Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

May 28th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

For the past few weeks, Christian Wiman's latest book My Bright Abyss has been making the news, with all good reviews. This week, the article we have on it is our first link in News at Eleven. It headlines in a week with excellent items on Yeats and Pessoa, Alexander Pope, Juan Felipe Herrera (and bullying), Colin Morton (and plagiarism), Hua Wenfeng, Clive James and Dante, Ian Hamilton, Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath and, on our Back Page, Allen Ginsberg.

Our next section, Great Regulars, also has important articles, as this is why they are great. These regulars include Shannon Doyne from the New York Times, Alison Flood from The Guardian, Troy Jollimore in The Chronicle Herald, Rodger Kamenetz in The Huffington Post, Mary Karr with a poem in The Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keillor who brings us The Writer's Almanac, Ted Kooser of American Life in Poetry, Wesley McNair of The Portland Press Herald, Luisetta Mudie at Radio Free Asia, Michael Rosen in The Independent, and Carol Rumens in The Guardian.

And there's more, more Great Regulars, plus our Poetic Obituaries section. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: [Christian] Wiman is adept at making connections

between the religious impulse and the need to create art. Like many artists, after shedding his early religious faith, he transferred "that entire searching intensity" into his work. But eventually Wiman sensed that all those hours of reading, thinking and writing were leading him back into faith. He began to feel that "human imagination is not simply our means of reaching out to God but God's means of manifesting himself to us."

Wiman finds that the integrity of a poem, which is "its own code to its own absolute and irreducible clarity," is similar to that of a God who lives "not outside of reality but in it, of it, though in ways it takes patience and imagination to perceive."

from The New York Times: Faith Healing


News at Eleven: The significance of [Patricia Silva] McNeill's scholarship

is that it offers a comparative case studies approach.  She claims that "Yeats's and Pessoa's works, derived to a great extent from a lifelong commitment to what Pessoa called 'outrar-se' [self-othering] and Yeats 'remaking,' by resorting to compatible strategies of stylistic diversification."  McNeill's major premise is that Yeats and Pessoa shared stylistic procedures, such as the reformulation of a masked persona, and were inspired by the aestheticism of Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater.

from Portuguese American Journal: Book: Yeats and Pessoa: Parallel Poetic Styles--By Patricia Silva McNeill--Review


News at Eleven: On the verges of these forests, you

could pretend to be anyone, and one's beliefs could be recast in the poetic imagery of patriotism and Classical analogy we find in Windsor Forest.

[Alexander] Pope could never escape his second marginalization, however, for he literally carried it with him on his back. From the age of twelve, exactly at the time of the family move from London, Pope suffered from a form of tuberculosis that affected the bone, deforming his body, stunting his growth. Pope grew to a height of only 4 feet 6 inches (1.37 m), and was left with a severe hunchback.

from The Huffington Post: The Marginalized Alexander Pope


News at Eleven: Juan Felipe Herrera, a Redlands resident,

began working on i-Promise Joanna as an official Poet Laureate Project last year after hearing news reports about 10-year-old Joanna Ramos, who was killed in a schoolyard fight.

"I hope I can do something to stop it, to curb bullying in all its ugly forms," Herrera said. "This was about Joanna, but it was also about me growing up as a little brown kid not knowing English, feeling ostracized and ashamed, slapped and picked on. When I saw Joanna, I saw myself. I said, 'Juanito, that's it.' "

from Redlands Daily Facts: State poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera fights bullying


News at Eleven: It also refers to poets known for their love

of bottles, like Dylan Thomas, Malcolm Lowry, and Canada's Al Purdy. The poem found its natural audience--other poets--when it was published in magazines and anthologies around 1980, and when American poet Charles O. Hartman offered to put it on his Internet site, the Contemporary American Poetry Archive, I readily agreed. After all, I still want my poem to be read.

David R. Morgan's plagiarized version of my poem, however, was stripped of any reference, Canadian or otherwise, that made it distinctive. Morgan claimed to have written my poem, but he clearly didn't understand it or, indeed, poetry itself.

from Ottawa Citizen: Poetic justice for a plagiarist unmasked


News at Eleven: The longest epic poem in contemporary

Chinese language was released in May.

