765 posts tagged with poetry.
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"There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable"

Variations on the Right to Remain Silent is an essay by poet and classicist Anne Carson about translation, cliché, divine language and the way some words violently resist being explained. She touches on Homer, Sappho, Joan of Arc, Friedrich Hölderlin, and the painter Francis Bacon.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 28, 2015 - 6 comments

Everything that happened was for both of us a prehistory of our future

In 1910 and 1911, Anna Akhmatova and Amadeo Modigliani were in love. She was a then-unknown Russian poet who would return to Russia and struggle within the Soviet system before being widely acknowledged as one of Russia's great poets; he was a mercurial artist who would be dead within 10 years, but whose art would capture the imagination of future generations. [more inside]
posted by julen on Mar 26, 2015 - 15 comments

When the Glimpse Is Worth More than the Glare

A Poem Composed Entirely of SXSW Panel Titles
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 16, 2015 - 7 comments

more weight than so much of what is printed on paper

Founded by celebrated poet and White House guest Kenneth Goldsmith, Ubuweb for years has been housing massive gigabites of work that exists outside the lines—from audio archives of rare performances by avant-garde musicians and video artists, known and unknown, to whole lifetimes of textual and interpretative work dug up and given new life online. -- Vice on how Ubu Publishes the Unpublishable. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 9, 2015 - 12 comments

Bittersweet

Since the late 19th century, the amount of her writing we have access to has more than doubled and our views of sexuality have changed, leading to constant modern reexamination of one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen: Who was Sappho? And just how much does her sexuality and her personal life matter to a discussion of her work?
Some ancient writers assumed that there had to have been two Sapphos: one the great poet, the other the notorious slut. There is an entry for each in the Suda. The uncertainties plaguing the biography of literature’s most famous Lesbian explain why classicists who study Sappho like to cite the entry for her in Monique Wittig and Sande Zeig’s “Lesbian Peoples: Material for a Dictionary” (1979). To honor Sappho’s central position in the history of female homosexuality, the two editors devoted an entire page to her. The page is blank. . . . Even as we strain to hear this remarkable woman’s sweet speech, the thrumming in our ears grows louder.
Previously: Metafilter (awesomely) tackles the newly discovered "Brothers Poem" in real time.
posted by sallybrown on Mar 9, 2015 - 41 comments

The final days of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva

On Tsvetaeva, tragedy and the end of the tsarist era. There's a whole series of these articles about Russian poets told through their last days. A bit morbid, but quite appropriate tributes to the artists, as well as a good starting-point for those interested in Russian poetry.
posted by averysmallcat on Feb 28, 2015 - 3 comments

Bringing a Daughter Back From the Brink with Poems

The most optimistic people often struggle the hardest. They can’t quite square what’s going on in the world with their beliefs, and the disparity is alarming. [slnyt]
posted by ellieBOA on Feb 28, 2015 - 40 comments

Drawing me back through night’s dark maze

'041' by Iain Banks [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 14, 2015 - 6 comments

Invite the bee, your player, to imagine something greater.

A Beekeeper's Guide to Game Design
posted by danb on Feb 10, 2015 - 7 comments

I wish I could borrow the sun and light your darkened rooms.

Dear all the women who ever existed over the entire span of human history is a performance of the poem Letter to a wish by Emilie Zoey Baker, accompanied on the fiddle by The Man Who Wasn't There (Andrew Watson).
posted by Kerasia on Feb 4, 2015 - 4 comments

Why (Aboriginal) Australia Will Not Recover From the Intervention

'waiting for a heart attack': Ali Cobby Eckermann writes about her first-hand experience of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response as the Art Centre Manager at Titjikala. This includes poetry based on her experiences and this may trigger upsetting emotional issues for some readers as it deals with fall out of colonisation, alcoholism and domestic violence.
posted by nfalkner on Feb 1, 2015 - 14 comments

Four Translations of Dante’s Inferno

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura che la diritta via era smarrita Zappulla: Halfway along the journey of our life, Ciardi: Midway in our life’s journey I went astray Mandelbaum: When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, Hollander: At the midpoint in the journey of our life
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 15, 2015 - 28 comments

"Love in Ulster"

