisteddfod. His winning poem was entitled Y Pethau Bychan (The Small Things).

In recent years he was a valued member of the Tegeingl team of bards taking part in the popular BBC Radio Cymru Talwrn y Beirdd series.

from The Daily Post: Scholar, poet and broadcaster dies


News at Eleven

Mr. [Jon] Scieszka, 53, who has written more than 25 books in the last two decades, is to be named to this new position by James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress. Mr. Billington said that unlike the role of the poet laureate, which does not come with specific responsibilities, this one calls for Mr. Scieszka (pronounced SHEH-ska) to be a spokesman who will travel and speak to groups of children, parents and teachers "to evangelize the need for reading."

from The New York Times: Stinky Cheese! Ambassador for Children’s Literature

1. Philip Larkin

2. George Orwell

3. William Golding

4. Ted Hughes

5. Doris Lessing

6. J. R. R. Tolkien

7. V. S. Naipaul

8. Muriel Spark

9. Kingsley Amis

10. Angela Carter

from The Times: The 50 greatest British writers since 1945
also The Times: Kingsley Amis
also The Times: George Mackay Brown
also The Times: Angela Carter
also The Times: Geoffrey Hill
also The Times: Ted Hughes
also The Times: Philip Larkin
also The Times: Alice Oswald
also The Times: Mervyn Peake
also The Times: Muriel Spark
also The Times: Derek Walcott
also The Times: Benjamin Zephaniah

He kissed one of her breasts, and that was all. She got dressed again. She knew that he had had affairs with other women, but he claimed that he was not "sexually minded," and furthermore that what she missed in their relationship was actually there. When they were apart, he said, they were together. They didn’t need to have "intercourse"; their whole friendship was "a continued intercourse." More than sex or marriage, it seems, what [Mary] Haskell wanted from [Kahlil] Gibran was simply to be acknowledged as the woman in his life

from The New Yorker: Prophet Motive

The accent has been 'racialised'; it has been made fun of on the television and in the streets. But I think it's a beautiful voice, and it's important to use it to talk back to the racialised voice. I want to say, 'I'm using this voice and I'm proud of it, so now it's your issue'. I'm not mocking my characters by giving them this accent.

from The Hindu: Jamming of two worlds

[Susan] Briante shows how our identifications with the world form through image and sound, as well as through memory and experience. The "new" must be encountered according to its terms.

In a sense, the "pioneers" of Briante's title are her readers who share in her cultural geography.

from Bookslut: Pioneers in a Field of Action

But the language rides on my nerves when I hear it; it stirs me in some fundamental way. I taught a workshop at Naropa one summer called "Lost Languages"--an attempt to write toward some never-had tongue. I sometimes think that is why I write poetry. Trying to conjure something barely available, seeking to retrieve it.

I know Vietnamese to be a very musical language (it's tonal).

from Bookslut: An Interview with Hoa Nguyen

It is no disparagement of the work to consider to what extent the loss of an eye made [Robert] Creeley a particular, even unique, poet--one who had to turn his head to scan the whole view, and so one for whom perception was always exaggeratedly temporal; one who could apprehend at once clarity and occlusion, and who was particularly aware of the sources and resonances of sound. His "one" was both universal and the unique quality of his I/eye.

from The Nation: A Human Pledge

OK, so probably Buk wasn't a Nazi, but was he anti-Semitic? FrancEyE isn't sure but says he never made a public issue of it if he was. He was born in Germany, and his maternal grandmother, whose last name was Israel, was Jewish. It's difficult to imagine anti-Semitism evolving from that. Basically, he was a man challenging the world, both with fists and words, a provocateur of amazing abilities.

from Los Angeles Times: Must we admire the poet to honor his work?

The two passed summers in a stone cottage in East Sussex, where they read to each other, polished their verses and fenced for exercise on rainy days. When Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees, Pound was his best man.

