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How to have a career: advice to young writers

"Be relentless. All over the world, people are working harder than you." Unsentimental advice from poet and memorist Sarah Manguso about building a career as a writer. (via FSG Work in Progress.)
posted by escabeche on Aug 23, 2012 - 42 comments

"The world turns softly / Not to spill its lakes and rivers. / The water is held in its arms / And the sky is held in the water."

Three Nightsongs is a lovely choral work by Joshua Shank that puts three writings by the child-poet Hilda Conkling to music: Evening, Moon Song, and Water.
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 22, 2012 - 3 comments

Anna Akhmatova

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry. Her writing can be said to fall into two periods – the early work (1912–25) and her later work (from around 1936 until her death), divided by a decade of reduced literary output. Her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate, and remaining in Russia, acting as witness to the atrocities around her. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 20, 2012 - 11 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

Books, book bindings, and the death of the book

Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 15, 2012 - 60 comments

Hugh MacDiarmid & A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle

Hugh MacDiarmid was born 120 years ago today. Best known for his long, comic, dark, epic, complex poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, he was a central figure in the Scottish Renaissance. He was the type of guy who would get kicked out of the Scottish National Party for being a communist and get kicked out of the Communist Party of Great Britain for being a Scottish nationalist. [more inside]
posted by feckless on Aug 11, 2012 - 30 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

It Ain't All Pizzas and Cream

'Everyone Has a Name' Project Everyone has a name. And everyone has a story. This photo project is dedicated to promoting dignity and to enlightening society's view of the homeless. A project by Charlie O'Hay. [more inside]
posted by jillithd on Jul 25, 2012 - 6 comments

RIP Margaret Mahy

Acclaimed New Zealand children's and young adult's book author Margaret Mahy died in Christchurch yesterday aged 76. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jul 23, 2012 - 24 comments

I hesitated / before untying the bow

In 1992, renowned sci-fi author and futurist William Gibson (Neuromancer, Virtual Light) released Agrippa (A Book of the Dead), a self-playing poem contained on a floppy disk for old Macintosh computers that, once its text had scrolled up the screen one time, would be rendered unreadable on purpose. Now, 20 years later, a PhD student at the University of Toronto is enlisting the aid of cryptographers in hopes of figuring out how the program works. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 12, 2012 - 24 comments

Presto! A Helical Hem

1,143,839,622,748,050,000,000,000,000 Sonnet Anagrams and oodles of other oddities from Mike Keith involving constrained writing, mathematics, music, and the number π.
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 26, 2012 - 12 comments

US Names 19th Poet Laureate

Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th US Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by the Library of Congress. The NY Times has published a selection of her poems. Meanwhile, the NY Daily News wonders: Do we still need a U.S. Poet Laureate? More freely available poems here.
posted by GnomeChompsky on Jun 7, 2012 - 23 comments

Book Spine Poetry

Book Spine Poetry is poetry made from the words on the spines of books.
posted by roaring beast on May 4, 2012 - 6 comments

Peasant culture and Russian folklore in Soviet animation.

Peasant culture and Russian folklore in Soviet animation (~400 minutes whereof): Soviet animation abounds in fantasies about the natural, wholesome lives of honorable, strong-willed Russian peasants and folk heroes and their struggles against villainy and adversity. Decorated with splendid folk art motifs that verge on horror vacui, these cel-animated cartoons are excellent aids for learning about (popular conceptions of) Russian folk material culture: decoration, architecture, dress, weaponry, textiles, domestic culture, manners, and so on. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on May 4, 2012 - 13 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

A beautiful way to say yes.

The Paris Review's 1970 interview with Pablo Neruda. [more inside]
posted by simulacra on Apr 20, 2012 - 11 comments

"Why do I only speak out now / Aged and with my last drop of ink: / Israel's nuclear power is endangering / Our already fragile world peace?"

Günter Grass barred from Israel over poem. [Guardian.co.uk] Nobel laureate, who says he had not meant to criticise Israel but Netanyahu government, declared persona non grata. The celebrated German author Gunter Grass has been declared persona non grata in Israel following the publication of his poem [Guardian.co.uk] warning that the Jewish state's nuclear programme was a threat to an "already fragile world peace". [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Apr 9, 2012 - 191 comments

National Poetry Month. Yay!

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, the Academy of American Poets is having 30 different poets each curate their Tumblr blog for 24 hours, posting whatever they please. [more inside]
posted by cross_impact on Apr 3, 2012 - 8 comments

A woman in the shape of a monster / a monster in the shape of a woman / the skies are full of them

Poet Adrienne Rich, celebrated over her 60-plus-year career with the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the National Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and many other awards, and known for both her vivid and original poetry and her advocacy of feminist and civil rights causes, has died at the age of 82. Read, watch, listen.
posted by aught on Mar 28, 2012 - 108 comments

World War I poetry

A great deal of poetry was written about the Great War, much of it by soldiers in the trenches. Two period books of World War I poetry and poets are The Muse in Arms and For remembrance, available in a variety of formats at archive.org. There is also The First World War Digital Poetry Archive which mostly has things from the most well-known authors, but many of these are available as scans of the original documents. (The interface is a little iffy on the DPA; click on a person, then use the search for "any poem" to get a full listing of what's available)
posted by curious nu on Mar 22, 2012 - 9 comments

miraculous and dream-worthy and mysterious

Neil Gaiman writes a poem about nudity (in collaboration with Olivia De Berandinis). Katie West responds. Neil approves. [consider the entire post NSFW] [more inside]
posted by nadawi on Mar 18, 2012 - 86 comments

Old Books

Old Book Illustrations are vintage pictures that were originally wood engravings or woodcuts, etchings or metal engravings. Old Book Art is pictures, drawings, maps and other images from antiquarian, public-domain books and other old documents. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Mar 10, 2012 - 8 comments

The person who did this to you is broken. Not you.

Sierra DeMulder is one of the most accomplished and recognizable young women in the world of slam poetry. The two-time National Poetry Slam champion has spent the past five years energizing audiences at colleges and poetry events across the nation, seamlessly weaving complex issues of identity and gender with the honesty of heartbreak. Her piece 'Paper Dolls', recently shared on Project Unbreakable (previously), is very, very good. TRIGGER WARNING - subject matter pertains to sexual assault.
posted by lazaruslong on Mar 9, 2012 - 31 comments

Eat the bread everyone. Namaste.

“Aaliyah would have been on Twitter. It is fucked up that she is dead.” Poet and Twitter entity Patricia Lockwood talks with HTMLGIANT about Twitter, literature, twitterature, comedy, poetry, sexting, Aaliyah and Olive Garden. Lockwood suggests that there may be something substantial and heretofore unexamined rumbling in the bowels of certain Twitter communities and people (such as @graeyalien and MeFi's own @gregerskine.)
posted by naju on Mar 7, 2012 - 29 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

Texting is the new literature

Anatol Knotek creates hand-drawn word pictures of Bob Dylan and Van Gogh among others. [more inside]
posted by ashbury on Mar 1, 2012 - 1 comment

the special freedom of complete loneliness

The Poetry Of Ally Sheedy: A Look Back
posted by gleuschk on Feb 25, 2012 - 11 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

'Cause she loves the classics....and they're pretty dirty.

Poet and Educational Consultant Mark Grist - Girls who read.
posted by lazaruslong on Feb 13, 2012 - 20 comments

"Conceptual art is good only when the idea is good."

How the computer will save poetry.
posted by Fizz on Feb 13, 2012 - 40 comments

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

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