David Baker: 'I am proud of the books selected for the Kenyon Prize — books by Beth Ann Fennelly, Christopher Cessac, Randall Mann, and most recently Priscilla Sneff. The books have been handsome, widely reviewed, and well received.
Or three of them have been. Priscilla Sneff was awarded the 2004 prize, but her book has yet to appear. I wrote an introduction to O Woolly City – her brilliant, darkly adventurous book of lyrics – and a year ago The Kenyon Review published this introduction along with several of Sneff’s poems in preparation for an early 2005 publication of her book. Her book is still not available; nor is it in production. She has never received the substantial prize money ($3,500). She has heard nothing from Zoo Press for a year.
Neither have I. For the past year I have left many emails at Zoo Press’s address and at Mr. Azevedo’s address; I have left phone messages at his home and at the office; I have sent real-mail letters. I have received not a word from him or any associate.'
Daisy Goodwin, the TV presenter dubbed the Nigella Lawson of poetry, has warned that the art form of Shakespeare and Keats is dying and set to become as quaint as morris dancing.
As sales of poetry plunge, Goodwin, whose BBC shows feature actors reciting verse, fears it will become extinct from the national culture. 'It will be like morris dancing: really interesting to people who do it, and incomprehensible and slightly annoying to people who don't. [...]
The poet Kimiko Hahn is a member of the growing generation of Asian-American poets receiving the spotlight in the contemporary American poetry scene, along with Marilyn Chin, Cathy Song, C. Dale Young, Li-Young Lee and Rick Noguchi. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Artist’s Daughter (W.W. Norton, 2002), Mosquito and Ant (W.W. Norton, 2000) and the forthcoming The Narrow Road to the Interior. She has received an American Book Award and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, among other awards. She will join the faculty of the prestigious Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston this fall, after having taught at Queens College/CUNY in New York City.
Two places are available each year during the Antarctic summer season for successful programme participants. Suitable applicants will already have a serious body of work behind them, which may well have been recognised as such by honours, awards or appointments to academic or professional positions. The programme will not accept applications from students. At present only UK nationals may apply.
Tom Rosenthal: 'To declare a personal interest I was for a happy few years Powell's publisher and, in consequence, appear occasionally in his three volumes of Journals in the 1990s. On my first visit to his house I'd taken a treasured bottle of claret from my own cellar. Many years later I came across the Journal entry for 18 June, 1983. "Tony and Marcelle Quinton came to dinner... conversation began hammer-and-tongs. We drank Rosenthal's magnum of Pontet-Canet '70, which he had given us, good if not staggering." If I believed in burial and gravestones I would be proud to have that as my epitaph.'
I allow the acupuncturist[rest here]
to twist needles into my heels.
One sharp tap, and small pressure inwards
until I gasp and splay involuntary fingers,
then he moves to the next point.
When he has mapped my pain, I’m left to reflect
while pinpoints thrum along legs and feet.
Nights with Ted Berrigan ... from Tulsa to NYC with Joe Brainard ... how to collaborate with painters ... between China and the U.S.: writing poems with Yu Jian ... learning from Kenneth Koch ... the potential creativity we each possess ... Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, an earlier version of the Lower East Side, the list rolls on. But moreover, Ron Padgett talks about the topics we associate him with and shows himself to be equal parts entertainer, teacher, and poet — all in the same wonderful person.
A one-woman play tries to show Sylvia Plath as a person rather than an icon, a feminist icon or a literary figure, writes Philippa Hawker.
AN EVENING WITH Sylvia Plath, on the last day of her life. It doesn't sound like a hilarious night out at the theatre. But, says Paul Alexander, whatever they might have expected - perhaps a bleak tale of trauma, depression and suicide - audiences invariably come away from his play saying "I didn't realise it was going to be funny."
Deadline: 27 January 2006
If the person introducing the poet makes a reference to knowing the poet personally: 1 drink
If the person introducing the poet plainly has no personal knowledge of the poet and is reading a standard bio off a piece of paper: 2 drinks
If the poet suggests how embarrassed he or she is following a glowing introduction: 1 drink
If the poet suggests it's all true and well deserved: chug
A 95-frame black and white cartoon that traces the adventures of adventurer Dan Dactyl and his pals as they explore the South American jungles in search of the mysterious French poet Doctor Verlaine. First published in Chain (US), Poetry Review (London) and Southerly magazine (Sydney).
Poetry is good for your health. That, at least, is the premise of studies currently under way for the Arts Council and the Department of Health. One study, published a couple of years ago in the journal Psychological Reports, suggested that writing poetry boosted levels of secretory immunoglobin A. Another, undertaken by a consultant at Bristol Royal Infirmary, concluded that poetry enabled seven per cent of mental health patients to be weaned off their anti-depressants. Poetry, it seems, is not the new rock'n'roll, but the new Prozac. [...]
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Residents of Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar have accused the US military of seizing a popular young poet from a mosque and holding him without charge.
The closing date for entries [will] be the end of March 2006 and details on how to enter can be found at www.thedylanthomasprize.com
The shortlist will be announced in June and the inaugural award ceremony will take place in Dylan Thomas’s hometown of Swansea in November.
As you compose a poem, placing words in grammatical order, the magnets communicate with each other to learn the grammar rules you are using.Michael Helsem responds with "Singing Ghost" (song in iron attractor words)
Once they are trained, the magnets can change the words they are displaying to substitute words that do not fit the established grammar rules, like an autocorrect function.
On behalf of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival I invite you to join our inaugural celebration of the return of spring and the exuberant blossoming of our cherry trees with your new haiku. We invite the “poet in everyone” from British Columbia and around the world to submit up to two unpublished English-language haiku in honour of the cherry tree.
What has struck me is that, while good storytelling does encourage us to lose ourselves in the story & forget time, nevertheless fiction tends to make time a theme of the story, so that the experience of reading it is double-edged : we lose ourselves (& time) in stories which describe the effects of time's power. The Odyssey and In Search of Lost Time are, I guess, the prime examples.
Poetry, on the other hand, does not simply intensify our experience of time : poetry changes the basic character of that experience. Prose may demolish our awareness of time; poetry seems to demolish time's very objectivity (as sequential, historical, impersonal phenomenon). Poetic time is a kind of performed Now, in which language spirals back reflexively on itself - and in the process, reshapes perception, knowledge, the sense of self and others.
Over at a Spanish blog I frequent, the question of the superiority of American literature comes up. The feeling that Spain does not have novelists of the stature of Pynchon, poets like Ashbery, or critics like Bloom. The difference of perspectives always comes into play. I have had to admit to my friend Vicente Luis Mora that I don't particularly admire Bloom. I can see how he might be admirable from afar, of course. My single most significant complaint about Bloom is that he never says anything useful, or usable. That is, I can never pin him down to an insight that I can actually paraphrase and apply in some other context. It's the kind of mind I am not drawn to. I don't just mean because his "canon" differs from mine. I mean in the sense that he has never said anything about Ashbery that makes me understand Ashbery any better, or Stevens, or any other poet we both might admire. Maybe it's the refusal to read the text closely on his part, to say something significant about the text on the page. He seems to want to do the opposite: impose a theoretical metalanguage on the reader that will prevent reading from ever taking place: the terrain of critical discussion is taken to some abstract where Bloom's own issues are the focus. That's why Bloom is much worse that even Helen Vendler, who at least is a close reader. [...]
Thomas issues a close-reading challenge: compare and contrast these two poems by Billy Collins and Jennifer Moxley. [...]
