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Seven roses later ... each rose opens like an ideogram, like a gate

In an essay reflecting on translation, Yoko Tawada reads the poems of Paul Celan as if he had written in Japanese. The essay's translator, Susan Bernofsky, offers context, and in an earlier piece, Rivka Galchen considers "Yoko Tawada's Magnificent Strangeness." More conventional introductions to Celan are available via the Poetry Foundation page on Celan, 14 poems from Breathturn, and a video of Celan reading "Allerseelen" (English sub.; alt. trans.). Tawada's own poetry includes "The Flight of the Moon" (video in Japanese). [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 13, 2014 - 1 comment

Poems in Conversation

3 poems about language. 9 poems without language. 4 poems of language on the edge. 3 poems from languages on the edge. 3 poems about zombies. 2 poems about mermaids. 6 poems drawn in color. 1 poem erased from black and white. 3 dreams by Zurita. 16 dreams by Bolaño. Something about bricks. Something about America. Wot kynde horse brayne spoile our cheery meal. wurrrghc brggguhdrvl.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 3, 2014 - 4 comments

" . . . but women hold the power of story."

Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.
posted by jason's_planet on Jul 1, 2014 - 12 comments

Meet the Next U.S. Poet Laureate: Charles Wright

Various news sources report that Charles Wright will today be named the next Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the United States Library of Congress. An extensive biography and 50 poems are available from the Poetry Foundation. [more inside]
posted by Jahaza on Jun 12, 2014 - 21 comments

It is a dream itself

So it's Kentucky Derby time, once again. But I don't care much for horse racing. So I could say it's really just an excuse to post this wonderful video of Chris McMillian on how to properly craft a Mint Julep. But that would be a lie. I don't care much for Mint Juleps either. They're really just an excuse to post this heart-breakingly beautiful poem about Mint Juleps: [more inside]
posted by mikeand1 on May 2, 2014 - 29 comments

A message for the Secretary of State for Education

"Dear Mr Gove" - a poem by Jess Green.
posted by EndsOfInvention on Apr 4, 2014 - 16 comments

When "Roses are red, violets are blue" just isn't going to cut it.

Not got a way with words? PayPal has made available a number of working poets to write custom poems for your love, just in time for Valentine's Day. [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne on Feb 6, 2014 - 16 comments

A Visit from St. Nicholas to Usenet groups, the by-you, and beyond

Nearly 200 years after "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was written, the authorship is still in dispute. In the years since, there have been quite a few parodies and variants of the poem written, recorded and performed, including at least two different versions of a Cajun Night Before Christmas (a recording of the version by Te-Jules, and Trosclair's version[Google books preview], read by Larry Ray, recorded from WLOX). Snopes tracked down the history of The Soldier's Night Before Christmas, Fifties Web collected 21 tame versions (with auto-playing music), and Dirty Xmas has a number of "adult" versions. Yuks 'R' Us has a large collection, including some dated computer-related stories. Speaking of dated, you can view a vintage '98 "enhanced" version of the original poem plus more variations from Purple Lion (a member of the Merry Christmas Webring from 1998). But for the ultimate collection of variants and parodies, you might recall this thread from 2002. The link is dead, but Archive.org caught the site around that time, with 581 versions. That was over a decade ago, and now Alechemist Matt is up to 849 versions, parodies and variants of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 24, 2013 - 5 comments

μὴ ζῴην μετ᾽ ἀμουσίας

How Did Ancient Greek Music Sound?
The music of ancient Greece, unheard for thousands of years, is being brought back to life by Armand D'Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University. He describes what his research is discovering.
Song Of The Sirens [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 19, 2013 - 12 comments

I LOL'd.

"Impossible to Tell," by Robert Pinsky (via)
posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 18, 2013 - 8 comments

Icelandic traditions: the Yule Cat, Gryla, and the 13 Yuletide Lads

The Yule Cat, called Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur in its native Iceland, is something in the lines of a holiday threat. Those who don't work hard and make, earn, or receive new clothes before Yule will be devoured by Jólakötturinn, as told in the poem by Jóhannes Bjarni Jónasson (original poem with some illustrations). Myths say that Jólakötturinn belongs to the ogress Grýla, mother of the 13 "Yule Lad" trolls. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 17, 2013 - 22 comments

For if we don't find the next whiskey-bar, I tell you we must die!

"Oh, show us the way, to the next whiskey-bar. Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why." And so opens the Alabama Song (Google books preview) by Bertholt Brecht and Brecht's close collaborator, Elisabeth Hauptmann (Gbp), first published in 1927. Brecht set it to music and performed it on stages all over Berlin, but the better known version was scored by classical composer Kurt Weill, who was impressed with Brecht’s poetry and wanted to break away from the constraints of his previous work. It was this version, first performed by Lotte Lenya, that was made famous by The Doors and their use of a Marxophone (Wikipedia). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 13, 2013 - 24 comments

Plot Heroin Lynch / Exposure Tornado Drug / Body scanner Chan

NSA Haiku Generator - "Create a poem out of the NSA search terms that flag you as a potential terrorist!
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 3, 2013 - 30 comments

"As always, they are published without Medvedev’s permission."

america: a prophecy, by Kirill Medvedev [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 30, 2013 - 7 comments

This ain't chemistry. This is Art.

With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 29, 2013 - 974 comments

The English teachers of America must read these pages

'Robert Frost', a poem by George Bilgere [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 9, 2013 - 15 comments

Rape Joke

Rape Joke, a poem by Patricia Lockwood (previously).
posted by mahershalal on Jul 25, 2013 - 87 comments

Pangur Bán

I and Pangur Bán, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.
[...]
(spoken version, set to music) [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Feb 24, 2013 - 20 comments

I HATE SPEECH

Jacket2 has digitzed all 10 editions of Roof magazine, an important publication in the development of language poetry. Featured poets include (pulled from a quick glance): Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, John Ashbery, Michael Castro, Robert Creeley, Alan Ginsberg, Diane Wakoski, Peter Inman, Octavio Paz.
posted by Think_Long on Feb 1, 2013 - 3 comments

my cat is sad

Spencer Madsen wrote a poem about his cat.
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 30, 2013 - 50 comments

"I often read dozens of books simultaneously."

My 6,128 Favorite Books - "Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 26, 2012 - 150 comments

"I went to the root of things, and found nothing but Him alone."

"Perhaps the most remembered and quoted (pdf) woman in Indian history is a sixteenth century poet, singer and saint called Mirabai, or Meera. Versions of her songs are sung today all over India, and she appears as a subject in films, books, dances, plays and paintings. Even Gandhi promoted her, seeing Mira as a symbol of a woman who has the right to choose her own path, forsake a life of luxury, and in nonviolent resistance find liberation (pdf)." ~ Women in World History
posted by infini on Nov 18, 2012 - 5 comments

We should insist while there is still time

Poet Jack Gilbert has passed away; he was 87. [more inside]
posted by eustacescrubb on Nov 13, 2012 - 15 comments

The happiest man on death row

Joe Arridy didn't ask for a last meal. It's doubtful that he even understood the concept.
An article (one page print version) in Denver Westword News by Alan Prendergast recounts the life of Joe Arridy (1915 - 1939), his conviction and execution and Robert Perske's later investigation of the case. Perske has documented many cases of innocent people with mental disabilities being coerced into confessions, and he considers the case of Joe Arridy the most telling. [more inside]
posted by tykky on Sep 25, 2012 - 19 comments

The PirateBay is 9 today

Amid all the problems, the PirateBay celebrated its 9th birthday today with an ode to yaargh!
posted by ding-dong on Sep 15, 2012 - 28 comments

"The banners of the King of Hell come forth"

Mary Jo Bang has a new translation of Dante's Inferno in contemporary English. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 11, 2012 - 28 comments

But as I stand here... I remain a child.

When I Grow Up (SLYT)
posted by zarq on Aug 3, 2012 - 29 comments

Taylor Mali poem, animated

A typographical animation of Taylor Mali's poem, "Totally like whatever, you know?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 1, 2012 - 18 comments

..And I Am the arrow,The dew that flies, Suicidal, at one with the drive Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning.

Ariel [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jul 27, 2012 - 18 comments

Maximize your billables by matching up the syllables

Rhymez Meanz Beanz (via)
posted by unSane on Jul 13, 2012 - 9 comments

I married adventure

Before Joy Adamson went to Africa, before Margaret Mead sailed to Samoa, before Dian Fossey was even born, a Kansas teenager named Osa Leighty married Martin Johnson. Whether dancing to jazz in Congorilla or meeting headhunters in Borneo, her life with Martin ultimately led to hours of pioneering documentary footage, books, movies and more. Her autobiography inspired a Kate Spade purse, a perfume and her marriage an entire line of clothing while her joie de vivre put her on the cover of a book on trailblazing women of history. Osa Johnson went on to become a character in a play, in a poem while her married life gave birth to a museum (or two). When Osa met Martin, she married adventure.
posted by infini on Apr 19, 2012 - 4 comments

This stuff is for dancing, and not for analysis.

Jonathan Richman Reads A Poem For MOJO.
posted by hot soup girl on Feb 23, 2012 - 24 comments

"Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes."

Let me introduce you to Kai Davis and her poem "Truth" (NSFW); a powerful commentary, on racism and perceived intelligence, which has been quietly circulating the web since December 2011. While the poet herself does not seem to have a web page, Davis' slam poetry is being noticed in slam poetry circles as well as on Tumblr. [more inside]
posted by DisreputableDog on Jan 27, 2012 - 74 comments

The color of our galaxy

The best description I can give
Would be that if you looked at new spring snow
Which has a fine grain size
About an hour after dawn or an hour before sunset
You'd see the same spectrum of light
That an alien astronomer in another galaxy would see
Looking at the Milky Way
[more inside]
posted by thirteenkiller on Jan 13, 2012 - 10 comments

The right to delirium

Eduardo Galeano reading The Right to Delirium. Via PULSE
posted by latkes on Jan 5, 2012 - 4 comments

Poem fight

Raging and raging in the lengthening thread
The mood will not heed the moderator;
Rules sprout loopholes; the FAQ cannot answer;
Mere trollery is loosed upon the site;
The lambent prose is loosed, and everywhere
The assumption of good faith is crumbled;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Battle Poetry: Abi Sutherland vs. Chris Clarke. (via mefi's own LanguageHat)
posted by Diablevert on Aug 4, 2011 - 25 comments

"The surprise in Beckett's novels is merely what, in other novels, we have always been up to. The surprise is what a novel is."

