Poetry

Free ebook for October: Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets

October 1, 2013
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Free ebook for October: Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets

In 1983, the University of Chicago Press published David Ferry’s Strangers, the first book of poems in its Phoenix Poets series, to critical acclaim. The New York Times Book Review lauded Ferry for his “short, sparse lyrics are as perfectly and simply composed as Japanese haiku,” calling them, “a rare accomplishment in poetry written in English.” Thirty years later, the Press is still publishing a robust list in American poetry, from young poets pushing forward their first books to those still engaged masters, like Ferry, at the peak of storied careers.

Our free ebook for October, Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets, 1983–2012: An E-Sampler, presents some of the best poets and poems from those three decades, beginning with that first book by David Ferry and ending with his latest, the National Book Award–winning Bewilderment. The selections in between reveal the changing landscape of American poetry, though all are distinguished by keen awareness of the history and possibilities of poetry, as part of the mission of the Phoenix Poets series.

Those poets included: Elizabeth Arnold, Peter Balakian, Turner Cassity, Dan Chiasson, Michael Chitwood, W. S. Di Piero, David Ferry, Kenneth Field, Christine Garren, Reginald Gibbons, Susan Hahn, Mark Halliday, . . .

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Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

August 30, 2013
By
Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

Implicit in those lines is a view of poetry which I think is implicit in the few

poems I have written that give me any right to speak: poetry as divination, poetry

as revelation of the self to the self, as restoration of the culture to itself; poems as

elements of continuity, with the aura and authenticity of archaeological finds,

where the buried shard has an importance that is not diminished by the

importance of the buried city; poetry as a dig, a dig for finds that end up being

plants.

‘Digging,’ in fact, was the name of the first poem I wrote where I thought

my feelings had got into words, or to put it more accurately, where I thought my

feel had had got into words. Its rhythms and noises still please me, although there

are a couple of lines in it that have more of the theatricality of the gunslinger than

the self-absorption of the digger. I wrote it in the summer of 1964, almost two

years after I had begun to ‘dabble in verses.’ This was the first place where I felt I

had done more than make an . . .

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Recalculating (“Poetry is beautiful and important”)

May 10, 2013
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Recalculating (“Poetry is beautiful and important”)

From Josh Cook’s review of Recalculating by Charles Bernstein, in the May issue of Bookslut:

With translations, imitations, and homages, and with poems of poetry’s motion, and manifestos of politics and poetics, Bernstein has gone beyond a personal anthology of poetics to write a book I struggle to categorize. If you could remove all the term’s negative connotations, all the personal and cultural associations with boredom and restriction, if you could extract the term from the worst of academics and education, you could call Recalculating a textbook. It is the syllabus, the required reading, the example, the supplemental critical exploration, and the challenge. It is a shiv tearing at the fabric of poetry for a glimpse of the poetic future. It is the wall, the empty cans of spray paint, and the graffiti. It is the schematics for every part of the bomb but the fuse; the reader is the fuse. But as explosive as Recalculating is, the image of a bomb isn’t right, for, ultimately Bernstein is not a destroyer but a motivator. At the end of Recalculating, Bernstein wants you to believe poetry has not met its potential.

The . . .

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2012: A Year in Books

December 21, 2012
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2012: A Year in Books

In wrapping of the year’s best-of-2012 lists, we couldn’t help but single out the University of Chicago Press titles that made the cut as reads worth remembering. With that in mind, here’s a list of our books that earned praise as cream of the crop here and abroad, from scholarly journals, literary blogs, metropolitan newspapers, and the like. If you’re looking, might we (and others) recommend—

        

A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

made the Philadelphia City Paper’s Best of the Year list named one of the best books of the year by the Houston Chronicle included in Bookriot’s list of the five most overlooked books of 2012 picked as the book of the year by a bookseller at the Oxford Blackwell’s: “ feel so evangelical about I want to run around screaming ‘YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK OR YOUR LIFE WILL BE INCOMPLETE,’ in Billy Graham style.” named one of the ten best fiction books of 2012 by the Wall Street Journal named by Wall Street Journal fiction editor Sam Sacks as one of his own favorite fiction books of 2012 named by Sasha Frere-Jones of the New Yorker as . . .

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David Ferry: National Book Award winner

November 15, 2012
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David Ferry: National Book Award winner

Where did you go to, when you went away?

It is as if you step by step were going

Someplace elsewhere into some other range

Of speaking, that I had no gift for speaking,

Knowing nothing of the language of that place

To which you went with naked foot at night

Into the wilderness there elsewhere in the bed,

Elsewhere somewhere in the house beyond my seeking.

I have been so dislanguaged by what happened

I cannot speak the words that somewhere you

Maybe were speaking to others where you went.

Maybe they talk together where they are,

Restlessly wandering, along the shore,

Waiting for a way to cross the river.

—”That Now are Wild and Do Not Remember,” from Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

In 1983, the Phoenix Poets series published its inaugural volume—Strangers: A Book of Poems, by longtime Wellesley College professor David Ferry. Strangers was Ferry’s second book of his own poems; his first published work was a study on Wordsworth (The Limits of Mortality, 1959), soon followed by his debut collectionOn the Way to the Island (1960). What had Ferry been doing the . . .

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“Man is born with rainbows in his heart and you’ll never read him unless you consider rainbows”

July 6, 2012
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“Man is born with rainbows in his heart and you’ll never read him unless you consider rainbows”

This post is sponsored by a trip to my parents’ house—on a non-descript island in the Detroit River, among the postindustrial, downriver suburbs of southeastern Michigan, where I have found four books heldover from my high-school years as a resident of said home: D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, T. J. Clark’s The Painting of Modern Life, Carl Sandburg’s Poems from the Midwest, and The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. Were I to know then what I know now:

that Women in Love could not be more rife for celebrity baby names (Birkin) and maxims: “Your democracy is an absolute lie.” in a more or less tentative stab at adult self–becoming, I had at some point highlighted the following in Clark’s essay on Olympia: “Prostitution is a sensitive subject for bourgeois society because sexuality and money are mixed up in it. There are obstacles in the way of representing either, and when the two intersect there is an uneasy feeling that something in the nature of capitalism is at stake.” The O’Hara poems with folded pages are “Oranges,” “After Courbet,” and “In Memory of My Feelings,” which in no way do I sanctify as the Frank O’Hara poems I would turn to . . .

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Pure Products of America Go Crazy

June 1, 2012
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Pure Products of America Go Crazy

(First summer comes, and he’s the only one I ever feel like reading—)

Statement

“The greatest work of the twentieth century will be that of those who are placing literature on a plane superior to philosophy and science. Present day despairs of life are bred of the past triumphs of these latter. Literature will lay truth open upon a higher level. If I can have a part in that enterprise, I shall be extremely contented. It will be an objective synthesis of chosen words to replace the common dilatoriness with stupid verities with which everyone is familiar. Reading will become an art also. Living in a backward country, as all which are products of the scientific and philosophic centuries must be, I am satisfied, since I prefer not to starve, to live by the practice of medicine, which combines the best features of both science and philosophy with that imponderable and enlightening element, disease, unknown in its normality to either. But, like Pasteur, when he was young, or anyone else who has something to do, I wish I had more money for my literary experiments.”

William Carlos Williams, c. 1931

. . .

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Jennifer Scappettone | | Amelia Rosselli

May 31, 2012
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Jennifer Scappettone | | Amelia Rosselli

(Image copyright: Dino Ignani)

From Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli, A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Jennifer Scappettone

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Da Palermo ’63 (1963)

Poesia dedicata a Spatola

Il mare ha delle punte bianche ch’io non conosco e il tempo, che bravo

si dimena bravo nelle mie braccia, corrompo docilmente—

e sottile si lamenta per i dolori al ginocchio a me toccàti.

Senza livore io ti ricordo un immenso giorno di gioia

ma tu dimentichi la vera sapienza. Se la notte è una

veraconda scematura io rivorrei giocare con le belle

dolci signore che t’insegnavano che il dare o il vero, non

è vero.

Sentendo morire la dolce tirannia io ti richiamo

sirena volenterosa—ma il viso disfatto di un chiaro prevedere

altre colpe e docili obbedienze mi promuove cretine

speranze.

Gravi disgrazie sollecitano.

Il vero è una morte intera.

                   ***

From Palermo ’63 (1963)

Poem dedicated to Spatola

The sea has white points that I don’t know and tempo, so good

it wags good in my embrace, I . . .

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Roman numeral C, reinforced by (the) Latin centum: Part II

May 11, 2012
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Roman numeral C, reinforced by (the) Latin centum: Part II

In which we continue to promote The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine by considering what exists outside its daunting canon of twentieth- and twenty-first-century giants. Part I here.

Oh, Mari’bn: You’re kiddins

Our remix of Anne Carson’s “A Detail from the Tomb of the Diver (Paestum 500–453 BC) Second Detail” (after a reading of Marjorie Perloff’s Unoriginal Genius, in which we channel Caroline Bergvall and Tan Lin)

A Dtret rnou rrn Tolas or rHE dr\,ER

(PAiliruM

Joo-451

BC) SEcoND DrTdr

Art..tr Ccx-soN

Swinhine at noon alwaF ftninds me

-Fn,@

s,tug

The Eruscos: true you blue, MaritFrl

lou rc btuc?

MarnJyn: Co undervr aLer.

The Etruscans: Wlry?

Maribn: Slowwortd, I like thar

The Etruscms: Slow bodies?

Mrlp: Bodes pulled amond by faces.

The Etruscans: Momentary faces.

Marilyn: Acutally, alldle same face.

The Etruscans: Irigfi renhs? Seduftive?

Marilyn: No. Sr.-nge. Beautitul.

The Eduscans: Odd son ofbeauty.

Mrill,n: Uke r new brasie.e

The E*uscans: Or a ery u$al erb.

Ma.itp: Wharl.

The Etruscals: For insraace the verb !s,.

Madbn: I didn’t know

is,was a ve$.

The Etruscans: What did you ftrink it was?

Marilp: A . . .

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Marjorie Perloff, American Philosopher

May 3, 2012
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Marjorie Perloff, American Philosopher

The University of Chicago Press extends its congratulations to our own Unoriginal Genius Marjorie Perloff—whose astute exploits in literary theory, criticism of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetics, and consideration of the visual arts we’ve blogged about before, now and again. Why raise another glass to Marjorie?

Well, the American Philosophical Society—the nation’s oldest and most esteemed scholarly organization (founded in 1743)—whose mission is to “promote useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach,” just called her a member. Among her cohort of those inducted with distinction in the humanities? Mary Beard, Marjorie Graber, Wu Hung, Rosalind Krauss, Brent D. Shaw, and Salvatore Settis, in a class of 2012 inductees that extended its reach through the arts and public affairs (along with the physical, natural, and social sciences) to include such luminaries as Jill Abramson, William Kentridge, Cormac McCarthy, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Serra.

We’ve been lucky enough to shepherd several of Perloff’s books into publication, and though the list only reflects a portion of her overwhelming scholarship, it’s nothing to shake a stick at. Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media, John Cage: Composed in America, Frank . . .

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