That's how it always was for Pound, playing the supporting role and never basking in the Ă©clat of widespread acclaim. He lived in penury, yet whenever money came his way, he would channel it to Eliot or Joyce, who took it as their due, with little perceptible gratitude.

from Los Angeles Times: 'Ezra Pound: Poet' by A. David Moody

How much did [Gertrude] Stein and [Alice B.] Toklas know, or choose not to know, about [Bernard] FaĂż's wartime activities? What are we to make of Stein's claim that she knew nothing of the Gestapo raids that were taking place in neighbouring villages and, as she writes in Wars I Have Seen, that she heard "what had happened to others" only after the arrival of the American soldiers in August 1944?

from The Times Literary Supplement: Gertrude and Alice

The governments of China, Burma and Syria are trying to turn the Internet into an Intranet--a network limited to traffic inside the country between people authorised to participate. At least 2,676 websites were shut down or suspended around the world in 2007, most of them discussion forums.

from Reporters Without Borders: Press Freedom Round-up 2007: 86 journalists killed in 2007--up 244% over five years

Great Regulars

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to say that his mind was Western and his soul Eastern. By Western he meant he was a student of Bertrand Russel and Antonio Gramsci, among other great theorists and writers. But by Eastern, I believe he meant something different. The concept of love is paramount to Sufi philosophy.

from Fatima Bhutto: The News: A legacy of love

The babble of so many voices makes it harder to pick out individuals; the additional background noise, meanwhile, muffles rather than clarifies. Which is a shame, because, if you take the trouble to tease them apart, there are some very strong poets in the mix.

In a reversal of the usual trend in anthologies (and on prize shortlists, for that matter), women outnumber men 12-5 here, and the ratio exerts a tangible effect on the collection's atmosphere.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: A blackthorn winter

It was a private ceremony that no doubt had a private meaning--but whether that meaning was incest, or indeed an end to incest, seems impossible to know. Afterwards, Dorothy [Wordsworth] fails to go to the church for the ceremony, but does (contrary to modern custom) accompany William and Mary on their honeymoon. The marriage is a success.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Remember Dorothy

In the final stanza, the speaker personifies and addresses Death, asking him why he takes the healthy-minded and leaves this mentally defective "lingering": "O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince,/That keepst the world in fear;/Why dost thou tear more blest ones hence,/And leave him ling'ring here?"

from Linda Sue Grimes: Abe Lincoln as Poet

Pushing an ordinary dead deer off the side of the cliff is one thing, but here is a deer whose baby is alive, almost ready to be born.

He knows that if he pushes the dead doe over the cliff, he is killing the unborn fawn, so "[b]eside that mountain road [he] hesitated."

from Linda Sue Grimes: William Stafford's Dead Doe

But the poem was not written with tools that can be found in a literary education; the poem was written with the basic tools that the poet was born with, the simple, linguistic tools that are connected to his emotional core and visual reference library, and which he used skilfully enough to bring the rat to life.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: Animal instinct

Poem: "Sonnet for Mary" by Ralph Edwards.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of January 07, 2008

If one believes television commercials, insomnia, that thief of sleep, torments humans in ever-increasing numbers. Rynn Williams, a poet working in Brooklyn, New York, tries here to identify its causes and find a suitable remedy.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 145

[William] Drummond's sonnet begins with a stark contrast of the divine and the apparently bestial: The greatest "Herald of Heaven's King," preaching the arrival of the long anticipated Messiah, stands like a caveman, "girt with rough skins." Pausing between the first and second lines helps to bring out the dramatic shock of this. Drummond makes the point that wisdom may be found where we least expect it, among the mad, the mocked, and the dispossessed.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A reading of Saint John Baptist by William Drummond

The English poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917) describes a New Year's Day encounter that includes many of these elements: giddiness and the grotesque, childhood and old age, convention and idiosyncrasy, the outlandish and the familiar:

The New Year

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

These poems of Ramanuja Kavirayar are in such simple and beautiful language, expressing fervent 'Bhakti' in a mood of self-surrender to the Lord. If only, he had devoted more time to poetry and composed more works of this kind, he would have been among the notable poets of that age. Some stray poems including a Pancharatnamala on Pachaiyappa Mudaliar, the great philanthropist, also stand to the credit of Kavirayar.

