Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

June 25 forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Our first three articles in News at Eleven are on three poets who either were or are jailed, with stories of torture and governments that would rather the world not see the truth. Our Back Page article, the eleventh, is about poet Joan Naviyuk Kane's remarkable spiritual quest into heritage. In between are seven top stories in poetry.

Among the poems linked to in our Great Regulars section is Baseball by John Updike, offered by Billy Collins, who is filling in for Garrison Keillor this month. This week, as each week, The Guardian's Carol Rumens brings us a poem for reading and discussion. She leads with her article, then the poem, then the open discussion you can log into and join.

We have dozens more articles in the poetry news this week, some in our Poetic Obituaries section. I'll let you get to your reading. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: Hooded and handcuffed, sixty year old

poet Aron Atabek shuffles around a dimly-lit room. The guards accompanying him prevent any communication with his fellow prisoners; the hood that they've forced him to wear ensures that he can't even see them. This is the prize-winning poet's brief, daily exercise regime.

from The Huffington Post: A Prison within a Prison: the Plight of Kazakh Poet Aron Atabek


News at Eleven: A heroin smuggler nicknamed Dead Chang

wants to borrow Liao [Yiwu]'s atlas in preparation for his next life as a wandering ghost. Dead Chang got lost too many times in his present life, and wishes to visit his favorite haunts after he is dispatched with a bullet to the neck. Being told by this condemned man that they might meet again in the next world, Liao finds that his "limbs were quivering." Dead Chang asks him whether he is O.K., and "let out a sinister laugh. The deep crease between his eyebrows seemed to have opened up like a mouth, ready to swallow me."

from The New Yorker: Prison of the Mind


News at Eleven: As he [Liu Xiaobo] was serving an 11-year

sentence in a Chinese prison he was unable to accept his award in person, and his absence was marked by an empty chair at the ceremony. The Chinese authorities immediately banned the phrase "empty chair" from the internet. When he was told about the prize, Liu wept and said "this is for those souls of the dead", a reference to the hundreds of students massacred at Tiananmen Square.

from The Guardian: No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems--review


News at Eleven: I dream I am the president.

When I awake, I am the beggar of the world.

The poems are called landays. Just two lines long with 22 syllables, they carry a bite. (One meaning of the word landay is short, poisonous snake.)

"This is rural folk poetry. This is poetry that's meant to be oral. It's passed mouth to mouth. Ear to ear. And the women have recited these poems for centuries," said [Eliza] Griswold.

from PBS: Short, Potent Poetry Offers Bite of Afghan Life


News at Eleven: [Al-Saddiq] Al-Raddi's resistance is not driven

by hatred for the faith, but rather by the way he believes that the regime twists Islam into a plaything. As he said to The Majalla, "Our problem is not with Islam or Islamic civilization, but rather its use for political ends which destroys society." He showed this by reflecting Sudan's rich history in poems that portrays the history of Sudan's multifaceted past. Al-Raddi's knowledge of his past allows him to flit from the relics that predate the Egyptian pharaohs to the Saharan trade routes that connected his country with West Africa, Libya, the palaces in Baghdad, Sicily and Andalusia.

from The Majalla: Refusing the Politics of Piety


News at Eleven: The earlier poem was good,

but this one, with its three brutal closing couplets, is much better. To steadily escalate a poem's intensity when each stanza seems to have hit the heights is difficult. [Lucille] Clifton does so by raising the stakes. She is clear about the psychic cost of what needs to be done to live better, or to live well at all, such as clearing out of the way unwanted living things. She herself had seen the matter from both sides. This is the third of four parts of "aunt agnes hatcher tells," from two-headed woman (1980):

from The Nation: Unsparing Truths: On Lucille Clifton


News at Eleven: The Old Lie--dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

At a stroke Horace became the smug representative of imperialism, the éminence grise who sent millions of young men to ghastly deaths. For postwar iconoclasts such as Ezra Pound and the members of the Bloomsbury group, Horace was the problem, not the solution. Much more attractive than Horace's measured, ambivalent support of Augustus's Pax Romana were romantic young rebels such as Catullus, who said he did not care whether Caesar was pale or swarthy, or Propertius, who daringly looked forward to much later poets such as John Donne by making his mistress, not his emperor, the centre of everything.

from Financial Times: Horace saved my life


News at Eleven: Thomas Pitchford, aka "The Library Spider",

has verified that the poem--"Two Sunflowers Move into the Yellow Room"--was written by a 1980s US poet, Nancy Willard, and published in an anthology of hers dedicated to [William] Blake's work, A Visit to William Blake's Inn.