R.M. Berry on Samuel Beckett's peculiar writing style: "It's as though the narrator's words were almost thoughtless, accidental, written by someone paying no attention to what he or she says." Beckett is best known for his play Waiting For Godot, in which "nothing happens, twice", but he was also an accomplished writer of prose, ranging from the relatively simple Three Novels to the extremely minimal Imagination Dead Imagine. Some of Beckett's more challenging short plays are available on YouTube: Play (pt. 2), Not I (the famous "mouth" play), and Come and Go, one of the shortest plays in the English language (ranging between 121 and 127 words, depending on translation). Once he interviewed John Lennon and found out who the eggman really was. Beckett's final creative work was his poem What Is the Word.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 25, 2011 - 41 comments

"Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar."

Between Page And Screen is an augmented-reality book of poems (written by Amaranth Borsuk) developed by Brad Bouse. Like a digital pop-up book, you hold the words in your hands. Print a marker and try it. Requires Webcam. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 21, 2011 - 7 comments

"and tapping my laptop with dots."

Poet Publishes 10,000-Page Poem. David Morice wrote one 100-page poem every day for 100 days–producing a 10,000-page poem. How the book was bound and printed. Opening lines of the epic poem: "Today the sky above Iowa City / is cloudy with tiny droplets / gently blowing in the wind / and tapping my laptop with dots. / In front of the University/ Main Library, Gordon sits / on a marble wall, camera / posed to video the beginning / of this poetry marathon." Image of the massive book.
posted by Fizz on Feb 4, 2011 - 68 comments

infinite click and read

Sydney's Siberia a digital poem by Jason Nelson. (via @neilhimself)
posted by juv3nal on Dec 22, 2010 - 3 comments

Well, he was smilin’ like a vulture as he rolled up the horticulture

Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’

What a surprise to read that couplet on "The New Yorker's" website, in an article about Jay-Z's new book. It also discusses Adam Bradley's "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop," an academic study that respects rap lyrics as serious poetry. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Dec 4, 2010 - 82 comments

He made himself a Daddy

Though never a competition, the Def Poetry Jam is a rhyming spin off from its comidic uncle that plays host to some of the most fantastic spoken word from a wonderful breadth of poets and people. The fun and inocent, the declaration of love , your cause the famous and the famouser, the needs of a single woman, the manifest, the virus and one written and delivered with such emotion and power that it left me speachless, "Knock Knock" by Daniel Beaty
posted by Cogentesque on Oct 14, 2010 - 16 comments

Your Wife is Dead

A new poem by Ted Hughes describing the last few days of Sylvia Plath's life has been discovered. The poem is printed in the dead tree edition of today's New Statesman but the Daily Mail has published the text online
posted by unSane on Oct 7, 2010 - 45 comments

tldr;

Raymond Queneau's 100,000,000,000,000 Poems online (annotated, with both French & English text)
posted by juv3nal on Oct 6, 2010 - 16 comments

Maybe even the pin-jun on the general's head!

He loves poetry and he loves to memorise. [SLYT]
posted by nvly on Sep 1, 2010 - 10 comments

What am I myself but one of your meteors?

"A moment, a moment long, it sail’d its balls of unearthly light over our heads, Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone" Walt Whitman wrote these words in the poem Year of Meteors, 1859 ’60. Not until this year did a team of forensic astronomers at Texas State University, with the assistance of a painting from the Hudson River School, figure out what he was really talking about. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 16, 2010 - 15 comments

An Introverts Manifesto

How to be alone. [SLYT]
posted by Taft on Jul 30, 2010 - 101 comments

I Could Have Used You That Night

Oklahoma poet Lauren Zuniga responds to Oklahoma SB 1878 (which requires women to view a ultrasound image of the fetus an hour before receiving an abortion & allows doctors to refuse to provide contraceptive care) with a poem.
posted by eustacescrubb on May 6, 2010 - 63 comments

''Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you'': Vachel Lindsay reads The Congo

Vachel Lindsay reads The Congo.
Jim Dickinson reads The Congo.
Laura Fox reads The Congo.
Vachel Lindsay as Performer
Lindsay and Racism
See also Race Criticism of "The Congo"
A podcast: Noncanonical Congo: A Discussion of Vachel Lindsay's "The Congo." [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 10, 2010 - 28 comments

For me, it was an away game.

Jaap Blonk, Namesake of the blonkorgan, performer, sound poet. AaaaaAAAøøøøøøøøøAEEEeeeiiiIIIIIiiiüüüüüüüüüüieeeeooooOUUUUUooooooo. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on Nov 23, 2009 - 26 comments

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