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dumbfoundry

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

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Tagore's Nobel prize stolen
Santiniketan, Mar 25 (UNI) In a daring dacoity at Visva Bharati's museum here, poet Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize and his several priceless artefacts were stolen last night.

According to reports available, the dacoity was committed while the India-Pakistan match was on.

The dacoity was detected this morning by officials of Rabindra Museum, located in the high security zone within the campus.

Some poems here.

Trout: "online journal of arts & literature from aotearoa/new zealand and the pacific islands"



Laurels in leaf (Toronto Star):
It's not the kind of job opening to precipitate a thousand-résumé flurry: Wanted: Poet Laureate. Extensive published work essential.

This fall, Canada's first parliamentary poet laureate, George Bowering, will relinquish his position to a new voice. And though qualified applicants may be few, it's curious to note that the position itself is becoming less so.

"Poet laureates have broken out like the plague, all over the place. There are provincial and state poet laureates, there are city poet laureates," says Dennis Lee, who, as poet laureate of Toronto, knows of what he speaks. "Probably individual washrooms have ... well, you get the idea," he laughed.

North Dakota's laureate (who has his position for life) has spawned seven laurel buds (Grand Forks Herald):
North Dakota Poet Laureate Larry Woiwode kicked off UND's Writers Conference on Tuesday with a surprise, naming seven associate laureates.

All the associates are natives and residents of the state, with two exceptions who happen to be enrolled tribal members living out of state.

And the former US poet laureate is now the NY State laureate (The Journal News):
In the same sprit, New York has named the 62-year-old Lehman College professor the new State Poet, an honorary post that Collins accepted earlier this month with his usual self-effacing wit. Next, Collins said, he'll be poet laureate of his own ZIP code.

Or as Dennis Lee said...

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Poet's conference marks return to normal
MADRID, March 23 (UPI) -- A series of crowded conferences marking the centenary of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda opened in Madrid as life in the city slowly returned to normal.

The conferences were the first important public events to be held in Madrid since the March 11 terrorist train bombings that claimed 202 lives and injured more than 1,500 people. [...]

The Madrid Bombings: The Chickens Come Home to Roost
I lived for a time in suburban
Madrid, with its bells
and its clocks and its trees

Till one morning everything blazed:
one morning bonfires
sprang out of earth
and devoured all the living

Come see the blood in the streets,
come see
the blood in the streets,
come see the blood
in the streets!

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1971), "A Few Things Explained" ("Explico algunas cosas," ca. 1938, trans. Ben Belitt), on how a previous Spanish government's friendship with fascism brought blood to the streets of Madrid.

March 18, 2004

The chickens have come home to roost in Spain. Under heavy pressure from the U.S., the Spanish government agreed last year to participate in the war on Iraq opposed by the great majority of Spaniards, who believed the war was both unjustifiable and likely to increase rather than diminish terror threats. The terror bombings in Madrid May 11, apparently intended as punishment for the Spanish deployment, confirm the latter supposition. [...]

Something vague about formalism:
Obituary: Claus Josef Riedel, the former president of Riedel Crystal and one of the first in his age-old craft to realize that the design of a wineglass could alter the perception of how its contents tasted, died in Genoa, Italy, on March 17. He was 79. [...]

Soon after taking control of the family business, which was founded in 1756, he began experimenting with the shapes of wineglasses. He concluded that a wine could taste notably different in variously shaped and sized glasses. He spent 16 years studying the physics of wine delivery to the mouth and taste buds and experimenting with different glass configurations, matching them with wines of different regions, different grapes and different ages.

The size of a glass, its thickness, the shape of its bell and the diameter of its rim contributed materially to the taste of the wine drunk from it, Mr. Riedel came to believe. The wine's balance, depth, harmony and complexity, he discovered, could and often did change from one glass to another. When told that the glasses he created would have limited market appeal, he said: "Aesthetics and excellence are my criteria, not mere convenience."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Magnetic Poetry's New Queer Kit Takes Poetry Out of the Closet and Onto the Fridge
New Kit Offers Words of Empowerment

MINNEAPOLIS, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Queens, fags, dykes, fairies, lesbians, rainbows, flames, gaydar, transvestites, leather and culture. The newest addition to the million-selling Magnetic Poetry Product line -- the Queer Kit -- has all that, and more.

Besides a generous helping of gay-specific words, the Queer Kit, like many of its predecessors from "MagPo," utilizes seemingly random or thematic words to great effect. Users can create all kinds of poetry, from silly to poignant, cathartic to empowering.

"Magnetic Poetry has kits for gardeners, cooks, pet owners -- we even have a sign language kit," says company founder Dave Kapell. "Why not create a poetry kit for the gay community? If it promotes understanding and allows people to express themselves in a fun or serious manner, then I consider it a huge success."

Magnetic Poetry, creators of the word magnets seen on refrigerators everywhere, is responding to consumer demand with the new Queer Kit. In recent months, Magnetic Poetry has received numerous requests from both retailers and consumers for a kit that was inclusive of GLBT issues and culture. Like many of the products the company produces, customer input was internalized and found its way into the product development process and onto shelves nationally.

The Queer Kit, which hit retail shelves this month, carries a suggested retail price of $9.95.

A Deaf Poetics (at http://poetry.about.com):
Part II, an interview with ASL/deaf poet Peter Cook

In our continuing feature on Deaf Poetry, meet Peter Cook, an outstanding Deaf poet, purveyor of a gestural style that sends dance and theater flying back to their original roots as poetry. Peter is also a poetry activist, and in his work with the deaf & hearing poetry duo, Flying Words Project, has brought American Sign Language (ASL) poetry to hearing audiences around the world.

Which reminds me of Slope's American Sign Language Special Edition.

Also (at UbuWeb Ethnopoetics):
  • Jerome Rothenberg -- Introduction: Poetry Without Sound
  • H-Dirksen L. Bauman - Redesigning Literature: Poetics of American Sign Language Poetry
  • Michael Davidson - The Scandal of Speech in Deaf Performance
  • How to be Billy Collins:
    Start with something that no one can dispute.

    Then, with the reader drawn close, the path is clear for surprise.

    That is how Billy Collins explains the unpretentious power of his poems — the most widely read and acclaimed in the country.

    R e a d m e (via Catherine Daly's Blog):
    Edited by Gary Sullivan

    Readme is an online journal of poetics featuring interviews, essays and reviews germane to contemporary poetry. Poetry published only in tandem with author interviews and/or critical prose, except in cases of poem-as-reading/critique. Please send all queries and correspondence via email.

    It also has long and interesting lists of Literary Links and Author Links.

    Monday, March 22, 2004
    Ten essential recent books of poetry according to Tony Tost (in a comment here):
    Cole Swensen, Try
    Allen Grossman, How to Do Things with Tears
    John Latta, Breeze
    Sarah Manguso, The Captain Lands in Paradise
    Maurice Manning, Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions
    Peter O'Leary, Watchfulness
    Brenda Coultas, A Handmade Museum
    Cal Bedient, Candy Necklace
    Joshua Beckman, Things Are Happening
    Nathaniel Mackey, School of Udhra (older: '93)

    Poets unveil hypocrisy, have audience in splits (Chandigarh Newsline):
    BESIDES loads of laughter, the element of realism reined through the satires, that were poetical creations by national poets, led by Surender Sharma. Annual Hasya Kavi Sammelan was organised at the Tagore Theatre by the Rajasthan Parishad.

