Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

July 26th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

By now you know that Amy Winehouse has died. But did you know that she was working on a book of poetry in 2009, and wanted to write a children's book at that time? I'm hoping that some of her writings can be found and brought forth for us to read. You will find links to articles on her life and death in Poetic Obituaries, but also in our Great Regulars section, as Judith Fitzgerald writes about her and Jeffrey Brown talks about her.

We begin this week with three book reviews, our first three links in our News at Eleven section. But before you read them, you may want to scroll to Great Regulars in order to read Robert Pinsky's article called "How Not To Write a Book Review." This way, you can read the book reviews with some fresh critical fuel. However, if first you want to read Robert Pinsky's article with fresh critical fuel, then begin your reading at Frank Wilson's blog Books, Inq., The Epilogue, where he says, "Well, maybe . . ." to Pinsky's look at book reviews.

I'll leave the rest of the dozens of articles to your discovery, just to say that our news is from all parts of the globe. The world is covered in poetry. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: This very dignity communicates

sincerity in, say, religious utterances--in Handel's Hallelujah chorus, for example, the thrilling "For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth" becomes in French the oily, sycophantic language of the court: "Pour le règne de Dieu tout-puissant seigneur". But English can turn Verlaine's lightly brushed-in atmospherics into an earthbound plod. The subtle, shifting music of "L'or des cheveux, l'azur des yeux, la fleur des chairs" becomes the brassy "Blonde hair, blue eyes, the flesh in flower". And the poker-faced subtle satire of "Il est juste-milieu, botaniste et pansu" becomes the pedestrian "A young man of means, a botanist, potbellied".

from The Times Literary Supplement: Verlaine, Rimbaud--and John Ashbery


News at Eleven: These qualms aside, [Lev] Loseff has written

the definitive work on Josef Brodsky in any language and above all has created an engaging narrative of the poet's life while approaching his work with sharp critical acumen. A more complete biography may emerge in coming years, but this book will remain indispensable.

from The Prague Post: Joseph Brodsky: A Literary Life


News at Eleven: [Ammiel] Alcalay, who is now in his late

fifties, comes from New England, and he hung around in Boston, where he seems to have been strongly influenced by the odd mixture of Beat hipness and poetic altitude that marks the work of the underappreciated John Wieners. In a way, the young Alcalay sounds more like a member of a previous generation. He listens to jazz, not rock, to Archie Shepp, not Janis Joplin.

"neither wit nor gold" demands from its reader a good ear for style and a sophisticated ability to jockey between the past and the present. The title poem stands at the book's threshold, and its archaic diction, a riff on the 17th-century poet Anne Bradstreet's riff on the Book of Matthew, places you in a historical no-man's land:

from Tablet: Young at Heart


News at Eleven: The young writer, with a passion for

Mme. de Rovira that totally unsettled him, decided to free himself from the "idols" of love and poetry, and henceforth devote himself solely to the intellect, to understanding what consciousness and knowledge were. This awakening is fundamental to Paul Valéry's writing, which is an attempt to make a science out of the workings of the mind.

Paul Valéry's most striking achievement is perhaps his monumental intellectual diary (over 20,000 pages) called the Cahiers (Notebooks).

from The Daily Star: Remembering Paul Valéry


News at Eleven: The trustees' solution, that [Fiona] Sampson

should work more from home for three months and report directly to them, resulted in [Judith] Palmer resigning and threatening legal action.

Paul Ranford, the finance director, and Jo Shapcott, the Costa prize-winning poet and society president, followed her, as did Gwyneth Lewis, a vice-president, Robyn Bolam, a trustee, and Peter Carpenter, the chairman, who cited intolerable pressures on his personal and professional life.

from The Guardian: Poetry Society annual meeting ends in no confidence vote


News at Eleven: [Javier] Sicilia and the other activists,

who will meet with Mexican lawmakers next Thursday, wore clocks around their necks to symbolize their demand that lawmakers get back to work.

