For the sword outwears its sheath,
Why bring New York School poetry to the University of Southern Mississippi? Because, in a sense, it’s already here. Named for the New York School of painters, The New York School of Poets includes Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. These four poets came to prominence in the Fifties and Sixties; of the four, John Ashbery is still living and prolific. Some years ago, while reading these poets, I began to see glints and shadows of their work in poems without ties to the city, by poets from regions usually thought of as pastoral—like Mississippi, like Florida. I inaugurated a class for graduate students in our Center for Writers on The New York School, believing that its humor and directness would be a healthy influence. I also edited a special issue of Mississippi Review: Poets of the New York School.
Since then, the phenomenon that I’ve termed the New York School Diaspora has only intensified, inviting discussion, analysis, and celebration. Hence the idea for 2014’s Moorman Symposium. David Lehman, arguably the foremost authority on The New York School of Poetry, will play a key role in the Symposium. Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins, whose work freshly embodies the New York School’s sense of play, will join us from the North. Southern poets writing New York School-inflected works will include award-winning Florida poets Denise Duhamel, David Kirby, and Barbara Hamby. The Symposium’s panel discussion will explore ways in which the South has a particular affinity with The New York School’s love of direct, demotic speech and lack of pretense, coupled with a love of the energy and beauty of poetic speech—speech that invites rather than intimidates. Together we will chart the migration and assimilation of a singularly lively poetic movement, while over two nights of special readings the visiting poets will entertain and delight us with their inspired and inspiring poetry.
What does New York say to the South, and the South to New York? Is it possible for poetry to be urbane without being urban? Can it be both urbane and earthy? To explore these questions and many others, join us on the University of Southern Mississippi campus, May 2-3, 2014.
- Angela Ball, Moorman Distinguished Professor of English, 2013-14
Rhombus Space is pleased to present Thought Bubbles, an exhibition featuring Archie Rand’s complete series “The Months.” Curated by Katerina Lanfranco.
183 Lorraine Street
3rd floor, #33
Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231
Exhibition Dates: March 28 – April 27, 2014.
Rhombus Spaceis pleased to present Thought Bubbles, an exhibition featuring Archie Rand’s complete series “The Months.” Curated by Katerina Lanfranco.
183 Lorraine Street
3rd floor, #33
Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231
Exhibition Dates: March 28 – April 27, 2014.
This week we welcome Nick Courtright as our guest author. Nick is the author of Let There Be Light (Gold Wake, 2014), called "a continual surprise and a revelation" by Naomi Shihab Nye, and Punchline (Gold Wake), a 2012 National Poetry Series finalist. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, AGNI, Boston Review, and Kenyon Review Online, among numerous others, and a chapbook, Elegy for the Builder’s Wife, is available from Blue Hour Press. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and sons, William and Samuel, in Austin, Texas, where he teaches at Concordia University. Feel free to find him at nickcourtright.com.
In other news . . .
Here's an excerpt from David Lehman's recent Publishers Weekly review of Padgett's prize winning collection:
Long a mainstay of the New York School’s second generation, Ron Padgett—the self-styled “Tulsa Kid,” as the title of one of his books has it—left Oklahoma to attend Columbia University and become a big city poet. He studied with Kenneth Koch, met Frank O’Hara, made the pilgrimage to Paris, read and translated Reverdy, Apollinaire, Cendrars. From the start his poems had a joyous nonchalance about them—the Renaissance term for it is sprezzatura. Five decades fuel his Collected Poems, a tome teeming with Padgett’s trademark traits: comic energy, good humor, alert intelligence, constant curiosity, and the determination to put it all into poems.
Padgett is prolific, buoyant, confident that the day will yield its poem, nothing forced. He has written affecting memoirs of Ted Berrigan and Joe Brainard, two close friends from Tulsa days. His Collected highlights an array of New York School strategies. But though he mentions his wife and friends in poems, even ending a poem with the phone number of one of them (Larry Fagin), Padgett’s poems are not crowded with people and events in the O’Hara manner. If there is a consistency of purpose it is Padgett’s devotion to an esthetic path, his trust in the imagination and the associative logic that powers it. In “My Room” the logic leads quite naturally (and hilariously) from a lamp that Ted Berrigan once took from a hotel room to the value of studying Latin.
Josephine Miles, a vastly underrated Berkeley-based poet, who was A. R. Ammons's teacher, is the subject of an excellent post on Tom Clark's blog today, always worth checking out!