    Mahender Ajnabi unveiled the hypocrisy and moral degeneration in politics. He presented a remix of news headlines and hoardings in a homogeneous but sarcastic style, leaving the audience bursting into peals of laughter.

    He is being honoured with the Kaka Hathrasi award next month.

    Dr Sita Sagar, on her first visit, mesmerised the receptive listeners with impromptu spell in praise of the City Beautiful.

    She maintained the free floating exposition in her satirical Holi celebrations with oblique reference to the bachelor prime minister.

    Dekh holi ki Khushali, De kuarepan ko gali, Thoor pyari Chennai waali, Chhot gayee Lucknow waali. [...]

    Also this in the Hindustan Times.

    The Toronto Star today has this from the UK poet laureate:
    If U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq last year in order to make people such as Andrew Motion feel safe, then they failed.

    "Watching the news, I kind of wring my hands," says the man who has been Britain's poet laureate for the past five years. "The sense of threatened-ness that we all feel has hugely escalated."

    and they quote part of one of the anti-war poems he has published as laureate.

    The previous US poet laureate was against the Iraq invasion:
    In comments rarely heard from a sitting U.S. poet laureate, Billy Collins has publicly declared his opposition to war and says he finds it increasingly difficult to keep politics out of his official job as literary advocate.

    but did he write anything about it? And what has his replacement, Louse Glück, said on the subject? Or doesn't she say?

    FlashPøint (via The Unquiet Grave): "A multidisciplinary journal in the arts and politics"

    Includes fun stuff like "Celebration of Failure: The Influence of Laura Riding on John Ashbery"

    Sunday, March 21, 2004
    Ten essential recent books of poetry according to K. Silem Mohammad:
    Anselm Berrigan, Zero Star Hotel (Edge Books, 2003)
    Jordan Davis, Million Poems Journal (Faux Press, 2003)
    Laura Elrick, sKincerity (Krupskaya, 2003)
    Michael Gizzi, My Terza Rima (The Figures, 2001)
    Lyn Hejinian, Happily (The Post-Apollo Press, 2000)
    Jen Hofer, Slide Rule (subpress, 2002)
    Jack Kimball, Frosted (Potes and Poets, 2001)
    Rachel Loden, Hotel Imperium (U of Georgia P, 1999)
    Rod Smith, Music or Honesty (Roof Books, 2003) [anyone got a proper catalog link?]
    Elizabeth Willis, Turneresque (Burning Deck, 2003)

    Friday, March 19, 2004
    The host with the most:
    How did Wordsworth's lyric "I wandered lonely as a cloud", better known as "Daffodils", become so famous? When it was first collected in Poems (1807), an anonymous reviewer in The Satirist or Monthly Meteor could hardly contain himself. Swiping backwards at the Lyrical Ballads, which had first appeared nine years earlier, he decided "these [new] poems would have been more appropriately invested with a fine gilt wrapping, adorned with woodcuts, and printed and bound uniformly in all respects with Mother Bunch's tales and Mother Goose's melodies".

    But it never went away. This morning:
    A quarter of a million school kids in the UK broke the world record for a mass poetry recital on Friday.

    They began their school day by reading William Wordsworth's poem Daffodils, 200 years since it was first written.

    The event, called Words Worth Reading, was trying to interest kids in poetry, and was led by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion from a school in North London.

    The reading was also set up to help charity Marie Curie Cancer Care, which uses the daffodil as its symbol.

    Thursday, March 18, 2004
    Call for Papers (from William Watkin)
    I am organising an international conference on Contemporary Writing, details are given below. Please distribute them amongst your friends and colleagues.

    Contemporary Writing Environments
    8-10 July 2004
    Brunel University, West London
    Deadline for proposals: End of March 2004

    Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing is hosting an international conference on contemporary writing and invites submissions for papers under the heading: Contemporary Writing Environments. The conference is the first of what will be a biennial event and will take place over three days from Thursday July 8th-Saturday to July 10th 2004 on Brunel Campus, West London.

    The confirmed Keynote Speaker is Charles Bernstein, internationally renowned poet and theorist. [...]

    Two group blogs for poetry:
    • As/Is -- Where participants post original poems and everyone discusses them in the comments.

    • As/Is 2 -- Where participants post their ideas or questions about poetics and everyone discusses them in the comments.

    That "everyone" stuff is fairly theoretical so far, but if you were to go there and offer interesting commentary, that would all change.

    Ewald Osers: Long-distance translator (Alan Levy at Prague Post):
    "I have often been asked -- in interviews and at cocktail parties -- whether translating poetry isn't 'terribly difficult.' Quite honestly, I have never known what the question meant or how I was to answer it. Difficult in what way? Like doing long division? Or hitting a target at 100 meters [328 feet]? Or skiing the Kandahar run? From my school days I remember Ovid's statement in his autobiography 'Quidquid temptabam scribere versus erat' [Whatever I tried to write turned into a verse] and from later reading I knew Alexander Pope's 'I lisped in numbers and the numbers came.'

    "It would, of course, be absurd and presumptuous to compare myself to those two poetic giants -- and yet, a similar mechanism must have been at work when I translated poetry. Without any conscious effort a translated line -- sometimes the opening line, more often the final line -- would stand ready, in my mind."

    Thus spake the translator of Jiri Mucha, Egon Hostovsky, Miroslav Holub, Karel Capek, Ivan Klima, Zdenek Sverak (Kolja), Arnost Lustig and the 1984 Nobel laureate Jaroslav Seifert from Czech into English (as well as the Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney into Czech); Josef Goebbels, Kurt Waldheim and Thomas Bernhard (plus the correspondence between Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal) from German into English; Miroslav Valek from Slovak, four poets from Bulgarian, several from Macedonian and 13th-century Armenian love poetry. [...]

    Stick to locally made education decisions:
    The great Georgia poet Sidney Lanier is out of favor today because he fell victim to the "nationalization" of textbooks.

    Maybe. But maybe it's the beard.

    or, Triolet occasioned by the coming of Spring (an Eudaemonist)

    It's Gombrowicz's Turn:
    Kundera has said that Gombrowicz's work was a precursor to the modern European novel, and has compared him to no less a figure than Czech author Franz Kafka.

    According to Fuentes, ”Ferdydurke” (a book that is almost impossible to find in Argentina), should be included on the list of ”10 best novels of the past 100 years.”

    Argentine writer Santiago Vega (also known as Washington Cucurto), author of ”Cosa de negros”, said in a conversation with IPS that Gombrowicz and his dear friend, the exiled Cuban poet Virgilio Piñera (”La isla en peso”), were ”marginalized” from Argentina's literary circles of the era.

    But, he said, the irony is that the two foreigners ”reinvented Argentine literature for the future.”

