Saturday, March 21, 2009

 

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Friday, March 20, 2009

 

Hate crimes in North Beach:
the victims include Mark Doty

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Obama names
disability aide
to head up
White House Arts & Culture post

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Flarf vs. conceptual writing at the Whitney

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Ange Mlinko on the origin of language

3rd Language Creation Conference

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A holograph poem from Elvis

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Cynthia Sailers’ introduction
to Stacy Szymaszek

A reading report
on Szymaszek & C.S. Perez

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Charles Bernstein on Rae Armantrout

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Reading report: Francois Luong
on Laura Sims & Rae Armantrout

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Peter Davis on Kent Johnson

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Guilty of high modernism once again

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The best poet of the first half
of the 20th Century?

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Eleni Sikelianos Body Clock

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John Ashbery: “Longing of the Accords”

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This
is Allen Ginsberg?

Allen Ginsberg 1954

Corso & Ginsberg
interviewing William Burroughs

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An innovative approach
to writing workshops

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Ron Padgett’s How to be Perfect

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Susan Howe: “That This”

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Alan Loney,
reading & talking

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Shaikh Mohammad opens Dubai poetry fest

The book fair

Reflect the region’s character

Festival ends
with an organization & three prizes

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Brandon Shimoda on
Kim Hyesoon’s
Mommy Must be a Mountain of Feathers

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Annie Finch
on listening to poetry

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Bertran de Born in The Nation

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Oppen & Heidegger

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Barthes’ journals

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Beckett’s letters

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Carlin Romano
on feminist role models

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Sonia Sanchez on the Creeley prize

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Kundera’s crime

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Preserving languages
is about more than words

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PEN’s online translation slam

Change comes to PEN

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The Accent Girl

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The future of philology?

Hot for Words

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scholarly book output
in literary studies
has outpaced growth of the professoriate
 by a magnitude of three”
(but no one reads them!)

Professors on the Production Line (PDF)

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Rae Desmond Jones’ Blow Out

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Lilliput Review is 20

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Talking with Susan Meyers

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On negative reviews
& one in particular

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When poetry “became blurry” –
another lament on the demise
of the School of Q

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Poetry was never meant to be quiet
(a quiz)

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Writers recommend

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Levertov the avant,
Levertov the activist

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The poet Edsel Ford

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Tao Lin in Germany

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Roberta Warren
on Frank Bidart & Louise Glück

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A defense of Andrew Motion

Fiona Sampson on Motion as laureate

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The Cohen Prize to Seamus Heaney

Two poems
that “sum up”
Heaney’s career

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Let’s get jiggy with
Fulke Greville

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Talking with Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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The Tucson Citizen shuts down,
having survived
the gunfight at the OK Corral
but not the web

Impact of the closure of
The Cincinnati Post (PDF)

As the P-I abandons print,
can the Seattle Times survive?

Pelosi tries to save
SF Chronicle

Rocky Mountain News vets
plan web news site

$25M to reinvent journalism

Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable

Newspapers can’t be saved,
but the news can

Looking more like nonprofits all the time

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Writers Guild cuts staff

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Indie bookstores in Santa Cruz
count on the politics of
“Buy Local” campaign

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Can you cheat at art?

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Maya Lin at the Corcoran

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Das Kapital,
the musical

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August 9th at Tanglewood:
Elliot Carter’s
The Poems of Louis Zukofsky

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My Experiments with Truth

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The third sex
from Plato to punk rock

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

 


Janet Holmes

A couple of the books that have come across my desk recently have gotten me thinking. One is Jared Hayes’ RecollecTed / CaGeD, printed in a limited special edition for the 101st reading of the Spare Room series in Portland, Oregon. (You can read the CaGeD part of this book by downloading this PDF file from the folks at Dusie.) The other is by Janet Holmes & published by Shearsman, one of the very best presses in all of the U.K., entitled THE MS OF M Y KIN, or perhaps THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON.

