Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

Christmas Day forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Good morning. I'm up late searching for and selecting videos for the blog that go with the poetry news this week. Enjoy them. The News at Eleven and Great Regulars section both have holiday poems and articles. There is other news too. Hopefully something for everyone. For instance, for me, the new Lola Haskins poetry in Great Regulars is a great gift. Well, I better let you get to opening the links.

Merry Christmas!


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: Charles [Longellow] recovered, although

his injury affected him long after and the bullet that nicked his spine came one inch from causing permanent paralysis. The relief and gratitude [Henry Wadsworth] Longfellow felt is noted in the poem's final stanza, the one cited in Bush's speech.

But the poem addresses a range of strong feelings and internal conflicts, emanating from the irony and pain Longfellow felt, hearing traditional Christmas bells and comfortably walking the streets near his lavish Cambridge, Mass., home while cannons thundered farther south.

from Burlington Free Press: Jump Cut: War is hell, but inspires deep poetry


News at Eleven: [J. Cruickshank Muir] describes the "nightmare"

of a vet returning to a society that "has no rituals for reintegrating its weary, wounded warriors." His poems sting with truth and humor, and the ordeal of finding yourself, if you survive. In the poem "Small Minds," Muir sums up in a few profound words one of the saddest effects of war for veterans:

from Santa Barbara Independent: The Poetry of Peace (and War)


News at Eleven: So persistently and enthusiastically

did he [William Winstanley] drum in the message that by the late 1680s Christmas had taken root again.

Holly and ivy were back. In Winstanley's ideal Christmas, there had to be roaring log fires in every room and an 'especially jolly blaze' in the hall.

"Good, nappy [nut-brown] ale" was to be on tap, and the sideboards should groan with "chines of beef, turkeys, geese, ducks and capons", then "minc'd pies, plumb-puddings and frumenty [a sweet milky porridge seasoned with cinnamon]".

from Daily Mail: William Winstanley: The man who saved Christmas from Cromwell's misery


News at Eleven: In "Cradle Song", "pity" brings both private pain

and public anxiety to the show, Othello's stricken cry and [Wilfred] Owen's deliberate artistic morality.

Eleanor Clark, whom "Cradle Song" addresses, was the young left-wing American writer with whom [Louis] MacNeice had been in love since 1939 (and in whose company he felt, as he reported in one letter, "timelessly happy").

from The Times Literary Supplement: Louis MacNeice from cradle to grave
also The Times Literary Supplement: Then and Now


News at Eleven: Several plainclothes officers seized Yusuf Jumaev

and his son, Bobur, and forced them into a car in the capital of Tashkent on Wednesday, said the poet's eldest son, Alisher Jumaev.

In November, Yusuf Jumaev, 50, and his four sons held pickets in the western region of Bukhara, denouncing Karimov for running for a third term despite a two-term limit in the constitution.

from The Standard-Times: Uzbek dissident seized after protest
also The Guardian: Uzbek president returned in election 'farce'


News at Eleven: In a first planned protest

in her support since controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen fled Kolkata, close to 500 friends and supporters of the exiled Bangladeshi author are holding a protest march in Kolkata demanding that she be allowed entry into the city.

from IBN Live: Taslima supporters hold protest march in Kolkata


News at Eleven: Focus for a moment on [Wendy] Cope's argument

that it hurts her sales when someone sends one of her poems to their friends. Suppose I email a Cope poem to 10 people, along with a note urging them to read it. Most recipients, presumably, will be neither more nor less likely to buy one of her books as a result.

from The Guardian: theblogbooks: Free verse: getting copyright wrong


News at Eleven: "Salvation" becomes "rescue".

"My soul thirsteth" becomes "my throat thirsts". "Pavilion" and "tabernacle" are both demoted to "tent".

Some--though not all--fixings-up of this sort are already available in other modern translations, and readers who go for mighty cadences will obviously prefer to stick with the King James Version.

from The Guardian: In the vale of death's shadow


Monday, December 24, 2007

News at Eleven: This sense of detachment can,

at times, seem clinical, overly abstract, even cold.

But this detached tone also creates a scrim for grief to tear, revealing what is behind the performance. It is when the ability to regard grief from an intellectual standpoint fails and the heartbreaking particulars emerge that this work takes on its greatest force.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Personal tragedy and nature of loss


News at Eleven: Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Yeah, a very depressing book,

compared to his early writing. I mean, his early writing and On the Road had this gusto for life, this joie de vivre, which is what appealed to Henry Miller in Kerouac's writing. And Miller wanted to meet him. But that's the descriptive passages--On the Road is marvelous, like they're hungry for life. And in a book twenty years later, like On the Road--it's an old tired prose compared to the early writing.

from Democracy Now!: Legendary Beat Generation Bookseller and Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books on the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road", Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and Poetry As Insurgent Art


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Charles] Wesley understood

that hymns establish bridges among people; that they could not only "convict but also bring people to Christ."

What many do not know is that Wesley did not confine his poetic skills to religious hymns and poems. Among his manuscripts is a poem written for his children about horseback riding and another about a cat called Grimalkin.

from The United Methodist News Service: Britain celebrates Charles Wesley's life, legacy


Great Regulars: 'Nocturnal'

As I sleep, the cat swallows the Christmas tree's tinsel,

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: More Holiday Verse
also John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Winter lights, winter nights


And when he wheeled about
his bloody neck still bled.
His point was proved. The court
was deadened now with dread.

As delivered by Armitage, the poem's later sections--which concern a journey Gawain must take and his temptation by a mysterious lady--are stronger. Armitage seems more at home with love and wooing than war and hunting.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Latest translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight trips on its own sword


Great Regulars: A pleasure in words alone

might be one. I see, for instance, that to describe correctly the elements of the hilt of a rapier, from the blade to the button (the end point of the pommel), you must know and identify the side ring, the ricasso, the quillon block, the forward and the rear quillon, the grip and the knuckle guard.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: A call to arms


Great Regulars: He loves his work,

and he does not want to taint it by even the appearance of self-absorption.

Anyone who has observed the solipsistic tendencies of some artists realizes the ugly display that such braggadocio engenders.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 39


He muses that even if his work takes all of his love, because of his love, the poem will assuredly be blamed if it deceives itself by taking his loves when the speaker will need his loves to enrich the poem.

The poem can only deplete itself by depleting the speaker.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 40


[Bruce] Wexler, for example, claims that with his busy life of career and mortgage payments, he lost interest in poetry, even after being quite an aficionado in college and even after writing poetry. So what? That he lost interest in poetry doesn't mean everyone has. Such is truly a warped logic.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: The State of Poetry


Great Regulars: [Christina] Rossetti asks what

she can give to Jesus: a shepherd might bring a lamb, a wise man might impart knowledge or imbue the boy's future with some kind of helpful wisdom, but Rossetti must think of something else.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: Love in a cold climate


Great Regulars: Poem: "Brothers Playing Catch on Christmas Day"

by Gary Short, from 10 Moons and 13 Horses.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of December 24, 2007


A big orange and some fresh pine boughs and "Silent Night" are all I need, and cookies, of course. They are the strings that when I pull on them I pull up the complete glittering storybook Christmases of my childhood.

from Garrison Keillor: Chicago Tribune: Stopping to smell the pine boughs


Great Regulars: When, toward the end of "Windcatcher,"

one reads that "poetry completes/what history leaves out," one is tempted to rewrite that last line as "what history erases." For in his prison memoir, "The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist," [Breyten] Breytenbach writes that the purpose of his interrogators was "to burgle and to burn down the storehouse of dreams and fantasies and hopes."

from David Kirby: The New York Times: Needing No Weatherman


This is one of those poems you're afraid to look at again for fear it might be less beautiful than you thought.

Of all the things that populate the world, then, both human and non-, a poem has the greatest potential to succeed or fail, which is why Pinsky can comfortably offer a piece called "Poems with Lines in Any Order" or observe, again in "Immature Song," that poems are adolescents, "confused, awkward, self-preoccupied, vaguely//Rebellious in a way that lacks practical focus, moving without/Discipline from thing to thing."

from David Kirby: The Washington Post: Soulful Sounds


Great Regulars: Here is Arizona poet Steve Orlen's

lovely tribute to the great opera singer, Maria Callas. Most of us never saw her perform, or even knew what she looked like, but many of us listened to her on the radio or on our parents' record players, perhaps in a parlor like the one in this poem.

In the House of the Voice of Maria Callas

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 143


Great Regulars: More recently, Alan Dugan (1923-2003)

began a poem "Dugan's deathward, darling." Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), in her "In the Waiting Room," wrote: "you are an I,/you are an Elizabeth,/you are one of them."

Possibly the most moving use of a poet's own name in English poetry is Ben Jonson's "On My First Son":

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


Great Regulars: You send them to magazines.

You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Letter to a young poet --Rainer Maria Rilke


Great Regulars: [Lola Haskins] is the author

of eight books of poetry and also, “The Wing on the Mailbox, A Beginner's Guide to the Poetic Life.” Lola Haskins is no stranger to Santa Cruz, having read twice here in recent years and twice presented her popular poetry workshops.


from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Poetry by Lola Haskins


Great Regulars: [by Andrew Lack]

Real Life Christmas Card

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Real Life Christmas Card


Great Regulars: By Judith Bader Jones


from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: 'Lonesome,' a poem by Judith Bader Jones


Great Regulars: [by Mark Pomeroy]

Stepping through a burn,

from The Oregonian: Poetry


Great Regulars: By Eric Harmon

Snow is battering the scene,

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Eric Harmon]


By Rachel Howard

Haddonfield Memorial High School

Poland, 1939

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Rachel Howard ]


Teen author Damon Lomax recited selections from his recent book, "When My Eyes Were Closed," for members of Delsea High School's English Club on Dec. 11. Lomax's poems enter the world of a teenager trying to make sense of life. They explore themes of love, death, heartbreak and inspiration.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Damon Lomax]


Great Regulars: [by Isabel Grasso]

The Contemporary Scene:

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: The Contemporary Scene


Great Regulars: Thirty years ago this week,

on December 23, 1977, the TLS published "Aubade", one of the greatest, and bleakest, and indeed one of the very last poems written by Philip Larkin, who was himself to die in 1985.

Office correspondence exists from the season of the poem's publication which refers to the poem as "Christmas without the baby".


from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Aubade by Philip Larkin introduced by Mick Imlah


Poetic Obituaries: "He is a poet,"

[Pt. Jawaharlal] Nehru would say, and then pointing to Teji [Bachchan], he would add, "And this is his poem."

Even before the couple's first son Amitabh's now-illustrious acting career took off, they were names to reckon with in India's accomplished literary circuit and high society.

from Express India: 'The poet's poem'


Poetic Obituaries: Among them are a nursing-home resident

who defiantly heads into a blinding snow, a mortician whose father has trained him never to emote, an abused wife who refuses her dying husband his morphine, and a skinflinty rooming-house landlady who perceives the smallest gift to be a bribe.

Author and writing instructor Tobias Wolff, of Palo Alto, Calif., called her [Carol Bly's] short stories "indelible, exemplary" and said he often uses them in the classroom at Stanford University.

from Star Tribune: Carol Bly, Minnesota's lioness of letters, dies


Poetic Obituaries: George Mifsud Chircop was born in Qormi

and studied in St. Aloysius College and University of Malta. He specialised in Maltese folklore particularly its narrative element as shown by his thesis type index of the Maltese folk tale within the Mediterranean area [1978] for which he was awarded the Carmen Micallef Buhagiar prize for the best MA thesis.

from di-ve: Maltese folklore expert dies


Poetic Obituaries: According to her daughter,

Helen Jeu, Mrs. [Rose Ng] Chong was an inspiring person who had nothing as a child but accomplished much.

Her faith never wavered throughout her hardships and she became a painter, local secretary for the National Lung Koon Association and published a poem at 80 years of age.

from The Friday Flyer: In Memoriam: Rose Ng Chong


Poetic Obituaries: [Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury] was one of the pioneers

of non-communal and democratic culture in the country.

Apart from the well-known Ekushey poem, Mahbub ul Alam also penned many poems, stories, dramas and essays.

He was the editor of the prestigious monthly literature magazine "Shimanto" from 1947 to 1952.

from The Daily Star: Language Movement hero Mahbub no more


Poetic Obituaries: Novelist, poet, drama author

and critic, his [Julien Gracq's] literary debut came with 'At Argol's Castle', which sold only 150 copies and which he published in 1938 at his own costs.

Fiercely private, he stunned France for declining the Goncourt prize in 1951 for his masterpiece novel "The Opposite Shore" ('Rivage des Syrtes')--a tale about collective suicide in an imaginary landscape.

from Reuters: French hermit and surreal writer Gracq dies age 97


Poetic Obituaries: [James P. "Pete" Henderson] was a member

of Elyria Country Club and scored a hole-in-one on No. 13.

He enjoyed athletics, reading, lapidary, woodworking, golf, gardening, welding, debate, music and writing poetry; loved the West and traveled there. As a child in Texas he loved to race horses and won several times.

from The Morning Journal: James P. Henderson, 86, lawyer, ran for Congress


Poetic Obituaries: [Lori Kim Jackson] was a gifted poet

and a creative cook who could whip up a tasty meal with an international flare.

On the practical side, she enjoyed figuring out how to fix just about anything!

In recent years, gardening had also become a passion. You could find Lori's apartment by looking for the flowers, plants and hummingbirds outside her window.

from York County Coast Star: Lori Kim Jackson


Poetic Obituaries: Diane Middlebrook, who died on December 15

aged 68, made her name by writing a controversial account of the life of the American poet Anne Sexton, in which she defied the unwritten rules of biography by quoting extensively from the tape recordings of her subject's psychotherapy sessions; in Britain, however, she was better known as the author of an astute and accomplished account of the marriage of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

from Telegraph: Diane Middlebrook


Poetic Obituaries: Newt [Newton A. Miner] served

in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a graduate of George Washington University with a degree in English literature.

He was employed as a chief appraiser with the federal government and later worked as an independent appraiser. He was a published poet.

from The Free Lance-Star: Newton A. Miner


Poetic Obituaries: After the verdict,

[Daphne] Pierre and several other women related to many of the missing women spoke at the news conference. Pierre also read a poem that she said was written by her deceased sister [Jackie Murdock].

from Prince George Citizen: First Nations woman says DNA of her sister found on Pickton farm


Poetic Obituaries: A group of older students gathered

at the altar to sing, with his father remembering Isaraelu [Pele]'s love of rugby union, poetry and drawing.

He was the fastest runner in his class, Southern Cross Radio reported.

His white coffin was draped in silk and adorned with fairies, Santa toys and clowns.

A number of his Christmas presents were also placed inside his coffin.

from The Age: Tributes flow for meningitis victim


Poetic Obituaries: Founded in 1975 to publish poetry

about his [Alexander "Sandy" Taylor's] experiences in Chile by a friend, James Scully, Curbstone went on to win state and national awards, establish the Miguel Mármol Prize, present Poetry in the Park readings and promote literacy through programs at schools and prisons.

Five collections of Taylor's own poetry have been published, including "Dreaming at the Gates of Fury: New and Selected Poems," which reflected his involvement in social protest and anti-war movements.

from Hartford Courant: Co-Founder Of Curbstone Press Dies


Poetic Obituaries: "A number of contributors met earlier

this week and we agreed that, given the interest in Henry's work being expressed by friends and relatives, it would be appropriate to draw wider attention to the collection, both as a memorial to Henry and to highlight what a potentially great talent had been lost in such a tragic accident." [--Charles Christian, on Henry Wingate]

from Norwich Evening News 24: The final poems of tragic young driver


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 18th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

December 18th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

This week, we get to look at poets within the contexts of their poetry movements and political environments, and through people they've known. And we do this in countries around the world. To have these articles all come out in the same week yields a remarkable perspective, as these poets and their environments speak across the margins and borders.

Look for Christmas in our Great Regulars section from Garrison Keillor, The Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. Check out the articles by V Sundaram there too. Also, in that section, several poems of René Char are translated for us in The Brooklyn Rail. Their article on him is our News at Eleven headliner.

People important to poetry have died this week. Be sure to scroll through the Poetic Obituaries as well.

Thanks for coming by.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: Etre poète, c'est avoir de l'appétit

pour un malaise dont la consommation, parmi les tourbillons de la totalité des choses existantes et pressenties, provoque, au moment de se clore, la félicité.

To be a poet is to have an appetite for a discomfort whose consummation, among the whirlwinds of totality of things existing and foreseen, provokes, at the moment of closure, happiness.

from The Brooklyn Rail: René Char--Resistance in Every Way
also Great Regulars: The Companions in the Garden


News at Eleven: In December that year, in a fam-ous

public confrontation, [Yevgeny] Yevtushenko directly challenged Khrushchev. At a meeting with artists and writers, the Soviet leader reprimanded cultural deviants, crudely citing an old Russian proverb, "Only the grave can correct a hunchback," whereupon Yevtushenko retorted, "Really Nikita Sergeievich, we thought the time was past when the grave was used as a means of correction." Yevtushenko's telegram about Czechoslovakia was leaked to the western press at the end of September 1968.

from Prospect: Oxford's Poetry Revolution


News at Eleven: "It is very sad that our people are totally

disoriented, and the disorientation spreads from top to bottom. Many people don't understand what literature is all about. The fact that somebody has a PhD does not mean that the person understands literature. For you to understand literature, you have to understand the human society, human politics and human psychology, and you can't study literature in the sky; you have to understand it from the point of view of human society and human interaction. Do you think that those people who preach in the church will succeed without literature? Do you think you can reach anybody without literature?" he [Ossie Enekwe] queries.

