Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

February 26th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Breaking news: the arrogant powers that be, in the little country of Qatar, are flipping the bird to justice by not freeing poet Mohammed al-Ajami. His life sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison for thinking freely and writing a poem, doing what all poets do. The first link, in our group of four, is from Amnesty International which calls its readers to immediate action. The other three links have different aspects of interest to the story.

Bookending our News at Eleven section is another story that has taken the poetry world, the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death Sylvia Plath. It seems each week for the past month, remarkable articles have been written about different aspects of her life and works. This week is no different. These links constitute our Back Page story, the eleventh in our News at Eleven section.

More breaking news is that 50 unpublished Rudyard Kipling poems have been discovered. In Great Regulars, Alison Flood brings us this story, and includes one of the poems.

Time has been passing by too quickly. I meant to note when the 500th issuance of Poetry & Poets in Rags came out. It was two weeks ago. What started on Saturday, July 26, 2003, has spanned nearly ten years. As I have mentioned before, I will stop doing this column this coming July.

More IBPC congratulations are in order. The results for January are up. And our new judge, which is a previous judge, Deborah Bogen, has selected a first, second, third, and an honorable mention. Thanks to Deb, and congratulations! to the poets and boards:

First place: Down the Street by Fred Longworth, of The Waters
Second place: for what is given by Dale McLain, of Wild Poetry Forum
Third place: An A-Z of fruit: A for Apricots by Marilyn Francis, of The Write Idea
Honorable mention: Christmas, Connecticut, 1960 by Christopher T. George, of Desert Moon Review

Thanks for clicking in. And be sure to click on that Amnesty International link.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Please write immediately

in Arabic, English or your own language:

Expressing concern that, though his sentence was reduced on 25 February, Mohammed al-Ajami has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and therefore appears to be a prisoner of conscience;

Calling on the Qatari authorities to release Mohammed al-Ajami immediately and unconditionally, if this is indeed the case, and overturn his conviction.

Please send appeals before 8 April 2013 to:

from Amnesty International: Document--Qatar: Further Information: Al-Ajami's Sentence Reduced to 15 Years
then Associated Press: Qatar poet remains in prison for 'offensive' verse
then Reuters: Poet jailed for life in Qatar insult trial has term cut to 15 years
then Al Jazeera: Qatari poet's sentence reduced to 15 years


News at Eleven: [by Billy Collins]

Here on this map of the oceans everything is reversed-

from The Smithsonian: Billy Collins' The Deep
then U-T San Diego: Writer's Symposium by the Sea


News at Eleven: The book, "Best American Poetry 2013," is described

as "the foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry." It is edited by Denise Duhamel. The introduction to the tome is by David Lehman, who began this laudable series a few years back. [Elizabeth] Hazen's acclaimed poem is titled, "Thanatosis."


For those who cannot camouflage themselves,

from Baltimore Post-Examiner: Elizabeth Hazen's poem selected for 'Best American Poetry 2013'


News at Eleven: I enjoyed, too, her strange

Preparations for the Journey describing, in what seems as clear as a line drawing, a horse--except, as you look more closely, everything wavers. A poem about doubt. And Nothing Sets My Heart Aflame is a brilliantly shrewd piece about buying into the past. It ends: "Every time I think a new thought I can smell an old one burning." And that means an enormous fire--so many new thoughts are kindled here.

Our Love Could Spoil Dinner by Emily Berry

We always breakfast with the biographer.

from The Guardian: Dear Boy by Emily Berry--review


News at Eleven: [Eric Anderson:] A hazard, on my end as the writer,

would be to try to explain the scene. I hoped instead to expand the scene into the life of the child with elements that slightly branch away from or directly echo the initial scene, such as the trapped sparrows, hidden under the brook ice after trying to find food.

I think the poems begin as incidental, tethered to that first event, then break apart as the poems expand into a new atmosphere.

from Granta: New Poets: Eric Anderson dialogue with Sean Borodale


News at Eleven: The poems in "The Lease" tend to step

forward quietly. Take, for instance, "Under Air," about the everyday lethality of one of oil drilling's byproducts, hydrogen sulfide. It begins with the poet holding his own oxygen mask:

"All men must be clean shaven, a small mustache is acceptable but the rubber has to seal/Here, your pale-boy face is a virtue; the men dull 10 razors a month."

What we have here is a naming of parts and perils. But Mr. [Mathew] Henderson swings the poem around like a derrick.

from New York Times: On the Job, and Reading Between the Gritty Lines


News at Eleven: But since anyone can add annotations,

Poetry Brain has editors to ensure the information is accurate.

Already, MIT's literature department is integrating Poetry Brain into its poetry courses this semester. There's also a handful of other schools, like Williams College, and Johns Hopkins, that have either already integrated Poetry Brain into their curricula or will do so this semester.

Professors can assign students texts to read and annotate on Poetry Brain, and then provide edits and feedback.

from Business Insider: Remember CliffNotes? This Startup Could Wipe It Out
then Poetry Brain


News at Eleven: [Ollie Lambert:] It's free. Teenagers have no income,

and therefore what little money they have through pocket money, has many demand made on it. Poetry anthologies are not necessarily top of the list. You can't know if you enjoy something or not until you try it, so this is something that gets you reading, without using up all your allowance. Also, we were brought up with e-books etc., so we like the convenience of literature online, rather than in paper format.

It's an opportunity to meet other writers of the same age and compare work from a diverse range of people.

from The Guardian: 'Publishing poetry is easier than ever before': the teen poetry online revolution


News at Eleven: At Deyrolle, there was a handsome nightjar,

a bird I know from poems by Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson, a medium-sized nocturnal bird--with long wings, short legs, and a very short bill--that nests on the ground where its feathers are camouflaged to resemble bark and dry leaves, making it invisible in the night. It is also known as nighthawk, whip-poor-will, or goatsucker. In Plath's "Goatsucker," she writes of the vulgar notion that the bird sucked milk from goats at night:

from The New Yorker: Street of the Iron Po(e)t, Part V


News at Eleven: There, narrative replaces self-scrutiny,

and it may be tempting to consider this her second trapeze. But the later poems merely reveal the hidden virtues of the earlier ones: expressing the universal in the particular, tracing the tragic in the everyday, charting our reflexive rebellion against suffering and mirroring our willingness to spill our longings onto the "page" of our innermost self:

do you treasure your voice
when to be one thing
is to be next to nothing?

I find it difficult to imagine a better book of poetry being published this year.

from The Wichita Eagle: Louise Gluck's collected poems showcase half a century of stunning verse


News at Eleven (Back Page): It is absolutely, touchingly appropriate

that memorials to Mr. Crockett and Sylvia share this same space, because the two of them are bound inextricably together in Wellesley legend: mentor and apprentice, father-figure and fatherless girl, inspiration and creative supernova.

Sylvia Plath entered Room 206 of the old high school in September 1947 as a 14-year-old sophomore, and when she left three years later she was a published author on her way to the Pulitzer Prize.

from The Wellesley Townsman: Sylvia Plath's Wellesley years
then The Buffalo News: Sylvia Plath, as Marilyn Monroe?
then Indianapolis Star: Sylvia Plath's papers are still a draw at IU library
then The Diamondback: Remembering Sylvia Plath


Great Regulars: Old Times, like much of Pinter, is a brilliant

surface stretched over a vacuum. The play is designed to make us feel there is great significance to these twists and mysteries but there is none.

Bad-good art of this kind is a trick. Contrast Pinter with Beckett. There is no vacuum in Beckett, he addresses human life full-on, the theatrical devices are not arbitrary, they arise from the necessity of how Beckett feels and, consequently, they make us feel the same way.

from Bryan Appleyard: The Bad-Good and the Good-Bad


For example, [A.C.] Grayling breezily dismisses Stalinism and Maoism as being "counter-Enlightenment" forces. But communism was an Enlightenment project based on a belief in reason to re-order human affairs. You may say Stalin and Mao were communist aberrations but then the Catholic Church could legitimately claim forgiveness for the Spanish Inquisition and the slaughter of the Cathars on the same grounds.

There is also an irritating and highly self-serving argument that appears in various forms throughout the book.

from Bryan Appleyard: from New Statesman: Grayling: The Fifth Horseman Rides


Great Regulars: It is hard to know what experiences,

whether from her years living in Multnomah County or from her years living in Klamath County, contribute most to her writing. But from a poem like "Finish" you get a lingering sense of [Paulann] Petersen's commitment to the idea that every reality "mirrors" other realities and that they are all flowing toward one another and continuously becoming "reacquainted." Likewise, it's with this spirit that I set out on an exploration of the Portland School of Poets.


from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Paulann Petersen personifies spirit of Portland School of Poets


Great Regulars: To both honor another poet of color

during Black History Month and commemorate Presidents' Day on Monday, this week's Poetry Pairing matches "On Being Brought from Africa to America," a poem by Phillis Wheatley, whose writing was praised by President George Washington, with "A Rare Haven for Gay Men and Lesbians in Harlem" by Gerren Keith Gaynor.

from Shannon Doyne: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'On Being Brought From Africa to America'


Great Regulars: Kipling scholars are celebrating the publication

of lost poems by the author whose exhortations in "If" to "keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you" are regularly voted the nation's favourite poem. Discovered by the American scholar Thomas Pinney in an array of hiding places including family papers, the archive of a former head of the Cunard Line and during renovations at a Manhattan house, more than 50 previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling will be released for the first time next month.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: 50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered


Much-loved community stores including Langton's Bookshop in Twickenham, which had been in business for more than half a century, Walkers Bookshop in Sleaford and Baytree Books of Waterlooville all closed down last year, said the Booksellers Association, which is calling for the government and the publishing industry to "act urgently" to improve conditions for booksellers on the high street. Other victims include Farthing Books in Coulsdon and a number of independent Christian booksellers.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Decline in independent bookshops continues with 73 closures in 2012


Talk to publishers or booksellers about poetry, and you'll hear the same refrain. It's niche, it's difficult to sell--and young people just aren't interested. Look online and you'll see a different picture. More than 20,000 teenagers are writing poetry on the social reading website Wattpad, and over 100,000 are actively reading Wattpad's poems on both web and mobile, while on the young adult community writing site Movellas, there are 20 to 30 new poems uploaded a day, with the most popular read up to 15,000 times, receiving between 20 and 200 comments. That's not a particularly convincing display of indifference.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: How the internet is kickstarting a teen poetry revolution


"The whole idea is that of the barter. All I've got to offer is my work, and the reading of it," said [Simon] Armitage, who was awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010. "Will that be enough for people to say I can stay at their home, or that they'll give me some sandwiches? I'm looking for anyone who can tolerate me . . . In the Pennines there was never a night when I didn't have anywhere to stay, even if it was in someone's front room."

Armitage's Pennine walk gave rise to the book Walking Home, and he is planning to write a follow-up, Walking Away, about his journey through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Simon Armitage to walk south-west coast path, paying his way with poetry


Great Regulars: The ordinary, physical function of the eyes,

hands, feet, and ears is just an outward and incidental function to the true devotee.  That function is necessary and proper but secondary to the function of using that physicality to seek and worship God.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: Paramahansa Yogananda's "What Use"


Great Regulars: This belief in our own omniscience,

and the role it plays in our decision making, is one of Missing Out's fundamental themes. The book is replete with literary references, and a great many of them are to Shakespeare's tragedies. What interests [Adam] Phillips most is the rigid and ruthless way Shakespeare's tragic heroes have of desiring and pursuing satisfaction, and in particular revenge, and their impregnable confidence that they have fully and accurately imagined what it will be like to have their desires satisfied.

