Jay Parini reviews two collections by Billy Collins and Rita Dove
There's no bad writing on God's green earth, I was reminded earlier this week, like bad poetry. This is because I have been reading a lot of it, for professional reasons. I'm one of the judges of this year's Forward Prize for poetry. [...]
The thing is, there are certain really odd things people do in bad poetry that they wouldn't do in another form of writing. Parody becomes the only response:We walked on the sea-shore, no noise/ Save the waves/ In the shingle./ Coming,/ And going.Why is it only in poems that poets tell their interlocutor something the person already knows? "Dammit," one imagines the loved one of the above replying. "I know I bought you chips. Pull your head out of your backside, would you. You still owe me three quid."
I remember you bought me fish/ And chips.
Now, making this poem, in a dark room, I taste the/ Vinegar.
Then there are the weird archaisms, such as "save" instead of "except for", and "sea-strand". The portentous line-breaks. The bathetic final lines consisting of a single word. Lines that break, for Pete's sake, after the word "the" - suggesting that what comes next will be Very Important, an expectation invariably disappointed. The wretched business of always writing about writing poetry. And why are you writing in a dark room? Turn on the light, you bampot!
That's just the free verse. There's the formal stuff, too: lines stuffed with filler, limp iambs limping limply towards the rhyme. Ungainly inversions. Banjaxed aphorisms.
A constant reaching towards profundity - as if profundity were a necessary or even desirable quality of poetry. Jokes are a no-no. And, oy, but there's a lot of weather in bad poems. Some of them consist entirely of weather. You'd think that a brolly was at least as important a tool of the craft as a pen. [...]
Five fiction writers and five poets have been named 2006 Stegner Fellows. More than 1,400 writers applied for the 10 two-year fellowships, which will begin in the fall.
[...] This kind of posthumous exposure always carries a certain risk for a poet, especially one whose reputation depends on a small, carefully edited, body of work. Philip Larkin, to name the most obvious example, is no better off for the flood of unfinished poems and juvenilia that has appeared since his death. Bishop was no less of a perfectionist – “Can you please forgive me”, she wrote to Marianne Moore, “and believe that it is really because I want to do something well that I don’t do it at all?” – and she would surely have recoiled from the idea of seeing her drafts, some of them little more than notes, between hard covers.
But thanks to the skill of its editing and the intelligence of its presentation, Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox can only increase our understanding of Bishop, and our admiration. [...]
Renowned Irish poet Seamus Heaney with the finest of traditional music and singing from John Carty, Patsy Hanley and Seán Garvey that’s the bang with which the Strokestown International Poetry Festival will open on Friday, April 28th. And the festival continues with a host of acclaimed poets, readings and competitions until lunchtime on the Mayday Bank Holiday Monday. [...]
Fleur Adcock has been awarded the 2006 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, becoming only the seventh female poet to receive the award in 73 years.
John Milton's classic 1667 poem, 'Paradise Lost', is about to be adapted for the big screen...
[...] The great problem with presenting this [international] poetry, of course, is the problem of translation. John Updike's translation of "The Enigmas" by Jorge Luis Borges — "I say I believe / Myself undeserving of Heaven or of Hell, / But make no predictions." — would seem impossible to better. In most cases, however, the reader senses painfully that some flavour is being lost.
My only suggestion is to include more than one translation of a given poem. It's like giving the reader another camera angle. Hirsch presents a translation by a poet named Jim Powell of a lyric of Sappho's, for example. He could also have included Canadian poet Anne Carson's translation of the same lyric, a translation that better conveys the fitfulness and fever of Sappho's eroticism. [...]
New light has been thrown on world renowned novelist, short story writer and memoirist Janet Frame's first love - poetry.
Builders have uncovered a diary that lay underneath the floorboards for 70 years in the Oamaru house Frame lived in as a child. [...]
John Tranter's new book
Urban Myths: 210 poems
... will be published by the University of Queensland Press in May 2006.
(322 pages. ISBN-0-7022-3557-1, paperback)
UQP's Internet site: http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/
Publisher's cover blurb: Urban Myths: 210 Poems brings the best work to date from a poet considered one of the most original of his generation in Australia, together with a generous selection of new work. Smart, wry and very stylish, John Tranter's poems investigate the vagaries of perception and the ability of language to converge life, imagination and art so that we arrive, unexpectedly, at the deepest human mysteries.
SOME 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. And, according to the 2000 census, you can hear at least 92 of them on the streets of New York. You can probably hear more; the census lumps some of them together simply as "other."4th People's Poetry Gathering and
But by the end of the century, linguists predict, half of the world's languages will be dead, victims of globalization. English is the major culprit, slowly extinguishing the other tongues that lie in its path. Esther Allen, a professor of modern languages at Seton Hall University, calls English "the most invasive linguistic species in the world." Spanish and Hindi are also spreading, subsuming the dialects of South American Indians, and of the Indian subcontinent.
In the next two weeks, however, some of these endangered idioms can be heard at two international literary festivals that celebrate languages big and small, as well as the power and resilience of words themselves. The festivals are taking place all over town, in places as diverse as the Studio Museum in Harlem, the New York Public Library, the Bowery Poetry Club and the United Nations. [...]
HE WAS responsible for one of the world’s biggest academic hoaxes but now, after two centuries, the reputation of James Macpherson is to be rehabilitated by Alexander McCall Smith, the bestselling detective writer.
In 1762 Macpherson, a Highland schoolteacher, claimed to have discovered the works of Ossian, a third-century Highland bard writing in Gaelic about battles and lost loves. [...]
In a documentary for BBC4, McCall Smith, the former Edinburgh University professor of ethics and law, sets out evidence to prove that, rather than being a callous forger hungry for fame, Macpherson was a simple man who failed to understand the impact his tall tales would have. [...]
American poetry — according to one of the many competing caricatures — is dominated by English professors and the minor epiphanies they have while walking their dogs. [...] To address what's called the matsav (the "situation") is to risk propagandism; to ignore it is to appear a Pangloss or coward. [...] Strict fidelity to traditional forms is brave — not only because these forms are unfashionable but because they're unforgiving. [...] The first rabbit pulled from the magician's hat is a miracle, the 10th a bore. [...] McMichael is the 13-year cicada of poetry. [.......]Poetry reviews in the NY Times. [Requires bugmenot]
Once, when I went to visit a beloved friend, the poet WH Auden, I found him "touching up" his earlier poetry. He told me that he had been unfavourably criticised for this habit, but he felt justified in making the changes because he understood, now in his mature years, what he had really meant but failed to express precisely, when he was young. [...]
Steve Schroeder sez: "I'm working on a big online poetry project. Actually, right now my awesome programming friend Rich Miller is doing most of the work on a big project for me--it's a sortable, searchable database of literary journals. Well, it's not searchable yet, but it will be. Also, I've only added five journals so far, but I expect that will expand quickly.
I'm asking for help because I'd like some of my readers to sign up as users (actually 'assistant administrators,' since users can't really do anything yet) and do three things: (1) help beta test the database so we can make sure it's all working well, (2) suggest new functionality/categories or just identify glaringly obvious gaps I haven't figured out yet, and (3) add new journals to the database, which once the programming is done will be the time-consuming part. So if anyone's interested and has some time to add/edit journals and poke around in the database seeing how it looks and works, go that link above, register for an account, and then let me know by e-mail or comment." [...]
OBAN 06 is the title of nzepc’s online poetry anthology, building 21-23 April 2006 as part of the BLUFF 06 poetry symposium in Southland. Bluff’s famous Oyster Festival happens over the same weekend.
Email your contribution to the nzepc between 21-23 April.
A royal watcher from north Wales hopes to present the Queen with a poem he has written to mark her 80th birthday.
Colin Edwards, 65, from Ruthin, has met the Queen more than 100 times in the past 25 years.
His devotion to Her Majesty has not dimmed over the years. He said: "I get as much pleasure and excitement now as I ever did." [...]
Cancer by Eileen R Tabios.
Julie: I find myself definitely not wanting to know how nipples might curdle. I have a weird dislike of direct quotation in poetry. It always drags me out of the moment. Can't explain. Shouldn't try. I find myself flailing a bit for something to say about this poem.
Gabriel: How to tackle this? Well, the sexual politics are problematic to say the least, and the language brings this to a point of crisis frequently throughout the poem. Consider for example the subtext of “anxious thighs” (L 5), which suggests both expectation/longing and also fear.
