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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Celebrate National Poetry Month, Day Three

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 3, 2009

 corydon-alexis-redux

Day Three. National Poetry Month. corydon & alexis, redux. Author D. A. Powell. Verse two in a fancy new feature from Image Chef called Word Mosaic. Cool, huh? You can make your own using any words you choose, any colors, several shapes, and one or two letters, like your initials. But I digress. Just go to the Academy of American Poets website, sign up for their Poem-A-Day via email, or just go right now to read all of corydon & alexis, redux. Or read about poet D. A. Powell. Whatev. You know the drill. You can also read other poems by Mr. Powell or read all of the poems posted so far this month.

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with “Unbidden” by Rae Armantrout

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 2, 2009

unbidden

It’s day two of National Poetry Month, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Here’s a Wordle of today’s poem, “Unbidden” by Rae Armantrout. Be sure to visit the Academy at their website to sign up to receive their poem of the day for this month. You can click here for today’s poem or you can click here to read more about poet Rae Armantrout.

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“Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina” Opens National Poetry Month

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 1, 2009

summer-at-blue-creek2

It’s April! That means it’s time for the Academy of American Poets and their website at poets.org to celebrate by publishing a poem a day and also celebrating the poem’s author. We’ll be celebrating National Poetry Month along with them.  If you’re a poetry fan, you can go to the website and sign up to receive an email of each day’s poem. On April 30, they’ll also be celebrating their second annual Poem In Your Pocket Day.  Just find a poem you love and carry it in your pocket all day to share with friends and family. Today’s poem is “Summer at Blue Creek, North Carolina” by Jack Gilbert. You can read the poem here and read about Mr. Gilbert here. Oh, yeah, and here’s a Wordle of the poem.

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Meet Inaugural Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on January 20, 2009

 http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/245

As a Blatant Bibliophile, you may also be a poetry fan, and so you might be wondering about the poem from today’s inauguration. The poem was written and presented by Elizabeth Alexander, who is a multi-talented poet, essayist, teacher, and playwright. Ms. Alexander was born in New York and raised in Washington, D.C. She earned her Ph. D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and also holds degrees from Yale and Boston Universities.  One of Ms. Alexander’s five books of poetry, American Sublime, was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists and was an American Library Association Notable Book. She is the first recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship which is awarded for work that contributes to improving race relations. Currently, Ms. Alexander is on the faculty of Yale University.  You can visit her website or read a biography and some of her work at the website of  The Academy of American Poets. Here is the transcript of her poem courtesy of The New York Times as provided by CQ transcriptions:

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

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What You Need To Know

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on December 15, 2008

Image created at GlassGiant.com
Are you a fan of Sonya Sones‘ fab books? Of course you are; we all are! And What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know is one of her best. So if you’re a fan of What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know and you think you could write about what happens next after the story ends in Sonya’s cool verse style, why not enter the contest from Gotham Writers’ Workshop and Teen Ink. Here’s a sample from What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know:

My name is Robin.

This book is about me.
It tells the story of what happens
when after almost 15 pathetic years of loserdom,
the girl of my dreams finally falls for me.

That seems like it would be
a good thing, right?
Only it turns out to be
a lot more complicated than that

Because I’m not gonna lie to you —
there are naked women involved.
Four of them, to be exact.
Though not in the way you might think.

Don’t get me wrong — my girlfriend’s amazing.
But the way things have been going lately,
I’m starting to believe that the only thing worse
than not getting what you want,

is getting it.

So read the book, go to the website to find out the rules, and then write your own series of poems describing how you think the story should continue. The contest starts tomorrow, so get busy! Click here for the official rules.

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Check Out the 2008 Poets Forum from the Academy of American Poets in NYC

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on October 7, 2008

Our friends at The Academy of American Poets are hosting a Poets Forum in New York City November 6-8. The Forum will include a series of public events investigating issues central to contemporary American poetry. In-depth discussions with distinguished poets, readings, and walking tours through literary New York will be included. The price of an all-events pass is $110.00. There will be discussions and readings with such luminaries as Frank Bidart, Victor Herández Cruz, Louise Glück, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C. K. Williams. Other participants will include Charles Bernstein, Anselm Berrigan, Lucie Brock-Broido, Jordan Davis, Timothy Donnelly, Eamon Grennan, Major Jackson, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, James Longenbach, Cate Marvin, Cecily Parks, Claudia Rankine, Tracy K. Smith, and Tom Thompson. Walking tours will explore the literary history of the West Village, Harlem, Walt Whitman’s SoHo, Brooklyn, and the Museum of Modern Art. Tour guides include poets Anselm Berrigan, Jordan Davis, Cate Marvin, Tracy K. Smith, and Tom Thompson. The Poetry Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, November 7 at 7 P.M. with a reception to follow. Reading and reception for the new fall issue of American Poet, the journal of the Academy of American Poets will be held Saturday, November 8 at 8 P.M. All meeting times are subject to change. Visit the website of The Academy of American Poets for further details.

Posted in Poetry, Reading | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Congratulations to New Poet Laureate Kay Ryan!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on July 28, 2008

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan was appointed the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States on July 17. Ms. Ryan was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from The University of California Los Angeles. She has lived in Marin County since 1971. Ryan will be featured in the upcoming Poets Forum of the Academy of American Poets in November. Ms. Ryan is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets; you can read her profile on their website, poets.org. Another helpful article is available on the Library of Congress website.
Ryan has published several collections of poetry, including The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005); Say Uncle (2000); Elephant Rocks (1996); Flamingo Watching (1994), which was a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Strangely Marked Metal (1985); and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983).