Danderin' down the loanin'
On a day of spring wi' Kathy McIlvenna
Says I, "The whin's a tidy thing,"
Says she, "I wouldn't wonder,
But I never thought much about whins," says she,
An' me just studyin' to be polite,
Ach, girls is a mystery to me, girls is quare!
[more inside]
posted by growabrain on Jan 14, 2015 - 2 comments

Tomaž Šalamun is a sphere rushing through the air.*

Late in 2014, master avant garde Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun passed away at his home in Ljubljana. During his life, he published 30 books of poetry, and was honored with the Prešeren Fund Prize, the Jenko Prize (twice), a Pushcart Prize, a visiting Fulbright to Columbia University, and a fellowship to the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. [more inside]
posted by elmer benson on Jan 12, 2015 - 4 comments

"T.S. Eliot, the stink-bombing Nobel prizewinner"

[T.S. Eliot] both recognised and skewered in Four Quartets the routines of "eminent men of letters" who became "chairmen of many committees". As a banker, then as a publisher, he worked at jobs where committees were de rigueur and he accomplished his work with aplomb. Yet part of him always sought an escape hatch, a way to elude his official self. His nephew Graham Bruce Fletcher remembers Uncle Tom taking him as a boy to a London joke shop in the 1960s. They bought stink bombs and let them off at the entrance of the Bedford Hotel, not far from Eliot's workplace in Bloomsbury's Russell Square. With a fit of giggles, Eliot put on a marked turn of speed as, Macavity-like, he and his nephew sped from the scene of the crime, Eliot twirling his walking stick "in the manner of Charlie Chaplin".
TS Eliot: the poet who conquered the world, 50 years on by Robert Crawford, poet and biographer of Eliot. You can listen to a lecture by him entitled T. S. Eliot's daughter on the poem Marina. You can hear it, and other poems, read in between classical music as part of an episode of Words and Music. And if you want to get to know the poet, the T. S. Eliot Society keeps tabs on what works are freely available online.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 12, 2015 - 19 comments

Phenomenally.

Maya Angelou's posthumous hip hop project Caged Bird Songs, has a new music video for Harlem Hopscotch.
posted by ChuraChura on Dec 28, 2014 - 2 comments

over their charred ashes / scattered on the horizon

The great Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab died fifty years ago today, on December 24, 1964. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 28, 2014 - 2 comments

"As such, Helen herself has a beauty rating of 1.186 helens"

in the iliad helen speaks the last lament for hector. the only man in troy who showed her kindness is slain—and now, helen says, πάντες δέ με πεφρίκασιν, all men shudder at me. she doesn't speak in the iliad again. homer isn’t cruel to helen; her story is cruel enough.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 18, 2014 - 28 comments

Nu scylun hergan Gehyrst Hlaf

I am irrationally pleased by God-night, Rune and The Cat in the Hwæt, two Old English translations by Cassandra Rasmussen.
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 14, 2014 - 38 comments

i carry your dick pic with me (i carry it in my heart)

Classic Poems, Updated For the Internet Age from The Hairpin.
posted by maryr on Dec 3, 2014 - 17 comments

this never wanting it to end

Mark Strand, 1934-2014. (NY Times) [more inside]
posted by spitbull on Nov 30, 2014 - 33 comments

For John Dillinger

William S. Burroughs’ “The Thanksgiving Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant [YouTube]
“Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986” first appeared in print in Tornado Alley, a chapbook published by William S. Burroughs in 1989. Two years later, Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Milk) shot a montage that brought the poem to film, making it at least the second time the director adapted the beat writer to film.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 26, 2014 - 14 comments

I wanted him back—not his poems

Liam Hoare writes about warrior poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, their brief acquaintance and their influence on each other. "I spun round you a satellite for a month, but I shall swing out soon, a dark star in the orbit where you will blaze." [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Nov 12, 2014 - 30 comments

"By the assembly line I stood straight like iron, hands like flight"

The poetry and brief life of a Foxconn worker: Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) is an article about a 24-year old Chinese assembly line worker and poet who committed suicide last month. He worked for the electronics manufacturer which makes products for a range of companies, including Sony, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Nintendo. The post includes Chinese originals and English translations of Xu Lizhi's poems. His death and poetry have garnered much attention, such as these blogposts from The Wall Street Journal and The London Review of Books.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 12, 2014 - 19 comments

I'll come at night / for no one censures / traveling the path of dreams

We know very little about Ono no Komachi aside from that she was Japanese, female, a poet, and the subject of numerous medieval legends about her beauty and hard-heartedness, with her name becoming a metonym for a beautiful woman (much like Helen is in English). Our best guess as to her dates is "active in the 850s," and as to her background, "probably a lady-in-waiting to someone in the capital," though tradition has spun out many speculations. Based on 22 poems thought reliably attributed to her, she is considered today one of Japan's greatest woman poets, noted in particular for her passionate love poems and her technical mastery, especially at using words with multiple meanings.

