Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 26th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

The Beijing Olympics are over, and everyone's gone home except for those detained for exercising freedom. We begin this week reading about Woeser and her arrest in The Times. Our second article is from Reporters Without Borders and condemns both the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee.

Also in our News at Eleven section, a couple articles for Dickinson fans, another on how Frankenstein was sewn together in the Shelley bedroom, some poetry for your approval, including a Pascale Petit translation of a Wang Xiaoni poem. And check out the Back Page, but just before it the story of the Pulitzer hoax.

This week, long overdue, we add Adam Kirsch to our Great Regulars. Also added this week is Kristen Hoggart who's got this nifty "Ask a Poet" column starting up as of, it looks like, three weeks ago. We link to all three.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: [Woeser's husband Wang Lixiong] said: "I can't say

whether their intention was to intimidate. But if they can do this to an influential writer who has done nothing more than take photographs, then one can only imagine the kind of threat that ordinary people in Tibet must feel every day."

The couple decided to return home to Beijing but first organised a reunion party with Woeser's many family and friends in Lhasa. Many did not attend, apparently afraid of possible consequences after her arrest.

from The Times: Tibet's most famous woman blogger, Woeser, detained by police


News at Eleven: When the IOC voted to award these games

to China in 2001, it knew that the issue of human rights would be at the heart of the event. But, throughout the seven long years from the vote until the start of the games, the IOC and its president, Jacques Rogge, proved incapable of getting the Chinese authorities to make lasting improvements in respect for freedom of expression.

The IOC had an obligation to ensure respect for the Olympic Charter, which says sport must serve "the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." It is guilty of a serious dereliction of duty.

from Reporters Without Borders: Olympic disaster for free expression in China: Reporters Without Borders condemns Chinese government cynicism and IOC inability to ensure respect for charter


News at Eleven: [Mahmoud Darwish] speaks of this paradoxical identity

in the poem Mural: "Whenever I search for myself/I find the others/And when I search for them/I only find my alien self/So am I the individual-crowd?" The interiority of this poem renders its tone radically different from his early assertive poem Identity Card: "Put it on record./I am an Arab./And the number of my card is fifty thousand./I have eight children/And the ninth is due after summer./What is there to be angry about?"

from Frontline: Lover from Palestine


News at Eleven: Translated from the Chinese by Pascale Petit

Born in 1955, in Changchun, Jilin province, Wang Xiaoni was sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, and began writing poetry in 1974.

from The Guardian: Poem: White Moon by Wang Xiaoni


News at Eleven: Also, you might want to try thinking of yourself

as a mountain, as a being capable of bringing on weather through your voice, and give it a good, solid, slow reading. Maybe even this afternoon as the last of the summer rains come down you can give it a good read. Enjoy.

[by Ed Lahey]

"The Blind Horses"

The old man in the hospital bed

from Flagstaff Live: Taking the pulpit: Honoring Montana poet Ed Lahey


News at Eleven: "She had tried society and the world,"

Mrs. [Mabel Loomis] Todd wrote [of Emily Dickinson], "and found them lacking. She was not an invalid, and she loved seclusion, from no love-disappointment. Her life was the normal blossoming of a nature introspective to a high degree, whose best thought could not exist in pretence."

It would be hard to come up with a more mistaken analysis of Emily Dickinson. Even the accurate parts are misleading.

from Worcester Telegram & Gazette: The little-known Worcester sweetheart of Emily Dickinson


News at Eleven: We still don't know why Dickinson elected,

well past her youth, to don only virginal white or--beyond a sense of shared mental and social superiority--what caused the members of her family to cling so tightly to one another. (Vinnie and Emily, the husbandless sisters, spent their entire lives under the parental roof; their lawyer brother, Austin, lived in coffined coldness with his wife, Susan Gilbert, within eyeshot of Emily's bedroom window.)

from The New York Times: Emily's Tryst


News at Eleven: With Yeats at his best, then,

and he is at his best profusely--not a costive poet like Eliot, or a cranky/spotty one like Pound--we encounter the very essence of what we mean by poetry, by art and the aesthetic sense.

He could not be omitted from any circle of the best without amputating something intrinsic to the idea and practice of poetry itself. That is how strong Yeats is.

from Globe and Mail: The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats


News at Eleven: Now a leading scholar has compiled fresh evidence

that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was jolted into life with the help of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

According to the research, Percy made at least 5,000 changes to the original, many of them probably as the couple sat in bed writing together.

from The Sunday Times: Frankenstein lives--thanks to the poet


News at Eleven: America's highest literary honour has been sullied

in an Internet scam affecting writers, including Brantford's poet laureate, John B. Lee.

