Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 25th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

Again, big poetry news from The Orient in this year of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. We headline with poet, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. And for the second week in a row, check out Luisetta Mudie's RFA Unplugged column in Great Regulars for more perspective on that part of our world.

Poets with Alzheimer's hit the news, both in their seventies. One on our back page, Jack Agüeros fighting it and working through its onset period with the help of friends; and the other, Hugo Claus, in Poetic Obituaries, choosing to have Belgian doctors kill him via the rare legalized euthanasia procedures there.

In several articles this week, the subject of enthusiasm arises. In fact, the Daily Times coincidentally brings us an essay on just that.

And this week, February IBPC results are in from judge Fleda Brown. Congratulations go out these IBPC poets and poetry boards: Lois P. Jones for her winning poem, "Unmarked Graves", entered by Pen Shells; Mitchell Geller for his second place poem "1980" representing the craft of Desert Moon Review (and note the new forum); Adam Elgar with the third place poem "Séance" workshopped at The Writers Block; plus three honorable mentions: Bernard Henrie's "Black Man Carrying Alligator Briefcase" also from The Writers Block; Alice Folkart's "Hawaiian Chicken (not a recipe)" from Blueline; and Laurie Byro's "Stoma" from About Poetry Forum.

Thanks for clicking in.


News at Eleven: The most famous Buddhist in the world,

he [Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama] advises his Western followers not to embrace Buddhism. He seeks out famous scientists with geekish zeal, asserting that certain Buddhist scriptures disproved by modern science should be abandoned.

In his public appearances before English-speaking audiences, he prefers to speak of "global ethics" rather than of the abstruse Buddhist concept of Nirvana.

from The New Yorker: Holy Man


News at Eleven: The life of the mind was inseparable

from the notions of piety and prayer. It was also tied inextricably to the use of the Latin language, of which tongue Milton was a master. Most of his earliest poems are composed in that language, and he was able to write it as fluently as he wrote English. At the same time he was writing sonnets in Italian, directed principally at his close friend, Charles Diodati, with whom he shared that deep and sexless intimacy that was then so common among males.

from The Times: Peter Ackroyd examines the legacy of Milton


News at Eleven: [Brian Hall] ascribes a certain amount

of parental guilt to Frost, having him muse at one point: "In this haphazard household of caravaners--meals, if any, at all hours, father to bed at 3:00 a.m., mother up at 6:00--there's no telling who's sleeping where." He regrets that he spends so much time away at readings, even though these appearances are the main source of his income.

from Star Tribune: When bad things happen to good poets


News at Eleven: Their first real fight occurred

when [Lord] Byron offered to pass along to the meddlesome [R.C.] Dallas the value of one of his copyrights, and [John] Murray balked at paying a third party a sum he had intended for Byron himself. As he grew older, however, Byron took more and more pride in his 'Brain-money', as he called it, the money he had earned professionally: 'I have imbibed such a love for money that I keep some Sequins in a drawer to count, & cry over them once a week.'

from London Review of Books: You Have Never Written Better


News at Eleven: The low point, it is clear,

came in the 18th, when poets like Dryden and Pope preferred expansive verse essays and satires to closed forms. William Cowper and other poets attempted to keep the fires burning--Cowper's tribute to William Wilberforce proclaims the emancipationist "Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the fetter-gall'd"--but the sonnet was a diminished thing until the 19th century, when the British Romantic poets and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--not to mention lesser-known sonneteers, such as Jones Very and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman--revived the form.

from The Wall Street Journal: How It Gives Life to Thee


News at Eleven: Yea slimy things

did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea,


My sister and my sister's child,
Myself and children three,
Will fill the chaise, so you must come
On horseback after we.

At secondary school, the anthologies served up plenty of Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Hopkins, Hardy and Frost - with Yeats and Eliot giving a foretaste of what might be encountered at university.

from ABC News: Poetry: better than texting!


