Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 26th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 26th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Chinua Achebe died this past week. Aside from being a great novelist, he was also a poet. You will find a clutch of links in our Poetic Obituaries section on this, each article lending its own point of view, to paying tribute to him. That is our third section, right after Great Regulars. In Great Regulars, Jeffrey Brown remembers Achebe, and so does Alison Flood and David Ulin. Lots of good reading if you can surf through.

Turns out, D.H. Lawrence's poetry was censored, and is better than has been thought. Apparently, he was quite talented. We begin News at Eleven with this story. Ten stories later, on our Back Page is a happy birthday wish to 139-year-old Robert Frost. Both The Christian Science Monitor and Huffington Post came out with items with quotes of his, the Monitor one has good photos too. Time sure flies this week.

Congratulations to the poets and boards who sent in IBPC's winning poems for March. And thanks very much to Deb Bogen our Winter 2013 judge. What a wonderful job she has done for her three-month stint. You can read her commentary after each poem:

1st Place: Altoona by Dale Patterson, of conjunction

2nd Place: Hansel Ties the Knot by Laurie Byro, of Desert Moon Review

3rd Place: Tool Shed by Arlin Buyert, of Wild Poetry Forum

Honorable mention: And Maybe Sleep by Fred Longworth, of PenShells

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: [D.H. Lawrence's] poems took aim at politicians,

the brutality of the first world war and English repression--but censorship and sloppy editing rendered them virtually meaningless, to the extent that the full extent of his poetic talent has been overlooked.

Deleted passages have now been restored and hundreds of punctuation errors removed for a major two-volume edition to be published on 28 March by Cambridge University Press--the final part of its mammoth 40-volume edition of Lawrence's Letters and Works.

from The Guardian: D.H. Lawrence's poetry saved from censor's pen


News at Eleven: In various jails, [Miguel] Hernández wrote many poems

that were included in letters to his friends and family, particularly his wife, Josefina Manresa--a seamstress from his hometown Orihuela, with whom he had two sons. "Everything Is Filled with You" was written during this time of imprisonment and was published in 1958 in his final collection of poems, Cancionero y romancero de ausencias (Songs and Ballads of Absence).

from The New York Review of Books: A Poem by Miguel Hernández


News at Eleven: Here is the first known poem by [Marcel] Proust,

written when he was 17, that shows him struggling with his homosexual urges. The poem is dedicated to his friend Daniel Halévy, and he wrote to him in a letter: "Don't treat me as a pederast, that wounds me. Morally I'm trying, if only out of a sense of elegance, to remain pure." The poem is titled "Pederasty."


Translated by Richard Howard

To Daniel Halévy

from The Daily Beast: Marcel Proust's First Poem, 'Pederasty,' Shows Him Struggling With Homosexuality


News at Eleven: I was the one that she [Sylvia Plath] brought

the poems to when she and Ted [Hughes] were no longer together. She brought all those late poems to me. She felt I knew how to read them, which is true. And I suspect now, thinking it over, that she would write a poem and she and Ted would take it apart or vice versa. They had very intense conversations about each one. When they split up, she came to call on me, I was living down the road a bit, and she came carrying poems and I think I helped her just by being there. I think she needed that. So we swapped notes. She knew I was on Ted's side, that I loved his poetry. But the stuff that she was unloading then was miles better.

from Granta: Interview: Al Alvarez
from The Times Literary Supplemment: Lake poet


News at Eleven: According to another local website,

al-Masry al-Youm, the Cairo-based actress [Raghda] recited one poem entitled "Slave Market," depicting how Syrian women are being married off to Islamist Egyptian men to "protect their honor," compelling a bearded Islamist to interrupt her.

"I am a Muslim but I am not racist," he said, in reference to her poem, which he viewed as prejudiced against Egyptians.

After Raghda rebuffing the man's reply, a tumultuous quarrel ensued.

from Middle East Online: Egypt Brotherhood supporters attack Raghda over 'hostile' poems


News at Eleven: I can't think of many poets who can

pull off a line like "Lethe-knuckling mob of rain," with its cod-Homeric tag. I'm not sure Ms. Carson does, but I'm glad she's got the balls to try. And I'm almost certain the bit about rain's surfaces sounding like they're sliding up doesn't make the slightest bit of sense (what would that sound like, exactly? Is it G's imprecision or Ms. Carson's?). But it tickles my mind.

Ms. Carson doesn't skirt preciousness, she plows through it on an ATV, kicking up shadows and moons and "the ancient smell of ice."

from The New York Observer: Poet Goes to Building on Fire: Anne Carson's Beautiful, Wacky, Heroic New Book


News at Eleven: When I sent my manuscript--and it was in August,

which shows how smart I was. School started in September, and neither of the two teachers was in town in August. So each thought that the other had read it and let me in, and when they checked the list in the English department, there was my name. So I just showed up.

The first words out of anyone's mouth were, "I don't think the iambic pentameter is working very well in this poem." And I knew I was dead meat because I didn't even know what iambic pentameter was. I didn't know anything about writing, having been a history major. But I kept my mouth shut.

from Vox Populi: On the Record with Charles Wright, famous American poet from Tennessee


News at Eleven: Ambitious though they were,

neither was able to escape the constraints of their own hard upbringings. His mother, the oldest of five, grew up in extreme poverty, was charged with the care of the younger children and was whipped for her siblings' transgressions. His father was relentlessly belittled by his father with sarcasm and ridicule. Although both of [Wesley] McNair's parents entered college, neither graduated.

But McNair credits them both for "contributing" to his becoming a writer. His mother by reading to him and helping him create his first "book" as a young boy; his father's "most obvious contribution was his disappearance itself, for it showed me once and for all that the world is a broken place, and filled me with the need to mend it."

from Maine Sunday Telegram: Book Review: Poet's work shares how torn family shaped him


News at Eleven: They begin with Journey of the Magi,

A Song for Simeon, Animula, then the six poems that together make up Ash-Wednesday, and--my favourite poem of [T.S.] Eliot's--Marina. These poems are devotional, for want of a better word, but they are not versified religion; they exemplify the sensuousness of belief, the ecstasy of it, as much as its exactions, as in Journey of the Magi--"And the silken girls bringing sherbet"--and in Ash-Wednesday : "Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,/Lilac and brown hair", as well as the Lady "withdrawn/In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown". He had put The Waste Land behind him as being "a little out of date, even with respect to my own composition".

from The Irish Times: The Letters of TS Eliot, Volume 4: 1928-1929


News at Eleven: [Edward Thomas] was England's most discerning,

esteemed, and feared poetry critic--he very early grasped the brilliance and weaknesses in Yeats and Pound, and championed Robert Frost; Walter de la Mare said that he must have been "a critic of rhymes in his nursery." In reviews, articles, and book introductions on rural life, and particularly in his "country books"--eccentric, discursive amalgams of travel writing, history, topography, natural history, literary analysis, and fiction, rooted in particular counties or regions--Thomas established himself as among the best in a distinguished line of English writers on nature and the countryside.

Paradoxically, those pursuits added to the labors that kept him from the leisured life he perhaps needed in order to write poetry--a life he would only fully find in the army--even as they immeasurably helped him emerge as a poet.

from The Atlantic Monthly: Chapter and Verse: The Unknown Prose of a Great Poet


News at Eleven (Back Page): 1. Free Verse

"I'd as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down."

- Edward Lathern Interviews with Robert Frost

from The Christian Science Monitor: Robert Frost: 10 quotes on his birthday
then The Huffington Post: Robert Frost Birthday: 16 Inspiring Quotes From The Famous Poet


Great Regulars: The point being that long-form TV in particular--

think The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad--has usurped the role of the realistic epic novel that aspires to describe a whole society. Cinema has also stolen the novelist's primary device of showing not telling. You tell by writing, for example, "John was uncertain"; you show by describing his uncertain behaviour. Filthy Rich started out as a description of Pakistani society and ended as a life story in the form of a self-help book. It also tells rather than shows.

In this short- to medium-length novel, [Mohsin] Hamid creates a huge range of unnamed characters and a vast city. Neither the people nor the place need be specified; indeed, it is preferable that they aren't.

from Bryan Appleyard: from the Sunday Times: Mohsin Hamid: Help for the Dislocated Self


More jobs will be destroyed and wealth will become even more concentrated in the top 1% of the population. Our present ­technology produces shrinkage rather than growth.

