Poetry News In Review
1870 – Ivan Bunin, Russia, poet/novelist (Gentleman from SF-Nobel 1933), is born.
1882 – Janos Arany, Hungarians poet (Toldi Szerelme), dies at 65.
1921 - Georges Brassens, French poet/cabaret singer, is born.
1978 – John Riley, English poet (murdered) (b. 1937), dies.
Nigeria: NLNG's Poet Laureate
Maanshan Fest Honors Ancient Anhui Poet
Lost at Shore
He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs by Leonard Gontarek
Then ate all of him. You would think sorrow would disappear too,
On The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé's Coup de dés Book of Numbers: Meillassoux on Mallarmé
The French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé presents such an enigma to English language audiences that it’s really quite difficult to discern his influence. While Ezra Pound admired the poetry of the one major English language symbolist, W.B. Yeats, and championed some figures loosely associated with the movement, like Jules Laforgue and Arthur Rimbaud, he railed against the use of the “symbol” in his early polemics, and doesn’t mention Mallarmé in his frequent lists of literary greats. Certainly Mallarmé, whose deeply philosophical works unfold with the precision of a mathematical formula, and yet whose sound and syntax aspired to the ambiguity of music, could not be accused of the “direct treatment of the ‘thing.’” Hart Crane was clearly a deep reader of Mallarmé, but his own poems were written in much looser meters than that of the Master, and fused such a variety of American influences (Whitman and Eliot) that it’s difficult to discern the Mallarméan flavor — redolent of the Paris literary salons, fussed over like hothouse flowers — in such ecstatic reveries as “Voyages” and “The Bridge.” British and American contemporaries of Mallarmé, like Arthur Symons, Oscar Wilde, and Stuart Merrill, all of whom frequented Mallarmé’s famous Tuesday evenings, never themselves achieved the level of music and inscrutable perfection of his poems, leaving us mostly with what seems like pale chinoiserie compared to his heights of synesthetic reverie. Read more at the LA Review of Books.
Last of the Modernists
No other poet in English sounds like Basil Bunting. In his first published poem, 'Villon', written under the guidance of Ezra Pound in 1925, he had already worked out a brusque music of his own, with an ear for rhyme unusual in modernist poets. Read more at the Literary Review.
The Dylan Thomas Question
by Katy Evans-Bush
This afternoon I’m part of a panel discussion at the London Welsh Centre in Gray’s Inn Road, talking about Dylan Thomas. (It’s at 5pm if you want to come along; it’s FREE.) The talk is being run by Rack Press, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, because Rack is based in both Wales and, er, Bloomsbury. I was surprised to be asked to speak about Dylan Thomas, but I said yes because I thought it would be a good chance to confront the problem. It felt like a problem, and I think there is a sort of Dylan Thomas Question, a knotty thing to be disentangled… I felt a bit bad about this until I read Seamus Heaney’s essay on him in The Redress of Poetry, where he approaches Thomas from exactly the same position. He begins, ‘Dylan Thomas is by now as much a case history as a chapter in the history of poetry’, and lists a ‘multi-channel set of associations’: ‘Thomas the Voice, Thomas the Booze, Thomas the Debts, Thomas the Jokes, Thomas the Wales, Thomas the Sex, Thomas the Lies…’ Read more at Baroque in Hackney.
Across Serpentine Lake—Frank Bidart and Du Fu
Drafts & Framents
Joyce Carol Oates Skewers Robert Frost as a Sexist, Racist Old Bore
Poetry In The News
Poet Louise Gluck Inspires Composer
University of Illinois Acquires Gwendolyn Brooks Archives
Trove of Emily Dickinson Manuscripts to Appear Online
Who Said by Jennifer Michael Hecht
Nefertiti in the Flak Tower: Poems by Clive James
Pilgrim's Flower by Rachael Boast
Rachael Boast's first collection, Sidereal, was one of the most highly regarded debuts of recent years, winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. Her second, Pilgrim's Flower, richly confirms and dramatically extends that talent -- but where Sidereal's gaze was often firmly fixed on the heavens, Boast's focus here has shifted earthward. The book sings life's intoxicants -- love, nature, literature, friendship, and other forms and methods of transcendence -- and sees Boast's pitch-perfect lyrical metaphysic challenge itself at every turn. Pilgrim's Flower gives an almost Rilkean attention to the spaces between things -- the slippage between what we think we know, and what is actually there -- and in doing so brings the language of rite, observance and rune to the details of our daily lives.