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Poetry news, poetry blogs, poetry magazines, poetry journals, poetry sites, poetry links, etc.

Saturday, July 31, 2004
New Books In the Hood: Street Lit Makes Inroads With Readers and Publishers
Poet Sterling Plumpp, who taught at the University of Illinois for 30 years, says that contemporary hip-hop writing "is the most inventive thing happening to the language in a long time."

He believes it is more successful in fiction and poetry than in rap lyrics. "I'm not sure the music is there," he says.

Eventually, Plumpp says, great writers may emerge. "What you have is a very difficult situation for a lot of young African Americans," Plumpp says. "They did not inherit the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois or Frederick Douglass in terms of literacy."

But, Plumpp continues, these young folks have life experiences that they want to express. "They have almost developed an African American language that is as estranged from the educated African American world as it is from the white world."

Street lit, he says, "should be promoted."

Whatever. (All lit should be promoted.) I just like the name Sterling Plumpp.

Friday, July 30, 2004
The Day Has Gotten So Much Shorter:
Elderly poet Kim Jong-gil (78), famous for the scarcity of his writings, has published a new book of poems entitled "The Day Has Gotten So Much Shorter."

Ptarmigan in need of work. In the area of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA?

Ruth Padel: Tiger, tiger, burning bright
The poet Ruth Padel - Darwin's great-great-granddaughter - roams ground ranging from wildlife to the wild men of rock. [...]

The woman once described as "the sexiest voice in British poetry" has recently been travelling around the world to see tigers. She has sung in a nightclub in Istanbul, taught horse riding to the wives of British officers in Berlin and lived with peasants in Crete. Her new poetry collection, The Soho Leopard (Chatto, £8.99), draws on travels in Siberia and Burma, Louisiana and China, with a panoply of wildlife - tigers, leopards, alligators and jaguars - that also includes the lounge lizard.

Padel started writing poetry when she was three, but she was 43 before she realised that poetry "was going to be the thing". In the intervening years, she had a career in academia, lecturing in ancient and modern Greek at both Oxford and Cambridge. The word "career" is, in fact, one that triggers a severe allergic reaction. "I didn't want to be tenured in," Padel explains, "so I had lectureships and research fellowships. I was", she adds, "the first woman fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. They had to change the statutes for me." In poetry, too, Padel is adamant that "career" is anathema to the process and the vocation. [...]

Lalo Delgado in NY Times:
Lalo Delgado, a poet whose writings about the hardscrabble existence of Latinos in the Southwest made him one of the grandfathers of the Chicano literary renaissance of the 1960's and 1970's, died last Friday in Denver. He was 73. [...]

His most famous poem is "stupid america," published in 1969:
stupid america, see that chicano
with a big knife
on his steady hand
he doesn't want to knife you
he wants to sit on the bench and carve christfigures
but you won't let him.
stupid america, hear that chicano
shouting curses on the street
he is a poet without paper and pencil
and since he cannot write
he will explode.
stupid america, remember that chicanito
flunking math and english
he is the picasso
of your western states
but he will die
with one thousand masterpieces
hanging only from his mind.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Forward Prizes for Poetry 2004:
The UK's most valuable annual poetry prizes are in their 13th year and going strong. Founded by William Sieghart, chairman of the Forward Arts Foundation, they are designed to raise the profile of contemporary poetry and reward both established and up-and-coming poets, with prizes for the best collection, best first collection and best single poem. Previous winners include Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Thom Gunn.

Here are the five poems up for the best single poem of the year.

Monday, July 26, 2004
Saddam, the poet who loves muffins:
Saddam Hussein spends his days writing poems about George Bush, gardening and eating American muffins and cookies, the first account of his life in jail reveal today. [...]

Poet, activist was voice for Chicanos:
DENVER - Poet, professor and activist Lalo Delgado, whose poems and essays were taught and sometimes banned internationally, has died. He was 73. [...]

Delgado joined Cesar Chavez in organizing the farm workers' rights movement and began publishing his poems.

