Poetry

A Phoenix Poet goes to Paris

October 22, 2008
By
A Phoenix Poet goes to Paris

Poet-critic Dan Chiasson, author of the verse collection The Afterlife of Objects and One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America, a book of criticism, will join the Paris Review as a poetry editor. Congratulations to Dan on his new post! Celebrate by reading a poem from The Afterlife of Objects. . . .

Read more »

Review: Atkinson, Mean

October 20, 2008
By
Review: Atkinson, Mean

Los Angeles Times book review editor David L. Ulin has written an approving review of Colette Labouff Atkinson’s new book of poems, Mean, for last Sunday’s edition of the paper. Remarking on what Ulin calls the “exquisite tension” between intimacy and distance in Labouff’s work Ulin writes: 43 vignettes add up to an emotional autobiography. In the title piece, Atkinson describes her husband’s former wife, a stripper. “He traded her in for me,” she writes. “To people I don’t know, I say she was a dancer. I watch them, puzzled, wonder how anyone could not love a ballerina. And you have to question a guy like that: trading in a sweet stripper for me.” The irony is that we are people she doesn’t know, but this is part of the book’s exquisite tension. Again and again, Atkinson reveals intimacies in an offhand way. “Gain” describes her great-uncle, a columnist for the ILWU Warehouse News, who “etween the lines, be wise—organize—”composes a fairy tale about a pony made of gold. “For God’s Sake, Get Out” recalls “The Amityville Horror,” then morphs into a meditation on how houses can be haunted by disappointment and loss. Read the review on . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Atkinson, Mean

October 15, 2008
By
Press Release: Atkinson, Mean

In the appropriately titled Mean, Colette LaBouff Atkinson’s speakers confront a series of cruel lovers, estranged ex-husbands and ex-ex-wives, neglectful parents, disrespectful children, menacing drunks, would-be rapists, well-meaning but ineffectual teachers, and that annoying kid in first grade who wouldn’t leave you alone. Managing to “say” what most of us would only think but never dare speak out loud, this stunning debut collection reveals that the horrors and cruelty we experience in everyday life can turn out to be very real indeed. But Atkinson does not merely rake her subjects across the coals: she deftly exposes, instead, how the world mirrors back to us our own meanness, lending it a truth and a history. In forty-three deadpan, often merciless prose poems that are masterpieces of the form, Mean lays bare the darkness within the narrator’s heart as well as in ours. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

The liquidity crisis in poetry

October 2, 2008
By
The liquidity crisis in poetry

Speaking last week at an event celebrating the anthology Best American Poetry 2008, UCP poet Charles Bernstein proclaimed his staunch support for a poetry bailout aimed at restoring readers’ confidence. “As you know,” Bernstein argued, “the glut of illiquid, insolvent, and troubled poems is clogging the literary arteries of the West. These debt-ridden poems threaten to infect other areas of the literary sector and ultimately to topple our culture industry.” Gawker was inspired by this impassioned address to ponder “whether this liquidity crunch has begotten too many issuances of new metaphors.” And we’ve got more where that came from: Bernstein’s polemic against National Poetry Month is just as inspiring. . . .

Read more »

John Dent-Young wins Premio Valle Inclán

October 1, 2008
By
John Dent-Young wins Premio Valle Inclán

At a ceremony this Monday at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, John Dent-Young was awarded the Premio Valle Inclán by TLS editor Sir Peter Stothard for his recent English language translation of the works of Spanish poet Luis de Góngorra in Selected Poems of Luis de Góngora: A Bilingual Edition. In an article published yesterday acknowledging the award, the TLS‘s Adrian Tahourdin writes: Góngora (1561–1627) is “considered by many to be Spain’s greatest poet,” according to Dent-Young, whose aim in this volume was “to rescue Góngora from his role as textbook example of the Baroque and give him a human voice,” while suggesting that Velázquez’s severe portrait of the poet (reproduced here) belies his true nature: “That bridge of yours, Manzanares, it’s a laugh; / listen to what the people round here say: / it’s a bridge that ought to span a mighty sea, / and you’re not river enough to merit half” (from “The Bridge of Segovia”). Reviewing Dent-Young’s work in the TLS of October 19, 2007, Chris Andrews wrote, “Góngora’s verse affords a range of pleasures … but bringing those together requires patience, good will and philological help. John Dent-Young has provided the smoothest possible access to the poems.… . . .