    Eminem vs. Robert Frost:
    Is hip-hop saving poetry -- or trashing it? Beneath the feel-good rhetoric of "Def Poetry Jam" and the "spoken-word revolution" is a battle over the future of literature's oldest form.

    Salon article today on hip-hop, slams, and stuff.

    From Theater: Intoxicating sip of roaring ’20s in Media:
    Back in 1926, Joseph March was the first managing editor of an upstart little magazine called The New Yorker. But he abandoned his job because he wanted to be a poet. His wealthy father indulged him and he spent that summer writing his epic poem, "The Wild Party," a moral tale appropriate for this era.

    March’s witty poem was long, considered a "verse novel," and when it came out in 1928, it was considered too hot to publish, and the first edition was banned in Boston. It was March’s poem that inspired William Burroughs to become a writer.

    Festival promotes Native authors

    A New Mexico anthropologist is drumming up support for a festival that highlights authors who write in their Native language.

    Gordon Bronitsky says he got the idea from working with Navajo writer Rex Jim. Bronitsky runs the New Mexico-based Bronitsky and Associates, a firm that specializes in assisting American Indians conduct business overseas. He once helped Jim, a poet, host a reading in Ireland.

    “ He opened my eyes to the fact that Native writers have something to say,” Bronitsky said.

    According to the Summer Institute of Linguistics, there are 6800 languages and hundreds of them are considered “endangered,” meaning that parents are no longer teaching the language to their children and are not using it actively in everyday matters.

    Bronitsky is organizing a festival, slated to take place in July of 2005, bringing together Native writers from all over the world. Writers who have signed up include speakers of Lakota, Chippewa/Ojibwe Choctaw, Navajo and Laguna Pueblo, in addition to a host of authors from Canada and as far away as Peru, Brazil and Greenland.

    The idea is to give the writers a showcase, and help them earn a living in the process.

    Adrian Grima invited to Mediterranean Poetry Festival
    Adrian Grima has been invited to take part in the international poetry festival "Voci del Mediterraneo" at the Centro Culturale Le Ciminiere in Catania on 19-20 March, 2004.

    Twenty leading poets from various parts of the Mediterranean will read their works in their native language and in Italian. The two-day festival will also include performances of ethnic music and song. The festival is being organized by the Province of Catania and is part of the "Etna Fest 2004" series of cultural events.

    The list of invited poets includes the Turkish Cypriot poet Mehmet Yashin who was recently invited to read his poetry, together with Adrian Grima and other poets, at the Castelliotissa former medieval church in Nicosia, Cyprus, during the international conference on Cultures of Memory/Memories of Culture, at which Dr. Grima read a paper about personal and cultural memory in a poem by Henry Holland.

    Jack Kerouac World, Orlando
    A small property in a suburb of Orlando is Florida's first literary landmark, a place of pilgrimage for Beat generation fans and home to a writers-in-residence scheme.

    Jack Kerouac only lived in the small property at 1418 Clouser Avenue for a few months and, when he moved into the tin-roofed bungalow, he was a nobody.

    He spent his time writing, brooding, wondering about his future, enjoying the Florida climate. And then, several months after he arrived, his novel On the Road was finally published. In an instant, Kerouac was on his way from being an anonymous, footloose writer to a legendary footloose writer - the icon of the so-called Beat generation.

    Brooding. Those poets.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004
    Roberto Méndez, Patience in the Provinces
    HAVANA, Mar 20 (IPS) - Twenty books published is a record for a Cuban author -- the island's publishing industry can't keep up with national literary output -- but it is even more astonishing for a poet from the provinces like Roberto Méndez, who has achieved this and much more.

    Méndez -- poet, novelist, and essayist -- has won Mexico's first international José María Heredia essay prize, named for the man considered Cuba's first great poet, who lived from 1803 to 1939, and spent much of that time in Mexico, where he died. [...]

    Méndez, born Sep. 7, 1958, in the eastern province of Camagüey, went to university in Havana, but unlike many other Cuban intellectuals and artists, he did not stay in the capital. He returned to his hometown.

    There is a tendency in Cuba to think that in order to ”be somebody” one has to be close to Havana's intellectual circles, not stuck out in the provinces.

    Méndez stresses that, as his personal experience shows, ”it is possible to be a writer in the provinces and publish here and there, win awards, be invited to participate in juries and events, and even travel beyond El Morro,” as the lighthouse at the entry to the Bay of Havana is known.

    Monthly and quarterly releases make no sense online. Online poetry magazines should come out every day, edited like a journal but published like a blog.

    Cornelius Cardew: Making Marx in the Music
    Stockhausen Serves Imperialism was the somewhat arrogant, but earnest and inevitable outcome of Cardew's exposure to the Maoist idea of criticism: that all comrades need dispassionate but firm correction. Here he documented his own apostasy from the avant-garde, and severely castigated Cage and Stockhausen, as the two emergent leaders of the world avant-garde, for writing music that played into bourgeois interests by ignoring, and distracting people from, the truth of the oppression of the world's masses by corporations, dishonest governments, and the bourgeoisie. [...]

    In light of Cardew's role in England's Marxist-Leninist party, it is believed that his death -- a hit-and-run on December 13, 1981 -- was probably a political assassination.

    Or John Cage. You be the judge. You can download the book: cardew_stockhausen.pdf. My favorite chapter title: "John Cage: Ghost or Monster?"

    try listen: "sound files of some readings and talks at the University of Hawai`i, Manoa"

    A Picasso Sampler: Excerpts from The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, & Other Poems
    Edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris.
    It was in early 1935, then, that Picasso (then fifty-four years old) began to write what we will present here as his poetry - a writing that continued, sometimes as a daily offering, until the summer of 1959. In the now standard Picasso myth, the onset of the poetry is said to have coincided with a devastating marital crisis (a financially risky divorce, to be more exact), because of which his output as a painter halted for the first time in his life.

    Anna Maltz *One Size Fits All *
  • At Stretcher

  • At Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery
  • Real Bohemians:
    The other night, at the National Arts Club, a couple of hundred admirers of the poet Jane Mayhall got together for a reading from her work. (Her previous book came out in 1973; her new book, “Sleeping Late on Judgment Day,” has just been published by Knopf.) [...]

    “We had remarkable lives, Leslie and I did. My first year at Black Mountain, I was walking down a country road, and coming around the bend was a very famous person. I knew instantly that it was Einstein. I thought, Life is going to be like this. He said, ‘Guten morgen,’ and I said, ‘Guten morgen.’ That night, there was a hot-dog party for Einstein, and the physics teacher interviewed him. He said, ‘Mr. Einstein, which is the most important, art or science?’ Einstein said, ‘No doubt about it in my mind, it’s art. Art must always come first, art and feeling.’ Life had this quality. I thought, If I’m starting with Einstein, where will it go? It was a feeling that everyone was together and was going to do the best thing. It was just being alive.”


    Notes for a Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary at Poetry Daily.

    Ah, Poetic Injustice! Seeking a Laureate, Queens Goes Blank
    Hal Sirowitz is one of those rare New York writers who is willing — eager, in fact — to identify himself with the borough of Queens. A tall man with a shambling gait, scraggly beard and thick glasses, he has made a career of turning outer-borough alienation into deadpan humor.

    But lately Mr. Sirowitz has been growing nervous. He finished his term as the official poet laureate of Queens in December, and ever since, a committee of Queens librarians and professors has been struggling to find his replacement. The winner must be someone who has lived in Queens for at least five years and has written, in English, "poetry inspired by the borough."

    The committee has not found anyone.

    Maybe you live in Queens and could use another line for you CV?

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004
    Grolier Book Shop To Close
    The book is about to close on the nation’s oldest all-poetry store, as the Grolier Poetry Book Shop is forced under by competition from chain bookstores and the Internet.

    First opened in 1927, the store at 6 Plympton St. was once a haunt of famous poets like e. e. cummings ’15, T. S. Eliot ’10 and Allen Ginsberg. It is currently one of only two for-profit poetry-only bookstores left in the country.

    Louisa Solano, the store’s owner, remembers the days when her shop was “almost unlivable,” packed with people reading books and discussing poetry.

    But last Saturday, few customers wandered in. The store, which boasts over 15,000 titles, now sees as few as 20 customers per day. [...]

    That leaves only Am Here Books in Philo, California?

    Dylan pub under the hammer
    The pub where Dylan Thomas drank and found much of his inspiration is going under the hammer next month after being up for sale for almost a year. [...]

    Although born in Swansea, Thomas and his wife Caitlin moved to Carmarthenshire in 1938, raising their family in the now-famous Boat House overlooking the estuary.

    It's claimed he was inspired to create most of his famous works while drinking in Brown's.

    Mr Thomas said he was expecting a lot of interest in the auction which will be held in the Memorial Hall in Laugharne on 21 April.

    Geof Huth on Robert Lax is good:
    Sometimes, his poems, sometimes, shock me with their power, their power. How can such, how can such, a simple phrase, a simple turn, cause my skin (my skin) to creep?
    in me
    in me
    in me

    is the
    watcher


    More about Lax:

    From Poems are in (Straits Times, Singapore):
    FIRST it was radio and newspaper ads.

    Now, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is appearing on television, reading poems to woo voters.

    He has also sent direct mailers to some 500,000 voters, opening up a new front in Malaysia's 11th general election campaign.

    The various communication approaches reflect how much the Prime Minister wants his views on governing the country to percolate to the masses. [...]

    Recital of puisi (poems) and pantun (quatrains) are not unusual. They are often done by Malay emcees or politicians at public functions, to capture succinctly the mood and significance of an occasion. [...]

    Generally, people who make such recitals are seen as 'cultured' and educated, with an ability to delve into Malay culture to find appropriate phrases and verses to express their emotions.

    Another Cid Corman link: Cid Corman at the Kelly Writers House, November 19, 2001. Includes a recording (corman11-19-01.ram) of the program.

    “Shahriyar” TV Series to Be Shot
    TEHRAN March 15 (Mehr News Agency) –- Written by screenwriter Mahdi Sajjadehchi, the “Shahriyar” TV series will go into production soon.

    Sajjadehchi said the series will depict the social and personal life of the contemporary poet, Shahriyar and his relationship with prominent literary figures like poets Malak al-Sho’ara Bahar, Iraj Mirza, Aref Qazvini and great musician Abolhassan Saba.

    From Shahriyar (at Aturpat):
    The work of this passionate and gifted poet was initiated by composing tragic and heart breaking (POR SUZ O GODAZ) poems. Years passed and he composed countless poems, until he finally at old age managed to publish his long awaited beautiful poetry collection of contemporary Iranian literature.

    I'm trying to imagine a television series about a poet. It probably won't be dependent on ratings, if there are ratings for Iranian television. In any case, I don't suppose they will run it directly against Iranian Idol or Everybody Loves Ramin.

    Drew Gardner writes:
    "Poetry has the capacity to deal with the nonevents of life in a way that other art forms couldn't possibly manage."

    And I'm not sure I believe it, unless by "in a way" he means something like "using words is a poetic [?] way, and not using bodies in movement, paint on canvas, and so on." And that, of course, must be true, but trivially. Paint:
    "Painting has the capacity to deal with the nonevents of life in a way that other art forms couldn't possibly manage."

    Hmm. It seems equally likely.
    "Dance has the capacity to deal with the nonevents of life in a way that other art forms couldn't possibly manage."

    That also seems as likely. And:
    "Music has the capacity to deal with the nonevents of life in a way that other art forms couldn't possibly manage."

    Recurrence in Another Tongue: An Anthology of Translations (at Frigate)

    Paris attack robs Scotland's only poetry festival of its top star (The Scotsman):
    THE Nobel Prize-winning poet, Derek Walcott, has cancelled his appearance at the StAnza Poetry Festival after he and his partner were robbed in Paris.

    However, two of Britain’s top prize-winning poets have stepped into fill the gap left in the closing night of the St Andrews festival, the organiser said yesterday.

    Don Paterson, the only poet to win twice the TS Eliot Prize, poetry’s equivalent of the Booker, and Simon Armitage, nicknamed Britain’s "laureate in waiting", will join forces for a double-bill performance on Sunday.

    Mr Walcott, 73, spoke of being left in a Kafka-esque limbo after his partner, Sigrid, had her bag snatched in Paris.

    The thief got away with the couple’s passports, travel documents, money, and, critically, Mr Walcott’s green card, allowing him to travel and work in the United States.

    Cid Corman, 79, Poet, Editor and Translator Who Lived in Japan, Dies (NY Times):
    Cid Corman, a prolific American poet, editor and translator who lived in Japan for the last four decades, died on Friday at a hospital in Kyoto. He was 79.

    His death was reported on the Web site for English Teachers in Japan. Richard Aaron, his archivist, said that Mr. Corman had been in a coma since undergoing heart surgery in January.

    Starting with juvenilia in the 1940's, Mr. Corman published more than 150 titles, from hardcover books to slim hand-sewn, rice-paper selections holding 16 poems each. A sizable part of his output is included in a series he called "of," 350-page volumes that started appearing in 1990 (Lapis Press); a sixth and final volume is pending. In addition, Mr. Aaron said, Mr. Corman wrote about 80,000 unpublished poems. He said that for nearly 60 years Mr. Corman had written constantly, both poetry and correspondence.

    Entry at Wikipedia

    Monday, March 15, 2004
    From Rebel Edit:
    "The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes which include Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba. [...] It can be punishable by fines of up to a half-million dollars or jail terms as long as 10 years." -- DemocracyNow.org

    Read the full article here.

    So welcome to Rebel Edit. Edit a poem or short piece by a writer from one of these countries and send to rebel edit at shannacompton dot com. I will post it on this blog, which in effect will become both an act of protest and a petition.

    From BadGurrrlNest:
    CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

    are you a badgurrrl?--send your best badgurrrl stuff to

    zninestuff@yahoo.com

    From A Poet of His Time or of All Time?
    Remembering Jose Garcia Villa

    RECENTLY, I received a copy of a 1975 column, published in the now defunct Philippine Daily Express, on several writers who were then attending an international writers' conference in Manila. The group included José Garcia Villa, long established as a literary legend in Manila.

    The piece-sent by Frank Adams, a neighbor and painter friend of the late poet, who died in his Greenwich flat seven years ago -- featured a photo of Villa with William Saroyan. Villa is grinning broadly, wearing a T-shirt that says "Virgin Sexpot" -- the kind of naughty but harmless wordplay that he enjoyed. (Saroyan, looking bemused, also has a T-shirt on, printed with the more staid "International Herald Tribune.") According to Adams, he had thought of the phrase, then had it silkscreened on a T-shirt and gave it to Villa as a gift before he took off for Manila.

    How quickly those seven years have passed-just like that! I wondered about the fate of Villa's works, whether his archives had found a home, whether the world would see a post-Villa Villa. When would we have at hand a tome of his collected works, one that would allow for a critical re-evaluation of his literary oeuvre? Since Villa's death in 1997, three books have come out that I am aware of: "The Anchored Angel" (Kaya Press, 1999), edited by Eileen Tabios, which includes a selection of his works, plus several essays on the poet (I was a contributor); "Parlement of Giraffes: Poems for Children Eight to Eighty" (Anvil Publishing, 1999), edited by John Cowen, and translated into Tagalog by Larry Francia, my kinsman and a dear friend of Jose, who himself passed away a little more than a year ago, and Jonathan Chua's "The Critical Villa" (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2002), featuring essays by the bard. [...]

    Kite sales down in Rawalpindi

    (Sometimes I read the news from Rawalpindi because my father spent part of his childhood there.)

    Kite sales are down, and at least one kite dealer blames the mullahs.
    “Why are people avoiding a cheap source of entertainment?” he said, adding that he did not understand which social or religious norms were violated by kite flying.

    The article's author seems to be on his side:
    Seasonal festivals like Basant provide relief to entertainment-starved people who are depressed by persistent societal inequalities, economic disparities and ethnic fragmentation. The enjoyment of Basant is not confined to religious boundaries.

    But:
    “Basant is a Hindu custom and is un-Islamic. Our religion does not allow us to lavishly spend on these things and the Quran says lavish spenders are the brothers of Satan,” said Mufti Muhammad Bilal of Red Mosque in Islamabad.

    He said Islam encourages healthy sports, but kite flying is a waste of time and money. He added that Basant promotes vulgarity and obscenity when both men and women participate in the kite flying.

    Pakistan's Basant Festival
    The ancient eastern city of Lahore marks the beginning of spring with the Basant carnival, an orgy of kite-flying, rooftop soirees, garden parties and equestrian events, much to the disgust of Islamic clerics. Lahorites and out-of-town enthusiasts don glamorous clothes, in the yellow and green of spring flowers blooming citywide, to bid farewell to the frosts and fogs of winter and usher in spring.

    Nighttime kite-flying in the walled old quarter around the 16th century Badshahi mosque and Lahore fort opens the festival. Ancient mughal palaces throw open their doors for all-night parties to view the kites, illuminated by spotlights slashing the sky. Stars from the local 'Lollywood' film industry perform with classical Qawali musicians at parties in traditional haveli homes.

    and
    But even such a joyous festival has a dark side, as hospitals invariably are packed with kiteflyers who fell off roofs and children who were hit by cars as they ran down the streets, their faces turned towards the sky to watch the kites. Quarters of the city are plunged into darkness when razor-sharp kite cords rolled in powdered glass or made of steel cut electricity wires.

    Italian Newspapers Turn to Literature to Bolster Profits (NY Times):
    The cover of the current issue of Poesia, an Italian poetry magazine, shows a caricature of Eugenio Montale, a Nobel laureate in literature, standing on a cloud next to a tall stack of books. The headline reads, "One million volumes."

    It is a reference to the special edition of Montale's poetry distributed during February with some copies of the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera, which has a daily circulation of 686,000. Though the book reached that number in part because it was a giveaway, experts were nonetheless impressed, as well as by the book offered as an option along with the newspaper the following Monday: poems by Pablo Neruda. That book cost readers 5.90 euros, or about $7.20, and it sold more than 250,000 copies. There's more poetry where that came from. Corriere della Sera plans a series of 30 books featuring the works of great poets, one each Monday, and at a relatively low price.

    TextWorx Toolshed

    Have any of you text-diddlers tried these text manipulation tools at the Burning Press site? Anything good?

    Rhyming troubles delay Motion's ode to Jonny
    The Poet Laureate said yesterday that it had taken him more than three months to write a tribute to England's triumph in the Rugby World Cup partly because he was unable to find a word to rhyme with "Wilkinson".

    And because you can't wait any longer, here's the entire poem:
    A Song For Jonny

    O Jonny the power of your boot
    And the accurate heart-stopping route
    Of your goal as it ghosts
    Through Australian posts
    Is a triumph we gladly salute.

    O Martin the height of your leap
    And the gritty possession you keep
    Of the slippery ball
    In the ruck and the maul
    Is enough to make patriots weep.

    O Jason the speed of your feet
    And their side-stepping hop- scotching beat
    As you touch down and score
    While the terraces roar
    Is the thing that makes chariots sweet.

    O forwards and backs you have all
    Shown us wonderful ways to walk tall
    And together with Clive
    You will help us survive
    Our losses with other-shaped balls.

    Yes, that's "other-shaped balls."

    Sunday, March 14, 2004
    From Elise Asher, 92, Painter-Poet Who Blended Images and Words, Dies (NY Times):
    Elise Asher, a painter and a poet who blended images and poetry in her work, died last Sunday at her home in Greenwich Village. She was 92 and also had a studio and summer home in Provincetown, Mass.

    The cause was complications from a broken hip she suffered three weeks earlier, her family said. She was the wife of Stanley Kunitz, a former poet laureate of the United States. [...]

    From Elise Asher, 92 (Provincetown Banner):
    She and Kunitz shared a common passion for their arts. In her later years painting became too physical for her and she gave it up, instead writing at a small card table, relying on her poetry to speak to the world. She is described as quirky and possessing a wry sense of humor and a penchant for both visual and written puns. Despite her humor, she was intent on writing down the important matters of life. In her Banner interview in 2000, she said, "You’re breathing words…When you think of it, it’s marvelous. It keeps you alive. … Somebody has to witness what you are doing, otherwise it doesn’t exist."

    Friday, March 12, 2004
    From A 'palace coup':
    "Splendors of China's Forbidden City: the Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong" (1736-1795) opens tonight with great fanfare at The Field Museum. [...]

    The exhibition goes well beyond defining Qianlong's statesmanship, it reveals his private persona -- both the image and reality. Not only was he a scholar, a great patron of the arts, an art critic, an essayist, a poet (he wrote more than 40,000 poems), Qianlong was also a calligrapher, a hunter and a horseman. His wide-ranging interests and eclectic collections form the bulk of China's two major state museums today. This exhibition features prime selections from his jade, snuff bottle (he had 10,000), and pottery collections. A man ahead of his time, he pushed his team of artisans to develop new ceramic glazes and jade carving techniques, and introduced European aesthetics into Chinese art.

    On the flipside, Qianlong demanded nothing less than cultural perfection -- he had zero tolerance for artistic mistakes. Literally one wrong word in a calligraphic work could be considered "subversive" and land the "perpetrator" a night in jail. Nearly 100 intellectuals were executed under his reign for not towing the emperor's line of thinking. A contrary or presumptuous book against the dynasty was confiscated and harsh penalties exacted. As culturally inquisitive as he was, Qianlong had an unprecedented mean streak when it came to freedom of artistic expression. It was his way or no way.

    He lived 88 years and wrote (?) 40,000 (or 46,000 or 30,000) poems. That's one or two poems a day.

    From Imperial Treasures On Show:
    The jade artefacts kept in the Summer Palace were mostly produced under Emperor Qianlong. As a matter of fact, a unique school of jade carving came into being, at that time named after the emperor. Emperor Qianlong wrote numerous poems in praise of jade artefacts.

    "When he took a special liking for a jade article," Liu said, "he would compose a poem to express his happiness and order the poem written on it."

    One Year (a callendelle -- huh? -- by Ivy Alvarez at Vibewire).

    From All is poetry (review of John Ashbery and American Poetry):
    • "I live with this paradox; on the one hand, I am an important poet, read by younger writers, and on the other hand, nobody understands me. I am often asked to account for this state of affairs, but I can't."

    • "If my poetry is oblique, it's because I want to slant it at as wide an audience as possible, odd as it may come out in practice. Therefore, if I'm writing a love poem it won't talk about specifics, but just about the general feeling which anybody might conceivably be able to share."

    • Charmingly, in riposte to accusations of obscurity, Ashbery has stated that "a poem that communicates something that's already known to a reader is not really communicating anything to him, and in fact shows a lack of respect". Or, more strongly: "It's a veiled insult to the reader."

    From Poetry Scholar Vendler Picked for Jefferson Lecture:
    • Helen Hennessy Vendler, a leading interpreter of English language poets, will deliver this year's Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced yesterday.

    • Her lecture, Vendler said yesterday, will most likely focus on Wallace Stevens, the lawyer and insurance executive who wrote his poems in his spare time.
      "He ranks with Frost and Eliot among the moderns," said Vendler, who has written two books on Stevens. "Eliot was the first to solidly establish free verse. Frost was the first to turn blank verse to something Americans could say. Stevens profited from not necessarily knowing that but being able to do the same things in blank and free verse."

    • The lecture is the highest platform provided by the nation for distinguished work in the humanities. Vendler, who will receive a $10,000 honorarium, will speak May 6.

    Rumsfeld set to music:
    Once in a while,
    I'm standing here, doing something.
    And I think,
    "What in the world am I doing here?"
    It's a big surprise.

    and
    Oh my goodness gracious,
    What you can buy off the Internet
    In terms of overhead photography!

    A trained ape can know an awful lot
    Of what is going on in this world,
    Just by punching on his mouse
    For a relatively modest cost!

    Thursday, March 11, 2004
    Is this the way poetry readings are going?
    "I sold all the books I brought up there, 12 or so, and had four people make me put some lipstick on (color: sun gold) and kiss five of the books on the title page. It was weird. I had never done that before."
    (Gabriel Gudding at Conchology)

    Anyway, I love (in the same post) the side-by-side Amazon reviews from the same reviewer.

    On Gabriel Gudding:
    Gabe Gudding is an infectious disease. Any poet writing today that can be an infectious disease is an important poet, a poet to be watched. In Gabe's case, he may also be a poet to be surveilled . He should not, for instance, be left alone with your family pet.

    On the Hamilton Beach Cappucino Maker:
    Simply put, this is THE BEST espresso machine to start with. Anyone who can't get crema with this machine (assuming they didn't get a dud) is not properly grinding or tamping. Or else they are using lousy beans.

    I wonder if Gabriel can make a decent cup of cappucino?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004
    By the Air Whereon They Ride:
    The other night I took one of the few cabs in the city where the driver didn't try to convince me to vote for FPJ or Ping. Instead the manong made the most cryptic remarks:
    Come what come may
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day...

    until I figured out where he was coming from. When for instance he said to beware because there is one presidential candidate who would call on:
    ...spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;

    I know who he won't vote for.

    To read or not to read:
    "Beware the ides of March."
    — Act 1, Scene 2.

    "Beware of March 15."
    — Same scene, "No Fear Shakespeare" translation.

    and
    "Tut, I am in their bosoms, and I know wherefore they do it."
    — Act 5, Scene 1.

    "I know how they think, and I understand why they're doing this."
    — Same scene, "No Fear Shakespeare" translation.

    Blechh.

    Joella Bayer has died and you've never heard of her unless you're from Aspen, Colorado. But:
    In Paris, Joella lived an enchanted life with her mother, poet Mina Loy, and her sister, Fabi (Benedict). They ran in the most artistic of circles, being friends with writer James Joyce and artist Marcel Duchamp.

    And there is much to read about her mother:
    • The Academy of American Poets:
      In 1921 Ezra Pound wrote to Marianne Moore: "... is there anyone in America except you, Bill [William Carlos Williams] and Mina Loy who can write anything of interest in verse?" But for decades, the avant-garde poet Mina Loy was virtually invisible next to many of her fellow modernists.

    • Wolkowski's Mina Loy Page:
      There has been a recent explosion of interest in Modern poet Mina Loy (1882-1966). Her "forgotten" poems were published in 1996 in the collection, The Lost Lunar Baedeker, a biography has recently been published, and no fewer than two book-length criticisms are at press as this site is being constructed.

    • Becoming Modern — The Life of Mina Loy:
      I FIRST HEARD of Mina Loy when I was living in Paris twenty years ago. A fin-de-siècle English painter, she had made her name, quite unexpectedly, as a writer of vers libertine—the sort of free verse that in the 1910s seemed to lead to free love. To the modernists, she was the first to chart the sensibility of the "new woman." Ezra Pound praised her intellect and her refusal to traffic in sentiment, the staple, he judged, of women poets. (Her poems bristled with such intelligence that Pound coined the term "logopoeia" to describe them.) William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, and E. E. Cummings all learned from her example. In the 1920s she was as well known as Marianne Moore, the other female modernist with whom she was frequently compared.

    Twitchers watch robin served rare
    Birdwatchers from all over Britain who gathered in Grimsby to catch sight of a rare American robin were horrified to see her eaten by a passing sparrowhawk.

    They were still setting up their cameras when the predator swooped down from a row of drab factories and warehouses on an industrial estate.

    The young bird, from the southern US, "didn't really live to enjoy her moment of fame," a twitcher told the Guardian.

    twitcher
    Birding can be one of the quieter and more relaxed outdoor activities. However, some birders are keen rarity seekers and will travel long distances to see a new species to add to one of their "lists," e.g., life list, British list, etc. In Great Britain, these fanatical birders are commonly known by the light-hearted slang term of twitchers, presumably from the frenzy that descends on them when they receive news of a rare bird.

    Also, presumably, because they are twits. (I wonder if there's a 'twatcher' variant?)

    In any case, I have learned a word.