The Chinese Epic, written by Hua Wenfeng and published by Writers Publishing House, is a three-volume entity of poems totaling 40,716 lines. The ambitious literary creation equals Dante's The Divine Comedy and Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey in number of lines, says Hua.

Hua, who is also a civil servant at Qingdao municipal government, Shandong province, says he spent six years writing the work.

from China Daily: Epic poem a milestone in Chinese literature


News at Eleven: To effect this without annotation,

[Clive] James takes a great deal of typically footnoted factual clarification "out of the basement" and interpolates it into the verse of the poem itself, maintaining that "English needs less room than Italian" and so can accommodate additions without slowing the pace.

The extra room is created because he alters Dante's famous rhyme scheme. "The first thing I had learnt," he tells us, "was that a strict terza rima was out of the question" (although Sayers managed it for all three volumes of her translation, "despite the alleged impossibility"). He adopts instead a loose quatrain metre, "augmenting" it as warranted. And with the extra syllables and half-lines this creates, he's able to insert quick clarifications as they crop up.

from The National: Clive James's translation of Dante without annotations is earnest but confusing


News at Eleven: Ian Hamilton's Collected Poems, published

in paperback this month, is what the poet, who died at the age of 63 in 2001, sometimes called a "slim vol". The meat of it--the poems he put between hard covers in his lifetime--takes up 62 pages; only one poem, a part-pastiche called "Larkinesque", runs to more than a page. For Hamilton as a "creative" writer, narrowly defined, that was it. "Not much to show for half a lifetime, you might think," he wrote in 1988. "And, in certain moods, I would agree."

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


News at Eleven: "Pineapple"

A new poem by former poet laureate Billy Collins

from The Smithsonian: "Pineapple"


News at Eleven: There's the voice of the heavy-metal

showstoppers like "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus"--profane, bombastically crazy--but there's another voice too, a quieter voice that mutters as if entranced: "The comets/Have such a space to cross . . ." The beginning of "Cut," meanwhile, detours into the bruising Salingerian deadpan of The Bell Jar: "What a thrill--/My thumb instead of an onion./The top quite gone/Except for a sort of a hinge."

The book's impact, nonetheless, is total. In visions and maledictions, and weird singsong, the poems straggle across the page like disemboweled nursery rhymes.

from The Atlantic: Why Sylvia Plath Still Haunts Us
then The Telegraph: Juliet Stevenson: Why Sylvia Plath is becoming more relevant for men


News at Eleven (Back Page): "His photo taking was an extension

of his everyday behavior," Colleen Stockmann, assistant curator at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's something he did almost like we do with our smartphones. It was not a super-conscious art form he picked up and pursued."

In addition to the photos themselves, [Allen] Ginsberg, who died in 1997, documented the action with handwritten notes describing what was going on. "These are not just captions, identifying the people in the photograph from left to right," explained writer Roslyn Bernstein in Guernica Magaine, "but rather poignant, passionate, and irreverent observations, some written thirty years after the original photos were taken."

from The Huffington Post: Allen Ginsberg Photography Exhibit Shows Hidden Side Of Legendary Beat Poet (Photos)
then Contemporary Jewish Musem: Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg


Great Regulars: Paulann Petersen has a poetry post

in front of her house in Sellwood. No surprise that Oregon's poet laureate makes poetry available for everyone who wants to read it, and no surprise that she has stories of truck drivers pulling over and grabbing a poem and moms with little kids lifting the lid and taking a poem to the playground. Petersen is all about bringing poetry to the people, and the poetry post is the tent pole that anchors her life and allows her to take poetry to every corner of Oregon and bring it home.

from Jeff Baker: The Oregonian: Paulann Petersen, Oregon's poet laureate, spreads the word


Great Regulars: This week's Poetry Pairing matches

"Three Hundred Thousand More" by James Sloan Gibbons with the article "Birthplace of Memorial Day? That Depends Where You're From" by Campbell Robertson.

from Shannon Doyne: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'Three Hundred Thousand More'


Great Regulars: Assiduous digging by the online poetry community,

led by the poet and academic Ira Lightman, then discovered that [David R.] Morgan, a British poet and teacher, had lifted lines and phrases from a host of different writers. One of Morgan's poems, "Monkey Stops Whistling", won him an award. Opening: "Stand to attention all the empty bottles, yes . . .//the long-necked beer bottles from the antique stores,/the wine bottles and pop bottles left on beaches;/steam off the labels and line the bottles up, the green ones/with the brown, black, yellow and clear ones," it was found to be virtually identical to a 1981 poem by Colin Morton, "Empty Bottles".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Another plagiarism scandal hits poetry community


Over the past month Granta Magazine editor John Freeman and deputy editor Ellah Allfrey have both resigned. Its art director and associate editor are also leaving. Earlier this week Philip Gwyn Jones, Granta's books publisher, said he was quitting, and further departures are possible.

The situation was described by one insider as a "total shit storm", and by another as a "complete bloody disaster". It is understood to boil down to a desire by Granta's owner to save money, as the company continues to make a loss.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Granta rocked by spate of high-profile resignations


After releasing more than 400 poetry collections, many by debut authors, and launching scores of careers, Salt said earlier this week that it will be focusing on poetry anthologies in the future. "We've seen our sales [of single-author collections] decline by over a quarter in the past year, and our sales have halved in the past five years," said director Chris Hamilton-Emery. "It's simply not viable to continue doing them unfunded . . . We have tried to commit to single-author collections by funding them ourselves, but as they have become increasingly unprofitable, we can't sustain it."

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Salt abandons single-author collections amid poetry market slump


Great Regulars: These days, [Troy] Jollimore often writes

about philosophy--essays and papers and books, including On Loyalty and Love's Vision, which tackle age-old questions about ethics and the nature of love.

Philosophy sometimes seeps into his poems, too, even when he doesn't agree with the theories he explores.

Like The Solipsist, a seamless, circling marvel that channels the theory that the self is all that exists.

Don't be misled:

from Troy Jollimore: The ChronicleHerald: Mind and word: King's grad Jollimore on being a Guggenheim fellow


Great Regulars: But on his way to explaining the "deep way"

of Jewish mysticism, Reb Zalman spoke with you about angels or devas and here the dialogue really became exciting because I saw, Your Holiness, we all saw how fascinated you were with angels; you wouldn't let go of the topic. Reb Zalman wanted to explain the four worlds of Jewish mysticism, the four worlds of prayer, but you kept him in the second world, the world of formation, the world of imagination--and dreams are there, and feelings are there, and angels are there, messengers who mediate in the imagination between the loftiest heights of pure thought and the ground and senses where we live as bodies.

from Rodger Kamenetz: The Huffington Post: The Angel of New Orleans Meets the Angel of Tibet: Welcoming the Dalai Lama, Part Two
then Rodger Kamenetz: The Huffington Post: Welcoming the Dalai Lama to New Orleans, a City Still Rebuilding


Great Regulars: For a Dying Tomcat Who's

Relinquished His Former Hissing and Predatory Nature
by Mary Karr

I remember the long orange carp you once scooped

from Mary Karr via Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: For a Dying Tomcat Who's Relinquished His Former Hissing and Predatory Nature by Mary Karr


Great Regulars: 505 I would not paint--a picture--

by Emily Dickinson

I would not paint--a picture--

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: 505 I would not paint--a picture--by Emily Dickinson


by Davi Walders

That you and I, I and you,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Anniversary by Davi Walders


by Richard Wilbur

Treetops are not so high

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Flying by Richard Wilbur


Heights of Folly
by Charles Simic

O crows circling over my head and cawing!

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Heights of Folly by Charles Simic


To a Daughter Leaving Home
by Linda Pastan

When I taught you

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan


What Followed Your Birth
by Hal Sirowitz

You might not like being reminded

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: What Followed Your Birth by Hal Sirowitz


Great Regulars: You can't get closer to our hunter-gatherer

ancestors than by clawing in the earth with your fingers. Here's a delightful poem about digging for bait by Marsha Truman Cooper, a Californian.

A Knot of Worms

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 427


Great Regulars: This poem for Memorial Day week comes to

us from Bruce Guernsey of Bethel. He says that in the spring of 1987, his elderly father, a veteran and baseball fan, wandered off from a VA hospital and was never found. At the start of baseball season a few years later, Guernsey wrote "Extra Innings" to resolve his father's disappearance.

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


Great Regulars: Zhou [Lei] said Hollywood producers

were often willing to make substantial changes to a film in order to have it accepted by Beijing's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television, which must approve any film slated for general release and public performance in China.

She cited the example of Iron Man 3, which opened recently in Beijing, after the inclusion of a number of Chinese movie stars to make a "China edition" of the film.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: China Poses 'Huge Problems' For Foreign Filmmakers


"There are self-immolations every month," Woeser said, in reaction to the report. "What we are seeing is the use of self-immolation as a form of protest, and this was particularly so last year."

"That they choose such a means of protest, that they use their own lives in protest, shows the terrible situation in Tibetan areas," she said.

Authorities in Tibet also kept up a series of "patriotic" and "legal education" campaigns to force Tibetans to denounce the Dalai Lama, Amnesty International said, adding that officials stepped up interference in Buddhist monasteries.

from Luisetta Mudie: Radio Free Asia: Report Hits Out At China's Black Jails, Self-Immolations


Great Regulars: This student with the odd posh accent

was also running a café in Walthamstow Market. I remember him telling me about these Kray hoodlums who'd started coming into his café. One day a bloke came in and said to him, "Did you enjoy seeing Ronnie last night?" He realised he was being set up to provide an alibi, so he closed the café.

from Michael Rosen: The Independent: How We Met: Robert Silman & Michael Rosen


Great Regulars: That could be the message in [Carol] Rumens's

poem, too, and yet this is no simple flower poem celebrating newness. Rumens delicately suggests the humility of "perennially new" arrivals, their small head-hanging presences in the "perfect cold", only to shift from her note of wonder to a harsher appraisal of the "used, dishonest" place Spring fetches up in.

[by Carol Rumens]

March, Happy Valley

from Carol Rumens: The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "March, Happy Valley"


The implied circularity takes us towards a general sense of war as a cycle of futility, without blurring the particular portrayal--that of a young boy subjected to a form of enslavement. It's estimated that three-quarters of the world's current conflicts recruit children. The boy-soldier is a child of our time.

[by Fred D'Aguiar]

Boy Soldier

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Poem of the week: Boy Soldier by Fred D'Aguiar


Great Regulars: [by Mara Forsythe-Crane]

Guillemot Legend
In an Inuit story,

from The Oregonian: Poetry: 'Guillemot Legend' by Mara Forsythe-Crane


Great Regulars: By Charles Hood

That is an interesting scar,

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Things the Doctor Asks'


Great Regulars: [by Christopher Sims]

I am sprinkling Spanish, Moroccan,

from People's World: Multicultural Soup


Great Regulars: [by Charles A. Stone]

For Clara Sue

She gathers things

from San Antonio Express-News: Poetry: 'The Collector'


Great Regulars: "The Escape Artist"

By David Lehman

from Slate: "The Escape Artist"


Poetic Obituaries: A novelist, poet and short story writer,

[T. Alan] Broughton taught writing and literature for 35 years at the University of Vermont, from 1966 to 2001, chairing the English Department and developing and directing the Writers' Workshop Program, still in existence today. That program brings working writers to campus for readings and master classes; its most recent guest in April 2013: Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz.

from The University of Vermont: Professor Emeritus T. Alan Broughton Dies at Age 76


Poetic Obituaries: [Paddy Fraser (nee Eileen Lucy Andrew)] returned

to Britain with a young daughter and newborn son, while George slowly recovered his mental health. There then followed six years of Chelsea bohemian life, with fortnightly poetry readings at their flat in Beaufort Street. These began with poets reading Shakespeare or Keats, but soon "people would shyly produce manuscripts from their pockets . . . Gradually the flat became a sort of informal poetry centre." The Group--a poetic tribe who included Peter Porter, George MacBeth, Peter Redgrove and Edward Lucie-Smith--would "turn up in force".

from The Guardian: Paddy Fraser obituary


Poetic Obituaries: All three went on to win Pulitzer Prizes,

and Mr. [Mark] Strand and Mr. [Philip] Levine were both chosen poet laureate of the United States.

