For Fans of the Brontes, Emily Blunt, and G. M. Hopkins

By The Editors on 12.19.09

“Avatar” notwithstanding, this weekend is an important one for Anglophiles everywhere.  Yesterday was the American opening of “The Young Victoria,” a film based on the accession to the throne and early reign of Queen Victoria of England.  These film goers may not be donning plastic glasses or “ooing” at 3D effects, but with a roster of producers including Martin Scorsese and Sarah, Duchess of York, expectations for “The Young Victoria” are high.  The film has received some backlash for taking liberties with historical facts (Victoria was left-handed, not right, and Prince Albert was never grazed by a bullet in an assassination attempt on Victoria’s life).  Nonetheless, we here at Poems Out Loud are eager to see the film.  Look for us in line, we’ll be reading In Memoriam.

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Where Poetry and Animated Video Overlap

From Billy Collins to Todd Boss

By The Editors on 11.24.09

In 1980, the same year that Pac-Man (the best-selling video game of all time) was released, Billy Collins published his second collection of poems. It was called Video Poems and it is now out of print. Skip ahead twenty-six years. It’s 2006 and Billy Collins has served as the Poet Laureate for the United States and is just completing his two-year post as Poet Laureate for the State of New York. From what I can piece together, it’s at this time that JWT, a global ad agency with an office in New York City, begins creating animated videos for some of Billy Collins poems. The earliest one, from January 2006, is Collins’ poem “Forgetfulness”. The so-called “animated poem” looks like it could have been a music video for a Pavement song circa 1993, which is a huge compliment. Eleven of these Billy Collins videos are collected here for your viewing pleasure. Now, skip ahead once more (stay with me) to yesterday morning when I’m sipping my morning coffee and checking email. I find a message from YouTube letting me know that the Todd Boss YouTube channel I subscribe to has two new videos. Here is what I find:

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David Baker on The Moe Green Poetry Hour

By The Editors on 11.19.09

David Baker’s new poetry collection, Never-Ending Birds, was published last month. Yesterday he joined Rafael Alvarado and Brett-Candace Hanson-Smith (yes, I believe that is all one, oddly hyphenated name, correct me if I’m wrong) on the Moe Green Poetry Hour to discuss the new book and all things poetry. It’s a long, fascinating, somewhat rambling conversation that I highly recommend. Rafael and Brett-Candace comment on David’s work in a very innocent (but well-read) way and it’s interesting to hear David respond. Click through to listen to the show.

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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.

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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:

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Video: Rebecca Wolff at the Sue Scott Gallery

By The Editors on 10.09.09

From between the painted tape of the Franklin Evans exhibit currently on display at New York’s Sue Scott Gallery, Rebecca Wolff read from her latest collection The King last night. In this video she reads two poems: ‘I live in the rectory’ and ‘Content is King’. Rebecca describes ‘Content is King’ as the “crypto title-poem” of the book.

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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’.

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Rhapsody in Plain Yellow for a Perpetual Immigrant Nation

Or, The Sanctuary of Truths: How I Got There By Way of Marilyn Chin’s “Rhapsody”

By The Editors on 10.01.09

This is an original personal essay by Jean Larson (see bio below). It represents her response after reading Marilyn Chin’s 2002 poetry collection, Rhapsody in Plain Yellow

1. I knew a poem existed inside and outside of me multiple moments in my pre-poet life. Like Marilyn Chin’s “X-Acto knife” muse in Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, there it was: “beauty and terror.” It happened at about age nine when I couldn’t help crying for hours having suddenly realized my separateness from my mother, even though she sat there, stroking the hair up off my forehead.

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By Way of Introduction

Ellen Wehle’s First Book of Poetry

By John Dufresne on 9.30.09

I once sat with the late George Garrett at a poetry panel at a Georgia writers’ conference. The panelists were heralding the triumph of accessible poetry, poetry so simple, clear, and direct that Everyman could understand it instantly. George leaned over to me and said, “Soon, even our dogs will understand it.” This story comes to mind because I’ve just read my friend Ellen Wehle’s first book of poetry, The Ocean Liner’s Wake. Ellen’s poems should be read and then read again.

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Why Men Are Dogs

An Excerpt from Marilyn Chin’s Debut Novel

By The Editors on 9.25.09

Marilyn Chin wrote her debut book of poetry, Dwarf Bamboo, in 1987. Now, twenty-two years later, another debut, this time a novel. Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen is the story of Moonie and Mei Ling Wong, twin sisters and Chinese food delivery girls in southern California. The novel is consistent with the style of Chin’s poetry which blends high culture with pop culture and modern America with ancient Chinese history. The basic version of the plot goes something like this: twin sisters transform themselves from food delivery girls into accomplished women, but along the way they wrestle with the influence and continuity of their Chinese heritage. But the much more exciting, subversive version of what this book is really about was revealed in an interview Chin had with the online magazine, Tripmaster Monkey.

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