Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

June 24th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

We begin in China, with the earthquake victims: then onto the "terrible beauty" of war poetry. News at Eleven ends with a solar eclipse in Homer, followed by baseball in the Bible. In Poetic Obituaries and Great Regulars, we have three links to articles on George Carlin.

We've linked in the past to the poetic justice in Vermont, where adolescent partiers, who vandalized Robert Frost's place, had to attend a Jay Parini class on Frost. This week, we link to his very moving article on the matter from his Great Regulars spot. You'll also find a Las Vegas twist to poetic justice in News at Eleven.

We have dozens of links as usual. And this is an intriguing week, with poems, for instance, called "Confiteor" by Gabrielle Althen and "Propofol" by Great Regular Karl Kirchwey; but street philosophical to a degree, religious to degrees and academic as well; a week that finger picks the strings of our lives.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: The composition was written by 24-year-old Su Shansheng,

who was struck by the image published on May 13 of a dead child's hand stretching out of quake ruins. He adapted a poem which he had written for his cancer-stricken girlfriend three years ago, and contributed it to earthquake victims.

Thanks to the rapid information freeway of cyber-space it received a huge amount of clicks and forwards in the virtual world, and quickly made its way into books and onto various charity vigils where numerous actors and hosts recited it.

from China.org.cn: Poetry aftershocks


News at Eleven: By calling the force that binds the two men

"the wet bond of blood," Graves bravely acknowledges the softer aspects of his feelings for Sassoon. A friendship blossoming from mud suggests the conventional motif of the flower that springs from a grave, but it also allows the two males a metaphorical fertility. All of this rich imagery, however, is a prelude to the revelation of the true bonding force: Death. By staring Death in the face, Graves claims, the two men found beauty. From the dead men all around them, they drew breath. [--James Winn]

from BU Today: A Terrible Beauty: The Poetry of War
also BUniverse: The Poetry of War by James Anderson Winn


News at Eleven: When she [Sarah Manguso] has a line implanted directly

into her chest so her plasma can be replaced more easily, she parses her reaction: "I had read Freud in school. He distinguishes fear, a state of worrying anticipation, . . . from fright, the momentary response of our mind to a danger that has caught us by surprise but is already over." For hours, she writes, "I lay there, weeping in fright. Not fear. Fright."

from The New York Times: Sick Days


News at Eleven: [Charles D.] Abbott's goal was to collect

manuscripts and materials from major and minor poets of his day, figuring--with what looks now like remarkable foresight--that those then-cutting-edge poets would someday be much studied and discussed in scholarly circles. That appreciation in value would give the collection a great deal of importance, in Abbott's view.

"He thought it would take 100 years before people would appreciate the significance," Basinski said of Abbott's dream. "We're a little ahead of that. It's been about 75."

from The Buffalo News: UB's poetry treasures find global audience


News at Eleven: And it was exactly the things

that [Allen] Tate the modernist objected to--the intimacy, the autobiographical detail, the conversational tone--that made "Life Studies" a triumph. In challenging the old canons of impersonality, [Robert] Lowell had shown the world that the most intimate parts of life--childhood misery, Oedipal longings, marital discord, mental illness--could be made the subjects for great poetry. Never before had a poet risked so much of himself on the page.

from The New York Sun: Reconsiderations: 'Life Studies' by Robert Lowell


News at Eleven: Fifteen years after he had first proposed it,

[William Cullen] Bryant's dream of a park for the people was coming to fruition. In mid-April 1859, he visited the area with Frances, Julia, and his brother-in-law Egbert Fairchild, who was part of the engineering team constructing the Croton Reservoir within the park's boundaries. In a letter to Christiana Gibson, Bryant described a scene "in which thousands of men are at work blasting rocks, making roads, excavating, rearing embankments, planting trees--a sight that reminded me of Virgil's description of Dido and her people building Carthage."

from The Wall Street Journal: 'William Cullen Bryant: Author of America'


News at Eleven: The aim is more serious, however,

as the lecturer allows his audience to listen in on a range of encounters, from parodies of exchanges between Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley and between Dr Johnson and Mrs Thrale, to some self-deflating verbal sparring between writers, to everyday chats between ordinary citizens. Each time someone lets slip a piece of information, such as a place name that might conceivably be of use to the enemy, a loud gong sounds with great theatricality.

