Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

December 27th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We end the year and begin this week in News at Eleven with Brian Turner reflecting on the end of the U.S. warring and policing in Iraq, and calling for a dialogue in art.

In our second section, Great Regulars, one of Alison Flood's columns addresses the Rita Dove/Helen Vendler disagreement, calling it a "race row." Within that article, she has some very good links about the topic.

Among the poems this week, is a video in Great Regulars of Fiona Sampson reciting one of her own. This is part of a Guardian series called Close Up Poetry. If you click the link to Fiona's item, off to the right will be a link to all the videos in the series.

Have a happy, healthy, and safe rest of 2011. See you in 2012.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: "I was able to meet some Iraqi poets

and painters, and they're sort of waiting," [Brian] Turner told Here & Now's Robin Young. "They see the guns and the tanks and helicopters come, and they're wondering where is another part of the conversation, more of a dialogue in art, that kind of constructive conversation. So if anybody is interested in that, I would encourage them to not sit by the sidelines and not get involved. They're waiting for us."

from 90.9 WBUR: Here & Now: A Poet Of The Iraq War Reflects On Its End


News at Eleven: [Simon] Armitage handles the alliterative verse

with great energy and verve, attaining the momentum of a siege-tower falling off a cliff, and relishing the opportunity for comic boastfulness and gluttonous, bloodthirsty comedy. Before setting out for Rome, Arthur tackles the cannibal monster of Mont Saint-Michel, who "was bulky as a sea-pig with a brawny body,/and each quivering lump of those loathsome lips/writhed and rolled with the wrath of a wolf's head". With a generation of children raised on Horrible Histories, Armitage's version might do for alliteration what Eliot's Practical Cats once did for rhythm.

from The Guardian: The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage--review


News at Eleven: John Purser has compared [Sorley] MacLean's

voice production to that used in the recitation of Fenian lays and of Greek epic. I expect [Seamus] Heaney understood the otherworldly trajectory of the poet in Gaelic culture. It is no surprise that MacLean encounters his co-choisiche, or double, in the wilderness of the Cuillin, on whose inhospitable peaks the tree of his creativity flourishes.

He also has a sexualized relationship with nature springing entirely from the Gaelic conceptualisation of human society and nature.

from The Scotsman: Collected Poems of Sorley MacLean


News at Eleven: It was common for 14th and 15th-century

scholars to claim that there was a destruction of classical learning in the middle ages, or, as [Stephen] Greenblatt calls it, "a Great Vanishing", and that they were bringing the classical past back to life. As Francesco Barbaro wrote to Poggio [Bracciolini]: "You have revived so many illustrious men and such wise men, who were dead from eternity."

Was this story really true? It more or less works for De Rerum Natura, which was indeed "lost" (or at least not often recopied between the 13th and 15th centuries) and then found on a particular day by an individual humanist. But the story that the renaissance suddenly began with a great rediscovery of the pagan past does not work so well in relation to other classical authors.

from The Guardian: The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt--review


News at Eleven: A new generation, singing along,

celebrated all things Bohemian and, in doing so, found a new excuse to rediscover [Langston] Hughes' poetry.

But it's for his association with the Harlem Renaissance that Hughes is best remembered. The poems he wrote then swing wild with energy and resonate deeply with voice. They are, most of all, fun to read. They are a delight.

Poetry "is the human soul entire, squeezed like a lemon or a lime, drop by drop, into atomic words," Hughes said shortly before his death. For Hughes, poetry was life.

from Scholars & Rogues: Honoring Langston Hughes


News at Eleven: [Maya] Angelou said she never knew Common

used the "N" bomb at all, calling it "vulgar and dangerous" to the black community.

"I'm surprised and disappointed. I don't know why he chose to do that. I had never heard him use that [word] before. I admired him so because he wasn't singing the line of least resistance."

from New York Post: Rapper N-bombs poet pal
then CNN: The Marquee Blog: Maya Angelou defuses 'feud' with Common


News at Eleven: When he [Kazuhiro Nagata] tried to clear up

misunderstandings, she [his wife Yuko Kawano] told him, "You try to justify your behavior with arguments." He fell silent. "You're a coward," she would say. Under such circumstances, he often did an about-turn when he arrived at the front gate of his house and returned to his office to avoid such quarrels. His children suggested he divorce her, but he never considered it.

