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Wisława Szymborska is dead

Wisława Szymborska is dead.
posted by R. Schlock on Feb 1, 2012 - 60 comments

doesn't it feel good to touch

Slam poet Marshall Soulful Jones performs "Touchscreen".
posted by flex on Jan 31, 2012 - 11 comments

"these little songs, and many like them, were made for the comfort of my friends, in their sorrow, doubt and suffering"

An internet search, even in these days of abundant information, yields only that the pamphlets can be found in various library collections, and that they continued to be produced into the '70s. And that Edmund Wilson once sent one, "Mr. P. Squiggle's Reward," to Nabokov, calling it "one of the oddest of many odd things that are sent me by unknown people." He also got the title wrong, dubbing it "Mr. P. Squiggle's Revenge," which is probably significant. But that’s it: nothing about Volk or McCalib.
Epitomes was a series of pamphlets published by Elwin Volk and Dennis McCalib. Few traces of Volk's life are to be found, but he seems to have been a lawyer, and wrote at least a couple of pamphlets about law, which he self-published in Pasadena. McCalib is equally elusive. A man by that name contributed to an issue of One: The Homosexual Viewpoint in 1964. A Dennis McCalib also used the pseudonym Lord Fuzzy. The aforementioned "Mr. P. Squiggle's Reward" got a curt, two half-sentence dismissal in Poetry Magazine, otherwise these pamphlets seem not to have troubled the literary world. Someone donated their manuscripts to UCLA where they rest undigitized in fourteen boxes. But Library of Congress has scanned a total of twenty-six pages in high resolution.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 27, 2012 - 9 comments

When a benefit is suggested for men, the question asked is: "Will it benefit men?" When a benefit is suggested for women, the question is: "Will it benefit men?"

Are Women People? A writer for The Hairpin discovers the satirical poetry of Alice Duer Miller.
posted by flex on Jan 20, 2012 - 44 comments

Kist o Riches Indeed

Tobar an Dualchais will keep you busy for awhile. It's a collection of over 26,000 oral recordings made in Scotland, from the 1930s onward. Folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, oh my. Includes some fascinating material from Belle Stewart, the McPake Sisters of Peebles and John the Bard.
posted by RedEmma on Jan 14, 2012 - 5 comments

No more briar pipes

Néo Fénéon: "Three thousand seven hundred dollars richer after stealing from the job, Marvin Williams, 25, of Brooklyn, went to urinate in a playground." - Items from the NYPD blotter remixed daily in the style of Félix Fénéon. (previously)
posted by mrgrimm on Jan 12, 2012 - 10 comments

The Battle Of Maldon

The Battle Of Maldon is an Old English poem (here in the original Old English, here in a modern translation) retelling the events of a battle that took place in England in 991, in which a small army of Saxons attempted to halt an invading Viking force only to suffer a crushing defeat. This battle, and the disastrous rout suffered by the Saxons, led to the introduction of the Danegeld, the payment of silver in tribute to the Vikings to buy off their invading forces. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jan 12, 2012 - 25 comments

Kissin plays, Kissin talks

Evgeny Kissin is not only a phenomenally active, high-strung, and almost unfailing pianist, he also declaims poetry in public -- in Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by Namlit on Jan 6, 2012 - 5 comments

The right to delirium

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

Go no onyx. In to battery baritone formative. Carp at ascertain. / It designs by jukebox.

The Spam Poetry Institute is an organization dedicated to collecting and preserving the fine literature created by the world’s spammers
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 4, 2012 - 9 comments

Not Quite Stalag 13

Sandusky, Ohio is probably best known for its roller coasters (and maybe the wineries in the area), but one of the most interesting places--a tiny little island in the Sandusky Bay called Johnson's Island--is very often overlooked. Once the home of a prison camp for confederate soldiers, daring (and not so daring) escapes, convoluted espionage schemes, poetry, and eating rats. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Jan 4, 2012 - 14 comments

Happy Solstice!