On April 27, two days before the end of Congress' last ordinary session, the Mexican Senate approved the political reform measure--which would allow citizens to run for president or any other public office as independent candidates and also enable local and federal lawmakers to seek re-election.

The bill was sent to the lower house but has stalled there because of the long recess; debate is not scheduled to begin until the next legislative session gets underway in September.

from Latin American Herald Tribune: Poet Calls on Congress to Reform Mexico's Political System
then Troy Media: Poet fights futile war on Mexico's murders


News at Eleven: With the arrest of [Ai] Weiwei,

they had made their position clear: no one is untouchable.

The reappearance of this old rule in a deadly game seems especially apt as we approach August 19th, marking the 75th anniversary of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca's murder at the hands of a fascist death squad in the early, chaotic days of the Spanish Civil War. The two cases are not without contrasts; as impervious to world opinion as the Chinese government may be, it seems it would rather see a solution to the Ai Weiwei problem that didn't end in a well-publicised corpse.

Sadly, Lorca's fate did not trigger international outrage equivalent to that of Weiwei's until it was far too late.

from PopMatters: No One Is Untouchable: Not Federico Garcia Lorca, Not Ai Weiwei


News at Eleven: Should a poet employ poetry to serve

a political purpose? Or should the poet revolutionise his own poem, regardless of the subject that it deals with?'

Nasser [Farghaly] outlined a spectrum for me: at one end are colloquial lyrics that are made for protest, and on the other, a more academic, often classical-Arabic poetry that aims to create a revolution within the borders of the poem. The latter believe that their authority extends to the outer reaches of the poem only, thus this is the only thing they can attempt to revolutionise.

from Granta: Poetry and the Arab Spring


News at Eleven: Armed terrorists attacked the compound

of renowned Pashto poet Amir Hamza Shinwari with automatic weapons and hand grenades on Saturday in a bid to destroy the complex located in Landikotal, however, two Khasadar personnel, present on duty, retaliated to foil the attack.

from Daily Times: Pashto poet's compound attacked


News at Eleven: Spiegel: Has violence against writers

increased in recent months?

[Ali] Al Jalawi: There were always three big taboos which were not to be written about: sex, religion and politics. If you wrote about them you would go straight to prison. In recent years the situation improved a bit but now it is as bad as it has ever been. I know two writers who died after spending two days in prison.

from Spiegel: Violence Against Writers in Bahrain 'as Bad as Ever'


News at Eleven (Back Page): At McCrae House, the poet's Guelph, Ont., birthplace

and National Historic Site, officials were incredulous. "In Flanders Fields is a call to arms," said Bev Dietrich, curator of McCrae House. "What is this other claim? Where did they get their sources? If it is out there, we'd like to see it."

Documentary accounts confirm [John] McCrae was despondent over the death of [Alexis] Helmer, who was blown to pieces by German artillery on May 2, 1915.

from The Ottowa Citizen: Bytown Museum claims famed war poet John McCrae was gay
then The Ottowa Citizen: Exasperated by poet claim


Great Regulars: The attempt to be a pastry chef was

equally ill-fated. He [Wolfgang Puck] walked into the kitchen, treading on giant sheets of pastry that had been left on the floor while the staff looked on in horror--"I didn't get the job."

Happily, at some point the Puck luck changed. Aged around seventeen, he saw how they cooked in a French restaurant and realised where his future lay.

"I saw how they were cooking--coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon with bottles of red wine to make the sauce. I wasn't really fond of those tastes, I'd still rather gave houlash, but I decided I wanted to go to France and learn how to make pates and all that stuff."