Mr. [Kim] Merker also published early poems by W. S. Merwin, Donald Justice and Robert Dana; a 1960 collection by the avant-garde poet Weldon Kees, which helped restore his stature after it had fallen into obscurity; poems by Theodore Roethke, Gary Snyder and Denis Johnson; some of Pound's last poems ("Drafts & Fragments of Cantos CX- CXVII"); Mary McCarthy's translation of poetry by Simone Weil; and the lost but rediscovered foreword, written by the author, to "This Side of Paradise," F. Scott Fitzgerald's debut novel.

"If you look at a list of important American poets today, a surprising number of them had their early work printed by Kim Merker," said Dana Gioia, a poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

from The New York Times: Kim Merker, Hand-Press Printer of Poets, Is Dead at 81Kim Merker, Hand-Press Printer of Poets, Is Dead at 81


Poetic Obituaries: [Mohammad Qahraman] was one of the outstanding

followers of the Indian style of Persian poetry, which flourished after the 15th century. His works were published in several collections.

He also reviewed a copy of the divan of Saib of Tabriz (1601-1677), one of the greatest masters of a form of classical Arabic and Persian lyric poetry characterized by rhymed couplets and known as the ghazel. The results of his studies on this collection were published in four volumes.

from Iran Book News Agency: Leader offers condolences over death of poet Mohammad Qahraman


Poetic Obituaries: [Daniel Lee Walsh] enjoyed fishing,

writing poetry of which he had several published. He was an avid sports fan with a special interest in Oswego and Aurora University teams.

from OswegoPatch: Daniel Lee Walsh, 81, Wrote Poetry and Worked as an Accountant


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21st Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

May 21st forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We have several themes running through this week's poetry in the news. One is the cultural disrespect of poets, for instance in our fifth article in News at Eleven about Yone Noguchi, and in one of Luisetta Mudie's articles in our Great Regulars section, about poet Zhu Yufu who is in prison. The latter is a case of censorship, which shows up in our fourth article about Howl not being allowed in a school system.

We have poets addressing other cultural and political aspects, such as with our eighth link, to a poem by Obediah Michael Smith, the poetry of E. Ethelbert Miller another of our Great Regulars, and our Back Page story about the verse being written by "Raymond Maxwell--one of the four State Department officials disciplined over security lapses that led to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi." We can also include our link to Luisetta Mudie's "China's Seven Taboos of Higher Education."

Among the many more, we have a general religious theme, such as with our third story on Christian Wiman's latest book, Great Regular Adam Kirch's "Who Can Follow These Rules", the poem Great Regular Guenica brings us called Blasphemy by Matt Sumpter, and our lead article this week from Zeek, "The Bitter & the Sweet: Reflections on Motherhood" by poet Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.

Congratulations are in order for three IBPC poets and the poetry boards where they workshop online, and thanks to our esteemed springtime judge Linda Sue Grimes. Here are the winners:

First place: A Trail of Bodies, by Billy Howell-Sinnard, of The Writers Block
Second place: For the men, by Judy Kaber, of The Waters Poetry Workshop
Third place: The Atheist’s Demise, by Fred Longworth, of Muse Motel

Thanks for clicking in


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: I was still exhausted; I still craved sleep;

but I didn't crave oblivion. Life wasn't the same as it had been before we had a child. But I was able to begin to discern how life with a kid wasn't a diminished version of our old life--it was a new life, enriched in unfathomable ways by the presence and the growth of the new human being in our care.

Maybe most importantly for me as a soon-to-be-rabbi: God, Who had seemed absent during the darkest weeks of that winter, with Whom I had become uncertain how to speak, re-entered the frame. In that week's poem, I was able to reference Ani ma'amin, "I believe with a perfect faith": not in the coming of Moshiach, necessarily, but in the possibility of progress, the dream that things will get better than they are.

from Zeek: The Bitter & the Sweet: Reflections on Motherhood


News at Eleven: Apart from stifling the libido, SSRI use

has consequences that are particularly significant for artists. A 2009 study by Oxford University, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that those taking SSRIs reported "a general reduction in the intensity of the emotions that they experienced". They described themselves as feeling "dulled", "numbed", "flattened", or "blocked". If poetry is (as Wordsworth claimed) "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings . . . emotion recollected in tranquillity", then could Prozac bring artists too little feeling, too much tranquillity?

from The Guardian: Does Prozac help artists be creative


News at Eleven: [Christian Wiman] describes a real poem

as having "singular music and lightning insight," while a living God "is not outside of reality but in it, though in ways it takes patience and imagination to perceive."

This is why, he writes later, "poetry is so powerful, and so integral to any unified spiritual life: it preserves both aspects of spiritual experience, because to name is to praise and lose in one instant. So many ways of saying God." There's that paradox again, something you'll find in poetry and in the Christian mystics.

from The Wichita Eagle: In poetry and faith, life matters


News at Eleven: "Howl" was not a required reading,

[Shelley] Shaneyfelt said. English teachers are given a pre-approved list of books and resources for courses that can be used depending on the specific needs of the students, she said.

The course is offered to senior students as an English elective and is designed for students who want to study literature from the counter-culture of the 1960s through 1980s, Shaneyfelt said. According to its course description, "Alternative Voices will serve as a bridge from high school literary discussion to college literary discussion." Students are assigned readings from counter-culture groups to analyze artistic, persuasive and symbolic strategies and connect similarities and differences of the counter cultures.

from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: After complaints, Franklin Regional stifles a 'Howl'


News at Eleven: "Noguchi is handsome and whilst engaged in

washing dishes in the kitchen the boy lisped in pretty numbers. The poet of the Heights (Hights) one day caught the budding genius spinning out English verse by the yard. The veteran gave Noguchi a lift on to Pegasus and away he went with introduction to New York and London. We have not heard that publishers have snapped up Noguchi's screed."

The Wasp was wrong. [Yone] Noguchi's "Seen and Unseen, or, Monologues of a Homeless Snail" had been published in 1897, and his popular "The American Diary of a Japanese Girl" came out in 1902.

from Contra Costa Times: Days Gone By: Japanese-born Yone Noguchi studied poetry with Oakland's Joaquin Miller


News at Eleven: And then there's the poet laureate honor,

which [Eloise Klein] Healy says took her by complete surprise, "because I didn't think they'd choose a white lesbian."

This last comment tells you something about the choices Healy made in both in her personal and her professional life. To come out in the early 1970s, and to pursue a career as a feminist poet. To keep writing poetry, long before the days of poetry slams and the hundreds of poetry programs and writers' colonies that now litter the country, and to do it in Los Angeles. "Back then there was one place to go, Beyond Baroque, which was about the size of the men's bathroom. There was nobody publishing anything," she says.

from L.A. Weekly: Eloise Klein Healy: L.A.'s Poet Laureate


News at Eleven: [Matthew] Francis's Marvell is less interested

in diplomacy than colours and textures, food and furs ("you must cosset the person/in marten, sable, fox or beaver, and sleep/shivering on sheepskin in the furry dark"). As in the Arctic poems of Lavinia Greenlaw's Minsk, the northern latitudes come trailing an icy mystique: "The cold finds you in your sleep. You flee from it/the way one does in dreams, not touching the ground,/across a flatness that is always the same." Marvell is a ghostlike presence in the poem, tasked with writing his companions' way in and out of the tsar's distant, frozen embassy.

from The Guardian: Muscovy by Matthew Francis--review


News at Eleven: I am a Poet.

I live on Kemp Road, in the House in which I was Born
By Obediah Michael Smith, Nassau, Bahamas

from The Bahamas Weekly: I am a Poet. I live on Kemp Road, in the House in which I was Born


News at Eleven: Elizabeth [Parkyns] beats about

the bush rather less in a poem of her own. 'The following lines', she scratches out in grammarless riposte, 'were composed upon reading a Poem written by a friend on his leaving England saying he could love but one'. The reference is to Byron's poem 'Stanzas to [Mrs Musters] on Leaving England', first published in 1809. No Middleton frisson for Elizabeth Parkyns: she subverts the concept of the commonplace book as sexually sublimated reliquary of 'little treasures' and lobs Byron, and us, a long-range literary grenade.

from The Spectator: Taking revenge on wicked Lord Byron


News at Eleven: [by Kimberly Cloutier Green]

The Less, the More

The less, my mother says,

from Portsmouth Herald News: Portsmouth's ninth poet laureate is formulating a big question for you


News at Eleven (Back Page): Raymond Maxwell--one of the four

State Department officials disciplined over security lapses that led to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year--is also a prolific poet. And he's been publishing provocative verses since he was put on administrative leave December 18.

