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"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

'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

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

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

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

Poetry Everywhere

Poetry Everywhere, produced by WGBH, in cooperation with the Poetry Foundation, presents videos of poetry being read, often by the author. And, if you want to introduce a child to poetry, don't miss the animated films made by students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. (there even seems to be one written and animated especially for MetaFilter, Spacebar)
posted by HuronBob on Mar 8, 2014 - 2 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

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

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

redacted

Amaranth Borsuk, Jesper Juul, and Nick Montfort present The Deletionist, a bookmarklet for automatically producing an erasure poem from any Web page
posted by juv3nal on Jun 18, 2013 - 5 comments

Does my voice really sound like that?

For this year's National Poetry Month, the Poetry Foundation has set up a SoundCloud group called "Record-a-Poem." They're inviting people to record themselves reading their favorite poems. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Apr 17, 2013 - 21 comments

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Pablo Neruda (bio, pics, recordings) was a Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner. His work comprises 48 books* (excluding posthumous publications), the most famous of which remain Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (scribd, alt) (Spanish, alt) and Canto General (Spanish). Documentary. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Mar 1, 2013 - 13 comments

Pork Chops and Karate Chops

Numerous artists come together to animate an Shane Koyczan's fantastic performance of his anti-bullying poem, To This Day. More info at To This Day Project.
posted by dobbs on Feb 20, 2013 - 11 comments

With malice, toward none

Lying in State: Advice for American Poets [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 19, 2013 - 7 comments

the impossible vocabulary of sorrow

Richard Blanco, a poet, teacher, and engineer, was chosen to be the nation's fifth inaugural poet. He is the author of the collections of poetry "City of a Hundred Fires," "Directions to the Beach of the Dead," "Place of Mind," and "Looking for the Gulf Motel." He is the first immigrant, first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest to be the U.S. inaugural poet. The poem he read was "One Today" (full text/analysis)
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 22, 2013 - 28 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

How to Read a Poem

Curious about poetry, but don't know where or how to begin? We've reprinted the first chapter from the book "How to Read a Poem" by Edward Hirsch. Its 16 sections provide strategies for reading poems, and each section has plenty of links to examples of poems in our archive to illustrate the points.
posted by Think_Long on Aug 17, 2012 - 34 comments

How should I know what I'll be, I who don't know what I am? / Be what I think? But I think of being so many things!

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don’t know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt. [more inside]
posted by juv3nal on May 4, 2012 - 9 comments

The Work of Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Poems While You Wait A group of Chicago poets, led by Dave Landsberger and Kathleen Rooney, sets up shop at festivals, markets, libraries—even a planetarium—and writes "artisanal" poems on demand, in front of their customers, with proceeds going to a literary non-profit. And they're not the only ones.
posted by Zozo on Mar 2, 2012 - 8 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

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

"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

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

Poems About Internet Dating

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

Poe through the Glass Prism

In 1969, a psychedelic rock group from around Scranton, PA released an album featuring lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe. [more inside]
posted by Gordafarin on Feb 15, 2011 - 6 comments

Common Things

I LIKE to hear of wealth and gold, And El Doradoes in their glory; I like for silks and satins bold To sweep and rustle through a story. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 14, 2010 - 9 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

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

Regarding the Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats

Other Yeats Links from The W.B. Yeats Society of New York. Which leads to collections of poems by and scholarly analysis of the poems of William Butler Yeats. And what have you--links to Yeats in translation in Italian, Spanish and Esperanto as well as a movie of He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven, among other things. I was thinking of the thread here, where the Geocities site of the Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats is long gone. And these above were among what I found when I went looking for a replacement. But Poemhunter does have 427 poems of Yeats arranged in alphabetical order, so there is that. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 11, 2010 - 4 comments

Those feet of a wench in her wimple...

Viking love poems (not to be confused with Vogon poetry). 200 years before medieval troubadours "created" romantic poetry, skalds such as Gunnlaug Snaketongue, Hallfred the Troublesome Poet and Kormak Ogmundarson told of their hearts' ecstasies and despairs. [more inside]
posted by msalt on Nov 28, 2009 - 46 comments

Enheduanna, the first poet we know by name

Enheduanna was a priestess and poet in the city of Ur in the 23rd century BC and supposedly the daughter of Sargon the Great of Akkad. She is the first author known by name. Here are a number of her poems in English translation, The Exaltation of Inana, Inana and Ebih, A Hymn to Inana, The Temple Hymns and A Balbale to Nanna. Here are two alternate translations of The Exaltation of Inana, one by James D. Pritchard and an English rendering of Dr. Annette Zgoll's German translation. If you want to learn more, go to The En-hedu-Ana Research Pages.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 5, 2009 - 27 comments

Facebook for Poetry

ReadWritePoem was a multiuser poetry blog until July 31, when it turned into a social network for poetry with forums, groups, subblogs and more.
posted by dylan20 on Aug 4, 2009 - 2 comments

Clerihews

Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.

This is the first example of the form that came to be known as the clerihew. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 24, 2009 - 66 comments

Dairy Odes

Oh cow, oh cow, what are you thinking?      Should I leave the gate open?
Are you content?                                     Would you be happy?
Do you yearn?                                         Would you turn feral?

Do you want freedom?                               Oh cow
Greener pastures?                                     Moo cow
A bull?                                                    Run free cow

The Online Dairy Ode Contest was a light-hearted, web-based, sister competition to the James McIntyre Poetry Contest. It was held at irregular intervals from 2001 to 2005. The only criterion for entry was that the poems had to be Dairy Odes; ie about dairy products, cows, or dairying.
posted by carsonb on Jun 16, 2009 - 24 comments

Out of that I have written these songs

Free Verse [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 9, 2009 - 7 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

Cave Canem Feature

The Drunken Boat publishes poetry from around the world, translations of poetry, reviews of poetry collections and anthologies, and interviews with well-known poets. The current issue features Cave Canem poets, home for the many voices of African-American poetry and committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African-American poets.
posted by netbros on Feb 22, 2009 - 3 comments

Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud: free recordings of 427 public domain poems.
posted by Iridic on Feb 16, 2009 - 8 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

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

Shakespeare's Sonnets

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world's finest sonnets. The website shakespeares-sonnets.com is a fine place to start delving into the poems. Here you can see scans of the first edition of The Sonnets as printed by Thomas Thorpe in 1609. If you wish there were more sonnets by Shakespeare, your jones might be eased by the Shakespeare Sonnet Shake-Up, which lets you remix them according to taste. And finally there's Shakespeare in Tune, a site where Jonathan Willby recites each of the 154 sonnets following a short improvisation on a German flute.
posted by Kattullus on May 24, 2008 - 8 comments

Chinese Poems

Chinese Poems is a simple, no frills site with over 200 classical Chinese poems, mostly from the Tang period. The poems are presented in traditional and simplified chinese characters, pinyin and English translation, both literal and literary. Here's Du Mu's Drinking Alone:
Outside the window, wind and snow blow straight,
I clutch the stove and open a flask of wine.
Just like a fishing boat in the rain,
Sail down, asleep on the autumn river.

Among other poets featured are Li Bai (a.k.a. Li Po), Du Fu and Wang Wei. As a bonus, here's the entire text of Ezra Pound's Cathay, most of whom are from Li Bai originals.
posted by Kattullus on May 19, 2008 - 15 comments

This is a baseball writing thread

John Rawls gives six reasons why baseball is the best of all games. Marianne Moore's "Baseball & Writing." John Updike's "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu." [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Mar 11, 2008 - 89 comments

A Howl that went unheard for over 50 years

For more than 50 years, it was believed that the first recording Allen Ginsberg made of Howl was in Berkeley in March 1956. Now, an earlier recording – made on Valentine's Day 1956 at Reed College, Portland, Oregon – has been found. Reed have made it – along with seven other poems Ginsberg read the same night – available here. (Click on "Allen Ginsberg reads ..." for drop down menu; apologies for crappy quicktime interface.)
posted by Len on Feb 15, 2008 - 27 comments

Where it says snow read teeth-marks of a virgin

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Surrealist poet Charles Simic was named the Poet Laureate of the US this week. He also won the Wallace Stevens Award for "outstanding and proven mastery" of the art of poetry. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 2, 2007 - 90 comments

Stack poems.

Max Dohle's Stapelgedichten is a simple concept. Stack up some books, take a picture: a poem is born. Most are in Dutch, but there are some English ones as well.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 24, 2007 - 36 comments

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