Kyra Sedgwick, what
the hell? Connie Britton, you
were robbed, football muse.
By recycling the examples that Vendler offers in her study and adding a few others, it is clear that what is significant, or most consequential in Jorie Graham’s work is not lineation—long or short. The strength of her composition lies in a highly-evolved, demanding addressee and the process by which she communicates with it, called, for the sake of argument, vocative sublimity. The rhythm, grammar, lineation or other such features are rendered differently by Graham depending on unknown variables to the reader but what shapes those features into a whole, the communication with the addressee that exists on the plane of poetic thinking, is consistent. Vocative sublimity might better be defined as thus: “to be knitted up, chainmail of vocables—link / by link— / till even the air all round you suddenly seems to / shine—really now—there where it means, / or means to mean, because mostly of course it is just talk…” (The Errancy, 75). No better understanding of this process is to be found than, perhaps, those lines that limn the geography of a poetic mind and attempt to fix a dialogue that is at once clear and completely metaphysical. The philosopher, Martin Buber, describes the effect of this kind of dialogue on thought and perception: “When I confront a human being as my You and speak the basic word I-You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things…[n]eighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; but everything else lives in his light” (I and Thou, 59). In Graham’s poetry, she is the “I” of Buber’s philosophy and her addressee is the “You”, not as an exercise in egocentrism but in the dynamic of apprentice to omniscient master, always questioning. It would be easy to mistake the object of Graham’s poetry as multiple, as “You” in reality changes, but a prudent position would be to view the object as a singular entity with the ability to be all things at once—much like the relationship between a divinity and the adherents of its cosmology. Her poems seem to state what she has observed and beg notice of what she has observed, the better to question her addressee.
After reading about the photographs of Mongolia on view at Tibet House last month, Luke Meinzen sent along this piece about an experience he had during his tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia:As a child, the closest I got to horses was a coin-operated mustang in the grocery store. I was mostly indifferent to them, boyhood cowboy phase excepted, until a history professor described the Mongol armies that dominated Asia. Horsemen with a string of mounts pressed at unprecedented speed across impossible territory. They struck quickly, baiting opposing armies into outrunning their own supply lines and their discipline. When the Mongols moved separate from their own herds, they rotated horses to keep them fresh, opened veins to drink horse blood, and culled the weakest for food.
Continue reading here.
Death is not the end when a poet dies. What we dearly miss is everything they have to tell us about the minutiae of life, about head colds and deadlines, restaurants and articles, embarrassments and triumphs. And gossip, always gossip—about our doings and others’. But the poems keep talking. They talk with even greater clarity and power, in fact, because they are no longer in process. They are finished. Yet like all good art, they continue to unfold, have things to say, even new things to say that we hadn’t heard before.
from Able Muse. Read the complete essay here.
are delirious, staring at the sea.
The slide presentation featured the Deutsche Bahn AG
then the attendees took off their clothes… the news
spread like wildfire through the luxury liner –
Ronald, stop them! Don’t shout! Or give orders!
We told the passenger what the passenger wants.
We’ve only potted palms, and one wolf a year.
Then all the comedians disembark in San Diego.
That’s a tour plan with a real future, though
the Torture Room is daunting, I agree,
and I should say that the ticket sale failed
because of that. They even want to set up
cameras in the bedrooms. We’ll all need visas,
for this is the land where hope turns to fear.
-- John Tranter
Here's another question from my autobiography in the form of an SAT test. After you've had a look at it, you can watch the explanatory video featuring the kind participation of my friend Alexandra.
Which of the following has Mitchell NEVER used as an alias?
a: Blatchford Sarnemington
b: Al Farber
c: Lou Belmont
d: Donald Bruce
e: The Kalashnikover Rebbe
Special Bonus! Do you ever have trouble waking your children up in the morning so they can get to school on time? The following video is a rock version of the Romanian national anthem sung by an aggregation of Romanian television personalities. Just play it at high volume and watch your kids come flying out of bed like pigeons escaping from a coop. And for you, the video can also be great for overcoming a case of the afternoon "blahs."
