Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 30th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
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June 30th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

This week again, we are all over the world. We begin with a Yiddish poet of Melbourne, born in Poland, Yossel Birstein. We then go to Palestine, then to the Cambridge University Library, then off to the Oxford Poetry seat, on which Clive James of New South Wales weighs in. From there, we go to China, to California, and off to Burma, over to Viet Nam, up to P-Town, back over to Manchester, until we finish News at Eleven in Alaska. Right, that's just News at Eleven. We then take off to England again to begin our Great Regulars section. And yes, the man from Neverland is in the Poetic Obituaries.

Thanks for surfing through.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Another influence was

the poet Moyshe Leyb Halpern. Halpern, like the social realists, was also interested in social justice, but his style and tone is much more modernist. Indeed, Halpern was often criticized for his "coarse" writing, according to scholar Julian Levinson.

[Yossel] Birstein echoes the alienation of the modernist in the following poem, both musical and suspenseful, which morphs from the Gothic into personal angst:

A Visitor On My Doorstep
Translated by Leigh Fetter

from Zeek: The Neglected Poetry of Yossel Birstein


News at Eleven: "One can get a different idea of Palestinians

as people through the history of their poets," [Adina] Hoffman told GlobalPost. "Poetry and poets occupy such an essential role in Palestinian society: Throughout much of the last century, poetry has served as one of the most important means of political and social expression for the Palestinian people--and the poets who've given voice to that impulse are central to the culture."

Their poetry forms a gap in our knowledge of the Palestinians because of the way reporters cover their story--focusing on the violence and pyrotechnics and screaming, rather than on what people actually feel beneath it all.

from GlobalPost: When poets do the talking


News at Eleven: The diary entry and a draft of his anti-war statement

are a small but indicative part of a unique body of [Siegfried] Sassoon's personal notes, unpublished poems, sketches and correspondence written over nearly half a century and at risk of being lost to the country.

Cambridge University Library has begun a campaign to raise £1.25 million to buy Sassoon's personal papers from his family and to save the archive from being sold to one of the wealthier American universities that have already bought up much of Britain's literary heritage.

from The Times: Cambridge campaigns to stop Siegfried Sassoon war notebooks going abroad


News at Eleven: The question [from Decca Aitkenhead] was about

the Oxford Poetry Professorship election debacle. "Would I like the job?" (Those might not have been her exact words, but that was the main thrust.) My answer (and these are far fewer than my exact words, but this is the thread) was: "I would love it, but not if I had to run in an election." She used only the first bit--that I would love to have the job--and the Guardian editors flagged it as "Clive James throws his hat in the ring".

In reality, Clive James had already made it clear that he would rather throw himself off a cliff.

from Standpoint: Give Us Poetic Justice


News at Eleven: The Chinese government has consistently said

that it wants the world to view China as a "responsible power." The best way to prove this would be to free Liu Xiaobo and allow an open discussion on the merits of Charter 08, a document which--like Liu himself--represents China's future rather than its past.

from The Huffington Post: Liu Xiaobo and China's Future


Nws at Eleven: Just then our waitress brings the "Fisherman Carpaccio,"

a flower-like assemblage of raw fish marinated in soy with a dash of karashi hot mustard and sesame oil. We order another bottle of chardonnay, and I attempt to ask another question. "That's a really pretty presentation, don't you think?" says Mr. Hass, admiring the dish that's just arrived. "Can we stop?" He then turns to my wife, who's a potter and chef, and asks, "What do you think about this presentation? And about saying this is carpaccio rather than sashimi?"

Right about now I begin to feel as if we're inside a Robert Hass poem.

from Far Eastern Economic Review: The Bard of Berkeley


News at Eleven: Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association

today condemned the military junta for intimidating the press trying to cover recent national and international events, as a journalist was jailed for two years after being arrested near the home of Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Since the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Burma one might expect greater tolerance on the part of the authorities, but on the contrary, the trial of Suu Kyi is being held in a climate of repression and censorship," the press freedom organisations said.

from Reporters Without Borders: Arrest, censorship and manipulation amid trial of Aung San Suu Kyi


News at Eleven: [Dao Kim] Hoa stated that she clearly noted

that she and Joseph Duemer had translated the four poems.

She also stated that when she read the poems, she said in English that she was the translator only.

