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Melissa May-Dunn is a performance poet.

Melissa May-Dunn is a performance poet who dropped out of divinity school. A successful gofundme campaign sent her to this year's Women of the World Poetry Slam, where she placed seventh out of 72 with a tribute to a Disney villain, Dear Ursula. [more inside]
posted by bilabial on Apr 10, 2014 - 5 comments

 

The poetry of Hart Crane, from the American epic to personal belonging

Hart Crane was a poet, one who was known by and friends with other notable poets. The poet e. e. cummings claimed that "Crane’s mind was no bigger than a pin, but it didn’t matter; he was a born poet" (Google books preview). Tennessee Williams said he could "hardly understand a single line" but insisted he wanted to be buried at sea at the "point most nearly determined as the point at which Hart Crane gave himself back." Crane had his critics — Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound come to mind, and William Carlos Williams wrote "There is good there but it’s not for me" — but Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg used to read "The Bridge" together, John Berryman wrote one of his famous elegies on Crane and heavyweight Robert Lowell included his “Words for Hart Crane” in "Life Studies." Science/Fiction author, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) also wrote that "nobody seems to have noticed that Hart Crane really was the first space poet," quoting lines from his epic The Bridge in the story Mother in the Sky with Diamonds. Those are all words by other people, why not read a few from Crane? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 19, 2014 - 22 comments

Romance in Ireland

One hundred years ago today, W.B. Yeats published one of his best known poems, September 1913, as a letter to the Irish Times. [more inside]
posted by rollick on Sep 8, 2013 - 7 comments

The art of Jost Amman: woodcuts, some pared with poetry by Hans Sachs

Jost Amman (1539 – 1591) was a Swiss artist, best known for his woodcut illustrations. He was a prolific artist, with some 1,500 prints attributed to him, in the era when engravings were replacing woodcuttings. Amman also made stained glass (Google books preview) and jewelry, but there are more examples of his woodcut illustrations, as found on the colored cover of this bible from 1564, and the black and white images of biblical scenes. Amman's most widely know work is "the book of trades," Eygentliche Beschreibung Aller Stände auff Erden (Google books; PDFs of sections of the book). Ptak Science Books has 25 images with (most) job titles in English, and here is a full index of English titles, linking back to Wikimedia Commons. But that's only half of the book. The other part is the descriptions of the jobs, which are short poems by Hans Sachs, some of which are translated on the Victoria and Albert Museum.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 13, 2013 - 2 comments

“seeing is inescapably tied to scarring,"

STREET OF THE IRON PO(E)T, A Paris Diary by Henri Cole: "Today I visited the cenotaph to Baudelaire..." Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.
posted by Fizz on Mar 31, 2013 - 3 comments

"When I say this, it should mean laughter, not poison."

"Naming restricts. Once restricted, it’s easy to be judged and punished. Identity is more subtle, more liquid, I hope." An interview with Richard Siken, a poet whose work is easy, entertaining even, yet ferocious as all hell. If you're new to Siken, Scheherazade is a short introduction to the man and his style. You Are Jeff is a prose poem in twenty-six short, brutal chapters. Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out is one of his best: "You get magic gloves! A fish that talks! You get eyes like flashlights! / What more do you want? / I make you pancakes, I take you hunting, I talk to you as if you're / really there." He also paints.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 8, 2013 - 21 comments

it ain't the middle of life but I'm still / lost in the woods

Anselm Hollo, Finnish-born poet, translator, and teacher, has died. A major figure in the poetry avant garde for decades, Hollo was a professor at the Naropa Institute's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Robert Archambeau writes: "Hollo's grasp of the gulf between the sublimity of which poetry is capable, and the absurdities into which poets fall in pursuit of that chimera, a 'career in poetry,' made him the ideal person to hold the title of United States Anti-Laureate, to which he was elected by the Buffalo POETICS list back at the turn of the century."
posted by aught on Jan 30, 2013 - 7 comments

Dark Field Microscopy

  • I did not know the incense storing temple,
  • I walked a few miles into the clouded peaks.
  • No man on the path between the ancient trees,
  • A bell rang somewhere deep among the hills.
  • A spring sounded choked, running down steep rocks,
  • The green pines chilled the sunlight's coloured rays.
  • Come dusk, at the bend of a deserted pool,
  • Through meditation I controlled passion's dragon.
Stopping at Incense Storing Temple, Wang Wei (699-759)
posted by lemuring on Dec 17, 2012 - 13 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

Possible second photograph of Emily Dickinson

The only authenticated photgraph of Emily Dickinson is of a 16 year old girl. Amherst College now believes that a privately owned daguerrotype shows the poet as a 28 year old woman - about the time she wrote the "Master" letters.
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 5, 2012 - 33 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

"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

"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

Lint In My Pocket - American Civil War poetry

S Thomas Summers teaches writing and literature, and writes poetry about the American Civil War. Some of my favorites. Hat tip: The Atlantic.
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 12, 2010 - 1 comment