[Dylan] Thomas might seem an unlikely recruit to propaganda work.

from The Guardian: The reluctant propagandist


News at Eleven: The competition's organisers had intended

to put Mr [Abdel Kareem] Maatouk, 48, head to head against the new champion to decide who should be the Prince of Poets 2008. But last week, they said the title would pass automatically to this year's winner, who will walk away with Dh1 million (US$272,000). But Mr Maatouk says: "I will always be Prince of Poets. I don't need to fight again."

from The National: Long live the Prince of Poets


News at Eleven: "But then I just got philosophical about it."


Well, [Gregory] Crosby said, there's something fitting about a desperate character stealing his poem about desperate characters, just to sell it for scrap. Also, while he felt having his poem put on a plaque was his shot at "a bit of dime store immortality," he said having it stolen is a good reminder that nothing lasts in Las Vegas.

from Las Vegas Sun: Poetic justice doesn't get much more literal than this


News at Eleven: The key passage in dating the tale is highly ambiguous.

As the suitors are sitting down for their noontime meal, the goddess Athena "confounds their minds" so that they start laughing uncontrollably and see their food spattered with blood.

Then the seer Theoclymenus prophesies their death and passage to Hades, ending with the phrase: "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world."

from The Los Angeles Times: Researchers hit a homer with 'The Odyssey'


News at Eleven (Back Page): In the Big Inning . . .

By Hyman Baras

While baseball is generally considered a "modern" sport, there are references in the Bible that could lead one to deduce that, in fact, there were Giants in those days as well:

from Smithsonian: Moses at the Bat


Great Regulars: These sermons are what you and I would call mad.

In a gentle, hypnotic, "listen to me carefully" kind of voice that seems to be designed to draw you in closer, making you collude in the insanity--a technique Hitler used in small groups--[Warren] Jeffs explains that women must be utterly subservient to their men, that black people were put on Earth as Satan's representatives, that the Beatles--"useless people nobody would hire"--corrupted the world by spreading black music, and so on. The children thoroughly absorbed his messages. Once outside, they pointed and laughed at blacks.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Times: Yearning for Zion: What next for the polygamists?


Great Regulars: The book is made up of a procession

of these reformulations, which reach their reluctant conclusion in the penultimate piece, where we finally learn that Nina was killed in a car crash: "The phone rang. I picked it up and I knew from the grave voice/they'd found my number in your black notebook . . . I looked at you. They let me pull the sheet over your face."

The collection is sustained by constant storytelling; each poem in the book offers a miniature narrative.

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: In a pane of moonlight


Great Regulars: [George Carlin's] books, particularly "Brain Droppings"

and "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" are way more like Mark Twain than Jerry Seinfeld, and anyone who thinks Carlin got too bitter as he got old should check out Twain's "Letters from the Earth."

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: George Carlin: Words fail us, not you


Great Regulars: [Philip] Whalen himself was often concerned

with this very question of presentation and appreciation, and his thoughts about his own methods might provide, at least, one answer to the questions I just posed: "I enjoy cutting and revising what I've written, for in the midst of those processes I often discover images and visions and ideas which I hadn't been conscious of before, and these add thickness and depth and solidity to the final draft, not simply polish alone."


from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: David Biespiel's poetry column addresses variations in Philip Whalen's 'Zenshinji'


Great Regulars: By Jim Fox

May your sharp teeth

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: 'A Benediction for Violence' (in honor of T. Hannon)


A Poem
Channeled from Charlie McCarthy--
(To Be Hummed in the Key of "N")
By Timothy Pettet

"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
traditional koan

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: In the key of . . . N?


By Larry M. Schilb

grass the victor, timid

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: 'Unity'


Great Regulars: So what was this situation like?

Well, "It was a little like the night wind, which is soft,/And moves slowly, sighing like an old woman/In her kitchen late at night, moving pans/About, lighting a fire, making some food for the cat." That explains why a lonely, calcium deficient pond would grab a man and devour him.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Bly's 'The Cat in the Kitchen'


How odd, in deed, that we promote ourselves as the creator, when, in fact, we are merely repeating what someone else has done. Our "labouring for invention bear[s] amiss," because our "beguil'd" brains are merely giving birth a second time to a "former child."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 59


He hypothesizes that the creature of this "second coming" might be something that looks like the Egyptian sphinx and not be the return of Jesus Christ after all. The speaker finalizes that hypothesis by alluding to the birth of such a creature, likening the Blessed Virgin to a "rough beast," who will be "slouching toward Bethlehem," that is, after all where the First Coming was birthed.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: W. B. Yeats' 'Rough Beast'


She did not accept the love when it was offered to her, and it escaped like smoke that rises and dissipates into thin air. He asks her to imagine his rarefied love, and therefore he himself, slowly walking in the mountains where he seems to vanish among the "stars."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Yeats' 'When You Are Old'