from Daily Sun: Lunatics have misled our literary scholars--Ossie Enekwe


News at Eleven: [Philip] Whalen and [Joanne] Kyger

are essentially School of Backyard poets, who look out their kitchen windows and see the universe. Both have given themselves permission to write about what is immediately in front of them and/or on their minds, no matter how exalted or mundane. They are both domestics who leave plenty of room for splendor. Both have mastered the conversational; both feed off slang. Everything is the subject of their poems.

from Los Angeles Times: 'The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen,' edited by Michael Rothenberg, and 'About Now' by Joanne Kyger


News at Eleven: How eloquently this speaks to our present helplessness

as we resign ourselves to our rulers' imperial delusions and hurtle down the road to yet another war. Yet it is useless to despair, [Robinson] Jeffers counsels:

Life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic.

This slide into the abyss is as natural as life itself, which can only end in death.

from The American Conservative: Robinson Jeffers: Peace Poet


News at Eleven: If there is such a thing as a poetry jackpot,

[Anne] Stevenson has just hit it: this year she has won three important American literary prizes, together worth $260,000 (£130,000), and in 2008 the Library of America will publish a new edition of her Selected Poems, edited by Andrew Motion. All the more remarkable, this sudden rush of recognition has come in her 75th year.

from The Times: Anne Stevenson: the secret life of a poet
also The Times: Beach Kites by Anne Stevenson
also The Cortland Review (Issue 14, November 2000): Anne Stevenson Interview with Cynthia Haven


News at Eleven: [Peter] Payack was also the driving force

between the 1976 Phone a Poem program, in which poets were asked to record their work on a cassette tape to which callers could listen.

Before the advent of the Internet, "it was the only way that you could get poetry outside of a book or library," says Payack.

Payack has even transferred poetry from formal readings--quite literally--into peoples' mouths.

from The Harvard Crimson: City Populist Spreads Love of Poetry


News at Eleven: The sole surviving copy

of the manuscript, now kept securely in the British Library, was recorded by a scribe and bound up with three other poems probably by the same creator ("Pearl," "Patience" and "Cleanness"). Thus the author is generally known as the Gawain or Pearl poet. He was a contemporary of Chaucer and a master of our mongrel English tongue.

from The New York Times: A Stranger in Camelot


News at Eleven: [Helen Vendler's] book's second chapter,

"Antechamber and Afterlife," is a near microscopic examination of form poems: "Sailing to Byzantium," "Byzantium," "The Delphic Oracle upon Plotinus," and "News for the Delphic Oracle." The second and fourth poems are, as is easy to see, reworkings and continuations of the first and third. But Ms. Vendler shows, in examining the hidden formal movements of each poem--particularly by dissecting the organization of the stanzas--that their simultaneous continuity and struggle with each other, and the vision of the conflict between the temporal and the eternal they propose, are far more than just a matter of theory.

from The New York Sun: The Private Language of Form


News at Eleven: [Zvi Sesling] presents it straight

with no chaser. This is a poem that will make you cut yourself while shaving, as Auden said. It reminded me of the many whitefish staring at me in judgment through the plastic wrappers at the local delicatessen. Sesling makes this disembodied fish an oracle, a sage in the soup, much like Bernard Malamud did with his “Jew Bird.”

from The Somerville News: When I look at a poem


News at Eleven (Back Page): And of "Rukeyser," he [Gerald Stern] writes,

"Muriel Rukeyser came from a specific line of privileged New York German Jews. Her own mission was to criticize, according to leftist and feminist politics deeply rooted in the Eastern European Socialist tradition, economic and social exploitation. Her poems, as I see it, are the beginning of a startling, deeply important movement, or series of movements, that involve fields as diverse as poetry, art, dancing, economics, and politics."

from Nextbook: Two Poems by Gerald Stern


Great Regulars: And print, far from dying out,

is being consumed in massive quantities online. The issue, as it has always been, is pointing readers and viewers to the sort of material worth their time and attention, material that tells true stories about the world or enlarges our sense of what it means to be human or offers real entertainment.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: From the blogs


Great Regulars: It's another vivid composition

by the talented poet [Kim Addonizio], whose collections include Tell Me.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Poetry lovers, put this on your list