Here's her poem "Reason." And if you go to Tom 's blog and scrol down a bit, you will find some choice works by Joseph Ceravolo. -- DL
Said, Pull her up a bit will you, Mac, I want to unload there.
Said, Pull her up my rear end, first come first served.
Said, give her the gun, Bud, he needs a taste of his own bumper.
Then the usher came out and got into the act:
Said, Pull her up, pull her up a bit, we need this space, sir.
Said, For God's sake, is this still a free country or what?
You go back and take care of Gary Cooper's horse
And leave me handle my own car.
Saw them unloading the lame old lady,
Ducked out under the wheel and gave her an elbow.
Said, All you needed to do was just explain;
Reason, Reason is my middle name.
If men (and women) die every day for lack of what is found in poetry - or dance, or the visual arts, or film, or music - how then to make the world aware of what it is missing? On the one hand, popularization of art is often seen as a cheapening; on the other, art that exists within its own vacuum is ultimately pointless. And how to provide context for the arts for the vast majority of the general audience who are not pursuing MFAs or PhDs - that is, without sounding like hifalutin’ snobs or academics who have swallowed the OED? There’s the rub, as Shakespeare once said. (See what I mean?)
The Arts Club of Washington (DC) addresses this complicated issue with its annual Marfield Prize National Award for Arts Writing. Established in 2006 by member Jeannie S. Marfield, the annual prize is awarded to a non-fiction book about the arts published by a living author in the previous year. The award includes a mini-residency and reading in DC, and a hefty $10,000 check for the winning author. Past winners include Anne-Marie O’Connor,The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Climt’s Masterpiece (Knopf, 2012); Michael Sragow, Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master (Pantheon 2008); and Brenda Wineapple,White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf, 2008). Past judges have included Rita Dove, Jamaica Kincaid, Molly Peacock, Reynolds Price, Robert Pinsky, and Joyce Carol Oates.
Books are can be nominated by the author, the publisher, or the author’s agent, and books about all artistic disciplines are welcome. This year’s judges’ panel consists of poet and playwright Grace Cavalieri; writer and former NEH administrator Candace Katz; and author and professor Wayne Karlin. According to Cavalieri, “The point is to let the general public in on great artists, their works, and their lives. Although academics benefit greatly [from reading them], the larger hope is that books chosen are such interesting reading that Jane Q. Public can want it for her book club…This year we have six dynamic examples in various fields of art. Each one is fascinating reading and truly brilliant writing.”
This year’s finalists are Benita Eisler, The Red Man’s Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman (Norton); Witold Rybczynski, How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit (FS&G); John Shaw, This Land That I Love: Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, and the Story of Two American Anthems (Public Affairs); Terry Teachout, Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books); Sherill Tippins, Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); and Sam Wasson, Fosse (HMH). Their common qualifications, according to Grace Cavalieri: “Good writing! And great reading.”
The winner of the 2013 Marfield Prize will be announced on May 21. Next year’s competition will open in June 2014. Details – and a complete list of past winners, finalists, and judges – can be found at the Arts Club website here.
This week we welcome Edward Hirsch as our guest author. Edward, a MacArthur Fellow, is the author of eight poetry books, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, 2010), and five prose books, among them How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999), a national bestseller, and A Poet’s Glossary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).
In other news . . .
Tuesday, April 8, 6:30 PM: Alan Zeigler reads from and discusses Short: An International Anthology of 500 Years of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms. 66 W. 12 St. Room 510, NY, NY. More information here.
Alan Ziegler, the editor of Short: An International Anthology of 500 Years of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms. will read from and talk about his new international anthology of “short” forms – including prose poems and brief fictions from a variety of cultures.
His books include The Swan Song of Vaudeville: Tales and Takes; The Green Grass of Flatbush; So Much To Do; The Writing Workshop, Volumes I and II; and The Writing Workshop Note Book. In 2011, Narrative Library published a collection of his work, Love at First Sight: An Alan Ziegler Reader. His grants and awards include a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Word Beat Fiction Book Award (selected by George Plimpton), four PEN Syndicated Fiction awards, a CAPS (Creative Artists in Public Service) fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts grants for Some literary magazine and Release Press, which he co-edited. He has taught at Teachers and Writers Collaborative, the Poetry Society of America, Interlochen Arts Academy, Bronx Community College, and for Poets-in-the-Schools.
