Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

February 28 forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Death is in the air in Poetry & Poets in Rags this week. We begin with Fiona Sampson resigning as Editor of Poetry Review, and noting that she could not stay on because of death threats. She bucked the political furor within the Poetry Society last year by not resigning, by instead continuing to do her work, all the while as members of the group rallied for positions and reinstatements, getting the Poet Laureate and future Poet Laureate favorites involved in a great bashing and bullying movement, railroading we call it, throwing people under the bus.

Some within the Poetry Society had been let go. Some had resigned. A politically strong faction of the membership set up a blog arrogantly calling themselves the Poetry Society, and bullied people who disagreed with them in discussion threads, and arrogated ideas to themselves that were put forth by those whom they banned from the discussion. Politically, this was a smashing though shameful success, and now we know just how shameful. Online spats are one thing, but here we have groups of poets creating the atmosphere of death, Fiona being a victim of this furor created by a mob mentality.

I may be talking to the air. There may be no shame. The people involved may think that all that strong arm politicking is how you do it. It's not. There were death threats. That's shameful and anti-poetry, and I am about this close to calling for the dissolution of the Poetry Society as we know it.

That's what tyrannical politicians do to poets, lock them up, taunt them, threaten them with death. Poets should not be creating this atmosphere with each other. Here's what Bill Moyers says in our second article this week, as he introduces Rita Dove, "From the combative, ferocious and vituperative field of politics, we repair to a quieter place--a respite for the soul, if you will, against the tumult of our time." He's talking about poetry being the respite for the soul, while we're talking this week about poetry being the combative, ferocious and vituperative field of politics. Death threats even.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: "The police were involved,"

she [Fiona Sampson] continued. "There were death threats. Would you stay after that had happened to you? It's not that the society has done anything wrong, but no more . . . I'm not interested in that kind of mess and struggle."

It brings to an end a seven-year stewardship of the UK's premier poetry journal, which has seen the journal expand its horizons, combining an emphasis on championing new voices with the highest standards of literary excellence.

from The Guardian: Poetry Review editor Fiona Sampson resigns


News at Eleven: Bill Moyers: From the combative, ferocious

and vituperative field of politics, we repair to a quieter place--a respite for the soul, if you will, against the tumult of our time. A few days ago, in the East Room of the White House, along with such greats as the actor Al Pacino, sculptor Martin Puryear, and painter Will Barnet, President Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to the poet Rita Dove.

The award makes Rita Dove the first person to receive all three of the nation's highest arts and humanities distinctions: the Medal of Arts, the Humanities Medal, which she received in 1996, and the title Poet Laureate of the United States.

from Truth out: Bill Moyers Interviews Rita Dove on the Power of Poetry (Video)


News at Eleven: Bill Moyers: After your diagnosis,

you went back to West Texas where you'd grown up, right? Is West Texas still the country of your heart?

Christian Wiman: Absolutely. It's the place that I return to in my imagination. And I find that nothing will take fire, except that landscape. Well, in places, it's just completely flat, so that you see all the way to the horizon. It's like the sky becomes this huge eye that's over you, just 'cause it takes on a curve from horizon to horizon. In other places, it's ranch land, and so it's cattle country. And so there are scrubs, scrub cedar and mesquite trees. And so it's incredibly rugged. The wind blows. We used to have these tremendous sand storms, where everything would just go dark.

from Poet Christian Wiman on Love, Faith, and Cancer
from Harvard Divinity School: By Love We Are Led to God


Great Regulars: [Antonia Pozzi] died the following day,

leaving behind diaries, notebooks and loose pages of poetry, documenting her twenty-six years of life. From these, her father Roberto Pozzi, a Milanese lawyer, selected and edited her first collection, publishing it as Parole the following year. References and dedications to her lover and classics tutor, Antonio Maria Cervi, were eliminated, titles were changed, lines were cut. It

from The Times Literary Supplement: The poems of Antonia Pozzi


News at Eleven: The huge 1960s wave of poetry readings--

by everyone, everywhere--was not discernible on the horizon, so younger poets met each other at a relatively small number of venues where the famous or notorious performed their work. Peter Porter was there on the night Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso gave their first London reading--I believe--at the humanists' Contemporary Poetry and Music Circle just off High Street Kensington in 1957. But Martin Bell and Peter Redgrove were on the same platform, so they were making their mark.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Alan Brownjohn remembers Peter Porter