It was her tanka poems that swept away the turbulent times for several years. In one of them, she wrote: "When I was mentally broken, you held me tight and cried. There was nothing else to do," he recounted. "If it wasn't for that tanka, I might not have been able to get through the hard times."

from The Daily Yomiuri: Working through grief with tanka poems


News at Eleven: I closed the book, transformed,

bolstered from the inside out.

From that day forward, each morning I read a poem. Even with a crazed daily docket, I can manage a minute or two for the words, reading while waiting for the bread to toast, sitting in a school parking lot. I've read poems at jury duty. At Jiffy Lube. Once, at a football tailgate, I read a poem in a Portajohn.

That's the practical greatness of a poem.

from NPR: Find a Station: A Poem A Day: Portable, Peaceful And Perfect
or NPR: All Things Considered: A Poem A Day Keeps The Craziness Away


News at Eleven: Convenience

W.S. Merwin

from The New York Review of Books: Convenience by W.S. Merwin


News at Eleven: The differences between layers

of a continuous mass of water made obvious by the movements of the sawdust filled him [Rabindranath Tagore] with a sense of wonder that never left him. According to him, this was the first time he realised that things that we thoughtlessly take for granted as natural and simple are, in fact, not so, and this set him wondering.

The next wonder came when he went with his father to the hills of Dalhousie in the Himalayas. As the sky became dark in the evenings and the stars came out in their splendour and appeared to hang low, Maharshi Debendranath would point out to him the constellations and the planets and tell him about their distances from the sun, their periods of revolution round the sun and many other properties. Rabindranath found this so fascinating that he began to write down what he heard from his father.

from Frontline: Man of Science
then Frontline: Poet of the Padma


News at Eleven (Back Page): But Fernande [Olivier] said that [Pablo] Picasso

had been so impressed by Gertrude [Stein]'s massive head and body he wanted to paint her even before he knew her.

Like [Paul] Cézanne's Madame Cézanne with a Fan and [henri] Matisse's Woman with a Hat, his Portrait of Gertrude Stein represented the subject seated in a chair and looking down at the viewer. Picasso was jousting directly with his rivals. Gertrude was delighted by the outcome, writing some years later that "for me, it is I, and it is the only reproduction of me which is always I, for me."

from Smithsonian: An Eye for Genius: The Collections of Gertrude and Leo Stein


Great Regulars: [Jaron Lanier] accuses the internet

prophets of "digital Maoism."

Lanier identified this process in the increasing number of 'meta' sites--Google, Wikipedia, news and blog aggregators Digg and Reddit, which aggregate from other aggregators, and, most notably, popurls.com, the supreme meta- site. 'We now are reading,' writes Lanier with wry dismay, 'what a collectivity algorithm derives from what other collectivity algo rithms derived from what collectives chose from what a population of mostly amateur writers wrote anonymously.'

In addition, says Lanier--in his 2010 book You Are Not a Gadget--the internet was destroying the creative middle class.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Tools for Conviviality?


Great Regulars: Sappho looks satanic; Chaucer has

something of the Rumpelstiltskin about him. From the foxy look in Washington Irving's eyes, meanwhile, I can only assume he has a teeny-tiny dagger tucked behind his copy of Rip Van Winkle.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: Alarming author dolls


Great Regulars: Regardless of your vices and virtues

during this festive time of year, we at "In Other Words" send you, Dear Free-Ranger IOWerZ and Intrepid Reg Readers, our finest greets and newsical treats from both our prose and poetry beats. Salut to you! May 2012 prove itself a breakthrough year for each and all of us, too . . . Or else!

Many individuals despise Christmas, despise its gimme-gimme-gotta-get-that-gadgeteer angle and various related greedy peers a jingle-jangle. Not moi.

from Judith Fitzgerald: The Globe and Mail: In Other Words: That's a wrap!


Great Regulars: The poet Jo Shapcott, who began the year

by winning the Costa book of the year award for her collection Of Mutability, has ended 2011 by being named the latest recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

Decided by a committee of "eminent men and women of letters" selected by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the medal is given for either a body of work or for an individual poem, and counts among its previous recipients WH Auden, who took it in 1936, Siegfried Sassoon and John Betjeman.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Jo Shapcott wins Queen's gold medal for poetry


[Rita] Dove's collection, The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, is the Pulitzer prize-winning poet and professor of English's pick of the best US poetry of the last 100 years. [Helen] Vendler, a critic and Harvard professor, laid into the book in an excoriating write-up in the New York Review of Books, criticising Dove for deciding "to shift the balance, introducing more black poets and giving them significant amounts of space, in some cases more space than is given to better-known authors".

Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg and Sterling Brown are left out of the anthology--although Dove explains in her introduction that this was down to a rights issue: Penguin's budget was not enough to secure rights to include their poems in the book.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Poetry anthology sparks race row


Great Regulars: One image captured the direction of

that movement concisely--Daniel Clowes' cover for the Dec. 5 New Yorker titled "Black Friday." The cartoon shows a store with shelves filled with T-shirts, caps, bags and figurines of famous authors and a table displaying e-readers. Only a bottom shelf carries a row of print books.

It's the bookstore of tomorrow, if you can find an actual bookstore (cognoscenti call them "bricks and mortar") these days.

from Bob Hoover: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Books and words: Another year, another apocalypse looming


Great Regulars: December

by Gary Johnson

A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: December by Gary Johnson


by Anne Porter

Gift Wrapping
by David Wagoner

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: December by Anne Porter, Gift Wrapping by David Wagoner


My Earliest Memory
by Ray Gonzalez

I am flying through the air,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: My Earliest Memory by Ray Gonzalez


Nocturne of the Poet Who Loved the Moon
by Mark Strand

I have grown tired of the moon, tired of its look of astonish-

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Nocturne of the Poet Who Loved the Moon by Mark Strand


The Old Life (Excerpt)
by Donald Hall

December twenty-first

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Old Life (Excerpt) by Donald Hall


Waking on the Farm
by Robert Bly

I can remember the early mornings--how the stubble,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Waking on the Farm by Robert Bly


Great Regulars: Anne Coray is an Alaskan, and

in this beautiful meditation on the stillness of nature she shows us how closely she's studied something that others might simply step over.

The Art of Being

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 353


Great Regulars: The recipient of a Pulitzer prize for

poetry in 1935, Robert P. Tristram Coffin taught at Bowdoin College and was a well-known historian as well as a poet. Walking by himself on a winter night in this poem, Coffin makes an unexpected connection with a stranger.

Winter Friends

from Wesley McNair: The Portland Press Herald: Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

Rosa Parks Dreams

Rosa Parks dreams about

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-Notes: Fulbright News


Great Regulars: Many netizens expressed concern that

the new rules will silence anyone exposing public scandals involving the rich and powerful, or breaking news online like the recent mass protests in the Guangdong village of Wukan, which the authorities are keen to suppress in the name of harmony and stability.

"This will silence the voice of the people," wrote user @lamatingfeng via the Sina Weibo microblogging service. "There will only ever be a single voice speaking now."

User @qiaosiye wrote: "Now the last little bit of freedom of expression we had left is under threat."

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: China Clamps Down on Microblogs


Great Regulars: [Philip] Larkin's evocation of the icy,

claustrophobic, wartime town is heightened by flashbacks to the glowing summer when a younger, merrier Katherine stayed with the Fennels. Both seasons are vividly evoked. Katherine's eye is the poet's eye.

At the heart of the novel is a mystery which some commentators consider another aspect of its poetry. Katherine is in exile in England, but we're never told where from.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Winter reads: A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin


Great Regulars: Taken from her 2010 collection Rough Music,

which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot and Forward prizes, this poem from Poetry Review editor Fiona Sampson captures a moment of "beautiful exception"--then slantingly interrogates our need to memorialise such moments before they're passed

from Fiona Sampson: The Guardian: Fiona Sampson reads her poem Envoi--video


Great Regulars: One thing I've always admired about

Patti Smith is her refusal to be characterized. Rocker, poet, artist, mother: She seems to inhabit each of these roles almost effortlessly, moving among them as if the only difference was in our heads. And why not? For Smith, they all come out of the same impulse, a kind of ecstatic self-engagement, in which the line separating life and creativity, the mundane and the mystical, is an illusion, a border we create to bound ourselves.

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: Critic's Notebook: Patti Smith's 'Woolgathering'


Great Regulars: The other day I spent a couple of hours

putting our patio garden into order for the winter. This involved a lot of sweeping, an exercise that almost magically brings mind and body into coordination, the body being occupied just enough to keep you from trying to take control of the mind. This allows the mind to be itself, namely, something we ought to listen to rather than manage.

from Frank Wilson: When Falls the Coliseum: That's What He Said: Sweeping your way to truth


Great Regulars: [by Mike Hedrick]

Winter surfing at sunset

Off the California coast the golden sun is cold

from The Christian Science Monitor: Winter Surfing at Sunset


Great Regulars: Shelley in Oxford

Blasphemy, Bedlam, and Bookburning
by Heathcote Williams

In Oxford High Street, in 1810,

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Tell the Facts, Name the Names


Great Regulars: In the Garden by the Lake

By Kyi May Kaung.

from Foreign Policy in Focus: In the Garden by the Lake


Great Regulars: A hero of American letters,

[Ralph Waldo] Emerson once wrote in an essay: "That which takes my fancy most, in the heroic class, is the good-humor and hilarity they exhibit." "William Rufus and the Jew" suggests that Emerson's hilarity, as Lazarus intuited, was leavened with a decided degree of contempt for Jewish people.

"William Rufus and the Jew"

from Forward: The Arty Semite: Emerson, Emma Lazarus and the Jews


Great Regulars: Carols in King's

By Anne Stevenson

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Carols in King's


Great Regulars: by Helen Mort

The Suit who pulled the trigger

from Morning Star: Well Versed: Pit Closure as a Tarantino Short


Great Regulars: Today's Poetry Pairing matches

the Emma Lazarus poem "In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport" with a 2009 article, "A Synagogue Despairs of a Sweeter New Year."

from The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport'


Great Regulars: Poet Mark Doty, winner of the

National Book Award, reflects on one of the great traditions of the holiday season: Handel's "Messiah."

from PBS: Newshour: Poet Mark Doty Reflects on Community Bonds Forged by Handel's 'Messiah'


By Monica Ferrell

You need me like ice needs the mountain

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Rime Riche'


Great Regulars: [by Louise Calkins]

Those pesky snow days,

from Portsmouth Herald News: Random Acts of Poetry: Those Pesky Snow Days


Great Regulars: Dreaming in Noir

Chapter Seven

By Fernando Esteban Flores

from San Antonio Express-News: Poem: 'Dreaming in Noir'


Great Regulars: [Rudy] Wiedoeft's music set off a

saxophone craze in the '20s, but Wiedoeft, a man who could simultaneously play virtuoso saxophone and do cowboy rope tricks on stage, died forgotten. In a late poem, [Vachel] Lindsay writes if not directly of Wiedoeft then certainly of the music he created, and in so doing condemns the very milieu--"none but an assassin would enjoy this horn"--that for a while made Vachel Lindsay a cultural phenomenon.

from Slate: The Mystery of Vachel Lindsay


Poetic Obituaries: Lunch was a revelation. [Christopher] Logue

was a gifted performer at table when he chose to be, and he seemed happy to perform for two dazzled young admirers. I was already a keen fan of his Homer translations. To my delight and confusion, not long after first looking into the Homer, I took a date to see Ken Russell's The Devils and there was Christopher Logue as Cardinal Richelieu. Jeepers. I'd never been in the presence of such a grand personality before, who'd seen and known and done so much, in the more exotic realms of 'culture'.

from London Review of Books: Memories of Christopher Logue


Poetic Obituaries: [Len Rinaldi, Sr.'s] works of poetry

included 13 editions of his self-published "Words of Wisdom in Verse;" one edition of "Wisdom Shared in Poetic Verse," published by Publish America; poems appearing in 28 anthologies by the Library of Congress; and five poems for the Smithsonian Institution.

from The Bronx Times: Len Rinaldi, Sr. Dies At 69


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

December 20th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Fred Wah is Canada's new Parliamentary Poet Laureate. That's where we begin a big week for poetry in the news. That is followed by the announcement from Time Magazine that The Protester is Time's person of the year. We focus on their write-up of Javier Sicilia of Mexico. This is followed by the inaugural Montreal International Poetry Prize, the biggest prize for a single poem, going to Australia's Mark Tredinnick. We then hear from Nobel Peace Prize nominee Hu Jia on Nobel Peace Prize winner, the poet Liu Xiaobo. Those are our first articles in News at Eleven.

In our Great Regulars section, we have items echoing our Poetic Obituaries. Václav Havel has died. We have an article from the Human Rights Foundation on this in Poetic Obituaries, but also Great Regulars John Timpane and René Wadlow write about him. Christopher Hitchens has died. You will find some of his obituaries in Poetic Obituaries, but also in Great Regulars by Olivia Cole, Alison Flood, Hillel Italie, and Charles McGrath.

As always, there is plenty more. I have not even mentioned the poems. But I will let you get to your reading. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Saskatchewan-born writer Fred Wah

has been appointed as the new parliamentary poet laureate.

Wah is the fifth poet to hold the office.

He replaces Pierre DesRuisseaux, whose two-year term expired earlier this year.

The post was created in 2001, with a mandate to write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions, to sponsor poetry readings and advise the parliamentary library.

from Winnipeg Free Press: Saskatchewan writer Fred Wah named parliamentary poet laureate
then The Parliamentary Poet Laureate: Current Poet Laureate: Fred Wah, 2011-2013


News at Eleven: "I had never thought of starting a movement

or being a spokesman for anything. I'm a poet, and poets are better known for working with more obscure intuitions. But in those moments I was reminded that the life of the soul can be powerful too. My chief intuition then was that we had to give name and form to this tragedy and somehow put that into action with real citizens as a way to tell the government, 'We need something new, especially new institutions to fight our lawlessness and corruption and impunity, not just that of the drug cartels but the state.'["--Javier Sicilia]

from Time: Person of the Year: Why I Protest: Javier Sicilia of Mexico
then Time: Person of the Year: The Protester


News at Eleven: The landscapes of Mark Tredinnick's poems

are usually Australian--the Blue Mountains, or the Southern Highlands, where he lives. But it is Walking Underwater, a poem he wrote in Portland, Oregon, that has won the inaugural Montreal International Poetry Prize, which at $50,000 is the world's richest prize for a single poem.

There were 3200 entries from 59 countries and Britain's former poet laureate, Andrew Motion, chose the winner from a shortlist of 44 poets including seven Australians (and a second poem, Kingfisher, by Tredinnick).

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Poet walks away with major international prize
then The Montreal International Poetry Prize: 2011 Montreal Prize Winner
then The Globe and Mail: In Other Words: Australian Poet Wins $50,000 Montreal International Poetry Prize


News at Eleven: I would like the world to know that

being nominated for or being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize provides an unquestionable degree of protection for imprisoned dissidents in China, for those whose individual freedoms have been illegally suppressed. It improves the poor conditions in which they are held. Without it, their situation would be much worse. Liu Xiaobo can be expected one day to testify to the effect of the Nobel Peace Prize on his prison conditions.

Liu Xiaobo is in prison because he helped draft "Charter 08." In the three years since its launch, 13,000 people have signed this charter--only one person out every 100,000 in China. This situation is a result of the terror and online censorship mechanisms that the Chinese leaders have imposed on Chinese society.

[--Hu Jia]

from Reporters Without Borders: Message of support from Hu Jia for 2010 Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and wife Liu Xia


News at Eleven: "The bashing of politicians by litterateurs

has crossed the limit. We should curtail them. They recite poems and hold discussions making derogatory comments against legislators and ministers. You should see what happened during the recent Sahitya Sammelan at Gangavati. They spoke despairingly about politicians. All of us, cutting across party lines, should think about this and decide what should be done," [Karnataka's Kannada and Culture Minister Govind] Karjol said.

from India Today: Poets shouldn't be allowed to criticise politicians, says Karnataka minister


News at Eleven: First, [Judith] Palmer resigned in May,

followed by two fellow-members of staff, plus the president, Jo Shapcott. So seismic was the upheaval, that the Arts Council withheld the society's quarterly grant for July.

Then in August, Palmer was reinstated, following a petition from more than 1,000 poets, including laureate Carol Ann Duffy. At which point, three vice-presidents, plus three trustees, promptly tendered their resignations in protest. "People I respect, and people I am close to, took both sides of the argument," sighs [Roger] McGough, spreading out on the sofa at his home in south-west London. "It was a very difficult time indeed, for all concerned."

Absolutely, and no one likes to see sensitive creative souls engaged in painful, internecine struggle. But whose side was he on?

from The Telegraph: Rhyme and reason of the people's poet Roger McGough


News at Eleven: [William Letford] told Scotland on Sunday:

"I was already writing poems when I started working as a roofer with the family firm. I decided to write poems on to the roofs that I was working on, often on to the joists or under the slates.

"When someone comes across it they might not understand it or appreciate it, but I love the idea that 100 years from now someone might discover what I've written."

from Scotland on Sunday: Roofer-poet slated for success as he lands publishing deal