from The Independent: School librarian puts the world straight on fake William Blake poem
then BBC News: School librarian finds fake Blake poem


News at Eleven: "I wish that my government had asked me

to write poetry about immigration policy, about Idle No More, about Canada's complicity in the Middle East, the Enbridge pipeline," Vancouver-based Fred Wah, a Saskatchewan-born poet who won the 1985 Governor General's Award, recently told an audience at an Edmonton literary festival. "I haven't been asked to do any of those things."

from The Vancouver Sun: Meet Canada's underused poet laureate: Vancouver-based Fred Wah bemoans lack of meaningful work


News at Eleven: The Gávea-Brown Book of

Portuguese-American Poetry, edited by Alice R. Clemente and George Monteiro, is a remarkable collection of poetic offerings. This publication brings together representative work of twenty-four fine Portuguese-American poets.  The volume covers a significant span of time, beginning with the poetry of Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), and continuing through living authors who have made significant contributions to the world of literature.

from Portuguese American Journal: Book: Portuguese-American Poetry--By Gávea-Brown--Review


News at Eleven (Back Page): Out in Alaska's Bering Sea,

about 90 miles from Nome, sits a small, rocky island that used to be home to a couple of hundred Inupiat Eskimos. They lived in houses built on stilts, perched on rocky cliffs.

Then, about 50 years ago, the threat of rock slides, the spread of tuberculosis and the loss of men to World War II forced residents to relocate to the mainland. King Island has been a ghost island ever since.

Now, Anchorage poet Joan Naviyuk Kane has raised almost $50,000 through a crowdsourcing campaign to bring a group of former King Islanders and their descendants, including herself, back for a visit.

from NPR: Ghost Island Looms Large Among Displaced Inupiat Eskimos


Great Regulars: Because there are exponentially more poets

writing or committed to writing accomplished poetry today than has ever been the case in the history of the United States, either as a percentage of total population or as an absolute number. Because this means that, within the next few years, almost every American of a certain age will know or be related to someone who writes or is committed to writing accomplished poetry, which puts the workaday commitment to poetry so many Americans share front and center in the lives of millions and millions of Americans who are not poets.

from Seth Abramson: The Huffington Post: Why Is Contemporary American Poetry So Good?


Great Regulars: If while walking about the Twin Cities

you happened upon a sign that says "Lost poem" with a phone number to call, you could be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of joke.

But it's not.

from Marianne Combs: Minnesota Public Radio: State of the Arts: Your next poem is just a phone call away


Great Regulars: Baseball

by John Updike

It looks easy from a distance,

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Baseball by John Updike


Distance and a Certain Light
by May Swenson


from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Distance and a Certain Light by May Swenson


Do You Love Me?
by Robert Wrigley

She's twelve and she's asking the dog,

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Do You Love Me? by Robert Wrigley


On the Death of a Colleague
by Stephen Dunn

She taught theater, so we gathered

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: On the Death of a Colleague by Stephen Dunn


by Paul Muldoon

Only a few weeks ago, the sonogram of Jean's womb

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Sonogram by Paul Muldoon


Walking in the Breakdown Lane
by Louise Erdrich

Wind has stripped

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Walking in the Breakdown Lane by Louise Erdrich


Welcome Morning
by Anne Sexton

There is joy

from Garrison Keillor & Billy Collins: The Writer's Almanac: Welcome Morning by Anne Sexton


Great Regulars: When a door has a bolt "that drags"--

that is, a bolt tied to a door with a cord so long that the bolt rests on the ground--one may not use it to lock the door on Shabbat. That is, one may not do so in the medina, "the provinces," which is anyplace outside the Temple grounds. But in the Temple, "one may lock with it." What is the reason for this distinction?

The answer seems to be that the Temple, geographically a tiny area, is metaphysically on another plane from the rest of the world.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: In the Talmud's Timeless Laws, a Vast Temple of the Mind


Great Regulars: Here's a splendid poem by James Doyle,

who lives in Colorado, about the way children make up mythic selves that will in some way serve them in life. To create one's self as a palm reader is only one of many possibilities.

In the Planetarium

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 431


Great Regulars: A Piano at Evening

By Thomas Carper

Il etonne lentement.

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


Great Regulars: [by E. Ethelbert Miller]

The Acrobats

once we kissed

from E. Ethelbert Miller: E-notes: The Acrobats


Great Regulars: [by John Kinsella]

after Nazim Hikmet

greetings, kid

from Jody Porter: Morning Star: Well Versed: John Kinsella--Greetings


Great Regulars: This week, it's time to relax

and enjoy a fruit-laden summer cocktail. Marianne Burton's "Pissarro's Orchards" is a kind of postmodern sonnet, with the names of 13 different examples of fruit woven into its 14 lines. It's from Burton's first collection, She Inserts the Key, which is itself a variegated garden of delights.