"everything is good that / has a good beginning / and doesn't have an end / the world will die but for us there is no / end!" Thus ends Victory over the Sun (part 1, part 2), the "first Futurist opera". [more inside]
posted by daniel_charms on Dec 21, 2011 - 8 comments

Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government

How well do you really know old Arty? It all began with the Welsh: The The Annales Cabriae (inside) and parts of the Welsh oral tradition (later collected into the Mabinogion) give a very different picture of the popular King Arthur than contemporary readers are familiar with: no Lancelot, three or four different Guens, no love triangles or Holy Grails. A look at the vast scope of the Arthurian legend. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Dec 19, 2011 - 30 comments

Assuredly, many acclaimed poets are no match to Shakespeare.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, released in October. Harvard professor and critic Helen Vendler objects to Dove's choices; Dove reacts (and Vendler, succinctly, replies, "I have written the review and I stand by it.") and so do other critics, with charges of racism and, relatedly, too narrow a view of poetic traditions. [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam on Dec 6, 2011 - 77 comments

Christopher Logue, 1926-2011

"Almost everything I do is based on other texts anyway. Without plagiarism, there would be no literature. I'm a rewrite man." The poet Christoper Logue has died, aged 85. Logue had a varied career, at various points serving in the British Army (and being arrested for espionage after a drunken threat to sell secrets), writing pornography under the nom de plume Count Palmiro de Vicarion, recording George Martin-produced, "heroically daft" jazz recitals of the poems of Pablo Neruda (YT) and regularly contributing to the British satirical magazine Private Eye, where he edited Pseuds' Corner, while finding the time to be arrested again, for civil disobedience as part of Bertrand Russell's Committee of 100. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Dec 4, 2011 - 14 comments

Blaise Cendrars

Reading Blaise Cendrars is like stepping into another universe. His fiction is unlike anything else I've ever read. His poetry influenced the mighty Guillaume Apollinaire and helped shape the face of modernism. But it is his mockery of biographical detail and the very notion of literature that fascinates me the most. If, like me, you're not a fan of autobiography, then Blaise Cendrars is the memoirist for you.
posted by Trurl on Nov 30, 2011 - 10 comments

Poe Raven Bowie Mashed

If Edgar Allan Poe's, 'The Raven', was interpreted by David Bowie, as imagined sounding by Ralph Garman. [more inside]
posted by phoque on Nov 7, 2011 - 12 comments

Daft beat poems

Four heroically daft beat poems. Part II. (Via Brian Eno's latest interview.Direct 10:25 )
posted by twoleftfeet on Nov 7, 2011 - 5 comments

What is this tyranny of head that stifles / The eyes, the senses, / All play on the strings of the heart.

Did you know the recently elected president of Ireland is actually a noted poet? [The Guardian] Here is another of his works. The Guardian's own Carol Rumens is not a fan.
posted by Fizz on Nov 4, 2011 - 15 comments

“We shall have a man in the White House who will feel as responsible for American civilization as he does for American power and prosperity.”

"It was no accident that arts funding was once again brought to national attention with the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Since the 80s, the enemies of the NEA have not been those with differences of opinion about what art should be supported or how. Instead they oppose any support at all for art of any kind." Hide/Seek, Culture Wars and the History of the NEA (NSFW, art)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 1, 2011 - 115 comments

Cinderella, Cinderella, Night and Day it's Cinderella

You probably know the Perrault version. And chances are, you haven’t been able to escape the Disney version. Maybe you know the slightly-darker Grimm version, or even the original story of Yeh-Shen. Maybe you’re a fan of musicals, and love Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella or Sondheim’s Into the Woods. But chances are, there’s a bit about this classic story you don’t know yet… [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Oct 27, 2011 - 46 comments

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

The Solitary Walker - a blog (mostly) about walking.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Oct 21, 2011 - 14 comments

Astronauts who got creative about their experiences

Over 500 people have traveled into outer space. While many have written books about the experience, only a few have used more creative means to express what they saw and felt. Here are a few: [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 9, 2011 - 13 comments

O poeta é um fingidor

13+ ways of looking at Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography".
posted by klue on Oct 6, 2011 - 22 comments

"Once there was a shock that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail."

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. His poetry has been translated into more than five dozen languages and is the living poet who has been translated most into English. He received the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2007, and the award page is a pretty extensive source of information. Below the cut I'll include a few of his poems that I've found online, but the best place to start is the poetry section of his website, where you'll also find an interview, video, audio and a list of English translations. Tom Slegh wrote an appreciation of Tranströmer and Mary Karr and Christopher Robinson discuss him briefly on Poetry Fix, and read two of his poems. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 6, 2011 - 52 comments

Public Access Poetry

In 1977-1978, a public access TV show called Public Access Poetry featured leading poets from across the country (Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Eileen Myles, John Yau, Brad Gooch, just to name a few). [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Sep 23, 2011 - 5 comments

"Uncreative Genius"