"Stupid America," his most celebrated poem, was an indictment of passive racism. It was published in 1969 and is considered one of the greatest poems of the Chicano movement. [...]

Friday, July 23, 2004
NYC-area poet needs a job:
I had a job lined up for August and it fell through. Hence, I will work for (organic) food and/or cat food money. I can do the following things: knit hats, write poems for special occasions, copy edit, proof read, am a good obsessive file clerk, used to spin pizza dough in berkeley, can type, sweep, do windows. My name is Lisa Jarnot and I can be reached at jarnot@earthlink.net. I'm not kidding. I really need a job. Am good with pets.

I skipped the part about being near-sighted and psychopathic.

Also, buy her books, Ring of Fire and Black Dog Days.

Dr. A. Boyd Thomes dies:
His long service to Twin Cities medicine started with his return from war, and included serving on the staff of what is now the Hennepin County Medical Center, plus what is now Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where he was chief of staff during its merger in 1970. He also taught as a clinical professor at the university and was in a private-practice group in downtown Minneapolis. [...]

"He was a genuine polymath," McCannel said. "The big guns in the English Department used to love to go talk with him."

In the late 1950s, Thomes' university friends included the novelist Saul Bellow and the poet John Berryman, both English teachers.

Berryman, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1965 for "Dream Songs," was a special charge for Thomes and Dr. Seamus McKenna, who joined Thomes for a time in the medical practice.

Berryman, who killed himself in 1972, was a heavy drinker for years before getting sober. In the early 1960s, during one of his hospital stays arranged by Thomes, the doctor gave an order to housekeeping that no one was to clean the poet's room until Thomes or McKenna had picked up all of the scraps of paper that Berryman had flung about, McKenna said. Seventy percent of "Dream Songs" was written on those scraps, he said. [...]

Leading Iraqi artist dies:
Ismaiel Fattah, a leading Iraqi artist has died an hour after the private plane which carried him from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates landed in his hometown, Baghdad.

Fattah, who died on Thursday, is best known for designing the Martyr Sculpture in Baghdad, which is regarded as an artistic masterpiece combining fine art and architecture.

The sculpture, which includes 550 tons of steel, consists of two separate domes decorated with Abbasid ornament. A five metre height flag rises in the middle of the two domes.

A spring of water rises from the ground between the domes, to represent the eternity of martyrs' blood. The sculpture was inaugurated in 1986.

It was classified as the most beautiful design in the Middle East by Art in America magazine. [...]

Bulgarian Satirist Radoi Ralin Dies:
SOFIA (bnn)- Popular satirist Radoi Ralin, one of the few Bulgarian intellectuals, who had dared openly defy the former Communist regime, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 81.

Ralin died of a “prolonged ailment” at the Sofia military hospital, the family said.

His books with witty epigrams and aphorisms satirizing the ignorance and brutality of Communist rulers have made generations of Bulgarians laugh.

They have however cost Ralin seven years of publishing ban after 1968.

Many Bulgarians, who have lived under Communism, still remember his then heretic phrase: “I am not afraid of the minister of culture. I’m afraid of the culture of the minister.”

Radoi Ralin was his artistic pseudonym. He was born Dimitar Stefanov Stoyanov on Apr. 22 1923 in the town of Sliven, 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Sofia.

Besides for his satire, Ralin was also known as author of film scenarios and plays and for his poetry that he started to publish back in the 1930s. His works have been translated in 37 languages. [...]

Thursday, July 22, 2004
Banker is Shakespeare of the City:
LONDON (Reuters) - Mammon may rule in the gleaming towers of London's financial district but, amid all the high finance, there beats a tender, poetic heart.

By day, Benjie Fraser is managing director in London of the Bank of New York's pensions business. By night he is B.H. Fraser, chronicler of capitalism.

From "A Good Sacking" to "Bonus Time," the British banker-poet has turned to verse to capture the soul of The City. [...]

His web site.

Festival lauds war-crimes suspect:
SULA, Serbia-Montenegro — Supporters of the world's most-wanted war crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, trekked by the thousands yesterday to this remote mountain hamlet in his native Montenegro to launch a song festival in his honor. [...]