from Troy Jollimore: The Barnes and Noble Review: Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life


Great Regulars: The Cord

by Leanne O'Sullivan

I used to lie on the floor for hours after

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Cord by Leanne O'Sullivan


Honda Pavarotti
by Tony Hoagland

I'm driving on the dark highway

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Honda Pavarotti by Tony Hoagland


In the Late Season
by Tom Hennen

At the soft place in the snowbank

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: In the Late Season by Tom Hennen


Long Term
by Stephen Dunn

On this they were in agreement:

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Long Term by Stephen Dunn


by George Bilgere

My father once sold a Chevy

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Musial by George Bilgere


No. 6
by Charles Bukowski

I'll settle for the 6 horse

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: No. 6 by Charles Bukowski


Trombone Lesson
by Paul Hostovsky

The twenty minutes from half past nine

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Trombone Lesson by Paul Hostovsky


Great Regulars: Focused on this detailed discussion,

I found myself all the more shocked when, in Shabbat 138b, the Gemara relates a terrible prophecy: "Rav said: The Torah is destined to be forgotten from the Jewish people." In the context of the Talmud, this has an apocalyptic sound. Torah, here, means not just the Pentateuch but the whole oral and written law, and all the interpretations of it, and the whole way of life it inspires. Did the rabbis really think all this could simply disappear? According to Rav, scripture predicts that it must. "And the Lord will make your plagues astonishing," reads Deuteronomy, and the same word, "astonishment" (haflaah), appears in Isaiah in connection with "the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the men of understanding." Using a standard hermeneutic technique, Rav connects the two instances of the word: The astonishing plague will be a plague on wisdom and understanding, that is, on knowledge of Torah.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: Ancient Laws for Modern Times


Great Regulars: When spring finally arrives,

it can be fun to see what winter left behind, and Jeffrey Harrison of Massachusetts is doing just that in this amusing poem.

Mailboxes in Late Winter

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 414


Great Regulars: Divorce

By Donald Crane

She got the path to the spring house

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


Great Regulars: by Inua Ellams

the last poems of the west will be cast in gold

from Jody Porter: Morning Star: Well Versed: Inua Ellams--To preserve value


Great Regulars: If "Words" lacks the pure focus of his

greatest poems, the lessons it embodies are no less valuable. The sources of poetry are local to the poet. And it's not bardic mysticism but good psychology for any artist to be free-floating rather than manipulative during the first stages of creation, and only later to apply the fixative.

[by Edward Thomas]


from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Words by Edward Thomas


Great Regulars: It's the kind of project I take on every

seven years or so, usually precipitated by a move. This time, though, the inciting incident was my 50th birthday, for which I gave myself the only gift I truly wanted: a set of built-in, floor-to-ceiling shelves.

She's right, my wife--the books are taking over the house, as they have taken over every house in which I've ever lived.

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: The weight of books


Great Regulars: A Childhood

by Robin Robertson

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: A Childhood


Great Regulars: By Susan Abulhawa

Apartheid's outlaw

from The Palestine Chronicle: A Poem: For Samer Issawi: Tribute to a Jerusalem Son


By Zahra Zamorano

If I could feed one ounce of Earth

from The Palestine Chronicle: A Poem: Hunger Strike


By Jane Otaqui

(This poem was inspired by a conversation we had after our Japanese Daughter-in-law Atsuko's Dad had travelled to the Fukushima area for a family funeral. He expressed his profound sorrow at not being able to return to the places he knew and loved as a child and my Husband, a Palestinian Father of Andrew, said "I know exactly how he feels!")

Palestine/Fukushima Japan "I know exactly how he feels"

from The Palestine Chronicle: A Poem: Palestine/Fukushima Japan


Great Regulars: By Gerald Stern

Wherever I go now I lie down on my own bed of straw

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'The One Thing in Life'


Great Regulars: Trudy Nelson

Doldrums of winter

from Post-Bulletin: Poem: "Winter Doldrums"


Great Regulars: [by Laurie Ann Guerrero]

Ruby-jewel, you are hard-brained and your mouth never

from San Antonio Express-News: Poetry: 'Ode to the Beet'


Great Regulars: "The Fear of the Dark"

By Nan Cohen

from Slate: "The Fear of the Dark"


Great Regulars: [Wisława] Szymborska's willingness to explore what

she didn't know encouraged her reputation as an "accessible" poet. But, as this week's poem shows, she was not adverse to abstraction. Nor was she animated by mere "curiosity", but rather by a deep understanding of history, politics and philosophy--and the theories that continue to divide scholars. Szymborska delights in this unknowability. In "In Heraclitus' River", faced with a speaker who insists that "a fish quarters a fish with a sharp fish" and that "a fish invented a fish beyond fish", readers are obliged to draw their own conclusions, transient though they may be.

In Heraclitus' River

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "In Heraclitus' River"


Poetic Obituaries: [Justin] Benoit was a member of Cold Cave's

live touring band, joining them in support of 2009's Love Comes Close, as well as playing on the Cold Cave/Prurient split tape Stars Explode. Benoit was also a writer and poet, published by Cold Cave member Wes Eisold's Heartworm Press.

from Spinner: Justin Benoit Dead: Former Member of Cold Cave, Author and Poet Passes Away


Poetic Obituaries: A lot of people are going to talk about

David [Hernández] and his poetry--and it's important that they do. And they'll talk about his legacy with Street Sounds, his poetry band, and his contributions to the Latino Arts movement in this town. And all of that is important too.

But I want to say something else: I want to talk about David's heart, David's generosity, because that was his real gift. It wasn't just that he taught and touched thousands upon thousands of students, that he helped so many poets get started in his classes or by inviting us to read with him, or that he'd talk us up at crucial moments.

from WBEZ91.5: Chicago poet David Hernández has died, but we are his legacy


Poetic Obituaries: [Taft Sellers] was living with his girlfriend

and taking classes toward a business degree, said Leslie Alexander, 29, who considered Sellers one of her closest friends.

In high school, Alexander and Sellers ran track together and would often share lunch and study together, she said. In more recent years, they would share their poetry.

from The Washington Post: Man killed by Alexandria police is remembered as sensitive person


Poetic Obituaries: As author and poet, Professor [Bob] Welch

published several novels in both English and Irish. These included Groundwork (1997), named by the New York Times Book Review as one of the notable books of 1998. His most recent book was Kicking the Black Mamba: Life, Alcohol and Death (2012), a memoir of his son Egan which has received much acclaim. His output as a poet included Muskerry (1991), The Evergreen Road (2006) and Constanza (2010).

As a research scholar, he published major works of scope and ambition, including Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats (1980), Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing (1993) and a History of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, The Abbey Theatre 1899-1999: Form and Pressure (1999).

from Coleraine Times: Robert Anthony (Bob) Welch MRIA (1947-2013)


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

February 19th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Thursday was Valentines Day, the perfect occasion for the world's newspapers to publish articles on love poetry. In our News at Eleven section, we have four such articles, including our headliner. In our Great Regulars section, Shannon Doyne, Carol Ann Duffy, Garrison Keillor, Brad Leithauser, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Christopher Nield all bring us a heart-shaped look at love.

Still a great story in this world of poetry is the many looks at Sylvia Plath that are coming out this year on the 50th anniversary of her death. We have a clutch of seven articles on her life, loves, and poetry.

