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

Friday, December 31, 2004
Diagram is fresh.

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Poet and editor Peter Davison dies at 76 [US]:
BOSTON— Peter Davison, a poetry editor for The Atlantic Monthly magazine and two publishing houses who became a poet himself, has died. He was 76.

Davison, a central figure in Boston's literary and publishing circles for almost 50 years, died yesterday in his Boston apartment of pancreatic cancer, The Boston Globe reported.

Davison was The Atlantic Monthly's poetry editor for three decades. He was with The Atlantic Monthly Press from 1956 until he joined the Houghton Mifflin publishing house in 1985.

He also wrote 11 volumes of poetry and three prose works, including "The Fading Smile: Poets in Boston from Robert Frost to Robert Lowell to Sylvia Plath." The work included his personal remembrances of Frost, a mentor to Davison; Lowell, who was a friend, and Plath, with whom he had a brief romantic relationship.

Also, he was evil.

No, I just made that up. But that's the sort of thing I'd like to see in an obituary. Testimony from people who knew the person, and not necessarily as friends.

More about Peter Davison, who was not evil, can be found here and here.

Monday, December 27, 2004
Our Truths/Nuestras Verdades [scroll down] [US]:
Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades is a brand-new zine produced in collaboration with the Abortion Conversation Project by a diverse group of women who are reproductive rights activists, social workers, counselors, feminists, writers and artists. [...]

We are looking for truth-telling and diverse selections of poetry, prose, essays, line art and photographs (to be reprinted in black-and-white only) in Spanish or English for the premier issue of Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades, which is set to launch May 5, 2005. The deadline for submissions to the premier issue is January 5, 2005.  Submissions that are received after the deadline will be considered for the second issue of the zine to be released Fall 2005.

Submissions from women who have had abortions will be prioritized; however, friends and support people of women who have had abortions are welcome to submit work as well.

Please send submissions with a cover letter including your name (or pseudonym), mailing address and email address to:

Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades:
truths_verdades @ yahoo.com
Abortion Conversation Project: 908 King Street, Suite 400 W, Alexandria, VA 22314

Please do not send original artwork or manuscripts, as submissions will not be returned.

Saturday, December 25, 2004
Van Gogh's Ear is fresh.

Mudlark is fresh.

Friday, December 24, 2004
David Trinidad: interview, 2003 [US]:
Let me tell you, too, about the Rachel poem, about 'A Poet's Death'—it was a very strange experience for me. As I said, I didn't think I would ever write about her. I thought it would be too painful and too difficult. But one morning I woke up with the first line, like I got the first line in my sleep, and began writing the poem. Throughout the writing of the poem, whenever I had difficulty with a line or a word or a rhyme, I'd go to sleep and wake up with the solution to the problem. I never had this experience before—where it felt like half the poem was written while I was asleep. I would wake up with lines and images.

Steinbeck called that a 'sleep jury'.

A sleep what?

A sleep jury.  If you go to bed with a problem you would wake up with the solution.

Yes, that's what I experienced with that poem.  It was very intense.

Octopus is fresh:
Lift your head up, son, Octopus #4 is finally here.

Visit it at www.octopusmagazine.com.

It has 32 poets so get crackin’. Poets like Sarah Manguso, Dale Smith, Aase Berg, Donald Revell, GC Waldrep, Barbara Guest, Brian Henry, Gabriel Gudding, Kevin A. Gonzalez, Seth Parker, Nick Twemlow, Pasha Malla, Kirsten Kaschock, Johannes Goransson, Aaron Kunin, Matthew Shindell, Allan Peterson, Brandon Downing, Cyrus Console, Andrea Baker, Hope J. Smith, Clayton Eshleman, Kevin Fitzgerald, Emily Rosko, Michael Ives, Eugene Ostashevsky, Dan Kaplan, Thibault Raoult, Daniel Borzutsky, and Standard Schaefer.

It has reviews, interviews, essays and another recovery project by the Octopus editors. Here are the details:

4 Reviews: Marcus Slease on Jon Thompson’s Book of the Floating World; Craig Morgan Teicher on Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors, Kevin Fitzgerald on David Miller’s Waters of Marah, and Zachary Schomburg on Charlie Foos’ Bending Spoons.

2 Interviews: Poems-for-All’s Richard Hansen and Flashpoint’s Bradford Haas

3 Essays: John Lowther on Jack Spicer; Jeff Encke on Linda Bierds; and Henry Gould from HG Poetics.

The Recovery Project recovers Suzanne Gardinier and Paul Mann.

Saturday, December 18, 2004
The famous Russian poet, Mikhail Synelnikov, who has recently put forth an initiative on translating the works by Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov into Russian, believes Turkmenbashi’s poetry are “full of moral feeling.”

“Turkmenbashi is a good poet. He has a good writing style, which is very difficult in the Turkmen poetry. He has not lost lively interest and figurative comprehension of the outer world,” Mikhail Synelnikov said in an interview to Russian “Moskovskiye Novosti” newspaper. [...]

This week, the central Turkmen newspapers published an address by Russian poets Evgenyy Rein, Igor Shklyarevskyy and Mikhail Synelnikov to the head of state, in which they asked for Spaparmurat Niyazov’s blessing for the translation and publication of the Turkmen leader’s verses in Moscow.

“The contemporary literature is ceasing to be effective. The publication of a book of your verses in Russian will take poetry’s significance to a higher level. Bayram Khan and Alisher Navoi are remembered in history not only as the great statesmen but also as the great poets. Today, such blessed combination is even more important.”

Maybe he could get together for a reading with the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, who is probably the greatest poet in the history of the world. Imagine that, citizens.

The Man Hong Kong International Festival [Hong Kong]:
Audiences will thrill to such new exciting writers as Shan Sa (The Girl Who Played Go), Hsu-ming Teo (Love and Vertigo) and Hari Kunzru (Transmission) while also revisiting such classics as Shirley Hazzard's Transit of Venus and Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark, two authors whose newest books confirm them as modern literary legends.

The Festival will, for the first time, have not one but two Man Booker Prize winners: current holder Alan Hollinghurst (The Line of Beauty) is joined by the the 1982 winner Thomas Keneally.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
epinions will pay you to review poetry books. (And other books. And everything else.)

Contemporary Poetry Review is fresh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Crannóg [Ireland]:
Crannóg Magazine will be launched in the Crane Bar, Galway on Friday 17th December at 6.30 pm.

It will be a night of poetry story and music. MC for the evening will be Tony O'Dwyer and Crannog will be on sale at €5.00. All are welcome.

Monday, December 13, 2004
A year since Saddam's capture [Iraq]:
BAGHDAD, Iraq A year ago today, Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a spider hole in Iraq and hustled off to a secret location.

Since then, the former Iraqi leader has undergone a hernia operation, taken up gardening and written poetry that one visitor says is rubbish. [...]

Everyone's a critic. Or a poet. Or both.

Jacket is fresh.

Friday, December 10, 2004
Stage And Screen:the Lagos Festival of Poetry 2004... Countdown to December 11 [Nigeria]:
The much-awaited Lagos Festival of Poetry is scheduled to hold on Saturday December 11, 2004, at Cultural Hall, National Gallery of Art (Aina Onabolu Complex), National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, from 10.00 prompt.

The Poetry Festival, initiated by the current administration of ANA Lagos, planned as an annual event, is meant to: Promote literature, especially poetry, with particular emphasis on performance poetry, in view of the need to repackage poetry, which many Nigerians consider "dry". [...]

There are "fantastic" prizes to be won, registration is open until Saturday morning (Nigeria time), and you are eligible:
All the competitions are open to:

1. All individuals, regardless of race, nationality, tribe, culture, religion, gander or socio-economic status [...]

What's good for the goose...

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Women and Poetry [Bangladesh]:
Despite women's contribution in every sphere, their role has not been fully recognised. This includes the arena of poetry. Even today many of their creative pieces are not in a published form.