"The prominent literary critic Marjorie Perloff has recently begun using the term 'unoriginal genius' to describe this tendency emerging in literature. Her idea is that, because of changes brought on by technology and the Internet, our notion of the genius—a romantic, isolated figure—is outdated. An updated notion of genius would have to center around one's mastery of information and its dissemination. Perloff has coined another term, 'moving information,' to signify both the act of pushing language around as well as the act of being emotionally moved by that process. She posits that today's writer resembles more a programmer than a tortured genius, brilliantly conceptualizing, constructing, executing, and maintaining a writing machine." --Kenneth Goldsmith on why "genius" is an archaic concept, and how literature in English has fallen half-a-century behind advances in visual arts and music
posted by bardic on Sep 22, 2011 - 44 comments

Eternity

"That shy mysterious poet Arthur Stace
Whose work was just one single mighty word
Walked in the utmost depths of time and space
And there his word was spoken and he heard
ETERNITY, ETERNITY, it banged him like a bell
Dulcet from heaven sounding, sombre from hell."
- Douglas Stewart
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Sep 11, 2011 - 4 comments

Who can say he’s ever touched what he passes?

Six Dialogues with Leuco by Cesare Pavese. The Flood, The Beast & The Witches, three dialogues by Cesare Pavese. Poems. Poems. Poems. Poems.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 9, 2011 - 1 comment

People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".

Far too many people, especially perhaps-innocent grad. students, have been misled into thinking that, in terms of quoting LZ or CZ, they may do what they want, and do not have to worry about me. Paul Zukofsky, son and literary executor of poet Louis Zukofsky, wrote a spirited copyright notice that appears on a site dedicated to his father's work.
posted by Bromius on Sep 4, 2011 - 103 comments

Kim Addonizio, "The End of It"

"I have foresworn desire...I neither lick nor moan...I neither swallow..." Kim Addonizio's poem, "The End of It," is on Poetry Daily. Reminiscent of Yeats' line, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity" and Stephen Dunn's line, "Precision...is more radical than passion," it demonstrates the fecund nature of poetic iconoclasm. Or, if you prefer the more hackneyed characterization, the value of questioning everything. In the end, Addonizio may be sitting quietly, like Nanao Sakaki's "happy, lucky idiot." [NSF asexuals, hedonists, or the majority of non-eccentrics...but I doubt your boss at work will bat an eyelash at a poem--if so, sit quietly you happy, lucky...] [more inside]
posted by ottimo on Aug 9, 2011 - 41 comments

No! I am not Luke Skywalker, nor was meant to be

The Lovesong of Admiral Piett Let us go then, you and I, When the star destroyers are spread out across the sky Like a smuggler frozen, cased in carbonite.
posted by Violet Hour on Jul 29, 2011 - 57 comments

The Day Lady Died

July 17th 1959: "Billie Holiday died in a New York City hospital from cirrhosis of the liver after years of alcohol abuse, aged 43 (while under arrest for heroin possession, with police officers stationed at the door to her room). In the final years of her life, she had been progressively swindled out of her earnings, and she died with $0.70 in the bank." Still, the world remembers her for her music, her voice that changed lives. Some of her best: Nice Work If You Can Get It, Fine and Mellow, Strange Fruit, I'll Be Seeing You, Good Morning Heartache, Summertime, I'm A Fool to Want You, As Time Goes By, Solitude, Come Rain or Come Shine and The Man I Love. [more inside]
posted by pleasebekind on Jul 17, 2011 - 30 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

Poems About Internet Dating

Poems About Internet Dating. Does what it says in the profile.
posted by escabeche on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

Encountering Urdu poetry's modern heavyweight

Faiz for Dummies. Worth a read even if you don't know Urdu.
posted by bardophile on May 31, 2011 - 21 comments

Motion Poems!

She's an animator who loves poetry.
He's a poet who loves animation.
Their collaboration, along with the help of many other animators and poets,
has resulted in a storm of Motionpoems.
(More on vimeo & youtube.)
posted by carsonb on May 26, 2011 - 3 comments

A cheap boulevardier.