According to Hoa, she doesn't know Chinese so she didn't pay attention to Chinese documents provided by the organizing board. She emphasized that she was not paid anything for reading the poems.

from VietNamNet Bridge: Accused 'poem thief' Dao Kim Hoa defends herself to Writers Association
also VietNamNet Bridge: Seeking truth in case of poem theft


News at Eleven: Many of the poems in Evidence

also focus on the moments or transitions in life where our perspective begins to change. In "Halleluiah," [Mary] Oliver explains that "Everyone should be born into this world happy/and loving everything./But in truth it rarely works that way." She admits that she has spent her life "clamoring" for happiness, and then the poem poses several questions to the reader:

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?

from AfterEllen.com: Across the Page: Poetry Collections


News at Eleven: Dealing with the deaths of two people,

The Shortest Days [by Elizabeth Burns] is "very concentrated", said judge Richard Price, poet and head of modern British collections at the British Library. "Elizabeth uses a limited, light palette, which creates special, lyrical effects, particularly with her use of snow, and the colour white," he went on. "This is gradually layered across the book, and all the judges felt that the play of light over the whole book was really very moving. It combines skill and direct engagement with the reader."

from The Guardian: Poetry pamphlet award goes to Elizabeth Burns


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Ken] Waldman: Not overarching.

I've been asked what my religion is, and I said poetry. I say it jokingly but kind of truly too. With poetry, if it is my religion, if I want to contradict myself I can, because it's like Walt Whitman once wrote, I contain multitudes. I can put my eye on anything and it's valid. I could actually contradict myself and I could be fine.

from Capital City Weekly: Q & A with Ken Waldman, Alaska's Fiddling Poet


Great Regulars: But there are millions of others bloviating

for free and if nobody puts much value on the difference between me and them, then what I bring to this party will be deflated to the point where it won't be worth doing. And if serious journalism dies, democracy will be next.

"A lot of people," he says unconsolingly, "are writing for free and sometimes they are writing better.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: What is the hidden price of our freebie culture?


Great Regulars: His soul will still exist, and he

metaphorically likens that soul to the pulse that denotes life in the body. He then proclaims that that soul "pulse" which still contains his thoughts will give "back the thoughts by England given." As an English citizen, his thoughts are English, and after leaving the body, his soul thoughts will still enshrine the images and intuitions acquired as an Englishman.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Brooke's The Soldier


She therefore hopes that her former fiancé will not be troubled by this indiscretion. She avers that it would be better for him to forget the sordid part of their relationship and just remember her and be able to "smile." That simple memory would serve him better than remembering the unclean mistake and therefore "be sad."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Rossetti's Remember


Great Regulars: Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us

all how precious life is, and maybe Michael Jackson was so huge that his death will be felt by people who really need to be reminded of that. Here's Mary Jo Bang's "A Sonata for Four Hands," from her book, appropriately titled in this case Elegy.

I say Come Back and you do

from Kristen Hoggatt: The Smart Set: Ask a Poet: Do You Remember the Time?


Great Regulars: --The Book

by Fred Andrele

Did I meet you in that little shop

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: --The Book by Fred Andrele


The Effort
by Billy Collins

Would anyone care to join me

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Effort by Billy Collins


The Genius of Small-town America
by Norman Williams

Here our fathers stopped their westward push,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Genius of Small-town America by Norman Williams


The Lonely Shoe Lying on the Road
by Muriel Spark

One sad shoe that someone has probably flung

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Lonely Shoe Lying on the Road by Muriel Spark


Meditation on the Word Need
by Linda Rodriguez

The problem with words of emotion

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Meditation on the Word Need by Linda Rodriguez


by Richard Jones

In the desert, a traveler

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Rapture by Richard Jones


The VCCA Fellows Visit the Holiness Baptist Church, Amherst, Virginia
by Barbara Crooker

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The VCCA Fellows Visit the Holiness Baptist Church, Amherst, Virginia by Barbara Crooker


Great Regulars: Coleman Barks, who lives in Georgia,

is not only the English language's foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he's also a loving grandfather, and for me that's even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy. Here's one:


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 222


Great Regulars: While I agree poetry must begin

by giving pleasure if it is to be read at all, it must also illuminate the depths of man's soul, enlarge his consciousness and inspire a positive affirmation of life.

I hope to illuminate the future of poetry by identifying the contemporary poets whose work falls far short of these principles and by continuing to look selectively at the great poets of the past whose work provides a touchstone by which we can establish the guidelines for a new Renaissance in American poetry.

from Anthony Maulucci: Norwich Bulletin: Contemporary American poetry needs a literary revival


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

The Women

This is what will happen to the women.

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-Notes: The Women
also Ethelbert Miller: E-Notes: Poems from the Notebook: Fog
also Ethelbert Miller: E-Notes: Poems from the Notebook: Tide


Great Regulars: The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said

Washington was "deeply disturbed" by the arrest [of Liu Xiaobo] and called on Beijing to respect the rights of those who peacefully criticize the government.

Rights groups and activists issued a joint open letter saying that the government had "acted in a weak, cowardly, and uncertain manner," and its charging of Liu was "just a pretext to intimidate public opinion."

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: New Calls for Writer's Release


Great Regulars: The first line sets up a strong

thematic contrast of civilization and the leopard, of human structures and the natural wilderness beyond, a battle between law and freedom and, as they become more extreme, tyranny and anarchy. Yet the poem as a whole is far more riddling than that--and a range of stimulating, contradictory readings present themselves for our exploration.

It may be that Dickinson is commenting on the slave-trade--turning our understanding of what constitutes civilization and savagery inside out.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A Reading of "Civilization Spurns the Leopard" by Emily Dickinson


Great Regulars: To tease her admirers and critics--

or to complicate their responses even further--[Marianne] Moore had it both ways by including the longer poem as a kind of endnote to the three-liner. She published the full, 1924 version (reprinted below), the one preferred by many of her admirers and later editors, in the back matter of that same 1967 Complete Poems with the laconic heading "Original Version." In various ways, the two incarnations of the poem annotate, challenge, and criticize one another. I think they amusingly challenge and criticize us readers, too.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: Marianne Moore's "Poetry"


Great Regulars: Metrically, the poem is unusual,

even innovative for its age, moving from iambic pentameter for the first invocation to a mixture of tetrameter and pentameter in the following two stanzas. It exposes a process--that of liberation from the regularity of metre which convention demanded to a more flexible and vocal mode. The shorter lines are appropriate to a hymn, and heighten the rhetoric. While the poem is laden with classical and pastoral allusion, it's worth remembering that moonlit arbours and groves would have been local and ordinary features of the various country-houses Montagu inhabited.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Books blog: Poem of the week: A Hymn to the Moon by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


Great Regulars: Lost in Neverland

by Charles Larson

Michael Jackson's Umbrella:

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Larson, Davies, McLellan and Gardner


Great Regulars: As he came his expression revealed

the lie he was to speak. He turned the register round, examined our names, and while his face flushed a bit said, "I'm sorry, but we haven't got a vacant room." This statement, which I knew almost absolutely to be false, set a number of emotions in action: humiliation, chagrin, indignation, resentment, anger; but in the midst of them all I could detect a sense of pity for the man who had to make it, for he was, to all appearances, an honest, decent person. It was then about eleven o'clock and I sought the eyes of the clerk and asked if he expected any rooms to be vacated at noon.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Outcasts --James Weldon Johnson


Great Regulars: Bacchus

by John Hartley Williams

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Bacchus by John Hartley Williams


Great Regulars: by James Berry

Stirred by restlessness, pushed by history,

from Morning Star: Well Versed: Beginning in a City, 1948


Great Regulars: A Dream

by Jorge Luis Borges

from The New Yorker: Poetry: A Dream


Twin Cities
by Carol Muske-Dukes

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Twin Cities


Great Regulars: 'I Think Butterfly'

by Dan Kaplan

from The Oregonian: Poetry: 'I Think Butterfly'


Great Regulars: By Natasha Trethewey

)))) Listen

I was asleep while you were dying.

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Myth'


Great Regulars: Like Beowulf (I highly recommend

Seamus Heaney's translation), Gilgamesh is a short, quick read, with lots of rollicking battles and sex. Part of the shortness comes from the fact that the story is incomplete--it is known that several books are missing from the original narrative. Hopefully one day those missing sections will surface.

Having only read Stephen Mitchell's version, I can't compare the salaciousness to other translations, but in Mitchell's the sex is right out there with nothing left to the imagination.

from Powells: Review-A-Day: The Original Flood Legend


Great Regulars: "Quietus", the book's last poem,

ponders the third wish wasted; richly regretful, with midnight and wine and lengthening shadows, it speaks seductively of the magic and of everything that has come before.


from The Scotsman: Poem of the Month: Roddy Lumsden


Great Regulars: To The One-Legged Homeless Woman In The Pouring Rain

by Teddy Macker

When I passed you on my way home

from The Sun Magazine: Poetry: To The One-Legged Homeless Woman In The Pouring Rain


Great Regulars: And "Elegy for Jane" complicates itself

further by raising the question, as good elegies often do, of the elegist's role. The narrator claims to have "no rights" in this "matter"--a punning euphemism--but at the poem's end, his unauthorized speaking at the graveside ("I . . ./Neither father nor lover"), his bravura act of remembrance, would seem to matter more to him than Jane herself. The rest, it would seem, is far from being silence.

