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Wendell Berry recently decided to pull his personal papers from the University of Kentucky, and it got me thinking. While I know this news story isn't directly related to the topic of poetry (and this is--loosely--a poetry blog), I can't help but feel it connects on some other level as we (poets) think about the relationship of our poetry to the world around us. Most of my exposure to the world of modern poetry has taken place through the university system. And while I know there are many poets writing and thriving outside the university system, it seems to me that the relationship of modern poetry is hopelessly enmeshed with our modern universities. Let's admit it, the modern university (as well as the various foundations, titles, etc.) gives us poets [...]

[Episode 1 of "Poetry Fix"]

I've been reading a lot of Marshall McLuhan in the last several months. I know he's not the most fashionable critic anymore, but I admire his attitude toward culture. I've heard some call him a "futurist" but this seems to run directly counter to McLuhan as I read him. If anything, McLuhan is a medievalist who has adapted himself to our futurist culture in order to bring a rather old timey message. McLuhan created what he called a "tetrad." The general idea is that for every new medium, four things always happen. 1. The new medium enhances some aspect of us or our life. 2. The new medium obsolesces some aspect of us or our life. 3. The new medium, when pushed to its maximum, ultimately reverses some aspect of [...]

(it’s scaffolding) (it’s supposed to be temporary)

I wanna know which friend will die young, so I can spend more time with them now by Rachel Glaser you hurt my feelings so I lie and say, I do wanna fuck my roommate I say, We’ve pushed our beds so they share a wall dirty dishes are inevitable when you were young and bumped your head on the table your father would make a show of hitting the table when you bumped your knee in the doorway your father would kick the doorway I wanna know which friend will die so I can surprise my other friends we climb into the car, lick the cd pick the mountain with the most views L e t ’s t r y p r i m a l s c r [...]

[audio:http://www.scatteredrhymes.com/poets/solmaz.mp3|bgcolor=0x000000]
View full post to see the full text of each poem Solmaz reads!

Hamlet self-consciously reveals his inner thoughts to an audience he does/n't know is there. Perhaps this soliloquy is a proto-modern lyric?

Call me a lyre, I dare you

Last or some night
light, who cares the when of this,
glittered the tree up at the end
as the wash from a car as moved the planet, I’m not
in touch with personally Saturn, in branched fingers
of eerily, I’d say off-the-shelf language, isn’t it
necessary still how life lit into the moment
to say other than the facts of it, see,
whatever the bits are inside that oscillate
or pinwheel, I was moved to internal whirring
cicadish, even though my epiphanic dog-walkings
mean shit to you in the throes of your
epiphanic askings of the moon, for what, afterall
are we in this, some random sense of, fuck
if I know, belonging

Have you heard the Taoist tale of the Taming of the Harp? Once in the hoary ages in the Ravine of Lungmen stood a Kiri tree, a veritable king of the forest. It reared its head to talk to the stars; its roots struck deep into the earth, mingling their bronzed coils with those of the silver dragon that slept beneath. And it came to pass that a mighty wizard made of this tree a wondrous harp, whose stubborn spirit should be tamed but by the greatest of musicians. For long the instrument was treasured by the Emperor of China, but all in vain were the efforts of those who in turn tried to draw melody from its strings. In response to their utmost strivings there came from the harp [...]

I was fortunate enough to have a American Literature professor who blew off the typical survey class BS and just gave us some of the best literature of the 19th century: Hawthorne, Dickinson, Melville, among others... In that class, I read Moby-Dick for the first time. I believe I read most of it over the course of a few days. The rhythms of Melville's language carried me through. I've felt the old beast calling to me again lately. I found a free audiobook copy online. So far, the reader has been fantastic. Librivox probably has the book ,as well, but their (volunteer) readers can be hit or miss. I have also been digging through PBS and CBC video archives (soon I'll hit C-SPAN) to fill my time with whatever goodies are [...]

Comrades in Verse, a few notes for your fine ears on this lovely Day of Matriarchs: 1) To those culminating their MFA coursework and Theses, CONGRATULATIONS!  The journey begins now!  Our eyes and ears await you eagerly. 2) May is behaving kindly.  This is *obviously* karmatic, so everyone be nice, and write nice poems, and pet puppies on the street, and drink lots of mint julepy things. 3) Happenings in New York City this coming week to keep us all merry, together, and listening: -------------------------------- Monday, 5/10: My dear friend, long-time workshop mate and rockstar BRANDON KREITLER, winner of the "Discovery"/Boston Review Prize, is being presented with said honor and reading from his poems at the 92Y. http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T%2DTP5MS23 -------------------------------- Tuesday 5/11: Our own Adam Fitzerald & Bianca Stone's LADDER POETRY [...]

[Poem of the Week: 5/6/2010]

In a poem called “Life,” which appears in his most recent collection, Words for Empty and Words for Full (Pitt Poetry, 2010), Bob Hicok writes: “The feeling that mysticism / is the only way to be polite…. / While I was masturbating, / more rainforest / disappeared….” These disclosures feel true—and inevitable, given what at least I believe about climate change and humans continuing to be humans. Also, these tragicomic disclosures reminds me of the “Note on Method” at the opening of Aaron Kunin’s just-released, The Sore Throat & Other Poems (Fence, 2010). Kunin opines: “…I really believe that the part of yourself that you’re most ashamed of is interesting and can be used as material for art.” I don’t know if this belief is always true, but I’m willing [...]

It's immediately clear why Augustine is often seen as the last classical and first medieval man. He marks the ultimate synthesis of classical rhetoric and sensibilities with the concept of self that marked the Judeo-Christian tradition. As Cahill points out, the Psalms stand out among classical literature, as exceptionally personal. Augustine, says Ronald Heine, was "the undisputed master of using the psalms to lay one's soul bare before God in the praise and confession of prayer....The psalms permeate everything Augustine wrote." Rowan Williams points out that the very first sentence of Confessions is a quotation from the psalms. Augustine weaves them throughout such that we hardly know when the words are his and when they are not (a modern citation nightmare).