    Tuesday, March 09, 2004
    Stephen Todd Booker

    First there's this:
    Pathologist Chantal Harrison, who was an associate medical examiner in Alachua County at the time of the crime and performed the autopsy, testified that Harman was 4-feet-11 and weighed 95 pounds when she was attacked.

    "She was a very small, old lady," Harrison said.

    "I would say frail would be a good description of the impression she would give."

    When police investigated the crime scene, they found Harman in her bedroom with her legs spread in what appeared to be a posed position, testified former police investigator David Smith.

    A pajama top was covering her chest area, he said.

    When they removed the pajama top, they found a knife in her throat and one in her chest.

    The knives came from Harmon's kitchen, where many of the drawers were still open, Smith said.

    The place looked ransacked, yet the police found nothing was stolen.

    Harrison said she found eight stab wounds in Harman's chest, severe bruises on her nose and eyes, five fractured ribs and trauma to her genital area.

    "She was alive when she was sexually assaulted," Harrison said.

    But then there's this:
    "I'd have to say that anyone who has done 10 really glorious poems, and he's approaching that number, is a serious member of the inner sanctum," said Stuart Friebert, a former editor of Field who is retired from the creative writing department of Oberlin College.

    and this:
    Only twice in twelve long years
    Has the Self in me transformed
    To weighing less than a cent,
    And blended with the evening,
    Or heard ringing in my ears,
    Or seen a star do its thing,
    Umbrellaed aloft on air.
    Swooping into a huge swarm
    Of mosquitoes and gnats, there,
    On velvety wings, I went
    Gliding and eating until
    Chilled to my buoyant marrow,
    Convinced not to eat my fill,
    To leave some for tomorrow.

    Also: A true message of forgiveness

    The Poetry of Place (via Footsteps of a Snake):
    The Poetry of Place is a new book project for W.T. Pfefferle. Pfefferle, the author of two books for Prentice Hall (Plug In: The Guide to Music on the Net, Writing that Matters: A Rhetoric for the New Classroom), and a widely published poet (North American Review, Ohio Review,Carolina Quarterly, Mississippi Review, South Carolina Review, etc.), is traveling between September 2003 and April 2004 interviewing, photographing, and collecting work from American poets in nearly every state.

    The project will involve interviewing, photographing, and collecting new work from a wide variety of poets. The interviews will center on the role "place" has on the poets and their work. Some of the writers who've agreed to be a part of the project include: Miller Williams, Rita Dove, Marvin Bell, David Citino, Nikki Giovanni, Donald Revell, Peter Cooley, Naomi Shihab Nye, Floyd Skloot, Charles Wright, Carol Muske-Dukes, David Lehman, C.D. Wright, and David St. John.

    And Pfefferle is blogging along the way.

    Lee Ann Roripaugh (Makura No Soshi: A Woman Who Loves Insects) is back from adventures.
    My cat, Kenji (a.k.a. The Pickle), died of a sudden heart attack in early July this summer. I have been too depressed about it to consider mentioning it on the blog it until now. At least it was instant. But Yuki and Muku witnessed it, and they were both extremely upset about it for quite a long time. When it happened, Yuki kept grabbing Kenji by his throat, and shaking him, and then she'd just look at me and cry.

    and
    My Japanese mother, who has been battling just the very early stages of adult onset diabetes, has freakishly decided that since adult onset diabetes is potentially hereditary, I must now logically have adult onset diabetes myself. She keeps calling me on the telephone to tell me what I can and cannot eat. "You in exact same boat as me, and it suck. You can't eat any more carbo. What you eat today? No! You can't eat that when have diabetes! You going to lose eyes and get leg cut off!" Recitations of my exceedingly normal glucose levels in my most recent bloodwork do not seem to have any effect.

    Joe Duemer tries to sneak around death:
    I admit it, I think about posterity. I like to imagine someone reading my poems after I am dead. One way of thrusting one's self into the future is to publish. Books disappear into libraries, where they become little time capsules. Not all time capsules get dug up, though. How, then, to maximize the possibility of, say, an undergraduate in Iowa in say, 2204, pulling a book off the shelf* & reading a poem by Joseph Duemer? It seems that being published in anthologies might produce a kind of shotgun effect in driving my birdshot into the future.

    Never mind shelves, Joe, it's risky to suppose Iowa and undergraduates will exist in 2204. Just write the best poems you can and put them on the web. Then you'll be buried in the electronic archives forever.

    Or: write unreadable poems and make sure they're printed in big fancy books no one will read but no one will throw away. That is, if Boorstin was correct. There is a list of his laws here:
    • The Law of the Survival of the Unread

    • Survival of the Durable, and That Which is Not Removed or Displaced

    • Survival of the Collected and the Protected: What goes in Government Files

    • Survival of Objects That are not Used or That Have a High Intrinsic Value

    • Survival of the Academically Classifiable and the Dignified

    • Survival of Printed and Other Materials Surrounding Controversies

    • Survival of the Self-Serving: The Psychopathology of Diarists and Letter Writers

    • Survival of the Victorious Point of View: The Success Bias

    • Survival of the Epiphenomenal

    • Knowledge Survives and Accumulates, but Ignorance Disappears.

    From "First Kiss" (Kim Addonizio in LUNA):
    Afterwards you had that drunk, drugged look
    my daughter used to get, when she had to let go
    of my nipple, her mouth gone slack and her eyes
    turned vague and filmy, as though behind them
    the milk was rising up to fill her
    whole head [...]

    From "catalogue: life as tableware" (Ivy Alvarez in Vibewire):
    accessorise with simple, elegant shapes
    choose muted bones, the subtle variations of sin
    harvested from the last century

    the alluring sparkle of toenails and teeth
    and the reflective qualities of glazed eyes
    mix well with hair
    shorn from a passive
    human animal
    to be woven into the fabric of your life [...]

    BarlowFriendz:
    But death has become wild and obscene in this country. Its power threatens our national religion of control. To die in America is to fail. It is an act of weakness. The dead could have beaten it had they been tough enough. And suicide, of course, is even worse, whatever the unendurable torments or neurological malfunctions that might drive one to it. Believe me, he tried some truly medieval procedures to penetrate his horror.

    Barlow says this in discussing the disappearance of his friend Spalding Gray, who is now an officially washed-up actor.

    (No, I don't really think that. I liked Spalding Gray and I wish he were back and happy. But when a bad joke comes to you, a bad situational joke, something that will not work anywhere else, you know you shouldn't tell it but you do. Jokes must be told. I remember after the first space shuttle explosion, a kid in a college class with me said he was worried about the space program--he really like space stuff--and I said, don't worry Eugene, there's already another flight scheduled for July 4th. He hit me over the head with a heavy three-ring binder, probably a binder full of space clippings and Superman comics and the like, and people told me to hit him, but I couldn't even blame him. I just couldn't stop myself. But I don't think Spalding Gray would hit me over the head with a three-ring binder if he were here.)

    Miriam Waddington, Canadian poet, has died in Vancouver.

    Charles Bukowski died exactly ten years ago.

