Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 28th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

This week we begin Poetry & Poets in Rags in the middle. Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity were in Texas this past week, now in Mississippi, about half way along their coast to coast trip from San Diego to Washington D.C. From there we go to Iran, where Azerbaijani poets Farid Huseyn and Shahriyaz Hajizadeh have been abducted by Iranian officials and held while visiting the country for a poetry festival. I found three snippets of news from News.Az, the first reporting on a delay in Iran bringing them to court. Our next story is a report from Live Science about the deciphering of an ancient poem, which shows a different side to Nero and Poppaea. These are the first three stories in our News at Eleven section.

Be sure to make it into our Great Regulars section. One good reason for these Great Regulars to be in a separate section, is so that you can find what your favorites are writing from week to week. The first ones are the individuals. And this week we hear from Bryan Appleyard, Alison Flood, Linda Sue Grimes, Hillel Italie, Garrison Keillor, Adam Kirsch, Ted Kooser, Luisetta Mudie, Carol Rumens, and B.T. Shaw. Following Great Regulars, is the Poetic Obituaries section, deaths in our world community of poets.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: But to speak to [Javier] Sicilia about what

might be done about this is to be served up some poetic simplicity.

Allow me to synthesize:

Send arms.
Buy drugs.
People die.

This is the gist of what he said in an interview by cellphone Wednesday as his caravan--the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity--traversed Texas. It started in San Diego, Calif., and will end in Washington, D.C., with a stop this evening in San Antonio.

from San Antonio Express-News: Mexico's violence has roots in U.S.
then San Antonio Express-News: Peace caravan stops in S.A.
then Media Monitoring Caravan for Peace


News at Eleven: 'Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Tabriz

told me that the process was delayed, but he didn't comment on the delay reasons'.

 Farid Huseyn and Shahriyaz Hajizadeh arrived in Iran in order to participate in poetry festival. They were arrested in Iran on May 2.

from News.Az: Trial of Azerbaijani poets detained in Iran delayed
then News.Az: Within 20 days Iranian court will rule on the case of Azerbaijani poets
then Trend: Deputy ministry: Iran promotes legal trial over Azerbaijani poets


News at Eleven: The newly deciphered poem, however, shows

a very different side to this ancient couple. In the poem, Poppaea [Sabina] is depicted being taken away by Aphrodite and told "your children for Nero [both deceased] you will guard them for eternity."

Poppaea does not want this, wishing to stay with Nero.

from Live Science: Ancient Poem Praises Murderous Roman Emperor Nero
then Live Science: In Photos: An Ancient Poem Deciphered


News at Eleven: To see how seamlessly [Mary Jo] Bang

achieves this, though, note her sly reference to "The Wizard of Oz's" Wicked Witch in these lines:

Poor me, I was stunned when he grabbed me
And said, 'Well, my little pretty,
I'll bet you didn't know I was an ace logician.'

from St Louis Post-Dispatch: Poet Mary Jo Bang ignites new 'Inferno'


News at Eleven: [Andrew] Motion has repeatedly told interviewers

he was proud to receive the laureateship--and just as pleased to relinquish it. He wrote Silver in a burst of renewed creativity that came to him after stepping down from his public role in 2009. "It was a very intense period in my life," he says. "Within a short time, my father died, I was no longer laureate, I got married again after years of living on my own and I moved house. I felt liberated in all kinds of ways. My relationship with my father hadn't been a bad one, but it was complicated. I completed Silver in 18 months in a terrific state of elation, getting up early every morning and writing in a sort of trance."

from New Zealand Listener: Interview: Andrew Motion


News at Eleven: But is it prudent for a boy as green as Jim

to put himself in the hands of--and onto the ship of--the daughter of his father's enemy? Long John Silver, who has outfitted a fine clipper, the Silver Nightingale, for the journey, tells him that it is. Silver also tells him he's just like his father used to be: "Very brave and very clever. Clever enough to know the value of an adventure, at any rate, and brave enough to carry it out!" Will such sly sycophancy be enough to persuade Jim to step aboard the Nightingale and face unknown dangers? Ask any 7-year-old boy.

from The New York Times: Buccaneers and Bullion


News at Eleven: The novel is a specific but not fixed form

of storytelling, in the same way as the romantic lyric, or the sonnet, is a form of poetry. The two deep patterns are story and poem.

There are two essential instincts in engaging with the world through language. The first is the cry of encounter linked to the desire to name; the second is the evaluation of options as a result of the encounter.

from The Guardian: The death of the novel will presage a rebirth of writing


News at Eleven: No wonder writers and intellectuals by and large

disdain poetry. Poets work for nothing, Tim Parks says. In other words, they turn poems out the way a sweatshop in a third-world country turns out cheap toys.

More infuriatingly, most poems are short. They give the impression it took no time to write them. Ten minutes tops.

from The New York Review of Books: Poets and Money


News at Eleven: [Lydia Pasternak Slater's] poems are very personal,

very much tied up with her own life, which was a rather unhappy and full of stories of unhappy love of one kind or another. There also very emotional, lyrical poems, about the landscape, about nature, about the sea. She was a very passionate person and she loved nature probably more than anything else. Her German poetry was written when she worked at a scientific institute in Munich.

from Russia Beyond the Headlines: Poet Lydia Pasternak steps out of the shadow


News at Eleven: And what did he [William Auden] mean by that?

"A dishonest poem is one which expresses, no matter how well, feelings or beliefs which its author never felt or entertained," he explains. "Youth may be forgiven when it is brash and noisy, but this does not mean that brashness and noise are virtues." And that famous line? The worst offender of the lot. A line, in Auden's estimation, as false as it is falsely reassuring and self-congratulatory. (Auden first tried to alter it to "We must love one another and die" before altogether giving up on line and poem both.)

from The Atlantic Monthly: When Authors Disown Their Work, Should Readers Care?


News at Eleven (Back Page): At the award ceremony the archdruid

rose to summon the poet, in the traditional fashion, to come to take the chair, calling him three times to make himself known. But it then had to be revealed, to the consternation of the gathering, which included the prime minister, David Lloyd George, that Hedd Wyn had fallen while fighting with the Royal Welch Fusiliers "somewhere in France." The empty chair was draped with a black shroud, and the festival of that year has ever since been called Eisteddfod y Gadair Ddu (The Eisteddfod of the Black Chair).

from The New York Times: Celebrating a Gifted Welsh Poet


Great Regulars: What the evidence actually shows

is that racial differences, once all external factors are removed (primarily the social and cultural context of the testees), seem to be almost undetectably small.

The same seems to be true of gender differences.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Flynn's IQ


"I had suicidal thoughts when I was young. I fancied myself as a melancholic, quite a lot of people do, it's a fashionable thing. Anyway, all these ideas were coming to me when I was going to sleep, ideas of self-destruction. They all promptly vanished the moment I was under real threat. There was a sudden urge to live. I wanted to do more, to write more."

It was, for a long time, not clear that he would make it. Close to death on several occasions, his intake of medication seems to have been vast and not always welcome: "They once gave me a mood stabiliser because I was getting a little ratty. I mean, the last thing you want as a writer is a mood stabiliser."

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Clive James: De Profundis


Great Regulars: These days, I tend to do my reading lying

on my bed, or on the sofa. Or, when it gets colder, sitting on the floor with my back to the radiator. I have fewer endless afternoons to devote to reading--but if I did, then a window seat, a cushion-strewn trampoline or a tent hung from a tree all look like lots of fun. How about you?

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Browsing the best 'book nooks'


The acclaimed author of titles including Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and, most recently, IQ84, [Haruki] Murakami has been given odds of 10/1 to win the Nobel by Ladbrokes.

Last year the eventual winner of the award, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was the betting firm's second favourite to take the prize, given initial odds of 9/2 behind the Syrian poet Adonis, at 4/1

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Haruki Murakami leads race for Nobel prize for literature


Great Regulars: The speaker's original take on the Judeo-Christian

creation myth as told in Genesis continues under the rubrics of "Stars," "A debate," "The giving of names," "Angels," and "From the beginning." Each section continues the theme of brokenness, separation from the Divine, which ultimately is the cause of all human suffering, and the speaker's intensity makes it clear that even with such exalted knowledge, the human heart will not be slaked; it must endure its suffering and the sufferer must report it honestly.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Rachel Tzvia Back's The Messenger Comes


Great Regulars: A handful of works prove there is no age limit

for the writing profession. Critic and anthologist M.H. Abrams, who turned 100 this summer, has a book of essays, "The Fourth Dimension of a Poem." Herman Wouk, 97, and author of "The Caine Mutiny" and "The Winds of War" has a new and comic novel, "The Lawgiver." One of the great scholars of early American history, 90-year-old Bernard Bailyn, continues his study of immigration to the colonies with "The Barbarous Years." Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 92, has a new book of verse, "Time of Useful Consciousness," an expansive personal and social history which honors his beloved San Francisco.

from Hillel Italie: The Orange County Register via Associated Press: 50 shades of erotica for fall books


Great Regulars: Aware

by Denise Levertov

When I opened the door

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Aware by Denise Levertov


by Raymond Carver

It's good to live near the water.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Asia by Raymond Carver


by Jim Harrison

They used to say we're living on borrowed

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Debtors by Jim Harrison


by Katrina Vandenberg

That summer in the west I walked sunrise

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Fuchsia by Katrina Vandenberg


Night Creatures
by Jim Harrison

"The horses run around, their feet

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Night Creatures by Jim Harrison


Tomato Pies, 25 Cents
by Grace Cavalieri

Tomato pies are what we called them, those days,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Tomato Pies, 25 Cents by Grace Cavalieri


Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School
by Jane Kenyon

The others bent their heads and started in.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School by Jane Kenyon


Great Regulars: All kinds of things that we are taught not

to discuss in polite society were debated quite matter-of-factly in this week's reading: semen, urine, feces, flatulence. The rabbis' attitude toward all of them is well expressed in the words of the above prayer: God made us with openings and cavities, and it is up to us to find out a way to live decently with them. The condition of embodiment is not something to celebrate, since it is linked with humiliation and death; but neither is it fundamentally unnatural, a case of a soul trapped in the prison of the body.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: Let's Get Physical


For while [Frederick] Seidel's poems are usually set in the world of privilege--Harvard, the Carlyle Hotel, and Sagaponack are recurring locations--he writes about high society in a spirit of intimate revulsion. He is always slightly outside the WASP aristocracy he leers at--a position he owes in part to being a poet, and in part to being a Jew, of a generation when Jews were ill at ease in such settings.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: A Poet for Our New Gilded Age


Great Regulars: There are people who believe that the afterlife

exists in how we are remembered by the living, that we are rewarded or punished in the memories of people who knew us. Writing is a means of keeping memories fresh and vivid, and in this poem Judson Mitcham, a Georgia poet, gives his father a nudge toward immortality.


from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 388


Great Regulars: Some microbloggers made an immediate

link between Xu [Huaiqian]'s reported depression and the huge mental pressure on journalists under China's draconian controls on its media.

"Xu Huaiqian said when he was alive that his pain lay in the fact that he dared to think things but didn't dare to say them; that he dared to say them, but didn't dare to write them; that he dared to write them, but that there was nowhere to publish them," wrote microblog user @huayanbatu.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Editor Suicide Linked to Pressure


Great Regulars: These descriptive strokes build up a

picture of an object which has been ergonomically designed. But it's more than that. The sentence, outlined, states "Their perfect grips . . . asked for your fingers." There is a plea, here, a plaintive note in "asked for". We begin to see the absent human figure being sketched into the poem. This is a specific "you", an addressee, as the next two lines reveal: "You'd splay the single fronds along your cheek,/then smooth them back."

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Darts by Christina Dunhill


Great Regulars: [by Kathleen Flenniken]


from B.T. Shaw: The Oregonian: Poetry: 'Radiation!' by Kathleen Flenniken


Great Regulars: Two flee the Catty Arts

by Frank Ford

for farming, real, dirt, not

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Three Poems by Frank Ford


Great Regulars: [by Judy Curtis]

Brackish Raucous

Brackish raucous, too loud and clear

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: Brackish Raucous


By Carol Allis

Is there poetry for ordinary people

from Post-Bulletin: Poem: Ordinary Poets


Great Regulars: [by Jesse Castro]

Creatures of Yoga

Wake up you mother of pearl translucent

from San Antonio Express-News: Poem: 'Creatures of Yoga'


Great Regulars: "The Wounded Soldier"

By Katherine Hollander

from Slate: "The Wounded Soldier"


Great Regulars: This seems especially relevant in a time

of internet searches and social networking, and [Rachel] Hadas is right to point to Hermes as the god ("messenger, courier, bearer of commands") responsible for our obsession with connectivity. In the days of Homer, she says, Hermes could say his piece, then "zoom back up to Mount Olympus", his work done for the day. With round-the-clock activity, however, we keep him "busier than ever".

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Hermes"


Poetic Obituaries: As one of the founders of the National Liberation Front,

Neville Alexander was convicted in 1964 for conspiracy to commit sabotage and sent to Robben Island for ten years. During this time, he became teacher and lecturer to fellow prisoners.

After his release, he became involved in the fight against P.W. Botha's tricameral constitution and in 1979 wrote a book called "One Azania, One Nation", which was banned.

from SABC: Struggle poet Neville Alexander dies


Poetic Obituaries: [Angkarn Kalayanapong] began writing in the late

1950s and was initially criticised for his transgressions of poetic convention and use of unorthodox language. Some of his last pieces of work were politically inspired, reflecting the problems in the deeply divided Thailand. The People's Alliance for Democracy received his contributions during the antiThaksin campaign.

 One of his last poems lashed out at the Yingluck government's plan to let the United States use the Utapao airbase.

from The Nation: Passionate poet Angkarn 'breathed poems'


Poetic Obituaries: [Wilma] Birtles, 91, was an accomplished writer,

cellist, poet and environmentalist, who first moved to the hills with her husband Bert in 1947.

from Free Press Leader: Farewell to Kallista poet, artist


Poetic Obituaries: [Daryl] Hine was also a translator of ancient

works and, for several years, the editor of Poetry magazine.

Inspired by his education in the classics and his love of Latin, Mr. Hine wrote more than a dozen books of poetry, using traditional forms like the sestina (six stanzas of six lines each, followed by one of three lines).

from The New York Times: Daryl Hine, Poet, Editor and Translator, Dies at 76


Poetic Obituaries: [Bob Herman] titled his poetry collection

"The Last Leaf" and said, "I feel like the last leaf on the tree while the wind is blowing."

The Hermans were philanthropists who made generous contributions to several local cultural and arts organizations, particularly the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

from Times Union: Former state official, poet Bob Herman dies at 92


Poetic Obituaries: Despite gaining prestigious literary awards and

being published both as poet and translator in North America, Ireland and Britain, he [John O'Leary] gave generously of his time to the community of the Beara peninsula. He served as permanent professor of the local language and arts centre, gave writing classes at Beara Community College and co-founded the Beara Writing Experience Group.

from The Irish Times: Poet and scholar who loved west Cork


Poetic Obituaries: [Edmund] Skellings was nominated for the Nobel Prize

in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize. He was selected from among more than 400 other Florida poets to earn the title of Poet Laureate in 1980. Appointed to the lifetime honor by former Gov. Robert Graham, he authored seven books of poems. His most recent was Collected Poems 1958-1998, published by the University Press of Florida.

He was the recipient of numerous state, national and international awards. Among them were the 25th Anniversary Award for Video Art, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2004, for "Senior Citizen;" the Crystal Award of Excellence, Videographer Award, 2002, for "Word Songs;" a National Video Festival Award, 1994, for "SuperPoems;" and a Joey Award of Excellence, 1995, for "Nearing the Millennium."

from Florida Institute of Technology: Florida Poet Laureate Skellings Passes; Retired from Florida Tech Last April


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21st Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

August 21st forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Fathers. We begin with news of Sylvia Plath's father Otto coming to light. Apparently, her poem "Daddy", one of the great poems of last century, was light verse just as she said when she wrote it. It was the FBI that was mis-characterizing him as a Nazi sympathizer, not Sylvia. This story is followed by how the US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey came to write her remarkable poem Elegy, which is for her father. The next story is about the progress that Mexican poet Javier Sicilia is making as his Caravan crosses the USA, something he began after his son was killed by drug lords.

I'll leave the dozens of other items in all three of our sections to your discovery. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Academics to attend include

Peter K. Steinberg, who unearthed the files. Recalling his first reading, he said: "For me, as a Plath scholar, it was all new."

On Otto [Plath]'s morbid tendencies, he said: "Certainly people in general will want to read this as evidence or proof of the conditions that ailed Plath."

He passed the files to his colleague, Heather Clark, who is writing a Plath biography and who will present a paper on them at the symposium.

from The Guardian: FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father shed new light on poet
then Bookhaven: New FBI files: Was Sylvia Plath's daddy "pro-Nazi"?
then Daily Mail: FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father show he was investigated during World War I for pro-German sympathies


News at Eleven: Six or seven years ago, my father and I were fishing

the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. It's a great salmon river. We met a writer friend of his named Dave Richards, a novelist, and Dave hired a guide for us. This was a famous guide who'd taken people like Bill Clinton fishing on the Miramichi. Once we got out there into the river the guide gave us a quick lesson about how to fly-fish, how to cast. We practiced the motions, then we got our rods and started fishing. There was this almost mystical look to the river. It seemed reverent just to be quiet, going through the mist.

I've talked to my father about the trip many times. His memory's kind of bad these days.

from The Atlantic Monthly: How Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Wrote Her Father's 'Elegy'


News at Eleven: "In order to protect the 23 million drug consumers

in the United States, this nation initiated this war that has destroyed Colombia and which now in turn is destroying Mexico, Central America, and is also menacing to destroy in the medium term the United States itself," Sicilia wrote on the movement's website. "The burden we bear upon us contains the weight of our dead, of our missing ones, of those displaced, of our criminalized and humiliated immigrants."

Sicilia's son, Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega, was murdered in Mexico last March. The poet has since said there was no reason for the murder, as his son was not involved with drugs or gangs.

from The Texas Tribune: Caravan From Mexico Seeks to Condemn U.S. Drug Policy
then Democracy Now!: Mexican Poet, Activist Javier Sicilia Brings Peace Caravan into U.S. to Condemn Deadly Drug War


News at Eleven: The siege referred to a condition where every

aspect of our lives is subject to scrutiny and inhibition whether real or imagined, literal or metaphorical.

It is not only Palestine that is evoked in Darwish's poetry, but the entire experience of exile as a human condition of the soul and a major theme in literature. Even in his writings about love, Darwish was capable of summoning exile to enrich his poetry. This could be most enjoyed in his poem "She's Alone in the Evening."

from Egypt Independent: Remembering Mahmoud Darwish


News at Eleven: "She uses the same language as Shakespeare

and Mozart," [Helen] Noonan says [of Emily Dickinson]. "If you choose words carefully they resonate forever. That is why the arts are so potentially valuable because they can connect a society to infinity."

As evidence, she points to a short poem, Spoken: "A word is dead/When it is said,/Some say./I say it just/Begins to live/That day."

from The Sydney Morning Herald: Poet's evocative words brought to life again as soprano performs an encore


News at Eleven: Most critics avoid overt self-reference;

[Maureen] McLane recognizes that we all read with baggage. She reports on that baggage, miraculously without the cloistered narcissism typical of memoir. It's part of this book's strength, and its broad appeal, that McLane is willing to get personal while also tossing off niftily worded assessments of poems. The modernist Moore "has no heirs," McLane writes. "She has several epigones but their detail-laden lacquered ships for me don't float."

from The New York Times: Under the Influence


News at Eleven: "Reprehensibly perfect" is itself perfect,

a miming of criticism that is also a form of self-congratulation. So too are those careful, mock-hesitant line breaks at "if" and "a life." Behind the poem we intuit a Philip Larkin who has just these feelings, or at least wouldn't disavow them, and another Larkin who is broaching them, performing them, fully aware of the poem's crisscrossing insights and illusions, watching the man who is so anxious not to be fooled caught in the business of fooling himself.

from The Nation: The Reaches of Stringency: On Philip Larkin


News at Eleven: The poet Philip Larkin, when editing the

Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse, allowed [Edward] Thomas as many poems as T.S. Eliot. And Ted Hughes said, "He is the father of us all." Robert Frost called Thomas, "my only true brother." The poet, Matthew Hollis, has made a convincing case for Edward Thomas' poetry with this new literary biography. As an added bonus it provides an insightful study of the turning point in Robert Frost's career as a poet.

from The Buffalo News: Restoring poet to rightful place in the literary firmament


News at Eleven: I didn't really know what feminism was

at that point, save as a vaguely insulting term delivered in bleak sitcoms. Men Talk was about how women jabber and gossip and nag and do go on all the time, but men talk. We all found it quite funny. Some of us got it.

We liked it because, vaguely, it was a bit like the rap music that was beginning to get popular.

from The Guardian: My belated thank you to Liz Lochhead


News at Eleven: It still irritates him that he and his new generation

of Mersey Sound poets who presented a new, vernacular poetry to the nation were disparaged by the self-appointed high priests of the art in the 1970s who ran the influential magazine, Poetry Review.

This group, with Andrew Motion, Blake Morrison and Craig Raine prominent among them, were attempting to identify a canon for postwar British verse. When a "league table" of top poets put him in the bottom of the second division, he didn't lash out, but it still clearly galls.

from The Independent: Older, wiser, angrier: Roger McGough settles some old scores


News at Eleven (Back Page): But outside of the walls of the formal academy,

where fewer and fewer of the brightest minds are finding cover these days, most of what we like is simply that: what we like. We can invent theories to back up our preferences, as both [Stephanie] Nikolopulus and [Amanda] Marcotte are guilty of in their pieces. But to dismiss On the Road the way Marcotte does, as "babbling nonsense," is ultimately a form of ignorance, the ignorance that comes when one reads literature as having some sort of moral responsibility. And not only that, a responsibility that must reflect the morality of a particular type of reader.

from The Huffington Post: In Defense of Jack Kerouac and Other Flawed Literature


Great Regular: Regeneration had its own Tonks figure,

also a real person: the army psychiatrist Dr William Rivers. He is treating shell-shocked officers; through him we meet Sassoon and, through him, Robert Graves and Owen. The final part, The Ghost Road, beat, among others, ­Salman Rushdie to win the Booker in 1995. In effect, it was the entire trilogy that was being rewarded: it is on many people's lists of the greatest of all war novels. But why the great war?

from Bryan Appleyard: from the Sunday Times: Pat Barker: We Write in Blood


Great Regulars: In college, I had fallen for Jack Kerouac--

the story of Sal Paradise and his love of the American road. Here was that book's exquisite opposite: the story of a man who made himself a prison of small-town domestic life, a man whose big countercultural act was not to light out for the open highway, but to get in a car, drive across town and sleep with his mistress.

I felt an instant connection with [John] Updike's fiction.

from John Freeman: The Australian: Old school John Updike gives a masterclass in writing


Great Regulars: Celebration

by Denise Levertov

Brilliant, this day--a young virtuoso of a day.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Celebration by Denise Levertov


by X. J. Kennedy

This funky pizza parlor decks its walls

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Décor by X. J. Kennedy


by Donald Hall

When I visited as a boy, too young for chores,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Maples by Donald Hall


Old Houses
by Robert Cording

Year after year after year

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Old Houses by Robert Cording


Perfect Light
by Ted Hughes

[audio only]

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Perfect Light by Ted Hughes


by Dorothy Parker

In the pathway of the sun,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Penelope by Dorothy Parker


War Some of the Time
by Charles Bukowski

when you write a poem it

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: War Some of the Time by Charles Bukowski


Great Regulars: When it says that he killed a lion in a pit

on a winter day, this means that he immersed himself in a freezing pool, to purify himself before studying Torah. Alternatively, it means that he studied an entire treatise on the Book of Leviticus on a single freezing day.

This remarkable transformation of Benaiah from a killer into a scholar raised two questions for me.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: Talmud's Warriors and Scholars


Great Regulars: One of my favorite poems is by Ruth Stone,

about eating at a McDonald's, and I have myself written a poem about a lunch at Arby's. To these fast-food poems I now propose we add this fine one about IHOP, by Christine Stewart-Nuñez, who teaches at South Dakota State University.

Breakfast for Supper

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 387


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

Time Travel

We look at Blacks

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: Time Travel


[by E. Ethelbert Miller]

There Are No Saints Only Lovers

I need someone to take my body

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: There Are No Saints Only Lovers


[by E. Ethelbert Miller]


When we can no longer walk

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: Tremors


Great Regulars: The speaker goes on to describe his vision

of a beautiful garden. He looks in vain for an entrance to this enchanted place; walking around he sees the outside walls depicted with frightening paintings of Envy, Avarice, Poverty, and Old Age.

Suddenly, a beautiful maiden lets him inside, through a tiny gate.

from Christopher Nield: The Epoch Times: The Antidote--Classic Poetry for Modern Life: A Reading From 'The Romance of the Rose,' Translated by Chaucer


Great Regulars: Love, jealousy, dread are transformed

by candor and precision in "Before the Birth of One of Her Children." The poem [Before the Birth of One of Her Children" by Anne Bradstreet] proceeds from dignified, slightly stiff acknowledgements of the great, generic truths of mortality. The application of those truths to the risks of childbirth in the 17th century gains force from the poet's quiet, in a way pragmatic manner of dealing with the known and the unknown.

from Robert Pinsky: Slate: A Taste for Plainness


Great Regulars: [by Fred Voss]

After working 32 years in machine shops I find myself wishing

from Jody Porter: Morning Star: Well Versed: Fred Voss--All It Needs Is Some Grease