Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Poetry News In Review

May 1, 2012

Poetry News In Review

Edited By David Sanders

Specimen Days

May 1, 2012

1700 - John Dryden, English poet/playwright (Rival Ladies), dies.
1804 - Aleksey Khomyakov, Russian poet (d. 1860), is born.

1818 - Jose Amador de los Rios, Spanish historian/poet, is born.

1880 - Conrad Weiss, German writer/poet (Tantum dic verbo), is born.

1909 - Yannis Ritsos, Greek poet, is born.

1934 - Alette Beaujon, Curacaos poet (Gedichten on the Bay & Elsewhere), is born.

1947 - Sergio Infante, Chilean poet and writer, is born.
1976 - Alexandros Panagoulis, Greek poet who fought the military junta in Greece (b. 1939), dies.

Yannis Ritsos

Clay: 32

So many twisting tasks
he completely lost
his way.
Perhaps they asked about him—
then went searching
to find him.
Dark gave way to dawn.
Soon it will rain.
No one is looking for him.

—Yannis Ritsos (1909–1990)

World Poetry

Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry
Afghan Women

In a private house in a quiet university neighborhood of Kabul, Ogai Amail waited for the phone to ring. Through a plate-glass window, she watched the sinking sun turn the courtyard the color of eggplant. The electricity wasn’t working and the room was unheated, a few floor cushions the only furnishings. Amail tucked her bare feet underneath her and pulled up the collar of her puffy black coat. Her dark hair was tied in a ponytail, and her eyelids were coated in metallic blue powder. In the green glare of the mobile phone’s screen, her face looked wan and worried. Read more at the New York Times.

Top Poet Heaney Sells Out Lyric

The world-renowned poet unveiled the Threshold stone of the £18.1m building on the banks of the Lagan back in 2009, when he branded the rejuvenation "a reminder of the vital artistic achievement in the past and the promise of ongoing creative vigour in the future." On Monday, Heaney will make his return to the Lyric to deliver a lecture "Speak The Speech," reflecting on the personal importance of lines of poetry and prose committed to memory – in the aptly-named setting of the Lyric. Read more at UTV.

Nicanor Parra Wins Cervantes Prize, Unable to Attend Ceremony

The awarding of the Cervantes Prize to Chile's Nicanor Parra on Monday was an unusual event, no less intense for all that and well befitting a self-proclaimed anti-poet who sent his grandson to accept the honor on his behalf. The absence of both King Juan Carlos and the 97-year-old Parra, who said his doctors advised him not to make the trip, were the atypical elements of the solemn ceremony, held as it is every year in the auditorium of Alcala de Henares University in suburban Madrid. Red more at Latino Fox News.

Recent Reviews

Love's Bonfire by Tom Paulin – Review
Tom Paulin

by Sean O'Brien
Love's Bonfire is Tom Paulin's first collection since 2004's The Road to Inver, which assembled his translations. The arrival of the new book explains the sense that something has been missing in the meantime – Paulin's restless and idiosyncratic worrying at the points of friction between poetry, politics and history. Read more at the Guardian.

Those Were Intricate Days

by Max Dunbar
There is a moment, for the reader, when you come across someone who not only writes well but seems to speak to and for you. There are a few writers and poets who can do this. They reach inside you and touch a finger on your heart and they smile. I felt this about Anne Sexton. I feel this about Frank O’Hara. Read more at 3am Magazine.

Broadsides

Dannie Abse Brings Jewish Twist to Wales
Dannie Abse

by Benjamin Ivry

Though “What will survive of us is love” comes from his captious contemporary, Philip Larkin, the line might stand for the life and career of Welsh-Jewish poet Dannie Abse. Having turned 88 last September, Abse was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, in the 2012 New Year Honours, “for services to poetry and literature.” With a new collection, In Extra Time, out in April from London’s Enitharmon Press, as well as a January reprint of his enchanting anthology, “Ode to Love: 100 Poems of Love & Lust,” from Portico Publishing, Abse is a benevolently omnipresent caregiver in verse, an appropriate status given his longtime day job as a pulmonologist at a chest clinic in London. Read more at Forward.

Metaphor or More?

Convener: Gilbert Adair. Participants: Rae Armantrout, Amy Catanzano, John Cayley, Tina Darragh, Marcella Durand, Allen Fisher, James Harvey, Peter Middleton, Evelyn Reilly, Joan Retallack
Could you provide a brief statement on why (if you do) you think that science/scientific discourse should be incorporated by poets not simply as a source of metaphor but as an independent discipline or set of disciplines? (If you’ve already addressed this in print in some detail, feel free to indicate where that can be found.) Read more at Jacket 2.

Salem Poetry Festival

by Thomas Brady
The first event we attended at the Salem Poetry Festival was at the House of the Seven Gables: ”Song As Poem/Poem As Song.” (We looked for the “Robert Burns, Poet Laureat, or Original Folksinger/Songwriter?” but it had moved to a new location, and Jackie, wearing her orange Salem Poetry Festival T-shirt, couldn’t find it for us, either.) “Song as Poem/Poem as Song” had promise, but it was ruined by the presenters—who read prosey poems of their own which had no song-like qualities at all; these efforts were supposed to evoke a similar feeling to a few original songs sung by a fellow with a guitar, helped by a female vocalist. Read more at Scarriet.

