Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23rd Poetic Ticker Clicking

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February 23rd Poetic Ticker Clicking

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

It's a week of ethics, morals, and court cases, including the court of Henry VIII. We'll be looking into history for temporal morays versus new, current interpretations. But we also look into our present world, in which we need to make decisions about racism versus governmental interference with creativity, and wanting government to be better versus being a threat to a government through what gets written down. And yes, all this moral dilemma and ethical infraction has to do with poetry and poets in the news this week.

This is not to abstract the week, but to highlight certain parts of a big theme. There are more legal decisions to be made, and other challenges to our society, within our stories than what has been referred to above, but also plenty more news in poetry within other themes, and lots of good poetry. For instance, we begin with a never-before-published interview with T.S. Eliot.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: T.S. [Eliot:] I've found it quite

useless to try and define poetry once and for all. Every definition is always put forward with some particular kind of poetry in mind. All definitions can do is give partial insights, but don't misunderstand me, these partial insights are worth making, however it's quite impossible to be conclusive.

from Swans Commentary: T.S. Eliot: Un Objet Trouvé


News at Eleven: Dignity.

Underscore this word, Dave [Cluster] said. It means everything to a homeless person.

"We exist," Dave said, in between sips of coffee. A freezing draft of air comes through the coffeehouse door again. Dave sits at the table in a T-shirt, his arms not seeming cold at all. He is slightly congested, but still has a healthy look about him. "I exist. You can't make me go away. We're not going to rob you. I talk to a lot of people. I promote causes such as disabled vets, lupus and Lupus Walk. A lot of people don't look like they're homeless. But there are so many people who are one paycheck away."

from Baltimore Jewish Times: Dave Cluster: Poet, Jewish, Homeless


News at Eleven: By the end of this chilling

poem [by Robin Robertson] "the starlings/had started/to mimic her crying/and she'd found how to fly". Other fantastical transformations occur throughout the collection; the most astounding one is in the masterful At Roane Head, where a re-envisioning of a selkie legend throws up a remarkably moving poem:

She gave me a skylark's egg in a bed of frost;
gave me twists of my four sons' hair; gave me
her husband's head in a wooden box.
Then she gave me the sealskin, and I put it on.

from The Irish Times: Luminous nightmare


News at Eleven: Even though [Emily] Dickinson was 47

when she fell in love with [Otis Phillips] Lord, the judge's niece remembered her as a 'little hussy': 'Loose morals . . . She was crazy about men. Even tried to get Judge Lord. Insane too.'

We're still a way away, I think, from a general view of Emily Dickinson as a boy-crazed trollop: but by moving the general view a little way in that direction Lyndall Gordon has, oddly enough, done this great poet a favour.

from The Spectator: Not 'a boy-crazed trollop'
also San Diego Gay & lesbian News: Was Emily Dickinson gay?


News at Eleven: Lines within the poem include a lady

of the queen's privy chamber--whom Prof. George Bernard identifies as the Countess of Worcester--comparing her own promiscuous behaviour with that of [Anne] Boleyn, saying that her actions paled into comparisan with her monarch who was sleeping with her brother.

The poem also names Smeaton and Norris as "seduced" by the queen's caresses. All three men, along with two courtiers, were executed on May 17, 1536, after being charged with "carnal love of the queen".

from The Daily Telegraph: Poem provides evidence that Anne Boleyn had numerous affairs


News at Eleven: A Beijing appeal court yesterday upheld

leading dissident Liu Xiaobo's 11-year jail sentence on a charge of "subverting state authority" for expressing his views online and helping to draft Charter 08. The court announced its decision to Liu at a very short hearing.

"We continue to be deeply shocked by the Chinese government's insistence on such a harsh punishment for an activist and intellectual who is renowned throughout the world," Reporters Without Borders said.

read Charter 08 below

from Reporters Without Borders: Court upholds 11-year prison sentence for leading pro-democracy activist


News at Eleven: [Sherman Alexie] is unafraid to allow

his characters to conform to stereotypes--so long as there is someone present to ruefully acknowledge those stereotypes, as when one Indian upbraids another for searching a hospital for an Indian family in the belief that "some Indians would just happen to have some extra blankets laying around."

"'That's . . . ridiculous.'

'I know.'

'And it's racist.'

'I know.'

'You're stereotyping your own damn people.'

