Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 29th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

January 29th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

The 25th was Robert Burns Night around the world, resulting in some excellent articles, poetry and audio about him. This is where we begin in News at Eleven. Next comes a remarkable look at language through Núala Ní Dhómhnaill and Paul Muldoon, and a terrific article on Natasha Tretheway. It's a good week for poetry. I think you will enjoy many of the links.

But it seems we cannot look at the world of poetry writing and reading, without finding censorship and arrest, such as in our last two items in News at Eleven. There is a real problem with military juntas such as we have in Burma. All military is established to protect and defend, to serve. When the upper-ranked officials get such crazed egos that they believe they outrank the citizenry, we poets are in trouble, and Burma has just such a foolish and dangerous general.

You'll have much to discover in Great Regulars. Let me point you to Belinda Subraman's five poems in Newspaper Tree, published through the poetry curator there, Great Regular Donna Snyder. Belinda has two web sites for us poets, Belinda Subraman and Belinda Subraman Presents (Gypsy Art Show) from which she hosts weekly podcasts: "Talk Radio: Musicians, writers, poets, artists and activists." This noontime, she called as we had arranged. Little did I know that my discovering her poetry would be in Great Regulars, and her interviewing me, were coincidental to her as well.

As each week, take a scroll through the Poetic Obituaries.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire


News at Eleven: For poets, of course, [Robert] Burns

has never gone away. The vigour, directness and sheer beauty of his verse has always enraptured them. As Seamus Heaney says: "He did not fail the Muse or us or himself as one of poetry's chosen instruments."

Here is the poem he has written as a tribute which is included in the book.

A Birl for Burns by Seamus Heaney

from Telegraph: Seamus Heaney: A Birl for Burns
also The Guardian: theblogbooks: Podcast: Poetry for Burns night
also The Official Gateway to Scotland: Burns Interactive


News at Eleven: There is no romanticising of the past,

no obsessive elegising in [Núala] Ní Dhómhnaill's work. It is something far more disturbing than innocence or order she wants to recover.

'Of course,' the narrator remarks, 'there's a long history of merfolk in Ireland'--that is, a long history of men and women forced out of their element, forced to make unwilling concessions, forced into a self-denying forgetfulness and translation.

from The Guardian: Like a mermaid out of water


News at Eleven: [Natasha] Trethewey was teaching

at Auburn University and had gone to Gulfport to take her grandmother, Leretta Dixon Turnbough, out to dinner. They were in a restaurant talking about the time her grandmother's brother, Hubert, met Al Capone when the gangster took a boat full of people out to Ship Island to gamble. Trethewey said a woman from a nearby table came over and said: "'There's something else you need to know about Ship Island.'"

The woman told her about the black soldiers.

from The Associated Press: Poet Revives Neglected History


News at Eleven: In "The Forgetting," [Robert] Pinsky

begins with the acknowledgment that "The forgetting I notice most as I get older is really a form of memory:/The undergrowth of things unknown to you young, that I have forgotten." To read this and the other poems in the book is to see how individual memory flows into cultural memory.

from The Boston Globe: Poems of vitality and mortality


News at Eleven: In the midst of admiring

the Polish writer Adam Zagajewski in his essay collection, [Adam] Kirsch reflects, "Here (in the United States) poetry is such a minor, sidelined pursuit that its practitioners seldom even consider the possibility that their art has a duty to a larger cause. . . . The moral crisis of Eastern Europe under Communism gave poetry an urgency and stature it can never have in the United States, where it is largely a hobby confined to writing workshops."

from San Francisco Chronicle: 'The Modern Element' lauds some poets, takes others to task


News at Eleven: [George] Oppen rejected both

these strategies as self-congratulatory, untestable: "We must cease to believe in secret names and unexpected phrases which will burst the world." Without fanfare, he refused the notion that a poet could fulfill his social responsibilities by writing any kind of poem, and neither did this refusal engender any contempt for poetry.

"Is it more important to produce art or to take political action," he asks in the daybooks.

from The Nation: A Test of Poetry


News at Eleven: For [Paul] Durcan, no sacred cow

is beyond his satiric reach, which makes him rare in a country where reverential lip-service is so often obsequiously paid to the "great tradition".