The acclaimed author is still smarting after an e-mail saying he had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize turned out to be a cruel hoax.

from Brantford Expositor: Pulitzer hoax targets city's poet laureate


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Antonio] Machado was at first disenchanted

with Soria, then a rough-hewn rural town of 7,000. Born in Seville and raised in Madrid, he had by this time already published a book of poetry. But before long, Soria worked its spell on him.

I found my homeland where the Duero flows

from The New York Times: A Poet's Realm of Myth and Reality
also The New York Times: A Poet's Timeless Idyll in Soria


Great Regulars: This book is at its best when

[Daniel] Barenboim meditates on and explains the unique status of music. "I firmly believe," he writes, "that it is impossible to speak about music." But, somehow, he does. He describes brilliantly the way music works and the way in which its intricacies and logic justify his faith that everything is connected.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: Everything is Connected by Daniel Barenboim


Consumerism, globalism and, somehow, secularism lurk behind the pepperoni, the garlic bread and the salade niçoise. An AK-47 assault rifle has something of the same effect. Also global, also consumed, this is a killing machine that never seems to go out of style. It's as sexy and vile in 2008 as it was when it first went into service in 1949. More than any other object, it seems to embody the anguish of Africa and the incorrigible original sinfulness of humanity.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Sunday Times: Warhol captured an era in his Time Capsules
also Bryan Appleyard: Thought Experiments: Ashbery and Alsop--More Capsules


Great Regulars: Coveting

By Jon Herbetr Arkham

The noises next door--

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: 'Coveting'


Sheet Lightning
By Jon Herbetr Arkham

Evidence of an

from John Mark Eberhart: Parachute: Storm Watch


Great Regulars: [Katie] Ford worries less about what

the event means and more about how to bring it to life in a poem.

And she can do that heartbreakingly well. Ford's sludgy lines eddy and snag on unexpected lyricisms: "Blue tarps drape the oysters/harvested from contaminated beds," she writes in "Fish Market," "silverlings caught from trestles of the resealed lake."

from John Freeman: The Star-Ledger: Sorrow rains down


Great Regulars: Received history speaks of ancient people

who buried their most prized possessions with the bodies of the dead. Thus the speaker in Kenyon's poem claims, "Like primitives we buried the cat/with his bowl."

Then the speaker says that with bare hands they covered the cat with "sand and gravel."

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Jane Kenyon's 'The Blue Bowl'


The speaker then becomes clairvoyant, prognosticating, "When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie/Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by." The speaker has shown absolutely no examples of the "ordeals [the aunt] was mastered by." She is preaching to the choir of other feminists and their dupes who have bought into the notion that "marriage" is slavery, and all men are patriarchal slave-masters.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Rich's 'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers'


The speaker then queries, "Why should he even care that others cause calamity by their lifeless imitations?"

The speaker is aware that the poetasters will always be there, pouring forth their dreck and doggerel. And although he is especially proud of his own talent, he fashions his criticism from a point of view of one who is harmed by these scoundrels.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 67


The shallowness of copycat poetasters is an abomination just as are grave robbers who steal hair from the dead to fashion into wigs. The "second life" of that hair that well suited its original owner becomes an unnatural prop, not an outgrowth of beauty.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Shakespeare Sonnet 68


The speaker then reports, "A glass of ice-water/Keeps me company." He subtly lets the reader know that he is alone, which might account for the seemingly long wait he is experiencing and perhaps the illusion that it has grown darker outside. The stereotypically solo diner is often ridiculed or pitied, so much so that many people will go out of their way to make sure they have at least one dining companion.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Simic's 'The Partial Explanation'


(New to) Great Regulars: The poet Thomas Lux eats boiled potatoes

and chicken carcasses among other delicacies cataloged in "Refrigerator, 1957," but not anything whose ingredients call for maraschino cherries, "full, fiery globes like strippers/at a church social." Maybe he is outraged by the cruel treatment the cherries endure in order to become maraschino, but what he actually says is this: "you do not eat/that rips the heart with joy."

from Kristen Hoggart: The Smart Set: Ask a Poet: On Dining, Hygiene, Miracles, and Publishing


When you are a poet in this age, your eyes go bad from too much time spent in front of the computer screen and you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome from deleting and rewriting lines or words or punctuation marks. You won't exercise as much as you should because maybe after a hard day's work, you would rather write a poem than run three miles like your doctor recommends.