[by Theodore Roethke]

Elegy for Jane
(My student, thrown by a horse)

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Elegy for Jane


Great Regulars: Thus separated from my actual life,

I thought I would be able to remember it clearly enough to write about it. During this vacation someone else cooked and delivered my meals. I ate, slept, walked, swam. The rest of the time I functioned as a memory machine, remembering and writing.

But then, in the middle of my vacation, I fell in love, and life recommenced.

from The Washington Post: Poet's Choice By Sarah Manguso


Poetic Obituaries: [Ashley N. Bryant] was a CNA and

her greatest joy was caring for the elderly and listening to their life histories. She also enjoyed composing and writing poetry and sonnets.

from Free Lance–Star: Ashley N. Bryant


Poetic Obituaries: [Margaret "Peggy" E. Cash] was a member of

Spence Baptist Church in Snow Hill, where she taught Sunday school. She will be remembered for her wonderful poetry and stories she shared. She had a great sense of humor and was always ready to share a joke, which would brighten your day.

from The Daily Times: Margaret "Peggy" E. Cash


Poetic Obituaries: The poet and journalist [Victoriano Cremer],

who wrote a column in the daily Diario de Leon called "Cremer Contra Cremer" (Cremer Against Cremer), in which his last article will be published this Sunday, won the 1963 National Prize for Poetry and the 1994 Castilla y Leon Prize for Literature.

Among his works are "Nuevos Cantos de Vida y Esperanza" (New Songs of Life and Hope), "Libro de Cain" (The Book of Cain), "Tiempo de Soledad" (Time of Solitude), and "El Ultimo Jinete" (The Last Horseman), which earned him the Jaime Gil de Biedma Poetry Prize in 2008.

from Latin American Herald Tribune: Spanish Poet Victoriano Cremer Dies at 102


Poetic Obituaries: [Harry] Dobson wrote a series of books,

the most recent being a second volume of Dobson on Dobson, covering the life and works of celebrated North architect John Dobson.

Earlier publications included an anthology of Mr Dobson's own poems and a series of travelogues covering Northumberland and Newcastle.

from Northumberland Today: Retired headteahcer dies in holiday tragedy


Poetic Obituaries: [Barb Bayer] said the family is

very close-knit, and that [my Pvt. Steven] Drees had never been away from home for long before he enlisted in the Army on July 25, 2008.

"When he went to basic training, he wrote home every day," Bayer said. "He always wrote poems. It kept him going through the training.

from Green Bay Press-Gazette: Story, photos, video: Peshtigo soldier Steven Drees remembered


Poetic Obituaries: In 2003 Andrew Motion selected one of

her [Beryl Fenton's] verses, The Eponymous K, for the Stroke Association's Bluenose anthology, and in 2004 Mario Petrucci chose Magnetic Poem as "fridge poem" winner on Radio 3's The Verb. Then, in 2008, came the publication of her collection Dandy Lady, where she displayed an unflinching but tender irony.

from The Guardian: Beryl Fenton


Poetic Obituaries: [James Baker] Hall, an author,

photographer, teacher and poet, was Kentucky's poet laureate from 2001 to 2003.

"In sports lingo, he'd be called a triple threat," said Mr. Hall's friend and fellow photographer Guy Mendes. "He was a wonderful artist, photographer and teacher."

from Lexington Herald-Leader: Former Kentucky poet laureate Hall dies


Poetic Obituaries: Jack [Hardcastle] was a member of

St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Fort Dodge where he was very active in the church. He was involved in St. Olaf Oles, poetry club, council and was a Sunday school teacher, council and usher.

He volunteered at Care Age in Fort Dodge reading poetry and doing activities with the residents. He also volunteered at the Prince of Peace Preschool in Fort Dodge where he sang, read and did activities with the children.

from The Messenger: Jack Hardcastle


Poetic Obituaries: [Phil Hellsten's] business card read,

"Cosmic surfer, artist, poet, lover." He had devised a dating system based on elementary astrology, and friends remember him as a matchmaker, both in people's personal and professional lives, "the consummate networker." Artistically he was known as a master of composition and always ready to help his fellow artists with their shows.

from Danville Weekly: Funeral services set for Phil 'Starman' Hellsten


Poetic Obituaries: [Olja Ivanjicki's] paintings were exhibited

all over the world and at one point she was named the best Yugoslav painter of the 20th century.