    Monday, March 08, 2004
    Trying to make William Blake sexy:
    Academics in Nottingham have traced the mother of the great visionary, whose work is shot through with erotic imagery, to a village close to the birthplace of that other sexually pioneering writer, DH Lawrence.

    The two-year programme is expected to uncover the full and previously unsuspected Midlands background of Blake, including his family´s involvement with radical sectarians whose "wanton practices" pre-dated Lady Chatterley´s Lover by 200 years.

    The team at Nottingham Trent University traced the birthplace of Blake's mother Catherine - long a mysterious figure - to the village of Walkeringham, north of Retford, where an 18th-century branch of the Moravian Brethren took vigorous root.

    The group's beliefs, including reverence for women's genitals as "a model of the chapel of God where husbands must worship daily", are expected to shed new light on the origins of Blake's own sexual enthusiasm.

    Blake praised "happy copulation" and was famously discovered by a neighbour nude in his London garden, acting out with his wife the return of Adam into paradise.

    Staying Alive Tour
    Created by a company of three performers including actress and lead singer with The Selecter and Three Men And Black, Pauline Black, actress and performance poet Sara-Jane Arbury and actor/singer/cellist Matthew Sharp of Opera North, with director Steve Byrne (Royal National Theatre, Interplay Theatre Leeds) and designer Duncan Law. The show uses live and recorded music.

    So it's a poetry anthology on tour in the UK. April and May appearances are scheduled for Maidenhead, Tunbridge Wells, Camberley, Hemel Hempstead, Grantham, Darlington, Winchester, Milton Keynes, Solihull, Lancaster, Manchester, Stafford, Great Torrington, Coventry, Derby, Nottingham, and London.

    The Republic of Poetry
    Liu Hongbin is a rare poet whose talent is found even in translation between the worlds of Chinese and English. We publish four of his poems, and in a recent interview, he describes how he has created his own China out of post-1989 exile. First, Candida Clark introduces Liu Hongbin.

    Kerry's cultural sampling, from 'Cats' to Keats

    But there was Kerry flying from Boston to New Orleans on Friday, sipping tea for his hoarse throat and reeling off T.S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

    "There are so many great lines in it," he said. "'Do I dare to eat a peach?' 'Should I wear my trousers rolled?' 'Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets/The muttering retreats/Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels/And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells."'

    Then he started on "Gunga Din" and "talk o' gin and beer."

    and
    He not only reads poetry — "I love Keats, Yeats, Shelley and Kipling" — he writes it.

    "I remember flying once; I was looking out at the desert and I wrote a poem about the barren desolation of the desert," he said. "I wrote a poem once about a great encounter I had with a deer early in the morning that was very moving." (Sometimes he shoots deer, sometimes he elegizes them.)

    Sunday, March 07, 2004
    Jobs for the girls: from typing pool to the office boardroom (Scotland on Sunday):
    The poet and novelist Stevie Smith was a secretary for 30 years. In Novel on Yellow Paper, which she wrote on yellow paper to distinguish it from the thousands of white letters she typed for her boss, Sir Neville Pearson, Smith made it clear how lucky she was to have a decent job and to be able to support herself: "There's no sugar daddy in my life and those looking for sugar dads can shut up here." But she went on to give a searing description of the stultifying ennui the work brings - broken only when the tea trolley arrives. She cast the tea girl as "an angel of grace breaking in on the orgy of boredom to which my soul is committed".

    Stevie Smith, by the way, died this day in 1971.

    Hemingway to Pound:
    The letter, sent to the poet Ezra Pound, was written while Hemingway made his way to watch bullfighting at Pamplona, Spain, in 1925. He launches into a comparison of the virtues of bulls and the vices of Ford and his contemporaries.

    He writes: 'Bulls at least are not the greatest stylists in English - no bull has ever been a political exile. Bulls don't run reviews. Bulls of 25 don't marry old women of 55 and expect to be invited to dinner. Bulls do not get you cited as co-respondent in Society divorce trials. Bulls do not borrow money. Bulls do not expect you to marry them and make an honest woman of them.

    'Bulls are edible after they have been killed. Fewer bulls are homosexual. Bulls may bugger but they are not cocksuckers. No bull has ever been at the Café du Dôme. To me bulls ain't exotic. They are normal. And such a goddam relief from all this horseshit about Art. To hell with delicate studies of the American scene.

    'Fuck the American scene. Fuck moers [sic], manners, customs and all that horseshit. Let us have more and better fucking, fighting bulls.'

    Friday, March 05, 2004
    Balaklava - Twentieth Century Russian Poetry in Translation

    Pedro Pietri has died.

    geegaw:
    A few days after A. and I signed our lease in Brooklyn, I was taking the subway from Greenwich Village to our new place, and I overheard an African-American couple discussing various plans to remodel their home.

    Man: Don't you think that might decrease the value of our place?
    Woman: Honey, we decrease the value of our place. It's all a crock.

    LUNA:
    LUNA is a journal of contemporary poetry and translation. It is devoted to publishing poems by writers from throughout the U.S. and poems in translation from all over the world. By committing itself to poetry from cover to cover, LUNA contributes to the growing audience for poetry in the U.S., and recognizes that poetry is an international art form that reaches out beyond borders. The journal is open to poems in every form and style. It does not favor one kind of poem over another. LUNA is also interested in the power and success of the prose poem and devotes considerable space to this vibrant form. Translations from over twenty countries have appeared in Luna, including work from Japan, Spain, France, Mexico, China, Eastern Europe, and North Korea. LUNA is open to both established and beginning poets and reads manuscripts year round.

    Online samples here.

    Modern Poetry in Translation:
    MPT was founded by Daniel Weissbort and Ted Hughes in 1966 and is a journal with an international reputation for the wide range of poets and translators that it presents and for serious and lively discussion of the art of translating poetry. King's College London, which owns the archive of MPT, has relaunched the magazine under the editorship of Professor Daniel Weissbort, Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at King's.

    Issues of MPT generally offer a themed special section in addition to a wide-ranging selection of poems from other times and places, plus essays on translation, reviews, an ongoing exchange of readers' and contributors' comments, and occasional features on individual translators. The average issue includes between 224 and 280 pages, and has a cover specially designed by the artist, Richard Hollis. Contents of the issues can be viewed via the issues page which also gives information about submission of manuscripts.

    MPT appears twice a year.

    I see no online samples.

    Circumference: Poetry in Translation (via Open Brackets):
    Circumference is devoted to presenting translations of new work being written around the globe, new visions of classical poems, and translations of foreign language poets of the past who have fallen under the radar of American readers.

    We are especially excited to show translation as the vibrant, necessary interaction that it is.

    Here, from the first issue, is a poem in Sanskrit (and in English).

    By the way, that bit about "under the radar"of US readers -- what did people say before there was radar to fall under?

    During the mid-20th century, however, a large number of British and American men served in the military. And consequently military slang entered the language like never before. Blockbuster, nose dive, camouflage, radar, roadblock, spearhead, and landing strip are all military terms that made their way into standard English.

    from A Brief History of the English Language

    OK, I'm back.

    Thursday, March 04, 2004
    As I said, I can always delete this stuff and pretend it never happened.