Read more »

Audio: Gabriela Mistral’s mad poems

May 13, 2008
By
Audio: Gabriela Mistral’s mad poems

Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Madwomen: The “Locas mujeres” Poems of Gabriela Mistral is the first appearance in English of all twenty-six poems of the “Locas mujeres” series, including those left unpublished at her death. Randall Couch edited and translated Madwomen and he recently gave a reading of seven poems from the book (together with a reading of the Spanish texts) at the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania. The complete one-hour reading can be downloaded from the Writers House site. . . .

Read more »

Marilyn Hacker on the FSG poetry blog

April 25, 2008
By
Marilyn Hacker on the FSG poetry blog

Marilyn Hacker, award winning poet and translator of over twelve books of contemporary French poetry including Guy Goffette’s recent Charlestown Blues: Selected Poems, a Bilingual Edition, has posted a piece on the art of translation to the recently launched Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux poetry blog this week. In her post she discusses her intimate engagement with the works she translates and her constant struggle to remain true to the original. Hacker writes: “The translator must be faithful to the text’s linguistic valence, its connotations, to its music as well as its meaning.” And perhaps nowhere else does the translator develop this synergy between sound and sense than in Georgetown Blues where her selection of Geoffette’s work all center around the notion of “blue”—the color and the emotion, as well as that quintessentially American style of musical performance. From Charlestown Blues: “Blue Gold” No, tears don’t stop flowing on earth, nor cries resounding. Hills and walls only protect us from bodies that come with and come undone and the wide, peaceful rivers, and thunderclouds carry grief away. But as soon as the house is closed up like a handkerchief on its square of bitterness how heavy the scalding cup of coffee . . .

Read more »

Southern exposure

April 11, 2008
By
Southern exposure

The Shelf, a literary blog associated with the Canadian magazine The Walrus has just posted an interview with Elise Partridge discussing her new book of poems, Chameleon Hours. Partridge, who splits her time between Vancouver, BC, and Washington State, talks with Jared Bland about the reception of her work in the U.S. and, alternatively, how she sees it fitting into a Canadian literary tradition: Much of your work has been published in the States, including in the New Yorker, and this new book is being simultaneously issued by the University of Chicago Press. In other words, you have more southern exposure than many Canadian poets. Does this effect the way in which you see your work fitting into a Canadian poetic tradition? Not to force you into any immodest comparisons, but what strain of poetic thought do you see your work coming out of? I think writers inevitably belong in some way to their native countries and languages, but are also often hybrids of their own making, based on their sensibilities, influences, and so on. As an English-speaking North American (a dual citizen of Canada and the United States) I’ve been influenced by all kinds of literature in English—British, American, . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Voisine, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream

April 8, 2008
By
Press Release: Voisine, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream

Haunted by the afterlife of medieval theology and literature yet grounded in distinctly modern quandaries of desire, Connie Voisine’s female speakers reverberate with notes of Marie de France’s tragic heroines. For Voisine, poems are occasions for philosophical wanderings, extended lyrics that revolve around the binding and unbinding of desire, with lonely speakers struggling with the impetus of wanting as well as the necessity of a love affair’s end. With fluency, intelligence, and deeply felt emotional acuity, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream navigates the heady intersection of obsessive love and searing loss. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Partridge, Chameleon Hours

April 8, 2008
By
Press Release: Partridge, Chameleon Hours

Whether writing poems about North American life and landscape; or love poems; or elegies for family and friends; or poems on serious, debilitating illness and the transformations it can effect—Elise Partridge offers in Chameleon Hours words forged by suffering and courage. Full of wit and empathy, Partridge’s poems draw inspiration from sources as whimsical as tortoises and pontoons, as poignant as a homeless woman taking shelter inside a post office on a winter night, and as deeply personal as her own cancer diagnosis at a young age. Chameleon Hours is a book about the rewards of being reminded of one’s own mortality and the lyric expression of life in all its intensity. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors