Columns

New and Selected

Friday Links for the Discerning Reader

By The Editors on 11.20.09

• Old news now but the Winner of the 2009 National Book Award for Poetry is Keith Waldrop.

• No more excuses, People. The Walt Whitman Award deadline has been extended to December 1. Submit! Submit!

The Details Celebrity Poetry Quiz. Can’t wait to find out who wrote #6.

• Did your MFA program make the Poets & Writers Top 50 List? Sandra Beasley’s didn’t.

continue reading »

How I Found Poetry

By Kim Addonizio on 11.18.09

When I was young and living with my parents, my father still alive and my mother also young, though I was too young then to understand how young she really was—when I was a girl and did not yet have a girl myself—when I was a young girl, my lovely living father owned a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The book had a brown leather cover, its title was gold-stamped, and so it was exotic. My father read to me from that book: The Moving finger writes, and having writ, / Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, / Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. And in his voice that I found beautiful, my young and beautiful father said A loaf of bread a jug of wine and I could nearly taste the bread’s sun-warm crust and didn’t yet know the taste of wine or what it meant to have a beloved. That book, those words, that afternoon when we were all so young: maybe that was the start.

continue reading »

Mistakes We Knew We Were Making

Life Outside the Poets and Writers ‘Top 50 MFA Programs’

By Sandra Beasley on 11.16.09

Last month, I was counseling a woman on applying to MFA programs. Was her work competitive? Was she willing to move? Halfway through her answers, she assured me, “I bought the handbook, of course.”

Handbook? There’s a handbook? Little did I know that The Creative Writing MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Students is already in its second edition.

Now the latest issue of Poets & Writers ranks “The Top 50 MFA Programs,” based on poet Seth Abramson’s blog-based surveys and research. No matter how you feel about these rankings (some question their validity, most notably the Association of Writers and Writing Programs), their influence will spread like kudzu. Everyone loves a list.

continue reading »

New and Selected

Links for the Last Week of October 2009

By The Editors on 10.30.09

New and Selected is a new topic on Poems Out Loud. Each Friday we plan to share some links to review the week in Poetry. The links will come from our twitter feed (follow us @poemsoutloud) or random things that caught our eye. Enjoy.

Nick Laird on a Poetry Marathon in London’s Hyde Park (Anyone know of any poet’s running in the New York City Marathon this weekend?)

• Need a last minute Halloween costume? The Academy of American Poets has you covered.

• Happy Birthday, Guernica! Five years and counting.

• Did you know Fall is the season for Poetry? Annie Finch explains.

continue reading »

The Muse Wore Orange

At the Jentel Artist Residency, my most valuable hours were not spent writing.

By Sandra Beasley on 10.26.09

She stands by our front door: a painted cutout of a winged woman, complete with red spirals of hair. Angel, muse, safety monitor, she models the bright orange vest that each of us must wear if we venture into the hills surrounding the Jentel Artist Residency Program.

“So that you don’t get shot by hunters,” was the friendly instruction. “Or run down by truckers.”

continue reading »

Bright Stars

Campion’s Film of and from Keats

By Stanley Plumly on 10.22.09

In his February-May 1819 journal-letter to his brother George, the nineteenth-century English Romantic poet John Keats remarks that “they are very shallow people who take every thing literal. A Man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory—and very few eyes can see the Mystery of his life—a life the like scriptures, figurative—.” To her great credit, filmmaker Jane Campion has understood the richly figurative in Keats’ life without sacrificing the literal wealth of its texture. She has evoked the mystery of his genius without giving up the reality of its dailiness.  Bright Star, her new film about the almost two-year passion between Keats and Fanny Brawne, is brilliant in its discipline and detail, in what it permits to enter their story and what it excuses from exposition.  Campion is as gifted a writer as she is director, and her screenplay is masterful in its extrapolation of the implicit narrative in Keats’ remarkable letters, particularly since what we see on the screen is entirely from Fanny’s point of view: her experience of and with Keats as reflected in his words.

continue reading »

Robert Pinsky Combines Poetry and Jazz at the Boston Book Festival

By The Editors on 10.20.09

The inaugural Boston Book Festival is happening this Saturday, October 24th in Copley Square. The schedule of events features an impressive roster of writers speaking throughout the day. Surprisingly though, for a city that’s been home to so many of our country’s greatest poets, poetry won’t have much of a presence at the festival. Though there is one notable exception. You won’t want to miss Former Poet Laureate (and columnist on Poems Out Loud) Robert Pinsky reading from his latest anthology, Essential Pleasures at Trinity Church at 4pm at a reading titled Poetry as Music. In classic Pinsky-style, this won’t be just any poetry reading. Here’s the event description from the Boston Book Festival:

continue reading »

Interview with Malachi Black, Young Poet and Editor

By The Editors on 10.16.09

Just over two weeks ago we started a new series on Poems Out Loud called “Letter from a Young Poet” which aims to chronicle the experiences and insights of young poets as they find out what it means to call oneself a writer: from contests and rejections, to themes and obsessions, to what bids each of them to write. Now we are happy to bring you the second installment of the series in which we chat with Malachi Black, a recent winner of the 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship.

continue reading »

Emily Dickinson’s Utopian Tongue

How Her Poems Revitalize Language

By Lisa Williams on 10.07.09

Emily Dickinson’s poems are a paradise for words. I say this because it was her poetry that sparked my awareness of what language can be. In this language utopia, words are not fixed entities but facets of conception. Other facets are hinted at in the suggestion of homonyms, synonyms, puns: a world of words beyond those seen. Even though one word has been chosen, others hover in the air around it, “Invisible as Music / but positive on Sound” (#501) as if the text were a ghostly palimpsest. Thus, a Dickinson poem “is not Conclusion”: a reader often has the freedom to see one word yet hear and imagine others, not just because a reader imposes the (contemporary) subjective approach to a poem while reading Dickinson, but because Dickinson’s poems were written with that sort of multi-verse in mind.

continue reading »

Marilyn Chin reads from ‘Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen’

By Marilyn Chin on 10.05.09

A couple weeks ago we posted a short excerpt from Marilyn Chin’s hilarious debut novel Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. Since then we’ve been able to get a recording of Marilyn reading that excerpt. It’s from chapter 4, about halfway through the novel, and is called ‘Why Men Are Dogs’.

listen to this poem »