Great Regulars: Hard Life with Memory

Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

from The New York Review of Books: Hard Life with Memory


News at Eleven: Of the hundreds of submissions,

none met the criteria of visionary freshness and formal expertise quite as thrillingly as Joe Fletcher's "Thousand Hills Radio." It's a very bad dream of eternal war and pestilence and wonder, where darkly ecstatic pronouncements reel around with exquisitely muted intensity. Fletcher's visually complex yet vividly clear images need no amplification: "A wingless bird pried a nut/from the shadow of a smokestack."

from Indy Week: 2012 Poetry Issue: The impossible art


News at Eleven: One very revealing part of the Tang

legacy is the handful of poems that Li Bai and Du Fu wrote to each other. Poems about friendship or those exchanged between friends were a standard element of the Tang poetic canon. But the poems between Li Bai and Du Fu have an incredible poignancy as they say so much about how these two great poets saw themselves and each other.

from The Epoch Times: Poems Li Bai and Du Fu Wrote to Each Other


News at Eleven: So, while narrative remains

the driving force in these poems, the dimmer, harsher realities of postwar Europe are new territory for [Walter] Bargen. The result is often haunting, showing in stark detail the intersection of a young imagination with bullet-riddled walls and buried shell casings.

"I saw the black outline of a machine gun/exposed by the retreating water/but I couldn't swim the current to save it," he writes in "Lost Ordnance."

from St Louis Post-Dispatch: Poet Bargen writes of postwar Europe in 'Endearing Ruins'


News at Eleven: Yet from "The Less Deceived" onwards,

[Philip] Larkin was a master of observation. His mature work is not only a record of his own soul, it's a record of post-war Britain. He immortalises bedsits, M&S, posters for Welsh seaside resorts, "Canals with floatings of industrial froth", "mug-faced middle-aged wives/Glaring at jellies". He'd gone from woolly to precise--and from wan to funny. What, or who, had opened his eyes?

A clue may lie in his Selected Letters

from The Telegraph: Philip Larkin: the Complete Poems ed by Archie Burnett: review


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Iain Sinclair] says the same

has happened today in Stratford, the site of the Olympic Games, but sadly no mob has been on hand to save east London: "Without consultation, overnight, a high blue fence encloses common land, marshland, lammas land, a place for walking free."

He notes the bulldozing of the Manor Gardens allotments for a temporary Games car park--and ponders what [William] Blake would have made of it all.

from Camden New Journal: Blake's London: Poet 'would lament the loss of common land in the capital'
then The American Spectator: Poets and Capitalism


Great Regulars: This wonderful selection, drawing

on [Mimi] Khalvati's five previous books as well as new material, is full of moving, quietly insightful meditations on family and domestic spaces, on routines and daily rhythms.

One of the outstanding pieces, "Sundays", has a typically accomplished intimacy and directness.

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011 by Mimi Khalvati--review


Great Regulars: What I mean is, to place one's

poems into a public space is to agree to be canny. It is to immerse one's self in the lyric values of the past to communicate with the future. As Philip Larkin once said, poetry is a "richness" and a "release of delight" that's meant to last beyond the next news cycle and the last reader.

Phillis Levin is just this sort of poet. Since 1988, with the publication of her first book, "Temples and Fields," she has composed poems that invoke a dazzling fusion between the ancient and the contemporary.

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: A poet who aims for poise and posterity


Great Regulars: The removal of more than 4,000

Kindle ebooks, including IPG bestsellers Pamela Des Barres' groupie memoir I'm with the Band, child discipline title 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan and murder mystery Snow Blind by Lori Armstrong from Amazon.com follows the IPG's refusal to agree to new terms from online retail giant, according to its president Mark Suchomel.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Amazon.com withdraws thousands of ebooks in pricing row with publishers


Hurrah for the internet, which has unmasked and brought down another plagiariser: in this case a romance "writer" going under the name of Kay Manning. Her uncovering came courtesy of a crack team of authors: first Liz Fielding, who posted about a short story of hers which she'd discovered had been plagiarised.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Plagiarists, beware: the internet will find you out


Great Regulars: Spurred on by guilt,

trying desperately to save his soul, he used his writing is an alternative to meditation.

Willard stresses that he was "borne along by dreams/Of God's particular grace for me." Because he placed his mind so squarely on God, he was motivated to write those reams. His dreaming and writing served him as a form of worship.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Edgar Lee Masters' Willard Fluke


Great Regulars: Barney Rosset was a publisher,

not an author, and struggled for decades to write the story of his brave and wild life. But few over the past 60 years had so profound an impact on the way we read today.

