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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Julie Sheehan Announces Summer Tour Dates

By The Editors on 6.10.10

Julie Sheehan has lots of readings coming up to support her new collection Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise. Check out all her Summer 2010 tour dates after the jump.

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You’re a Poet, You Say?

By The Editors on 6.09.10

Guest contribution by Andrew Hudgins:

When strangers ask me what I do, I usually follow the lead of W. H. Auden, who said he was a teacher. So much easier than saying “poet,” and having to deal with the inevitable follow-ups: Have I heard of you? What books have you written? Do they sell that in bookstores? 

Those questions are just tune-ups for the really hard one.

“You’re a poet, you say?”
“What kind?”
“What kind?”
“Yeah, what kind of poetry do you write?”

I know I’m being offered an opportunity to promote an art that needs promotion and maybe sell a book or two. I know the question is coming, but like a recalcitrant student, I’m always unprepared.

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Griffin Trust Recognizes Adrienne Rich for Life’s Work

By The Editors on 6.09.10

On Tuesday, June 2nd, Adrienne Rich received The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award, citing fellow female writers, such as Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Anne Carson, Nicole Brossard, Lisa Robertson and Dionne Brand as inspirations. Since receiving the Yale Younger Poets award in 1951, at the tender age of 21, Rich has strived to make the political personal in her poetry and prose. Rich’s list of achievements is extensive, to say the least, and she has authored 30 books of poetry and prose. It goes without saying that Rich has shaped the content and the form of American poetry in the latter half of the 20th century. I’ll go even further to say that she has been a driving force in dictating the place of women in literature and in the world. I remain truly grateful that she dove into that wreck.

Look for Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007—2010, a new work from Adrienne Rich, in January 2011.

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Reading: At Length Celebrates First Anniversary

By The Editors on 5.14.10

The online magazine At Length is celebrating their first anniversary in New York City tomorrow night (5/15) by serving up an evening of poetry and music. The entertainment for the evening includes Kimiko Hahn (reading from her brand new collection Toxic Flora), Joanna Klink, Major Jackson, Craig Morgan Teicher, and The Lisps. Admission is free but the location is super secret so send an rsvp to to get all the details. Doors are at 7:30.

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Want to Write a Poetry Review for The Rumpus?

By The Editors on 5.10.10

Well, here’s your chance. Rumpus poetry editor, Brian Spears, is “in awe” of Sandra Beasley’s second poetry collection I Was the Jukebox and is looking for someone to review it for the online magazine. From Spears’s blog:

I finished Sandra Beasley’s latest, I Was the Jukebox, and I am in awe of it…just pure awe. It’s not what I do, and it’s not what I want to do, but damn, do I want to read it again. It’s easily one of the best collections I’ve read this year so far. Now I just need someone to offer to review it for The Rumpus for me.

Send your pitch to review this awe inspiring new collection to Brian at poetry AT

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Marilyn Hacker’s Elegy for Mahmoud Darwish

By The Editors on 5.10.10

This week’s “Poem of the Week” selection from The Guardian, chosen by the poet Carol Rumens, is the final poem from Marilyn Hacker’s most recent collection, Names. The poem is called “A Braid of Garlic.” Rumens writes:

A Braid Of Garlic, the last poem in the collection, is partly an elegy for Mahmoud Darwish, “whom, daring, I called a brother”. The verse is written in an informal Sapphic quatrain, its stanzas sometimes impressionistic ‘scenes’ or vivid jottings. The dying fall of the feminine endings and foreshortened last lines seems appropriate to the overall mood. But against this sorrowful cadence is pitted a vigorous appetite for joy and survival, expressed in the muscularity of the syntax, and embodied by the “aging women” who continue valiantly to shop and write and celebrate their “memories and continence”.

Read Marilyn Hacker’s “A Braid of Garlic” at The Guardian.

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Common Terms and Phrases

according to e. e. cummings

By The Editors on 5.07.10

If you’re not familiar with the “common terms and phrases” feature on Google Books, then you should probably get familiar because it’s pretty great.  It lists the words and word groups that appear most frequently in any full text available on Google Books. In novels, this list is often overrun by character names.  But in E. E. Cumming’s Erotic Poems, things are a bit more interesting. For your Friday afternoon pleasure, please enjoy the Top Ten Most Unexpected Common Terms and Phrases in E. E. Cumming’s Erotic Poems:

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Julie Sheehan unveils Bar Book at KGB

By The Editors on 4.28.10

Whiting award winner Julie Sheehan’s third collection, Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise, will be published on June 7th. But she’ll be giving a sneak peak of the new bar-themed volume at New York’s legendary KGB Bar on Monday, May 3rd at 7pm [more info]. She’ll be reading with David Lehman who actually co-founded the Monday night poetry series back in 1997. Who else needs a drink?

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Now Accepting Submissions: The Amy Award

By The Editors on 4.07.10

In the world of poetry awards, the Amy Award stands out. Why you ask? Not only does it support young women writing poetry and offer the opportunity to give a large public reading in New York City (a rare occurrence for an unpublished poet), but it also honors the memory of an extremely talented writer and actress, Amy Rothholz, who died at 25.

Poets & Writers is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Amy Awards, open to women poets age 30 and under living in the New York City metropolitan area or on Long Island. The deadline is June 1st. For full submission instructions, go to the Amy Award site.

Full disclosure: I was one of the winners last year, and I can honestly say that winning this award was one of the best experiences of my writing life.  Awards and contests come and go (along with the award money), but I’ll never forget reading for a packed house with three other incredible writers. My own poems that I read that night have since been edited or abandoned, but the poem I read by Amy will be with me for a long time.

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