The male sexuality in the poem is rapacious. The violence of the male gaze in the third strophe was particularly troubling, as well as the themes of domination, objectification, and rape that run through the poem. The male sexuality in the poem is literally murderous. Clearly destructive throughout, as seen by desire to “tear” the female mouth, and every interaction which involves the male identity, in lines 18-20 the rationale behind the title declares itself. L 20 “as if life-generating air still flowed, between our bodies” which is to say that life-generating air does not flow. The male identity pulls the speaker into the absence of air, ergo, murderous. The male sexuality in the poem wishes to possess sexually by domination and violence, and in the act of possession destroy the thing (let's not mistake the objectification here) possessed. [...]
At Capriole, we were told to invent a new form. I did and called the form "descending poem"--poem of nine lines of free verse with three stanzas of four lines, three lines, and two lines, in that order. The first four lines of the poem must introduce the subject. The next three lines should show conflict or tension which is overturned or dissolved in the third stanza. The overall feel of the poem is one of surrender or letting go.
Jon "the shah" Leon & Allyssa "icebox" Wolf brandish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIVE ... ACTION ... ARCADE ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! the September 11 th of Poetry prepares to javeline it all the way up your a-s-s ================================================ Poet-cong for the z generation ++++++++++++++++++++ May installment features Brazilian Poete Carlos Drummond de Andrade trans by cmde Daniels & the incendiary and seminal manifesto "Fuck Off Avant Gardist" by London based filmmaker Duncan Reekie. ======================# .... Send your book or chapbook to us and stamps and receive a lifetime subscription Or an SASE to receive one installment 825 Post Street / #511 / san francisco, ca 94109 ----
LIVE ACTION ARCADE
Defying middle class professorial inhibition since now
half with loathing half with a strange loathing,
bin and teresa blake
vietnam, The World
if a mother no longer cares for her children,
civilization sinks to its institutions,
says, "Your fucking little psychopaths,
I didn't ask for them, they came for me."
Imagine you're writing your opus and ads, drawn from words and themes in your work, are popping up in the periphery. Or the program senses line breaks resembling verse, and you get solicited for publication — before you've even finished writing — in one of those suckers' poetry anthologies. Leave the cursor blinking too long on a blank page and it starts advertising cures for writers' block. Copy from a copyrighted source and Writely orders you to cease and desist after matching your text in a unique character string database. Write an essay about terrorists and child pornographers and you find yourself flagged.
I'm looking for someone to join Lily's editorial team. This is a volunteer position with a monthly online publication. If you love reading poetry and short fiction, work well with others and with a deadline, and have a bit of time to give to helping Lily be the best it can be, this might be the opportunity for you.
If you'd like to know more about the position or to submit a letter of interest, please contact me at email@example.com.
Also, please feel free to share this info with anyone you think might be interested.
The first time Bei Dao’s writing ever got him in trouble was 1974.
He was showing some of his poems and short stories to his friends when he happened to come across a collector of underground writing.
"I gave him some of my works and we became friends," Dao told a group of about 60 Thursday night at Eidson Duckwall Recital Hall. "Then one day he got arrested." [...]
The great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi’s bas-relief in the center of Marneuli region in Georgia suffered an insulting behavior at the night of April 13 to 14.Oh, dear. Then...
APA bureau in Georgia reports that the bas-relief for Nizami Ganjavi stands next to the bas-relief of Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. Unidentified persons wrote the word “Father” under the memorial of Rustaveli with color and insulting words under the memorial of Ganjavi. Besides, the unidentified persons throw mud on Nizami’s face. The analogous behavior was redone next day. The correspondent of APA appealed to the governor of Marnueli Amiran Subitidze regarding the incident. The governor said the police have partially identified the hooligans. He also said that after necessary investigations they will be detained and punished./APA/
Officials of Azerbaijani Embassy in Georgia, authorities of Marneuli region and public representatives held a protest action in front of the bas-relief of Azerbaijani prominent poet Nizami Ganjavi erected in the center of Marneuli, Georgia.Hmm. And then...
The Georgia bureau of APA reports that the protesters were protesting against the insulting behavior against the bas-relief. Unidentified persons wrote insulting words underneath of the monument. Intellectuals from different regions of Georgia also joined the protest action.
Governor of Marneuli Amiran Shubitidze, former members of Georgian parliament Hidayet Huseynov and Ramiz Bakirov, Georgian Musicians Union Osman Ahmadoghlu and others stressed the importance of revealing and punishing the culprits on time. [...]
