Anyone who visits this site knows I'm mad for ballet and am a devotee since childhood of the American Ballet Theater, which performs regularly in New York City.
Some of my favorite poets were inspired by ballet: Marianne Moore, Frank O'Hara, Hart Crane, Edwin Denby, and Denise Levertov, to name a few. The similarities between the two art forms are clear to one who loves both. To paraphrase poet and critic Jack Anderson, both seek to create something which is uniquely itself, something which can be expressed in no other terms.
Because of this love, I was sad to learn that balletomane Carley Broder, the sister of a close friend, died on February 25. I want her good works to live on in the form of support for Project Plie, an initiative to increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies. Won't you join me? You can find out more about Carley Broder and make a much appreciated donation here.
Can't be at AWP 2014 in Seattle? We've got you covered. Check in here for regular posts by Nicole Santalucia and Deanna Dorangrichia. In addition to covering the conference activities they'll pass along recomendations for where to dine and spend your leasure time.
Nicole Santalucia received her MFA from The New School University and will receive her PhD from Binghamton University in 2014. Nicole founded a literary outreach program in 2011—The Binghamton Poetry Project—and continues to work as the Project Director. She teaches creative writing and literature at Binghamton. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, 2 Bridges Review, Paterson Literary Review, Bayou Magazine, Gertrude, Oklahoma Review, Zymbol Magazine, Flyway Journal, and others. She is the winner of the 2013 Ruby Irene Poetry Chapbook Prize for Driving Yourself to Jail in July (Arcadia).
Deanna Dorangrichia studied at the Art Institute of Boston and Binghamton University where she graduated with a BA in Studio Art. After almost ten years of living and working in New York City, she is back in Binghamton, New York dedicating her time as a visual artist. She has been published by the Inquisitive Eater and her work appears on the cover of Driving Yourself to Jail in July (above) as well as on the most recent issue of the literary journal Harpur Palate.
For up to the minute news, follow us on twitter @BestAmPo .
Just as the sheer quantity of John Ashbery's literary criticism surprised even the poet's fans (see his Selected Prose, 2007), so too the poet's translations from the French: they fill two volumes, one devoted to prose, the other to verse. Farrar Straus and Giroux will publish in April. Edited meticulously by Rosanne Wasserman and Eugene Richie, the books are rich in the enthusiasms of a maverick sensibility who did more than anyone else to put certain important French ecrivains -- Raymond Roussel, for instance -- on the map.
Ashbery spent ten formative years in France, mostly in Paris, having won a Fulbright in 1955. The critics, always quick to categorize, relegated him to a category as flexible as it is ill-defined: surrealism. And if there were a literary house of lords, surely he would be dubbed Sir Realist and be seated in the front row of the opposition party. He did in fact translate important works by Paul Eluard and Andre Breton, including such of their collaborations as "Le Jugement original," one of the highlights of the brilliant "collaborations" issue of Locus Solus #2, which Kenneth Koch put together. "The Original Judgment" is like William Blake's "Proverbs of Hell," only more so: "Let the dreams you have forgotten equal the value of what you do not know." "Adjust your gait to that of the storms." "Never wait for yourself." "You have nothing to do before dying.'
But Ashbery was always less interested in surrealism proper, if that is not an oxymoron, than in "hybrid" poets who deviated from the dads of dogma. I love his translations of Max Jacob's prose poems and believe that Le Cornet a des (The Dice-Cup) would garner deserved accolades if presented as a separate volume as Ashbery's versions of Rimbaud's Illuminations were a couple of seasons back.
Ashbery has a special feeling for Pierre Reverdy, whose poems were in Frank O'Hara's pocket on the day he spent his lunch hour walking elegiacally in midtown with Jackson Pollock's recent death on his brain ("A Step Away from Them"). Reverdy's poems have since found their way into a lot of other pockets, perhaps because in his leaps and enigmas he seems so pure an example of the French poetic sensibility that recommended itself so strongly to midcentury Americans eager to stray as far from the Eliotic throne room as they could. Ashbery's versions of Reverdy's prose poems (such as "Heavier," "From Another Shore") and verse ("Surprise," "That Memory") make the ideal introduction to this unusually compelling poet. Reverdy's lines seem able to detach themselves from the whole. Or rather the whole of a Reverdy poem consists of lines that arrive from different points of origin and coalesce as mysterously as a drop of water:
The stars came out of the water
A ship passed flying low
The line at the horizon from which the current was coming
The waves laughed as they died
No one knows where time will stop
I have barely touched upon the treasures in the poetry volume of Ashbery's Collected French Translations and I have not even mentioned the highlights of the accompanying book of prose.