from V Sundaram: News Today: A great Tamil savant and guru of Dr G U Pope

To such opinionated and self-proclaiming arrogant 'leaders' wedded to their only chosen cause of anti-Hinduism and destruction of Hindu culture at any cost, R Subbarayulu has furnished formidable literary evidence, regarding the existence of Ramar Palam through his brilliant book in Tamil titled 'Sethu Bhandhanam (Ramar Palam)'.

from V Sundaram: News Today: Timeless Rama Sethu--Formidable Literary Evidence

Here it is: "The highest intelligences are soon bored, therefore the soonest bored possess the highest intelligence." Does he--or does Coetzee--really expect us to believe that a brilliant and sensitive "celebrity writer" would commit such an elementary error in logic ("all men are animals" obviously does not correctly convert into "all animals are men")?

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: Coetzee's odd work of fiction is no prize

Winter Night

by Po ChĂĽ-i, translated by David Hinton

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Winter Night by Po ChĂĽ-i, translated by David Hinton

by Tina Hacker
[Music of Snow]

from The Kansas City Star: 'Music of Snow': A poem by Tina Hacker

Seeing Whales
by Michael Dickman

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Seeing Whales

The Star Market
by Marie Howe

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Star Market

[by John J. McDonald]
the river curves [. . .]

from The Oregonian: Poetry

[by Trudy Hanson]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Will-o'-the-Wisp

By Tom Sleigh

from Slate: "Recording" --By Tom Sleigh

Poetic Obituaries

[Vijay Kumar Beri] enjoyed reading, poetry, golf, tennis, ping-pong, and singing; but most of all, he loved to spend time with his loved ones. He was a kind and expressive man with a quiet confidence and humility. He was never afraid to show affection through his beautiful smile, warm hugs, and poetic words, spoken with a gentle and soothing voice.

from Sheboygan Press: Vijay Kumar Beri M.D.

Bill [Bonanno], honored by family and friends from all over the world, was described as a personable and loving man, a devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, poet, author and producer.

from KOLD: Services Held For Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno

Family members described [Cpl. Courtney G.] Brooks, who was 40, as a relentless prankster and dedicated Notre Dame football fan who wrote poetry, dabbled in photography and teared up during soppy movies. They all called him "Spanky."

from The Baltimore Sun: Family mourns officer killed in hit-and-run

Still reeling after hearing the most devastating news of his life, William H. Clark returned yesterday morning to his Tennessee home, now a crime scene, to find a poem his mother wrote for him.

"This is your mom speaking," Orange resident Gail Clark had scribbled on a chalkboard in the room where she was staying while visiting him and his wife, Mary.

from Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Son says women executed in Tenn.

Shortly after Mr. [Bryan] Edwards' death, Ms. [Jenny] Bush found a "chilling" poem he had written--the last poem he scribbled down before he died.


Love blinded me [. . .]

from Capital Gazette: Police moving ahead with homicide investigation

Ralph [Esau] loved the simple things in life, too, especially music. He was part of the Truro Jam Band for about 20 years and participated in other community music groups.

"He had a great gift for making songs or poems . . . and played at the veterans' wing at the Colchester Regional Hospital and seniors homes," to name only a few of his musical endeavours.

from Truro Daily News: Memories of Ralph Esau--1934 to 2007

Many of [Le Xuan] Hoa's calligraphic works have been collected and are currently displayed at the Museum of Vietnamese Revolution, including Nam Quoc Son Ha, the legendary poem written by historical figure Ly Thuong Kiet in the 10th century and literary works by President Ho Chi Minh.

from Viet Nam News: Local calligraphy expert passes away

But after he was shot repeatedly on Saturday, residents of his home town of Orgosolo, an isolated town tucked into the Sardinian hills, whispered that [Peppino] Marotto may have been the victim of a vendetta dating back half a century, part of a tradition of feuds and banditry that many believed had long since vanished from the Mediterranean island.

from The Guardian: 50-year-old vendetta suspected in killing of Sardinian poet, 82

[Liam] O'Gallagher's own work, and his top floor studio loft above Grant Avenue became a gathering place for some of the group. His concrete poetry and cut-up writings, which heralded a future of artificial intelligence, space migration, and expanding consciousness, began to appear in publications associated with City Lights Bookstore and the Nova Broadcast Press.

from ArtsJournal: Liam O'Gallagher, R.I.P.

Most recently I heard him [John O'Donoghue] speaking on the Marian Finucane show on RTE radio, where he spoke about the deep centre of Christmas and the space that it creates after all the hoo hah to discover that stillness within, often presenting itself as a sense of loss or longing. His most recent publication was a book of Blessings, a collection of his poems/prayers to mark different stages in our lives. The Blessing below is taken from an earlier book, 'Echoes of Memory' -GOSh.


from Dew of Hermon: Death of John O'Donoghue

In "Friends," [Noah] Pierce wrote of Iraqi kids in need, and about one boy in particular, a 7-year-old who would get Pierce food, and to whom he would give water: "No english/No arabic/Yet we still understand each other."

In "Dust," Pierce wrote of the winds, and of the bucket of sand that seemed to be dumped in his lap. The landscape, he wrote, had vehicles "upside down all over."

from Star Tribune: A soldier's words push a mother to act

But the simplicity, acceptance and deliberate experience of each moment were always integral to [Sylvester] Pollet's life. Take, for instance, this poem written on his birthday in 1974:

June 28, 1974 MAINE

from The Ellsworth American: A Poet's Life

[Margaret Ruth Price] enjoyed sewing, scrapbooking, interior decorating, collecting dolls and writing poetry.

from Post-Bulletin: Margaret Ruth Price--Red Wing

Kyle [Quinn's] family has kept his memory alive by reading his poetry.

"You always think if I ever lost a child, I don't know how I am going to get up in the morning, how will I go on and there are days I think I would rather stay in bed and not go on but you can't do it," [his mother] Denise said.

from CBS3: Fundraiser Held For Murdered Kutztown Student

[Mary] Fraser remembered her first granddaughter [Stefanie Rengel] as a beautiful baby that grew into a beautiful young woman who loved to sing, write poetry and play with children.

She enjoyed visiting her grandparents farm, dressing up in her grandpa's clothes and driving the ATV around the property, she said.

from Canoe: Slain T.O. teen laid to rest

He used very little space and very few characters in his plays to jolt the reader. This feature was in his poetry too and it has great immediacy, not so much in images as in juxtaposition of ideas.

John Ruganda was the best playwright in English from East Africa. He crafted plays that dealt with the big question of human alienation. He questioned man's relationships with his environment.

from Uganda: Death of an East African Playwright

Mr [Norman] Webster died in Lancaster on December 29 last year.

Lakeland Rhapsody

from North-West Evening Mail: Farewell to Barrow Author and Gifted Nuclear Physicist

Nima [Youshij] manipulated the rhythm and rhyme so that the line length was determined by the idea rather than by the conventional Arabic meters which used to rule Persian poetry for centuries.

My house is Cloudy

from Press TV: Father of Iran's modern poetry honored

Titled "Endangered Species," it describes [Joseph Zeman as] the "old man, with hunched spine," sitting "embryonic" on the hydrant, and how, impulsively, he scooped up rice from a bucket, and soon was lined with pigeons, on his arms, atop his head, on his lap.

It is the poem's last line that lingered as the clutch of mourners dissolved, leaving behind the hydrant: "Who is to say you cannot collect love?"

from Chicago Tribune: Neighbors bid farewell to 'The Pigeon Man'


News at Eleven

Especially when one person's passing makes the other one wonder whether there is a cusp to things and whether or not there really is a past and present to life.

I never agreed with her politics. I never did. I never agreed with those she kept around her, the political opportunists, hanger-ons, them. They repulse me.