To generate awareness about this issue, Women for Women, a research and study group, organised a seminar on Women and Poetry at the Centre for Advanced Research in the Humanities of Dhaka University Wednesday last. [...]

Niloufer Begum, a poet and a former Joint Secretary, noted, 'Though it is a common idea that women are not generally associated with poetry, this is incorrect. Every child grows up hearing songs, stories and rhymes told by their mother and grandmother. These oral stories have been handed down through different generations of women.' [...]

Jackson Mac Low has died.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Cordite Poetry Review is fresh.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Call for poetry manuscript: Vietnamese-American [US]:
From Jeffrey Levine: 'Tupelo Press recently received preliminary notification of an NEA grant for two new books of poetry by Vietnamese-American writers. Alas, one of our the poets in our proposal has decided to set her manuscript aside for a while. If you are aware of a Vietnamese-American poet with a completed manuscript that's looking for a good home, please have her (or him) get in touch with me soonest. Thanks.'

Jeffrey [FanwoodJEL @ aol.com]

The Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize 2005 [Australia]:
Josephine Ulrick was born on 17 June 1952 and died on 10 January 1997. She was herself a writer and a poet as well as a great patron of the arts. Her role as curator of the Galleries Schubert made her a vital and inspirational mentor for the artists of South-East Queensland. She recognised great talent and strove to nurture it, encouraging many artists to achieve their full potential.

$10,000 First Prize up to 200 line poem or suite of poems. Closing date 14 January 2005.

Grolier Poetry Book Shop to stay open [Cambridge, Mass., US]
(But if you live around there, you have to shop there or the deal's off.)

Monday, December 06, 2004
British Haiku Society [UK]:

this piercing cold -
in the bedroom, I have stepped
on my dead wife's comb

English haiku: Haiku originated in Japan, but latterly it has become popular in an increasing number of languages and countries. Yet virtually everywhere where haiku has established itself - and that includes Japan itself - you will find people hallmark it differently. Some see haiku mainly as a kind of poetry, a literary phenomenon. For others, it is a source of philosophical inspiration and in some way helpful to their chosen life style, possibly inspired by Zen. For others still, it is the specific genius of Japanese art that attracts. Readers/writers of haiku often share something of all three viewpoints.

Followers of haiku also debate whether the Japanese haiku experience (defined in socio-cultural, literary, linguistic and environmental terms) is too exotic to be assimilated by the West, and they argue about the validity of supposed Japanese 'rules' on how to make haiku - even though there has never been unanimity in Japan itself about such principles, and the view of haiku available to most people in the West is one clouded by translation and the mind-sets of those who did the translating.

These are the reasons why it is unlikely, either now or at any time in the future, that there will ever be an absolute consensus of what haiku means to the informed person.

Sheila Cussons: Creator of passionate and profound poetry [South Africa]:
SHEILA Cussons, who has died in Cape Town at the age of 82, was one of the greatest poets the Afrikaans language has produced.

She was also an admired visual artist. By the age of 21 she had had a number of exhibitions, including six in Johannesburg and Pretoria, and the great South African artist Jean Welz once predicted she would become one of the country’s most important artists. [...]

In 1943, Cussons left to study art in London. She did not return to South Africa until 1979. By that time she had published three volumes of poetry, and it was mostly as a poet that she became celebrated. [...]

There was nothing simpering about her mysticism or her relationship with God. It was a very physical, bodily thing. She experienced God in concrete things, in a comma, in a turd, in the destructive force of nature. [...]

Her first volume of poetry, Plektrum, was published in 1970 (the same year Van Wyk Louw died). This was clearly the work of a mature poet who had spent years meditating, rewriting and polishing what appeared here. Many regard it as the best debut volume ever published in Afrikaans, and it won the Eugene Marais and Ingrid Jonker prizes. [...]

They're kind, gentle but they are mass murderers:
HE could be very entertaining,” Stalin's niece Kira Allilueva told biographer Robert Service in 1998.

The dictator had her jailed in his last round of purges, after World War II, but she still remembered how kind he had been to her when she was a little girl, how he took her on his knee and sang songs to her and that he had a fine singing voice.

Not only that, but he wrote limpid poetry in Georgian as a youth, he read Dostoevsky, and his subordinates saw him as a considerate boss.

He also had millions of people killed, which is why, until Service's recent book, Stalin: A Biography, people were reluctant to write about his human side. [...]

I thought it said limpet poetry. Which could be good.

Sunday, December 05, 2004
The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year list includes:
AMERICAN SMOOTH: Poems. By Rita Dove. (Norton, $22.95.) In this collection, dance is an implicit parallel to poetry, each an expression of grace performed within limits.

COLLECTED POEMS. By Donald Justice. (Knopf, $35.) Justice (1925-2004) spent most of his life around universities, and much of his attention looking behind him, preoccupied with the evocation of nostalgia and the endings of things.

THE PRODIGAL. By Derek Walcott. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $20.) A verse memoir by the world wanderer who took the 1992 Nobel Prize.

WILL IN THE WORLD: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. By Stephen Greenblatt. (Norton, $26.95.) Enlightening scholarship on the life and the universe it was lived in.

Saturday, December 04, 2004
Editor’s Choice | A serious poet praises popular poetry, including rap [US]:
Most poets, when they write about poetics, tend to be not only prescriptive, but also self-justifying: Poetry should be the sort of thing the poet himself writes. Gioia's approach is phenomenological: Poetry is what poets do - and there are a lot of different poets doing a lot of different things. This outlook not only leaves him open to and appreciative of a greater range of styles, but also allows him to see neglected or forgotten figures afresh. Who else could manage to connect Longfellow, so scorned by modernists, with Ezra Pound, modernism's shaman - and Longfellow's grandnephew? [...]


An evening dedicated to poetry [India]:
PATNA: Mushaira Jashn-e-Bahar, the celebration of urdu poetry, will bring together some of the well known urdu poets from the different parts of the country here in Patna on Saturday evening at S K Memorial hall.

The noted poets participating in the Mushaira would be Nida Fazli, Shahr Yar, Lata Haya, Gauhar Raza, Rehana Nawab and Syed Faraz Hamid will gather here for the first time under the joint auspices of the Takshila Educational Society, Delhi Public School, Patna and Jashn-e-Bahar Trust, New Delhi. [...]

Jashn-e-Bahar mushaira revives memories of Mughal Era [from 2001]:
NEW DELHI: With the objective of reviving the tradition of `mushaira', which has been a part of the Delhi culture since the Mughal times, an Urdu mushaira, Jashn-e-Bahar (spring celebrations) was held here.

Renowned urdu poets from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh participated in the mushaira last night, which was attended among others by former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, rajya sabha member Kuldeep Nayyar and veteran film actress Zohra Sehgal.

According to the organiser of `Jashn-e-Bahar', Kaamna Prasad, the annual event was started in 1999 "with the objective to revive the lost tradition of mushaira and to emphasise the fact that even today young writers from across the country choose Urdu as a vehicle for their creative expression". [...]

Straight Answers [India]:
kaamna prasad, founder director, jashn-e-bahar, on how urdu poetry has managed to survive the pop-culture onslaught with urdu seemingly not the force it once was, what prompted the decision to start the jashn-e-bahar mushaira? dill ke kuche na thay, auraq-e-musavvir thay/ jo shakal nazar ayee, tasveer nazar ayee! in the words of mir, delhi once patronised the great shayars and kavis. jashn-e-bahar is an attempt to continue this tradition. [...]

poetic inhalation says:
dear friends + respected colleagues...

we welcome you to enjoy the december issue of poetic inhalation featuring a feasty mix of art + literature...please be advised that poetic inhalation will begin publishing on a bimonthly basis in february 2005

we wish everyone much holiday cheer + the best of wishes for the coming new year...

...and now for something completely different...

tin lustre mobile volume 4 issue 8 illustrated by shaun goddard...