Drafts & Fragments

The Businessman, the Statesman, and the Poet

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan (93rd Street and Madison Avenue), Dana Gioia read from Pity the Beautiful, his most recent volume of poetry. Here is the text of David Lehman's introduction.

Poetry In The News

Transforming Poetry Spaces in Los Angeles
poetry space

As Mike "the Poet" Sonksen showcased this month, there's a smorgasbord of poetry to enjoy throughout the city. Apart from coffee shops and traditional literary spaces, poetry in L.A. also finds it ways into unlikely spaces. In these cases the poets transform the space, albeit temporarily, into something living. Read more at KCET.

New Books

Pity the Beautiful: Poems by Dana Gioia
Dana Gioia

[Paperback] Graywolf Press, 80 pp., $15.00
Pity the Beautiful is Dana Gioia's first new poetry book in over a decade. Its emotional revelations and careful construction are hard won, inventive, and resilient. These new poems show Gioia's craftsmanship at its finest, its most mature, as they make music, crack wise, remember the dead, and in a long, central poem even tell ghost stories.

Engine Empire: Poems by Cathy Park Hong

[Hardcover] W. W. Norton & Company, 96 pp., $24.95
Engine Empire is a trilogy of lyric and narrative poems that evoke an array of genres and voices, from Western ballads to sonnets about industrialized China to fragmented lyric poems set in the future. Through three distinct yet interconnected sequences, Cathy Park Hong explores the collective consciousness of fictionalized boomtowns in order to explore the myth of prosperity.

The Folding Star: and Other Poems by Jacek Gutorow
Folding Star

[Paperback] BOA Editions Ltd., 92 pp., $16.00
"We are fortunate to now have them in English so that we who don't read Polish can now read these, and enjoy their insight and wry wit."––Mary Jo Bang
In his triumphant collection The Folding Star and Other Poems, poet of the imagination Jacek Gutorow offers thirty-one gems that that will help change our understanding of Polish poetry.

New Selected Poems by Les Murray

[Paperback] Carcanet Press Ltd., 288 pp., $23.95
Spanning four decades of poetry, this indispensable collection features the work of Australia’s Les Murray. Endlessly inventive, these poems celebrate the world and the power of the imagination while clearly expressing the poet’s devotion to place, politics, and the significance of the Australian landscape.

Correspondences

U.S., U.K. Poets Laureate on Being Public Face for "Solitary Act"

"A poet should be private and invisible," says U.K. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, "This is a different way of being a poet, to be laureate." Meanwhile, "I think we witness things, but are not witnessed," says U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. They reflect with Jeffrey Brown on having very public roles as private poets.Read more at PBS Newshour.

Maintenant #89 – Eric Suchère
Eric Suchere

by SJ Fowler
To many what was once the most expansively influential European tradition of poetry has now become one of the most hermetic. Yet within France there remains singularm emergent figures whose invention, and whose brilliance, marks them out as some of the most innovative in the world. Eric Suchère is one of them, art critic and art historian, he has created a remarkable oeuvre of conceptual, prose and written poetry over the last few decades and holds a rightful place as a leading light in the current French scene. For the 89th interview in our series, Eric Suchère. Read more at 3am Magazine.

Envoi: Editor's Notes

The Lighter Side: What Did Neruda Know?
Pablo Neruda

We have all heard the story of an aged Pablo Neruda at a poetry reading, turning down a request to perform a poem from the earlier days of his career, citing a failing memory. There were plenty of copies of it at hand, but the Chilean poet wouldn’t countenance anything as unprofessional as reading his work. The tale ends with the crowd reciting it to him. What did Neruda know about poetry, though? The guy filled mere stadiums while we North American poets are able to pack entire phone booths! Read more at Contemporary Poetry Review.

Hard to imagine, but we have made it through another National Poetry Month—must of us unscathed. And if we return to our dens with aching amphibrachs and on the lookout for our trochaic substitutions, it's gratifying to know that the nation and the media have again deigned to cast a glance in our direction, bemused, maybe, but without malice. Now we can get back to what it is we try to do, which is to read, write, and engage poetry, not as a performance or even a cri de couer but as balm for our spirits. If others want to join, we will gladly make room. If not, there's always next year.
—David Sanders

View Past Issues

Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Norman MacCaig
Ezra Pound
Robert Bridges
Robert Herrick
Nicanor Parra
John Betjeman
Ravikovitch
Mary Jo Salter
Rosario Castellanos
Anne Hebert
Ahmad Shamlou
Donald Davie
Verlaine
Kenneth Fearing
Geoffrey Hill
Sandro Penna
Lorca
Juan Ramon Jimenez
Julia Randall
Emily Dickinson
Gary Snyder
Yannis Ritsos
Robert Penn Warren
Aime Cesaire
Bella Akhmadulina
George Herbert
Louis Simpson
Gerard Malanga
Mahmoud Darwish
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Kostis Palama
Auden
A.M. Klein
David Ignatow
Langston Hughes
Carriera Duke
Jon Stallworthy