He wrote letters to restaurants all over France and, finally, headed for a job in Dijon.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Wolfgang Puck


Great Regulars: I interviewed her several times and she would

be very funny, witty sort of raconteur and she could hold course and have the room, laughing and laughing. But the minute you said to her how deeply wonderful you thought her music was, or the minute you compared her to a real sort of classic talent like Billie Holiday or somebody like that, she would become very small and nervous, and sort of mutter, and really be deeply uncomfortable with praise. [--Sophie Heawood]

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Conversation: Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011


[Jeffrey Yang:] With nature poetry, a lot of these poems might not come directly out of, say, a natural disaster, but a lot of the poems, I think, relate to what is happening. And a lot of it is about how we heal in a lot of ways from these disasters.

How does our mind function in nature and what--how is this a part of nature? A lot of these poems kind of speak to that as well.

This is William Everson's poem "We in the Fields."

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Floods, Fires, Storms Are Fodder for Centuries of Poems


Great Regulars: When it came to King Arthur, though,

the books just kept on coming, and the flame of obsession, consequently, burned bright. From the Ladybird versions I moved on to Rosemary Sutcliff's King Arthur trilogy, TH White's glorious The Once and Future King and, more tangentially, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. At university, I got back to the source material with Malory, and indulged myself with Tennyson. I have been known to kick back on a Saturday afternoon with a cup of tea and episode of Merlin.

But of all the versions I've read--and by God, there's been a few--Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is still the one I love best.

from Sarah Crown: The Guardian: The king of Arthurian tales


Great Regulars: In possession of a natural vocal instrument

so singularly identifiable, so stunningly intimate, so hauntingly unforgettable in its timbre, tone, timing and impeccable delivery, [Amy Winehouse,] the equally literate crafter of cut-above tunes most likely went too far during one of her sorrow-snuffing self-medicating sessions. And yes, she does join an elite clutch of stellar artists who also died during their 27th year, an eerious case of serendipity if ever one existed. Leonard Cohen, in Tower of Song (I'm Your Man, 1988) refers to "27 angels from the great beyond" on that wall-to-wallop disc's closer because, as some of us obsessive trivia trackers know, that's how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (Only 26 angels dance tonight.)

from Judith Fitzgerald: The Globe and Mail: In Other Words: MuseSplashes


Great Regulars: Paramahansa Yogananda's speaker yearns to

find answers to his questions regarding his existence on this material plane; he represents all minds that are hungry for answers to the deep questions over which philosophers have struggled for centuries: Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where do I go when I die?

The drama, of course, cannot answer those questions in six stanzas, but it does offer a clue as to where such an inquiring mind might start his research.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Yogananda's Mystery


Great Regulars: Boy Scouts Camping Out

by Norbert Krapf

We sat cross-legged peering into the fire

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Boy Scouts Camping Out by Norbert Krapf


A Green Cornfield
by Christina Rossetti

The earth was green, the sky was blue:

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: A Green Cornfield by Christina Rossetti


by Louis Jenkins

Temperature in the upper seventies, a bit of a breeze. Great

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: July by Louis Jenkins


Phone Therapy
by Ellen Bass

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Phone Therapy by Ellen Bass


Runways Cafe II
by Marilyn Hacker

For once, I hardly noticed what I ate

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Runways Cafe II by Marilyn Hacker


Toward Paris
by Peter Makuck

My first time on the night train

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Toward Paris by Peter Makuck


We Who Are Your Closest Friends
by Phillip Lopate

we who are

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: We Who Are Your Closest Friends by Phillip Lopate


Great Regulars: It is estimated that one out of five

Americans enjoys spending time bird watching, or birding, and here's a poem for some of those people by Kathleen M. McCann, who lives in Massachusetts. I especially like the way she captures the egret's stealthy motion in the second stanza.

Lone Egret

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 331


Great Regulars: This week's poem, by Dave Morrison

of Camden, uses the traditional approach of rhyme and meter for a contemporary subject: last call in a night club.

Closing Time

By Dave Morrison

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


Great Regulars: The 2010 survey of global press freedom

carried out by the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres put China 171st out of 178 countries and territories for journalistic autonomy.