The fiery and publisher Rosset, who introduced the country to countless political and avant-garde writers and risked prison and financial ruin to release such underground classics as "Tropic of Cancer" and "Lady Chatterley's Lover," has died.

from Hillel Italie: Associated Press: First Amendment crusader Barney Rosset dies


Great Regulars: I'd Rather be the Father

by Faith Shearin

Right from the start, it's easier to be the father: no morning

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: I'd Rather be the Father by Faith Shearin


Live Oaks, New Orleans
by Jennifer Maier

They square off along Napoleon avenue,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Live Oaks, New Orleans by Jennifer Maier


My Dead Friends
by Marie Howe

I have begun,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: My Dead Friends by Marie Howe


by Stephen Dobyns

Each thing I do I rush through so I can do

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Pursuit by Stephen Dobyns


Rose Colored Glasses
by Kenneth Rexroth

Ten years, and it's still on the

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Rose Colored Glasses by Kenneth Rexroth


Sun Gazers
by Stephen Dobyns

My stepdaughter is three and we have some games

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Sun Gazers by Stephen Dobyns


The Thousand-foot Ore Boat
by Barton Sutter

To live until we die--

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Thousand-foot Ore Boat by Barton Sutter


Great Regulars: Sara Ries is a poet from

Buffalo, N.Y., whose parents run a diner. Here's one of her delightful poems about family life for a short order cook.

Fish Fry Daughter

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 362


Great Regulars: [Bruce Taylor's] form supplies

a good deal of his meaning.

We get a sense of this in the first lines of the first poem, "Nature." Taylor writes: "The assignment was,/you took some moistened bread/and put it under glass for seven days/and soon a tiny wilderness of mould/would start to grow." Taylor's voice is as plain and unfashionable as the white bread he writes about, and as deceptively clear and taken-for-granted as the water that moistens it; he writes in what Wordsworth called "the real language of men."

from Michael Lista: National Post: On Poetry: Bruce Taylor's 'No End in Strangeness'


Great Regulars: In the mostly tweedy, genteel

world of book publishing in the 1960s and '70s, Barney Rosset, who died on Tuesday at 89, was a bit of an outlaw: a raffish, unconventional figure who loved breaking the rules and challenging the conventions. He published the books that nobody else would, because they were too risqué or too avant-garde (often that meant the same thing) or too unprofitable, and his imprint, Grove Press, quickly became a badge of coolness and sophistication.

from Charles McGrath: The New York Times: The Man Who Made Publishing a High-Wire Act


Great Regulars: What does a tiny winged insect

at the periphery of human awareness have to do with holiness? This question lies behind today's poem by Betsy Sholl, Maine's former poet laureate.

"To the Infinitesimal"

By Betsy Sholl

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


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

The Five Stages of Grief


from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: The Five Stages of Grief


Great Regulars: HD's sequence of 43 poems,

The Walls Do Not Fall, first appeared in 1944, dedicated by the 56-year-old poet to her lover and friend, Bryher (Winifred Ellerman). Poems 9 and 10 are this week's choice, two connected but contrasting lyrics that make an elegant pair, and together represent something of the technique and ambition of the whole work. HD produced two further books, Tribute to the Angels and The Flowering of the Rod, and published all three as Trilogy--which can be read as a single epically-proportioned poem.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Extract from The Walls Do Not Fall by HD


Great Regulars: This week's Poetry Pairing matches

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's poem "Let the Light Enter" with the Feb. 11 obituary of Whitney Houston by Jon Pareles and Adam Nagourney.

from Katherine Schulten: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'Let the Light Enter'


Great Regulars: Sure, he was part of a lineage;

it's difficult to imagine [Barney] Rosset doing what he did for more than 30 years at Grove Press without the example of James Laughlin at the seminal independent New Directions or (further afield) Jack Kahane at Paris' Obelisk Press. And yet Grove, which Rosset bought in 1951 for $3,000 and ran until 1985, remains the touchstone, the publisher most responsible for breaking down American literary puritanism, for defending the idea that art, that literature, is meant to unsettle us, that among its central purposes is to challenge the status quo.

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: An appreciation: Barney Rosset, contemporary literature's champion


Great Regulars: The upshot of this is that death

makes sense, not as something natural, but as something condign: a just punishment for a grievous transgression, "the proper existential response" to which is "to think of the badness of death in conjunction with the still greater badness of the previous fault, and freely submit to the punishment."

I mention all this, not to argue in favor of it, or to object to it, but simply because I think it is so different from what we usually hear on the subject.

from Frank Wilson: When Falls the Coliseum: That's What He Said: The resurrection of the body


Great Regulars: Like all wars, World War II was one

of the great tragedies in world history, but a major side effect was a forward shift in women's rights. I think Susan and Joan would have been proud of Rosie the Riveter.

Throughout history, women have been discriminated against. The gender war, especially in certain parts of the world continues.

March is Women's Herstory Month. To celebrate the leap, here are three women's voices from my Elders Projects.

from Terry Wooten: Traverse City Record-Eagle: Elders Project: WWII and women's rights


Great Regulars: [by Tom Sexton]

The Loon at Shackford Head

In the cove below where I stand,

from The Christian Science Monitor: The Loon at Shackford Head


Great Regulars: Casino

by Fred Gardner


from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Gardner, Silverstein and Orloski


Great Regulars: Where

By Kathy Engel

from Foreign Policy in Focus: Where


Great Regulars: The Poetry Bug

By Colette Bryce

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: The Poetry Bug


Great Regulars: By Stephen Haven

February 2012

Then it begins, "some famous Beijing band,"

from Guernica: Poetry: Fu Han at the Nuts Café, Chongqing, China, April 9, 2011


Great Regulars: [Hilaire Belloc's] humorous poems about

Matilda, who lied repeatedly and was burned to death; Jim, who was eaten by a lion after running away from his nurse; and Lord Lundy, whose inability to stop crying ended his political career, make the poet live up to his name. Hilare-ious.

We've chosen an arguably lesser known work from a selection of monthly sonnets. It's called February. Enjoy.


from Huffington Post: The Friday Poem: 'February' by Hilaire Belloc


Great Regulars: by Sam Riviere

the act of resistance can take many different forms

from Morning Star: Well Versed: Quick Resistance Poem


Great Regulars: [Craig M.] Teicher sat down with

Melissa Block to talk about the poem he wrote--and the process. He was inspired, he said, by a story in the news about Google. Rumor has it that the company plans to create eyeglasses that have smartphone capabilities.

"I love the Internet," Teicher explained. "I walk around with an iPad everywhere I go. But the idea of the Internet superimposed on what you see really changes the stakes. It's kind of creepy."

Teicher also explained how he structured his poem.

from NPR: Newspoet: Craig M. Teicher Writes The Day In Verse


Great Regulars: [by Jean Esteve]

Notebook: She and the Moths

from The Oregonian: Poetry: 'Notebook: She and the Moths' by Jean Esteve


Great Regulars: By Susan Briante

Green tree in the yard and a dog

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Other Denver Economies'


Great Regulars: By Pauline Walle

Fingernail clip of a moon

from Post-Bulletin: Poem: Dawn designs


Great Regulars: Moral instruction is one of poetry's

oldest functions, but it is often hard for modern poets to muster the confidence that earlier writers must have felt, both about their own wisdom and their position in society, to tell us how to live. So it can be startling to encounter an unknown work that speaks directly to us with this lost confidence. Here is a poem by the 12th century Tamil poet Avvaiyar, in Thomas H. Pruiksma's beautiful translations of her short, aphoristic poems:

from Powells: Review-A-Day: A Moral Education


Great Regulars: [by Sharon Olinka]

Beneath Everything, Caliche

These stubborn flecks: white powder

from San Antonio Express-News: Poem: 'Beneath Everything, Caliche'


Great Regulars: "The Five Facets of Love"

By J. Allyn Rosser

from Slate: "The Five Facets of Love"--By J. Allyn Rosser


Poetic Obituaries: The poet in Joydeb [Basu] had

started scripting his literary work--Meghdoot--that was applauded by the young and the old including his senior Sunil Gangopadhyay. Bhramankahini, Bhabishyat, Sreshtha Kabita are some his best works.

from The Times of India: Joydeb Basu passes away


Poetic Obituaries: [Bhim Birag] has also many compilations

of songs, stories and poem to his credit.

Poet Birag served as the editor of Narayani vernacular weekly and Bigool weekly, and was decorated with the Chinnalata Song Prize, Gorkha Dakshin Bahu among others.

from The Himalayan Times: Poet‚ lyricist Bhim Birag passes away


Poetic Obituaries: [George Fennell] was also a musician,

playing the violin and piano, (Mozart and Wagner were his favourite composers) and a poet, his verse often humorous and in the style of Robert Service. His poem Resurrection, read eloquently by his elder daughter Sybil at his funeral, deeply moved the large congregation.

from Irish Times: Leading surgeon who wrote poetry and treated Saddam Hussein
then the-unscripted-self.com: Poems by George Fennell


Poetic Obituaries: In 1957 he [Barney Rosset] helped usher

in a new counterculture when he began the literary journal Evergreen Review, originally a quarterly. (It later became a bimonthly and then a glossy monthly.) The Review, published until 1973, sparkled with writers like Beckett, who had a story and poem in the first issue, and Allen Ginsberg, whose poem "Howl" appeared in the second.

from The New York Times: Defied Censors, Making Racy a Literary Staple


Poetic Obituaries: [Eileen S. Tarcay] wrote feature stories,

poetry, book reviews and profiles, much of which was published in The Baltimore Sun, The Evening Sun, the Sun Magazine and the Baltimore Jewish Times.

from The Baltimore Sun: Eileen S. Tarcay, writer and professor


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21st Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

February 21st forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Our first link in News at Eleven takes us on a journey into Afghanistan through writing, especially poetry. Our last link in that section, our Back Page item, is called "The U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin and his Maui Journey." In between we go through Palestine, China, the days of King Arthur, the works of Homer, the month of February around the world, New Zealand, and more. Of course poetry has to do with imagination and ideas too, and the articles and poems in News at Eleven, Great Regulars, and yes Poetic Obituaries as well, take us through, not only the poets' and writers' but our own poetic sensibilities and the humanness we all share. Again, be sure to visit Poetic Obituaries. You'll find a link to a tribute to Wislawa Szymborska by Katha Pollitt, which includes the poem "Could Have" that should touch you wherever you are.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: [Emily Dickinson] had stayed in her room,

[Steven] Kuusisto surmised, because she was legally blind--a fact that led one of the men at the table to joke that the burka made the woman in blue as blind as the American poet. But she had the last word, reciting a landai--a poetic form used by Pashto women to express themselves, often anonymously, in a culture that does not want to hear from them. The poem concluded with a threefold curse:

May you fail all your exams.
May you become a slave, like me.
May tears run down your face, like mine.

from Granta: Leaving Afghanistan


News at Eleven: Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan,

held for over 2 months by Israel without being accused of any crime, entered his 65th day of hunger strike Monday.

O to go with a bang,

from +972: Khader Adnan poem


News at Eleven: While Beijing has done everything

in its power to suppress Liu [Xiaobo]'s work and his international recognition, a recent collection of essays and poems allows readers to explore his unique insight. No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems [Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, January 2012] features essays interspersed with poems selected by Liu's wife. The most poignant are written to her and represent, ultimately, what the struggle is about--the choice between love and hatred.

from Forbes: Review: No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems by Liu Xiaobo


News at Eleven: Hopes are not raised when

he [Simon Armitage] describes the translator's challenges. These include characters created for "alliterative convenience" and moments where knights killed in one section are mysteriously back on their feet in another. He forewarns us of repetitive imagery and tells how he has tried to preserve alliteration over several lines like a "knowingly extravagant riff". He also says that, unlike the original, he has opted for one uncontroversial tense in which to tell the story: the past.

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


News at Eleven: Why are our contemporaries so keen

on buying and presumably reading the Iliad's Iron Age reminiscence of Bronze Age combat? Publishers certainly view it as a paying proposition: at least twenty new English-language translations have been published since 1950, not counting ones from private presses. In Greece, as in Italy for students of the liceo classico, it is a compulsory school text (several modern Greek versions also serve as cribs), but why are the passengers at Terminal 2 in San Francisco buying the English versions?

from London Review of Books: Homer Inc.


News at Eleven: This is a view that would be shared

by the women who walk through Denise Levertov's February Evening in New York. It is winter and the evening is closing in quickly, but the anonymous stranger's declaration of love for life infects the poet's words with optimism and possibility.

Levertov's poem has something of the quality of a journal entry, but Ted Hughes' February 17th is unashamedly just that.

from The Guardian: Poster poems: February


News at Eleven: "I like the crystallization of poetry,"

said [David] Livewell. "I like its brevity and the fact that you can hone in on different images and speak in different voice in a way that you couldn't fiction."

Prior to the book coming out, read a few of his Philadelphia-related poems below.

Sheet metal Shears

from CBS Philly: Philadelphia Native Wins Top Prize In Poetry Contest
then Gloucester County Times Gloucester County Times : West Deptford's David Livewell wins T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry competition


News at Eleven: Though these poems [by Brian Barker] range

in topic from the personal ("Dragging Canoe Vanishes from the Bear Pit into the Endless Clucking of the Gods") to the overtly political ("Gorbachev's Ubi Sunt from the Future That Soon Will Pass") they never sacrifice thought for quality and design. Each poem is meticulously layered, often alternating specific details with the incorporeal: A feeble Ronald Reagan "feels the white room/stuccoed behind his smile," in "Silent Montage with Late Reagan in Black and White." "When the light at dusk filters through" the curtains, Reagan "feels like his head is lit by a pot of boiling milk." The poem closes with staggering beauty--

from The Dallas Morning News: Poetry review: Lauren Berry, Brian Barker and Charles Wright