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

Thursday, November 27, 2008
Written word is music to their ears [Australia]:
For the third concert, which will take place on Sunday, Southern Cross Soloists have taken another step beyond matching words and music to creating music specifically with the words in mind. It began when Munro handed Dean a small, award-winning book of poems by Brisbane poet Sam Wagan Watson called Smoke Encrypted Whispers, and said: "I'd like you to read this."

Dean admits he's not a great reader, unlike his brother Brett, who devours everything from the classics to contemporary. It was Brett who brought Paul back to reading, when he'd almost stopped altogether after the birth of his children, by suggesting he read Nick Earls's fast-paced, comic novels based in Brisbane. Earls's writing has become one ofthe future projects for the Music and Words concerts.

Despite not knowing anything about Watson or his poems, Dean took the book with him when the family headed off on a camping holiday, and as he walked, canoed, did all the camping-type things, he found himself "stewing over these incredible poems".

"I tried to jot down some notes, trying to compose a list of music that would go with these poems, and I came up with a list of precisely none," he says. "So I thought, why don't we commission a composer to write an interlude for each of the 23 poems?" Dean's next thought was panic. If he commissioned the wrong composer, the result would be two hours of tedium, which was not what he wanted to offer an audience, especially as he had fallen in love with Watson's sharp, romantic, poignant odes to contemporary life in a slightly complacent city full of memories and hopes.

It Gets Verse:
Probably a part of the reason why so many people believe they are good poets and deserving of public attention has to do with the fact that they mostly deal in spoken-word poetry, which is a medium that forgives shallow work. Very few spoken-word pieces are anything more than a succession of images: One line, which might have some sort of clever wordplay, has very little to do with the line before it or the line after. No ideas are developed; nothing's earned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
'Here, Bullet' by Brian Turner:

'In the Mort House' by Eleanor Livingstone:

A Weapon of Poetry [Australia]:
Oodgeroo's achievement was to make a weapon of poetry, in the same way as the great Irish writer James Joyce, whose character Stephen Dedalus spoke of having to use a borrowed canvas and borrowed words. The thoughts belonged to the cultural interior monologue of her people, but their stories in her poetry turned history into a mythmaking of what was believed and was true. She used words as a shield to hold back the full effect of colonialism, and the power of those words have lasted through many decades to remind us, as if they were written yesterday, where we come from and who we are and what we stand for. Poems such as ‘Oppression’ and ‘We Are Going’ are so potent they actually reinvigorate the sovereignty of the mind, with new energy and resolve to say ‘No’ to assimilation.

Postal Poetry:
Postal Poetry is also running a no-fee contest with the best rules I've yet to see, which include putting on a feather boa, getting drunk, looking at pictures and writing. Hmmm, now that's a new one! (Deadline: Dec 15)

Monday, November 24, 2008
Preston's a poet and now all of New Zealand knows it [NZ]:
A Christchurch poet has won the nation's richest poetry prize with a collection she produced for a creative writing course.

Joanna Preston said the NZ$16,000-purse for the inaugural Kathleen Grattan Award was in sharp contrast to her previous payments for poems which could be "blown at the pub".

Poetry journals and chapbooks published via Issuu:

Part library, part social networking tool, Issuu allows you to convert PDF documents into 'flickable' magazines, and to embed these documents into webpages.

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive [UK]:
The First World War Poetry Digital Archive is an online repository of over 4000 items of text, images, audio, and video...

The heart of the archive consists of collections of highly valued primary material from major poets of the period, including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, and Edward Thomas.

Friday, November 21, 2008
Prof wins poetry prize [US]:
"Mary Kinzie, professor of English and director of the English major in writing at Northwestern University, has received the 2008 O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize. The prize from the Shakespeare Folger Library is the only major American prize to recognize a poet for teaching as well as writing."

Remix exchange:
Stu Hatton: "As a longtime DJ and aficionado of electronic music, I'd like you to humour me on an idea which I'll call the 'remix exchange'. Basically, you take one of my poems and 'remix' it, and I'll do the same to one of yours. Sound like fun?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008
'Happy Mondays' takes poem to stage [Philippines]:
Happy Mondays started three years ago when a small group of poets met Monday nights after work to read and write poems over several bottles of beer. The drill is nothing too formal: chat, draft poems and enjoy the company of friends over some drinks. And the results are impressive: hundreds of poems, some of which have won the Palanca Awards.

The Plath Cabinet:
Marie Gauthier: "...like many women poets, I’ve long been a fan of Plath, especially as I grew older and read deeper into the poetry itself. Then I became a mother, and the realization that she wrote these amazing poems in the midst of caring for her young children just knocked me out, and still does. Her drive, her work ethic, her ambition, her genius — and the flip side — her biography both inspires and saddens me. But the poems, the poems move me."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Seam is fresh.

Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sujata Bhatt wins German literary prize
Congratulations to Sujata Bhatt, who has this week been awarded the 'Literaturpreis das neue Buch 2008' in Cuxhaven, Germany. The prize honours the best book published in 2008 by an author living in or originating from the Federal States of Lower Saxony and Bremen. This is the first time the prize goes to an author not writing in German.

Friday, November 14, 2008
The Importance Of Elsewhere [UK]:
In its former incarnation, the Registry Office was the overseer and underscorer of births, marriages and deaths for the town: the gateway for most of life's major rites of passage. The exhibition wasn't just borrowing an abandoned building; inspired by Philip Larkin's poetry, most of the pieces comprising the show were created in direct response to it.

In fact, given the office's transitory status (it's going to be refurbished as a residential unit in a few months' time) countless opportunities were taken to merge the art with the building itself. For example, the lines of poetry written on the municipal-building-style carpet guards running up the stairway and the use of fireplaces as pedestals and focal points.

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Controversial poetry collection darkness is where the stars are by patrick jones suffered attack last night when Waterstones Managing Director, Gerry Johnson, cancelled its book launch in the face of threats of protest from Stephen Green and Christian Voice [Wales, UK]:
Open letter to Waterstones' MD

Dear Gerry Johnson

Cinnamon Press do not consider the action of cancelling an agreed launch at the last minute in the face of protest from small, but orchestrated group of religious extremists either reasonable or necessary.

The commitment to host the launch was reneged on at a point when we could do nothing about it and whilst we were travelling and out of contact, involving us in incurring considerable costs as well as the lost revenue of sales. As a small press this kind of loss can effectively wipe out all profit from a poetry title. I have no doubt that if Cinnamon Press made a commitment to Waterstones and cancelled at the last minute causing costs we would be receiving a bill.

We are also not convinced by the reason given for cancellation. Waterstones was one of the major supporters of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses – the decision to stock it and promote it in your stores caused more than potential disruption. Although Waterstones’ made it clear they could not tolerate death threats against members of Waterstones’ staff, they did not give in to these demands and threats, so it seems more than disingenuous to claim it is not appropriate to have a bit of shouting or boycotting at the launch of a small press poetry collection. [...]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Babble presents Liner Notes #7: AC/DC’s Back In Black! [Australia]
Wednesday December 17, 8pm!
Bar Open
317 Brunswick St Fitzroy VIC

The Liner Notes series is Melbourne’s hottest spoken word ticket, a poetic tribute to a classic album. Babble invites a bunch of writers, comedians, artists and poets to respond to each track off a killer record, which they then perform in sequence. The house band, The Crumbling Beauties, perform wild interpretations of the songs in between, with the stupidly charismatic Michael Nolan as host.

In the past, Liner Notes has tackled Madonna's Like A Virgin, The Velvet Underground & Nico, David Bowie's Hunky Dory, Nirvana's Nevermind and The Cure's Head On The Door. A special encore performance of Like A Virgin also attracted record crowds at this year’s Fringe Festival.

On 17 December, Liner Notes interprets the ultimate Aussie classic, AC/DC’s 1980 legendary Back In Black. What better way to celebrate the long-awaited new Acker/Dacker album?

This special night is also a fundraiser to help three Liner Notes regulars to take their poetry to the world, à la AC/DC. Alicia Sometimes (of Aural Text on RRR) Sean M Whelan (CEO of Babble) and Emilie Zoey Baker (multi-slam champion) have been invited to perform in Canada at the Festival Voix d’Amerique, as well doing an Australian Showcase performance at New York’s famous Bowery Club and Chicago’s Green Mill bar.

So dress in you finest Acker/Dacker wear to vie for the Best Bogan Award.

Raffles throughout the night with brilliant prizes including a Northcote fun day prize pack with gift vouchers to all the coolest shops like Subterranian, I Dream a Highway, Willow Bar and Meine Liebe plus lovely things from T2, records from Off The Hip and Collectors Corner and loads of books from the book gods.

Track list is as follows:
1. "Hells Bells" – EZB
2. "Shoot to Thrill" – Ben Pobjie
3. "What Do You Do for Money Honey" – Alicia Sometimes
4. "Givin' the Dog a Bone" – Justin Heazelwood
5. "Let Me Put My Love into You" – Paul Mitchell
6. "Back in Black"- TBA
7. "You Shook Me All Night Long" – Yana Alana
8. "Have a Drink on Me" – Sean M Whelan
9. "Shake a Leg" – Ian Bland
10. "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" – Josh Earl

We'd love to see you there in all your bogan wear and support a good
cause!

Poetry Brothel Seducing Many New Yorkers:
"For $15, people can attend the party, have a drink, and have a poet recite poetry for them – one on one."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Did Robert Browning do away with Elizabeth Barrett?