The former Bosnian Serb wartime leader is accused of orchestrating the 1995 slaughter of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica.

Yet the self-styled poet remains a hero among many nationalist Serbs and Montenegrins who believe he was unjustly accused merely because he devoted himself to Serbian interests during the 1992-95 Bosnian war by trying to create "Greater Serbia," a land that would encompass all Serbs living in the Balkans.

He remains at large despite a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and extradition to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

"Radovan, check your guards carefully, there are some Serbs who love money dearly," one musician sang at yesterday's festival while playing a "gusle," a traditional single-stringed instrument used by generations of Serbs. [...]

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
National poet told he must leave closing care home:
EDWIN Morgan, the Scottish makar, has been given less than a month to find alternative accommodation after being told the care home in which he is staying is due to close.

The 84-year-old is among some 70 residents at the Lynedoch Nursing Home in Bearsden, near Glasgow, who have been told they must leave by August 14. [...]

A deadpan look at life in the funeral parlour:
‘COPULATION, population, inspiration, expiration - It’s biblical!" expounded the sexton with grim relish. Playing Hamlet to a gravedigger who soliloquised at the drop of a sod was a young Thomas Lynch, who would eventually become an acclaimed poet, essayist - and undertaker, and whose eloquent memoirs on burying the dead in small-town Michigan were adapted by Kate McAll for Radio 4’s Friday Play with the same loving care Lynch and his mortician father lavished on their lately deceased clients. [...]

Bard Bytes: Georgia pair bring poetry robot to downtown Franklin:
If a life-sized blue and yellow robot spoke poetry in an androgynous voice and politely asked you to teach it some words, what would you do?

That’s the premise for the “E.L.I. Heartland Tour,” a road trip of two performance artists and one electro-linguistic imaginator robot. [...]

If you live in Buffalo, NY, USA:
On July 26th, from 7pm to 11pm, members of the theatre and music community, performance artists, filmmakers, poets and playwrights will gather at the Squeaky Wheel Media Resource Center at 175 Elmwood Ave. between Allen St. & North St. to voice, in unison, their opposition to the Bush administration. Voter registration will also be provided.

Current sponsors and particants include the Subversive Theatre Collective, Spoken Word Poets from the Just Buffalo Literary Society, and the Blue Garotte Collective.

See also: Subversive Theatre

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Indiana needs another poet laureate:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Redifer, an award-winning journalist who wrote for newspapers in Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Franklin and Indianapolis during his 40-year-career, has died. He was 71. [...]

Redifer was Poet Laureate of Indiana and a Sagamore of the Wabash. Survivors include a daughter and two sons.

And maybe another... Sagamore of the Wabash?

Monday, July 19, 2004
CLASSIC REVIEW: Wallace Stevens and E. E. Cummings by Edmund Wilson:
[Serious literature, or at least American consumption of it, is truly dying. This alarming conclusion is based on a recent National Endowment for the Arts survey, "Reading at Risk," which found that fewer than half of adult Americans read any form of written literature and that only 12 percent read poetry. Furthermore, not only are people reading less, but what they are substituting for novels and poetry--books-on-tape, supermarket romances, video games, Ten Things I Hate About You as the summation of Shakespeare--points to an "imminent cultural crisis," a "rising tide of mediocrity." The study asserts that "literary culture, and in turn, literacy in general, will continue to worsen" in view of the dumbing down of both readers and what is read. We might note that this panic over the quality of American literature through the loss of traditional forms is hardly new. In this 1924 essay by a frustrated Edmund Wilson, the critic wonders whether contemporary poetry--even by its finest practitioners, E. E. Cummings and Wallace Stevens--comes close to measuring up to the formal beauty of the past. --Nora Khan]

March 19, 1924

Tulips and Chimneys, by E. E. Cummings. New York: Thomas Seltzer. $2.00.

Harmonium, by Wallace Stevens. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $2.00.

Mr. Wallace Stevens is the master of a style: that is the most remarkable thing about him. His gift for combining words is fantastic but sure: even when you do not know what he is saying, you know that he is saying it well. [...]

