In "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower" William Carlos Williams says that poetry has no news to deliver, nothing sensational or glamorous to advertise, “yet men die miserably everyday/ for lack/ of what is found there.” Poetry doesn’t make things happen, to use Auden’s words. It doesn’t stop wars, feed the hungry or stop the earth from being abused. Yet it is perhaps precisely of its non-utilitarian value that we need it so much, every crust, every scrap of it. In a world where everything is measured in economic terms, poetry is essential because it resists being calibrated, reminding us that the seemingly most useless things are the most vital to our being alive.
posted by Ivy @ 10:47 AM
People try to fight time. A pet is a help. But the number of infinitesimal creatures populating a house--how could you ever count them?
posted by Ivy @ 11:46 PM
Mary Biddinger: 'I’m not sure I ever received advice about being a parent and a writer. Gabi was born when I was in graduate school, and I was one of the first of my friends to have a kid, so there weren’t any real mentors for me in that respect. However, my advice would be to remind yourself, parent to be, that you are a creative person who sometimes (or often) doubts common advice and trends.'
posted by Ivy @ 5:05 PM
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posted by Ivy @ 10:44 AM
It is 1842 and Napoleon has returned to Paris
as body-ash grey as the iron Seine,
Fuseli and Lavater have worked all winter painting
the soul’s character to flesh, each high forehead
a cathedral vaulted for the mind,
and in Italy Francesco Hayez paints this girl,
not so much a portrait as a study, the oval
of her face flattened and white as a cameo.
He paints her disheveled as the rumpled flowers
he places before her as if she, too, were perfumed
to lush disintegration, her bodice a waxy sheet
draped to falling, the lilies enveloped
in their private fluted mouths. He extends no grace
to her, but lets the light from one window
cut down the side of her face, her dress
pooling as if he can’t help himself, can’t stop
unlocking in his mind the pearly sheen
of each elasticized button, though she is sullen
and slouched as any preteen, awkward
posted by Ivy @ 9:58 PM
As I travelled by tube to the Southbank Centre to attend the first event of the London Literature Festival, and my first poetry reading since moving to London two months ago, I took with me my American expectations about poetry venues: coffee shops, small community centers, the occasional well-appointed-but-out-of-the way theater or library hall. Seated facing the podium on the sixth floor of this clean, bright temple to art, I kept examining the layers of the backdrop as if it were a painting. First, a Union Jack. Then the London Eye. And on the far side of the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. This was not a painting, however, but a window. The statement was clear: art, and for this evening, poetry, commands a central place in Britain.
However, centrality means anything but homogeneity, as the four readers in this “Poetry of Place” event demonstrated.
posted by Ivy @ 10:41 AM
'I gave two of my poetry books, warmly inscribed, to a major poet. A few years later, my protege told me that she'd found those very copies, with their embarrassingly effusive inscriptions, at a used-book store.'
posted by Ivy @ 7:11 AM
posted by Ivy @ 7:29 PM
Following the success of World Book Night, we have decided to give away some lovely stuff too!
We have a limited number of back issues up for grabs - simply email us your contact details, and you might be the lucky recipient of a FREE New Welsh Review .
This offer is open to subscribers and non-subscribers.
posted by Ivy @ 10:20 AM
The Delirious Bakery is a site-responsive bakery that collects and dispenses dissent via recovered oral traditions. During its residency in the Clubs & Societies historic basement storehouse, the artists and guests will host a series of ‘low teas’, where tales about the darker side of The Rocks are exchanged with each sticky bun.
posted by Ivy @ 9:55 AM
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posted by Ivy @ 12:30 PM
"The Logic of Yoo" is very different from the poetry I had written previously. My wife, the poet Laura McCullough, helped me think about this when we talked in the shower about a contest she had just finished judging (The shower is a great place to work out these problems. It's the only meditative space in our house). There were literally dozens of manuscripts written by men like me–sincere, passionate, loving, not burdened by public scarring. This, I realized, was the problem of the White, heterosexual, middle-class male with feelings, or the WIMF. I was not manic-depressive or a womanizer—but one cannot be a Robert Lowell or a John Berryman anymore. I had not worked in a factory or gone off to war—I was not a Yusef Komunyakaa or a Brian Turner. In short, I had nothing going for me as a poet. I had to think about my speaker in some new way. This was another thread.
posted by Ivy @ 11:19 AM
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posted by Ivy @ 10:16 AM
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