This last feature makes her difficult to translate, of course, but nonetheless people keep trying -- her most famous poem, selected for the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, is one of the most-translated poems from any language. Links to several attempts at her corpus inside. [more inside]
posted by Quasirandom on Nov 11, 2014 - 19 comments

Written with nightbird quills and ink-of-dedication

I try to do two things with my style. The first is to pay attention to how the words sound together ... The other thing is to juxtapose odd images.
Sometimes ornate, sometimes economical, and always striking, Yoon Ha Lee's short fiction combines motifs from fantasy and science fiction with remarkable fruitfulness: "There are soldiers and scientists, space travel and dragons, leather-bound books, locked doors, and genocidal rampages. Each tale strains at the edges of possibility. No two of Lee's stories are alike, except for a similar pulse powering each word, each juxtaposition, each startling turn of events." Much of Lee's output is available online, including dozens of flash fiction fairy tales and two works of interactive fiction. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 9, 2014 - 13 comments

These are the times of the parables

A Parable.
"Hey do want to hear an album of spoken word poetry raps?"
*everyone looks uncomfortable*
"It's by a white girl from...England? With uh, garage beats?"
*everyone gets on to a spaceship and flies into the sun"
"Her name is Kate Tempest (previously). There's stories, about dating and generally being disaffected and drinking too much? And she utterly kills it live. Her old band was decent but, this is, like next level."
*no-one is left on earth but Common. He is wearing sunglasses as the sun flares.* *He nods his head.*
Common: "This is dope."
Mike Skinner (he's there too): "Well rude innit. Let's get a kebab mate."
F I N
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 7, 2014 - 13 comments

Tubular poesy

To help while away the irksome tediousness of the Tube, London Transport gives you Poems on the Underground.
posted by adamvasco on Nov 6, 2014 - 19 comments

Previously Unreleased Poems by a Teenaged Tupac Shakur

The poems, written over a three year period starting when the rapper was 17, offer a glimpse of Tupac before many people knew him. With the hope of beginning to understand the significance of Tupac Shakur on today's modern world, we asked writer Jeff Weiss, who co-wrote 2Pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap's Greatest Battle, to pen an essay on why we care.
posted by danabanana on Nov 4, 2014 - 6 comments

Goodbye

Galway Kinnell, poet, has died. He was 87. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Oct 29, 2014 - 34 comments

"I write as a reader, not knowing what the author will say next."

Russell Edson was a prose poet whose poetry had the "the sustained wackiness of old Warner Brothers cartoons." When he passed away this year Charles Simic wrote in appreciation of his work, as did J. Robert Lennon, whose article included two audio clips of Edson reading. In interviews, Edson spoke with the same mix of seriousness and humor as he did in his poetry. Here are two interviews, one with Peter Johnson [pdf] and another with Mark Tursi. But, of course, the important thing is his poetry, so here are a few examples: 1, 2, 3. And finally, here's a video of him reading (starts after the 9th minute). [Edson previously. I especially recommend reading the linked appreciation by Sarah Manguso.]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 23, 2014 - 12 comments

Why I Refuse to Let Technology Control Me.

Prince Ea "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?" [slyt] [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Oct 4, 2014 - 35 comments

Why doth ambition so the mind distress to make us scorn what we possess?

Direct your eye-sight inward, and you'le find / A thousand regions in your mind / Yet undiscover'd. Travell them, and be / Expert in home Cosmographie. / This you may doe safe both from rocke and shelfe : / Man's a whole world within himselfe. - Habington, 1635
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 20, 2014 - 4 comments

Poetica: Jamaican poetry

The Australian Radio National program Poetica recently broadcast two episodes of Jamaican Poetry, and it's a real delight to listen to these contemporary and archival recordings of Jamaican poets (from all over the world) reading their poetry, some with musical accompaniment. Episode 1 ----- Episode 2. [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 20, 2014 - 2 comments

"My Sex Is Magic"

Brenna Twohy, representing Portland, OR, performs her poem "Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them," about Harry Potter, pornography, and non-consent, at the 2014 National Poetry Slam.
posted by ocherdraco on Aug 19, 2014 - 67 comments

Gaza Writes Back

Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, of Gaza, “We are unfair to her when we search for her poems.” [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 19, 2014 - 5 comments

Your godmother was Elizabeth Zimmermann?

Channeling Elizabeth: Recreating a Family Heirloom: The sweater was threadbare and holey, but it had clearly been much loved - and, as it turned out, it had been knit by one of the greatest knitters of all time. Elizabeth Zimmermann (1999 NY Times Obituary) popularized knitting in the round, re-introduced the continental method of knitting to the US, and was dedicated to greater clarity in knitting instructions. She also came up with a much-used formula for sizing proportions (EPS), the I-cord, and encouraged knitters to experiment and be creative. [more inside]
posted by julen on Aug 4, 2014 - 22 comments

The poem that defined a town

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death! [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 29, 2014 - 12 comments

‘Put anything you want in me’ said Space to Time, ‘and you'll see.’

Leo Vroman, a Dutch scientist, artist and poet who lived in the US for many years, died in February of this year. Elsevier Connect did a great article back in 2012. It's rare that we see people who are great poets as well as passionate scientists. Leo Vroman was both; he needed more than just one outlet for an exceedingly curious and creative mind. His was an extraordinary life; he was a survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, who managed to be reunited with his fiancée Tineke after the war. They married and remained together until his last day. [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky on Jul 29, 2014 - 2 comments

How Much Does "Does Poetry Matter" Matter?

This Weekend, The New York Times went all in for poetry. In addition to six — count ‘em — articles about poetry in the Review, the Times also included an entire panel in its “Room for Debate” section in which the mostly white and mostly male panelists responded to the essentially rhetorical question “Does Poetry Matter?” with some version of the expected answer: yes. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 25, 2014 - 38 comments

Broken English

Jamila Lyiscott: 3 ways to speak English [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 18, 2014 - 4 comments

who hoard the air & hunt the hare with the ox & swim against the torrent

Troubadors! [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 16, 2014 - 9 comments

'Death will not correct / a single line of verse'

Tadeusz Różewicz (1921-2014) was a renowned Polish ‘poet, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, satirist and translator.’ Reckoned by Seamus Heaney as ‘one of the great European poets of the 20th century,’ he died in April at the age of 92: Guardian obituary; NYT obituary. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Jul 14, 2014 - 6 comments

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

For a moment the darkness is lighted

Didn't get enough fireworks on the Fourth? Got fogged out? US holidays irrelevant anyway? "長岡花火大会2012年2日間の総集編 Fireworks the most beautiful in the japan" is 30 minutes of HD fireworks from the Nagaoka fireworks festival, one of several fireworks festivals in Japan. It has two segments, one each from the first and second night of the fireworks. According to Japan Guide, "both nights feature two straight hours of fireworks...The show's finale covers nearly two kilometers of the riverbank and is the widest span of fireworks in the world." [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Jul 11, 2014 - 5 comments

The gods are trying to tell the truth but the truth is hard to say

Brand New Ancients is a spoken word performance (review) by poet, singer and playwright Kate Tempest that won the Ted Hughes Award For New Poetry in 2012. Early this year, to coincide with a wider tour of the show, Kate Tempest and the Battersea Arts Centre produced three short films based on the performance. One. Two. Three (trigger warning, as this one is terrifying).
posted by dng on Jul 9, 2014 - 4 comments

The geese are all facing in angles

Pianist Jeremy Denk has been living in a state of emergency. Instead of consulting a professional, I have come up with a three step solution. Recalibrating my life solution. The first step is to ignore all existing emergencies. Now, this—I can already hear you saying it—can’t last, this is not a workable solution. It sounds in fact like the opposite of a solution. Patience! Wait till you hear my next two steps. Step two—the real genius hinge of the whole thing—is then, in the absence of all emergencies, in the vast plain of false calm left after the tyrannical banishment of all the old emergencies, to choose to treat the smallest things as emergencies.
posted by shivohum on Jul 6, 2014 - 13 comments

Trans Women's Lit

Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
posted by emmtee on Jul 6, 2014 - 11 comments

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

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