It need not have happened. [Jaron] Lanier argues convincingly that the design of the net is at fault. It is a one-way system, so the user cannot actually see what is going on. In a two-way system you could, in theory, see everything--every theft of your information, every time your mortgage was traded between banks, and so on.

from Bryan Appleyard: from the Sunday Times: Rage Against the Machines


Great Regulars: [Chinua] Achebe spent much of his life in

the United States. Paralyzed from the waist down after an auto accident in 1990, he lived for many years in a cottage on the campus of Bard College, where he was a faculty member. He joined Brown University in 2009 as a professor of languages and literature.

Watch Jeff's 2008 interview with Achebe below:

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Remembering Nigerian Novelist Chinua Achebe


Great Regulars: To mark the coming of Passover and Holy Week,

our Poetry Pairing this week matches "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church," by Emily Dickinson, with "A Religious Ritual Attracts Even Nonbelievers" by Mark Oppenheimer.

from Shannon Doyne: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'Some keep the Sabbath going to Church'


Great Regulars: More than 100,000 people have signed a petition

launched by an independent bookseller calling on Amazon "to pay their fair share of tax in the UK" and warning the online retail giant that "the unfair advantage that your tax dodge gives you is endangering many UK high street businesses".

Booksellers Frances and Keith Smith, who count the MP Margaret Hodge and the author Charlie Higson among their supporters, are now planning to deliver their appeal to 10 Downing Street, accompanied by a large crowd of authors and other allies.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Amazon tax petition hits 100,000 signatures


The poet Jackie Kay hailed [Chinua] Achebe as "the grandfather of African fiction" who "lit up a path for many others", adding that she had reread Things Fall Apart "countless times".

"It is a book that keeps changing with the times, as he did," she said.

Achebe won the Commonwealth poetry prize for his collection Christmas in Biafra, was a finalist for the 1987 Booker prize for his novel Anthills of the Savannah, and in 2007 won the Man Booker international prize.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Novelist Chinua Achebe dies, aged 82


The college's student body is now "calling in the strongest terms for Calypso to be rehired", arguing in a motion that "the Harlem shake did not cause a disturbance coming as it did at 11:30 pm on a Sunday evening" and that the event "only lasted roughly seven minutes".

Ellen Gibson, a student at St Hilda's, told the Cherwell: "The situation seems ridiculous. The librarian had nothing to do with the protest; she just happened to be there at the time."

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Oxford librarian dismissed over Harlem Shake video--that she wasn't in


Philip Pullman is to succeed PD James as president of the Society of Authors--the "ultimate honour" awarded by the British writers body, and a position first held by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Pullman, the award-winning author of the children's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, will take over from James on 3 August, the crime writer's 93rd birthday and the date she has chosen to retire as president.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Philip Pullman to be Society of Authors' new president


You would not think of telling how many buttons you had to fasten, nor how long you took to make a parting, nor how many steps you descended," [Robert Louis] Stevenson writes in the essay, published for the first time in the American magazine the Strand last week. "The youngest boy would have too much of what we call 'literary tact' to do that. Such a quantity of twaddling detail would simply bore the reader's head off."

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Robert Louis Stevenson on writing: lose the 'twaddling detail'


Barbara McDade, director of Bangor Public Library, told the Bangor Daily News that Stephen and Tabitha King had offered to pay one third of the $9m (£5.9m) the library is looking to raise for refurbishment, as long as the remaining $6m (£3.9m) is raised. "They have just been wonderful supporters of the library," said McDade.

The Kings previously donated $2.5m (£1.6m) towards a new wing for the library in the 90s, said McDade, and "also replaced our front marble steps [six or seven years ago], which were worn to the point where they were dangerous".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Stephen King and his wife pledge $3m to Maine library


Great Regulars: The Country

by Billy Collins

I wondered about you

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: The Country by Billy Collins


Demand It Courageously
by Julia Hartwig

Make some room for yourself, human animal.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Demand It Courageously by Julia Hartwig


Every Day
by Tom Clark

Awake the mind's hopeless so

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Every Day by Tom Clark


by Lisel Mueller

Going south, we watched spring

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Fiction by Lisel Mueller


Fishing in the Keep of Silence
by Linda Gregg

There is a hush now while the hills rise up

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Fishing in the Keep of Silence by Linda Gregg


by David Ignatow

You wept in your mother's arms

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Listening by David Ignatow


by Frederick Smock

All year long there is

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Morning by Frederick Smock


Great Regulars: Robert Morgan, who lives in Ithaca,

New York, has long been one of my favorite American poets. He's also a fine novelist and, recently, the biographer of Daniel Boone. His poems are often about customs and folklore, and this one is a good example.

Living Tree

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 418


Great Regulars: What Do They Do?

By E. Ethelbert Miller

from E. Ethelbert Miller: Foreign Policy in Focus: What Do They Do?


Great Regulars: by James Caruth

A giant leap,

from Jody Porter: Morning Star: Well Versed: James Caruth--1969


Great Regulars: This week's poem is among the earliest surviving

English love lyrics. "Bird on a Briar" or, in Middle English, "Bryd one Brere", is an enchanting little song, anonymous, of course, but with an extra mystery attached to its provenance. It was written on the back of a papal bull, at least a hundred years after the bull had been issued by Pope Innocent III in 1199. The scribe was probably a monk at the Priory of St James, near Exeter. Whether he transcribed a secular poem on a holy and ancient document as an act of mischief, piety or sheer carelessness, we'll probably never know: we don't even know for certain the poem is secular.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Bird on a Briar by Anonymous


Great Regulars: I listened as, one after the next,

novelists Colum McCann, Edwidge Danticat and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie took the stage to pay homage to [Chinua] Achebe. Toni Morrison read an essay about the author she'd written in the 1960s; Chris Abani--like Achebe, a Nigerian writer--spoke in Ibo before switching to what he called "the more primitive language" of English.

At the end of the evening, Achebe appeared onstage in his wheelchair, wearing a black beret. (He was partially paralyzed in a 1990 car accident.) He spoke slowly, noting his surprise that a tribute to a novel about Africa could fill a theater in New York.

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: Remembering Chinua Achebe, a writer who connected us to the world


"By the time a self-published author has made a success of his or her book," [Laura] Miller observes, "all the hard stuff is done, not just writing the manuscript but editing and the all-important marketing. Instead of investing their money in unknown authors, then collaborating to make their books better and find them an audience, publishers can swoop in and pluck the juiciest fruits at the moment of maximum ripeness."

from David L. Ulin: Los Angeles Times: The paradox of self-publishing


Great Regulars: Looking for Cirino's bones

by Charles Orloski

Sun rays entered barn-windows--

from CounterPunch: Poets' Basement: Orloski and D'Errico


Great Regulars: By Li-Young Lee

I sang in a church choir during one war

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Cuckoo Flower on the Witness Stand'


Great Regulars: [by Agha Shahid Ali]

Get your favorite refreshment. Relax your mind. Take your time reading out loud this ghazal, whose refrain is "Of Fire". Feel the explosions.

In a mansion once of love I lit a chandelier of fire . . .

from People's World: Poem of the Week: Of fire and ghazals, Agha Shahid Ali, poet of the week


Great Regulars: [by Glover Davis]


For Palmer Hall

"Leave it all on the field," our football coach

from San Antonio Express-News: Poetry: 'Virtue'


Great Regulars: "After Love"

By Alan Michael Parker

from Slate: "After Love"


Great Regulars: In [Boris] Pasternak's "eternal childhood",

[Anna] Akhmatova tells us, he observes with silence and care, "tiptoeing over pine needles,/So as not to startle the light sleep of space". Her final lines remind us just how many lives Pasternak touched: though only a small notice of his death appeared in the Literary Gazette in 1960, admirers posted handwritten notices with the date and time of his funeral throughout Moscow's subway system. As a result, thousands flocked to the small village of Peredelkino to attend the services, and to honour him "for filling the world"--as Anna Akhmatova did--"with a new sound".

[by Anna Akhmatova
translated by Stanley Kunitz]

Boris Pasternak

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Boris Pasternak"


Poetic Obituaries: The civil war was the theme of many

of his [Chinua Achebe's] writings during these years. Among the most prominent were a book of poetry, "Beware Soul Brother" (1971), which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and a short-story collection,"Girls at War," which appeared in 1972.

But for more than 20 years a case of writer's block kept him from producing another novel. He attributed the dry spell to emotional trauma that had lingered after the civil war.

"The novel seemed like a frivolous thing to be doing," he told The Washington Post in 1988.

That year Mr. Achebe finally published his fifth novel, "Anthills of the Savannah," the story of three former school chums in a fictional country modeled after Nigeria.

from The New York Times: Chinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82
then The Telegraph: Chinua Achebe
then Counterpunch: Achebe's Legacy
then The New Yorker: Postscript: Chinua Achebe, 1930-2013
then Granta: Chinua Achebe's Legacy
then The Guardian: Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist and poet--in pictures
then Los Angeles Times: Chinua Achebe's literary legacy


Poetic Obituaries: [Charles] Egedy was a poet, chess player

and valued instructor to many at the University. President of the Louisiana State Poetry Society and director of the Baton Rouge Chess Club, he enjoyed hobbies outside the world of math and science and was willing to share experience and advice on various subjects, according to those who worked with him.

from The Daily Reveille: Math professor dies of heart attack


Poetic Obituaries: Awarded the Pride of Performance for his contribution

to Pakistani literature in March 2011, he [Khalid Ahmad] had five poetry collections to his credit. These included 'Tashbeeb' (a collection of naats), 'Hathailoon Pay Charagh', 'Pehli Sada Parinday Ki', 'Daraz Palkoon Kay Saie Saie' and 'Namgirifta', which was launched only recently.

He drew inspiration from Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, who was a close friend, in fact guardian of his family when they arrived in Lahore during partition. He was a respected and prolific poet, the creator of such famous lines as: 'Tark-i-taaluqat pay roya na tu na mein, Lekin ye kya kay chain say soya na tu na mein'.

from Dawn: Poet Khalid laid to rest


Poetic Obituaries: "I think he was a very deep person,"

she [Dr. Mary Farrel] said [of John S. Pirres]. "I've been using the word 'thoughtful.'" He was deep, philosophical. He really examined the issues, not just at a surface level."

According to Pirres' obituary, he was an avid reader and writer, and one of his poems had been published. He enjoyed the outdoors and hiked the Appalachian Trail, it said.

from NJ.com: Pedestrian who died in Morristown crash had been a poet, a proud liberal, a mentor to the disabled


Poetic Obituaries: Sibt-e-Jafar was the principal of

a government degree college. He was also a lawyer, a great poet, Marsia narrator, educationist and a scholar. He imparted training to many people and left thousands of students among others as mourners.

from The Nation: Professor Sibt-e-Jafar laid to rest amid sobs, tears, cries


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 19th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We begin this week with Anne Carson's new book. Both the New York Times and the National Post bring us interviews with her. Michael Lista in our Great Regulars section also has an article on her.

In our first section, News at Eleven, if you're seeing double, it's because poets are coming in pairs. We have two articles on two poets each, one on R.S. Thomas and Dylan Thomas, the former Welch poet having his 100th birthday this year and the latter next. But our back page article is on both Lemn Sissay and Benjamin Zephaniah, the former taking part in the latter's play. If that is not enough, we have a separate article on R.S. Thomas. Pablo Neruda shows up a couple times as well, once as being one of two Spanish-speaking poets who have made the "crossover to English-language audiences", the other being Federico Garcia Lorca, the subject of the article, and the second lending his name as the dedicatee of a remarkable new work by artist Ai Weiwei, called "A Pablo."

Speaking of Great Regulars, one has passed this week, John Mark Eberhart, from cancer. The news is coming out today. There is an obituary followed by an audio of him reading one of his poems, these in our Poetic Obituaries section. I was hoping to see him emerge somewhere, even as a freelancer since he left The Star as their book editor. His contributions to the poetry community have been, and will be missed. We are dealing with a big John-Mark-Eberhart-shaped hole right now.