Three persons have been detained in connection with the desecration of the monument of the famous Azerbaijani poet, Nizami Ganjevi in Marneul district of Georgia, the Azerbaijani embassy` s in Georgia press-secretary, Elkhan Polukhov told Trend.Uh-oh.
Preliminary investigation is now being held and a criminal case is expected to be started, the district policy department told the embassy.
The Ganjevi monument in the Marneul district of Georgia has been spilled over with paint and covered with obscene writings on the night from 14 to 15 April. Considering that the given case is already second case of this nature the embassy has addressed the law enforcement bodies. The Azerbaijani residents of Marneuli have started a rally in the city center demanding the investigation and punishment for those guilty.
Work must be in the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.
• You may apply in more than one genre, but can only win in one.
• You must be a resident of Minnesota. [...]
Steerforth Press is pleased to announce its most recent venture -- Zoland Poetry -- an annual anthology of contemporary poetry from around the globe.
POETS AGAINST EMPIRE is a multi-lingual anthology of contemporary Filipino poems in English and in Filipino vernaculars (Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Bisaya etc. in translation) on the violence and vagaries of globalization including poverty, underemployment, exploitation, forced migration, dislocation, war, and the lived experiences of Filipina/o workers, migrants and the undocumented around the globe.
"...and I said to Louise, “Well, you know maybe we could try,” where we said together or something, “maybe we could try to get a few of these published somewhere,” because hardly anything was published anywhere. So I said, “What about The New Yorker,” or she said, “We’ll try The New Yorker.” I said, “Well,” I said, “I’ve sent there for a million years, I just get that rejection letter, it’s a form rejection letter,” and she said, “We need a password, and I know what the password is.” I said okay, so we sent them off, and I guess she let Alice Quinn know that they were coming or whatever the password was."
From the initial submissions, a shortlist of poets will be given the opportunity to enhance their poetry performance skills to prepare them for a live audition. From the audition five people will be selected to take part in a short film to be broadcast on BBC Big Screen Liverpool throughout September and will receive a cash prize.
Caracoa, the official literary publication of the Philippine Literary Arts Council (PLAC) and the longest-running journal of poetry in English in Asia, is now accepting submissions for Caracoa 2006.
Characteristically, Heaney balances violence with healing.
Gregory K. writes 'April is National Poetry Month (and, it turns out, Math Awareness Month), and on my blog, I decided to get people writing poetry based on the Fibonacci sequence. The poems are six lines, 20 syllables long with the syllable pattern 1/1/2/3/5/8, though they can go longer, obviously. I've been calling 'em Fibs, and people have been writing them on pop culture, politics, math, and more.'
A team of doctors analyzed the paintings and concluded that Shakespeare, who died aged 52 in 1616, most likely suffered from a rare form of cancer.
Many historians and biographers have remarked upon William Shakespeare's surprising interest in sexually transmitted diseases, and now a study conducted by an infectious diseases specialist concludes that the bard likely had syphilis and that mercury, used to treat the disease, could have poisoned the playwright and contributed to his death.
"So I went to court and changed my surname to Ogawa, and I figured while I was at it, I’d go ahead and add Ai as my middle name, my pen-name that I’d been writing under for some time (I took the name in 1969). Ai means “love' in Japanese.
But some people won’t stop bringing up my stepfather’s name. My first editor at Houghton-Mifflin insisted on putting that name on my book even though I asked her not to. And the New York Times will say things like: “Her real name is Florence Anthony.' It’s not as if I don’t know my own goddamn name, my own life. My father’s name was Michael Ogawa. And my legal name is Ai Ogawa. Actually, Ai is my middle name; Florence is still my first name.
In the 80s, I was living in Cambridge and had to go get an ID made, and I took a copy of my book, Killing Floor, and said: “Look, this is me. This is my book. I don’t want to be Florence anymore, just put Ai on my ID.' And they did it."
Many of the poets submitted their poems hoping to make a difference. Says poet Lola Haskins, “The world is in such pain. Sometimes I think if I could only reach out a hand. . .And I know that's what poems can do. . .” Poet Lee Sharkey adds, “A poem is a fragile thing, yet it may stir the moral imagination, without which we cannot conceive of peace.” Poet Jane Hirshfield continues, “Poetry reinforces the part of us that feels largely, knows largely, our place in the whole—and in such a state of soul, the need for peace is as obvious as our need for water, for air, for hope.”