The superficial parallels between these two poems make me aware of the continuing need to question the crudely interpreted distinction between "mainstream" and "experimental," or, in Ron's more recent relabeling, "School of Quietude" and "Post-Avant" poetics. Not that I don't think the labels point to real differences, but that too often the differences are cast as purely formal ones, or if cast as thematic, in a way that negates the importance of form. The central difficulty as I see it is this: symptoms are taken for the disease, and as a corollary error, benign affects are taken for symptoms. [...]
On this week's edition of The Enchanted Way, presenter Pat Boran will discuss the continuing influence and popularity of the 13th century Sufi poet and mystic Rumi, with guests Gabriel Rosenstock and Tom Conaty.
[...] Our aesthetic psychology has remained unchanged since the building of cities and the advent of writing some 10,000 years ago, which explains why The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, remain good reading today.[via Arts & Letters Daily]
We haven't lost Pleistocene tastes for fat and sweet foods, nor have we lost our ancient tastes for artistic entertainment.
The fascination, for example, that people worldwide find in the exercise of artistic virtuosity, from Praxiteles to Renee Fleming, is not a social construct, but an evolutionary adaptation; the worldwide interest in sports comes from a similar source.
Displays of virtuosity make audiences' hair stand on end, regardless of their specific cultural context. [...]
In the rarefied world of poetry, she is an unusual beast: a critical success with a popular readership. Carol Ann Duffy reconfirmed her reputation for both last night when Rapture, her latest collection, won the £10,000 T S Eliot Prize, having already proved a hit in the shops. [...]Also: BBC and Guardian'Over' by Carol Ann Duffy'That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,I wake to a dark hour out of time, go to the window.
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!'
- Robert Browning
No stars in this black sky, no moon to speak of, no name
or number to the hour, no skelf of light. I let in air.
The garden's sudden scent's an open grave.
What do I have
to help me, without spell or prayer,
endure this hour, endless, heartless, anonymous,
the death of love? Only the other hours -
the air made famous where you stood,
the grand hotel, flushing with light, which blazed us
on the night,
the hour it took for you
to make a ring of grass and marry me. I say your name
again. It is a key, unlocking all the dark,
so death swings open on its hinge.
I hear a bird begin its song,
piercing the hour, to bring first light this Christmas dawn,
a gift, the blush of memory.
'To mark the publication of One Hundred Great Books in Haiku, we invite you to compose a haiku, containing 17 syllables and in the form 5-7-5, which captures the essence of your favourite book.'
Jonathan Wonham: 'I have had a very busy week but have been struggling to make sense of the life and poetry of Robert Burns in order to be ready for the Burns Night dinner on the 28th January which I mentioned before. I have to give a speech about Robert Burns and his poetry to a room full of around 100 (probably drunken) ex-pats.'
The Gibraltar Point Artist Residency provides professional artists with a subsidized opportunity to live and work on Toronto Island for one month. The residency is designed to provide participants with time to think, create and experiment in the diverse community at The Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts. Participants receive accommodation, a private work studio and all meals at no cost.Deadline: February 10th, 2006
Denver, San Francisco and Grand Rapids, Mich., have poet laureates. Thirty-seven states also have one.said the state dickhead.
Minnesota doesn't have any of such prominence, but that will change in April when Duluth names a poet laureate. [...]
The Duluth effort was spurred by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto last spring of a state poet laureate program.
"While respectful and appreciative of the arts, I do not believe Minnesota needs an official state poet," Pawlenty wrote in his veto message. "We can benefit from the richness and the diversity of all the poets in Minnesota and recognize and embrace their work as merit and circumstances warrant."
Minnesota already has a state folklorist. And Pawlenty expressed concern that "this will lead to calls for similar positions. We could see requests for a state mime, interpretive dancer or potter. So, I draw the line here..."
I knew the moment I told my neighbor about my new computer program that I had made a terrible mistake. “So you talk,” he said, “and it types the words out for you?”
“That's the idea,” I said. “I'm still training it. It takes a while. Sometimes it makes mistakes.” [...]
