Saturday, April 26, 2008

 

My comment here on April 10, that the William Carlos Williams Award

wasn’t your usual exploitive, pay the readers’ fee & hope your manuscript gets picked, book contest. Those contests always appall me, and I feel as badly for the winners – whom nobody ever takes seriously – as I do the losers who fund such ventures

has predictably taken some heat. TC’s presumption of my “armchair of established success and canonicity” may be amusing (I don’t see anyone offering me a teaching job, TC), but the question is serious enough to deserve being looking at more closely.

What does being the winner of a book contest tell us about a writer? That he or she got their work published outside of a literary community, predicated presumably upon anonymity. Unless the award itself is an extension of an existing community. Or unless the judge or judges did things that would make Foetry.Com steam & sputter.

Consider the best known of these awards, the Yale Younger Poets, and the piece I linked to last Monday from the Houston Chronicle about Fady Joudah winning the current round. The article states, reasonably enough, that

previous winners include such iconic figures as John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, John Hollander and W.S. Merwin

without quite noticing that not one of these figures is under the age of 78 and that maybe more recent winners have not gone on to such iconic status. But it’s worth remembering that anyone who is 78 began at a time when the number of publishing poets in the United States was in the low hundreds, not the tens of thousands. Further, if these four poets didn’t come out of the same community, exactly, the world they arose from was small enough: as undergrads they attended Harvard, Radcliffe, Columbia and Princeton, in that order, and all were picked by W.H. Auden (who asked Ashbery to submit a manuscript, rather than picking one that had been sent in according to the rules).

If the Yale hasn’t had the same status-bestowing impact in recent decades, it’s not necessarily a sign that the quality of the writing selected for the award has eroded. If anything, I think the quality remains quite high. Louise Glück may not be my kind of poet, and she may have been the quietist (in every sense of that word) poet laureate ever, but she does know what she’s doing. The problem is that the School of Q no longer has anything like the monolithic control of publishing it had in the early 1950s, and in a more diverse universe these books have a much harder time reaching an audience.

There is an important & complex relationship between audience and community. Think of any press that is well edited and has a personality of its own: Subpress, Copper Canyon, Pressed Wafer, Adventures in Poetry, Omnidawn, Roof, Apogee, O Books, Atelos, Chax, Cuneiform, Flood Editions, Singing Horse, Faux Press, Meritage, Burning Deck – the list is long (if not exactly endless). To the degree that all these are well edited enterprises, their lists themselves can be understood as a series of literary communities. A book by somebody I’ve never heard of before from one of these presses comes to me with a context that may help me to understand what the writer is trying to do. In marketing, this gets called brand equity, but in the low-level economics around poetry it really has to do with the degree that any well-run press is itself a concrete manifestation of an aesthetic community. It can be a geographic one, like Pressed Wafer, which tends to print the very best of Boston, or simply an aesthetic one. Just coming from one of these presses directs a book toward a community of readers, a range of sympathies and expectations. As a poet, you can’t ask any more of a press.

Contests, however, tend to do rather the opposite. Unless the judges stay in place year after year and only pick work from a narrow range of contestants – two things that actually made the Yale award meaningful – the list of winners over the course of a decade or two is going to be scattershot at best. So let’s say a contest does these things – what does it mean then for any entrant who is not already a part of that community? What about all those entries to the Yale that were not by John Ashbery?

In this regard, what is probably the best book competition currently in the U.S., the National Poetry Series, excels to the degree it does because there usually is some rational connection between the individual judge and the press which ultimately commits to publishing the winning manuscript – this may make it the competition most likely to run afoul of Foetry, but it ensures that the resulting book has some chance of reaching an audience primed to appreciate the volume’s virtues. Donna Stonecipher is an excellent poet for a Coffee House Press book & would be, whether or not she had been chosen for the role by John Yau. Rodrigo Toscano fits well with Fence Press whether or not he was chosen by Marjorie Welish. I don’t how much say the presses have in picking who will judge the volume they publish, but hopefully it is a lot. Yet it’s worth noting that, because the series has tended to shift at least one press each year and has multiple judges with different aesthetics doing the choosing, there is almost no brand equity, to use that term again, in being a National Poet selection. Even though its web site promotes all 150 books that have come out through this series since 1979, while the Yale doesn’t bother to keep a complete list of winners online. What matters more – that Ange Mlinko’s Starred Wire was a National Poetry selection or that it was an excellent book? Exactly.

But most contests aren’t the National Poetry Series nor even the Yale Younger Poets. Judges are cycled through too quickly, there’s no aesthetic focus, the resulting book series has little if any connection to an audience. One of the five books that I eliminated from the William Carlos Williams Award for utter incompetence was itself the “winner” of such a contest, one I’d never heard of before. The absolute number of such contests is daunting – the back pages of Poets & Writers are cluttered with them, a phenomenon that never fails to remind me of the ads for escorts & adult massage that bring up the rear of so many “alternative” weekly newspapers. Or consider Winning Writers – if you’re a contest junky, this is pure smack.

What the growth in such awards really is responding to, I think, is a new problematic in American poetry, one that I frankly did not have to put with when I began publishing books in 1971. If there were only a few hundred publishing poets in the 1950s, by 1970 that total had swollen to some number over 1,000, but not so dramatically over it that it was difficult for a new poet to get heard.

My first book, Crow, was published by Ithaca House, a student-run press bankrolled (oh, more like piggy-bankrolled) by Baxter Hathaway, a major figure in the writing program at Cornell for many years. The person who selected my book – who asked for it – was David McAleavey, who was getting his PhD at Cornell and whom I knew from our days together at Berkeley. The printing was funky, the pages aren’t exactly aligned perfectly, but it got read and generated a number of correspondences with other poets, among them Bob Perelman. My second book, Mohawk, was published by another Ithaca House poet (remember what I said about how presses become communities), Ray DiPalma, then teaching at Bowling Green in Ohio. My third book, nox, was and still is the only book I’ve ever had published that resulted from me sending a manuscript out cold, in this case to Rosmarie Waldrop at Burning Deck. But I knew who she was from the various little magazines where we’d appeared together and I presume that she knew my work from them as well. In sending her the manuscript, I was asserting my belief that I belonged in that community of innovative writing Burning Deck brings to life.

My fourth book, the one that really transformed how much attention I got as a poet, Ketjak, was published by Barrett Watten. Watten was still in high school when I first met him, and I was only just out of it. I wrote Ketjak while we shared a flat on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. It went through a single print run & then was out of print for over 20 years. But after Ketjak was first published, I was in a position to publish anything I wrote. When TC writes of my “armchair of established success and canonicity,” this is literally what he or she is writing about. Editions of 300 to 1,000, mostly done by personal friends. But it’s much more direct and effective than any other road to market, because these presses reached exactly the audience my poetry needed to reach. Much much better to have a book from This Press than from Yale.

Today, however, there are at least ten thousand publishing poets working in the English language in & around North America. Unless all the MFA factories shut down at once, that number can be expected to double in the next decade. And there are more books of poetry published – roughly 4,000 a year. The 150 books I got to wade through for PSA was less than five percent of the ones I could have gotten (another way of looking at it would be that just submitting a book for an prize like the PSA Williams Award puts one up ahead over 95 percent of what is out there). These numbers too will grow. If you think it’s Babylon now, just imagine what it will be like in another ten years.

The enormous growth in the number of practicing poets has some interesting consequences, not all of them bad. Rachel Blau DuPlessis likes to talk about what Philadelphia was like in the bad old days when “the scene” for post-avant poetics consisted of her, Toby Olson & Gil Ott. Then a magazine like 6ix came along, and other folks like Eli Goldblatt moved to town, then Bob Perelman & I, and all these young people either showed up or – more importantly – didn’t go away. The scene in Philly now is absolutely better than, say, SF in the early 1970s – more poets of more kinds doing more things & with more events. If you can’t find people who share your interests in Philadelphia, it really is a statement now of personal isolation, not the thinness of the scene.

Yet I think for a lot of young writers, in particular, especially those coming out of MFA mills (and especially the programs that don’t quite “get” contemporary poetry, which is to say most of them), I think the transition to becoming a practicing writer can be a daunting, even crushing task. It’s when most people stop writing. They find that the context they had for poetry in school no longer exists in the “real” world and don’t know how to build one out of whole cloth. These are the people for whom contests exist, and it’s why I think they’re ultimately damaging. For one thing, the odds are preposterous. For another, unless they actually know the work of the judge, and know who the judge is, there is no way to ascertain if there is any reasonable expectation of even being competitive. They send in their money and their manuscript, they hope and they can feel crushed if they lose, sometimes again & again & again. Where if they would just get together with their friends and publish one another, they would be making enormous headway much more quickly. And their books would be reaching the right audiences. Which is (again) why it’s far better to have a volume published by Pressed Wafer, if you’re a New England poet, than in the Yale Younger Poets Series.

Even the Williams award, which is for already existing books by small, nonprofit or university presses, has some of these problematic elements, which is why I was so ambivalent at first when they asked me to judge this award. What does it mean to not win this award, especially to the 18 other poets whose books I found to be completely wonderful? Does it mean you’re a loser? In fact, every one of these people is doing luminous work. They’re brilliant & challenging. But they just didn’t win. One could say something quite similar about the 50 poets who were in that next pile (it turns out that there were 69 poets writing 70 books there, as one writer had books, both quite good, nominated by two different presses). I would not want to discourage any of these people, even slightly.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

 

 

Of the 16 other books from Poetry Society of America entrants that I feel all deserve awards, hoopla, and great notice, three are books that I’ve already reviewed here on the blog: Jean Valentine’s Little Boat, Jennifer Moxley’s The Line & Laynie Browne’s Daily Sonnets. It has now been five months, nine months & a year respectively since I first read & reviewed each of these volumes, and one of the substantial pleasures of judging the William Carlos Williams Award lies in seeing just how very well each stands up. It gives me great confidence that when (not if) I return to these books ten, maybe even twenty years from now, they will continue to shine just as brightly.

I’m not going to re-review these work here – you can click on the links above & go back to my original notes as well as get to further links through which each can be ordered. And you should – these are books that deserve to be in everybody’s library. But I want to note here one of the telling facets of this contest for me. Of the nineteen books that totally convinced me they deserve such kudos as these, 13 are by women. Just stacking the books from the next layer, the male pile is almost identical to the stack of books by women (I note however that more guys have “fat” books than gals). The implication is obvious: we have arrived at a moment when women have reached at least parity when it comes to the production of poetry – and at the highest levels it may be much more than just parity. Yet if I go back to the hoopla that surrounded the “numbers trouble” (PDF) debate several months back, I recall that Juliana Spahr & Stephanie Young had tracked reviews in this here blog o’ mine and noted that I too skewed male, noticeably so, when it came to reviewing books of poetry. Yet even I’m willing to concede that of the 19 best books of last year, at least 13 are by female authors, a ratio of better than two to one. What gives?

I think there are a couple of things going on here. The most significant I think is my age: 61. I first came into the world of writing when the Donald Allen anthology, The New American Poetry, was at its height at defining the New American canon – and that book had just four female contributors among its 44 poets. Also hot news there in the mid-1960s was the Totem / Corinth mini-anthology, Four Young Lady Poets, edited by the notable feminist LeRoi Jones. The young ladies included Carol Bergé, Rochelle Owens, Barbara Moraff & Diane Wakoski. Today, that title – and all the attitudes it projects – sounds as dated as an episode of the Twilight Zone.

My generation really came of age as poets in the early 1970s, and while women were starting to write in great numbers in that decade, what Judy Grahn has called the “strategic decision” of separatism on the part of many women poets actually reduced the number who were participating in scenes that included the likes of me. If nothing else, this had the short-term impact of reinforcing the maleness of some scenes. When, in 1981 & ’82, I put together In the American Tree as an anthology of what had become known as language poetry, I had the opportunity to decide whether to stick to the historical record of who published what & where, or of puffing the book up in the name of a better political balance. As I’ve noted here before, there were just three poets who fit the objective qualifications for the anthology who were not included. Two were male – Curtis Faville & David Gitin – both of whom had at that point stopped publishing. But the omission of Abigail Child was, in retrospect, a flat out blunder on my part. Still, In the American Tree was 75 percent male & Abby’s inclusion would not have radically revised those numbers.

If you factor in the number of women on the scene who were obviously post-avant, but who consciously distanced themselves from langpo – the writers who would make up the core of (HOW)ever, for example – you can see that the overall balance in the 1970s was clearly changing, but it was still a far cry from what we have today.

To the degree that I am a creature of my generation, focusing on my own age cohort and those immediately older, say up to the age of my parents, the numbers you see here on the blog are, I think, pretty predictable. When I focus on writers who are older than I, the numbers will be a little worse, and on my own generation, a little better, tho still a far cry from parity. But to the degree that I focus on what is going on in poetry right now, recognizing that the real changes in contemporary writing are now being done by a group of writers all quite a bit younger than I, then I think it’s apparent that these figures have to change.

This isn’t easy. Of the poets of my parents’ generation, the one who really took an interest in younger writers, reading them, promoting them, actively engaging their concerns, was Robert Creeley. Of the poets from the intervening generation, between my parents & my own, the poets who have done this have been Jerry Rothenberg & the Waldrops. That’s not exactly a long list. Most poets as they age tend to stay fixed right where they focused when they first matured as writers & readers. And as the writers in whom they are interested die or go silent, most poets as readers find their world contracting, rather than shifting down to the next generation(s).

I have an active interest in trying to get to that next generation (or three) of younger poets – I want to see how the story of poetry itself continues to evolve, even as I have an increasingly complicated relationship to the question of “now.” So here’s to the idea that, over time, the percentages here of male to female will have to change, just to reflect the real world.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

 

When the CUE Art Foundation asked me last year if I would curate a show this spring for its Chelsea gallery, a number of possibilities immediately jumped to mind. The rule as I originally understood it was that it had to be an artist who either had not previously had a show in New York before, or at least not in ten years. When I checked further, I learned that it had to be an American artist and they needed to be living – there went, for example, Australian-born, Zurich-based media artist Jill Scott (an important figure in the San Francisco performance scene in the 1970s) as well as modernist wood worker Wharton Esherick (1887-1970), both of whom I would love to introduce to wider contemporary audiences. Even with the expansion of galleries that has accompanied the evolution of Chelsea as the post-downtown visual arts vortex, the number of superb artists who haven’t shown in New York remains overwhelming. Just to keep the process manageable, I restricted myself to those whose work has been important to me, generative in contributing to how I think about my own work as a poet. That list got a little shorter as I discovered that a couple of the people I’d been contemplating had recently had shows in NYC. And once I had finally gotten my list of possible choices down to two people, one of them, photographer Zoe Strauss, told me she had been offered a show in New York even earlier than would be possible with CUE and was going to go forward with that. Her decision had the advantage of keeping my selection from becoming a completely wrenching one.

Cynthia Miller has been a key figure in the Tucson art scene for quite some time. While many readers of this blog probably know her work already from its association with Chax Press and many of their book covers (including my own Demo to Ink), traveling to Tucson is what really gives you a sense of the scope and reach of her work. This show gives me the opportunity to do the next best thing to taking the New York visual arts world to the American southwest to get that context. I’m bringing Cynthia’s most recent work to the CUE Art Foundation, starting today and running through the end of May.

Here is a little statement I’ve contributed to the gallery’s catalog for the exhibition:

Blending so-called high and low genre, the Arts & Crafts Movement anticipated much that we now think of as postmodern. Many of the forms that concerned William Morris, for example, including wallpaper, carpets & floor runners, were not only designed for domestic use, but also engaged visual traditions that deployed imagery as pattern, muting or deflecting the narrative of a "scene." Many other "Other" traditions likewise share exactly these features, from the cubism of African sculpture to the pottery & tapestries of Central & South America, and of course the American Southwest. Tucson's Cynthia Miller, a painter whose work reproduced on book covers has been a visual signature of Chax Press for 20-plus years, pulls these different elements together with what I think she might call a Southwestern eye, and most definitely a Southwestern imagination.

The objects envisioned are simple – quail, a tea kettle, a flower pot – but seldom used simply. Rather, like the blue deer, the red pony or the red and yellow birds, each is cast so as to let in many possible connotations. Two crows represent two crows, yet they completely reframe the spatial relations of the two vases, one white, the other not (or the third vase, half hidden red against orange in the leftmost field). The result is a painting that conveys a sense of anxiety without ever telling why. Yet look at the lush leafwork about the crow on the right, or the transparent foliage about the darker vase.

The fields on which these translucent images sit are themselves visually rich, not unlike the flowers surrounding the road behind the blue antlers of Out West. The background tones often proceed from pink or red or red-orange to blue or blue green. At times I think this figures the seasons, at times the hours in a day, at times I think it is there precisely to resist figuration.

The opening reception is tonight from 6 until 8 PM at the gallery, 511 W. 25th Street (between 10th & 11th avenues). Tomorrow, Charles Alexander & I will give readings at the gallery – this starts at 6:30 PM – followed by James Fei on saxophone. You need to RSVP for that event, as seating is limited. And you really need to bring your eyes, ears, mind and subconscious to both of these events.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

 


Roberta Beary & Eileen Myles

My two William Carlos Williams Award finalists – the term that the Poetry Society of America prefers for those books that also deserve some special attention – could not be more unlike one another.

In addition to being a finance attorney in Washington, D.C., Roberta Beary is a haiku poet. As in publishing almost exclusively in journals and anthologies (and calendars!) devoted to the form from publishers like the Haiku Society of America and Red Moon Press. As in having 21 poems in her collection, The Unworn Necklace, that received some kind of honor in various haiku competitions. “thunder,” just to pick one, received the Grand Prize of the Kusamakura International Haiku Competition in 2005 and that same year was a runner-up in the Haiku Calendar Competition:

thunder
the roses shift
into shadow

If slam poets & visual poets go around thinking that nobody takes their genres seriously as literature, haiku poetry has been off the map altogether – a genuinely popular literary art form that receives no attention whatsoever from what Charles Bernstein would call Official Verse Culture unless it is for a new translation of one of the classics, or work by a poet, such as Anselm Hollo, already widely known and respected for writing in other forms. The whole idea of all these contests – not unlike slam competitions – is to create its own alternative institutional universe.

A poem like “thunder” might tell you a lot about a poet like Beary, but almost nothing about this extraordinary book. For one thing, she’s not a fundamentalist on haiku form – this piece has only ten syllables, seven shy the standard 17. Further, with the reiteration of an opening sh right after the caesura of the second line & the start of the poem’s last word, she’s a writer who likes subtle formalities. Finally, and this is sort of traditionally the point of haiku, she likes specificity of detail. As far as this little poem goes, it does very well.

By itself, tho, it’s hardly distinct from any of the hundreds of well-written works in these books, not just my final 19 volumes or even the broader group of books I liked. The reality, tho, is that it’s atypical of The Unworn Necklace, which is really a 70-poem not-quite-narrative cycle that has the weight and emotional force of a novel. A sprawling & powerful novel. A novel specifically about a woman’s midlife relationships as her marriage goes south, her father dies, her daughter takes flight, a new relationship is tested. A more typical poem here might be

his death notice . . .
the get-well card
still in my briefcase

or

mother’s day
a nurse unties
the restraints

These poems are compact, but remarkably well placed in the construction of a larger whole. I wonder if these 70 might not be extracted from a far greater number – there’s no way to know. But the aesthetic here of absolutely minimal strokes accumulating to create a far more powerful picture is really overwhelming. This is a book I never would have picked up – probably never would have seen, although it’s already gone into a second printing – that made me completely grateful to the Poetry Society of America and the Williams Carlos Williams Award for putting it into my hands. I think it was the only British book in the entire process – Snapshot Press is one of the standard-bearers for haiku and tanka, but has thus far a pretty rudimentary website.

In contrast, Eileen Myles is a poet who has been a presence on the scene for decades, particularly in New York where she has been a bridge between the post-punk world of CBGB’s & the third generation of the New York School. Unlike Saroyan & Beary, she & I have met a few times and talked, perhaps for a total of ten minutes over the past three decades. Still, I have some sense that I know her. She’s always walked what I think of as that fine line between New York School aesthetics and the more demotic & discursive poetry popularized by the Beats. I’ve read her work in magazines & anthologies for ever, it seems like, but when I first read through Sorry, Tree, from Wave Books, I looked to my bookcase to see what else of her work I own and was surprised to see that the answer is nothing. Now I realize just how much catching up I have to do.

Sorry, Tree is flat out a terrific book, joining what seem to be the simplest personal poems with a poetic craft that dazzles. It’s an aesthetic that sounds like what some part of the School of Quietude would be up to, but Myles takes a tradition that includes everything from Ginsberg to Berrigan to Bukowski to Patti Smith & Lee Ann Brown, and definitely Anne Waldman, Barbara Barg & Elaine Equi, and even Ed Sanders & Paul Blackburn, to forge a writing that comes across simultaneously as effortless & utterly gorgeous. I read “No Rewriting,” the second poem in this book, and just burst into tears with amazement:

nobody’s going to come in
and take my cup of money

sometimes the only no I have
is to reverse things

I agree. It’s a good place to shit.

This morning it was summer
while I stayed in
I watched spring fade
I went out in chill fall
and walked my dog,
in winters     rectangles of trash
striking our face
the wind turning flags and banners
into danger
man the wind was big
in this fragmented
city

I want to be a part of something bigger than myself
not the university of california but it’s a start
my dad was a gorilla

who did you think I would be

how do you spell university
it always looks cilly

I will think
I will read

I will wake up loving you and when I come home
I will love you.
Look I bought tickets for the movies for tomorrow night
I will buy you a hot dog then you know what

They didn’t know I was so great
it was humbling
now it is fine

I sent her this email about the big awards
the paranoia I feel about all the award
winners
now I’m like king of the losers again
I said king king king

it’s like genitals
I want to show you all these tiny parts

but I’m public public public

I went to the University of Massachusetts
and for all these years the city of New
York has given me a rent stabilization
grant

and now California golden state opens her
arms to us

come to mama

I wrote this poem twenty-four years ago
but nobody saw it yet
so I’m safe

she said you are such a good boy

and onward for another five-plus pages. To be able to write with such gentleness & force all at the same time is such a gift, and Myles is completely generous in how she uses this.

Absent Aram Saroyan’s Complete Minimal Poems, I knew I would have given the WCW Award to one of these two books. That is really all that distinguishes them from the 16 other great books I was still enthralled with as I finished my work for the Poetry Society of America. The only thing these books share in common is their power, and it’s interesting to imagine what kind of statement either would have made had it been the volume selected. This is what I just hate about contests. Each of these volumes is a total winner.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

 


Barack Obama & Bob Casey right here in Paoli on Saturday     (Photo by Sleeping Cat Beads)

Alice Walker on Barack Obama

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Jeffrey Side interviews Marjorie Perloff

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Tom Clark needs your help

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Lyn Hejinian at Woodland Pattern

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Michael Dirda on Scroggins' Zukofsky

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Wikipedia discriminates against small press poets

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Elizabeth Willis talking with Charles Bernstein

Elizabeth Willis reading

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Women Poets on Mentorship

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In Tibet, Jamyang Kyi arrested

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Talking with Al Young

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Contemporary poetry from the Middle East, Asia & beyond

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Thomas Braichet has died of cancer at 30

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NY Times obit for Aimé Césaire

The Associated Press obit

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Langdon Hammer on John Ashbery

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Community & post-colonial poetics

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An excellent obit of Andrew Crozier

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On the question of the line

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Stephen Burt against argument

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Talking with Robert Creeley

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Yet another appreciation of Jonathan Williams

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Walt Whitman reads aloud

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Craig Perez on Aram Saroyan & the “ethnic-avant”

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What went on at the
Chicago Poetry Symposium

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A free verse novel about werewolves

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A poem by Gustaf Sobin

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North Carolina’s contributions to Beat culture

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Jack Hirschman remembers the Beats

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Talking with Jorie Graham

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The globalized fictioneer

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Sam Cornish in Jamaica Plain

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Plumly’s Keats

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Robert Pinsky’s poetry FAQs

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Axel Pinpin, poet & political prisoner

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Bernard O’Donoghue’s Selected Poems

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Letters from Stephen Burt, Slavoy Žižek, Frank Kermode et al

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Vendler’s Yeats

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The history of poetry in 362 words

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Talking with Anne Stevenson (PDF)

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10 questions for Ivy Alvarez

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Rereading The Morning of the Poem

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The failures of Philip Schultz

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Imagining Akhmatova

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Cavafy vs. Dylan & Catullus

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A profile of Darrell Kinsey

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The national poets of Wales

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New Brazilian anthology seems bland

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James Winn on The Poetry of War

Poems Against War

And in the hands of the troops

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Writing at V Tech

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“A professor, a poet, and a nun all walk into a bar . . . “

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In Australia, a “national poetry festival

& in Canada, a “national poetry face-off

Face-off challenger Sandra Dunn

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The poem in your pocket

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A profile of Beth Ann Fennelly

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Frost’s prose

& Frost as fiction

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Poetry Live(s)

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Galway Kinnell & David Wojahn

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Dylan Thomas’ daughter

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John Betjeman’s “muse”

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Charlie Simic goes to Choate

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A profile of George Barker

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With Ted Kooser, WYSIWYG

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A panel on the art of translation

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Slammin’ for “Greek Week

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Ed Hirsch on what poetry is

Hirsch’s “Cotton Candy”

A profile of Hirsch

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Jazzmouth & Billy Collins

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The gender gap in contest panels

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Snippets of quietude

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Amsterdam:
World Book Capital 2008

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Libraries now

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Recent Library of Congress readings:
Philip Nikolayev (MP3)
Naomi Shihab Nye (RAM)

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The new Parnassus

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Poetry for the young

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LSU & two small presses
make up the SIBA poetry shortlist

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Mishima on stage

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Rescuing Steinbeck

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Joyce Carol Oates on the last days
of famous writers

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Family vs. writing in the fiction of
Erica Jong

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Creating Slaughterhouse Five

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Talking with Lewis Turco

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Studying the smell of old books

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Favorite bookstores

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Bruce Sterling at Innovationsforum

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Sit shiva for narrative

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Is Georgia State the new Kinko’s?

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Free, online, open source textbooks

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French Theory is not “just another Fish story”

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Against critics as “neuroscience groupies

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Darwin online

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The “100 most powerful people” in British culture

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Happy birthday, John Chamberlain

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Remembering Pippa Bacca

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Abortion as art

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Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

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The photographs of Walter Crump

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Kitaj’s last works

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Amy Sillman – the ultimate New York artist

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The Beijing art market

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Rodchenko at the Hayward

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Postcards from Warren

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Film revisits the case of Roman Polanski

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The heritage of being Wagner

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Battlestar Galactica’s composer
blogs the show

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A YouTube blues tour

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Felicity, California,
the center of the world

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