One day last year, while working on a biography of the publisher Scofield Thayer, I opened a folder of papers related to his magazine The Dial. The folder contained undated letters from the poet E.E. Cummings to Thayer, early versions of a couple Cummings’ poems and one poem by Cummings I couldn’t remember ever seeing before. It was called "(tonite" and, until I came across it, it was unknown.
James Dempsey discusses Scofield Thayer, E.E. Cummings, their relationship, and a heretofore unknown, unpublished poem.
posted by shakespeherian on May 26, 2011 - 4 comments

Scottish artist Robert Montgomery and his billboards and neon signs

"Robert Montgomery works in a poetic and melancholic post-situationist tradition. He makes billboard pieces, recycled sunlight pieces and drawings." This one's my favorite but I like others too. Here are a few more examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
posted by Kattullus on May 20, 2011 - 14 comments

A rap eulogy in 32 bars (give or take 5%)

"On November 22, 1997, there was a party at 635 Logan Street, Steubenville, Ohio. Hubbard attended this party. At the party were several members of the gang known as the Crips. It is contested whether Hubbard is a member of the Crips. During that evening, Wise God Allah, a.k.a. Grier Montgomery, was walking down the street outside of the party. Wise God Allah was known to be a member of the rival gang the Bloods. Hubbard and up to nine other men began shooting at Wise God Allah. One of the shots hit Wise God Allah. The gunshot wound was fatal."*
"On one record I did called 'Wise' that didn't make the album the Supreme Clientele—I couldn't use it, they took it off**—I cried writing it. I wrote it on the beach. And I cried. And it started raining when I was crying. It was in Miami. I cried writing it, and then when I went to go record it, it had some tears coming to my eyes too, recording it, because I had to zone out, I couldn't really do it in front of everybody. I don't like to record in front of a lot of people especially when I'm writing emotional stuff." - Ghostface Killah [audio interview] [more inside]
posted by jng on Apr 30, 2011 - 12 comments

Bad Politics, Worse Prose

Famous dictators and the books/poetry they write. [more inside]
posted by gman on Apr 20, 2011 - 21 comments

James Merrill

On living in the James Merrill House by Ivy Pochoda from Writers' Houses. Poems referenced: Willoware Cup :: The Victor Dog :: Mirabell: Books of Number :: Lost in Translation :: Another April :: The Book of Ephraim :: The Mad Scene
posted by puny human on Apr 15, 2011 - 6 comments

So much depends on /proper syntax

This is just to say/Mefi's Cortex/has created/ a william carlos williams/ poem generator Forgive me/ it came from Think Stank/ Previously
posted by The Whelk on Apr 7, 2011 - 79 comments

"Genetic engineers don't make new genes, they rearrange existing ones."

The Xenotext Experiment is Christian Bök's [Previously],"nine-year long attempt to create an example of “living poetry.” I have been striving to write a short verse about language and genetics, whereupon I use a “chemical alphabet” to translate this poem into a sequence of DNA for subsequent implantation into the genome of a bacterium (in this case, a microbe called Deinococcus radiodurans—an extremophile, capable of surviving, without mutation, in even the most hostile milieus, including the vacuum of outer space)." [Via] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Apr 4, 2011 - 25 comments

On First Looking into Lovecraft's Homer

A Cyclops' cave the wanderers brave
And find much milk & cheese
But as they eat, foul death they meet
For them doth Cyclops seize.

From The Young Folks' Ulysses [PDF], by H. Lovecraft, poet, aged seven. One of the "freely available editions of obscure, outlandish and otherwise outré works of semi-fine literature" from the electric publishing wing of kobek.com.
posted by Iridic on Mar 28, 2011 - 8 comments

The Outfielder Was a Poet

Chicago Cubs outfielder Fernando Perez has published his poems in Poetry and The Southern Review. He studied creative writing at Columbia, just like James Franco. He is into Robert Creeley. He has a twitter feed. His career batting average is .234 but he's hitting only .161 in the Cactus League and might not make the big league club. Spring Training is the cruelest month.
posted by escabeche on Mar 22, 2011 - 15 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

Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles - "novelist, composer, poet and quintessential outsider of American literature".
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 27, 2011 - 14 comments

Top Ten Fictional Poets

John Mullan in The Guardian compiles a list of the top ten fictional poets from literature. The article's comments thread has already reminded him of a couple he neglected: "Ka" (Kerim Alakusoglu) from Orhan Pamuk's Snow, and William Ashbless from Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates. Others might include Kid from Samuel Delany's Dhalgren; Cesárea Tinajero, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima of Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives (really, the character lists for many of Bolaño's novels would provide multiple fictional minor poets of course); Adam Dalgleish from P.D. James' mysteries; Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago; Saul Bellow's Von Humboldt Fleisher. Other links to discussions of fictional poets.
posted by aught on Feb 22, 2011 - 48 comments

"She is the walking dead. No matter who / she was before, you must burn her with flame"

Roz Kaveney's Zombie Sonnets. livejournal They start at Feb 3rd.
posted by Fizz on Feb 19, 2011 - 8 comments

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