Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 28th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

The 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On the Road is over a week away, and some superb articles are already coming out on this great writer who empowered our lives, while turning the tables on world cultural establishment. It's turning into a great celebration and a collective learned look at this loving genius who revolutionized world culture. We begin with two of them in News at Eleven, and Powells gives us a third in our Great Regulars section.

Some double-takes too. Occurring twice in News at Eleven, are Charles Simic items with poems. John Ashbery articles appear once on our Back Page, and again in Great Regulars by Meghan O'Rourke. One of my favorite poets, whose poetry books I never pass up, Grace Paley died, and we have one on her in News at Eleven, and another in Poetic Obituaries. Great Regular Robert Pinsky gives tribute to poet Liam Rector who died earlier this month, add his usual Poet's Choice and we have two by him. Two New Yorker poems appear, and this week, a double-double, four Your Poems by students in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area.

Two weeks ago, we headlined with the assault on poet, writer, physician, radical feminist, human rights activist, and secular humanist Taslima Nasrin (also, Taslima Nasreen). This week, this woman who risks her life to take on the Holy Hell of the establishment, is profiled in our third article. That article provides links to some excellent Nasrin resources. Last night, I compiled a quickie blog post, and invite you to do the same. Let's review her work, and spread the word. Taslima is important to the world: pass it on.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: Still, say Kerouac apologists

such as brother-in-law John Sampas, "the academy is realizing Jack was an articulate man of letters."

"He also was a very tender, sweet, warm, gentle intellectual giant," Sampas said from his Lowell home. "Only after reading all his journals and diaries did I come to realize he was a genius."

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: The one less traveled by


News at Eleven: Fifty years after On the Road

was first published, Kerouac's voice still calls out: Look around you, stay open, question the roles society has thrust upon you, don't give up the search for connection and meaning. In this bleak new doom-haunted century, those imperatives again sound urgent and subversive--and necessary.

from The Smithsonian: Remembering Jack Kerouac


News at Eleven: The life of Taslima [Nasrin]

should be protected. If India fails to protect her and panders to its Muslim community by not punishing imams who incite hate, then Islamist bigotry and intolerance will have destroyed its secular ideals as surely as they have already destroyed those of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

from Family Security Matters: Exclusive: Taslima Nasreen: A Woman of Moral Substance


News at Eleven: From 1986 to 1988, Ms. [Grace] Paley

was New York's first official state author; she was also a past poet laureate of Vermont.

Ms. Paley was among the earliest American writers to explore the lives of women--mostly Jewish, mostly New Yorkers--in all their dailiness. She focused especially on single mothers, whose days were an exquisite mix of sexual yearning and pulverizing fatigue.

from The New York Times: Grace Paley, Writer and Activist, Dies


News at Eleven: "[The education authorities] haven't twigged it.

They think poems are instruments which are an extension of the testing regime. It's a great shame because it says, 'These poems don't belong to you, they belong to us, we clever people who examine and test you. We're giving them to you so we can work out if you're worthy enough to read them and understand them, and mostly we find you're not.' It's terrible."

from The Scotsman: Poetry is the greatest teacher


News at Eleven: [Charles] Simic does not seem hopeful

about the raising-consciousness part of the job, perhaps because he does not think poetry is something you can force on people. "America is not a country particularly proud of our literature," he says when asked about the state of poetry today. "In the last 10 to 20 years, even classic American writers like Twain and Faulkner have become suspect. Professors are afraid to ask their students to read entire books.

from The Los Angeles Times: The U.S. Poet Laureate starts a new chapter in verse


News at Eleven: [Charles Leroux:] Q. Some critics

have called your work "surreal," but you've denied that haven't you?

[Charles Simic:] A. It's impossible to be surreal in America. Thousands of people here claim to have been abducted by aliens from space. You can't beat that.

Q. So you think of yourself as an American poet?

from Chicago Tribune: Poet laureate strives to say complicated things simply


News at Eleven: Reading these poems in London

in 1955, I thought I could understand how important Pushkin was to the Russians, doing for them what hadn't been done before. I put the Walcott as high as that.

from The Guardian: Caribbean Odyssey


News at Eleven: Here is [John D.] Sinclair's rendering

of the opening of the Paradiso:

The glory of Him who moves all things penetrates the universe and shines in one part more and in another less. I was in the heaven that most receives His light and I saw things which he that descends from it has not the knowledge or the power to tell again; for our intellect, drawing near to its desire, sinks so deep that memory cannot follow it.

Here is Jean Hollander's version:

The glory of Him who moves all things
pervades the universe and shines
in one part more and in another less.

I was in that heaven which receives
more of His light. He who comes down
from there
can neither know or tell what he has

for, drawing near to its desire,
so deeply is our intellect immersed
that memory cannot follow after it.

from The New Yorker: Cloud Nine


News at Eleven: A translation of Sahir Ludhiyanvi's

Urdu poem, "Kabhi Kabhi"

This poem has been sung (by Mukesh and Lata), and recited (by Amitabh Bachchan) in a much truncated and simplified form in the film Kabhi Kabhi--some of you might be familiar with that truncated version instead. This version, which is the original version by Sahir, is one of my favourite Urdu nazmsand hence I have attempted to translate it here.

from Chowk: Sometimes . . .


News at Eleven (Back Page): Excerpts of his [John Ashbery's] poems

will appear in 18 short promotional spots--like commercials for verse--on the channel and its Web site (mtvu.com, which will also feature the full text of the poems). In another first, mtvU will help sponsor a poetry contest for college students. The winner, chosen by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, will have a book published next year by HarperCollins as part of the National Poetry Series.

from The New York Times: An 80-Year-Old Poet for the MTV Generation


Great Regulars: The emphasis is on the striking

photographs of the variety of altars to the different deities, members of a variety of houses preparing for, or engaged in aspects of worship.

By way of background information--A 'house' is a group of devotees of a particular god or goddess under the leadership of a 'babalawo', or priest/priestess.

from Lisa Alvarado: Blogcritics: Santeria Garments and Altars - Speaking Without a Voice (Folk Art & Artists Series)


Great Regulars: One of the most intriguing aspects

of VS Naipaul's career is that he is both English literature's greatest living "postcolonial" writer and a pariah to the postcolonial academic and literary establishment. To his fellow Caribbean Nobel-winner Derek Walcott, he is "VS Nightfall", possessed with a "chronic dispiritedness", whose brilliant prose is "scarred by scrofula" and a "repulsion towards Negroes".

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: The great offender


Great Regulars: The phrase "the meanest flower" is taken

from the final lines of Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood". [Mimi] Khalvati's book as a whole, and "sonnet v" in particular, can be seen as an ongoing conversation with this brilliant meditation on childhood and loss.

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: The language of flowers


Great Regulars: On the other hand, those clever painters,

poets, and other artists who merely decorate their art for ego-enhancing purposes do not take their works from their heart's joys; instead they merely "draw but what they see." This artist/speaker insists on drawing from a deeper, even spiritual, well than what the eyes can "see."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 24


Great Regulars: What's a Literature Factory?

I wondered.

"Well, now, that's a silly question, it's simply a factory that makes literature," went the waggish message, posted by Factory creator Andy Fundinger. He described his project as a kind of automated "writer" that compiles letters into words, words into sentences, and sentences into a book-length work.

from Katie Haegele: The Philadelphia Inquirer: At last, books without those pesky authors


Great Regulars: For believers in marriage,

this poem is for you. It should be recited by the best man (or woman) at a wedding, instead of inflicting a tedious speech about the groom's teenage acne and college indiscretions on the gathered throng.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Our house


Great Regulars: Poem: "Flash Cards"

by Rita Dove, from Grace Notes.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of August 27, 2007


Great Regulars: The British writer Virginia Woolf wrote

about the pleasures of having a room of one's own. Here the Vermont poet Karin Gottshall shows us her own sort of private place.

The Raspberry Room

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 126


Great Regulars: "We are," he [Robert Macfarlane] says during

a chapter set in Cumbria, "as a species, finding it increasingly hard to imagine that we are part of something which is larger than our own capacity . . . We have in many ways forgotten what the world feels like."

In certain predictable ways, his early travels provide him with "the real" that he wants.

from Andrew Motion: The Guardian: Mapping nature's heartlands


Great Regulars: Instead, he [John Ashbery] sets out

to capture the range of language that bombards us--from the boardrooms, movie theaters, and streets ("Attention, shoppers," one poem begins; "Say, doc," another starts)--and at his best succeeds better than any other writer at conveying how the barrage affects a mind haunted by its own processes and by the unstable patterns that shape-shift around us.

from Meghan O'Rourke: Slate: MTVu's Poet Laureate


Great Regulars: "An atheist in the foxhole": Liam Rector (1949-2007)

more or less knew he was writing his epitaph in that jaunty, ferociously defiant line of his poem "This Summer," first published in Slate on April 18, 2001.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: "This Summer": Remembering Liam Rector


The Korean poet Kim Sowol (1902-1934), according to his translator David McCann, was a modernist influenced by Western poetry--but a modernist who also incorporated many traditional techniques, images and forms from Korean folk poetry and folk song. His work is still popular and beloved in Korea. Here is Kim Sowol's "A Later Day," a poem that considers explicitly the relation between old ways and new generations:

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


Great Regulars: But, no, [Howard W.] Robertson spends

three pages energetically asserting exactly what his poems do and how they do it.

It is, well, insulting.

And baffling to a reader who appreciates reaching his or her own conclusions. To paraphrase Andre the Giant in the movie "The Princess Bride," I don't think it all means what he thinks it means.

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Toppled by too much


Great Regulars: Today (28 August 2007) is full moon day.

This day is celebrated as AVANI AVITTAM in Southern India, especially in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and in certain parts of Orissa. This day is also called as 'Upakarma' and is considered a very important day for the Brahmin society. On this day, Brahmins change the sacred thread, called the yagnopavitam while chanting mantras.

from V Sundaram: News Today: The glory of Gayatri Mantra and Upakarma


Great Regulars: There are blows in life,

so powerful . . . I don't know!

This line interrupts, undermines itself, in the middle of seeming to make a sweeping statement.

Or how about:

Night is a cup of evil. Shrilly a police whistle
pierces it, like a vibrating pin

from John Timpane: Philadelpia Inquirer: Vallejo, the bard of Peru


Great Regulars: Editor's note: The following poems

were written by children serving time in Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall. The poems were generated in writing workshops conducted by The Beat Within, a weekly, non-profit publication dedicated to providing a voice for incarcerated youth. To find out more about The Beat Within, and how you can help it to achieve its mission, visit thebeatwithin.org.

My Father/by Jose

from Good Times Weekly: Poems by children serving time in Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall


Great Regulars: Autumn Collection

by Luke Kennard

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Autumn Collection by Luke Kennard


Great Regulars: 'Sunday Morning,'

by Jo McDougall

from The Kansas City Star: Poet's Corner: 'Sunday Morning,' by Jo McDougall


Great Regulars: End of Summer

by James Richardson

from The New Yorker: Poetry: End of Summer


Ghost Elephants
by Jean Valentine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Ghost Elephants


Great Regulars: The creative act amazes me.

Whether it's poetry, whether it's music, it's an amazing process, and it has something to do with bringing forth the old out into the world to create and to bring forth that which will rejuvenate.

"Perhaps the World Ends Here"

from PBS: Newshour: Joy Harjo Reflects on the 'Spirit of Poetry'


Great Regulars: By Lucero Medina By Minh Vo By

Timothy Walls By Minh Vo By Craig Rand
My Desires

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Lucero Medina, Minh Vo, Timothy Walls, Minh Vo, & Craig Rand]


By Molly O'Neill
The Last of the Galapogurts

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Molly O'Neill]


By Natalie Staples
Black Silhouettes

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem [by Natalie Staples]


By Maeve Sutherland
Tousled Boy

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Maeve Sutherland]


Great Regulars: Essence of Smuttynose

[by Kate Leigh]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Essence of Smuttynose


[by Eileen MacDonald]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Responsibility


Great Regulars: It was not just the story of wild times

and reckless kicks; it was an exploration of how the narrator matured past jazzy libertinism and into, maybe not necessarily the man in the gray flannel suit, but, a man who could stand toe-to-toe with him and know that his experience, his existence was at least more authentic and honest. Leland successfully separates Jack Kerouac the author (and his literary alter ego Sal Paradise) from the cult of Dean Moriarty.

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Why Kerouac Matters: The Beat Goes On


Great Regulars: Capturing the mysterious

and the sensuous world of the moth, this poem from Elizabeth Burns's new collection The Lantern Bearers (Shoestring, £8.95) is typical of her tender and precise insight.

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: Elizabeth Burns The Moth Trap


Great Regulars: "The Conquerors"

By L.S. Asekoff

from Slate: "The Conquerors" --By L.S. Asekoff


Great Regulars: The first of Thom Gunn's poems

to appear in the TLS was "Jesus and His Mother", published on August 6, 1954, when he was twenty-four years old. It appeared in his second collection, A Sense of Movement, 1957.

Gunn, who was brought up in Hampstead and went to Cambridge, settled in San Francisco in 1961. He died there in 2004.

Jesus and His Mother

from Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Jesus and His Mother, by Thom Gunn


Poetic Obituaries: A poet, chef, mechanic and soldier, Pvt. Alan J. Austin

was more than just a talented young man, his friends and family said.

from Houston Chronicle: Mourners gather for final farewell to 'great guy' killed in Afghanistan


Poetic Obituaries: Everyone around Springfield, it seemed,

knew John Deselem. A father of two grown sons, he'd made a name for himself as a poet, leading regular readings at cafes in Springfield and nearby Yellow Springs. He was known for enthusiastic encouragement of those who were scared to share their words before a crowd.

from The Columbus Dispatch: Accident or murder?


Poetic Obituaries: The veteran entertainer and poet [Harry Harrison]

was one of the best known faces on the area's comedy circuit and was one of the founders of the popular Black Country Night Out events.

He was well-known for his odes to the area he grew up in and also wrote a book of humorous tales entitled Off the Cuff Black Country Stuff.

from Express & Star: Legend Harry dies aged 85


Poetic Obituaries: [Pauline Innis] developed polio

as a child and, in her solitude, began writing.

One of her poems won a newspaper contest, for which the prize was a basket of candy and cakes. She said the food encouraged her to continue writing, adding, "Don't you think that would set anybody off?"

from The Washington Post: Pauline Innis, 88; Writer Advised on Social Graces


Poetic Obituaries: [Thomas Keasbey] documented his experience

in a journal. His wife of 54 years said the book is filled with "poems, prayers, a wish list of their first meals, a list of places they'd bombed."

"In the back, in a folder, there's a little piece of barbed wire. That really brings it home," Edie Keasbey said yesterday.

from The Journal News: Patterson resident and activist Thomas Keasbey dies


Poetic Obituaries: [Eva Kendel] was a provincial poet laureate

and taught in a one-room school house in rural Manitoba, where some of the students were actually older than she was. She began her career as an educator at 16.

from Northern Life: Energetic educator dies at 82


Poetic Obituaries: When she [Grace Paley] was 19,

she took a class at New York's New School for Social Research taught by poet W.H. Auden, who noticed that she wrote poems in British English. When he asked her why, it produced a revelation. "What he did was he pointed a way for me to be myself," Paley told Oprah magazine this year.

from The Los Angeles Times: Grace Paley, acclaimed short-story writer and activist, dies at 84


Poetic Obituaries: [Franklin] Parker, described by his children

as a handsome 6-footer, had a large sense of humor to match.

"Dad had a sense of the theatric and liked to recite poetry and limericks," his daughter said. Until recently he could still recite 'The Cremation of Sam Magee."

He also wrote poetry for birthdays and sang in the choir of his church.

from The Boston Globe: Franklin Parker, engineer on Burma Road


Poetic Obituaries: Each time a patient of his died [James] Putney,

a poetry lover, added lines to a long poem he was writing, "Over a Thousand Petals." His patients, he said, taught him how to live.

"Some people travel the world to see gurus to learn the secrets of the world," Putney said. "I learn them every day from my patients."

from The Los Angeles Times: James Putney, 55; chaplain helped ease patients' pain of cancer


Poetic Obituaries: Less than three weeks before [Kayla Reynolds,]

a 13-year-old Spotsylvania County girl was fatally shot, she wrote a poem almost predicting her death. The first six lines read:

Shoot and end me now.
Don't ask why and don't ask how.
Shoot me dead, that's all you have to do.
Someone'll do it, so why not you.
Big words for a girl who's thirteen.
But it'll surprise me if I turn eighteen.

from The Free Lance-Star: Slaying Victim Obsessed with Gloom


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21st Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 21st forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

This week, we headline with InterBoard Community Poets. And it's not that Deb Bogen's IBPC poetry contest results for August are readied for publication yet, but that The Times asked for train poems, and the IBPC responded remarkably. Also, in News at Eleven, important and fresh looks at or through these poets: Jack Kerouac, Donald Hall, Billy Collins, George Bowering, Ogden Nash, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Shakespeare, and Robert Frost. It's a terrific week.

Also, we welcome Bob Hoover to the Great Regulars section. I had decided that he would be one, and waited for his next writings to do with poetry. He's got two on Kerouac, the greatest poet in cultural impact of the past century, possibly second only to Einstein in cultural impact overall around the world.

It's the 50th anniversary of On the Road, the book that changed the world: how people around the globe relate to each other, how we consider moving about our world; who and what we look for as we travel and day to day; how we in the USA relate to our country; where music and culture continue to grow from; cultural formality or postmodern informality; literature; open mics; and more of just who we are, both consciously and unconsciously, as a collective and as the individual we've become. There will be more in the news next week on Kerouac.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: "I'm travelling Sydney, station

by station, starting from quiet
tennis suburbs. The sun's honey
drips down through the foliage."

No mistaking that for Clapham Junction on a wet Wednesday.

From New York, Annie Bien offered Interborough Transit, about a morning ride on the Subway, on which the passengers are infinitely more fascinating than the train:

"The student rises for the old man
Closing Anna Karenina, isn't that nice"

from The Times: At home we wait, wait and fulminate while abroad they just enjoy the view


News at Eleven: Kenneth Rexroth of the San Francisco Chronicle

concluded "This novel should demonstrate once and for all that the hipster is the furious square."

What happened between now and then, that this part of Kerouac has been forgotten, is multifold.

from Alternet: 50 Years on, Kerouac's 'On The Road' Reveals the Beatnik as a Tender, Geeky Romantic