The introductory essay by Rosanne Wasserman and Eugene Richie, with invaluable information, biographical as well as bibliographical, appears in the new issue of The Massachusetts Review (Winter 2013) with an admirable Ashbery collage ("Corona" from 2011) on the cover and with his translations of poems by Pascalle Monnier and Yves Bonnefoy.
This week we welcome Kristina Marie Darling as our guest author. Kristina is the author of seventeen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and a forthcoming hybrid genre collection called Fortress (Sundress Publications, 2014). Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo. Visit her online at http://kristinamariedarling.com/
This week we welcome Charles Coe as our guest author. Charles is author of two books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents and Picnic on the Moon, both published by Leapfrog Press. His poetry has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies, including Poesis, The Mom Egg, Solstice Literary Review, and Urban Nature. He is the winner of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Charles’s poems have been set by a number of composers, including Beth Denisch, Julia Carey and Robert Moran. In addition, Charles is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union, a labor union for freelance writers. He has been selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light for 2014.”
Since it's inception in 2008, we here at the Best American Poetry blog have cheered on Bill Cohen, one of our favorite bloggers, as he has assembled an array of tattooed poets for Tattoosday's annual tribute to National Poetry Month. We are once again thrilled to spread the word to inked poets everywhere. Bill would like to post an image of your tattoo on Tattoosday every day during April. Tattoos need not be literary in nature to qualify. If your ink is featured, Bill hopes to give a little history of your tattoo, some background about you and your poetry, and he'll include links to your own website, books, and poems. With your permission, he'll even post a poem.
In addition, you'd be joining the ranks of over a hundred and fifty poets, several of them BAP contributors, who have participated in years past. You can see who's been cool enough to join the ranks here .
For more details and to express your interest,please contact Bill at email@example.com.
This week we welcome Benebell Wen as our guest author. Benebell Wen is the pseudonym for a certain literary journal editor, writer, corporate lawyer, and fashion designer. Benebell is also a professional tarot reader and has been a practitioner for over 15 years. Her book, Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Tarot for Personal Growth will be coming out Fall, 2014 from North Atlantic Books. She is a mentor and senior reader with the American Tarot Association. Read more about her work at www.benebellwen.com. When she is not practicing tarot or dabbling in any of the other areas of interest, she is a feng shui practitioner and student of the I Ching. She resides in Oakland, California.
If you’d like to be notified when Holistic Tarot is released, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Best American Poetry series editor David Lehman and poet and editor Dan Nester as they read and delve into the mysteries of the sestina, a 700 year old poetic form that continues to beguile poets and poetry lovers with its arcane rules and rigid structure. Nester is the editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody Publishing), a volume that gathers more than 100 sestinas by poets from Sherman Alexie to Louis Zukovsky and includes classics as well as modern masterpieces.
The sestina comprises six six-line stanzas plus a final three line envoi. The words that end each line of the first stanza are repeated throughout in a prescribed order andagain in the final three lines.
Nester will read selections from the anthology to demonstrate how what might seem like a dry set of rules becomes a lively, engaging poem. Following the reading he will field questions from David Lehman and the audience.
BOOKS WILL BE FOR SALE BEFORE AND AFTER THE FORUM
DANIEL NESTER is a poet, journalist, and essayist. His work has appeared in Salon, The New York Times, The Morning News, The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, N+1, on the Poetry Foundation website and elsewhere. His poetry has been published in many magazines and journals including Gulf Coast, Barrow Street, jubilat, Crazyhorse, Open City, Slope, Spoon River Poetry Review His work has been anthologized in such collections as Third Rail: the Poetry of Rock and Roll, The Best Creative Nonfiction and The Best American Poetry. Dan is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, where he teaches creative nonfiction and poetry and is on the core faculty of their MFA program in creative writing.
DAVID LEHMAN is the author of many collections of poems, including most recently New and Selected Poems (Scriber, 2013). Among his books of non-fiction include A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (Shocken Books, 2009) and The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Doubleday, 1998), which was named a “Book to Remember 1999” by the New York Public Library. He edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006), and is the series editor of The Best American Poetry. He is the poetry coordinator of the graduate writing programs at the New School.
Rent parties began in Harlem in the 1920s when cash-strapped Uptown residents devised creative ways to pay discriminatory rental rates on low salaries. Party hosts opened their homes, and in exchange for a small cover charge, prepared food and provided live entertainment. Together, party goers defeated eviction while eating, drinking, dancing and socializing for much less than what they’d pay for a night on the town. Everybody won! Cave Canem’s Rent Parties revive the Harlem-style rent party with poetry at the core!
Find out more about Cave Canem here.
Coming Fall of 2015 from Sibling Rivalry Press -- The Collected & New Collaborative Work of Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton. Excitement!
And here are more 2015 titles from SRP, via cue cards & poet extraordinaire Ocean Vuong.