Ivanjicki's paintings are recognizable by the way in which they combine the figures and symbols of diverse cultures and civilisations.

She was also a sculptor, poet, newspaper columnist, costume designer and architect.

from Top News: Serbia's best known painter Olja Ivanjicki dies


Poetic Obituaries: In 1992, Michael Jackson published

a slim volume of "poems and reflections" entitled Dancing The Dream.

It is a curious and, in the light of his death, poignantly revealing collection of writings on the subjects that were apparently close to his heart--music, dancing, God, his mother, the plight of the dolphin and children.

It is the nearest that Michael Jackson--a man who had long since transcended the need or desire for public confession and disclosure, and indeed, did everything within his power to avoid--ever came to autobiography.

from Telegraph: Michael Jackson, death by showbusiness
also STV: Michael Jackson recorded Robert Burns album
also Times of India: 'MJ was reading Tagore, last time we spoke'


Poetic Obituaries: An author and prolific poet,

Fannie LaVelle] Kyker was a longtime member of Temple Baptist Church East Campus.

"We all have our memories, special and precious, of Goodie Kyker," Gary Shows, executive pastor for Temple Baptist Church, said during the service.

from Hattiesburg American: Family, friends bid Kyker farewell


Poetic Obituaries: Bob [Lancour] spent a good part

of his life in Louisiana. Throughout the years, he had been employed as a house painter and as a laborer on oil rigs. He enjoyed writing poems and singing.

from The Mining Journal: Robert James Lancour


Poetic Obituaries: In his spare time, Mr. [Daniel M.] Lipkin

swam a mile daily and played boogie-woogie on any available piano, [his daughter Marjie] Farber said.

For 10 years ending in December, Mr. Lipkin nursed his wife, the former Lorraine Schneck, whom he married in New York City in 1954. She had cancer. His last written work was a love poem to her, Farber said.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Daniel M. Lipkin, 80, mathematical physicist


Poetic Obituaries: [Florence E. Riley Masterson] had lived

in Grand Saline for the last 57 years where she was Baptist, lifetime member of TIADA and a member of the Poetry Society.

from Van Zandt News: Florence E. Riley Masterson


Poetic Obituaries: Kaleem Omar's distinctive style

of writing, his command of the language and his encyclopaedic knowledge of a diverse range of subjects was truly remarkable. He had an elephant's memory and was a source of endless information and anecdotes for his younger colleagues. Apart from his journalism, Kaleem Omar was also recognised as one of the finest poets writing in the English language in the country.

from The News International: Kaleem Omar passes away


News at Eleven: Although Matt Simpson, who has died

aged 73, was never one of the Liverpool poets, the city is at the heart of nearly all his work, from his first full collection, Making Arrangements (1982), through An Elegy for the Galosherman: New and Selected Poems (1990), Catching Up With History (1995) and Getting There (2001) to In Deep (2006). Only one collection is different. In 1994 Simpson spent some months as writer-in-residence to Arts Tasmania. Intrigued by the journal kept by an earlier visitor to Tasmania, the 19th-century migrant Louisa Meredith, he produced, in Cutting the Clouds Towards (1998), a collection full of his quirky, humorously exact understanding of the worth of ordinary lives.

from The Guardian: Matt Simpson


Poetic Obituaries: [Diana Toms] was very creative,

her hobbies were making fancy hats, jewelry, writing books, poems and recipes and passing them down through the generations. She could play any instrument, her favorites were piano, organ, banjo and harmonica.

from Daily Comet: Diana Toms


Poetic Obituaries: [Brian McManus] said Mr. [Steven] Wells' comments

could often make or break a new band, pointing to an NME article in which Mr. Wells simply wrote the word NO in capital letters and repeated it 387 times.

Raised in Bradford, a city in northern England, Mr. Wells went to work at NME after a brief career as a "punk poet" in London in the 1970s.

As a performer, he used the names Seething Wells and Swells, and his poetry was built around rants against injustice and racism, said his wife.

from Philadelphia Inquirer: Steven Wells,49, journalist
also The Guardian: Music Blog: RIP Swells: seething no more