Something that always endears me to a new poet is seeing the pleasure she or he takes in language for its own sake.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Pissarro's Orchards by Marianne Burton


Great Regulars: Putting Away Pictures

by Maitreyabandhu

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: Putting Away Pictures


Great Regulars: This rest of the story is made up by me,

of course, but I was so pissed that the first draft was written on a Southwest Airlines napkin by the time we landed in El Paso. And the story continues in the pages of ICT. . . . in 2013!

Disruption, Spring 1997

"An Albuquerque school board has refused to allow an Indian girl to graduate in a traditional shawl handmade by her grandmother, citing 'disruption' of the ceremonies . . ."

from Indian Country: 'Disruption, Spring 1997,' a Poem by Steve Russell


Great Regulars: [Andrea Hollander]

Finches or Sparrows
First the wheezing wind, and then I saw them,

from The Oregonian: Poetry: What I saw in birds


Great Regulars: By Sharon Olds,

read by John Lithgow

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'I Go Back to May 1937'


Great Regulars: Trudy Nelson

When fate strikes mightily with all its force,

from Post-Bulletin: Poem: It's A New World


Great Regulars: In "Allington Cross", [Helen] Farish finds,

in the deep stillness of high summer, something quiveringly erotic, "poised/and paused" on the very brink of release, but caught for ever in the "luminous/untrammelled now" of the poem. And yet the image of the bell, "rim-up after the stroke", gives way to a faintly comical one--drawn from Soviet Russia--of a composer cycling round and round the square on a bicycle "so as not to miss a note of the broadcast symphony".

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Allington Cross"


[Alan] Ross's most important war poem is probably the epic "JW51B" about the battle of the Barents Sea in December 1942, in which his destroyer was hit and he was trapped below deck fighting fires in rising water awash with the bodies of two gun crews. "Soft Objects" clearly deals with the same experience. Although it reads like direct reportage, however, what emerges from these lines is a queasy numbness, at once sickeningly vivid and utterly unreal.

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: "Soft Objects"


Poetic Obituaries: In 1955, at the age of 23, Kate [Barnes]

had her first poem published in the New Yorker magazine. Her life in poetry blossomed, with poems published in many magazines and anthologies, and four books of poems published, two by the publisher David Godine. She was a well-loved reader and teacher, and after returning to Maine in the early 1980s she was named Maine's first official Poet Laureate.

from The Republican Journal: Kate Barnes


Poetic Obituaries: Dr. Khondakar Ashraf Hossain (1950-2013) was an

accomplished poet. Anyone who has read his books of poetry such as Partha Tomar Tibra Teer, Teen Ramanir Qasida and Jibaner Saman Chumuk would agree with me. Since 1985, he also edited a little magazine called Ekabingsha or the Twenty-First.

from The Daily Star: Poet, Professor, Translator, Editor


Poetic Obituaries: [Robert C.] Jones's own publications include

"Within This Center," "The Flower Growers," "The Van Gogh Poems and Other Plain Songs," "Like a Kind of Flower Growing," "Dances for the Voice," and "Tellemann in Missouri."  His poetry has been published in The Sewanee Review, The Christian Science Monitor, the American Scholar, Sisters Today, The Horn Book, Cicada, and Pleiades, as well as area newspapers.

from The Daily Star-Journal: Robert C. Jones


Poetic Obituaries: Alfred [James Rushton] was a lifelong advocate

for the arts and the written word, authoring novels and poetry as well as writing, directing and acting in plays locally and in fringe festivals across Canada. At his passing, he was playwright in residence for Theatre Brantford.

from The Globe and Mail: Lives Lived: Alfred James Rushton, 70


Poetic Obituaries: Tess, a poet, said Bryan [Russell] was

Hempsted born and bred and although he worked mainly for Severn Trent nearby and at Tewkesbury, he saw his vocation in life as a poet.

"When he was at Netheridge and Tewkesbury he saw the beauty of nature next to where he was and it inspired him," said Tess, who met Bryan in 1988 and married him seven years later.

from The Citizen: Poet inspired by the Rivern Severn dies aged 78


Poetic Obituaries: [Aralee Strange] arrived in Cincinnati in the

mid-1980s and soon started open poetry readings.