Mr. E. E. Cummings, on the other hand, is not, like Mr. Stevens, a master in a peculiar vein; a master is precisely what he is not. Cummings's style is an eternal adolescent, as fresh and often as winning but as half-baked as boyhood. [...]

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Vacation snaps, Robert Pirsig, 1968.

"The Greatest Poet of the 20th Century In Any Language" - Celebrating Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda: [Democracy Now!]:
Neruda's death is inseparable from the coup that took place of course September 11, 1973, the first September 11. And at the time, Neruda was very ill with prostate cancer. Certainly the coup hastened his death. He was aware what was going on. He was aware of the destruction of Chile, the destruction of his vision for a socialist Chile and, of course, the death of many friends, including Salvador Allende. So these things became inseparable: Neruda's death and the death of democracy in Chile. It's significant that when Neruda died, his widow, Matilda, brought his body to lay in state at another one of his houses called 'La Chascona' in Santiago. She did this specifically because the military had trashed the house and she wanted the world to see what was going on with the 'La Chascona', the house in Santiago, but also what was happening with the coup in Chile at the time.

A day in the country:
Guy de Maupassant (1850-93) had his first brush with literary fame when he saved the life of a drowning poet, Algernon Swinburne, while on holiday in 1868. [...]

Thursday, July 15, 2004
Newspaper attacks poet over talaq:
Urdu Times dubs Javed Akhtar a ‘heretic’ for stance on divorce tradition.

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Mumbai, July 14: The triple talaq issue just became personal.

The second-biggest Urdu newspaper in Mumbai, Urdu Times, has taken on poet-scriptwriter Javed Akhtar over his campaign against the practice of triple talaq.

Akhtar is the head of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), which proposed in a July 2 press conference that the Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB) change the rules of talaq.

As the practice currently stands, a man may divorce his wife instantly by uttering ‘talaq’ three times. The MSD instead urged the Board to follow the guidelines of the holy Quran, which says that talaq should be pronounced over a period of three menstrual cycles. [...]

Also: The lyrical world of Javed Akhtar at rediff.com

Obituary: Marianne Halley Chametzky; verse interwove pain, hope
Marianne Halley Chametzky, a feminist poet whose verse touched on the role of politics and history in shaping the human condition, died Monday at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton from complications of multiple myeloma. She was 75.

Her lyrical poetry, which included three books of verse, and her essays were published under her maiden name, Anne Halley.

''What Anne tried to achieve in her poetry was a deeper understanding of the historical and current psychological effects of life in our times, coming out of the most terrible period in history," her husband, Jules Chametzky, a retired English professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said yesterday.

Her conclusion, he said, was a belief in ''the continuity of life and that something always remains, however meager, to go on." [...]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Gael Turnbull:
Gael Turnbull, who has died at 76, wrote and promoted the cause of poetry for over half a century. Edinburgh-born, but resident in north America for many years, he promoted a transatlantic traffic that proved a great inspiration to British practitioners, though his vocation as a doctor left him in no doubt that there were things in life beyond all the fiddle of poetry and the poetic life.

His quizzical stance towards the art, and indeed his scepticism about the larger claims made for it, found expression in a card poem he sent out for last October's National Poetry Day, when the Scottish Book Trust enjoined readers to "transform your life with poetry". He wrote:

I remembered how it had thrust
several old friends
plus near and dear
into distress and penury
before deciding that the message must be intended as:
A timely
Health Warning from the Ministry of Benevolence
at the Scottish Book Trust.

Antonyms in Arabic are a strange phenomenon
By Tamim al-Barghouti
Antonyms in Arabic are a strange phenomenon. There is a whole category of words that mean one thing as well as its opposite. For example, the word, "saleem," means the one who is cured as well as the one who has just been bit by a snake. The word baseer, means one with great sight and insight, but also means blind. Mawla means master and slave and wala means to follow and to lead, The word umma, which is usually translated as nation, means the entity that is followed, or the guide, as well as the entity that follows and is guided. [...]