Look out world: next year they're letting me teach contemporary poetry. Here's your chance to write my syllabus. [...]
[...] This realization is useful to me in part because it explains my impatience with verse narrative: the experiences of time and timelessness produced respectively by the two forms are at cross-purposes. A poetry that causes time to disappear (a version of transparency, what Charles Bernstein calls the artifice of absorption) seems like anti-poetry to me.
Today, I was thinking about my oncological family history. It's quite extensively branched on my mother's side of the tree—grandmother, great-grandmother and 'all the long-gone darlings'. Breast, throat, thyroid, stomach, liver, bowel, ovaries and blood... It makes me wonder what lurks in my genes. It makes me think on my ancestors from Spain and China, what they brought over from their countries into the Philippines, their bodies' secrets.
Some of them have the most beautiful names, so mellifluous. Maria Milagrosa, Rosa, Faustino, Olympia, Generoso, Adelfa Rosa, Zenaida, Ponsing, Isias, Renato, Casimira, Candido, Mauro, Pomona, Matea, Conchita, Milagros.
Milagrosa means miraculous. She is the only one who has survived.
If you look into my long poems, you'll see a "ghost dance", where the impulses & writings of Whitman, Melville, Twain, Poe (& others) are aligned with those of Crane, Mandelstam, Berryman (& others) to represent a sort of symbolic "epic America-Russia" (RUS-US), rooted in Crane's, Melville's & Whitman's awareness and acknowledgement of the American Outcast as the spiritual key to America. Where Eliot & Tate experience their faith as a kind of spiritual hierarchy, separating them from modern life, I understand the Biblical tradition as a prophetic framework, or verbal model, for human equality and mutuality. (Melville's Ecuadorian doubloon nailed to the mast of the Pequod; Mandelstam's "gold coins of humanism".) [...]
Over at a Spanish blog I frequent, the question of the superiority of American literature comes up. The feeling that Spain does not have novelists of the stature of Pynchon, poets like Ashbery, or critics like Bloom. The difference of perspectives always comes into play. I have had to admit to my friend Vicente Luis Mora that I don't particularly admire Bloom. I can see how he might be admirable from afar, of course. My single most significant complaint about Bloom is that he never says anything useful, or usable. That is, I can never pin him down to an insight that I can actually paraphrase and apply in some other context. [...]
Ms. Parisi compares writers' rooms to gyms. In both, a large group of people share the same equipment. And, paying for membership helps writers take their commitment to writing seriously, she said, and gets them "off of the couch" and onto the literary StairMaster.[Logins at bugmenot.com]
Seth Abramson: '... Which brings me, belatedly, to CIA Theory.
It's a theory, as I said [way] above, about why some people who can distinguish between poetry and publishing do make the decision to publish their poetry once they're confident it's the best poetry they can produce at that moment.
"CIA" stands for "certification," "identity," and "audience."
What I'd submit, here, is that poets who choose to publish widely are poetry "purists" in all the senses of that word that self-described purists are.'
LV: How does a libretto differ from poetry?
Gioia: A verse libretto must work simultaneously as poetry and drama. The language itself must be memorable and expressive, but good words aren't enough. The libretto must create arresting characters and powerful situations that propel the action Otherwise it is a failure. The great challenge is finding the right balance. The words must be emotionally direct and evocative but also extraordinarily concise. They must be richly poetic but not too dense or complex. The text must give the composer enough room to let the music take charge. The biggest difference between a poem and a libretto, however, is its essentially collaborative nature. A libretto doesn't exist to be judged on its own literary quality. It exists to inspire a composer to create a compelling musical drama. The libretto ultimately justifies itself as the departure point for a collaborative work in which the poet is a minority partner.
The Birth of Tools
Dance of the Red Tree
Naked Before, Naked Again
Flood of The Night Belly
Incantation Is No Protection
Weapons Cannot Cleave It
I Am Against All Enemies of Change
Undoing is My Alembic
Artifacts Belong To Mother
Bang The Conundrum
Isn't Nothing Louder Than My Hammer
Founded in 1912, and once synonymous with the triumphs of early American modernism, the magazine remains committed to its famous "open door" policy-to publish the best poetry in any style, genre, or approach. But Wiman doesn't shrink from offering blunt prescriptions. "More poems should rhyme. More poems should have meter. More poems should tell stories in accomplished ways. More poems should do the things that people like poems to do," he said. ''There is great stuff that's being written in an insular and esoteric vein. But there should also be a broad band of poetry available to common readers."
The magazine's efforts to engage a broader audience seem to be working. When Wiman took over Poetry in October 2003, the magazine's circulation was 11,000. Today it stands at roughly 29,000.
...I've done some work behind the scenes, and the Editors and/or Managing Editors of the following 24 Literary Journals have agreed to give EWN members (and readers of this post) discounts on subscriptions to their journals, so long as multiple (minimum of 3) journals are subscribed to.
The offer is simple - pay for one less journal than you order. Subscribe to 3? Pay for 2. Subscribe to 4? Pay 3.
I might not worry about this if I weren't worried about other elements of my life. My stunted creativity, for example. I'm a writer, but for years I haven't finished things that weren't on a specific work-related deadline. My own writing, though I sit down to it regularly, is shrinking. I've published a book of poems, been nominated for a Pushcart, taught creativity to both kids and adults. All this is past tense. I feel I'm getting less and less creative. It's harder to tap into the free-form spill that leads me into a poem, harder to wiggle into the voice that makes a story rise above the rote. I'm in one of those jobs that is too good to leave, too bad to stay. I drive to work fantasizing about quitting. I walk into my cubicle and I slump. On my days off and in the early morning, I work on my own pieces up to a point, and then I file them away. I read about why Renée Zellweger always wears Carolina Herrera.
My darling,Professor Talat Sait Halman, founding chairman of the Bilkent University Department of Turkish Literature and director of the Center for Turkish Literature, has released the first anthology of Turkish love poetry in English.
The best of all,
Whom I love with my heart and soul.
I desperately long for my woman.
With her lovely eyebrows, she's the best one. [...]
Aprin Çor Tigin (6th century A.D.)
The U.S.-based Syracuse University has just published the anthology, titled "Nightingales and Pleasure Gardens," which features a selection of poems that include lyrics from ancient Central Asia to present-day Turkey.
New Delhi: Vrinda Karandikar, a towering figure in modern Marathi poetry who is known for his experimentation and aesthetic refinement, has been selected for the Jnanpith award for 2003. [...]Also, Marathi poet Vinda Karandikar named for Jnanpith Award 2003:
[...] Born on August 23, 1918, the Modern Marathi poet is not only known for his outstanding contribution in the field of poems, but is a distinguished essayist, critic, translator and recipient of numerous awards including the Asan Prize and the Soviet Land Nehru Award. [...]
Before 1982, the awards were given for a single work by a writer. 1982 onwards, the award has been given for a lifetime contribution to Indian literature.
Now it is given for outstanding contribution to creative writing in a specified period of 15 years but excluding the five years immediately preceding the year. [...]
DAVID Layton once caught his famous father, the poet Irving Layton, peeing in the bathroom sink.Also, The unequivocal Irving Layton, 1912-2006:
He was a child of 10 at the time. David, not Irving, of course. Irving was putatively an adult. [...]
David Layton returns to his urination motif in the final pages of Motion Sickness. Now a married adult, he takes Irving on a summer outing. The old man, frail and senile, decides to relieve himself against a wall in plain view of passersby.
"My father," David writes, "was a man who pissed where he wanted to."
From a son, the perfect epitaph for Irving Layton.
