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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because of changes brought on by technology and the Internet, our notion of the genius—a romantic, isolated figure—is outdated.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

"The old dude has a lot he can teach us."

The National Book Foundation has launched an essay series dedicated to the 57 winners of the National Book Award for Poetry. First up: William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Archibald MacLeish, and Conrad Aiken.
posted by Iridic on Feb 18, 2011 - 12 comments

"Your future is not as a person of letters..."

In 1982, the young Barack Obama published two poems in a literary magazine while an undergraduate at Occidental College. Many years later, political and literary commentators looking for insight into the leader's inner workings unearthed the poems: The New Yorker gave readers Harold Bloom's mixed reaction, Ian McMillan assessed the juvenile work in The Guardian, the Times (UK) tried to place the poems within the context of American presidents who published poems, and even Huffington Post took a crack at figuring what the poems tell us about the politician. A little later, the Blue Rose Arts Collective used the text of the poem "Underground" in a short video piece. Obama maintains his interest in poetry: also in 2008 the president was photographed holding a copy of Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott's Collected Poems. (U.S. Presidents and poetry more generally, previously.)
posted by aught on Feb 18, 2011 - 26 comments

Wallace Stevens Audio

Large audio archive of Wallace Stevens reading from his poems. Other Stevens links: several poem texts with annotation; many more of the poems; his letters on Google Books (full view).
posted by Paquda on Feb 15, 2011 - 8 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

Poems From My Ex

Fifteen years after we broke up, my ex-boyfriend published a book of poetry. ... For months, the slim book sat on my shelf like an awkward houseguest. Then, one quiet night, something nudged me out of my inertia, or dread, and I settled into bed with his book. And there I was.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 10, 2011 - 41 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

"Don't you know the house, the Love God's marketplace of passions, the dusk where the dark clears and yet is not clear?" - Annamayya

Devadasi are women in southeastern India who were dedicated in their youth to the goddess Yellamma. When they reach puberty they are forced into sex work. Once they were women of high status, but now they've been relegated to the outskirts of society. The devadasi practice goes back a long way in history, and was once celebrated in poetry. When God Is a Customer, a collection of translated classical Telugu poems about the devadasi, is free to read online. Their modern life is described by William Dalrymple in The New Yorker and in a video interview with filmmaker Beeban Kidron which includes clips from her documentary Sex, Death and the Gods. The devadasi have been targeted by exploitative Western media for a long time, but have recently started to hit back, using the internet to disseminate their views.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 22, 2011 - 14 comments

Hey, you got meter in my panel frame!

There's poetry about comics, comics about poetry, (Stone Cold Poetry Bitches!), and even poetry and comics sharing the stage. If you like 'em mashed together, you might enjoy the poetry cartoon collaborations of Nick Flynn and Josh Neufeld.
posted by cross_impact on Jan 14, 2011 - 3 comments

Bon à tirer

Gallica (the digital section of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) has put Charles Baudelaire's heavily annotated proofs of Les Fleurs du Mal on line.
posted by Lezzles on Jan 11, 2011 - 10 comments

Bros: A dissertation

"What dudes do have for inspiration is Fuck Yeah Menswear, a new anonymous blog dedicated to the poetry of self aggrandizing and hurting people’s feelings through your personal style." Via.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 5, 2011 - 57 comments

But it is doing / so on its own timetable, / a slow timetable.

HaikuLeaks Cable is poetry 65 haikus in 1830 cables [more inside]
posted by unknowncommand on Dec 28, 2010 - 13 comments

New books about digital culture released online under Creative Commons

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 18, 2010 - 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

like pornography, you know it when you see it.

BAD WRITING - the movie [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Dec 14, 2010 - 17 comments

The Penmonkeys Paean

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.
posted by Artw on Dec 7, 2010 - 64 comments

Figment

Figment.com is a new, free community and platform for young people to share their fiction writing, "connect with other readers and discover new stories and authors. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site." (Via)
posted by zarq on Dec 5, 2010 - 19 comments

I must be cruel to be kind

This Old Poem Those familiar with the long-running PBS TV series This Old House may be able to discern where I am going with this series of essays. Basically, I seek to rehabilitate (by rewriting) well-known poems.... [more inside]
posted by kid ichorous on Dec 4, 2010 - 43 comments

Well, he was smilin’ like a vulture as he rolled up the horticulture

Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’

What a surprise to read that couplet on "The New Yorker's" website, in an article about Jay-Z's new book. It also discusses Adam Bradley's "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop," an academic study that respects rap lyrics as serious poetry. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Dec 4, 2010 - 82 comments

Nikos Kazantzakis

They think of me as a scholar, an intellectual, a pen-pusher. And I am none of them. When I write, my fingers get covered not in ink but in blood. I think I am nothing more than this: an undaunted soul. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 24, 2010 - 9 comments

“I felt so happy to think of that,” he says, “that the real world was down there.”

"The writing process, Merwin says, is all about time and environment. He will be the first to tell you that poetry “is something before it is about something,” and that if you try to force a poem to take a stance, it is likely to choke: “I think a poem begins out of what you don’t know, and you begin not by having a good idea but by hearing something in the language.”" A terrific interview with U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin.
posted by liketitanic on Nov 18, 2010 - 9 comments

National Book Award Winner Patti Smith

Patti Smith, best known as a singer-songwriter (whose lyrics have occasionally been collected into books of poetry) has won the National Book Award in Nonfiction for Just Kids, her memoir of the years she spent living with the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe.
posted by aught on Nov 18, 2010 - 54 comments

Leopardi's "Infinity"

"L'infinito": Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity...
posted by Iridic on Nov 12, 2010 - 8 comments

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