'I know.' 'But damn if we don't have a room full of Pendleton blankets. New ones."'

from The Boston Globe: A fine mess


News at Eleven: "Something is wrong with America's

moral imagination," former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass told the audience at the most recent Dodge poetry festival in New Jersey in fall 2008.

He was lamenting the loss of voices, particularly among writers in the United States, speaking out against social injustice. Certainly there is a tendency today in (North) American literary poetry circles (as opposed to spoken word) towards the apolitical. But in other parts of the world--where injustice is so blatant and pervasive--shying away from issues of oppression is a luxury poets do not seem to have. Mahmoud Darwish, considered by many the voice of the Palestinian people, is a prime example of this.

from The Indypendent: Wastelands: Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish Proved Poetry Can Be for the People


News at Eleven: The judge ended up delaying his ruling,

after receiving more than 500 written submissions, but court documents related to the case show that more than 6,500 authors, publishers and literary agents have opted out of the settlement.

As well as the authors named above, these include the estates of Rudyard Kipling, TH White, James Herriot, Nevil Shute and Roald Dahl, Man Booker prizewinners Graham Swift and Keri Hulme, poets Pam Ayres, Christopher Middleton, Gillian Spraggs and Nick Laird, novelists Bret Easton Ellis, James Frey, Monica Ali, Michael Chabon, Philip Hensher and Patrick Gale, historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, biographer Victoria Glendinning and bestselling author of the Northern Lights trilogy Philip Pullman.

from The Guardian: Thousands of authors opt out of Google book settlement


News at Eleven: The Spanish government says it will formally

recognise one of the country's best-known poets as a victim of the dictatorship of Gen Francisco Franco.

It will present the family of the poet, Miguel Hernandez, with an official letter rehabilitating his memory.

Hernandez was imprisoned as a traitor 70 years ago for supporting the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and died in prison at the age of 31.

from BBC News: Spain to recognise civil war poet Miguel Hernandez


News at Eleven (Back Page): "The mere fact that authors

write graphically violent imagery, even if born out of racist or otherwise repugnant beliefs, does not automatically remove First Amendment protections and justify criminal prosecution."

The poem [by Johnny Logan Spencer] describes an assassin's mission to kill a president who is black, saying "the bullet that he has chambered is one of the purest pride . . . He breathes out as he pulled the trigger releasing all his hate."

[Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip] Chance acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that political speech in which a president was threatened is protected under the First Amendment.

from The Courier-Journal: Louisville man charged with threatening to kill president in poem


Great Regulars: Networks of individuals provide pathways

for states of happiness, fatness, health and even life expectancy to spread. Who you know--or don't--is who you are and how you live.

This is an utterly different way of looking at the human world from either the 18thcentury idea of the market as the "invisible hand" guiding human affairs, or from the 19th-century idea of great social and historical forces that dictate individual behaviour.

It is also different from 20th-century identity politics in which groups were defined by one simple attribute--rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: Networks are the key to life--pass it on


Great Regulars

and grew up on a small island in the China Sea. After three years of field work on a rural commune, she attended Beijing University. In 1985, she left the People's Republic of China to study in the United States, and earned her Ph.D. from New York University. She's the author of numerous collections of short stories and poetry, including "Of Flesh & Spirit" and "The Magic Whip." She teaches at Macalester College.

First Step

from Marianne Combs: Minnesota Public Radio: State of the Arts: Minnesota Poetry: Wang Ping's "First Step"


Great Regulars: Carol Ann says: This poem, although anticipating

the potential pain of a future romance, is actually drawing on the pain of a previous one. (Once bitten, twice shy, as the cliche goes.) There are not-toosubtle references to popsongs ('this old heart of mine') and to the movies (Casablanca, in the last line)--a clue that, despite the cynicism, the poem is written by a true romantic.

from Carol Ann Duffy: The Daily Mirror: Poetry Corner


Great Regulars: Yes, although you heard it here first,

the search for the Oxford Poetry Professor, now official (with Scotland's Geoffrey Hill leading the field, deservedly so), cannot hold a candle to the true-blue news that stays news; that is, Robin Robertson's latest work, The Wrecking Light, published this week in the U.K., simply astonishes. Twice, I've read it; twice, I've gone places and found traces I'd never believed I'd witness in (and out of) this world we word-workers consider the flight of poetry

from Judith Fitzgerald: The Globe and Mail: In Other Words: Robin Robertson's "Wonderland"


Wow, indeedly. We at IOW believe Shane Koyczan deserves a Standing O.

As the Yellowknife-born and Penticton, BC-raised slam poet so succinctly put it when asked about his explosive performance at the opening ceremonies celebrating Vancouver's Olympic Games last Friday night, "I was like, 'You either go for it . . . or jump.'"

He went for it, dishing up a feast of "a love poem" originally commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission in 2007.

from Judith Fitzgerald: The Globe and Mail: In Other Words: What's news?


Great Regulars: The tree's colors are meant to

"arch above" such corruption.

His leap from a dying tree felled perhaps by lightning to the earth's corrupting love causes a disconnect in the speaker's thematic movement. His logic is broken, quite possibly because he has tried to compare a tree's aging to man's in terms that simply do not work.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Williams' How calmly does the orange branch


Great Regulars: The Alien

by Greg Delanty

I'm back again scrutinizing the Milky Way

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Alien by Greg Delanty


Beach Attitudes
by Robert Dana

Blessed is the beach, survivor of tides.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Beach Attitudes by Robert Dana


Cleaning up after the Dog
by Jason Tandon

Pull plastic bag from pocket

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Cleaning up after the Dog by Jason Tandon


Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert


by W. H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Lullaby by W. H. Auden


Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Now Winter Nights Enlarge by Thomas Campion


People Who Eat in Coffee Shops
by Edward Field

People who eat in coffee shops

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: People Who Eat in Coffee Shops by Edward Field


Great Regulars: A poem is an experience like any other,

and we can learn as much or more about, say, an apple from a poem about an apple as from the apple itself. Since I was a boy, I've been picking up things, but I've never found a turtle shell until I found one in this poem by Jeff Worley, who lives in Kentucky.

On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 256


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

Let Me Know Before My Heart Stops

There must be life on other planets.

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: Let Me Know Before My Heart Stops


In my collection First Light: New and Selected Poems one will find this poem:

W.E.B. DuBois

in philadelphia

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: Today is the birthday of W.E.B. DuBois.


Great Regulars: Obama encouraged China and the Dalai Lama's

envoys to continue efforts to resolve their differences through negotiations, although the talks have yet to achieve concrete progress.

Reporters were barred from the meeting, but the Dalai Lama told journalists on the White House driveway that he had expressed his admiration for the United States as a "champion of democracy, freedom, human values."

Amid signs that relations between Beijing and Washington may already be cooling after the White House rejected Chinese demands to cancel the meeting, the Dalai Lama joined a group of Tibetan émigrés for a Tibetan New Year celebration.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Dalai Lama Meets Obama


Great Regulars: Whenever we feel our path in life

cannot be found, we should turn to [William] Blake's poem--a short extract from his longer work "Milton." The magnificent opening line has the force of a saying: an insight handed down from generation to generation in language too dramatic to forget.

Blake suggests that Satan is forever on the prowl, forever looking to disrupt our plans. His evil presence turns hope into misery, good into bad, flesh into ashes. Even if we don't believe in his literal existence, we can see him as symbolic of the nagging, carping, or prideful voices of our own mind. He is also sloth, the laziness that turns into lassitude and self-satisfied despair.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A Reading of 'There is a Moment' by William Blake


Great Regulars: The inscription on Aphra Behn's tombstone

in Westminster Abbey reads, "Here lies a proof that Wit can never be/Defence enough against Mortality." Behn's poetry suggests otherwise. "The Incomparable Astrea", as she was sometimes called, stands as a landmark satirist at the beginning of the Augustan age--and her clear, knowing, distinctive voice rings out directly from that vantage-point to our own.

A Letter to a Brother of the Pen in Tribulation

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Books blog: Poem of the week: A Letter to a Brother of the Pen in Tribulation by Aphra Behn


Great Regulars: Dadu [Dayal] alludes to the bliss of Sahaja

in his songs. Much of the imagery used in his songs is similar to that used by Kabir, and similar also to that used by the earlier Sahajiya Buddhists and Nath yogis. Dadu's compositions were recorded by his disciple Rajjab and are known as the Dadu Anubhav Vaani, a compilation of 5,000 verses. His songs are in a Hindi dialect known as Braj Bhasa, being a mixture of Hindi and Rajasthani. Janagopal another disciple of Dadu Dayal wrote the earliest biography of Dadu.

Translations of Dadu bhajans are quite rare in English. Let me give an English translation of two of the verses of Sant Dadu Dayal titled 'The Vision of the Beloved' and 'An Outer Guru That Is Not An Inner Guru, Not A Qualified Teacher'

from V Sundaram: Clattery MacHinery on Poetry: A Great Sant from Gujarat and Rajasthan (with rare translations of Dadu bhajans)


Great Regulars: [Campbell] Grey says he got the biggest kick

out of the connections between Rome and American sport. "Look at a Super Bowl ticket, and it's all there," he says. "Not just the Roman numerals, but also all the gladiatorial language and culture. When you cheer at a big hit at a football game, you're putting yourself in the place of the audience at the Colosseum, begging the emperor for the thumbs down.

"When we expect our presidents to throw the first baseball in the World Series," says Grey, "we have the same expectations the Romans did of their Caesars."

from John Timpane: Philadelpia Inquirer: Rome's stamp on America


Great Regulars: No system of ideas can ever come near

to encompassing the wonder of reality. To view the world through the lens of theory is to deprive oneself of the greater part of what life has to offer.

from Frank Wilson: When Falls the Coliseum: That's What He Said: No system of ideas can ever come near to encompassing the wonder of reality


(new to) Great Regulars: In my column, I'll use some of these oral

history poems, along with my poetic ramblings. Sometimes I will include students' works. If there is not a student's name before the poem, it is mine.

Don Bellinger, 83, is a retired teacher and principal from Elk Rapids. He was interviewed by two Elk Rapids High School students, Jared Dreffs and Kelly Thelen. Sixty-five years ago, World War II was still raging. On Valentine's Day, 1945, Don was 19 years old and sailing toward his first battle. Tuesday is the 65th anniversary of the flag-raising over Iwo Jima.

Don Bellinger
Iwo Jima

from Terry Wooten: Traverse City Record-Eagle: Sharing the Elders Project


Great Regulars: Last

by Michelle Askin

I barely remember that night just the swim of red sirens

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Michelle Askin


Great Regulars: A published poet, playwright, novelist,

essayist, sociologist, historian and journalist, [W.E.B.] Du Bois was the most prominent African-American intellectual of his day. He wrote 21 books and published more than 100 essays and articles. One of his best-known works is "The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches," published in 1903. He edited or co-edited several academic publications. His most important historical work was "Black Reconstruction in America, 1860--1880," published in 1935.

from findingDulcinea: Happy Birthday: W.E.B. Du Bois, Civil Rights Pioneer and Social Historian


Great Regulars: Editor's note: In this week's Poetry Corner,

we feature the work of Catie Rosemurgy, the author of two poetry collections, "The Stranger Manual" (Graywolf 2010) and "My Favorite Apocalypse" (Graywolf 2001). She teaches at The College of New Jersey and lives in Philadelphia.

Miss Peach Is a Cross Between

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner


Great Regulars: On Lacking the Killer Instinct

by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: On Lacking the Killer Instinct by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin


Great Regulars: Patrick Pritchard

February 21, 2010

Think of that moment in time

from Lawrence Journal-World: Poet's Showcase: 'Where Have All the Heroes Gone . . .'


Great Regulars: by Dave Hall

You will be prepared

from Morning Star: Well Versed: Just the Job


Great Regulars: Dream IV

by Gerald Stern

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Dream IV


Preachers Warn
by Charles Simic

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Preachers Warn


Great Regulars: [by Penelope Scambly Schott]

The little white ceramic horse

from The Oregonian: Poetry: 'Here's How I Used to Make Myself Cry'


Great Regulars: By Naomi Ayala

)))) Listen

One morning they dig up the sidewalk and leave

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Hole'


Great Regulars: [by Todd Dowey]

What would J.D. Salinger say?

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: What would J.D. Salinger say?


Great Regulars: "Oral Culture"

By Lesley Wheeler

from Slate: "Oral Culture"--By Lesley Wheeler


Poetic Obituaries: [Dorothy "Betty"] Carras' sons,

Steve and Peter, and her daughter, Dorrie Keough, described their mother as a nature-loving world traveler who taught them to have a purpose in life and to help others. She was a poet who held season tickets to the symphony, swam laps regularly and was looking forward to her first grandchild's upcoming wedding.

from Arizona Daily Star: Killer of woman in '08 gets life sentence


Poetic Obituaries: But another memory seared itself

in young Lucille's memory, too: when her father said no wife of his would be a poet. She watched as her thwarted mother threw her pages of verse into a burning furnace.

Years later, Ms. Clifton would remember this moment in a poem of her own, which she called "fury":

from The Washington Post: Obituary of Lucille Clifton, 73; Md. poet laureate and National Book Award winner
also The New York Times: Lucille Clifton, Poet Who Explored Intricacies of Black Lives, Dies at 73


Poetic Obituaries: Towards the end of the service her mother

Vickie Parkinson read a poem that Aimee [Critchley] had written herself.

Aimee's 18-year-old sister Natashja then read a personal tribute and was followed by her father, Mark Critchley.

Speaking at a moving press conference in the wake of the tragedy Mr Critchley said: "Aimee was a wonderful spirit, she had a free spirit and a lot of human kindness. She was a person of grace and beauty and, in a world where often there is not a lot of grace and beauty left, she was a little shining light."

from Leyland Guardian: Hundreds say last goodbye to Leyland girl


Poetic Obituaries: [Joy] Agee said [Maria Ragland] Davis challenged

her students to "think, especially critically, outside the box" and that she had "high expectations of them."

She called [Adriel] Johnson the "backbone of the mentoring process at UA Huntsville."

Talitha Holmes-Caudle, a doctoral student under Davis, said her professor loved animals and jazz and was a published poet.

Fighting back tears as she spoke, Holmes-Caudle recalled the time when some chicks hatched from embryos during an experiment. Davis couldn't bring herself to kill them so she found a home at Old McDonald's Petting Farm.

from The Huntsville Times: Professors memorialized in services Thursday


Poetic Obituaries: Rubin Falk, 91, a poet and lifelong peace activist

with connections to Asheville, died Feb. 10 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Falk worked for the municipal government of the city of New York for thirty years. A former executive for the Sane Nuclear Policy Committee, he was a member of Carolinians for Safe Energy.

from Mountain Xpress: Rubin Falk, longtime peace activist, dies at age 91


Poetic Obituaries: An explosion in western Afghanistan

killed [U.S. Army Sgt. Dillon] Foxx, 22, of Traverse City, on Feb. 5 as he served his second tour of duty. His memorial service on Friday in Traverse City began with a poem he wrote for family and friends during his first tour in Afghanistan.

It was meant to be read if he died in action.

"I'm sure there will be some heartache, and I know that you'll cry tears. But your son is a soldier now, Mom. There is nothing you should fear," recited the Rev. Justin Grimm, who officiated at the service.

from Traverse City Record-Eagle: Fallen soldier is mourned


Poetic Obituaries: [Kamal Khan] used to write his own poetry

and poems by others in his notebook. He had a very good memory that surprised many people.

Musician Mohammadreza Darvishi had also described Kamal Khan as a grand singer in the true sense of the term in the Baluchistan region. This is true Darvishi said, "Because not only is he a great singer, but also an eminent poet who helped preserve the intangible history and ancient culture of the region."

from Tehran Times: Great Iranian Baluchi vocalist Kamal Khan dies


Poetic Obituaries: Hart [Conrad Lipton] was a true artist.

From his beautiful drawings and paintings, to his graffiti murals and doodles, garage band compositions, photographs, slam poetry, and acting, Hart was always creating and seeking to interpret his world. He shared his vision with us, and we will always see our world differently because of him.

He loved all creatures and had a soft spot for dogs, and had an often irreverent sense of humor.

from Daily Camera: Hart Conrad Lipton


Poetic Obituaries: [Ralph] McInerny edited a series of translations

of Aquinas's commentaries, published a volume of poetry in 2005 and edited three anthologies of crime fiction with a religious twist. His series of lectures delivered in Glasgow in 1999 and 2000 were published as Characters in Search of Their Author in 2001.

The success of McInerny's Father Dowling books led to a television series based on the character--The Father Dowling Mysteries--shown in America between 1989 and 1991, with Tom Bosley in the title role, his first starring part since playing the chubby father, Howard Cunningham, in Happy Days.

from The Daily Telegraph: Ralph McInerny


Poetic Obituaries: Miss [Sarah] Mulvey won the national

W.H. Smith Young Writers Competition for a poem, Boarding School--Two Generation Tennis, castigating parents for the unhappiness inflicted on boarding school pupils.

The then 16-year-old said she had watched the parents arrive at the Benenden School in Kent to play in a tennis tournament.

"It was all a facade--superficial relations between mother and daughter and father and daughter," she said. "Because it is a girls' school, the male element is taken out and that makes it more artificial."

from Times Online: How to Look Good Naked executive in suspected suicide


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16th Poetic Ticker Clicking

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