These poems describing his mother's early life, marriage, loyalty to husband and especially her troubled eldest son, and finally her decline into old age and Alzheimer's, are very moving.

from The Guardian: A sharp and subtle voice


News at Eleven: Their eyes might come across the words

on the page, but they would create no frisson of recognition: "Casting a dim religious light"; "What hath night to do with sleep?"; "New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large"; "They also serve who only stand and waite"; "Better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven"; "Farewell remorse, all good to me is lost?/Evil be thou my good"; "O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon"; "Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail?/Or knock the breast".

from Telegraph: Why Milton needs restoring to glory


News at Eleven: But [Germaine] Greer draws too sharp

a contrast with life in the villages around Stratford. Tudor market towns were part of the countryside. Cows were milked there; butter, cheese and eggs would not, as she suggests, have been brought to Mary but purchased after a few minutes’ walk to the marketplace; Greer is not right about there being bakeries in every street: most families still had their own bread oven.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Germaine Greer and Mrs Shakespeare


News at Eleven: But hidden in the poem

was Mr [Saw] Wai's message about the regime's 74-year-old senior general, Than Shwe. In Burmese, the word for million is "Than" while the word for gold is "Shwe".

Myat Khaing, the editor of Love Journal, told journalists that he had been unaware of the poem's hidden meaning. It was published beneath a drawing of a heart with an arrow through it and the words, "I love you".

from The Independent: Secret message in Valentine's verse lands Burmese poet in prison


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Paul Ursell] said:

"What I'm doing is perfectly peaceful but the council sees it as antisocial behaviour.

"They've confiscated my intellectual work. It's like the cultural revolution under Chairman Mao."

Mr Ursell, from Woolwich, used to set up his display of poems on Bankside where he would recite them to passing tourists and give out copies.

from South London Press: Poetic licence required . . .


Great Regulars: "It's sad," she [Marianne Keddington-Lang] says

of life with the OHS [Oregon Historical Society] Press. "I loved it, and I felt like we still had work to do. There aren't that many opportunities for those kind of regional history books to be published. There are bright spots and new presses in town like Tin House and Hawthorne Books, but publishing memoirs and literature is not the same as publishing history."

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: The State of Northwest Publishing


Great Regulars: Good luck with that,

we opened the door to those spooks decades ago and never bothered to close it. The Washington Post claims that the Special Forces are also desperate for a good old South Asia tourist experience and have kindly offered to come to Pakistan and undertake the task of training our armed forces. The fact that we have the seventh-largest army in the world, and one that seems to be doing their job just fine, doesn't concern anyone. Shouldn't it?

from Fatima Bhutto: The News International Pakistan: The New Year


Great Regulars: The conflict remains ongoing;

are artistic responses to it premature? Is it possible for a man [i.e. Brian Turner] so intimately involved in a war to avoid glorifying or pitying those also caught up in it? Well, the jury's still out on the first question, but when it comes to the second, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Out of conflict


Last week, AL Kennedy's novel, Day, was named by Costa as their book of the year, beating Simon Sebag Montefiore's biography of Stalin, Jean Sprackland's poetry collection Tilt, Catherine O'Flynn's debut What Was Lost and Ann Kelley's novel for children The Bower Bird to the overall prize.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Podcast: AL Kennedy


" . . . I've had some bad times and I'm not too well now, so I suppose I have reasons to be pessimistic, but even now, in the last part of my life, what's there is still something I can be glad of, and use. There are very good reasons for thinking things are OK. And I go on doing that." [--Edwin Morgan]

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Zest and grit


Great Regulars: It was recently announced

by the university library in Heidelberg that a printed book in its possession contains a marginal note, handwritten in October 1503, confirming that Leonardo was at work on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. This is taken as proof of the traditional identity of the sitter for the Mona Lisa. Vasari, it turns out, was right. Leonardo's portrait shows the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a known historical figure. The Italian title, La Gioconda, means both "the happy woman" and the wife of Signor Giocondo.

from James Fenton: The Guardian: Portrait of a lady


Great Regulars: "It seems to be easier

for John Updike to stifle a yawn than to refrain from writing a book," he wrote about his short-story collection Licks of Love.

On a cold, windy day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, [James] Wood doesn't disavow these statements.

from John Freeman: The Times: John Freeman on fearsome literary critic, James Wood


Great Regulars: Because of the way Milton handles

the theme in this sonnet, the reader will realize that the speaker pursues the issue in a compartmentalized way as in the Elizabethan (also called Shakespearean or English) sonnet; therefore, a discussion based on quatrains/couplet is in order.