Read more »

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

 

  

 

Recently Received

 

Books (Poetry)

Sherman Alexie, Face, Hanging Loose Press, Brooklyn 2009

Eric Baus, Tuned Droves, Octopus Books, Brooklyn / Portland 2008

Cal Bedient, Days of Unwilling, Saturnalia Books, Philadelphia, PA 2008

Bill Berkson, Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems, Coffee House Press, Minneapolis 2009

Jessica Bozek, The Bodyfeel Lexicon, Switchback Books, Chicago 2009

Ruxandra Cesereanu & Andrei Codrescu, Forgiven Submarine, Black Widow, Boston 2008

Brian Clements, And How to End It, Quale Press, Conway, MA 2008

Alicia Cohen, Debts and Obligations, O Books, Oakland 2008

James Cummins, Speaking Off Centre, Dusie & Livestock Editions, Cork, Ireland, Portland, OR, Wallisellen, Switzerland, 2009

Joseph Donohue, Terra Lucida, Talisman House, Jersey City, 2009

Thom Donovan, Our Insalvageable, Vigilance Society, no location given, 1917 (but more likely 2009)

Lisa Fishman, Lining, Boxwood Editions, Chicago 2009

Peter Ganick, Hyperspace Cantatas, Xeoxial Editions, West Lima, WI 2008

Janet Holmes, THE MS OF M  Y KIN, Shearsman, Exeter 2009

Marilyn Kallet, Packing Light: New & Selected Poems, Black Widow, Boston 2008

al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Khālawayh, Names of the Lion, translated by David Larsen, Atticus Finch, Buffalo 2009

David Lau, Virgil and the Mountain Cat, University of California, Berkeley 2009

M. Mara-Ann, Containment Scenario: DisIoInter MedTextId entCation: Horse Medicine, O Books, Oakland 2009

Joseph Massey, Areas of Fog, Shearsman, Exeter 2009

Adrian Matejka, Mixology, Penguin, London & New York, 2009

Linnea Ogden, Another Limit, Projective Industries, Chicago 2009

Gregory Orr, How Beautiful the Beloved, Copper Canyon, Port Townsend 2009

Seth Parker, Beethoven of Smells, Invisible Ear Chapbooks, Northampton, MA 2009

Sina Queyras, Expressway, Coach House Press, Toronto, 2009

Lawrence Raab, The History of Forgetting, Penguin, London & New York, 2009

Lisa Robertson, Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip, Coach House Press, Toronto, 2009

Jennifer Scappettone, From Dame Quickly, Litmus Press, Brooklyn, 2009

James Shea, Star in the Eye, Fence, Albany, NY 2008

Sabine Sicaud, To Speak, to Tell You? With introduction & notes by Odile Ayral-Clause, translated by Norman R. Shapiro, Black Widow, Boston 2009

Brian Teare, Sight Map, University of California, Berkeley 2009

Aaron Tieger, The Collected Typos of Aaron Tieger, Editions Louis Wain, no location given, 2008

Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy, University of California, Berkeley 2009



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

 


Seth Abramson

The other day, when I wrote about Marjorie Perloff, anthologies & critical assumptions in a changing context for writing, Seth Abramson responded with the following comment:

Hi Ron,

You really need to revisit that "10,000 publishing poets in the U.S." figure. I know you've used it before, and believe in it, but honestly – given that 10,000 poets have graduated from MFA or Ph.D. in Creative Writing programs in just the past five years – there is absolutely no possibility of it being correct. Likewise, if you consider the number of print and online poetry journals in operation being close to 1,000 (or perhaps over it), and each publishing several dozen (or many more) poets per year, it becomes clear that the number of publishing poets is around 50,000. If by "publishing" you mean only poets with collections, I think that's an incredibly (with all due respect) wrong-headed way to look at how poets publish poetry. Those without books deserve to be counted, lest we – and I won't dwell too much on the fact of it being you doing this – seriously, seriously underestimate the breadth and depth of the poetry community.

Be well,
Seth

Seth’s note made me happy, because (a) I already see people all but faint when I make the claim that there are 10,000 publishing poets in the U.S. and (b) I concluded some months ago that my estimate was low – my only real question is how low. I came to my conclusion working from the fact that my blogroll has swollen to over 1,000 names – and is becoming less & less complete all the time – when I know full well that less than one in ten poets currently has an active blog that discusses poetics (indeed, this would still be true even if I included all the poets who have blogs that only print their own poems, or simply quote poems that they like, two groups I generally do not include here because I don’t see them as furthering discussion between poets, which has always been my primary goal).¹

And I’ve also thought about the ongoing impact of creative writing programs. I don’t think these programs create any poets whatsoever, tho they may encourage more people who write poetry to try & publish who otherwise might not do so. So in that sense they do add to the total. However, when I think through the numbers, I don’t get a figure like 10,000 poets having graduated over the past five years. I don’t know what percentage of the creative writing programs offer graduate degrees, but last I noted there were still somewhat under 500 such programs in the U.S. Being graduate education, these are not huge departments: on average, how many students matriculate from one in any given year. 20? I think the actual average is closer to half that. And at least half of those graduates are focusing on other, more remunerative genres, from fiction to drama or screenwriting to the “creative essay.” So you would need 500 programs graduating 40 students every year each to yield 10,000 poets over a five year period. There is no way this is happening.

Further – and this is the other key dynamic here – what percentage of recent MFAs publish in their first year or two after graduation? Not just books, but anything. The figure is well under 100 percent. More important, what percentage of them are still trying to publish five, ten years post graduation? I would argue that this number dwindles fairly quickly. The gap between college, where you have a ready context for your writing, and the “real world” where you have to make one up, especially if you don’t already happen to live in New York or San Francisco, is the largest single barrier young poets tend to confront, tho having children has a pretty significant impact as well. Those MFA grads who get at least marginally decent teaching jobs – 50 to 60 a year manage that feat – may be professionally goaded into publishing just to keep their positions and move toward tenure. But I’ll wager that the percentage of MFAs that never get a teaching gig who are still publishing five years after graduation is under 50 percent. In practice, this means that we would need 500 schools graduating between 60 & 80 students per year to reach something like 10,000 new poets to add to those already publishing. How you then get from that to 50,000 I can’t begin to imagine.

Now I’m aware that the number of people in the United States who actually write poetry must easily exceed that higher figure. You could persuade me that it exceeds one million, just based on my experiences running a community writers workshop in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. During any given year that I ran that workshop (1979-1981), we had roughly two percent of the adult population of that inner city community show up, half of whom were writing poetry. Spread out over the entire nation, such a percentage would get you to seven digits, but there are reasons why the Tenderloin might well be (or at least have been) a disproportionately writerly population. And the number of poets there who were actively trying to publish was barely in double figures.

All of which is to say that I don’t think 50,000 passes the “smell test” – it just doesn’t sit right. But I do agree with Abramson when he suggests that 10,000 increasingly doesn’t pass it either. An actual figure, which would take an enormous amount of labor (and fairly significant cost) to track down – and which would then be instantly obsolete – falls somewhere in between.

 

¹ Where it might exceed the one-in-ten threshold would be if we also added in the most numerous of all categories: Dead Blogs. Including those embryonic ones that never get past the third or fourth post. But since Lynn Behrendt has been helping me with the blogroll, we’ve been diligent about getting Dead Blogs off that list.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

 

Charlotte Mandell
on translating The Kindly Ones

From Mandell’s translation of
Abdelwahab Meddeb’s White Traverses

Is this novel worth all this attention?

extravagantly blessed & hideously cursed

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Jack Spicer & Allen Sherman:
Hello Muddah, Hello Lorca

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Jimmy Schuyler reads on PennSound!

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PennSound is on track to have
50,000,000 downloads in 2009

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Polis is This:
Charles Olson & the Persistence of Place
is coming to PBS in April

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Rae Armantrout at the AWP

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Medium & Margin 2009:
Multiplying Methodologies & Proliferating Poetics

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Rachel Blau DuPlessis:
Draft 94: Mail Art

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Frank Sherlock’s Over Here

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Real beat poets

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At 86, Will Inman keeps on truckin

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Poetry in Iraq

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Ted Greenwald & Kit Robinson

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Edible books!

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Beverly Dahlen
on George Stanley’s Vancouver

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Grace Hartigan & Frank O’Hara

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More conceptual flarf
(talk about hybrid…)

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Talking at length (35 pp!!)
with David Shapiro

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Talking further with Michael Schiavo

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Marjorie Perloff on Elizabeth Alexander
& the downgrading of poetry
(note the other 3 videos linked)

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Books to look forward to

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Rita Dove,
taking over the Washington Post’s
“Poet’s Choice” column

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Pam Brown
on Philip Mead’s Networked Language:
Culture & History in Australian Poetry

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The web sends U.S. poetry everywhere

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Past Simple is anything but

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James Purdy has died

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Keira Knightley on Dylan Thomas

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Welsh poetry on the London tube

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C.M. Mayo & Francisco Aragón
at the Library of Congress (MP3)

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A tribute to Jack Gilbert

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Agha Shahid Ali’s The Veiled Suite

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Darwin’s life in poetry
written by a descendant

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A call for submissions
for very short poems

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A more complete description
of the SUNY Buffalo
audio archive project

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Connoisseur Shakespeare

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A Bakhtin conference

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Talking with Kay Ryan

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Huxley library to UCLA

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Photos
from the massive Milwaukee marathon

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Google talks books

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Towns without newspapers are on the horizon

Newspapers are dying

Preserve local news

Social networking as a solution

The incredible shrinking media

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This week’s death-of-a-bookstore tale
is a Christian store in Virginia

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The MLA Handbook
no longer privileges print

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The Great Links Curriculum

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A variation on the “20 books” meme
from Scotland

& more

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Pinecones podcasts
(say that fast 3 times)

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March (Poetry) Madness

Serious March madness
(the only basketball team I’ll ever make)

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The Academy of American Poets
annual monstrosity

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Transcranial Poetics

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Louise DeSalvo, Fanny Howe & Abdella Taia

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Robert Pinsky
singing the praises
of Jbooks.com

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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

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Using Wikipedia to teach comp

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Michael Jackson:
“Children of the World, we’ll do it”

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Haiku consciousness

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Writer’s spaces

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Alicia Ostriker
on contemporary Hebrew poetry

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A Cheever bio

a vast inert pudding of a book

Over Cheevers

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A review of Elaine Showalter’s
history of women writers

Another by Katha Pollitt

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The “George Steiner problem

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The shortlist for the Scottish
Mortgage Investment Trust
Poetry Awards

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Bolaño, Kleinzahler, Herrera
win National Book Critics Circle awards

No women received awards at all

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Ronald Johnson’s elegy for Princess Di

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Yet another review of
Gooch’s Flannery

& another

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Talking with the former JT LeRoy

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Angelic Dynamo,
the magazine you edit yourself

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Raymond Chandler vs. LA

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Remembering John Leonard

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If novels could read

It’s really about characters

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Talking with Christian Wiman

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The poetry of Shaikh Mohammad

An Irish poet at the festival in Dubai

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Academic Earth :
video lectures & courses from
Berkeley, Harvard, MIT,
Princeton, Stanford & Yale

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Libraries thrive in a down economy

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Impact of the recession
on the arts (PDF)

More “starving artists” now

Who defends the arts?

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Art in America
on Futurism

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The postcards of Walker Evans

A review in The New Yorker

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Robert Frank:
from “ignored” to “National Treasure”

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The Rest is Noise

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Felix Bernstein’s Mildred Pierce

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Sally Silvers’ Yessified!

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Frank Gehry’s library

Another look by the same author

My favorite library
is by Rem Koolhaas

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Spam architecture

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Finding Lincoln’s fingerprint

§

Philosophy & body-building

§

What Tim Berners-Lee
is inventing now

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A tip of the baseball cap
to the emerging
Jacket 37

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