Last week, the group condemned the closure of Wang [Keqin]'s team, saying it is concerned about his fate and that of the five other team members.

"The unit's closure, which defies all editorial logic, comes at a particularly repressive time for those who defend fundamental rights and for independently minded journalists," the group said in a statement.

"The newspaper's management must provide a clear explanation for this measure," it said, calling Wang "a pioneer of investigative journalism in China."

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Cutting-Edge Editor Moved


Netizens using microblogging platforms like Twitter grew by more than 200 percent to 195 million from January to June, making up around 40 percent of China's online population.

But an increase in access did not necessarily add up to an increase in influence, experts said.

"Most Chinese netizens are aged 30 and under, and they are the group with the least influence on the whole of society," said Sweden-based Chinese Internet expert Li Ye.

"They just rely on the Internet for its communication, interaction, and entertainment functions."

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Internet Users 'Lack Real Influence'


Great Regulars: Does nature have a language that

we can understand? Does it have a message that we can hear? Or are the sights of ice and rock, the sounds of wind and rain, nothing more than gibberish?

In this poem by Wordsworth, he describes a journey through the Alps that he once made with his friend Robert Jones. Trekking from Switzerland into Italy, they wended their way through the Simplon Pass, huge peaks ringing the horizon. Nowadays, we can speed through in a car, but Wordsworth took his "slow" steps on a dirt track that dated back to the Middle Ages.

In this wilderness, everything seems unknown.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A Reading of 'The Simplon Pass' by William Wordsworth


Great Regulars: I first encountered the three requirements

in the 1970s, when I used to write the old, traditional Consumer Reports style of reviews I have in mind here--sometimes under a pen name--because I needed the money, even in the small quantities paid to reviewers. This was the age of the typewriter, and one of the newspapers I wrote for gave me the rules as part of the same photocopied style-sheet that specified the quality of ribbon, the size of margins, where to double-space, when to use italics, all-caps, or quotation marks for titles, where to put the reviewer's byline, and so forth.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: How Not To Write a Book Review


But on some level, Emerson's days and Keats' lifetime refer to one thing: the daily pressure and the lifetime's need to fulfill the intentions and capacities of imaginative work. Where the two poets differ most may appear in the resolving lines at the end of each poem. Emerson, with those effective pauses ("I, too late,") attributes the climactic word "scorn" to the most recent Day of the procession. Keats himself has the final emotion in his poem's conclusion, where he thinks until "love and fame to nothingness do sink"--a feeling more mysterious than its distant cousin scorn, and larger.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: Seize the Day


Great Regulars: This week, I'm asking you to train

your jeweller's spy-glass on an old favourite, "Casabianca", perhaps the most loved and widely-anthologised poem of the 19th century.

The best-selling Liverpudlian poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an ambitious, prolific writer, who produced larger-scale works than "Casabianca" (1826). She has deserved some recent efforts at reappraisal, but my question is not about her overall reputation. It's whether this poem deserves the 21st century's attention. Is it diamond or paste?

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Casabianca by Felicia Dorothea Hemans


Great Regulars: [Bill Morrissey's] standout performance at

the 1985 Newport Folk Festival and albums such as North (1986), Standing Eight (1989), and Night Train (1993) continued his legacy. He was known to work assiduously on his singing and songwriting. He was nominated twice for Grammy awards, for his 1993 collaboration with Brown, Friend of Mine, and his 1999 album, Songs of Mississippi John Hurt.