Great Regulars: He even admitted taking my morning class

just to free up his afternoons for lab. And he hated having to memorize a poem per week. But near term's end, he was chilled to the core by a girl reciting a Keats poem. It had burrowed into him and, over time, kept making him feel alive.

from Mary Karr: The Washington Post: Poet's Choice


Great Regulars: I Knew a Woman

by Theodore Roethke

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: I Knew a Woman


Left Town
by Thomas McGrath

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Left Town


by Philip Bryant

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Locomotion


Losing WSUI
by Michael Dennis Browne

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Losing WSUI


Love: Beginnings
by C. K. Williams

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Love: Beginnings


Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances
by Walt Whitman

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances


One Hundred White-sided Dolphins on a Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: One Hundred White-sided Dolphins on a Summer Day


Great Regulars: Propofol

by Karl Kirchwey

from Karl Kirchwey: The New Yorker: Propofol


Great Regulars: I remember being scared to death when,

at about thirty years of age, I saw an x-ray of my skull. Seeing one's self as a skeleton, or receiving any kind of medical report, even when the news is good, can be unsettling. Suddenly, you're just another body, a clock waiting to stop. Here's a telling poem by Rick Campbell, who lives and teaches in Florida.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 169


Great Regulars: Soft language was the substitution, say,

of "bathroom tissue" for "toilet paper"; it was calling the dump the landfill and saying you were experiencing a "negative cash-flow situation" when what you really meant was that you were broke.

Mr. [George] Carlin had dozens of examples, and he could cite them for minutes on end, alternately rueful and disbelieving. But what came through, even as he shook his head and used one or more of the seven forbidden words to say how stupid we were, was his love of language itself and how various and evocative it was. Even the expletives--or perhaps especially the expletives.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: A Master of Words, Including Some You Can't Use


Great Regulars: "During the holy month of April,

Lhasa and the surrounding area would normally be bustling with people visiting monasteries and other religious sites and making offerings. This time, they are all being forced to stay home," the Lhasa source said.

Armed police in Lhasa

Tibetans had been threatened with the loss of their jobs and even pensions if they performed the usual offerings during the torch relay, he added.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Tight Curbs for Torch Relay


Great Regulars: When [Edwin] Arnold describes

the "crackle of parched skin, and snap of joint," we are uncomfortably reminded of the Sunday joint. Man as meat.

As the smoke thins and the ashes sink down, we see what lies within--nothing except for the dazzling whiteness of bones. Is this all we are? Do we laugh? Do we scream? Do we stay to linger or run back into the walled citadel of our illusions?

For Prince Siddhartha, the answer is clear.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: The Antidote: Classic Poetry for Modern Life


Great Regulars: But in this case--in a stifling public building

in Addison County, surrounded by anxious kids trying to wipe their records clean as they pored over my Xeroxed copies of the poetry--I felt that I had to work more simply, with the symbol itself: two roads, choices. "Life is about choices," said one of the teens. Indeed, I said. I pointed out that the speaker in the poem was deep in the woods and that it was always difficult to figure out the right road when confronted with a forking path. They acknowledged having had many such experiences, quite literally, in the Vermont woods.

"You are now in deep woods," I told them. They seemed confused. "If this isn't a deep wood, I don't know what is," I added. Many of them lit up.

from Jay Parini: The Washington Post: A Case of Poetic Justice. Literally.


Great Regulars: And now the actual poem.

This week's Poem Worth Reading is by Mohja Kahf, whose stuff I recently accidentally came across in a back issue of The Paris Review. The brief bio goes: She's Syrian-American, and kicks the ass of any stereotype that might be affixed to her. This one's from her latest collection, E-Mails from Scheherazad. She also has a novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, which is probably worth checking out. Bladao.



"Hijab Scene #7"

from Max Ross: The Rake: Cracking Spines: Poem Worth Reading" Words like Bombs


Great Regulars: In the sequence below, poet Amy Newman imagines

a set of lost notes jotted by Charles Darwin for his wife Emma (née Wedgwood). The series of haiku-like observations and miniature poems mirrors the delicate, precise, interdependent constructions that Darwin himself detected in nature. We seem to witness a mind in the process of realising that humanity, no less than the orchid or the wasp, is part of this vast, intricate pattern.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: theblogbooks: Poem of the week


The most ridiculous requirement--to poeticise on state occasions--should certainly go. Why continue to parrot what was a sycophantic charade even in the days when royal patronage meant something to poets? It's a charmless anachronism, an activity that shouldn't even be negotiable. It should be punishable (a stint in the Tower stocks would be appropriate).

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: theblogbooks: We don't need a poet laureate


Great Regulars: Allen [Taylor] says, "While in Iraq,

I had a little bit of extra free time on my hands during the summer months and I began to work on the World Class Poetry Toolbar. Also, during the time that I was deployed I managed to write quite a few poems that I am slowly compiling into a book. My wife and I now run an Internet marketing company and I manage the writing process for a team of writers who provide original online content for webmasters who need to build up their web sites."

from Belinda Subraman Presents: Allen Taylor, Iraq War Vet, Poet and Creator of World Class Poetry Toolbar


Great Regulars: [Patti] Smith, however, has not burned out

but thrived. The key is that she is a poet first; she has always approached rock with a poet's eye. Her first collection, "Seventh Heaven," came out in 1972, and throughout her career she has relied on verse to ground her, even during the extended period of nearly total silence (1980-96) when she lived in Michigan and raised two kids.

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: 'Auguries of Innocence' by Patti Smith


Great Regulars: Ancient peoples did not personify

the wind and the rain, the sea and the sky. Rather they experienced--as so-called primitive peoples still do--the world as a place inhabited by beings with personalities. We like to regard pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales and Heraclitus as proto-scientists, but anyone who has read the latter's Fragments knows that he has more in common with Lao-tse than with Galileo. Earth, air, fire and water, I suspect, were not thought of as one or another primary substance of being but rather as apt ultimate metaphors of being.

from Frank Wilson: Philadelphia Inquirer: The world stage . . .


Great Regulars: Editor's Note: John Brandi, author

of more than 38 books of poetry and nonfiction, grew up in Southern California. A poet, essayist, haiku writer, exhibiting visual artist, and an ardent world traveler, he now lives in New Mexico.

Missing a Good Friend Gone Far
for Bari Long

from Good Times Weekly: Poetry Corner: Excerpts From Facing High Water


Great Regulars: I Believe Nothing . . .

by Kathleen Raine

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: I Believe Nothing . . . by Kathleen Raine


Great Regulars: by Gabrielle Althen

translated by Marilyn Hacker

from Guernica: Poetry: Two Poems


Great Regulars: By Jon Herbert Arkham

The slug never left

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines


Great Regulars: The Evening Is Tranquil, and Dawn Is a Thousand Miles Away

by Charles Wright

from The New Yorker: Poetry: The Evening Is Tranquil, and Dawn Is a Thousand Miles Away


Return of the Prodigal
by Charles Wright

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Return of the Prodigal


Great Regulars: Cosmic Page

by Jessica Greenbaum

Folded in half, the long paper documenting

from Nextbook: Cosmic Page


Great Regulars: By Lauren De Saint Martin

Cherry Hill High School West

First Day of Summer

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Your Poem: [by Lauren De Saint Martin]


Great Regulars: [by Carol Sandin Woodruff]

Wedding Reflections

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poetry: Wedding Reflections


Great Regulars: [Campbell McGrath] deploys rank after rank

of exclamation points to convey his enthusiasms--"No cheese steaks today!" "French people are having a party!"--but this Whitmanesque exuberance often feels forced, even coercive. Similarly, McGrath's paint-store adjectives, which aim to be expressive, frequently end up smug and sentimental: "Surely this is one of life's little-noticed pleasures, showering in dappled sunshine beneath a cerulean sky after a month-long siege of hurricanes."

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Seven Notebooks: Poems


Great Regulars: With the Edinburgh International Film Festival

being held in June for the first time in its history, here's a chance celebrate film in a poetic fashion. Try dipping into In Person (Bloodaxe Books Ltd, 2008, £12) – with accompanying DVDs, words can be brought to the stage of your living room. You'll be spoilt for choice, but this poem and performance are a good place to start.

One day, feeling hungry

from The Scotsman: Poem of the Week: Gwyneth Lewis


Great Regulars: "Confinement"

By Tony Hoagland

from Slate: "Confinement" --By Tony Hoagland


Poetic Obituaries: Some of her [Evelyn L. Baker's] favorite pastimes

were playing canasta, solving crossword puzzles and reading mystery novels. She was a collector and treasured the time spent traveling to yard sales and rummage sales.

An accomplished poet, Mrs. Baker's works were published by The National Library of Poetry.

from The Malden Observer: Evelyn L. Baker


Poetic Obituaries: Or consider "The American Businessman's Ten Steps

to Product Development": "1. Can I cut corners in the design? 2. Can it be shoddily built? 3. Can I use cheap materials? 4. Will it create hazards for my workers? 5. Will it harm the environment? 6. Can I evade the safety laws? 7. Will children die from it? 8. Can I overprice it? 9. Can it be falsely advertised? 10. Will it force smaller competitors out of business?