In the first quatrain, the speaker portrays his concern that he is going blind and worries that his "one talent," his writing, may suffer.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Milton's Blindness


Even if the beloved removes to a far planet, the lover can follow in thought.

This speaker is quite taken with the speed of thought, and by wishing his body had such powers, he begins to realize the efficacy of the creative powers inherent in thought. He finds a contradiction, but also a paradox, but waits for the next quatrain to resolve its mystery.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 44


Great Regulars: And when the man on the roof

opposite vanishes, we could draw the conclusion that he was possibly imprisoned (and tortured) as a consequence of living in a country under siege.

While this is only conjecture, we know that he is an artist who, by the end of the poem, can no longer paint.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: An infatuation killed by reality


Great Regulars: Poem: "Opinion"

by Baron Wormser, Subject Matter: Poems.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of January 28, 2008


Great Regulars: I've written about the pleasures of poetry

that offers us vivid scenes but which lets us draw our own conclusions about the implications of what we're being shown. The poet can steer us a little by the selection of details, but a lot of the effect of the poem is in what is not said, in what we deduce. Lee McCarthy is a California poet, and here is something seen from across the street, something quite ordinary yet packed with life.

Santa Paula

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 148


Great Regulars: Not my soon-to-be ex-wife, surely.

Was I going to invent an ideal lover as Petrarca had his Laura? Was I going to use the memory of a former lover or the haunting image of someone I had briefly met and barely spoken to as Dante had done with Beatrice in the "Vita Nuova"? Perhaps the solution would come to me as I wrote.

from Anthony Maulucci: Norwich Bulletin: Sonnet form elevates poetry with structure, rhythym


Great Regulars: At the same time he was writing

"In a Station" he [Ezra Pound] was also writing a lot of verse that was old-fashioned and formulaic. In principle, he declared that poetry ought to be concrete and immediate; in practice, and in the "Cantos" especially, he often wrote poems so allusive and erudite that to understand them you had to be as well-read as Pound was.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: Il Miglior Fabbro


Great Regulars: Meanwhile, Tibetan dancers

are being trained to repeat Beijing's official line to the international community during the Olympics, the source said.

"They were told that they will perform Tibetan cultural dances in Beijing during the Olympics but in reality they are being trained to condemn His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] and propagate to the international community at the Olympics that they are happy under Chinese rule," a Tibetan source said.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: China Cracks Down on Tibetan Buddhism Ahead of Olympics


Great Regulars: In myth, a hero is a totem animal--

bull or dragon or bear--and resembles or becomes that animal. So Jay Parini, remembering his mother's storm-dark stories about crows, associates her power with the storm, and with those dark, powerful birds:

The Crow-Mother Tells All

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


Great Regulars: by Belinda Subraman

"The implausible still interests me.
I am amused
when someone states
an interviewee is insane or mislead"

Posted on January 24, 2008

For the Critic of Ideas

from Donna Snyder: Newspaper Tree: Poetry: For the Critic of Ideas


(New to) Great Regulars: by Andrew Hudgins

In the Arboretum

from The Atlantic Monthly: Poetry: In the Arboretum


by Stephen Sandy

Sea Chest

from The Atlantic Monthly: Poetry: Sea Chest


Great Regulars: The fuss is that these poets who insulate

themselves consciously (you can’t blame the subconscious ones) are often the same poets complaining about the pathetically small audience for poetry.

Here’s the deal. You can’t consciously insulate yourself with senselessness and then bemoan the fact that people don’t read poems--the poems you are purposefully excluding them from. You cannot have it both ways.

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Poetry for the People


Great Regulars: Incident

by Jane Griffiths

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Incident by Jane Griffiths


Great Regulars: by Glen Enloe

The aura of the oak

from The Kansas City Star: "Rainstorm in Winter": A poem by Glen Enloe


Great Regulars: Coyote

by Jean Valentine

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Coyote


The Future
by Billy Collins

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Future


Great Regulars: [by Don Colburn]

Snow is falling everywhere, even up [. . .]

from The Oregonian: Poetry


Great Regulars: By Angelica M. Bratsis

Somewhere in the World Right Now

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Angelica M. Bratsis]


Great Regulars: [by John J Nyhan]

An Agenda for Love?

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: An Agenda for Love?


[by Judy Curtis]

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Reflections


Great Regulars: While still clearly influenced

by the heady surrealism which dominated so much of his early work, these poems increasingly reflect a preoccupation with the terrible events of our times. They are deeply moral, while not being cloyingly so; where [Charles] Simic can use a word, a phrase, an image to subtly explore or delineate a particular circumstance or event, he does.

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Sixty Poems by Charles Simic


Great Regulars: "Body of Book"

By Rachel Hadas

from Slate: "Body of Book" --By Rachel Hadas


Poetic Obituaries: A Ledbury man who wrote for the Spectator

magazine is to have the honour of a memorial service at an Oxford University college.

Godfrey Bullard, who was 78, died in November at Hereford Hospital but had just managed to make last-minute proof corrections to his second collection of humorous verse Mingled Measure, which came out this week.

from Ledbury Reporter: Farewell to an amazing person


Poetic Obituaries: [Ginny Bundy] recalls that her parents'

greatest love was music and she inherited their talent. She sang with a band while still in high school and her beautiful voice was always in demand. She also was a great poet and composed poems for all occasions.

from The News-Herald: Virginia M. Bundy


Poetic Obituaries: As recently as Monday,

noted Nancy Deutsch, who leads a writing group Mr. [Francis] Clay participated in for many years, he was laughing and reading his poetry for an audience of 300 seniors.

Mr. Clay's initial four-year stint with Waters included a 1960 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival - the first by a blues performer - preserved on the "Live at Newport" album.

from San Francisco Chronicle: Francis Clay--star blues drummer--dies at 84


Poetic Obituaries: Glynda Cox, a co-owner of Chicago House,

the long-closed but fabled downtown Austin coffeehouse and performance venue, died Sunday at home in Austin. She was 64.

"We suspect a cardiac event," said her partner, Peg Miller. "It was peaceful ... for her."

While nearby Sixth Street grew rowdier during the 1980s and '90s, Cox and Miller kept the quiet, soulful Chicago House alive in a two-story building on Trinity Street.

from The Austin American-Statesman: Longtime Chicago House co-owner Glynda Cox, 1943-2008


Poetic Obituaries: Edith [Mary Essex] was also a poet,

with two small locally published books to her credit. The poems, often humorous, were about the seasons, nature, and her neighbors. Like the small community she lived in, Edith is now gone. In January 1996, during a frigid winter storm, Edith evidently got up during the night to put more wood on the fire and fell.

from Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Living Simply: Creating a New Life Off the Grid


Poetic Obituaries: Richard [Gomm] also compiled and wrote

the first word anticipation computer program, to help him with his studies. He married Penny Morgan and the couple were living in Cirencester when he died.

One of Richard's poems:

Thinking of You in Switzerland . . .

from Gloucestershire Echo: 'Our Son Had a Wonderful Life'


Poetic Obituaries: Eddie [Graham] was a talented artist

who spent a good deal of time each year making colorful cards with poems he wrote and giving them out for major holidays, as well as making beautiful collages for people's birthdays. He made hobbyhorses for kids on the block and saved the newspapers for neighbors every day.

from The Villager: Edward L. Graham, 62, the 'Mayor of E. Fourth St.'


Poetic Obituaries: Qazi Izhar used to be recognised in Pakistan

with reference to his profound association with literature and poetry. He had produced eight compilations in Sindhi and Urdu poetry.

He was a great social worker and kept himself engaged in social welfare activities even after his retirement as Assistant Director Social Welfare.

from Associated Press of Pakistan: Noted poet Qazi Izhar passed away


Poetic Obituaries: "If my son did something wrong,

he should pay, but not with his life," Oscar Martinez, 52, said [of Oscar Andres Martinez] at the family's Woodbridge home. "He was a poet, a writer and an athlete. He loved nature. He was never under any circumstances [violent]."

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is conducting an investigation into the shooting.

from Potomac News: Family wants answers in son's shooting


Poetic Obituaries: [Dr. Samuel Maxwell Plaut] loved to write poetry

and sent her many poems during their courtship, his daughter recalled.

After going to medical school at the University of Colorado, he did his residency with the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

It was a mutual friend from his residency days who encouraged him to come out to San Bernardino.

from San Bernadino County Sun: Doctor 'treated . . . patients like family'


Poetic Obituaries: Bodhi [Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter] was also partial

to filmmaking and dreamed of attending film school. She penned her thoughts, philosophies and poems in a journal every day and had a profoundness uncommon for a girl her age, said her mother, Leah Sherzer.

from San Bernadino County Sun: Not-guilty pleas made in slayings


Poetic Obituaries: [The Tamarack Review] was also

the most influential of the many influential projects in [Robert] Weaver's long, creative career as coach, guide and cheerleader for the best writers of the time--Alice Munro and Mordecai Richler, Al Purdy and Hugh Garner, and many more.