Nothing

Tuli Kupferberg, poet and co-founder of The Fugs, passed away today at the age of 86. [more inside]
posted by psylosyren on Jul 12, 2010 - 36 comments

Anne Spencer: Poet, Gardener, Activist

Anne Spencer (1882-1975) (video tribute from the State Library of Virginia) was a Harlem Renaissance poet, a gardener, a librarian, and an activist. Her work was influential among her peers and successors - as was her legendary and beloved garden in Lynchburg, Va, where she lived for her entire adult life. She wrote only 50 known poems - 25 to 35 of which were published in her lifetime - on topics that were important to her - the beauty of nature, racism and equality, and her faith, including these 8 of her better-known poems , Before the Feast of Shushan, and Lady, Lady. Many of her poems were reprinted in anthologies, but the controversial White Things (c. 1918, published c. 1923, inspired by a particularly horrible lynching of a pregnant woman) was never reprinted. [more inside]
posted by julen on Apr 20, 2010 - 7 comments

Truth to power.

Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Rap. Parts 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 and 6.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 16, 2010 - 19 comments

Happy Birthday Seamus!

April 13th is Seamus Heaney's 70th birthday, and to celebrate, the Irish press have honored him in many ways. A Catholic from Northern Ireland, his early poems reflected his upbringing on a farm, but his later poems (and time in the States) spoke powerfully of 'the Troubles.' I thought he deserved a mention in the Blue. [more inside]
posted by dbmcd on Apr 12, 2009 - 13 comments

in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems

Should you find yourself wandering around the city of Leiden, the Netherlands sometime, you may notice some curious markings on the city's walls.

These Muurgedichten ("Wall Poems") adorn many of the town's streets (clickable map), and many English-language poets are represented: one John Keats, for instance, inside a bookshop; Dylan Thomas, E. E. Cummings, W.B. Yeats, some guy called William Shakespeare, or this ode to Charlie Parker by American William Waring Cuney. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 5, 2009 - 15 comments

What else is there besides matters of taste?

It's almost as good as being at John Ashbery's home (bio) and there's more, including a preliminary inventory of his library* (search for "inventories" or scroll down). Ashbery's poetry is still very much invested in the reader's pleasure—more so than many supposedly "approachable" poets. You can hear him read his poems (more), watch him (here's -transcript- a brief taste and a half-hour video) or read a few of his poems. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Jan 28, 2009 - 20 comments

I walk across High Holborn and think of you with nothing on

Eight years nearly to the day after I read about Adrian Henri's death on the Formica table of a service-station cafeteria, another of my favourite poets has left us. Adrian Mitchell, left-wing poet and romantic, 1932 - 2008. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Dec 23, 2008 - 7 comments

RIP Hayden Carruth 1921-2008

"Why don't you write me a poem that will prepare me for your death?" Hayden Carruth's wife, thirty years his junior, asked him. He did so, and it became one of his most popular poems. Carruth, who celebrated his 87th birthday last month died last night at his home in Munnsville New York. Carruth was the winner of the the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his poetry collection Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. He edited Poetry magazine from 1949-1950 and was a poetry editor at Harpers. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Sep 30, 2008 - 23 comments

Robert Bruce: American Poet

Robert Bruce is an American Poet who eschews Lit and Poetry Journals and instead posts a poem a week to his blog, Knife Gun Pen. [more inside]
posted by mosessis on May 24, 2008 - 26 comments

Caroline Bergvall and More Pets!

Caroline Bergvall writes poems(mp3) modulated by technology(nsfw) . She also gives radio interviews (with more readings).
posted by geos on Nov 15, 2007 - 3 comments

This is the YouTube poetry post.

Poets on YouTube: Bukowski; Dylan Thomas; Jim Morrison; Allen Ginsberg; Sylvia Plath; Billy Collins; Cookie Monster; and what the hell, even Jacques Brel.

But there's plenty of readings by amateurs as well: for example, lilcutiewithabooty06 reads e e cummings; Michael reads cummings really fast; Tom Waits and Bono read Bukowski; bearded men read Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare; and what if Emily Dickinson had a ukulele?

Mouseover links to see titles; feel free to add your favourites.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Mar 26, 2007 - 29 comments

His gift survived it all

Today is the centenary of W.H. Auden, one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Why not commemorate it by attending one of the many events honoring the man and marking the day? Auden wrote about anything and everything; his poems addressed such topics as the advent of World War II ("September 1, 1939", which gained new resonance after 9/11), grief ("Funeral Blues", used to great effect in Four Weddings and a Funeral), physics ("After Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics"), commencement addresses ("Under Which Lyre: A Reactionary Tract for the Times") unrequited love ("The More Loving One"), and the way life goes on ("Musée des Beaux Arts"). [more inside]
posted by Vidiot on Feb 20, 2007 - 36 comments

Do not speak of secret matters in a field full of little hills.

"I am still / The black swan of trespass on alien waters." Ernest Lalor Malley (1918-1943). With the posthumous publication of such poems as "Dürer: Innsbruck, 1495" and "Petit Testament" in the journal Angry Penguins, Ern Malley was championed as the new voice of modern Australian poetry. The resulting scandal and obscenity trial would change poetry and literary theory forever. Plus, the ABC's documentary, The Ern Malley Story (listen).
posted by steef on Aug 1, 2005 - 6 comments

Yet again !

All should see him before the Cholera arrives ! Beautiful Moon, with thy silvery light, Thou seemest most charming to my sight; As I gaze upon thee in the sky so high, A tear of joy does moisten mine eye. William Topaz McGonagall , the worlds greatest poet (again).
posted by sgt.serenity on Jun 8, 2005 - 7 comments

Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) - one of the greatest poets of the 20th century - passed away on Saturday in Krackow, Poland. I want to remember him here with this: "Conversation with Jeanne"
posted by lilboo on Aug 16, 2004 - 8 comments

"Writing is inhibiting. Sighing, I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script."

Eunoia ("beautiful thinking") is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five vowels. It is also the title of a poetry collection by Canadian author Christian Bok. In addition to writing each chapter using only words that contain one vowel, (Flash presentation of Chapter "E") Bok also greatly limits himself in other ways. An amazing accomplishment that won the $40 000 Griffith Poetry Prize in 2002, Eunoia is best experienced in its spoken form. (MP3 links) (If you don't know Bok's poetry, you still might know his other work. He has also created artificial languages for two television shows: Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley's Amazon.)
posted by Jaybo on Jul 22, 2004 - 18 comments

Child poet, old soul wisdom

Remembering the amazingly mature poetry of Mattie Stepanek: national goodwill ambassador with muscular dystrophy, and 13 year old prodigal wordsmith.
posted by moonbird on Jun 23, 2004 - 7 comments

We're not, I think, un-Hellenized.

C. P. Cavafy. With English translations and Greek originals of his published poems. An introduction to a collection of his poetry by Auden, and a museum exhibit about his life.
posted by kenko on May 16, 2004 - 9 comments

Biography And Literary Worth

Philip Larkin: Great Poet, Shame About The Man? When is an excess of biography, i.e. high-minded, clumsily-disguised gossip, an impediment to literary appreciation? Nowadays, it seems always. [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Mar 19, 2004 - 26 comments

Burns Night

Burns Night. 'Robert Burns: poet and balladeer, Scotland's favourite son and champion of the common people. Each year on January 25, the great man's presumed birthday, Scots everywhere take time out to honour a national icon. Whether it's a full-blown Burns Supper or a quiet night of reading poetry, Burns Night is a night for all Scots.'
More on the Robert Burns Tribute site.
posted by plep on Jan 23, 2004 - 3 comments

Dylan Thomas - 50th Anniversary of the Poet's Death

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
Fifty years ago, Dylan Thomas - one of the greatest poets of our time - drank himself to death in New York's Hotel Chelsea at the age of 39. Swansea, his Welsh hometown, will be commemorating his life all year, culminating in a festival in the fall. [more]
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 18, 2003 - 58 comments

Expatriate Iraq poet Saadi Youssef

America, America: I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island. A poem from Saadi Youssef, published in this Saturday's Guardian (scroll down past Seamus Heaney):

Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the stripes of your flag
and give us the stars.
Take the Afghani Mujahideen beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with
butterflies.
Take Saddam Hussein
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.

Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He is considered to be among the greatest living Arab poets. Youssef has published 25 volumes of poetry, a book of short stories, a novel, four volumes of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. In addition to being imprisoned for his poetry and politics, he has won numerous literary awards and recognitions. He now lives in London. [more inside]
posted by jokeefe on Feb 14, 2003 - 8 comments

Not exactly T.S. Eliot...

Not exactly T.S. Eliot... April is indeed the cruelest month, so I went in search of something to honor the great master of English poetry. But this is what I found instead.
posted by bunnyfire on Apr 2, 2002 - 11 comments

Maya Angelou rises to the challenge of writing for Hallmark.

Maya Angelou rises to the challenge of writing for Hallmark. Angelou finds it "challenging and daring" to craft two-sentence sentiments. And when the Maya Angelou Life Mosaic Collection hits stores this month, you'll be able to read the hard-won sentiments of America's favorite inaugural poet on pillows, wall hangings and banquet bowls.
posted by varmint on Jan 12, 2002 - 71 comments

An interesting look at translation:

An interesting look at translation: Australian writer Peter Goldsworthy "on being Spanished, Deutsched, Japanesed, Greeked and Malayed", and what he thinks is gained or lost in the process. (Also: translating poetry.)
posted by eoz on Jan 4, 2002 - 10 comments

Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, died Sunday.

Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, died Sunday.
posted by sugarfish on Dec 4, 2000 - 5 comments

Positive, by Ian Stephens.

Positive, by Ian Stephens. Not, perhaps, in the tradition of Day Without Art. But... Ian Stephens was a poet, musician, and performer from my neighbourhood in Montreal who died in 1996.
posted by mikel on Dec 1, 2000 - 0 comments

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