The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance

By The Editors on 4.05.10

Tonight, April 5th, the Poetry Society of America is hosting a star-studded poetry event to honor the original bard: Orpheus.  It doesn’t get much better than this with poets John Ashbery and Mark Strand reading from their own work, and actors Maria Tucci and Chandler Williams performing poems by a range of contemporaries, from Czeslaw Milosz, Yusef Komunyakaa to Jack Gilbert, Linda Gregg and Sherod Santos. Pianist Paul Barnes will perform the Orphee Suite for Piano, his celebrated transcription from Philip Glass’s opera Orphee.


6PM, Bruno Walter Auditorium
111 Amsterdam Avenue (@ 65th Street), New York, NY
[more info]

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…In Poetry

By The Editors on 4.02.10

To recognize National Poetry Month, poet Sandra Beasley offers this fortune cookie guide to the “ways of poetry”. My favorite has to be, “You will step on the soil of many countries…in poetry”. If you’ll be in Denver for AWP next week be sure to come by the Norton booth (#309) at 3:30 on Friday, April 9th to help Norton, Poems Out Loud, and Joy Harjo celebrate the publication of Sandra’s lively second award-winning book of poetry, I Was the Jukebox.

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The Practice and Purpose of Poetry Reviewing

A Panel Not to Miss at AWP

By The Editors on 3.30.10

Check out this short piece in Publishers Weekly, wherein poet and critic Craig Morgan Teicher examines the purpose of poetry reviews.  Drawing input from poets and editors (including Matthew Zapruder of Wave Books, Timothy Donnelly of The Boston Review, Kevin Prufer of Pleiades and others), Teicher asks, quite seriously, what is the role of the reviewer? (Ambassador of poetry? Cheerleader? Gatekeeper?) Take a look and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you’re going to AWP in Denver don’t miss this panel. It will be on Friday, April 9th at 10:30 in Rooms 401 and 402. [More details]

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Hang with Us at AWP

By The Editors on 3.25.10

W. W. Norton will be at the AWP Conference in Denver (Exhibit Hall A, Booth 309) and we’ve got a stellar schedule of poets and writers coming by the booth. So you should join us. We can talk about books and stuff.

Thursday, April 8
Kimiko Hahn at 3:30
Editors and Contributors of Sudden Fiction Latino at 4:30

Friday, April 9
Brad Watson and John Dufresne at 1:45
Sandra Beasley and Joy Harjo at 3:30

Saturday, April 10
Nick Flynn at 1:45

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Ai (1947 - 2010)

By The Editors on 3.22.10

Sad news to share this morning. We’ve just learned that the National Book Award-winning poet Ai passed away over the weekend. Below is a statement from her colleagues in the Department of English at Oklahoma State University and the obituary notice that has been prepared by her estate:

It is with very great sadness that we inform the poetry community that the poet Ai died unexpectedly in the early hours of Saturday, March 20.

Ai was admitted to the emergency room at Stillwater Medical Center on Wednesday, March 17 with pneumonia, but tests indicated that she was in the last stages of breast cancer. She died comfortably in the company of her family.

The Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at Oklahoma State University, like the broader community of readers and writers, are devastated by the early loss of this fine poet and extraordinary colleague.

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Beyond Trifles and Smooth Numbers: Defining Poetry Anew

By The Editors on 3.15.10

Guest Contribution by Dai George

Poetry has a grand tradition of self-analysis. From Aristotle to Sidney, Shelley to Stevens, the question of poetry’s power and proper limits has been a vexed and fruitful one.

Consider two aspiring literary theorists: Fred and Alexander. Fred thinks that poetry can be defined as any passage of creative writing that’s organized into lines and stanzas.  Alexander rebuts with a selection of his favorite prose poetry in which the run-on to a new line is completely insignificant. Muddying the waters even more, Alexander issues a counter strike by presenting Fred with a limerick and a perfectly formed but excruciatingly dull sonnet. Surely true poetry can’t be found in these trifles and smooth numbers? For Alexander, a piece of writing being poetry or not depends much more on spirit than a particular form.

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The Erotic Poems of E. E. Cummings

By The Editors on 2.17.10

Editor’s note: For more erotic poems by E. E. Cummings, check out Erotic Poems, or learn more about E. E. Cummings erotic poetry by reading the Top Ten Most Unexpected Common Terms and Phrases in E. E. Cummings Erotic Poems. And, while you’re here, why not subscribe to Poems Out Loud if you enjoy poetry?

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Originally meant to shock the Puritanical sensibilities of the 1920s, Cummings’s poems of sexual and romantic love remain just as fresh and provocative today. The fifty poems included in Erotic Poems (all originally published in Cummings’s Complete Poems) are accompanied by twelve drawings by the poet himself which were recently featured in a slideshow on The Daily Beast. Poems Out Loud decided we’d call in the experts to take a close look at these erotic poems and report back on their findings. David Baker shows us how Cummings is in “so careful a rush”, Patricia Smith takes the express to Chicago, and Ann Townsend introduces the Grape-Vine Lady.

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New Winter Poems from Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin

By The Editors on 1.28.10

Poet Todd Boss knows Winter. He was born in Wisconsin, currently lives in Minnesota, and spent his MFA years in Alaska. He started the intermittent, online poetry journal Flurry as “a way of lighting the darkness of the season, staying connected during an isolating time, nourishing the spirit in the midst of a deep freeze, and celebrating nature even at its most foreboding.” Considering I woke up this morning to falling snow, Todd’s announcement that Volume 3 of Flurry is now online couldn’t have come at a better time. This issue features new poems by Robin Chapman, Sharon Chmielarz, Karl Elder, Alixa Doom, and Athena Kildegaard. And be sure not to miss Tim Nolan’s “New Year’s”.

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Sum Thyme’s I’m Ache Thai Pose

By The Editors on 12.22.09

Translation: “Sometimes I make typos”. A couple weeks ago I shared some random thoughts on video poems. This morning I got an email from a reader pointing out one of his own video projects. It’s a clever idea done well. Click through to check it out.

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New Recordings

By The Editors on 12.21.09

Have you noticed the new recordings we’ve added to the Audio section recently? There’s some great readings you shouldn’t miss. To keep up to date on all the recordings available on Poems Out Loud, try subscribing using the RSS feed just for readings or check out the podcast in iTunes.

• National Book Award finalist Thomas Lynch is about to publish a new collection of stories in February 2010 called Apparition and Late Fictions. Poems Out Loud asked him to revisit his only book of poetry published ten years ago. Listen to Thomas Lynch read “No Prisoners” from Still Life in Milford.

Nick Laird‘s most recent novel, Glover’s Mistake featured a culture blogger as the protagonist. Now this blog features Nick Laird. What goes around, comes around. Listen to Nick Laird read “Light Pollution” from On Purpose.

Martín Espada has been called “the Pablo Neruda of North America”. He was kind enough to read a poem that guest stars Neruda from his most recent collection which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Listen to Martín Espada read “The Soldiers in the Garden” from The Republic of Poetry.

• A first listen to one of the new poems from Sherod Santos’ forthcoming collection. Listen to Sherod Santos read “Variation on a Theme (I)” from The Intricated Soul: New and Selected available in March 2010.

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