Weaver's day job for all of his adult life was at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he served as literature's ambassador to radio.

from National Post: The best friend the Canadian short story ever had


Poetic Obituaries: [Keith Wilson] had aspirations

of becoming a professional rapper but most recently talked of becoming a pediatrician. He had four sisters and a stepbrother and expressed the importance of family through poems he wrote, she [Keith's mother Rochonta Blackhawk] said.

from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mother of boy killed in crash professes no ill will


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22nd Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

January 22nd forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

It's the 22nd, so everything is coming in twos, it seems. Robert Frost is very much in our news these last couple weeks, this week taking both the headliner spot and the Back Page in News at Eleven. John Milton appears in two of our sections, News at Eleven and Great Regulars (twice), as does Robert Burns (see Garrison Keillor). But so does Great Regular Frank Wilson show up twice, once in his own column, and once in Bryan Appleyard's. And Great Regulars Andrew Motion and Linda Sue Grimes both bring us two articles. In News at Eleven, William Hogan appears in our first two articles, Edgar Allan Poe in one of them plus the next article. Like David Kirby's article says, "Pas de Deux." Two poems in Robert Pinsky's Poet's Choice column, two "Your Poems" from the Inquirer, and two from the Portsmouth Herald. However, there are a couple trios in mix as well.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog


IBPC Newswire

Poetry & Poets in Rags


News at Eleven: In a forthcoming review

to be published in March in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, an American poetry journal, Mr. [William] Logan writes: "Obliged though readers must be for this unknown Frost, the transcription is a scandal. To read this volume is to believe that Frost was a dyslexic and deranged speller, that his brisk notes frequently made no sense, that he often traded the expected word for some fanciful or perverse alternative."

But Mr. [Robert] Faggen suggests that Frost, who died in 1963, did often employ "odd spellings" in the notebooks.

from The New York Times: Editing of Frost Notebooks in Dispute


News at Eleven: In the diorama battles between high and low,

cooked and raw, there's no doubt of [Geoffrey] Hill's loyalties--you don't write on Holbein, on Blake, on Burke, on Handel without staking your claim in cold didactic ground. What to make, then, of his offhanded exclamation that "Things are not that bad. / H. Mirren's super"? So, Hill watches "Prime Suspect." Is he secretly boogieing to Eminem and P. Diddy? Not quite yet--but he talks about "lyric mojo."

from The New York Times: Living With Ghosts


News at Eleven: Sam Porpora, a former church historian

who led the fight to preserve the cemetery, claimed last summer that he cooked up the idea of the Poe toaster in the 1970s as a publicity stunt.

"We did it, myself and my tour guides," Porpora, a former advertising executive, said in August. "It was a promotional idea."

Porpora said someone else has since "become" the Poe toaster.

from KFWB News 980: Controversy Doesn't Deter 'Poe Toaster' From Annual Visit to Edgar Allan's Grave


News at Eleven: I can't speak for others,

but reading her [Nasra Al Adawi's] poems was like balm to a wound in my spirit. Hearing understanding from the voice of a stranger is an incalculable gift and one that I'll always treasure. I can't help but believe that the women to whom she has read these and other poems receive the same presents of hope and understanding that I received.

from Blogcritics: Brave Faces by Nasra Al Adawi


News at Eleven: Sometimes he [Robert Alter] merely inverts

the King James phrases. 'For I am poor and needy' (86) becomes 'for lowly and needy am I'; 'The sea is his, and he made it' (95) turns into 'His is the sea and He made it'; or similarly, 'Thy way is in the sea' (77) is now 'In the sea was Your way.' There are inversions on nearly every page and after a while, wonder, one does, if it's not the swamp of Yoda the Jedi Master we're in.

from London Review of Books: Praise Yah


News at Eleven: His reputation rests today partly

in the hands of the so-called Language poets, who find in [Louis] Zukofsky's brilliant subversions of syntax, word games and indeterminacy (his poem, after all, is called "A," not "The") an augury of their own methods. But "A" is not about anything as simple as "language" or "life": it is a poem about working on "A"--about the daily elations and impediments of an artist who sought, over the course of decades, to make something really hard really good.

from The New York Times: Alpha Poet