In 1990, her prose poem "Etta Stone: A Film for Radio" aired nationally on public radio stations. A couple of years later, Ensemble Theatre, then a fledgling professional theater in Over-the-Rhine, performed her play "The Chronicles of Plague."

"It helped set the tone for Ensemble as a place for brave and new work," said D. Lynn Meyers, the theater's producing artistic director.

from The Enquirer: Aralee Strange, 69, wrote prose and poetry


Poetic Obituaries: [George] Trambukis studied engineering and

drafting, served in the Navy during World War II and ran a business for many years. But he was known best as an author and poet who wrote and published two books, which are now in the Library of Congress.

from EastProvidencePatch: George Trambukis, 98, 'Supreme Poet'


Poetic Obituaries: In him [David West] the classical Roman poets,

Lucretius, Horace and Virgil, found a most accomplished interpreter and translator. His translation of Virgil's Aeneid (Penguin Books, 1990) is remarkably true to the Latin, and has brought Virgil's epic to life for a generation of modern English readers.

Unlike his immediate predecessors Robert Fitzgerald and CH Sisson, West believed that prose suited his task better than verse, since "I know of nobody at the end of our century who reads long narrative poems in English, and I want the Aeneid to be read."

from The Telegraph: Professor David West


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

June 18th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We lead out with the latest in intimidation strategy from the Israeli armed forces. They won't let soldiers read poetry in public. Now that this order is out, that some of their soldier do poe, do poetry, have they revealed vulnerability? Virginia poet Shann Palmer suggests Vogon poetry. Okay, everyone, put your poetry print-outs down, and look mean for the camera!

In more ways than that, it is an odd week for poetry and poets in the news, not altogether, but you should see the back page story. We get focussed when we hear from Donald Hall, Natasha Trethewey, and the Poetry Foundation's new Children's Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt. These are our second, third, and fifth articles in News at Eleven, the fourth being the Griffin prize poets.

In our Great Regulars section, you'll find a variety of interesting articles, and some terrific poetry to click into.

The IBPC results for June are in, thanks to our springtime judge Linda Sue Grimes. Congrats to the winning poets and boards!:

1st place: Yellowknife, by Helm Filipowitsch, of Babilu
2nd place: Folk Remedy, by Allen Weber, of FreeWrights Peer Review
3rd place: Describing Blue to My Colorblind Friend, by Teresa White, of Wild Poetry Forum


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: The spokesperson is said to have told

the solider that his appearance would "ruin the image of the combat solider" and that he ran the risk of revealing "personal and sensitive" information.

Additionally, he was told that having poem-quoting soldiers was, "not how the Nahal Brigade wants to be portrayed in public."

from The Independent: 'Real men don't do poetry': Israeli army refuses to let IDF soldier read verses on the radio


News at Eleven: I write longhand,

I make changes longhand, and I have an assistant who types it up. She lives 70 yards away. Every afternoon, I have a case I leave out on the porch, and she brings it back the next morning.

from The Boston Globe: Nearing 85, Donald Hall's habits and life have changed


News at Eleven: Deciding to put a personal slant on it

seemed to be what I might be good at. NewsHour is very interested in poetry, but they're also interested in not just that something's cute to add on at the end of their programming, but something that actually is integrated into the news. So for example, I'm from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the area that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. And so I'm interested in visiting places that have suffered either natural or man-made disaster.

from Entertainment Weekly: Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey talks about her first year, her reappointment, and her new partnership with 'NewsHour'


News at Eleven: Canadian poet David McFadden won

for "What's The Score?" and Palestinian Ghassan Zaqtan won the International Prize for his "Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me."

The winners of the Griffin Prize, founded in 2000 by businessman Scott Griffin, each were awarded $65,000. The prize is for first edition books of poetry and are submitted globally.

from Digital Journal: David McFadden and Ghassan Zaqtan win 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize
then The Toronto Star: David W. McFadden shocked to win $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize at gala
then The Globe and Mail: The Griffin Prize: A Canadian category has no rhyme or reason


News at Eleven: [by Kenn Nesbitt]

My Kitty Likes My Goldfish

My kitty likes my goldfish.

from The Star-Ledger: Kenn Nesbitt named Children's Poet Laureate
then Poetry Foundation: Kenn Nesbitt Announced as Next Children's Poet Laureate


News at Eleven: But "Requiem" [by Anna Akhmatova] was also

an anthem of the people's resistance before the power of Stalin; one of the poem's most powerful passages was written "Instead of a Preface."