News at Eleven: A Michael Hofmann poem is now a rare,

strange, much valued item. Strange because, at first glance, many of the poems seem no more than frayed notes concerning a mood between depression and despair; but then something in that fraying catches at you, either some odd shift in register, or maybe just a sense that as your eyes are blithely passing over the words suddenly a hole has opened up beneath them and you are falling through the language, into a world of cries.

from The Guardian: Said and done


News at Eleven: I have experienced the amputation

of my left breast I hate its absence.

"Fidelity," posthumously (odd word, recalling dirt) published, is her [Grace Paley's] fourth collection of poems. Clearly, she had death and its retinue--illness, aging, memory, regret--in mind. Clearly, she was angry at the prospect of death, unready to surrender.

from Los Angeles Times: 'Fidelity: Poems' by Grace Paley


News at Eleven: I don't think poets need think about

smaller presses as just places to start out. A trade house isn't necessarily the best place to wind up; books can get lost in the shuffle, and frequently do not remain in print. The loyalty and resources of a more specialized literary press often serve our art better than the big houses do--though I have been very fortunate in this regard. [--Mark Doty]

from The Somerville News: Interview with poet Mark Doty: A poet who goes from "Fire to Fire"


News at Eleven: Besides,

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

It stuns me to think that this was written--that [Langston] Hughes faced these issues--just over fifty years ago. Michael S. Harper, currently a professor at Brown university, reminds us in his poem American History how bad it was at the nation's birth and how bad it still can be.

Those four black girls blown up
in that Alabama church

from The Huffington Post: Poems About Racism


News at Eleven (Back Page): More recently, he [Jack Agüeros] has translated

the poetry of José Martí, the apostle of Cuban independence from Spain.

Since falling ill, he has been helped with the translation by Lidia Torres, herself a young poet. She took part in Tuesday’s benefit, along with other young poets like Aracelis Girmay and Rich Villar. They were joined by older trailblazers like Sandra Maria Esteves and Julio Marzan.

from The New York Times: A Puerto Rican Poet’s Fight With Alzheimer's


Great Regulars: [Kris] Kristofferson was being lined up

to teach literature at West Point, but he left to become a writer of country music. His father understood, but his mother all but disowned him. In Brownsville, he'd grown up amid the sounds of Mexican and country music.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: Kris Kristofferson proves he's still an outlaw with This Old Road


Great Regulars: But one of the most thoughtful Mother's Day gifts

out there is already available: Helicon Nine Editions' The Movable Nest: A Mother/Daughter Companion.

Nest is an anthology of verse, stories, letters and nonfiction exploring the complex bond between mothers and daughters. Here the reader will rediscover why this relationship is so basic to the human condition; it is at once profound, conflicted, heartbreaking and fulfilling.

from John Mark Eberhart: The Kansas City Star: Helicon Nine anthology features verse and prose on the mother/daughter bond


Hats off to Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters magazine, who's marking the 20th anniversary of his Plumbers poetry collection. To help celebrate, here's a poem from that very fine book.

Pouring Lead
By Robert Stewart

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Anniversary


'On her birthday'

By Anne Mallinson

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Birthday presence


By Pat Daneman

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Bubble, bubble


By William Trowbridge

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Too cool for . . .


Ukuleles and color fields
By Maria Vasquez Boyd

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Ukuleles . . .


Please Take Out the Trash

By Larry M. Schilb

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: What? Tuesday again?


Great Regulars: The reader can imagine that

the speaker has been ridiculed by someone, perhaps as a child by an adult, for "standing and staring" at something that fascinated him. Now, in this poem, he explores the idea of standing and staring, and he wants to know what life is about if standing and staring cannot be tolerated.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Davies' 'Leisure'


The speaker has explored the subtle differences between his muse and his own soul in several earlier sonnets, and he continues a variation on this theme here. It could be argued that a useful overall theme for the entire sonnet sequence includes the classic battle between mind and soul.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 49


Great Regulars: There isn't enough time

for the nuts and bolts of verifying facts and, in the case of a memoir, doing a background check on the author.