I leave the rest in all three sections to your discovery, poems, essays, and all.  Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: The most animated moments in my discussions

with [Anne] Carson came when she spoke about boredom, which she can't stand. ("I will do anything to avoid boredom," she once wrote. "It is the task of a lifetime.") When she writes, she has a constant drive to feel as if she's doing something new with every sentence. When she lectures, regardless of the subject, she wants to uproot people.

"I'm really trying to make people's minds move, you know, which is not something they're naturally inclined to do," she told me.

from The New York Times: The Inscrutable Brilliance of Anne Carson
then National Post: Q&A with Anne Carson, author of Red Doc>


News at Eleven: [Alister] McGrath stresses young [C.S.] Lewis's

Protestant Irish background, the early death of his beloved mother, the disastrously unhappy years at school in England and the trauma of trench warfare in World War I. He speculates, as many have done before, on Lewis's relationship with Janie Moore, the mother of one of his friends killed in battle. The young scholar supported the woman throughout his life, eventually establishing a household with her and her daughter at Oxford. While the bond with Mrs. Moore might have been initially sexual, she seems to have provided Lewis with an instant family and home.

from The Washington Post: 'C.S. Lewis: A Life,' by Alister McGrath


News at Eleven: Yet these sorrowing, hard-bitten poems

about dying fathers, mad wives and the rigours of the writing life, darkly impressive and moving as they are, get added force from a wider myth around [Ian] Hamilton, a myth in which their scarcity is the point. That myth--a skein of Grub Street lore involving booze, women, football, bailiffs and high-handed interactions with figures ranging from Stephen Spender to Ian McEwan--is also brooded over, sometimes covertly, sometimes less so, in his writings in prose, which are extensive, clever and very funny.

from The Telegraph: Ian Hamilton's collected poems are a source of wonder, review


News at Eleven: Kim Roberts, editor of the online

Beltway Poetry Quarterly magazine, says she was an early technology adopter. She began publishing contemporary poets and out-of-print and deceased writers in 2000. The Web can honor the form, increase access to poetry and build community, she says, but when it comes to e-readers, she doesn't know of poets who publish their work on them.

"It does seem like some technologies are better suited for some genres," Roberts says. "Maybe the Web is really well suited to poetry and the Kindle is really well suited to prose."

from The Washington Post: Poetry's tense relationship with e-readers


News at Eleven: Considered one of the most influential poets

in New York City, Bob Holman has been around since the days when beats like William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg roamed the streets. He coordinated readings at The Poetry Project in the East Village in the late 1970s, brought slam poetry to Manhattan when he co-directed the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Alphabet City in the '80s and '90s, and in 2002 founded the Bowery Poetry Club. After closing last summer, it reopens today with the addition of Duane Park, a restaurant formerly on Duane Street, which will share space with the club. Now 64, Holman lives above the club and is a visiting professor of writing at Columbia University. This is his poetic New York.

from The New York Post: Bob Holman: My poetic New York


News at Eleven: Epicurus didn't like poetry.

He thought it was unclear in comparison to prose, and in his own works used prose, often of a sparse and crabby variety. A wise man will be able to talk about poetry, Epicurus says--indeed, he will be the only one able to do so correctly--but he himself will not write it.

Lucretius, of course, liked Epicurus a very great deal. His master's attitude to verse has therefore often caused headaches for people reading his poem: why, runs the standard question (a favourite in university courses on the De Rerum Natura), write in verse about a philosophical system whose founder was anti-poetry?

from The Guardian: Lucretius, part 9: the calculating poet


News at Eleven: R.S. Thomas spoke in the accents of

an educated Englishman, but for him England represented the vulgar modernity and commercialism that he loathed. He learnt Welsh only as an adult and, though he would write prose in that language, all his poetry is written in English, and he always acknowledged his debt to English poets. He was a fervent Welsh nationalist--one of his few modern heroes was Saunders Lewis, the founder of Plaid Cymru--"too small for his clothes / too big for the strait‑jacket / of our ideas". (In contrast, Dylan Thomas, asked for his view of Welsh nationalism, replied in three words, two of them "Welsh nationalism".)

from The Telegraph: The enduring wisdom of a strange Welsh bard


News at Eleven: This striving is why Dylan [Thomas] is

ultimately a far more important and original a poet than R.S. [Thomas].