Her sleeping head with its great gelid mass
of serpents torpidly astir
burned into the mirroring shield—
a scathing image dire
as hated truth the mind accepts at last
and festers on.
I struck. The shield flashed bare.
Yet even as I lifted up the head
and started from that place
of gazing silences and terrored stone,
I thirsted to destroy.
None could have passed me then—
no garland-bearing girl, no priest
or staring boy—and lived.
is an important American poet and should be read more widely than he is. Reasons
for his marginalization arise from the racial divide that plagued (continues to
plague) American literary politics. Hayden was such an adept poet that he could
not be denied by the “white literary establishment” of mid-twentieth century
America and that acceptance made him an outcast among the rising Black Nationalist
literati of the same era. One had thought him rescued with the posthumous
publication of his Collected
Poemsin 1985 and its reintroduction by the venerable
Arnold Rampersad in 1996. His prominence, however, is still lacking—though for
my generation of Black American poets he is the undisputed heavyweight. Like
they love posters of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in February, white readers of
Hayden love “Those Winter Sundays”; and they love the one about Bessie Smith
because, well, who does “the blues” better than Black folk? But there is so
much more to Hayden! As Goldstein points out: “For a great-souled author like Hayden there can be no
question of choosing one realm, one racial history, rather than another. The
Perseus myth belongs exclusively neither to whites nor to blacks, but to all
races, because it illuminates the tragic experience of all races.” Hayden
knew the path through the desolation of human action and his true contribution
to the world was a poetics of peace. Reading him is to show him gratitude.
The bodyguards wear white
The bullets fly towards them
The bodyguards are clouds
The bullets do not penetrate
Kaddafi. The bullets are precipitation
After we drink coffee, we check
the bird feeders. Kaddafi has purple
martins on his shoulders. The bodyguards
are snowy egrets. Forget
in both directions from this moment
I am right in front of you
I have a rifle
I am sexually wonderful
like a horse
* * *
Joanna Ruocco is the author of Man's Companions (Tarpaulin Sky). No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2009. Joanna wrote, "One time, my friend, Brian Conn, was waiting to cross the street and he saw a big squirrel standing next to him on the sidewalk. The big squirrel was standing quite still, holding a smaller squirrel in its mouth. Brian Conn watched the big squirrel and the big squirrel watched the traffic. Suddenly, the big squirrel ran into the street and threw the smaller squirrel under the wheels of a car.
I didn't write these poems thinking about that story. However, I am very interested in animals, sudden death, and misapprehensions of all kinds.
My father used to smoke cigars with a squirrel. This was in New York City. My father would lean out the window and the squirrel would balance on a branch of the sycamore tree and they would share Garcia Y Vegas.
I don't know how to reconcile these two encounters with squirrels. Maybe a gap in the universe opens between irreconcilable encounters with squirrels, and this gap has something to do with poetry?
All animals should wear orange in the woods and sing loudly."
1. from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats.
2. from “The Fall of Hyperion”, by John Keats
3. from “Testimony”, by James Byrne
Dante Micheaux is the author of Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010). His poems and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Bloom, Callaloo, Gathering Ground and Rattapallax—among other journals and anthologies. He has been a guest of the Poetry Project and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. His honors include a prize in poetry from the Vera List Center for Art & Politics, the Oscar Wilde Award and fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and The New York Times Foundation. He resides in London and New York City.
In other news . . .
Don't miss the Best American Poetry 2010 launch reading, September 23, 7:00 PM. Details here.
Betty slaps Sally
Children are playing outside
Don drinks in the pain
EMMY AWARDS THIS WEEKEND
Jane Lynch will win prize
Great glee splurge through cameras
If Conan wins, too
-- David Shapiro
There's been an editorial change at The Paris Review -- and a good deal of controversy attending the new editors' decision to reject previously accepted poems that had not yet appeared in print. The same thing happened in 2003 but on a lesser scale and with much less of a hue and cry. Here's Daniel Nester on the subject.
On the left you'll find the cover of the Spring 1968 issue of The Paris Review (# 42), It means a lot to me, because it was my first appearance in George Plimpton's legendary magazine. -- DL
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.