As his attention to lyrics suggests, he was also a published fiction writer and part of the creative-writing scene in the Northeast. His novel Edson (1996), about a musician in a New Hampshire mill town, drew critical praise. Chapters from a second novel, Imaginary Runner, were published as separate short tales; Runner was rumored to have been completed shortly before his death.

from John Timpane: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Bill Morrissey, 59, folk troubadour


Great Regulars: West on Highway 198

A poem, by Beth Cato

from The Christian Science Monitor: West on Highway 198


Great Regulars: Craquelure

By Gary Corseri

Old oils will take their time to dry--

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Three by Corseri


Great Regulars: Three poems from [Judith] Baumel's collection

are featured on The Arty Semite today. The first piece, "Blue Vitriol," is dedicated to Rabbi Manny Viñas, leader of a Spanish-speaking congregation who has been involved in the rediscovery of Conversos--people of Spanish descent with Jewish ancestors who were forcefully converted to Christianity. The piece opens with a phrase reminiscent of the Torah scribe's blessing before beginning work on a scroll.

The second poem, "The Influence of Peers," is a light-hearted, funny piece about a child's undesirable vocabulary, and it creates an ironic juxtaposition of the child's tornado-like handling of words and the poet-mother's treatment of language as fragile, all-powerful matter. The last poem hearkens back to the poet's Bronx childhood, the lives of Jewish and Italian communities, and the personal, literary, and mystical encounters within them.

from Forward: The Arty Semite: Three Kangaroo Poems From Judith Baumel


Great Regulars: by Angela Croft

Private health care--a phone call away

from Morning Star: Well Versed: Porterhouse Blue


Great Regulars: This week's pairing: the poem

"After a Rainstorm" by Robert Wrigley and an article by David Carr on a documentary film about the horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.

from The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: July 21, 2011


Great Regulars: [by Julie Sheehan]

Spare me the sweet sediment. Spare me the instant sour mix. Spare me

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: (Interior Life of Tumbler:


Great Regulars: By Kate Halverson

Only old folks talk weather,

from Post-Bulletin: Poem: The heat is on


Great Regulars: [Deborah] Brown's poems are sharply

attuned to absence: things missing, words unspoken. Many of the recurring images here focus on what's not present: in the title poem the speaker doesn't walk a dog but a dog's shadow, in another poem the moon "plans to move off course," has been driven "away from home," and has deserted the sky. The attention to absence/presence is summed up neatly in "On Not Knowing Your Father": "I am trying to imagine the pain of a phantom/limb, but the pain I imagine is a phantom, too."

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Poet Makes Thinking Look Easy


Great Regulars: By Chet Taylor

A thin haze hangs in the early morning

from San Antonio Express-News: Poetry: 'For Ta'o Ch'ien, The First Poet in Old China'


Great Regulars: [by Mary Hale]

Either side the minor road

from West Sussex Gazette: Poem of the Week: Set-Aside


Poetic Obituaries: [David] Blair was an award winning poet

and singer/songwriter. A 2010 Callaloo Fellow and a National Poetry Slam Champion, his books of poetry included the critically acclaimed Moonwalking, an examination of Michael Jackson.

from metrotimes: City Slang: Poet and singer/songwriter David Blair passes away


Poetic Obituaries: [Neera Dogra] was a personal friend of

late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She translated the children's poems of Jyoti Prasad into English and published them in a compilation, which was titled Dream and Daybreak.

from The Assam Tribune: Neera Dogra passes away


Poetic Obituaries: [Stacey M. Green] was a Hatboro-Horsham High School

and New Hope Academy graduate, Class of 2007. She was attending Montgomery County Community College.

Stacey was an exceptional artist, and also enjoyed composing poetry.

from The Intelligencer: Stacey M. Green


Poetic Obituaries: One of the first publishers to spot

the genius of poet Philip Larkin has died, three months after unveiling a heritage trail in his memory in his adopted city of Hull.

Jean Hartley, who first published Larkin with her husband George in their magazine Listen, has died at the age of 78.

The couple went on to form Marvell Press, which published Larkin's breakthrough collection The Less Deceived, and she became a lifelong friend and confidant of the enigmatic writer and Hull university librarian.

from Yorkshire Post: Woman who helped launch Larkin dies


Poetic Obituaries: [Stewart Jones, nee Stewart Whyte McEwan,] won the

prestigious reciting prize Gwobr Goffa Llwyd o'r Bryn at the National Eisteddfod twice.