So Here We Are: Poetic Letters from England, no. 18: Forests is fresh.
The Easter stag hunt that the poet John Clare witnessed in Epping Forest, north east of Greater London, in 1841 was an annual event from 1226 until 1858. His being was affected that Easter Monday by standing next to ‘a stout, tall, young woman, dressed in a darkish fox-red, cotton gown as a milkmaid or farm-servant.’ He was a poet that, to use Merleau-Ponty’s phrase, breathes ‘authentic speech’. (See Maurice Merleau-Ponty – The Phenomenology of Perception Routledge 1996 Page 194) He is awake to the nuances of each living being in Epping Forest and they invest his poetry with clarity as he names and speaks for them. Clare’s poem ‘London versus Epping Forest’ has become a powerful statement for the green movement in that it calls for responsible stewardship of the forest and its inhabitants.

Monday, November 10, 2008
Valparaiso Poetry Review is fresh.

Friday, November 07, 2008
"Poetry Is Not Old-Fashioned":
BU Today: In this age of hyperfast technology, multimedia, and instantaneous information, where does poetry fit in? It almost seems an arcane pursuit for a young person today.

Nick Laird: Yeah, I sometimes think people half expect it to have gone the way of clog dancing and badger baiting. Poetry, though, is not old-fashioned. It rejuvenates not just the language, but challenges our received notions and preconceptions. Using any means at its disposal, poetry aims at creating something equal to the moment, and in that to salvage something real. It tries to bring back the extravagant strangeness of existence, to recover, in the Russian critic Viktor Shklovsky’s phrase, the sensation of life. But what does this actually mean? Take a scenario familiar from a thousand TV medical dramas — patient in hospital bed — and watch poetry defamiliarize it. This is the second stanza of “Tulips” by Sylvia Plath:

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

The first jolt is the simile, with its overtones of cruelty, of being forced to look — at others and at one’s self. The “stupid pupil” — both the imagined eye and her — hints at self-hate. In her ambition she “has to take everything in,” notice, manage, succeed at everything.

The phrase “they are no trouble” has echoes of the nurses’ speech. Is the speaker — deliriously? sarcastically? — repeating the phrase back to them? The repetitions of “pass” evoke the nurses swishing continually by. Plath deliberately mixes up the simile of the gulls, jumping back to the nurses after mentioning the birds — and we get the vague, confused impression of gulls with hands. I could go on and on. And we haven’t even touched on how the whole thing sounds. Some of the effects happen at the level of consciousness and some below it, but all make the stanza immediate and astonishing, and exist in a kind of 3-D. How long would it take to achieve something similar in prose? It couldn’t be done at all on TV.

Kashmiri poet Rahi gets Jnanpith award [India]:
Cautioning against 'insufficient room for creativity' in any society, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the Jnanpith
award to Rahman Rahi for his literary work in the Kashmiri language was a 'celebration of creativity'.

Conferring the prestigious literary award on the octogenarian Kashmiri poet for his entire oeuvre over the past six decades, Singh said that honouring a distinguished voice like Rahi was actually an acknowledgement of the 'power of the human mind and spirit'.

Dylan Thomas Prize writers meet for first time [UK]:
Those who have made the list Ross Raisin, Edward Hogan, Ceridwen Dovey, Dinaw Mengestu, Caroline Bird and Nam Le met yesterday at the Boathouse in Laugharne, which is where Dylan Thomas wrote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008
Metrics? Metrics!:
"This brings up what I find to be a fascinating question: how much metrical knowledge is requisite to be a serious poet in this day and age? Part of my confession is this: I actually did, at one point, know all of this stuff. The problem is, it didn't stick."

First Annual Festival of Women's Poetry: Welcome to the section on Filipina poets!
Luisa A. Igloria: "The Filipina poets whose works you will read in this section, by no means represent the richness and plenitude of poetry as written by Filipina women. Literature in English, however, is only one small thread in the tapestry that is Filipino literature. In an archipelagic culture steeped in tradition and lore, vernacular languages and literatures tell as eloquently if not more so, of women - and men and children - and their precolonial, colonial, postcolonial and transglobal or diasporic realities.

As it happened countless times for me as I worked on curating this section, when you browse through these pages, doubtless some of the ads below the main Wompherence banner will call up some of those stereotypical images -- of the Filipina as mail order bride, the Filipina as domestic worker, or as shy and subservient "Maria Clara."

But there is so much more to the idea and reality of being Filipina -- whether she is indeed a mail order bride who has found her way to a rural community in Kansas; or a domestic worker in Dubai or Hong Kong helping her compatriots organize to learn more about their rights as migrant workers; or the nanny somewhere in Europe, who has temporarily put aside her teaching career and her degree in physics; or the former Wall Street banker who has decided to make wine and write poetry; the poets who are mothers and the mothers who are poets, and who use writing to forge new definitions of family in defiance of distance; or the poets who have come to writing from "outside the academy" ..."