I never agreed with her version of events. Never.

from The News: Farewell to Wadi Bua
also "I have forgiven Benazir Bhutto"

When the travelling theatre, the Jatra, came to town he [Jasim Uddin] and his cousin, Nehaj Uddin, would sneak off and stay up all night listening lo the play. Throughout the year they enjoyed both the Hindu and the Moslem holidays.

Jasim Uddin was proud of belonging to the folk tradition of Bengali literature. He was pleased by a comment of one critic who, praising his autobiography, said: "Reading Jasim Uddin's Jiban Katha (autobiography) is like eating country cakes from mother's own hand."

from The Daily Star: On poet Jasim Uddin's 103rd birthday

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an English teacher named Elizabeth Samet teaches this poem, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," to plebes, first-year students. It is about the death of gunner on a B-17 bomber over Germany in World War II, but it might as well be about the death of a turret gunner on a HMMWV rolling over an IED in Iraq.

from Newsweek: Warriors and Poets

For years, newspapers in this South American nation have published small notices, called "recordatorios" in Spanish, on the anniversaries of disappearances: poems and messages to the dead that Virginia Giannoni, the book's editor, said chilled her to the bone.

"To find such intimate letters published in a public space is so jarring," Giannoni said.

from Herald-Tribune: 'Everyday Poetry' Honors Dirty War Dead

"I am signaling you through the flames," he [Lawrence Ferlinghetti] begins in the new section from which his book takes its title. "The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it." Poetry, in this vision, must be a political statement, arrows slung for freedom of expression, thought and resistance. "Write living newspapers," he counsels.

from San Francisco Chronicle: Ferlinghetti argues that poetry can save the world

This [by John Ashbery] seems to be a pastoral poem about the countryside, a traditional poetic genre, but with odd things half-suggested; a load of hay could almost be a load of crap, and if the ages pass like this they're not very interesting; the flowers are a bit cartoony and are either rehearsing something or performing it, reminding us that flowers speak to us, as lots of poems tell us. But whose lines do they speak?

from The Guardian: Master of the nonsensical

Distributed around the floor of the room are giant beanbag chairs, each about 10 feet across; they look like boulders sunk into the ground or a school of beached whales.

The silvery and shadowy light creates a dreamy, lunar effect. The words, which become enlarged gigantically as they crawl up the farthermost walls, seem to shout at the viewer even as an ominous silence prevails.

from The New York Times: Jenny Holzer Makes Light of Poems and Beats Swords Into Paintings

The poem is handwritten, though not signed. While [Timmi] Pierce first believed Fink must have written it, an online search for some of the lines within the poem found it printed in full on several Web sites, though never with an author credited. Pierce met with Bob Farver, a descendant of the Fink family, who had some of Charles E. Fink's journals, which included poetry, to see if it was possible that Fink could be the anonymous author.

from Carroll County Times: Hidden poem, hidden treasure

A former home of poet Robert Frost has been vandalized, with intruders destroying dozens of items and setting fire to furniture in what police say was an underage-drinking party. Homer Noble Farm was ransacked late Friday night during a party attended by as many as 50 people, Sgt. Lee Hodsden said Monday.

from Inside Bay Area: Robert Frost home vandalized in Vermont

by Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau, December 21, 2007
For the women and children of Darfur

from Chronogram: Poem: How to Fetch Firewood

[Pamela] Porter graduated from the creative writing programs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the University of Montana. In 2008, her picture book Yellow Moon, Apple Moon, and a volume of poetry The Intelligence of Animals will be published.

A Prayer to the Infant Christ

from Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays: (Pamela Porter)
also Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays: (Steven Price)
also Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays: Barbara Pelman: Hanukkah at Harrison
also Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays: Christmas Eve at eight and ten (Yvonne Blomer)
also Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays: (Linda Rogers)
also Victoria Times Colonist: Poems for the holidays:

Great Regulars

Poetry, our national art, is, of course, dead for the common reader. I shall say again, as I have shouted repeatedly into deaf ears for three decades, that John Ashbery is the greatest living poet in English. But now I shall add a contender – Geoffrey Hill.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: Twilight of the greats?