"I passed seventeen months in the prison queues in Leningrad. Once, somebody 'identified' me there. Then a woman standing behind me, blue with cold, who of course had never heard my name, woke from that trance characteristic of us all and asked asked in my ear (there, everyone spoke in whispers): 'Ah, can you describe this?'/And I answered:/'I can.' Then something like a tormented smile passed over what had once been her face."

from Russia & India Report: Anna Akhmatova: A charismatic poet for the ages


News at Eleven: [Allen] Ginsberg revered Lionel Trilling,

and Trilling appreciated at least some of Ginsberg's work and included one of Ginsberg's poems in his anthology The Experience of Literature. Diana Trilling, on the other hand, could not abide Ginsberg. But why? The reason has only recently come to light with the discovery of a forgotten letter in the archive of Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg's lover, companion, and muse for more than 40 years.

from The Daily Beast: The Mystery of the Allen Ginsberg-Diana Trilling Feud
then ArtLyst: New Exhibition Of Allen Ginsberg And The Beat Generations Opens


News at Eleven: In his essay, [Jon] Reiner argues that

"There have long been three kinds of writers: writers who write for readers (novelists, poets, memoirists, essayists, journalists, etc.); writers who write for other writers (students); and writers who write for themselves (diarists, shipwreck survivors)." The one group of writers conspicuously missing there is letter writers--who are both writers and readers, and who are writing not so much for someone else, as in order to get writing back. Not coincidentally, letter writing is a much closer analogy to what is happening in My Secret Garden and Sorcery and Cecelia--and it's also a much closer analogy to what happens with a lot of writing on the Internet.

from The Atlantic: A Less-Noticed, More-Influential Reason Writers Write: To Talk
then The Modern Writing-School Paradox: More Students, Fewer Jobs, More Glory


News at Eleven: The prison years are the subject

of his book "For a Song and a Hundred Songs," a dizzying, and often gruesomely graphic, testimony of vicious brutality and indignities large and small. He was in New York for the book's U.S. release, with events including a recital of "Massacre" at the New York Public Library this past week.

"In a Communist prison they ask you to start a new chapter, turn yourself into a new person. In essence, this means turning a human being into a dog," Mr. Liao [Yiwu] said in an interview.

from The Wall Street Journal: Exiled Chinese Writer Liao Yiwu Makes Rare U.S. Visit


News at Eleven: [George] Crabbe himself, in a preface

to the poem, described [Peter] Grimes as a man "untouched by pity, unstung by remorse, and uncorrected by shame". Even his name evokes "crimes" and moral "griminess":

With greedy eye, he looked on all he saw,
He knew not justice and he laughed at law;
On all he marked he stretched his ready hand;
He fished by water and he filched by land."

from The Guardian: George Crabbe: The man behind Benjamin Britten


News at Eleven (Back Page): [Rafael Medina] Brochero did not say

whether the surgery would be covered in the $20,000, but he said the presumedly used testes might be able to be transplanted into a sterile person or used to make soup, Yahoo! Australia reported.

from The Huffington Post: Rafael Medina Brochero Selling His Testicles For $20,000


Great Regulars: Evidence of this largeness of spirit is everywhere

present in [Charles Bernstein's] All the Whiskey in Heaven, whose seventy-five poems are not just enduring in their readability but in their conspicuous instructional component as well. One learns from Bernstein that Language poetry can do much more than (perhaps a bit reductively) sass the so-called "self-expressive lyric 'I'", sound out the incapacities of language, marshal the immanence of language (the non-absorptive, non-representational word-qua-word), and use Quixotic critical prose to grossly misrepresent and ridicule every other poetic inclination evident in American verse.

from Seth Abramson: The Huffington Post: June 2013 Contemporary Poetry Reviews


Great Regulars: This is the story of the greatest novel

you have never read. I can be confident you have never read it because so few people have. In recent weeks, I have come across academics specialising in American literature who have never even heard of it. Yet it is, without question, one of the great novels in English of the 20th century. It's certainly the most surprising.

Stoner, by John Williams, was first ­published in 1965.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Stoner: The Greatest Novel You Have Never Read


You see, I am a baby-boomer, a member of an excoriated tribe that, if you believe the abusers, took the best of everything and must suffer the rage of the generations we are leaving behind.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: A Boomer Bites Back


Great Regulars: When [Floyd] Skloot writes,

"I may never know/what virus this is, what brilliant cell/rewrites the entire score/my body has followed for life, throwing/its symphony into chaos," he is acknowledging the clarity that poetry can provide about living the music of both sensibility and sense.

Music Appreciation
--For Eric Hosticka

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry: Floyd Skloot discovers the necessity of music for insight