For Arabic is not a poor language, almost every creature, object or feeling has scores of names. [...] Later on, in the 12th and 13th centuries, when the preservation of the language became an obsession, all 70 names for the word "dog" were recorded. They were not quite synonymous, for they did not all simply mean dog. Rather, they were descriptions of a dog's conditions; an angry dog had a name different from a joyful one, the dog that had one ear pointing up and the other down had a name different from the one who had both ears up or both ears down. What is true of the dog is true of most other creatures. Up until this day the most famous seven names of the lion are taught to children in schools all over the Arab world: Laith, Sab, Asad, Qaswara, Ghadanfar, Dirgham and Usama.

"Love" has 77 names...

Monday, July 12, 2004
With More Pomp Than Literary Acclaim, Chileans Embrace Pablo Neruda at 100 (NY Times):
SANTIAGO, Chile, July 10 — Pablo Neruda may be Latin America's greatest modern poet, but the centennial of his birth did not start auspiciously: late last year, his childhood home was sold and its new owner demolished it, after a group of Neruda fans could not meet the purchase price.

Since then, though, Chileans, with their government in the lead, have done everything possible to build up the image of a poet who at times during his life was as persecuted for his Communist beliefs and reviled for his bohemian lifestyle as he was admired for his work. With the birthday itself falling on Monday [today], Chile is firmly in the grip of what can only be called Neruda fever. [...]

"Neruda no longer divides Chile," said Faride Zerán, editor of the literary magazine Rocinante and author of a book about the poet and his critics. "But in order for that state of affairs to be achieved, we are being served up a decaffeinated Neruda, a Neruda light, with an anecdotal focus on his houses, his women and his collections, instead of a serious discussion of his work." [...]

Saturday, July 10, 2004
Kerala, India > Bashir Prize for Kadammanitta Rammakrishnan:
Noted Malayalam poet Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan has been chosen for Kerala's prestigious Basheer Prize, instituted by the Doha-based Pravasi arts and cultural organisation.

The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs 35,000 besides a citation and a plaque, was instituted in memory of one of Malayalam's all-time favourite writers, the late Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. [...]

Brief biography at wikipedia.org:
Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan (M. R. Ramakrishna Panikkar), who is popularly known as Kadammanitta was born on March 22nd 1935 in Kadammanitta province of the present Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. His childhood experiences, especially the Patayani songs, imparted strong influence in his literary work. With his powerful and mind provoking poems he became one of the gifted rebellious voices in modern Malayalam literature. More than anything, it was his style of reciting his own poems in a powerful manner made him darling of many progressives. [...]

One poem at The Little Magazine.

Friday, July 09, 2004
Taonga of Maori Poetry, Music and Culture Restored
A taonga of Maori poetry music and culture was restored to the community at the Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland, on Wednesday night, 7 July 2004.

Nga Moteatea: The Songs – Part One, originally collected and translated by Apirana Ngata and Pei Te Hurinui Jones, was launched at the marae in the presence of representatives of the Ngata and Jones families.

The launch was the first step in producing a new edition of this national treasure, the largest and most comprehensive collection of Maori waiata and a unique contribution to New Zealand poetry, enhanced for the first time by audio CDs of its waiata. [...]

Also, Maori at Humanistic Texts.

Campaign launched to rejuvenate Chinese poetry:
ZIGUI, Hubei, July 6 (Xinhuanet) -- A campaign aimed to rejuvenate Chinese poetry and develop the traditional culture of the Chinese nation kicked off in early July in Zigui, the hometown of Chinese ancient poet laureate Qu Yuan, in central China's Hubei Province.

Qu Yuan lived in the state of Chu during the Warring States period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.). He drowned himself in a local river in 278 B.C., on May 5th of the Chinese lunar calendar, hoping tha this death could awaken the king to revitalize their kingdom. In the ensuing 2,000 years, Qu Yuan had been revered as one of the representatives of Chinese poetry.

With a population of 400,000, Zigui, adjacent to the reservoir of China's massive Three Gorges Water Conservancy program. [...]