"Excellent. Let's get busy."

from World Socialist Web Site: Social satirist George Carlin dead at 71


Poetic Obituaries: [Marie Enschede] was a homemaker

and enjoyed gardening and time spent at the ocean. She also painted with oils, wrote poetry, and played the piano and accordion. She was active in the Hillsboro Methodist Church and a member of Pythian Sisters Phoenicia Temple No. 10.

from The Hillsboro Argus: Marie Enschede, 97, service on Saturday


Poetic Obituaries: [Elizabeth Walsh "Betty" Churchill] actively participated

in the League of Women Voters, was editor of a Chelmsford Know-Your-Town guide, volunteered at the library, and worked to assure her daughters had the benefit of quality schooling. She often took on the technical aspects of activities, acting as navigator for autoclub T&D rallies, learning celestial navigation for sailing, and mastering Latin botanica for gardening. She was also a wordsmith who enjoyed entertaining with puns and poems, both silly and serious.

from York County Coast Star: Elizabeth Walsh Churchill


Poetic Obituaries: During basic training, [Frank] Gasper

sent his mother a poem he wrote titled "Warriors"--one reflection of just how deeply he felt about his new calling.

"He felt he was actually making a difference," said Breanna Gasper, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., near Ft. Carson. "On missions, he'd bring bags of candy to hand to little kids. It was a sense of accomplishment."

A specialist in maintaining field radios, Gasper kept in frequent touch with his family from Iraq.

from Los Angeles Times: Army Staff Sgt. Frank Gasper, 25, Merced; killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq


Poetic Obituaries: [Jeanette (Yox) Helmbrecht] was a distinguished poet

and member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Illinois State Poetry Society. She considered herself a social activist, and in the 1970's was the first woman to argue a case and win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

from The Post-Journal: Jeanette (Yox) Helmbrecht


Poetic Obituaries: Police investigating Rachel [Jarvis']s death

found long-sleeved tops with blood stains at the wrists. They also found a diary with dark poetry and entries about eight earlier suicide attempts.

from The Times: Girl found hanged in bedroom had become obsessed with 'emo' culture


Poetic Obituaries: After she retired in 1997, Mrs. [Nancy Metzgar] Lippa

enjoyed traveling to Italy with her husband, decorating their home, gardening, and in recent years helping to care for her granddaughter.

She was a devoted theater patron, a lover of poetry and Italian culture, and an excellent cook, her husband said.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Nancy Metzgar Lippa: Theater assistant, 64


Poetic Obituaries: [Peter Meller's] expertise in the field

of small-scale Renaissance bronzes was sought after by collectors and dealers until the very end of his life.

Throughout his life, Peter continued to make drawings and prints, as well as paintings, photographs, and sculpture. All his work is characterized by lyricism, elegance, and wit. Much of it involves a playful--often ribald--adaptation of classical motifs.

from The Santa Barbara Independent: Peter Meller 1923-2008


Poetic Obituaries: As a writer, he [Steve Mirabella] published a textbook

on the Middle Ages and won prizes for fiction and poetry. As an educator, he became one of the most popular teachers at James River Day School and St. Anne's of Belfield. As a musician, he played blues guitar with enough flair to have made that his living.

Among other accomplishments, he taught a course on the Renaissance at the American Academy in Rome and was chairman of the Friends of the Sweet Briar Library board.

from Lynchburg News Advance: Cancer's toll: Two friends, too young, too soon


Poetic Obituaries: Herman [L. Parsons] had many talents

including writing children's stories for his grandson, and poetry. His poetry always included just the right words to honor an individual for the specific occasion. He could fix almost anything, including farm machinery and TVs

from The Morning Sun: Herman L. Parsons


Poetic Obituaties: Ruby Peters starting writing poetry

as a teenager. It was a practice she would continue throughout her life.

At her funeral Friday, mourners received copies of some of Ms. Peters' poems, including some of her earliest, a reminder of her imagination as well as her meticulousness.

from Fort Worth Star Telegram: The longtime teacher who wrote poetry was her church's historian


Poetic Obituaries: [Jean C. Soule] eventually published

seven children's books and six books of poetry for adults.

Mrs. Soule also taught at local writers conferences and conducted writing seminars in elementary schools, and from 1978 to 1999, taught correspondence courses for the Institute of Children's Literature.

from The Philadelphia Inquirer: Jean C. Soule, 89, children's author, educator