Some of the poetry represents scathing commentary on the post-Benghazi fallout and implies that he feels like he's been made a scapegoat.

from CBS News: Benghazi-disciplined diplomat a prolific poet


Great Regulars: One of [Henry] Hughes' tendencies

and one of the Portland School poets' impulses as well is to recognize entrances to even fleeting moments of apprehension, to relish passages of cognizance, and to be attracted to perspicacity.

Hughes distills these urgencies to something like "he's a rock islander like me" as a way to show camaraderie, conviviality and solidarity with all that which is not him.

Rock Wallabies

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry: Portland School spirit, by way of Long Island


Great Regulars: Jeffrey Brown talks with longtime

literary editor Charles Henry Rowell about his passion for promoting undiscovered and under-appreciated African-American poets and artists. His latest effort is a new anthology called "Angles of Ascent."

from Jeffrey Brown: PBS: Newshour: Charles Henry Rowell


Great Regulars: This week's Poetry Pairing matches

"Prayer for a Bamboo-Flowering Famine" by Karen An-Hwei Lee with the book review "Fighting for Scraps" by Pankaj Mishra.

from Shannon Doyne: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'Prayer for a Bamboo-Flowering Famine'


Great Regulars: Calls for the late Chinua Achebe to be awarded

a posthumous Nobel prize for literature have "gone beyond 'sickening'" and become "obscene and irreverent", Achebe's fellow Nigerian author--and 1986 Nobel laureate--Wole Soyinka has said.

In a wide-ranging and passionate interview with SaharaReporters, ahead of Achebe's funeral this week, Soyinka urged Achebe's "cohorts" to cease in their attempts "to confine Chinua's achievement space into a bunker over which hangs an unlit lamp labelled 'Nobel'".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Calls for Chinua Achebe Nobel prize 'obscene', says Wole Soyinka


Great Regulars: The problem had been how to transfer

a poem from paper to screen without either breaking a line up--a primal violation of the art form--or making the font size too small to read. It's unlikely that publishers can design a perfect solution, but they have managed to find acceptable compromises. In part, they credit advances in technology that make it easier to keep the original look intact. They also cite a technique long used in print.

The hanging indent.

The poet's worst fear is for a line to break up randomly, ruining the rhythm and mood of the verse.

from Hillel Italie: Associated Press: Poetry finally joining e-book revolution


Great Regulars: A. I started the show out of a sense

of obligation as an English major, and also because I thought to read a poem on the radio is really to give people a gift. A certain kind of poem, a poem that is memorable, a poem that a listener can get in one hearing and that's not a puzzle to be toyed with, is a gift that you give somebody.

I'm taking a couple months off from the "Almanac," and Billy Collins is going to do it in my place in June and July, and what happens to the "Almanac" after that is yet to be decided.

from Garrison Keillor: The Omaha World Herald: Q&A: 'Basics of life' are stuff of Garrison Keillor's comedy


All that time
by May Swenson

I saw two trees embracing.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: All that time by May Swenson


Amongst the French
by Paul Zimmer

I do not have their words,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Amongst the French by Paul Zimmer


A Hint of Spring
by James Whitcomb Riley

'Twas but a hint of Spring--for

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: A Hint of Spring by James Whitcomb Riley


A Light Left On
by May Sarton

In the evening we came back

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: A Light Left On by May Sarton


May Song
by Wendell Berry

For whatever is let go

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: May Song by Wendell Berry


by Lisel Mueller

Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann

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


Walking Distance
by Connie Wanek

for Stanley Dentinger (1922-2004)

Walking distance used to be much farther,

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Walking Distance by Connie Wanek