This week we welcome Joy Jacobson as our guest author. Joy is a poet, a health care journalist, and an editor. She’s the poet-in-residence at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York, where she teaches narrative writing to nursing students and practicing clinicians and blogs on poetry and health policy. Her poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Examined Life, and other journals, and in a 2004 chapbook, I And. Her essay on using poetry in nursing education is forthcoming in the anthology Keeping Reflection Fresh: Top Educators Share Their Innovations in Health Professional Education, to be published by Kent State University Press. Follow her on Twitter: @joyjaco.
DISQUIET’s annual contest seeks the best in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The winner in each genre will be published: the fiction winner in Guernica; the nonfiction winner in Ninthletter.com; and the poetry winner in The Collagist. In addition, a grand prize winner, to be selected by an outside judge, will receive airfare, accommodations, and tuition to the DISQUIET program in Lisbon, Portugal in 2014. Finalists and other entrants deemed to be of the highest quality will be offered partial tuition scholarships.
The DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal will run from June 29 - July 11, 2014, and will include core workshops in poetry, fiction, memoir & nonfiction, with afternoon workshops in songwriting and experimental poetry. There will also be literary walks, day trips, craft talks with leading editors, poetry manuscript consultations, and readings with North American and Portuguese writers in one of the world's most unforgettable cities.
Faculty and guests to include Sally Ashton, Dan Bern, Erica Dawson, Teolinda Gersão, Denis Johnson, David Lehman, Cyriaco Lopes, Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, Josip Novakovich, Alissa Nutting, José Luís Peixoto, Jacinto Lucas Pires, Patrícia Portela, Padgett Powell, Patrícia Reis, Gonçalo M. Tavares, Miriam Toews, Katherine Vaz, Terri Witek, Rui Zink, and more. For more information about the DISQUIET International Literary Program visit the DISQUIET website.
From the National Weather Service: The storm could bring 10 to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and up to a foot in New York City, to be followed by bitter cold. An arctic air mass will plunge the eastern half of the United States into a deep freeze, with wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero, the weather service said.
Button up your over coat! (Better still, stay home.)
This week we welcome Guillermo Parra as our guest author. Guillermo (Cambridge, MA, 1970) has published two translations of the Venezuelan poet José Antonio Ramos Sucre (1890-1930), Selected Works (University of New Orleans Press, 2012) and From the Livid Country (Auguste Press, 2012). Since 2003, he has written the blog Venepoetics, dedicated to the translation of Venezuelan and Latin American literature into English. As a poet, he is the author of Phantasmal Repeats (Petrichord Books, 2009) and Caracas Notebook (Cy Gist Press, 2006). In the spring of 2013 he was the guest editor of issue 18 of Typo Magazine, which featured a dossier of 20th century Venezuelan poets in English translation entitled "Portable Country: Venezuelan Poetry: 1921-2001." You can also follow him on Twitter at @venepoetics. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA where he works as a teacher.
This year's nominees for a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry are Frank Bidart's "Metaphysical Dog," Lucie Brock-Broido's "Stay, Illusion," Denise Duhamel's "Blowout," Bob Hicok's "Elegy Owed" and Carmen Gimenez Smith's "Milk and Filth." Congratulations to all.
We're especially thrilled for Denise Duhamel, one of our favorite poets and the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013. Here's what David Lehman writes about Denise in his introduction:
Denise Duhamel, who chose the poems for The Best American Poetry 2013, has appeared in the series seven times since Louise Glück and A.R. Ammons picked poems of hers in back-to-back volumes in 1993 and 1994. It would have been eight times if the editor hadn't declined to include herself: her "Ode to the Other Woman's Ass" in Ecotone (and reprinted on The Best American Poetry blog) has the traits--humor, warmth, passion, intelligence, and genuineness--that make her poems irresistible. "Exuberance is beauty," wrote William Blake. "Energy is eternal delight." Denise has as much natural exuberance as anyone practicing the art, with a seemingly unlimited amount of renewable energy. I have known and worked with Denise for many years. When a production of her play How the Sky Fell ran for four performances in an Off-Off-Broadway theater in 1997, I was in the cast. Over the years she and I have spent more than a few afternoons collaborating on a play, poems, or other projects. I knew we'd have fun working together and I suspected that she would have a large appetite for the many kinds of poetry being written at the moment. But I was not prepared for her intesity of focus. No sooner did she receive a magazine than its contents were devoured and considered for an ever-growing list of poems that elicited Denise's enthusiasm. It is always difficult making cuts, but Denise's professionalism ruled the day. In the making of one of these books the production schedule requires more than one deadline. Never before in the twenty-six years of this series did I work with an editor who managed to beat every deadline along the way.
Here's a link to Denise Duhamel's poem How it Will End, which Robert Pinsky included in The Best of the Best American Poetry (April, 2013).
And here's a link to Ode to the Other Woman's Ass.
