Poetry

“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 today in . . .

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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 *** If you share an affinity for Williams’ four-diver white . . .

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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 corrupt sweetly— and slight it laments the aches at the knee touched to me. Without spite I remind you of an immense day of joy but you forget . . .

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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 light for dre otho verbs. The Eo-uscds: tn wrinen Cuuscd ( s . . .

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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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W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

April 19, 2012
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W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

For the second year in a row, a former Phoenix Poet has taken home the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize—and, for W. S. Di Piero, the legacy is a long, tall glass of water. He joins the company of twenty-six fellow poets who have soldered the experience of working class lives into indomitable verse, like Philip Levine; those who, like C. K. Williams and Adrienne Rich, have championed social issues and countered injustice; and those, like John Ashbery, who also deal in the criticism of the visual arts. What makes Di Piero unique, in a body of work conjures the presence of divinity in everyday life, redresses the grievances of a working-class South Philadelphia upbringing, and moves with effortless comfort from plain-style speech to bold translations from Euripides and Giacomo Leopardi, is exactly what doesn’t. He tells the truth, and I think it’s fair to say, it’s not slant. Di Piero questions poets and the quotidian equally, and what he arrives at is often something close to a sense of permission. As Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine stated the Foundation’s official announcement: “R. P. Blackmur once said that great poetry ‘adds to the stock of available reality,’ and . . .

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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

April 13, 2012
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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

  The 2012 class of Guggenheim Fellows was announced this week by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, inciting some exuberant responses on the part of several winners (check out Terry Teachout’s Twitter feed). The Guggenheim has long been hailed as the “mid-career award,” honoring scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and writers, who have likely published a book or three, professed a fair amount of research, and are actively engaged in projects of significant scope. The fellowship possesses some tortured origins—(John) Simon Guggenheim, who served as president of the American Smelting and Refining Company and Republican senator from Colorado, seeded the award (1925) following the death of this son John (1922) from mastoiditis (Guggenheim’s second son George later committed suicide, and more infamously his older brother Benjamin went down with the Titanic). Among this year’s crop (we dare say more forward-leaning than previous years?) is a roster of standout “professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts,” affiliated with the University of Chicago Press: Creative Arts Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and author of three poetry collections, coeditor of The Open Door: . . .

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Hopelessly Devoted

March 9, 2012
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Hopelessly Devoted

In the past few months, Bruce Smith’s Devotions has been nominated for the National Book Award (which went to Nikki Finney, for Head Off & Split), the National Book Critics Circle Award (which just last night went to Laura Kasischke, for Space, in Chains), and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (which will be announced on April 20). One of Smith’s previous collections The Other Lover (2000) was a finalist for both the National Book Award (taken home by Lucille Clifton’s Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000) and the Pulitzer Prize (awarded to Stephen Dunn’s Different Hours). Reluctant to turn to idiom (“Always a. . . .”), let’s shift to the book in question: “Write like a lover. Write like you’re leaving yourself for another. Write like you’re de Beauvoir, object and subject. Write like you must rescue yourself from yourself, become scrupulous to the body and the rain that floods you with rage and the crude sublimities: there was a lip print on the plastic glass wrapped in the misty domestic interior of the room. Write like there’s evidence, there’s tenderness, like Paris were the scene of a crime. A lipstick by the bed, a phone number, a . . .

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Everything’s coming up poetry

April 13, 2011
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Everything’s coming up poetry

Yesterday afternoon, the Poetry Foundation announced their 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winner: David Ferry, our own Phoenix Poet and author of three collections published by the University of Chicago Press. The Lilly Poetry Prize is presented annually to a living American poet whose lifetime accomplishments “warrant extraordinary recognition.” No small award, this: at $100,000, it is one of the nation’s largest and most coveted literary prizes. With all of that in mind, we extend our warmest congratulations to Professor Ferry on this remarkable achievement. From Poetry editor Christian Wiman’s Lilly Prize citation: “David Ferry is probably best known as a translator—and his achievements in that regard are extraordinary—but I think in the end it will be his poems that last,” said Wiman. “In a time when most poetry relies on intense surface energy, Ferry’s effects are muted and subterranean—but then, in their cumulative effect, seismic. For 50 years he has practiced poetry as if it truly matters to our lives and to our souls—and now his poems have that rare power to wake us up to both.” We celebrate David Ferry as the author of Dwelling Places: Poems and Translations, Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems . . .

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Riley’s Order

March 1, 2011
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Riley’s Order

By all accounts, Atsuro Riley is having a banner year. Just this week, Romey’s Order, Riley’s first collection (voiced by the invented boy-speaker named in the book’s title) was one of five books nominated for the inaugural Believer Poetry Award. The poet, the son of an ex-serviceman father and a Japanese mother, was raised in rural South Carolina and his work bears the unmistakable imprint of the local Southern idiom. In Romey’s Order, Riley’s poetic language, with its frequent syllabic stresses and percussive compounds, both clangs and languishes in vivid descriptions of lowcountry life. Riley is no stranger to praise, though—or to the varied attentions of the American literary community. Previously the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Poetry magazine’s Wood Prize, and the Witter Bynner Award from the Library of Congress, Riley added the Kate Tufts Discovery Award to his accolades just this past January. An early review by Dominic Luxford in the Believer’s October 2010 issue remembers how all of this first came to be: In December of 2001, Atsuro Riley stepped onto the poetry scene, seemingly from out of nowhere, with a nearly perfected style. These were poems you would expect at the height of a poet’s career, . . .

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