A Perfect Hat
by John Ashbery

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS Newshour: Poetry Series: John Ashbery

Unfortunately for Robert Burns, however, so thunderous is the post-detox clamour for haggis and whisky that his poetic legacy--which extends far beyond "Auld Lang Syne" and "A Red Red Rose"--tends to be drowned out. A Night Out with Robert Burns (Canongate), a selection of the poet's greatest works made by Scottish novelist and Burns aficionado Andrew O'Hagan, redresses the balance.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: From Milton to the Next Generation

A Piranesi fireplace has much more going on: human faces and nude figures, satyr masks, lions, eagles, griffins, snakes, boars' heads, sphinxes--everything crammed together, none of the [Robert] Adam restraint. [Giovanni Battista] Piranesi thought architecture would just die if the architect was not free to invent and combine as he wished.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: The structure beneath

Last week, The New York Times finally ran a review of Michael O'Brien's lovely and wonderfully urban new poetry collection, Sleeping and Waking, and the book has now sold out of stock almost everywhere. So if you see a copy, nab it, because there wasn't a more limpid book of poetry published in 2007.

from John Freeman: Sacramento News & Review: Top 10 books

Several sites (for example, that feature this poem have misplaced the line "The Apple in the Cellar snug" after "Faint Deputies of Heat." By doing so, the meaning of the poem is changed, and instead of the "apple" being the only "one that played," the steed becomes the only on that played. That might seem to make more sense than saying that an "apple" was the only one that played.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Dickinson's Winter

In the first stanza, the great guru implies that he will be seeing again people he has known before in prior incarnations; he has "sleeping memories/Of friends once more to be." This hint points to one of the tenets of the philosophy he will be teaching--reincarnation. He is already in transit as the poem begins, "sailing o'er the sea."

from Linda Sue Grimes: January Poet-Paramahansa Yogananda

In sonnet 41, the speaker addresses the poem again: sometimes when the poet/speaker is not practicing his art, his thoughts commit "pretty wrongs." He does not completely specify the wrongs, but the point is that even when he is "absent from [the poem's] heart," its loveliness of intent follows him.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Shakespeare Sonnet 41

[Dorothea] Lasky, whose first full-length book of poems, Awe, was put out this fall by Wave Books, has posted videos of herself reading from the book on her Web site ( She's calling the readings the Tiny Tour because they all take place in her home, an apartment in Center City, with each "leg" in a different room.

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Sharing her work without leaving home

This year was not kind to the people who write, sell and opine about books.

We marked the death of several major authors, the gutting of several major book review publications, the closings of more independent booksellers and the disappearance of the British boy wizard who created quite a buzz among readers.

from Bob Hoover: Post-Gazette: The year in books

Her husband drops his keys down beside her. The keys represent freedom and imprisonment, power and control. Importance. They appear to multiply annually, which indicates additional responsibilities, and that he may also have secrets from her, since each key represents an aspect of his daily life in which she is not included.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: Estranged days

Poem: "I Love the Way Men Crack" by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love, Vol. 1.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of December 31, 2007

I'd guess you've heard it said that the reason we laugh when somebody slips on a banana peel is that we're happy that it didn't happen to us. That kind of happiness may be shameful, but many of us have known it. In the following poem, the California poet, Jackson Wheeler, tells us of a similar experience.

How Good Fortune Surprises Us

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 144

Readers enjoy following a beat that changes tempo.

No one has understood this better than the American beat poets of the 1950s. The poetic rhythms of these urban troubadours--especially Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Amiri Baraka and Gregory Corso--were highly influenced by jazz. (Supposedly, Jack Kerouac's prose-writing style in his novel "On the Road" was inspired by jazz improvisation.)

from Anthony Maulucci: Norwich Bulletin: Tempo can guide a reader through a poem

What is the purpose of Kwanzaa?

It started out in the black nationalist community as an alternative lifestyle. It was an enforcement of African values and culture. Today, it's more accepted in the mainstream. When you go to the store, you'll see Kwanzaa items next to the Christmas and Hanukkah decorations. That's a major achievement. I even see white people celebrating it now.

from E. Ethelbert Miller: Examiner: The 3-minute interview

E. Ethelbert Miller: How do you wish people to respond to Cut Loose the Body.

Rose Marie Berger: Umberto Eco wrote: "Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him." We are hoping that the poems in this collection establish a different kind of bond between the reader and those who are held without trial and subjected to inhuman interrogation techniques.

from E. Ethelbert Miller: Foreign Policy in Focus: Fiesta!: The Poetics of Botero's Abu Ghraib Paintings

[by E. Ethelbert Miller]

from E. Ethelbert Miller: Beltway Poetry Quarterly: Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation & Witness

The Tamil scholars and Pundits of those days, trained in the old school were somewhat tardy in recognising the genius of Mahakavi Bharati who was revolutionary in his outlook and spoke with a new voice and challenging tone. The Poet was a marked man and considered a dangerous character by the British Government and hence many prudent people who really admired the poet were silent and maintained an attitude of aloofness for their own safety.

from V Sundaram: News Today: A young boy's discovery of Bharathi's genius

The music prevents the conversation from becoming serious or even coherent, while the chatter of voices stops one from listening attentively to the music and thus prevents the onset of that dreaded thing, thought. For

The lights must never go out.
The music must always play,
Lest we should see where we are;
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the dark
Who have never been happy or good

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Pleasure spots --George Orwell

Hometown Mystery Cycle by Glyn Maxwell

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Hometown Mystery Cycle by Glyn Maxwell

by Pēters Brūveris translated by Inara Cedrins

from Guernica: Poetry: Untitled

by Trudie Homan
[Cell Soap]

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: 'Cell Soap,' a poem by Trudie Homan

Cairo, N.Y.
by Cornelius Eady

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Cairo, N.Y.

by Sharon Olds

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Self-Exam

"Millenary" appears in Richard Kenney's fourth book of poetry, "One-Strand River: Poems, 1994-2007," coming in January from Knopf Publishing Co. In 1987, Kenney received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. He is a professor of English at the University of Washington and lives with his family in Port Townsend, Wash.

from The Oregonian: Poetry

By Kimberly Pelland

Burlington County College

Untitled I

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Kimberly Pelland]

By Matthew Slesinski

"Red Light, Green Light" in the Blue Ridge Mountains

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Matthew Slesinski]

[by Lynda L. True]
Eighteen in Iraq

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Eighteen in Iraq

By Rosanna Warren

from Slate: "Aftermath" --By Rosanna Warren

[by Patty Seyburn]
Three Friends
i. Interpret This

from Zeek: B'rachot: A Catalog and Three Friends--Patty Seyburn

Late Love Poem
Shirley Kaufman

from Zeek: Late Love Poem--Shirley Kaufman

Poetic Obituaries

[Bill Billings] made play sculptures for children at Netherfield--his concrete dinosaur at Peartree Bridge remains a local landmark.

His talents extended to sculpture, painting, drawing, comics and art history as well as poetry and music.

from Milton Keynes Citizen: 'People's artist' Bill Billings dies

"He could write poems like you couldn't believe. If somebody would be down, he'd write a poem that he came up with in 10 minutes, just to pep up your day," she [Betty Forehand] said [of Denzil "Denny" M. Cogar].

from The Journal Gazette: FWN's plant super dies

"I'm still in a state of shock," said Bowling Green businessman Jerry Baker, a collector who has organized and built the museum to exclusively house his collection of about 1,000 of [Joseph (Joe) Dudley] Downing's works.

Yesterday Baker received a letter from Downing about his art, as well as information about a new book he had published--he also successfully wrote some poetry and short story collections.

from Louisville Courier-Journal: Famed Ky. artist dies in France

"She was just a marvelous instructor," [Douglas] Garnar said.