Thursday, July 08, 2004
Fewer Noses Stuck in Books in America, Survey Finds (NY Times):
Oprah's Book Club may help sell millions of books to Americans, and slam poetry may have engendered a youthful new breed of wordsmith, but the nation is still caught in a tide of indifference when it comes to literature. That is the sobering profile of a new survey to be released today by the National Endowment for the Arts, which describes a precipitous downward trend in book consumption by Americans and a particular decline in the reading of fiction, poetry and drama.

The survey, called "Reading at Risk," is based on data from "The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts," [73-page PDF] conducted by the Census Bureau in 2002. [Which means it's old news.] Among its findings are that fewer than half of Americans over 18 now read novels, short stories, plays or poetry; that the consumer pool for books of all kinds has diminished; and that the pace at which the nation is losing readers, especially young readers, is quickening. In addition it finds that the downward trend holds in virtually all demographic areas. [...]

Monday, July 05, 2004
Born Magazine is fresh. Writers include: Edward Hirsch, Simon Perchik, Sarah Manguso, and Robert Kendall.

DIAGRAM is fresh. Writers include: JoAnn Balingit, Tony Barnstone, Sarah Blackman, Susan Briante, Kenneth Chamlee, Robin Dare, Jonathan Gibbs, Elizabeth Hadaway, Shannon Jonas, Eric Lochridge, Ben Marcus, Rachel Moritz, Bern Mulvey, Amy E. Parker, Lynn Pattison, Pedro Ponce, F. Daniel Rzicznek, Zachary Schomburg, Fritz Ward, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, and William Winfield Wright.

Sunday, July 04, 2004
Fence Spring/Summer 2004.

nthposition July.

poetic inhalation tin lustre mobile volume 4 issue 3: poems by Joey Madia, Allison Warren, Mary Kasimor, Mark Stricker, Mairead Byrne, Kirby Olson, Anemone Achtnich, Catherine Daly, Bob Marcacci, and Hal Sirowitz.

Friday, July 02, 2004
I, Reader: the Rise of Robo-Poetics
How Contemporary American Poets Are Denaturing the Poem, Part VIII
[...] Could it be that such poems are written for the sole purpose of publication, for the credential check-off, for acceptance by a community of self-styled avant-gardists, for some status and standing in a field that offers little else by way of societal rewards? They are clearly not written for anyone's enjoyment, not for the readers' and especially not the for poets' who betray what talent they may have for the approbation of peers, who engage in the worst self-delusion: that they have something to say that can only be said in a poem. In all of this, the human reader doesn't count.

RoboReader is ready.
Buy book.
Insert here.
Scan. Repeat. Shred. Scan. Repeat. Shred.
Shred. Shred. Shred.

Thursday, July 01, 2004
Dirty Launderer:
Naomi Shemer, wrote Nahum Barnea of Yedioth Ahronoth (June 28), "was not the first poet to be attracted to the farthest extremes of the right. The same thing happened - though under incomparably graver circumstances - to Ezra Pound, one of the greatest American poets. Pound became an enthusiastic fan of fascism and an anti-Semitic propagandist."

And thus, in cold blood - and primarily, in bad blood - the grave analogy was drawn. [...]

NY Times obituary.

War Crhymes:
On the run since the Dayton accord in 1995, the 59-year-old Karadzic, a psychologist and poet who has a $23m (£12.6m) bounty on his head, is accused of responsibility for the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, particularly in Srebrenica and Sarajevo. He has twice been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Some of Karadzic's poems.

Canon 2 Left:
HAVE YOU checked your child’s summer reading list? Beware: Some lame-brained school officials have decided to ditch the sonnets of Shakespeare for the tripe of Tupac.

That’s slain gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur — the drug-dealing, baseball bat-wielding, cop-hating, Black Panthers-worshiping, convicted sexual abuser who made a fortune extolling the “thug life” before he was gunned down in Las Vegas eight years ago.

Teachers in Worcester, Mass., have embraced Shakur’s posthumously published book of poems as a way to get middle school students’ attention. [...]