Former Welsh Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones, who worked with him, said he was a larger than life character and a good and talented actor.

"In the heyday of the local and national eisteddfodau he was a brilliant reciter . . . possibly the best reciter of Welsh language poetry which was maybe his best accomplishment," he added.

from BBC News: Bafta Cymru-winning actor Stewart Jones dies, aged 83


Poetic Obituaries: Throughout his life, Kurt [H. Markel]

maintained his love for literature, creative writing and, especially, poetry. His bookshelves, notebooks and tapes were ever-overflowing.

from Times-News: Kurt H. Markel, 72


Poetic Obituaries: [Bill] Morrissey's music was distinctive,

as he combined a growl of a voice with impeccable guitar picking, supported by lyrics that reflected his strong literary background. His music had diverse influences, from Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk to the old bluesmen, especially Mississippi John Hurt, whose music Mr. Morrissey featured on one of his two Grammy-nominated recordings.

In addition to his 11 released recordings, Mr. Morrissey wrote a best-selling novel, "Edson," which was recently translated into French and released in Paris. A second novel, "Imaginary Runner," is ready for publication, she said, and Mr. Morrissey was working on his memoirs at the time of his death.

from The Boston Globe: Bill Morrissey, 59; folk artist traversed a range of emotions


Poetic Obituaries: [Ifti] Nasim was a fixture in

Chicago's South Asian community, known for his activism, flamboyant fashion and touching poetry that dealt with themes including homosexuality, politics and his native Pakistan. He immigrated more than three decades ago.

from Chicago Tribune (via AP): Well-known gay Pakistani Muslim poet dies at 64


Poetic Obituaries: [Frances Louise Plant's] artistic interests

waned in later years, but from a very young girl she loved to write poems, sketch and paint. She was extremely gifted in these areas.

from St. Albans Messenger: Frances Louise Plant


Poetic Obituaries: The relatives of Saleem said that

he was not involved in any political activity and by profession he was a schoolteacher in Government High School Kalatuk. They appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take a notice of the extra judicial killing of Saleem Baloch, a renowned poet and intellectual.

from Daily Times: Bullet-riddled body of teacher found in Turbat


Poetic Obituaries: Marilyn [J. Siecke] enjoyed playing cards,

especially bridge, collecting anything with butterflies, and watching sports, especially with her family. Also, she enjoyed writing poetry and painting, talents she discovered later in life.

from Sioux City Journal: Marilyn J. Siecke


Poetic Obituaries: In addition, he [Peter Stanlis] wrote

several books and many articles about his friend and mentor, the poet Robert Frost.

Dr. Stanlis lectured at prestigious academic gatherings both in the U.S. and abroad, and translations of his works have appeared in Swedish, French, German, Italian and Japanese.

His two most influential books are Edmund Burke and the Natural Law, now in its fifth edition, and Robert Frost: The Poet as Philosopher.

from The Rock River Times: In Memoriam: Dr. Peter J. Stanlis, 1919-2011


Poetic Obituaries: [Amy Winehouse] was sharp; had a way with words,

as well as song. And, oh boy, the songs--the accolades, the awards and the artistic attention was all justified too. Back to Black, her second album, with its six Grammy nominations and five wins when she was only 24, changed the music scene for ever, with its lyrical musings on cold, dead broken hearts, illicit sex, and chips and pitta and gin. Songs such as "You Know I'm No Good," and "Love is a Losing Game" provide as good an insight into Amy Winehouse's life as any biography could offer.

from The Independent: Razor sharp, Winehouse changed the music scene for ever
then Pen Me a Poem (April 19, 2009): Singer Amy Winehouse Dabbles in Writing Poetry
then The Hollywood Reporter: Amy Winehouse Remembered: A Unique Artist Gone Too Soon, But Not Forgotten
from The Independent: Razor sharp, Winehouse changed the music scene for ever


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape: