Art Above Money

By The Editors on 11.22.10

This weekend Lan Samantha Chang was interviewed by Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition. They talked about her latest novel, All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost. Simon was not pulling any punches and trying to find out what facts, if any, were hidden under the fiction. Chang wouldn’t divulge any secrets, if there were any to divulge, but this comment about why poets make for interesting fiction caught our attention:

Simon: Of course you’re writing about three poets here. Are poets a special case above and beyond?

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Two Poets Share the 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

By The Editors on 11.17.10

Last night in Washington, D. C. Rita Dove was awarded the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, which honors authors of African descent in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and, of course poetry. Dove received the honor for her collection Sonata Mulattica, called a “masterful collection” by the Los Angeles Times, the book details the volatile relationship between the black violinist George Bridgetower and Beethoven in Dove’s characteristically elegant verse. She was in great company because for the first time in its history, two writers shared the poetry award. Along with Dove, Haki Madhubuti was honored for his book Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966—2009 (Third World Press).

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The Word Exchange: Anglo Saxon Poems in Translation

By The Editors on 11.12.10

On December 6th, W. W. Norton published The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation edited by Greg Delanty and Michael Matto. It collects new translations of the best known poems of the Old English canon. The one hundred and twenty-three poems included are a reminder, as Seamus Heaney notes in the Foreword, that “Anglo-Saxon poetry isn’t all stoicism and melancholy, isn’t all about battle and exile and a gray dawn breaking: it can be unexpectedly rapturous…and happily didactic. It can be intimate and domestic, and take us to places far behind the shield wall. And everywhere…it rejoices in its own word-craft, its inventiveness, its appositive imagining and fundamental awareness of itself as a play of language.”

Poems Out Loud will be featuring readings of many of these fresh new translations from contemporary poets. This post will be updated to include links to each reading as they go live. You can also follow along by subscribing to our Readings RSS feed.


Greg Delanty reads The Wanderer

Seamus Heaney reads Deor

Jane Hirshfield reads A Moth Ate Words

Billy Collins reads My Jacket is Polished Gray

Nick Laird reads Field Remedy

Molly Peacock reads I Watched a Wonder, a Bright Marauder

Paul Muldoon reads Wulf and Eadwacer

Eavan Boland reads The Wife’s Lament

Robert Pinsky reads Whale

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Video: Sandra Beasley Talks About the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

By The Editors on 10.20.10

In a promotional video created by Poets and Writers Magazine, Sandra Beasley shares her inspiring story of going from working a day job and trying to write on the side to being a full-time writer in two years. I’ve witnessed first-hand how much hard work Sandra has put in to getting her still young writing career off the ground, but she gives a lot of credit to the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award given annually by Poets and Writers, an award that introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community. Beasley says:

“I was kind of beaten. I wanted to be excited but at the same time I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’m in over my head.’ And I had just gotten off the road, I had curled up in bed. I didn’t want to talk to my mom. I didn’t want to tell anybody how the reading had gone. And the phone rang. And I thought, ‘I’m going to ignore this.’ And the phone rang again. And I thought, ‘no, I’ll answer.’ And it was the call telling me that I had won the [Maureen Egen Writers] Exchange Award.”

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Shedding Light on Hacker’s ‘For Kateb Yacine’

By The Editors on 10.01.10

There is a poem in Marilyn Hacker’s latest collection, Names, titled, “For Kateb Yacine.” For those that don’t know, Yacine was an Algerian playwright, novelist, poet, and activist who passed away in 1989. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Hacker was asked about this poem specifically:

Huffington Post: “What is your relationship to Algerian writer Kateb Yacine? I mean, as a writer imagining/idealizing a writer. Is there a sense in which you almost envy someone like Yacine, for the reality of his exile?”

Hacker responded:

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Lucky Life

An Interview with Gerald Stern

By The Editors on 9.17.10

Gerald Stern, the author of sixteen poetry collections, has won the National Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Ruth Lilly Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award, among others. In July, W. W. Norton published a collection of Stern’s best early work spanning four decades from 1965 to 1992. The following interview was conducted by Stephanie Smith on behalf of Poems Out Loud.

Q: When did you start writing poems?

Gerald Stern: I actually started to write poems when I was in high school though I never truly studied poetry or thought in any way of myself as a poet, whatever that was or might be.

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The Poems That Stick With Us

By The Editors on 7.16.10

This week we’ve been finding out a lot about how accomplished poets feel about their earliest published work. We’ve asked Beth Ann Fennelly, Eavan Boland, Linda Pastan, and Stephen Dunn what they think about their first book now and how they went about creating their first collection. Today, we simply wanted to find out which of their early poems still stick with them to this day. Here’s what they had to say:

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The Best Poems in Their Best Order

Four Poets Look Back on How They Assembled Their First Book

By The Editors on 7.15.10

Yesterday we asked four poets how the feel about the work they published years ago. Now, the same four poets tell us how they struggled to find the best order for the poems in their debut collection. The methods range from rudimentary to abstract, logical to magical. There seems to be no right way, but in each case the poet knew the moment it felt right. Here is Beth Ann Fennelly, Stephen Dunn, Eavan Boland, and Linda Pastan looking back on their first book of poetry.


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The Test of Time

Four Poets Look Back on Their Early Work

By The Editors on 7.14.10

The recent publication of Gerald Stern’s Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992 made us curious about how poets feel about their early work. Would they agree with Pericles when he said, “Time is the wisest counselor of all?” We got in touch with Beth Ann Fennelly, Eavan Boland, Linda Pastan, and Stephen Dunn and got the scoop on how they react to their early poetry now that a few years have passed.

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People, Poetry, and Videotape

By The Editors on 7.08.10

Following a tip from Poets & Writers on Twitter, I just read an article in Canada’s National Post about Katherine Leyton. Leyton is a young poet from Toronto who, with the help of a few friends, has been asking strangers to read poetry on camera for the blog, How Pedestrian. From the National Post article:

“I’ve been very surprised by how open people are to being approached, to hearing about the project and to engaging with poetry in front of a camera,” she says, and adds that about 95% of the people she approaches agree to read, and that those who refuse usually do so because they’re nervous about the camera, not the poetry. “I’m bothering people randomly, and yet almost everyone is genuinely excited about participating. The experience has really reminded me of how alive [Toronto] is,” she says. The majority of readers react noticeably to what they are reading, and many request to keep a copy of the poem, to which she always readily agrees.

Sometimes, the week’s poems are grouped around a theme, often tied to an event in Toronto. For two weeks in June she captured the World Cup fever that is consuming the city, bringing poems about soccer to the bars and cafes where supporters congregate. Last week featured G20 protesters reading poems about resistance.

Click through to watch one of the videos filmed at the G20 protests in Toronto.

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