Publishing houses have also cut staffs about 10 percent recently, [Daniel] Menaker said. "This is a business with a very narrow profit margin, so there have been cutbacks. Now, the industry does seem to be asking for more and more work from fewer and fewer people. There's going to be sloppy mistakes."

from Bob Hoover: Post-Gazette: Separating fact from fiction is author's job


Great Regulars: The germs in mud that produce green frogs

may actually be the frogspawn, but the image that sticks in my mind is the bear cub's mother who "licks into shape in her own image" the bundle of fluff to which she has given birth. It conjures a vivid picture of her huge tongue almost lifting the tiny cub off its rudimentary paws as she cleans it.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: Monday Poem: The wonder of it all


Great Regulars: For a while, [Franz] Wright's phone message

was, "At the sound of the gunshot, leave a message," which effectively terrified the casual caller into hanging up.

The poems he wrote then were darkly hilarious in their paranoia.

from Mary Karr: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice: Franz Wright Raised Up


Great Regulars: Poem: "Spring and All"

by William Carlos Williams, from Collected Poems Vol. 1.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For the week of March 24, 2008


Great Regulars: We greatly appreciate your newspaper's use

of this column, and today we want to recognize newspaper employees by including a poem from the inside of a newsroom. David Tucker is deputy managing editor of the New Jersey "Star-Ledger" and has been a reporter and editor at the "Toronto Star" and the "Philadelphia Inquirer." He was on the "Star-Ledger" team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Mr. Tucker was awarded a Witter-Bynner fellowship for poetry in 2007 by former U. S. Poet Laureate, Donald Hall.

Today's News

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 156


Great Regulars: The "nightly" return of sky to earth

is not a vivid kindling of male and female, but rather a routine of their relationship. Amidst this humdrum scene, however, a larger drama will unfold as snow melts into soil, and a new season is about to begin. The poem answers the title’s question about the "wife's" patience.

Why She Waits

from Denise Low: Ad Astra Poetry Project: Patricia Traxler (1944 - )


Great Regulars: "Whatever movements we plan to make,

we must first ask for approval. Only when it's approved by higher-ups can we make a move under surveillance," he said.

Wang said Tsering Woeser, who goes by a single name, had been confined to the couple's Beijing home since March 10, the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Tibetan Writer Under House Arrest in Beijing


Great Regulars: Beginning with a feminine rhyme

and ending with a masculine one, the poem traces an arc of yin and yang, grace and power.

Turning her back on society, [Emily] Brontë appears to have chosen obscurity and nothingness. Yet this impression is exploded in the final stanza, where her exile turns out to be nothing less than a transfiguration.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A Reading of 'Stanzas' by Emily Brontë


Great Regulars: The best age to be is...

The age you are because that's the reality check you have to do every day.

from Michael Rosen: The Independent: The 5-minute Interview: Michael Rosen, Poet and author


Great Regulars: The poem was sparked

by his telling me that he was going to take a road trip to his hometown in Ohio with Clark Mercy.

Bill and Clark Drive to Ohio

from Andrew Varnon: Flash & Yearn: Remembering Minneapolis


Great Regulars: Enthusiasm, too, is the very life

of gifted spirits. Ponder the lives of the glorious in art or literature through all the ages. What are they but records of toils and sacrifices supported by the earnest hearts of their votaries?

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: A defence of enthusiasm --Henry Theodore Tuckerman


For more than a century science and its occasionally ugly sister technology have been the chief driving forces shaping our world. They decide the kinds of futures that are possible. Human wisdom must decide which are desirable.

from Daily Times: Purple Patch: Presidents, experts and asteroids --Arthur C Clarke


Great Regulars: By Barbara Mayer

We watch the procession:

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: 'Winter Geese'


Great Regulars: Anonymous Poet

by Stanley Moss

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Anonymous Poet


by Louise Glück

from The New Yorker: Poetry: March


Great Regulars: --Edward Hirsch, New York City

The author of "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry" (1999; Harcourt), Edward Hirsch has written six books of poetry, including the recently released "Special Orders" (Alfred A. Knopf, $25, 80 pages), in which "Branch Library" appears.

from The Oregonian: Poetry


Great Regulars: [by Judy Curtis]

The Greatest Truth

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: The Greatest Truth


Great Regulars: The whole thing reeks of trying too hard,

and it anticipates the fanatical drone of [Ezra Pound's] "Canto XIV," in which Londoners are described as living in a place full of "financiers/lashing them with steel wires" and:

The slough of unamiable liars,
bog of stupidities,
malevolent stupidities, and stupidities,
the soil living pus, full of vermin,
dead maggots begetting live maggots,
slum owners,
usurers squeezing crab-lice...

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Ezra Pound: Poet Volume I: The Young Genius 1885-1920


Great Regulars: "Houseflies"

By Kevin Barents

from Slate: "Houseflies" --By Kevin Barents


Poetic Obituaries: [Ishwor Ballav Bhattarai] was one

of the founding members, with Bairagi Kainla and Indra Bahadur Rai, of the groundbreaking and hugely influential Tesro Ayamic movement or known also as the Third Dimension, which reshaped Nepali literature.

More than a dozen literary works and hundreds of songs, stories and essays authored by Bhattarai have been published till date. He had also written a literature column for the leading Nepali daily 'Kantipur' for a longtime.

from Kantipur: Poet Ishwor Ballav Bhattarai passes away


Poetic Obituaries: Mrs [Angela] Bennett said [of her daughter Samantha Bennett]:

"Sam was always a very loving, beautiful daughter and whenever I saw her or spent time with Sam, or picked her up, her last words would always be, 'I love you mum'.

from BBC News: Killed daughter's poem released


Poetic Obituaries: Brittany [Cena] was a 10th Grade Student

at Toms River High School North. Some of her interests included writing poetry, fashion, the artistry of hair and makeup, music and singing, designing jewelry and making handbags. Brittany was a very creative and inspiring an student.

from Asbury Park Press: Brittany Cena, 15, of Toms River


Poetic Obituaries: The author of more than 20 novels,

more than 60 plays and several thousand poems, Mr. Claus was best known for his 1983 novel, "The Sorrow of Belgium."

A long, dense, poetic work, the book views the Nazi occupation of Belgium, starting in May 1940, through the eyes of a teenage boy named Louis Seynaeve. It examines the moral contradictions many Belgians faced and the outright collaboration of others, undermining myths of widespread resistance that took hold after the Nazis were defeated.

from The New York Times: Hugo Claus, One of Belgium's Most Renowned Authors, Dies at 78


Poetic Obituaries: Sitting on his living room couch

in Lexington, Mass. in early 1975, Robert A. Dentler pondered a reporter's question about why US District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. had tapped him as an expert to help draft Boston's school desegregation plan.

"I don't put much weight on the idea that anyone is expert enough to solve social problems," he said with a smile. "The solutions come out of developing the collective will of the community."

from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Robert A. Dentler, 79, helped draft school desegration plan


Poetic Obituaries: [Vivian Lavonne Long] was a member of

Zion Lutheran Church of Grand Coulee, serving as secretary to the congregation, also serving as a member of the Board of Education and Board of Stewardship and was an adult Bible study leader for many years. Her hobbies included poetry writing, bowling, camping, fishing, quilting and crafts.

from The Star of Grand Coulee: Vivian Lavonne Long


Poetic Obituaries: "Orthodoxy and poetry tend to give

each other the jitters," he [Isaac Meyers] wrote in a 2005 review. "If that seems to be overstating things, try praising a poet for being 'Orthodox' or even 'well behaved.' Then try asking a yeshiva bokhur to waste his time phrasing things beautifully. This detente is a shame, since traditional Judaism offers a rich background for poets, even in English--as long as the poets are willing to look slightly eccentric."

from The New York Sun: Isaac Meyers, 28, Ph.D. Candidate in Classics at Harvard


Poetic Obituaries: [Jon Oxendale] made his own puppets

and his Little Theatre of Fantoccini had more than 70 performing marionettes including kings, queens, historical and fictional characters.

Jon offered a wide variety of shows with a difference. There were poems for children and adults that could be funny, deep and shallow.

from Wigan Evening Post: Tributes after death of poet


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 18th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 18th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags

In Great Regulars, I must highlight a remarkable and important piece by former online poet Luisetta Mudie, a poem sequence she had with a Chinese poet who was a student in Tiananmen Square in 1989. This article also includes her translation of a journal he made on returning to Beijing for a brief visit. And we know him by his pen name Dreamer Fei, so that he may be free to write without fear of persecution.

We begin News at Eleven this week with Charles Simic on C.P. Cavafy. We go directly into news of horrifically persecuted poets U Win Tin, who is nearly two decades in Insein prison, and Taslima Nasreen, who has a fatwa on her for writing honestly and openly. Then we get into controversial sex, poets who write about it, and those who do it.

Also, a new Great Regular, the books editor of the Los Angeles Times. Each time I find a David L. Ulin article on poetry, it has become part of News at Eleven. It is high time, especially with three articles by him this week, that I look specifically each week for what he has written.

Thanks very much for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: A reader in love with [C.P.] Cavafy

has no choice but to own several, since it often happens that where one translator comes up short, the other does better. Every time I'm struck with admiration for the poetic qualities of Haviaras's translation (he even manages to reproduce the rhymes of some of the early poems), I recall a poem Sachperoglou has done exceedingly well. Such as 'Ithaca':

from London Review of Books: Some Sort of a Solution


News at Eleven: The junta increased U Win Tin's sentence

by 10 more years. They put him alone in his cell. The cell was 8.5 x 11.5 feet. There was only a bamboo mat on the concrete floor. Sleeping, eating, walking and cleaning the bowels were done in the very same place. He could not see the sun, the moon or the stars. He was intentionally barred from breathing fresh air, tasting nourishing food and drinking a drop of fresh water. The worst thing was throwing the old writer into solitary confinement in such a cage for two decades.

from Asian Tribune: Burma's Longest Serving Prisoner of Conscience Must Be Free


News at Eleven: "I can't take it anymore like this,

I am leaving finally," Taslima [Nasreen] said. "They did not even allow me to go back to Kolkata to collect my things, you guys are there, take care of those."

They won, secular India lost. Taslima is finally leaving India for Europe, unable to cope up with life in solitary confinement in the dungeons of "safe house"- or should we call it gulags for cultural offences? - that exists in free India. Safe houses are nice places to keep safe from species like a "Muslim woman writer with a big mouth."

from Sify News: Goodbye Taslima, Welcome India without slogans


News at Eleven: When he is not at his cottage

in Donegal composing poetry or attending literary functions in Dublin, [Cathal] O'Searchaigh spends a good deal of his time in Nepal where he has raised money for charities over the past ten years and adopted a son.

But his preference for sex with younger men has placed him at the centre of a public storm in Ireland, with calls for his poetry to be taken off the syllabus.

from The Guardian: Film sparks storm over Irish poet


News at Eleven: But [Dan] Chiasson teases us

with his description of the dirtiest poem in the anthology, W.H. Auden's "The Platonic Blow," which Chiasson can only call "is the dirtiest verse written since Rochester--I can't even talk about it here."

So how dirty is it, really?

from New York Magazine: How Dirty Is That Auden Poem That Was Too Dirty for the 'Times Book Review'?


News at Eleven: Can it be that William Wadsworth's

or Paul Violi's best erotic poems are better than Frank O'Hara's second or 10th or 50th best? I'd like to see someone make that case.

It's good to encourage people who otherwise wouldn't read older poems to take a little Hart Crane with their Mark Doty, but it's odd to leverage a few old names merely to inflate the value of the new ones.

from The New York Times: Hot or Not


News at Eleven: The Academy of American Poets has announced

the launch of a mobile poetry archive which provides free and direct access to the entire collection of over 2,500 poems on Poets.org, as well as hundreds of biographies and essays, all in the palm of a hand.

from Wireless and Mobile News: 1st Mobile Poetry Archive Launched for National Poetry Month & Beyond


News at Eleven: Five years ago, on the same day

that British and American troops marched into Iraq, poets convened in St Andrews for the first day of the StAnza Poetry Festival. The invasion formed an uncomfortable backdrop to the festival that year--sitting listening to poetry felt like fiddling while Rome burned.

This year, on the first day of StAnza, an explosion claimed 11 more lives in Baghdad, a reminder that the occupation continues.

from The Scotsman: Chapter and verse