Moderated by David Lehman, poetry coordinator, School of Writing.
Sponsored by the School of Writing.
You can read an interview with Alan Ziegler on the Believer Blog here.
In the quest for a happier, better informed NaPoMo, The Tropical Roundup has returned. This is essentially where I post random or thematically or geographically linked tidbits from Poetry Land. Or culled from news, music, art, gossip, and other realms. Or simply netted from my aquarium brain. "Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it."
**The Mission Poetry Series wraps up its 5th season this Saturday, April 5th, at 1 p.m. with a new partnership with Antioch University Santa Barbara and with "April Voices: Three Poets for the Spring of It," featuring Teddy Macker, Phil Taggart, and Friday Lubina. Offering two readings each year in September and April, the series was founded in 2009 by poet and author Paul Fericano, (who also writes a regular column for The Santa Barbara Independent), and Susan Blomstad, a religious sister in the Order of St. Francis and the former director of the Mission Renewal Center in Santa Barbara.
** In other Santa Barbara poetry news: Inaugural poet (and all-around nice guy) Richard Blanco popped into The Book Den recently to say hello and sign his inspiring new book: For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey.
** Over on Barbara Jane Reyes' Poeta y Diwata blog, the Oakland-based poet serves up yet another thoughtful post in which she considers the evolution of her latest poetry project ("And the word was a woman....") along with the complexities of allusion, form, and language. Here's an excerpt:
"...we stretch from our initial frames into others’ frames. We build from our foundations and into the cultures that surround us, and which we now inhabit. As a poet frequently referenced for my code switching/operating in multiple registers, this is a no brainer; there’s a language that’s introduced itself into my repertoire. As poets, we sponge up languages, from everywhere." Read the full post here.
**And, from the unconfirmed, but no-less enticing, rumor bog: The winner of the 2014 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize hails from California! A full announcement with the poet's name and details is slated for April 14 at the University of Notre Dame reading featuring 2012 winner Laurie Anne Guerrero (A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying) and prize judge and poet Francisco X. Alarcón. The Letras Latinas blog will post all the good news later that evening.The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize supports the publication of a first book by a Latino/a poet in the United States, in collaboration with University of Notre Dame Press.
We recently announced that David Lehman's translation of Apollinaire's "Zone" won the Virginia Quarterly Review Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry. You can now read this wonderful poem over at VQR Online.
Apollinaire experimented with audacious techniques for generating verse. On occasion he would sit in a café and weave overheard phrases into the composition. Read David Lehman's translation of "Zone," the central poem in Apollinaire's career.
Continue reading here.
In the pilot, contestants are asked to memorize and recite a soliloquy from Hamlet, to write a bad sonnet on a quotation to be disclosed from Susan Sontag's literary essays, and to take part in the "Instant Haiku" round. Veteran impresario Bob Holman and singer Stacey Kent join Franco and Lehman as hosts and judges.
Forthcoming episodes will focus on competitors representing elite colleges, corporations, and television networks. The celebrity competitors in the pilot are Kate Mara, Josh Charles, and Elisabeth Moss, pictured at left, a Los Angeles native, who will turn thirty-two on July 24.
Lehman explained that the thematic unity of the pilot derives from T. S. Eliot's characterization of April as "the cruelest month."
"That's as much as I can say right now," said Lehman.
Subsequent episodes will follow the format similar to other "America's Top" reality programs: a large pool of aspiring poets will be winnowed down over the course of a season to one standout winning bard. Participants will be matched with poetry mentors who will advise them on developing a "voice," adhering to poetic forms while inventing new ones, writing a convincing bio note, and applying makeup for an author's photo. The winning prizes will include publication in The New Yorker "Page Turner" blog, an off-site reading at an upcoming AWP conference, and lunch with an esteemed poet of the winner's choice.
Judges will come from the ranks of former guest editors of The Best American Poetry. Rumors have circulated that Bill and Hillary Clinton will be reunited with former White House guests Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass to judge the crucial fifth elimination episode. Matthew Weiner, creater of the popular Mad Men series, who recently disclosed in a Paris Review interview that from ninth grade on he "wrote poetry compulsively," is likely to anchor at least one episode as a judge.
Watch this space for more details as they come!
We've just learned that the University of Arizona Poetry Center is getting much deserved recognition. The Poetry Center is the proud winner of a 2014 Governor’s Arts Award! Since 1981, arts organizations have been recognized for their passion, creativity and devotion to the excellence and diversity of Arizona’s arts and cultural community.
The Poetry Center, housed in a 17,500–foot landmark facility on University of Arizona Tuscon campus is a significant national center for the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and literature. Dedicated in 1960 by Robert Frost and located in one of three landmark buildings for poetry in the U.S., the Poetry Center’s world-renowned library of contemporary poetry and diversity of literary programs serve more than 30,000 people year. The Poetry Center also is a leader in developing poetry curricula in Arizona and provides online resources for teachers and parents. More than 1,000 poets and writers have been presented to southern Arizona audiences through the Poetry Center including the state’s new Poet Laureate, Alberto Rios.
You can find out more about the University of Arizona Poetry Center here.
This week we welcome Howard Altmann as our guest author. Howard grew up in Montreal, graduated from McGill and Stanford, was a banker for a bit, left that world more than a bit ago, and has lived in New York City for a byte-sized amount of time. He is the author of two poetry collections, the second of which, In This House, was published by Turtle Point Press in 2010. His poems have appeared in Little Star, Poetry, Slate, The Yale Review and elsewhere, in addition to the anthology, New Writings of the Americas: From Patagonia to Nunavut, forthcoming from Texas Tech University Press. Read his poem "Fragments" here and "Desert Sounds" here.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Keystone College Concerts and Lectures Series will present a poetry reading by David Lehman on Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall, Hibbard Campus Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Founded in 1868, Keystone is a private residential college in the rural community of La Plume, Pennsylvania, roughly 150 miles west of New York City.
Lehman will read new work as well as from his recently published New and Selected Poems (Scribner, 2013).
For more information, go here.
Jewish Poetry Now
Celebrating The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry
Sunday March 23 2014 5:00PM
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16 Street, NYC
The reading will spotlight a dynamic and talented troupe of troubadors including Sharon Dolin, Edward Hirsch, Deborah Ager (coeditor of the Bloomsbury Anthology), Jacqueline Osherow, David Lehman, Victoria Redel, Amy Gottlieb, Nomi Stone, Judith Baumel, Jason Schneiderman, and Cheryl J. Fish. Moderated by Miriam R. Haier. A wine and cheese reception will follow.
Admission is FREE. Seats are comfortable. Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O'Rourke. You don't have to be Jewish to eat Levy's Jewsh Rye Bread, one of the better commercials of its time, beat out the New York Times ("if you're without it, you're not with it") in the category of subway posters. It is rumored that Shawn Green and Mike Piazza will attend the event, with the former reading the late Ralph Kiner's elegy to Hank Greenberg.
We just received word that David Lehman has won the Virginia Quarterly Review Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry for his translation of Apollinaire’s “Zone,” which appeared in the journal's Spring 2013 issue. This award cannot be applied for; it is a VQR staff decision regarding the best work of poetry published in its print or online pages in 2013.
The Balch Prizes were established by Emily Clark Balch, the founding editor of The Reviewer, a publication that was key to the literary awakening of the American South. When Balch died, she left the bulk of her estate to the University of Virginia, for “the encouragement and production of American Literature.” (The money was divided to endow prizes in fiction and poetry and to create a writer-in-residence position—first occupied by William Faulkner.)
Past recipients of the poetry prize include Wendell Berry, John Berryman, Hayden Carruth, James Dickey, Carolyn Forché, Albert Goldbarth, Donald Hall, Lisel Mueller, May Sarton, Charles Simic, Natasha Trethewey, and Ellen Bryant Voigt.
Read David Lehman's introduction along with his translation of his winning poem, Appollinaire's "Zone" here.
Congratulations, David! Bon travail!
Klein Conference Room (Room A510),
Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
The New School
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
David Lehman’s New and Selected Poems appeared in November 2013 from Scribner. His other books of poetry include Yeshiva Boys (2008), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Evening Sun (2002), and The Daily Mirror (2000), from Scribner, Operation Memory (1990) and An Alternative to Speech (1986) from Princeton.
Lehman has edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006), Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (Scribner, 2003), among other collections. He has written six nonfiction books, including A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (2009, Nextbook / Schocken), which won the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Doubleday) and Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man (Simon and Schuster).
He initiated The Best American Poetry series in 1988 and continues as the acclaimed anthology’s general editor. With Star Black, Lehman originated the famed KGB Bar Monday night poetry series. He succeeded Donald Hall as general editor of the University of Michigan Press's Poets on Poetry Series and served in that capacity for twelve years. His poetry and prose have appeared in journals ranging from The New Yorker, The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal to American Heritage, The American Scholar, Harper's, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and Art in America. He has taught in the graduate writing program of The New School since the program's inception in 1996 and has served as poetry coordinator since 2003.
Moderated by Laura Cronk, associate director, School of Writing.
KGB Monday Night Poetry is pleased to present...
John Yau + Lawrence Joseph
Monday, March 17, 2014
Hosted by John Deming and Matthew Yeager
Series founded in 1997 by Star Black and David Lehman
Doors open at 7:00 pm
Reading starts at 7:30pm
Admission is FREE
85 East 4th Street * New York, NY
John Yau has published over 50 books of poetry, fiction, and art criticism. Yau’s many collections of poetry include Corpse and Mirror(1983), selected by John Ashbery for the National Poetry Series, Edificio Sayonara (1992), Forbidden Entries (1996), Borrowed Love Poems (2002), Ing Grish (2005), Paradiso Diaspora (2006), Exhibits (2010), and Further Adventures in Monochrome (2012). Honors and awards for his work including a New York Foundation for the Arts Ward, the Jerome Shestack Award, and the Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram-Merrill Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by France. Yau has taught at many institutions, including Pratt, the Maryland Institute College of Art and School of Visual Arts, Brown University, and the University of California-Berkeley. Since 2004 he has been the Arts editor of the Brooklyn Rail. He teaches at the Mason Gross School of the Arts and Rutgers University, and lives in New York City.
Lawrence Joseph is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Into It and Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973–1993 (which includes his first three books, Shouting at No One, Curriculum Vitae, and Before Our Eyes), published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is also the author of two books of prose, Lawyerland, also published by FSG, and The Game Changed: Essays and Other Prose, published by the University of Michigan Press in its Poets on Poetry Series. Born in Detroit, he is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Cambridge, where he received a M.A. in English Language and Literature, and the University of Michigan Law School. He is presently Tinnelly Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law in Queens, and has also taught in the Program in Creative Writing at Princeton. Married to the painter Nancy Van Goethem, he has lived for the past thirty-three years in downtown Manhattan.
Remaining Spring 2014 lineup:
From the March 1 issue of Library Journal:
Starred Review on MARCH 1, 2014 of Short:
Arts and Humanities Ziegler (creative writing, director, pedagogy & teacher training, Columbia Univ.; The Swan Song of Vaudeville: Tales and Takes) has edited a blend of writing that, owing to its brevity, allows readings to blur from one piece to another, as the genre of "short" literature is built upon fuzzy definitions. The collection features authors from many languages, though predominantly from countries defined as Western. However, work from writers as diverse in style as the American Lynn Emmanuel's rumination, "April 18, the 21st Century," where she engages in a niche epistolary discussion both with and about French poet Charles Baudelaire; German-Jewish critic Walter Benjamin's aphoristic comments on uncertainty in "Chinese Curios"; Jorge Luis Borges's self-objectifying "Borges and I"; and Stacey Harwood's playful "Contributor's Notes." Ziegler has not simply collected writings from many nations, he has also anthologized work from five centuries. At 300 plus pages, the book obscures this meaningful fact and nudges the collection from the genre of anthology to reference. In addition, Ziegler includes a complete bibliography of the pieces themselves as well as a short bio of each author. VERDICT The variation and brief nature of these writings are perfect for the busy reader, while the blurry genre types are good for those interested in experimental writing.—Jesse A. Lambertson, Metamedia Management, LLC,
On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 6:30 Alan Ziegler will read from and talk about Short – including examples of prose poems and brief fictions from a variety of cultures. David Lehman will moderate. More information here.
The Library Hotel is looking for a poem to grace its lovely poetry garden. The poem will be beautifully printed on a large canvas and given pride of place in one of the hotel's public spaces. But which poem? Tweet the title of your favorite NYC-inspired poem to @libraryhotel @bestampo @tspoetry.
This week we welcome Lea Graham as our guest author. Lea is the author of the poetry book, Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You (No Tell Books, 2011). Her poems, translations and reviews have been published in Notre Dame Review, Southern Humanities Review and Fifth Wednesday. She is a contributing editor for Atticus Review’s feature, “Boo’s Hollow,” which showcases poets writing on place. She is an Associate Professor of English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
In other news . . .
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.