Poems & Pollen

April 11, 2010
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When they say, “Spring is in the air,” they aren’t kidding.  New York City is fully abloom–and it is most certainly in the air. Yes, the tulips and daffodils are afoot in the city! Perfectly coiffed Park Avenue flower arrangements trumpet out enormous lilies at pedestrians. Petunias and pansies galore! Primped poodles in their fluffed […]

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100 Chimes at Midnight

April 10, 2010
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My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!

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“Slipping the Moorings” by Chris Garrecht-Williams

April 9, 2010

[Poem of the Week: 4/9/2010]

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Closing a Poem (Blogging through Grossman, Part 6)

April 6, 2010
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How do you know when you’re “done” a poem? I’m not speaking about revision, but rather, the act of writing, particularly lyrical free verse. Donna Masini once described it to me (or a class I was in—can’t remember which), as a settling in the body: a literal sense in the poet’s body that there is […]

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Ben Lerner’s “Mean Free Path”

April 4, 2010
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What if I made you hear this as music
But not how you mean that. The slow beam
Opened me up. Walls walked through me
Like resonant waves. I thought that maybe
If you aren’t too busy, we could spend our lives
Parting in stations, promising to write
War and Peace, this time with feeling
As bullets leave their luminous traces across
Wait, I wasn’t finished, I was going to say
Breakwaters echo long lines of cloud

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This Keats

April 3, 2010
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Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

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Some David Schubert Poems You May Not Know

April 2, 2010
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I reached a point where there was no
Use going on: my companion said, “Do not waken
The watchman, do not shout, he will die
Of shock if you make the slightest
Sound.” I stood in the utter darkness,
Cold. Without evidence of myself.

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Book Review: Map of the Folded World (John Gallaher)

April 2, 2010
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Gallaher has managed to create a language all his own using English words. Reading his poems, I felt like I’d arrived on some other world where the linguistic building blocks were familiar, but the physics of assembling them was completely different, surprising, otherworldly.

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“Via” by Amy Lawless

April 2, 2010

[Poem of the Week: 4/2/2010]

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Happy Poetry Month!

April 1, 2010
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To honor the first day of National Poetry Month, I want to share this poem by Bill Wadsworth — the progenitor of NPM, launched in 1996. Bill is an extraordinary writer, advocate and teacher of poetry — I’m profoundly grateful for the work he’s done and continues to do. (See full post for poem)

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March 31, 2010
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The time has come to reveal (I think) the source (for those who don’t already know) of The The Poetry’s name, namely, “The Man on the Dump” by Wallace Stevens.

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Looking at Ballad Form, and the Nature of Voice

March 31, 2010
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We are in traditional ballad country the second Auden writes “As I Walked Out One Evening” (see “The Streets of Laredo”). He is not mocking the structure or form of the ballad (except perhaps the way a lover would tease his beloved); he is reveling in the cliche. He trusts his own ability to have fun with cliché (something Ashbery also trusts).

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Reciting your own poems from memory is for supernerds, or the worst project of my life

March 30, 2010
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Concerning all the recent discussions about memory, recitation, etc, I thought I would try it in my own way. I should disclose that I never recite my own poems from memory at readings. I think it is corny, weird, it makes me uncomfortable, and frankly, to spend that much time memorizing your own work is kind of sick.

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Ain’t No Sunshine in My Shell

March 28, 2010
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I’m currently in a class concerning Animal Studies in the Comparative Literature Department in which the word “anthropomorphism” is a swear word. The argument is that anthropomorphism is anthropocentric, and thereby undermines the possibilities of the animal’s consciousness by placing the human in a superior (and dominating) role. It should be noted that while I think this all well-argued and slightly interesting, when it comes to poetry—it’s a large load of nonsense. We’d have to knock out some pretty significant poems in our extended canon were we to castigate anthropomorphism the way they are proposing. At least for me, and for a long trailing history of ancestor poets behind me, anthropomorphism is the stuff I (we) live for. And if it’s a profane thing, then @#*& you, Comp Lit people. (It should also be noted I am the only poet in that class, and I am looked at at least twice during every session as if I were a really cool but leggy and crawly beetle that you’re grossed out by but can’t look away from.)

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The Problem of Style

March 27, 2010
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Do you remember that Eliot was billed as giving a talk on ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ and he’d realized that they’d simply misunderstood. That is, when he was asked what he was going to talk about, he’d said that these things were always a matter of Scylla and Charybdis and so forth, and this became the title of the talk so that we got a talk on this subject because they’d slightly misunderstood what he was saying. But it’s true to him.

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Do Movie Critics Matter?

March 25, 2010
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Journalistic standards have changed so drastically that, when I took the podium at the film circle’s dinner and quoted Pauline Kael’s 1974 alarm, “Criticism is all that stands between the public and advertising,” the gala’s audience responded with an audible hush—not applause.

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