Last week, Polina Barskova's IBPC contest results for December went up on the site. The poems and her commentary make for excellent reading. Thanks to Polina, and congratulations to the poets and the boards that sent the winning poems in:

First place: Dying in Jerusalem by Daniel Abelman, of conjunction
Second place: Eating a Bruised Bosc Pear on Armistice Day by Christopher T. George, of FreeWrights Peer Review
Third place: I Used to Miss My Tail by Alison Armstrong-Webber, of The Waters

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Do not say/'I love her

for her smile . . . her look . . . her way/Of speaking gently, . . . for a trick of thought/That falls in well with mine/. . . For these things, in themselves, Beloved, may/Be changed, or change for thee, . . . and love so wrought,/May be unwrought . . ./But love me for love's sake that evermore/Thou mays't love on, through love's eternity."

The romance, and marriage in 1846 of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning was one of the great love stories of the Victorian period. They married in secret, because Mr. Barrett had forbidden any of his children to marry.

from Pune Mirror: How do I love thee?


News at Eleven: One day, she [Sylvia Plath] read me what she called

some "light verse". She meant "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus". There was real venom in them, yet the underlying rhythm of "Daddy" is that of a lullaby, a lovesong. Plath had unleashed the powerful forces that had always been there at least since her childhood bereavement, but now with huge discipline and great artistry. I do not believe she meant to die. I think she expected to be found. She was too full of life and passion.

from The Independent: This week's big questions: What is Sylvia Plath's legacy? Is there such a thing as a good divorce?
then Poets.org: What Sylvia Plath Loved
then Glamour: 6 Facts You Don't Know About Sylvia Plath
then Poets.org: From the Academy Archives: Letters from Sylvia
then The Huffington Post: Sylvia Plath 50 Years Later: What Modern Feminism Can Learn From Ariel
then Irish Times: A reminder that Plath lived for her art
then San Francisco Chronicle: 'American Isis,' by Carl Rollyson


News at Eleven: She Walks in Beauty

by Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Arguably the most romantic poem in English literature, Byron's words are hauntingly beautiful. The simple imagery of the woman's charm and elegance make this poem both accessible and timeless. It's no wonder why Byron makes it into countless proposals and wedding speeches.

from The Telegraph: Valentine's Day: Top 10 romantic poems


News at Eleven: In his book, [Mike] Chasar examines

the common practice of poetry scrapbooking, greeting card poetry and poetry billboards used to advertise Burma-Shave shaving cream. He looks at poetry used on old-time radio shows and in the fan letters sent to them. He even finds poetry printed on candy boxes, thermometers and handkerchiefs.

"I've been amazed that virtually no literary or cultural critic has deemed much of this writing worth considering at any length," Chasar says.

from Willamette University: Poetry's influence on American culture is explored in new book
then Poetry & Popular Culture: A Few More Vintage Valentines from P&PC


News at Eleven: [John] Donne, she said, was the most

erotic poet in English literature. I nodded back, leering unconvincingly. I had no idea what she was talking about. "It's his control," she said. "Reading him, you can feel what a good lover he must have been." And here I'd thought my plan to read a Donne poem each night bespoke a lofty, serious turn of mind. Ask not for whom the earth moves.

from The New Yorker: John Donne's Erotica


News at Eleven: [Banana Blush] opens with Indoor Games

Near Newbury, the clippity-clop of frisky tea-room jazz as the backdrop to [John] Betjeman's flashback, here concerning young, unconsummated love played out in a dark cupboard during a kids' Christmas party. A love "that lay too deep for kissing". I was hooked. To a temperate music hall knees-up The Flight from Bootle tells of a Liverpool lady mislaying her virtue in a seedy Piccadilly Circus hotel.

from The Guardian: Hidden treasures: Sir John Betjeman's Banana Blush


News at Eleven: The most intensely personal part of

the process for me comes while I'm writing a poem. That's when I need to feel fearless and unself-conscious. But by the time I decide to publish a poem--which is to say, by the time the poem has taught or revealed to me whatever it has to offer--I'm already ready to relinquish that kind of intimacy with it. The fact that this collection has gotten wider attention than it might otherwise have received actually makes me feel grateful, as if my private tribute to my father has become something shared.

from Nashville Scene: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith talks about inspiration, personal reflection and recitation