from Kristen Hoggart: The Smart Set: Ask a Poet: On Fashion, Pay, and Patriotism


We were never hunted down and punished because we felt, as perhaps did the appropriate authorities, that we had poetic license: We had the right to get naked, we had the right to paint our bodies, we had the right to scribble another classmate's epigram next to our spattered silhouettes: "I cannot believe in you,/however I will continue/compulsively counting."

from Kristen Hoggart: The Smart Set: Ask a Poet: On Happiness, Love, and License


Great Regulars: Another time the motorbike I was on skidded

on mud on a sharp corner. With enviable forethought the rider vacated the front seat a second before impact, leaving me gazing in awe at a pair of completely unmanned handlebars. I was carted away in a neck brace and ambulance.

By the time I was 22 I'd gone right off being someone's pillion.

from Frieda Hughes: The Times: L for leather


Great Regulars: With a fresh, wry voice, Meghan O'Rourke can

make the quotidian sound strange, the same way Joseph Cornell could assemble a magical collage by pasting magazine clippings into out-of-context compositions. In "Descent," the speaker's own birth begins with a metaphoric shock:

I was born a bastard in an amphetamine spree,

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


Great Regulars: Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe


by Terence Winch

Father Ray Byrne quickly became

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Comfort by Terence Winch


In the Park
by G.E. Johnson

We walked along Central Park West and at 65th

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: In the Park by G.E. Johnson


The Sorrows
by Gary Fincke

Whatever the Sunday, the sorrows kept the women in the kitchen,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Sorrows by Gary Fincke


Teaching a Nephew to Type
by Rebecca McClanahan

Because you lag already

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Teaching a Nephew to Type by Rebecca McClanahan


Thus Spake the Mockingbird
by Barbara Hamby

The mockingbird says, Hallelujah, coreopsis, I make the day

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Thus Spake the Mockingbird by Barbara Hamby


What We Might Be, What We Are
by X. J. Kennedy

If you were a scoop of vanilla

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: What We Might Be, What We Are by X. J. Kennedy


(New to) Great Regulars: Among poets, the taut ironies

the New Critics valued have been displaced by other values and habits--from the confessional onslaught of John Berryman and Sylvia Plath to the postmodern diffuseness of John Ashbery.

Perhaps that is why an interest in the New Criticism functions, among poets, as a kind of password--a pledge of high ambition, intellectual seriousness, and defiance of trends.

from Adam Kirsch: New York Sun: Harvesting the Waste Land: An Anthology of New Criticism


Great Regulars: We mammals are ferociously protective

of our young, and we all know not to wander in between a sow bear and her cubs. Here Minnesota poet Gary Dop, without a moment s hesitation, throws himself into the water to save a frightened child.

Father, Child, Water

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 178


Great Regulars: It puts forward no argument,

makes no revelatory comparison, confronts no new audience, engages no misconception in language likely to be understood by the deceived, and so on and so on. Having dared, to his credit, a truly political poem, [Robert] Hass is unable to muster an engaging political voice, and instead retreats into the conventions of the contemporary meditative lyric.

from David Orr: Poetry Magazine: The Politics of Poetry


Great Regulars: One day I came home to find Czeslaw [Milosz]

in the living room, being entertained by my children, who had let him in. He was just back from Italy and had a new poem for which he had prepared an English trot. He presented the text to me, and asked me, what did I think of it?

I hemmed and stalled, trying to take it in: this part looks wonderful, but I'm not sure I understand this other section . . .

from Robert Pinsky: Poetry Magazine: No Tiara, No Crown


Great Regulars: [by Vern Rutsala]

[Against Telephones]

from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Poetry


Great Regulars: [John] Amen travels widely giving readings,

doing musical performances, and conducting workshops. He founded and continues to edit the award-winning literary bimonthly, The Pedestal Magazine (www.thepedestalmagazine.com).

from Belinda Subraman Presents: John Amen: Poet, Musician/Songwriter, Editor


Great Regulars: Wind shakes

the branches

from Frank Wilson: Books, Inq.: The Epilogue: Two haiku . . .


Great Regulars: Glass

by Anne Rouse

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Glass by Anne Rouse


Great Regulars: Read Coleridge's Kubla Khan several times

and compose a likely end for this greatest of unfinished masterpieces (assuming Paul Valéry is right when he says there comes a point in the process of writing a poem when it is abandoned as an alternative to the dull absolutism of completion).

from The Guardian: Poetry Workshop: Fred D'Aguiar's workshop


Great Regulars: By Jeanie Wilson

The cat sleeps

from The Kansas City Star: Between the Lines: A poem by Jeanie Wilson


Great Regulars: Reunion

by Jeffrey Skinner

Why do you keep returning,

from The New Yorker: Poetry: Reunion


We Did Not Make Ourselves

by Michael Dickman

We did not make ourselves is one thing

from The New Yorker: Poetry: We Did Not Make Ourselves


Great Regulars: By Jean Harrison

Birches' Ballet

Metallic sky and gray stone wall,

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Birches' Ballet


Great Regulars: "Yom Kippur"

By Philip Schultz

from Slate: "Yom Kippur"--By Philip Schultz


Poetic Obituaries: The mother of a man who died this week

at one of Galveston County's deadliest intersections hopes that her son's death will nudge state officials into taking action.

"I just want something good to come out of all this," said Mary Williams of Texas City.

Her son, John Andrew Austin, 25, a poet who had hoped to have his work published, was buried Friday.

from Houston Chronicle: Deadly intersection claims another


Poetic Obituaries: [Linda Marie] Beal was a 4-H leader

for 20 years and introduced the first goats to the Harney County Fair. Her club members all excelled in market lambs and dairy goats. She was a member of the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, and through singing, delivered the Lord's word. Her other talents included writing poems, acrylic painting and pencil drawing.

from Burns Times Herald: Linda Marie Beal--1942-2008


Poetic Obituaries: [Marcy Crandell] never lost her appetite

for learning or her ability to respond to difficulty with hard work and creativity. While raising her children, she also managed to lecture in English at UCSB, become a real estate broker, manage a motel in Arizona and write beautiful stories and poems. She also had a passion to see the world, and traveled extensively, often with family, to China, Japan, Europe, the South Pacific, North Africa, and throughout North America

from Noozhawk: Marcy Crandell, 1925-2008


Poetic Obituaries: Jeannette Eyerly, an Iowan for more

than 90 years, is an award-winning author of books for children and teens and an advocate for mental health. First published at age eight, she wrote twenty books of fiction for young people, two books of poetry and co-authored a book on writing young adult novels. She graduated from University of Iowa in 1930 with a bachelor's degree in English. A free-lance writer for many years, Eyerly co-wrote a nationally syndicated column in the late 1950's. She later wrote eighteen novels for young adults, in which the subject matter was ahead of its time--high school drop-outs, abortion, suicide, divorce, and alcoholism.

from Des Moines Register: Jeannette Eyerly


Poetic Obituaries: The Nowshera born poet [Ahmed Faraz ] was one

one of the greatest poet not only of our times but of all times. A man of conviction his poetry blended the exquisite sensitivity with fervent political passions. In his famous poem Mohassra, he writes:

Maira qalam to amanat hai mairey logouN ki
Maira qalam to adaalat mairey zameer ki hai

And, indeed it was.

from All Things Pakistan: Ahmed Faraz (1931-2008): Abb kay hum bichRay . . .


Poetic Obituaries: [Pam Hughes'] latest work featured

at the Hop Gallery in Lewes for the unique exhibition Shadow on the Downs, which saw her poems displayed alongside the work of contemporary Sussex painter Harold Mockford, and it was curated by Pam's daughter-in-law Katharine Martin.

from Eastbourne Herald: Pam's legacy of poetry


Poetic Obituaries: Wei Wei, who joined the Communist Party

of China in 1938, wrote most of his works right from the front lines.

One of his best-known works, "Who Is the Most Lovable," was produced shortly after he returned with the Chinese People's Volunteer Force from the 1950-53 Korean War.

The book highlights the tenacity and internationalism of the Chinese volunteer soldiers who were in North Korea to help battle against U.S. aggression.

from China.org.cn: 'Who Is the Most Lovable' author Wei Wei dies


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 19th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

News in poetry and the Olympics still intersect this week. Our lead story is about Tibetan poet Tenzin Tsundue. And in our Great Regulars section, Luisetta Mudie brings us more on this situation of the Chinese government silencing people during the games. For Beijing, the Olympics should stand solely as a source of pride for the good Chinese folks and athletes, but the games have also become very important for their government's image management.

News at Eleven is strikingly international this week. For starters, we touch down in Tibet, Russia and Palestine, Uzbekistan, Cameroon and Nigeria, India and California, Great Britain, and then fall down in New York.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Authorities have ordered a high-profile

Tibetan activist and writer to stay in this northern Indian town after detaining him for nine days for trying to sneak into Tibet to protest the Beijing Olympics.

Police released Tenzin Tsundue on Aug. 11, after detaining him Aug. 2 in Mandi district jail in India's northern Himachal Pradesh state. For four days, he staged a hunger strike and was then force-fed intravenously.

from Radio Free Asia: India Curbs Tibetan Activist-Writer


News at Eleven: Others go into exile, knowing

there's a privileged, free world out there, outside their tormentors' reach, where you can write in language no longer sullied by censorship, no longer flat and shoddy. For both Solzhenitsyn and Darwish knew that it is language, when it is free and exuberant, even flamboyant and irreverent, that has always been the expression of human grace and the prime vessel of civilisation.

from Gulf News: A tale of two literary giants


News at Eleven: In one of the rare meetings

with his relatives [Yusuf Juma or Yusuf] Djuma said he was being tortured regularly.

"He was tortured and beaten in prisons, and was told that he is not going to get out alive," [Gilnora] Oltieva's letter [to the UN Commission for human rights] states.

She also said that her husband was forced to sleep on bare cement floor, that he lives with prisoners infected with HIV and tuberculosis and he lost much weight.

from Turkish Weekly: Uzbekistan: Dissident's Wife Calls for UN Help


News at Eleven: We asked Niyi Osundare, a world renowned Nigerian poet

if he thought peace could prevail in Bakassi after the August 14 date. He answered inter-alia: " . . . Sincerity and justice are the two things we need in Bakassi; i.e. Cameroon and Nigeria sitting down and discussing the issues politically and diplomatically. If the leaders are able to do this, then the people will follow. The people who live there must be our first priority. They are not just statistics. They are Cameroonians, Nigerians; but beyond that they are human beings . . . When human beings stop talking, they begin to rely on the power of their arsenal. It is not a case of war. It is a case of diplomacy and it is a human problem that requires a human solution . . . "

Professor Osundare also fielded questions on Mugabe's Zimbabwe, his nightmarish experience during the Katrina floods and, of course, his award winning works.

from The Post: Niyi Osundare--Meet The Poet Who Hates War


News at Eleven: It's not to say that people who don't write

poetry don't survive, or survive well, but without the outlet of poetry I might have fossilized in my grief, or developed a chronic habit of sorrow or even bitterness, and certainly a debilitating regret and guilt. Poetry that is not merely release – crying is also that – is an adventure of the soul in its journey towards itself. It demands an utter honesty of experience and expression without which writing remains only cathartic and does not touch the depth at which it becomes art. [--Kamla Kapur]

from My Himachal: Poetry of Immense Grief: An Interview with Kamla Kapur


News at Eleven: "I'm also working on something that I don't

want to talk about," he [Dannie Abse] says. "It will come out next spring." Then he pauses and shakes his head. "Oh, why shouldn't I talk about it? During Joan's memorial I read some poems and one was about two people meeting for the first time. Over the decades I have written a number of poems that are scenes from married life. Now Hutchinson wants to publish this, too. My wife would count magpies, so I think that I will call the publication Two For Joy. The poems that I've written since the accident, they aren't quite enough to fill the desired amount of pages. But there is plenty of time for more."


(i) Later

from The Times: Poet Dannie Abse on how writing helped him through grief


News at Eleven: "Are these the stairs, where . . . ?"

asks the visitor.

"There's only one set of stairs in this house," he replies.

Sometime in the dawn of an October morning almost six decades ago, the undoubtedly inebriated poet Edna St. Vincent Millay tumbled down these stairs, landing in a crumpled heap on the lower landing. Hours later her farm manager found her and summoned a local doctor, but it was too late. Her neck was broken, and she had died as fiercely and adamantly as she had lived.

from The Washington Post: A Garden of Verses


News at Eleven: [Jeremy Paxman] described [Robbie] Burns--

who wrote Auld Lang Syne and is venerated as the national poet by Scots and their descendants across the globe--as 'no more than a king of sentimental doggerel'.

Almost inevitably, Scotland took umbrage yesterday at the Newsnight presenter's remarks.

Among the kinder reactions was that Yorkshireborn Paxman was being silly and talking nonsense, while one scholar accused him of 'poking a stick in Jock's rib'.

from Daily Mail: Paxman outrages Scots by calling Burns' poetry 'sentimental doggerel'