A gardener, musician--on the cello and piano--dramatist, epicure and dancing enthusiast, Mrs. [Martha] Fenty filled her life with art. Her gift for reciting African-American poetry on stage was extraordinary, said [Brenda] Cave-James, herself a poet.

"She had an incredible one-woman show," she said. "It just blew me away."

from Press & Sun-Bulletin: Woman remembered as teacher, artist, performer

During his life, [Vincent] Ferrini published more than 30 volumes of poetry, including an autobiography written largely in verse and volumes of verse that seem more political and social criticism than poetry.

At his death, another volume, "Invisible Skin," is being prepared for publication in the spring, [his daughter] Sheila said.

Ferrini's blurring of the distinction between poetry and prose was intentional, [Peter] Anastas, a former Times columnist, insisted yesterday.

from Gloucester Daily Times: Poet Ferrini, 'the conscience of Gloucester,' dies at 94

Wilma Green did a lot with her 100 years.

She worked out in the garden of her west Biloxi home until she was 99. She had a poem published, traveled the South Seas, owned her own business and made lots of memories with her family.

from Sun Herald: Green 'was always the life of the party'

Distance requires formality, but I cannot be distant writing about Lizzie Hardwick since everything has come alarmingly closer--the curls, the infectious chuckles, the drawl like poured-out honey, the privilege of sharing her astute delight, and the benign devastations of her wit. Because she hated pomposity she was more fun than any American writer I have known.

from The New York Review of Books: Elizabeth Hardwick (1916–2007)

[Jaan] Kross, who died on Thursday, was nominated several times for the Nobel prize for literature, most recently this year, but never won.

He ranked as the most translated and internationally best-known Estonian writer and won numerous awards at home, including the People's Writer of the Estonian SSR (1985) and he received the State Prize of the Estonian SSR (1977) under Soviet rule.

from Breitbart: Estonian author Jaan Kross dies at 87

During this time his car had not moved from the driveway and his lawn had become overgrown, which was particularly unusual for him.

On entering the house the police discovered Mr [Derek] McCarthy's body along with a poem printed off from his computer, which could be interpreted as a suicide note.

from The Herts Advertiser: Missing card led to discovery of suicide

[Jim] Park was also a writer, publishing Verse-a-Tility, an anthology of poems, and the book Barrow, Furness and me: By an Offcomer.

He was also a regular in the Evening Mail letters pages.

from North-West Evening Mail: 'Asbestos Not to Blame' for Death of Jim

[Sylvester] Pollet's own poems were "admired and fairly widely read," [Burt] Hatlen said, but the greater legacy Pollet leaves behind is in the students he taught at the University of Maine and his "Backwoods Broadsides" poetry compilations. Pollet also edited poems published in Paideuma, a poetry journal published by the National Poetry Foundation, which was founded at UM in 1971.

from Bangor Daily News: UM teacher, poetry patron Pollet dies

[Hellen Robinson] was a political activist who wrote poetry and protested U.S. wars, her family said. She was inspired by her father, Eugene Rex Cantrell, who wrote for communist papers and was arrested trying to organize workers at a Southern California labor camp in the 1930s, said her sons, John and Gene Denos.

"She came out of that 'Dust Bowl' period," John Denos said. "Everything she wrote reflected that period of time, when people were struggling."

from The Sacramento Bee: Hellen Robinson was mom, Realtor, political activist

[Marsha E.] Roch was also a volunteer driver and ombudsman for Lewis County Office of the Aging. For a time, she was active with the American Cancer Society, and Relay for Life.

She enjoyed drawing, writing poetry, and word puzzles.

from Marsha E. Roch

[John Stangler] dealt with his large family with some hollering but mostly with humor, and treated everyone individually, his son said.

Mr. Stangler was an amateur poet, ace crossword-puzzle solver and avid reader, his son said, and was still playing an excellent game of pinochle a week before he died.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: John Stangler, 85, decorated veteran


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