Tuesday, March 27, 2007

March 27th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 27th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

In Guyana and around the world, commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade are taking place. We headline with an excellent poem, the featured poem in an article that calls for more, and displays more of them, on this subject. Our second article delves further into this commemoration.

Along these lines, as we celebrate Henry Wadsworth Longfellow being 200 himself, we have an article about him in News at Eleven, that touches on his anti-slavery poetry. Note too, the Robert Pinsky interview in Great Regulars, as he speaks of the effect Marion Anderson's singing had on his life.

Whenever such a theme with such global effect is highlighted, it draws the other news into it. Again, we get to view our world, our history, and our future through its perspective.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags Blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: Nigerian poet Tolu Ogunlesi

has written a poem for the BBC's Weekend Network Africa programme to commemorate the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.

Lorenzo and Maria

from BBC News: Remembering slavery in verse


News at Eleven: Freedom A Come Oh!

is a work song composed circa 1807, speculatively, when the trade was about to be abolished and they expected full freedom.

Talla ly li oh!

from Stabroek News: Arts on Sunday: 'The Middle Passage to Nationhood'


News at Eleven: "The writer is first

and foremost a citizen and the writer's responsibility is not different from that of a citizen," [Wole] Soyinka said, nursing a glass of wine in the garden of a Lagos gallery where he came to see an exhibition of Nigerian paintings. For him the only difference is that the writer can make good use of language, "the most immediate means of communication. But that's about all."

from The Sunday Times: 'A writer is first a citizen'


News at Eleven: [Henry Wadsworth] Longfellow, as was his habit,

showed the manuscript of "The Building of the Ship" to his coterie of friendly critics. This time, they expressed unease over the coda--the 26-line ending--that described the demise of ships as he had heard it from childhood, "Wrecked upon some treacherous rock, Or rotting in some noisesome dock . . ."

It took a few weeks for Longfellow to accept the criticism, which he had sought from a wide group that recommended making the ending a paean to the nation in its difficult time.

from Village Soup: Longfellow the patriot trumped Longfellow the poet


News at Eleven: [Shmu'el HaNagid's] oeuvre

of nearly two thousand poems, most of them unpublished until the 1930s, includes an impressive body of satire, elegies, and hymns of praise, but his most intriguing writings, to my mind, are the short, erotic "gazelle" (tzvi) poems, the gazelle (or fawn, deer, doe, or roe) being the pervasive emblem of desire for the Hebrew poets of Spain, following, as they did, the convention of the ghazal, the Arabic designation for the erotic poem that is also a cognate of the Hebrew tzvi.

from Bookforum: Quoting Scriptures


News at Eleven: [Amiri] Baraka refused to resign

amid the uproar that followed. The governor and Legislature were barred from firing the poet laureate, so McGreevey eliminated the post.

The 3rd Circuit also found that the officials did not withhold the money over Baraka's views because the Legislature had not yet appropriated it.

from The Patriot News: Deposed N.J. poet laureate loses suit over lost post


News at Eleven: In what circumstances do readers

of a first-person poem assume it is drawn from "what really happened"? What are the signifiers that convey to us that a poem is or is not autobiographical? And why does this window onto a text even matter to readers (and writers)?

from Slate: Autobiography and Poetry


News at Eleven: " . . . Of course you are not merely

a machine. One's own DNA matters because the poem has been through a particular personality. The best poems come from the world, go through the poet and go back in to the world . . ." --Paul Muldoon]

from The Guardian: Invisible threads


News at Eleven: The various settings in which

he [Rainer Maria Rilke] wrote poems were chosen from a catalog of the great houses of Europe. Titled women who owned the houses found themselves in receipt of his finely judged letters, delicately suggesting that if hospitality should be extended to him when the wind was in the right direction, masterpieces would ensue.

from Slate: Rainer Maria Rilke: What his career--taken along with Bertolt Brecht's--tells us about fame.


News at Eleven: Although the poem was published

courtesy of the Frost estate with the intention of making it public, [Robert] Stilling suspects that [Robert] Faggen would have preferred to see "War Thoughts" presented more squarely within "the scholarly apparatus," and not, as it became, for a general audience.

from The Smithsonian: Frost Bite


News at Eleven (Back Page): Dozens of A4 copies

of the poem about the unsolved case were put up on lamp-posts and in bus stops near where Paul [Kelly], 32, was stabbed on New Year's Day.

The verse names and taunts the alleged killer and cops are appealing for the author to come forward.

from The Sun: Mystery poet names 'murderer'


Great Regulars: Poets in Middle Eastern societies

historically have been held in high regard, and many, including Agi Mishol and Ghassan Zaqtan, achieve a level of celebrity and authority not common in the West. They are writers working in a place of conflict, providing a voice for many who feel they do not have one.

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East


Ghassan Zaqtan (through translator): A complete people has lost its future, has lost the location, has lost its place. And, obviously, poetry is one of the most expressive forms in order to reach the people. This is why the poets were the first to remind these people of their identity.

This is yours.

Jeffrey Brown: Zaqtan does this by writing about the small details of life.

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: In Palestine, Identity Is Regained Through Poetry


Aharon Shabtai: Most people are very good, also in Israel. But to continue living, they have to lie to themselves, or to repress it, or to disavow it. And this also ruins the fabric of the language itself, because the language loses its sort of transparency.

Jeffrey Brown: The language in his own poetry now sounds ripped from today's headlines. One poem, which speaks of the anger he sees in Israeli society, begins this way.

Aharon Shabtai: "As we were marching."

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Poetry of the Middle East: Israel's Poetry Reflects Story of a Nation


Great Regulars: Metaphorically, the depths [Jenny] Lewis plumbs

are internal. Her poems delve into her own past, recalling with powerful specificity her mother, who "always had fresh flowers"; a beloved grandmother who "said 'hark!' instead of 'listen!'"; the loneliness of boarding school, its chill undiminished by the passage of time.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Dale and depth


Great Regulars: In other words, if I understand them

correctly, it is one thing to try to reconstruct the way an individual in late 16th-century England might have felt about the vanishing, or the abiding, legacy of Catholicism--what Shakespeare could have thought about the afterlife, for instance, about purgatory or intercession for the souls of the departed--and quite another to try to involve him or his father in some plot.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Was Shakespeare a crypto-Catholic?


In [Agi] Mishol's free verse poem, "Woman Martyr," the speaker describes a horrific event of a young woman walking into a bakery and blowing herself up. About how she wrote the poem, Mishol says, "With that poem it was the suicide bomber's last name, Takatka. . . .Her name sounded like the ticking of a bomb--taka-taka like tick-tock. . . ."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Agi Mishol's 'Woman Martyr'


In stanza 4-7, the speaker muses on the sun, and declares that the sun is surely an amazing entity: "The more I looked, the more I grew amaz'd/And softly said, what glory's like to thee?" Her amazement led her to understand how some civilizations have considered the sun a god: "Soul of this world, this Universe's Eye,/No wonder some made thee a Deity."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Anne Bradstreet's 'Contemplations'


She also loves the beloved with a kind of respect and admiration that she thought she had outgrown; this group of people could be a fairly large one, including friends, teachers, relatives, and even religious "saints," the term she uses. But the key word is that she "seemed" to lose this love, but with her beloved, that love is returned to her.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Browning's 'How do I love thee?'


In the first stanza, the speaker says she likes "to see it lap the Miles/And lick the Valleys up/And stop to fee itself at Tanks." The subject of this riddle sounds like an animal lapping up water perhaps, and licking up a salt lick or food, but then it stops to "feed itself at Tanks."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Dickinson's Riddles


José Rizal was in prison waiting to be executed when he wrote this poem as a final statement to his fellow Filipino countrymen. He had been involved in activity to secure his native country's independence from Spain. In the first stanza, the patriot says his final farewell to his native land, describing it as "Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: José Rizal's 'My Last Farewell'


The speaker tells the lad that the lad did not have to earn his loveliness from nature. Because nature has been so unselfish in bestowing on the young man his pleasing qualities, the speaker hopes to instill in the young man a duty to continue what nature has begun.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 4


The speaker's final warning uses an accounting metaphor: though nature may delay her "audit" or reckoning of the youth's years, they will definitely be counted, because it is just the way she operates. She will make him aged and feeble in the end.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 126


Great Regulars: "Good, old-fashioned storytelling

was oral, and storytellers often changed their stories according to context and circumstance," [Sue] Thomas said. "You only have to look at how simple fairy tales and urban legends evolve whilst still often keeping the core of the narrative intact to realize that they need a fluid environment to stay alive and fresh. Multimedia prevents the stagnation of fixed type and maintains a much longer tradition, stretching way back beyond the last 500 years."

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Does storytelling change in context of new forms of media?


Great Regulars: After image, memory is aided by rhyme,

and learning a poem such as The Tyger (note William Blake’s archaic spelling) is as good a place as any to begin.

This is not just a poem about a tiger; it is thought to have a political sub-plot which involves revolution, and possibly the defeat of the British at York Town in 1781 during the American War of Independence.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Something of the night


Great Regulars: Poem: "The Art of Disappearing"

by Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © The Eighth Mountain Press.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 26, 2007


Great Regulars: At some time many of us

will have to make a last visit to a house where aged parents lived out their days. Here Marge Saiser beautifully compresses one such farewell.

Where They Lived

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 104


Great Regulars: "Fitter" suggests "maker," the Greek root

of our word "poet." The secret life of the gasfitter suggests the poem's maker, laboriously fitting words and sentences into a pattern befitting turbulent feelings and metaphysical dilemmas, as in the ninth poem of "The Gasfitter":

from Robert Pinsky: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice


The Federal government arranged for Marion Anderson to give her concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where she sang to a large, integrated audience. The recital was also broadcast to a large radio audience.

This fact and legend--familiar but worth repeating--played a part in my upbringing, and remains part of my patriotism.

from Robert Pinsky (responding to Joshua Lipton): Forbes: Robert Pinsky On The American Dream


Great Regulars: [Elizabeth] Horan also consulted

many unpublished letters of [Gabriela] Mistral in the U.S. Library of Congress.

"For me, it's important to think about whether or not she was crazy," said Horan. "I think that she wrote some of her best poetry when in some sense she was crazy. There are certain disorders that are evident when you read her letters, and certain groups and people that she saw as her enemies."

from Cate Setterfield: The Santiago Times: U.S. Writer Says Chile's Gabriela Mistral Was Crazy


Great Regulars: So when I saw the first

U.S. edition (it was published in 2005 in the United Kingdom) of Lewis Theroux's "The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures," with its tiny flying saucer hovering over an equally small midcentury sedan parked on a swath of desert, I couldn't help it. I thought, "Road Scholar: Part Deux."

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Result lacks completeness in search for the weird


Great Regulars: [Wole] Soyinka's proposition,

that "the writer is first and foremost a citizen" is fundamentally the same as that of any totalitarian regime, according to which individual human beings are principally units of the state. In the immortal words of Sam Goldwyn, "Include me out."

from Frank Wilson: Books Inq.: I'm not sure I agree . . .


Great Regulars: And, indeed, the worst conversation

I ever remember to have heard in my life, was that at Will's coffeehouse, where the wits (as they were called) used formerly to assemble; that is to say, five or six men, who had writ plays, or at least prologues, or had share in a miscellany, came thither, and entertained one another with their trifling composures, in so important an air, as if they had been the noblest efforts of human nature, or that the fate of kingdoms depended on them; and they were usually attended with an humble audience of young students from the inns of court, or the universities, who at due distance, listened to these oracles, and returned home with great contempt for their law and philosophy, their heads filled with trash, under the name of politeness, criticism and belles lettres.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Great talkers --Jonathan Swift


Simplicity, without variety, is wholly insipid, and at best does only not displease; but when variety is joined to it, then it pleases, because it enhances the pleasure of variety by giving the eye the power of enjoying it with ease.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: The straight line and the serpentine --William Hogarth


Great Regulars: Museum, 19 Princelet Street, Spitalfields

by Gillian Allnutt

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Museum, 19 Princelet Street, Spitalfields by Gillian Allnutt


Great Regulars: 'A Small March'

by Philip Miller

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'A Small March'


Great Regulars: In a Baghdad Market

By Max Sutton

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase


Great Regulars: The Despoiling of the American Mind

by Peter McLaren

from MR Zine: Peter McLaren, 'The Despoiling of the American Mind'


Great Regulars: In a Little Apartment

by Adam Zagajewski

from The New Yorker: Poetry: In a Little Apartment


Littlefoot, 34
by Charles Wright

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Littlefoot, 34


The Museum of Stones
by Carolyn Forché

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Museum of Stones


Great Regulars: Sequestered Writing

[by Carolyn Forche]

from The Oregonian: Poetry


Great Regulars: Flight of the Firstborn

by Peggy Carr

To mark International Poetry Day on 21 March, the SPL launched a new anthology of poems from the Commonwealth: Poems United (SPL/Black & White Publishing, £7.99). There are some feelings that are shared across continents, as in this tender mother's poem from the island of St Vincent in the Caribbean.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week


Great Regulars: "Clearing the House"

By Rebecca Kaiser Gibson

from Slate: "Clearing the House" - By Rebecca Kaiser Gibson


Great Regulars: In India, however, en route

to the Far East with the South Wales Borderers, [Alun] Lewis met and fell in love with a married woman. This was Freda Ackroyd, to whom the letters collected in a new volume, Cypress Walk, published by Enitharmon, were addressed. The book will be reviewed in a forthcoming issue of the paper. In the meantime:

Raiders' Dawn

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week


Poetic Obituaries: At the age of 92, Sophie [Barton]

booked a flight to New York City, flying solo to attend a poetry conference and to read some of her poems. In downtown Manhattan, she was advised by the hotel’s doorman not to venture outside at night but she insisted — there were stores she had never been to.

from Nanaimo News Bulletin: One of city's oldest citizens dies at age 107


Poetic Obituaries: [Yadollah] Behzad's poems reflect

his introspective nature and the sense of loneliness caused by a technology-reliant world, using a unique epic style of poetry that celebrated Iranian civilization.

from Press TV: Iran's poet Behzad laid to rest


Poetic Obituaries: [Prof. Kausar Faruqi] was immensely talented

in poetry with a command of more than 5 languages.

Late Moulana Ali Mia hinted that Professor Faruqi wrote in the style of Allahma Iqbal in his poetry and his speeches matched that of Mohammed Ali Jawher’s style of writing.

from Bhatkallys News: Prof. Kausar Faruqi passes away


Poetic Obituaries: When I started writing, I was in

my 30s, and I saw a need: that was to create a beautiful image of my people. When I was a little girl, I was called a little savage, a cannibal. I didn't know what cannibal meant--all these derogatory things I heard when I was a little girl. [--Rita Joe]

from rabble: Let me teach you about me


Poetic Obituaries: Real estate was not Benjamin Franklin Kahn's

only passion. He also had a love of language befitting his name. He coined aphorisms (“Conservative principles create principal to conserve” was a favorite) and wrote silly poetry. He shared Benjamin Franklin's love of tinkering, creating useful items like curved rear-view mirrors for cars.

from The New York Times: B. Franklin Kahn, 82, Developer Credited With the REIT Strategy, Dies


Poetic Obituaries: [Howard] Stanley left CBS in 1949

to join WEAM(AM) Washington as VP and general manager, where he also adopted the on-air persona of the Lonesome Guy, wearing a mask and singing love songs and reading love poetry on-air. Far from a lonesome guy himeslf, Stanley married the former Winifred Elzona Hampton in 1945, a union that was to last 59 years.

from Broadcasting & Cable: Veteran Broadcast Exec Howard Stanley Dies


Poetic Obituaries: Cody [Morgan Stone] attended school

at the Phoenix Program, an alternative school that serves students with behavioral problems.

[His stepmother Phyllis] Smith described Cody as a loving person who liked to draw, write poetry, write songs and ride his go-cart.

from Naples Daily News: Teen killed crossing Davis Blvd. stopped earlier by deputy


Poetic Obituaries: Shimon Tzabar was probably the only Israeli

who could claim to have once been a member of all three anti-British underground groups active in Palestine before the establishment of Israel in 1948: Haganah, Etzel and Lehi (aka the Stern Gang). In the course of his long, jolly and very active life, he was many things for many people: a friend, a husband, a father, a lover, an artist, a cartoonist, a satirical writer, a mycologist, a journalist, a poet and an activist.

from The Independent: Shimon Tzabar


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

March 20th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 20th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

I love it when we travel the world of poetry like we do this week. We also travel through poems, our headliner camparing translations of Rilke. Of course, through poetry and the news, we find ourselves in different places, some horrifying as we have in Poetic Obituaries, and some trying, such as in News at Eleven. On the Back Page, we visit doctors offices. And Frieda Hughes in Great Regulars even takes us to a litter bin you're sure to enjoy.

We have five articles from The Guardian, two of them by our friend Sarah Crown. And we link to three from The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of which is by our friend Frank Wilson, who himself has two this week. Also, check out Linda Sue Grimes, another of our Great Regulars. Lately, I have been finding her exclusively at Suite101.com. We have five by her.

Have poetry, will travel.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags Blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: [Rainer Maria] Rilke's late work is knotted

and dense, and any rendering into another language of these final poems is bound to fail, however honorably. The finest translation of "Komm du" that I know of was published in the Times Literary Supplement in December 1975 accompanying an essay on Rilke by Walter Kaufmann:

You are the last I recognize; return,
pain beyond help that sears the body's cells:

from The New York Review of Books: Translating Rilke: An Exchange


News at Eleven: How comes it that ye toil and sweat

And bear the oppressor's rod
For cruel man who dare to change
The equal laws of God?
How come that man with tyrant heart
Is caused to rule another,
To rob, oppress and, leech-like, suck
The life's blood of a brother?

Nothing is known of AW: he or she is one of the lost voices of the Chartist movement, one of the thousands of working men and women who turned to verse to express their hopes for social justice.

from The Guardian: Lost voices of Victorian working class uncovered in political protest poems


News at Eleven: "This verdict is sadly yet another example

of the judicial system being used by the political authorities,"; Reporters Without Borders said. "It is outrageous that cyber-dissidents get severe prison sentences just for the views they express. Yet again, they are being made to pay a heavy price for their commitment. After [poet] Zhang [Jianhong]'s conviction, we fear that the same fate is in store for Chen [Shuqing] and Yang [Maodong]."

from Reporters Without Borders: Cyber-dissident Zhang Jianhong ("Li Hong") gets six years in prison


News at Eleven: [Zbigniew Herbert] conceived of poems

not as machines to chronicle and evoke emotion but as gestures of hard-earned illumination, shards of learning, core samples of (mostly) Western civilization:

only blood
busy with scansion of dark tautologies
binds together distant shores
with a thread of mutual agreement

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: The impersonal poet, sharing rays of light


News at Eleven: Here's another from Yi [Yon-ju]'s poem

"What's Wrong?": "When the speculum was pushed deep into her lower belly/she felt a refreshing sensation as if she'd escaped from a stuffy subway."

The overall effect is a gripping mix of Plath and K-Horror, totally outside of the nationalist literature that [Don Mee] Choi tells us wants its female poets to "evoke something gentle and motherly."

from The Brooklyn Rail: Poetry: Whistling in the Wind


News at Eleven: [Derek] Walcott speaks with Jacki Lyden

about his years spent as a "fortunate traveler," when he split his time between Boston, New York, Europe and at home in the West Indies.

Sea Grapes
by Derek Walcott

from NPR: Derek Walcott: A Life in Poetry