Embraced by the media, shunned by the prudes of Can Lit, worshipped by lovers, reviled by feminists, loved by his students, Irving Layton was the only household name associated with Canadian poetry in the 1960s and '70s. Leonard Cohen (who had been his discovery) was a pop guru outside the discourse of Canadian letters. Al Purdy minded the fort of Canadian idiom, respected but low-keyed. Margaret Atwood was the priestess of the culturati. But Layton was the public figure who introduced the poet to the airwaves, available always to rant on national television about the self-defeating ways of the country he loved, eager to rail against the WASP witchery that nagged his meteoric presence from day one; above all, ready to stand up as the voice of the unequivocal to both poetasters and philistines alike. [...]
Listeners of My Vocabulary will be treated to a healthy dose of ACTIONBOOKS this Sunday. Two authors whose books can be found in the hit-the-ground-running catalog of this recently founded press will be reading. In the first hour we'll have the talented and intelligent Lara Glenum reading from her new book, The Hounds of No. In the second hour, a reading by the Swedish poet Aase Berg with translations by Johannes Goransson.
Find out more about ACTIONBOOKS and peruse their catalog online at www.actionbooks.org.
And tune in this Sunday from 4-6pm PST to KSDT radio to hear the show. You can tune in through the link on the My Vocabulary website (http://myvocabulary.blogspot.com), or you can tune in through the KSDT website (http://ksdt.ucsd.edu). Either way, I recommend you be there on time and ready to rock it.
And don't forget, some of the best moments of 2005 are still available here on our website.
Happy New Year!
With the theme, 100 years: The Filipino Legacy in Hawaii, the literary competition is open to all Filipino writers, students and professionals who can interpret the long and fruitful relationship of the Philippines and the state of Hawaii through poetry, essay or one-act play. Winners of the competition have the chance to win Php 15,000, 10,000, and 7,500 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize respectively for each category.
Pamuk says he likes to watch re-runs of 1950s Turkish films because they transport him back to the city of old gardens, Bosphorus views and broken-down mansions.[Thanks, Ken!]
"I sometimes forget I am watching a film; stupefied by melancholy, I feel as if I am watching my own past," he writes in "Istanbul."
Tom Beckett: If you were to describe your poetics in terms of an intersection, what would the names of the crossroads be?
Jean Vengua: I don’t have a clear sense of my poetics, other than what I discover from the conversation of poetry that I’m engaged in. I’m constantly escaping my own grasp. Maybe the names of the crossroads are the One and the Other, in the sense that, when I write, I can sometimes thankfully shed my own skin and become other. Who am I today? What road will I take? And whose road is it? Is it a private, or a public road, and do I feel like trespassing today?
[...] In all three books discussed here [The To Sound by Eric Baus, Hat on the Bed by Christine Scanlon, Figment by Rebecca Wolff], the typographical cleverness (one-word lines, word endings fraught with a too-obvious double/triple meaning), the jolting imagery and the self-conscious jokiness fail to compensate for the lack of an authentic attempt to reach for, and connect to, an emotional center, a universal and human matter, and that—emotional revelation in all its complexity—is what’s so dreadfully absent in all these collections. This absence is why the reader is not only prevented by lack of craft from proceeding from one line to the next, from one poem to the next, but also why there is no incentive to do so. These poets write as a sky writer does—in startling loop-de-loops of language that disappear before the reader’s eyes, leaving only blank sky. Having taken no risk to reach their own depths of feeling, having taken no time to revise and improve their work such that there is a sense of inevitable order, these poets have chosen to disrespect the reader. The reader should return the lack of respect and refuse them his or her precious time and attention. Maybe if we ignore them, they will go away.
I have a love/hate relationship with poetry. Only a couple of times a year do I truly get excited about a book of poetry. Jennifer L. Knox's Gringo Like Me (Soft Skull Press) is one of these rare gems. While reading it I kept thinking, I can't believe this is poetry. Her work is hilarious, unpredictable, and sometimes abrasive. They sometimes read like fake commercials or demented monologues. [...]