Friday, December 03, 2004
The 'Ariel' Poems: A Return to Form (National Public Radio, audio link inside) [US]:
It's been nearly 40 years since Sylvia Plath's last poetic compilation, Ariel was published. The collection was edited by -- or some might even say tampered with -- Plath's husband, the poet Ted Hughes. Now the collection has been re-released exactly as Sylvia Plath left it. Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes, talks about Ariel: The Restored Edition and her mother's legacy.

The best of 2004: poetry books reviewed (from http://www.independent.co.uk/)

Poet Marries Poetry [2002] [US]:
"Poem-Tree" symbolizes my commitment to poetry through my marrying "Mr/s Poetry." In prior happenings, those wearing my dress were Filipina female poets (Natalie Concepcion and Barbara Jane Reyes) to reflect my status. For the last happening which was part of the launching of Interlope #8, a publication that features innovative writings by Filipino/a-Americans, Ravva was chosen because poetry is presumably neither ethnic- nor gender-specific.

Nonetheless, Ravva, while petite enough to fit into my dress, is quite hirsute. His physicality offered a (wonderfully) dissonant contrast against my wedding gown festooned with lace, seed pearls, and white sequins. I had excavated my dress, along with a 12-foot train, from my parents' attic for Six Directions' purposes. Seventeen years ago, Mom went overboard as she helped choose the baroque style of my dress (this was her one shot to be Mother of the Bride). If my dress were cheese, it would be of the oozing, triple crème variety. Its elaborate style only highlighted the oddness of it draping the shoulders of a bearded man with a bemused expression and flat, black shoes that peeked out from the voluminous bottom folds of the skirt. (Whew! Was I glad Mom was not in town to witness Ravva in my dress!)
[Click on Six Directions image for essay]

First Female U.S. Poet Laureate Van Duyn Dies [US]:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - America's first female poet laureate Mona Van Duyn, once described as a pioneer of the poetry of the suburbs, has died in St. Louis at the age of 83, her publisher Alfred A. Knopf said on Thursday.

Born May 9, 1921 in Waterloo, Iowa, Van Duyn started writing poetry secretly in notebooks while she was at grade school and was a voracious reader. Recalling her small town childhood, Van Duyn said in a 1991 interview: "One was made to stay after school and learn a poem."

In 1970 her collection of poems "To See, To Take" won the National Book Award and in 1991 she was awarded the Pulitzer for "Near Changes." She was poet laureate from 1992 to 1993. [...]

The Academy of American Poets has three of her poems.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Cancer claims former Panhandle poet laureate Laurie O'Brien [US]:
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Laurie O'Brien, a former poet laureate of northwest Florida, has died of cancer, a disease that she confronted in her writing. She was 55.

O'Brien, director of the creative writing program at the University of West Florida and a former United Press International photographer, died Monday. [...]


Plath: restored [US]:
Before her death, Plath left a typed manuscript titled Ariel on her desk, along with the 19 poems she'd written after completing it. But when Hughes published Ariel in Britain two years later, he disregarded Plath's MS, both changing the order in which she'd arranged the poems and replacing 14 of them with 13 of his own selection. (In the 1966 U.S. edition, he replaced 12 pieces with 14 others.) The extent of his alterations was revealed in 1981, when, in the notes to Plath's Collected Poems, Hughes printed the contents list from the Ariel manuscript.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Poet's diary: Julius Chingono [Zimbabwe/Netherlands]:
After 20 hours of flight and lounging in airport transit halls, I check in at the Atlanta Hotel in Rotterdam. I am a guest at the Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It is the first time I have been out of Zimbabwe, my home country. Irene Staunton, a publisher, travelled with me from Harare.

Alone. Room 230 is welcoming but the file the receptionist gave me is frightening. It has all the details of the Poetry International Festival programme. All of a sudden I have a tag. I am being addressed as a poet. I am supposed to regard myself as someone who writes poetry. I lie on the bed but can’t find sleep. I still cannot endure this unfolding experience. I rehearse my poem for the first night’s performance several times. It is already lunchtime, but I am not feeling hungry. I had two breakfasts – one on the flight to Frankfurt and another on the flight to Schiphol, Holland. Time is moving very fast. I leave my room to wander, not far but around the hotel building. I am afraid of getting lost.

Lily says:
Lily's First Anniversary issue is now available at


The 2004 Pushcart Prize nominations

A guest interview with Poet Michael Paul Ladanyi, by Patricia Gomes

Poetry by Robert Bradshaw, Michelle Cameron, Chris Crittenden, Do Gentry, Taylor Graham, Craig Kirchner, Terry Lowenstein, Jessy Randall, and Don Schaeffer

Fiction by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Photography by Jill Burhans, Terri Lynn Graham, Maurizio Malangone, Erdogan Mebahar, Mitch Miller and Donnali Peters

Happy reading!

Lily Editor

Poem for a prize [blog]:
Contest held over at Didi Menendez's blog: Write a poem using all of these 12 words/phrases:

1. Nehru Jacket
2. bouffant hairdo
3. sock it to me
4. Love American Style
5. Ed
6. french nails
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. rebels
9. suicide
10. topless bar
11. orange
12. tooty fruity

Prize: $25 amazon.com gift certificate for the best one. Deadline: December 20th.

Knowing Sylvia, knowing Ruth [US]:
One evening in February 1963, Dr. Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse Beuscher, returned home from a long day treating psychiatric patients. Her husband William, also a psychiatrist, was already in bed. His custom was to retire early and read the evening paper. Ruth wearily mounted the stairs and sat on the bed next to him. Without any greeting or a look in her direction, he dryly asked, 'Have you heard the news about Sylvia Plath?'

'No, what is it?' she replied, sensing the news was bad.

'She's dead,' he said. 'She committed suicide.'

Poetry: the new rock 'n' roll? [US/UK]:
Poetry is now so popular that British universities face a supply-and-demand dilemma. So many students want to sign up for poetry classes that there are not enough professional poets to teach them.

Poet's stanzas deliver [UK]:
Businessman Gassell Gordon, 55, decided against giving evidence and called Clarence Thompson MBE as a character witness on Thursday.

Mr Thompson recited a self-penned poem called 'Gun Street (To the memory of those murdered by the gun)', inspired by the anti-drugs stance he said defined Gordon. [...]

Mr Thompson, 64, from Streatham, told jurors he had several of his poems hanging in New York's United Nations building.

He said the five-verse Gun Street effectively summed-up Gordon's hopes that "drug barons, you will be dethroned".

Pints and poems [UK]:
Matt Buckingham, landlord of the Fox and Crane in Weddington Road, wants to compose a book of limericks, poems, or stories about the pub written by regulars and visitors.

Philip Levine's Breath [US]:
Not being "a thing" is a concern that animates Levine's entire body of work. He is famously a working-class poet, having often drawn on his unprivileged youth in industrial Detroit for the material of his work. Breath, like all his books since the early '70s, makes room for several little elegies - anecdotal, seemingly casual, but profoundly respectful - for the non-high and the not-mighty, including people he met on the dehumanizing jobs he endured before turning, in his mid-20s, to the essential occupation of making poems. "I am now a kind of archive of people, places and things that no longer exist," Levine said not too long ago. "I carry them around with me, and if I get them on paper, I give them at least some kind of existence."

Shamseddine Mohammad Hafez [Iran]:
The 14th-century poet Hafez is considered one of Persia's greatest, held in as high regard in Iran as Shakespeare is in the English-speaking world. The popularity of this Shiraz-born Sufi is evident to this day with the shrine to Hafez, set in a beautiful garden of cypress trees and water fountains, a major pilgrimage site for Iranians. Families include the shrine in their itinerary when visiting Shiraz, and the gardens are a popular location for people to socialize or read from the 'Divan' ('Odes') - Hafez's most famous poetry collection - while recitations are played over speakers in the garden.

Shihab will open poetry festival [Oman]:
SUR — His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said, adviser to His Majesty the Sultan, will preside over the opening of the fourth Omani Poetry Festival at the historic Sinaisla Fort in the wilayat of Sur on December 4.

The five-day literary event will be organised in implementation of His Majesty the Sultan’s directives to give the Omani poetic movement the attention it deserves.