You can buy Denise's NBCC nominated book Blowout here.
Moderated by David Lehman, poetry coordinator, School of Writing.
Now in its second successful year, The Chicago School of Poetics (CSoP) is kicking off 2014 with truly unique online course offerings and amazing opportunities to work with leading international poets in an intimate and collaborative setting.
From the comfort of your home or a nearby café, you can participate in courses using our innovative and user-friendly program—choose face-to-face, real-time video or simply listen in. Join an international conversation—courses have included students from Morocco, Canada, and Australia, as well as from the United States. This is a friendly environment for anyone who is looking to refine their work and connect with others.
In order to give students more opportunities to work with our faculty, we have initiated a new 6-week shortened course format that costs less and requires less of a time commitment. We’ve also streamlined our website, so courses are easier to find and registration is only a click away. Click here to register now: Class sizes are limited to maximize face time with the instructors.
Also, check back at chicagoschoolofpoetics.com for registration information about our next master class with Pierre Joris on April 26.
The glowing space is ours. CSoP showed the way!
This is what a school truly should be – think of Black Mountain College – beyond all the boundaries & borders.
I am surprised at how much I have learned and how much my writing and editing process has evolved.
I felt lucky to receive such input from an established poet and the price was a bargain because I felt I gained a lot from the class.
Winter 2014 Course Offerings
Poetics Level I with Kristina Marie Darling
Saturdays, February 22 – March 29
Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST
Blending lecture, written exercises, and in-class feedback this course is designed to help you view your poetry with the cold eyes that are necessary to make instinctual edits based on the many tools at your disposal.
Poetics Level II with Larry Sawyer
Saturdays, February 22 – March 29
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. CST
Poets use techniques such as automatic writing, random effect, shifts in writing method and even location, personal archeology, access to a wide variety of secondary source texts, found language, investigative poetry techniques, journal keeping, experiments with the basics of traditional forms, list poems, etc.
Pulse Poem Pulse with Barbara Barg
Mondays, February 24 – March 31
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. CST
Language is a poet’s instrument. This class focuses on developing dexterity and creativity with the rhythm, texture, and tonal qualities of language. Students will break language down to its melodic and percussive elements and explore rhythms and sounds from diverse, sometimes unusual sources.
Red-Headed Stepchild: The Unholy Spawn of Poetry and Story with Sharon Mesmer
Tuesdays, February 25 – April 1
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. CST
Students will examine some very early examples of what we now think of as “hybrid” writing, then blend the hallmarks of those early models (brevity, spontaneity, tightly-focused imagery) with contemporary ideas and techniques (collage, appropriation).
Shock the Monkey: Poetry and Mass Media with Larry Sawyer
Sundays, February 23 – March 30
Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST
Marshall McLuhan’s statement that “Art is anything you can get away with” will be a stepping off point for an examination of how current or popular music, movies, and the cult of celebrity influences one’s world and therefore also one’s writing. Students will study the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes of present-day celebrities and use appropriation, investigative methods, parody, the conceptual, replacement methods, hybrid narrative, and ekphrasis to push the limits of their poetry.
Erasure Poetry with Kristina Marie Darling
Thursdays, February 20 – March 27
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. CST
This course will focus on erasure poetry, meaning poetry created by excising significant portions of a found text, which is then edited, shaped, and structured by the poet.
Chicago School of Poetics core faculty: Barbara Barg, Kristina Marie Darling, Steve Halle, Francesco Levato, Sharon Mesmer, Larry Sawyer
This week we welcome Tara Betts as our guest author. Tara is the author of Arc & Hue and the libretto THE GREATEST!: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. Tara is a Ph.D. candidate in English/Creative Writing at SUNY Binghamton University. Her work appears in numerous journals, anthologies, and interdisciplinary projects, and you can find her at www.tarabetts.net and twitter at @tarabetts.
This week we welcome Amy Glynn as our guest author. Amy's work appears widely in journals and anthologies (including The Best American Poetry 2010 and 2012). Her book A Modern Herbal was released by Measure Press in November 2013. Follow Amy on twitter (@AmyAlysaGlynn) and facebook.
Vandana Khanna was born in New Delhi, India and received her M.F.A. from Indiana University. Her first collection, Train to Agra, won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize and her second collection, Afternoon Masala, won the Miller Williams Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Arkansas Press in 2014. She is a lecturer at the University of Southern California.
The Literary Man writes:
As a counterpoint to the current glut of people blabbing about the same old novels, we would like to say a few words about David Lehman’s NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, our favorite book of poetry published in 2013.
. . .
This is excellent stuff, people. We often talk about enjoying poetry, and yet it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. How does one stay in touch with contemporary poetry? Well, start here: with these NEW AND SELECTED POEMS.
Read the complete review here.
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.