Her awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and three Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and was included in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997.

 

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Blatant Bibliophiles Welcome Author Kelly Bingham!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 25, 2008

shark

Don’t forget, bibliophiles, on Monday, April 28, and Tuesday, April 29, The Unquiet Library will host author Kelly Bingham, author of Shark Girl, for a discussion and workshop on poetry writing! Here’s a brief synopsis of Shark Girl:

On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, 15-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything – absolutely everything – changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, “That’s her – that’s Shark Girl,” as she passes. Poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself – and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.

For more information about Kelly, visit readergirlz, where she is this month’s author. There’s a live chat with Kelly TONIGHT AT 9:00 PM on the readergirlz MySpace Forum. There’s also a round table discussion between Miss Erin, Little Willow, and author Lori Ann Grover on Little Willow’s cool book discussion site, bildungsroman. Need more? Check out the great interview on Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog, Cynsations.

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More Poetry!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 21, 2008

mummy

Today’s Poem-a-Day from Poets.org is from Thomas James. Thomas James’s Letters to a Stranger – originally published in 1973, shortly before James’s suicide – has become one of the underground classics of contemporary poetry. According to reviewer Garrett Doherty in Contemporary Poetry, Letters to a Stranger is a book full of solitude and isolation in places where one would not like to be left alone. The speaker is often reaching out to someone, God or otherwise, who is not there. These letters were not necessarily written for us and we do not know who they were truly for. In addition, we do not always get the full story. Perhaps it is fitting that we also do not really know who these letters are from. The letter writer is as much a mystery as the intended recipient. It is up to us to find meaning, without any hints from the sender.

Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh
XXI Dynasty

by Thomas James

My body holds its shape. The genius is intact.
Will I return to Thebes? In that lost country
The eucalyptus trees have turned to stone.
Once, branches nudged me, dropping swollen blossoms,
And passionflowers lit my father’s garden.
Is it still there, that place of mottled shadow,
The scarlet flowers breathing in the darkness?

I remember how I died. It was so simple!
One morning the garden faded. My face blacked out.
On my left side they made the first incision.
They washed my heart and liver in palm wine—
My lungs were two dark fruit they stuffed with spices.
They smeared my innards with a sticky unguent
And sealed them in a crock of alabaster.

My brain was next. A pointed instrument
Hooked it through my nostrils, strand by strand.
A voice swayed over me. I paid no notice.
For weeks my body swam in sweet perfume.
I came out Scoured. I was skin and bone.
Thy lifted me into the sun again
And packed my empty skull with cinnamon.

They slit my toes; a razor gashed my fingertips.
Stitched shut at last, my limbs were chaste and valuable,
Stuffed with a paste of cloves and wild honey.
My eyes were empty, so they filled them up,
Inserting little nuggets of obsidian.
A basalt scarab wedged between my breasts
Replaced the tinny music of my heart.

Hands touched my sutures. I was so important!
They oiled my pores, rubbing a fragrance in.
An amber gum oozed down to soothe my temples.
I wanted to sit up. My skin was luminous,
Frail as the shadow of an emerald.
Before I learned to love myself too much,
My body wound itself in spools of linen.

Shut in my painted box, I am a precious object.
I wear a wooden mask. These are my eyelids,
Two flakes of bronze, and here is my new mouth,
Chiseled with care, guarding its ruby facets.
I will last forever. I am not impatient—
My skin will wait to greet its old complexions.
I’ll lie here till the world swims back again.

When I come home the garden will be budding,
White petals breaking open, clusters of night flowers,
The far-off music of a tambourine.
A boy will pace among the passionflowers,
His eyes no longer two bruised surfaces.
I’ll know the mouth of my young groom, I’ll touch
His hands. Why do people lie to one another?

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Keep That Poetry Coming!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 18, 2008

Cherry Tomatoes

It’s still National Poetry Month, courtesy of the Academy of American Poets. Today’s poet is Sandra Beasley of Washington, D.C., a recent recipient of the 2008 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. The award, sponsored by Poets & Writers— the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers— provides two writers with an honorarium and all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in October to meet with agents, editors, publishers, and other members of the New York literary community. Beasley won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize for her book Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008), selected by Marie Howe. Her poems have also been featured in Verse Daily and Best New Poets (Samovar Press, 2005) and in journals such as 32 Poems, Barrow Street, Blackbird, RHINO, and SLATE. Awards for her work include the 2006 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize from Passages North and fellowships to Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Millay Colony. She serves on the editorial staff of The American Scholar. You can learn more about her at her website.

Cherry Tomatoes
by Sandra Beasley

Little bastards of vine.
Little demons by the pint.
Red eggs that never hatch,
just collapse and rot. When

my mom told me to gather
their grubby bodies
into my skirt, I’d cry. You
and your father, she’d chide—

the way, each time I kicked
and wailed against sailing,
my dad shook his head, said
You and your mother.

Now, a city girl, I ease one
loose from its siblings,
from its clear plastic coffin,
place it on my tongue.

Just to try. The smooth
surface resists, resists,
and erupts in my mouth:
seeds, juice, acid, blood

of a perfect household.
The way, when I finally
went sailing, my stomach
was rocked from inside

out. Little boat, big sea.
Handful of skinned sunsets.

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