Genuinely new poetic styles, as opposed to new 'voices', are very rare, perhaps only a dozen in the last century. But Dylan indisputably created one of them.

It was an astonishing achievement, still palpably fizzing in a line like: "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age".

from WalesOnline: Who is the better poet? Dylan Thomas v. R.S. Thomas


News at Eleven: Federico Garcia Lorca, one of the most famous

and beloved writers and playwrights of the past century is coming back to New York. Starting next month, the largest-ever North-American festival celebrating his book "Poeta en Nueva York" (Poet in New York) will take place in the city that inspired almost a century ago. The centerpiece of this celebration is "Back Tomorrow"--an exhibition of Lorca's manuscripts and drawings curated by Andrés Soria Olmedo and Christopher Maurer and presented at the New York Public Library.

Alongside Pablo Neruda, Lorca is probably the only Spanish-language poet who made the crossover to English-language audiences (Borges, who started his literary career as a poet, is mostly known for his short stories) and whose work influenced American writers.

from NBC Latino: Celebrating legendary poet, Federico Garcia Lorca


News at Eleven: A massive painting by Chinese dissident

artist Ai Weiwei dedicated to Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda was unveiled Saturday in Valparaiso, the Chilean port where the poet lived.

Entitled "A Pablo" ("To Pablo"), the huge 900-square-meter painting, is the artist's first for Latin America as a part of the show "Of Bridges & Borders."

It shows dark-toned images of the Senkaku Islands, a small East China Sea archipelago, known as the Diaoyus in Chinese, which are at the center of a bitter territorial dispute between China and Japan.

from Art Daily: Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei pays tribute to Pablo Neruda in huge 900-square-meter painting


News at Eleven (Back Page): "I like doing that kind of thing and

I liked the idea of someone from here doing it, somebody who's unknown," [Benjamin] Zephaniah says.

"So they came to me with this bloke Lemn Sissay. I went, 'Him again?'"

The pair have been friends since appearing together on the performance circuit in the 1980s and are now sitting together, swapping affectionate put-downs and sharing laughs in a quiet corner of the theatre foyer.

"But seriously," Zephaniah continues. "Lemn called me and he said, 'This is my story, Benjamin. I've got to do this. It's so close to my experience.'"

from BBC News: Benjamin Zephaniah's Refugee Boy steps on stage
then Yorkshire Post: Poet's own story feeds into new play


Great Regulars: [Sir Antonio Pappano adds,] "The process of demystification

is important but I am not going to tell you the opera house is going to lose its glamour. I think it is about accessibility, but accessibility to a place that is special. This building is special; there is a spirit in the auditorium. It's a balancing act but we have to do it."

The philistine's final sneer--that the ROH is expensive--is now wearing fantastically thin. Ticket prices for a West End musical cost £50-£80; to go to a top football match at Chelsea costs from £45.

from Bryan Appleyard: from the Sunday Times: Tony Versus the Philistines


Great Regulars: The language here moves from the intimate

to the cinematic, before [John] Ashbery delivers an image in which the poem itself becomes a commodity and steps into the landscape--"Somewhere in America someone is trying to figure out/how to pay for this." It's very much a lyric of the moment, tentatively exploring how nations perceive themselves and each other as financial structures, and the countless small-scale decisions that make up such systems. The poem continues, carried forward by the impulse to open further doors, to let in more light--"Somewhere/in America the lonely enchanted eye each other/on a bus."

from Charles Bainbridge: The Guardian: Quick Question by John Ashbery--review


Great Regulars: The kids loved it.

They were riveted by the Bulls and Bears, a drum circle and group of dancers from throughout Indian country, and were howling with laughter as soon as [Sherman] Alexie took the stage and started joking about how he was going to become the new Pope. He's qualified, he said, because he's Catholic and an Indian, "guilt squared." That led to a riff on condoms and a warning to the students to "wear the (bad word) things, you little (bad, bad word)."

This wasn't the kind of safe sex lecture they give in health class, and Alexie is not the kind of author who comes to a community-reads event and gives a solemn talk about his life and work.

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: Sherman Alexie uses humor to make serious points at Everybody Reads event