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Gestorben

Was ist das Wesen, der Kern von Poesie? Auf diese alte abendländische Frage hatte der amerikanische Literaturwissenschaftler Meyer H. Abrams, der am Dienstag [21.4.] im Alter von 102 Jahren in Ithaca, New York gestorben ist, eine Antwort. Drei Dimensionen machen für ihn die Dichtkunst aus: die Art und Weise, wie sie die Welt in die Texte holt, ihre Wirkung auf das Publikum, und schließlich ihr Verhältnis zu dem Geist, der sie geschaffen hat, dem Autor. Zu lange, so Abrams, habe sich die Literaturwissenschaft, aber auch die Literatur selbst, beinahe ausschließlich mit dem ersten Aspekt beschäftigt: wie kommt die Wirklichkeit in die Bücher? / Klaus Birnstiel, Süddeutsche Zeitung 24.4.

Lohnpoeten gesucht

In Atlantik City (New Jersey) the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority wants to hire a poet or poets for live poetry readings every Thursday at a farmers market the agency sponsors in Atlantic City each summer.

Poets be warned, though. The CRDA is making it clear that all poetry performances must be “family friendly (and) free of profanity and inappropriate language or themes.” / Press of Atlantic City

“ich will verstanden werden / nur von dir nicht”

I want to be understood,
just not by you

(aus Ch. Bernstein: Me and my Pharao)

Bernstein ist Jahrgang 1950, einer der führenden Protagonisten der L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E-Poetry, die nach einer von ihm zusammen mit Bruce Andrews gegründeten Zeitschrift benannt wurde. Er wurde inzwischen Professor, lange im Clinch sowohl gegen die Abwehr als auch gegen die Umarmungen des Establishments und ist einer der bekanntesten avantgardistischen Dichter Amerikas (soweit die eben bekannt sind). Das ist einerseits Drang und andererseits auch seine Begabung, er ist virtuoser Poet, eloquenter Redner, begnadeter Essayist und ein unterhaltsamer Performer von  Texten.

Und es war für ihn keine leichte Übung, einen nicht bereits besetzten Flecken zu finden, wenn man sich ein Land vorstellt, in dem Gertrude Stein ihr Unwesen getrieben hatte, in dem die Beat-Generation ihre poetischen Arbeiten hinausgeheult hatte und andererseits die zweite Welle des Modernismus mit Frank O’Hara und Ashbury sich bereits etablierte.

(…)

Kann man denn das verstehen, was er schreibt? An dieser Frage scheiden sich die Geister, denn sie impliziert, dass der Fragende schon weiß, was verstehen ist, z.B., dass die Pflastersteine in ein säuberliches Mäuerchen eingesetzt werden, hinter dem das Ich sich wohl und sicher fühlt, wie ein Gartenzwerg auf seinem Rasen. Von diesem Ich, These, will Bernstein nicht verstanden werden, das ist das ‚not by you‘ aus dem Motto oben.

Was er an die Stelle der Konvention setzt ist – in meinen Augen – von sehr unterschiedlicher Qualität, experimentelles Schreiben enthält keine Erfolgsgarantie.  Aber Bernstein war immer ein virtuoser Sprachspieler, dessen Sätze oft krude Mischungen aus dem Wortschatz der Hochgebildeten mit Alltagswendungen sind, die nur selten da einrasten, wo der übliche Wortgebrauch es erwartet, häufig klangliche Übersprünge in den ‚falschen‘ Kontext vollziehen – immer herausfordernd und nie platt.

Die Auswahl von 35 Pflastersteinen Bernsteins, die Luxbooks 2014 in seiner Americana Reihe letztes Jahr ausgekippt hat, können jedenfalls als Schule zur Entwicklung lyrischer Trittsicherheit dienen. / Franz Hofner, Fixpoetry

Charles Bernstein
ANGRIFF DER SCHWIERIGEN GEDICHTE
Aus dem Amerikanischen von Tobias Amslinger, Norbert Lange, Léonce W. Lupette u. Mathias Traxler
Luxbooks
2014 · 380 Seiten · 29,80 Euro
ISBN: 978-3-939557-88-3

American Life in Poetry: Column 519

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Many of us have built models from kits—planes, ships, cars. Here’s Robert Hedin, a Minnesota poet and the director of The Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, trying to assemble a little order while his father is dying.

Raising the Titanic

I spent the winter my father died down in the basement,
under the calm surface of the floorboards, hundreds

of little plastic parts spread out like debris
on the table. And for months while the snow fell

and my father sat in the big chair by the Philco, dying,
I worked my way up deck by deck, story by story,

from steerage to first class, until at last it was done,
stacks, deck chairs, all the delicate rigging.

And there it loomed, a blazing city of the dead.
Then painted the gaping hole at the waterline

and placed my father at the railings, my mother
in a lifeboat pulling away from the wreckage.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Robert Hedin from his most recent book of poems, The Light Under the Door, (Red Dragonfly Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Robert Hedin and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

American Life in Poetry: Column 518

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Several years ago, Judith Kitchen and I published an anthology of poems about birds, and since then I keep finding ones I wished we’d known about at the time. Here’s one by Barbara Ellen Sorensen, who lives in Colorado.

Pelican

Under warm New Mexico sun,
we watched the pelican place
himself down among the mallards
as if he had been there all along,
as if they were expecting the large,
cumbersome body, the ungainliness.
And he, sensing his own unsightly
appearance, tucked his head close
to his body and took on the smooth
insouciance of a swan.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2013 by Barbara Ellen Sorensen from her most recent book of poems Compositions of the Dead Playing Flutes, (Able Muse Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Barbara Ellen Sorensen and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Pulitzer Prizes 2015

The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Poetry

For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “Digest,” by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books), clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.

Digest
By Gregory Pardlo
Four Way Books

From Epicurus to Sam Cook, the Daily News to Roots, Digest draws from the present and the past to form an intellectual, American identity. In poems that forge their own styles and strategies, we experience dialogues between the written word and other art forms. Within this dialogue we hear Ben Jonson, we meet police K-9s, and we find children negotiating a sense of the world through a father’s eyes and through their own.

— from the publisher

Gregory Pardlo’s first book, Totem, received the American Poetry Review/ Honickman Prize in 2007. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, Tin House, as well as anthologies including Angles of Ascent, the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, and two editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. An associate editor of Callaloo, he is currently a teaching fellow in Undergraduate Writing at Columbia University.

Finalists

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Reel to Reel,” by Alan Shapiro (University of Chicago Press), finely crafted poems with a composure that cannot conceal the troubled terrain they traverse; and “Compass Rose,” by Arthur Sze (Copper Canyon Press), a collection in which the poet uses capacious intelligence and lyrical power to offer a dazzling picture of our inter-connected world.

Jury

Bonnie Costello, professor of English and American literature, Boston University (Chair)
Cornelius Eady, professor of literature and writing, University of Missouri, Columbia
David Orr, poetry columnist, The New York Times

Books, Drama and Music

FICTION – “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)

DRAMA – “Between Riverside and Crazy” by Stephen Adly Guirgis

HISTORY – “Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People ” by Elizabeth A. Fenn (Hill and Wang)

BIOGRAPHY – “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” by David I. Kertzer (Random House)

GENERAL NONFICTION – “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt)

MUSIC – “Anthracite Fields” by Julia Wolfe (G. Schirmer, Inc.)

More

American Life in Poetry: Column 517

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

The Dalai Llama has said that dying is just getting a new set of clothes. Here’s an interesting take on what it may be like for the newly departed, casting off their burdens and moving with enthusiasm into the next world. Kathleen Aguero lives in Massachusetts.

Send Off

The dead are having a party without us.
They’ve left our worries behind.
What a bore we’ve become
with our resentment and sorrow,
like former lovers united
for once by our common complaints.
Meanwhile the dead, shedding pilled sweaters,
annoying habits, have become
glamorous Western celebrities
gone off to learn meditation.

We trudge home through snow
to a burst pipe,
broken furnace, looking
up at the sky where we imagine
they journey to wish them bon voyage,
waving till the jet on which they travel
first class is out of sight—
only the code of its vapor trail left behind.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Kathleen Aguero from her most recent book of poems, After That, (Tiger Bark Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Kathleen Aguero and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Nasty, brash and haughty

IN OCTOBER 1865, a 22-year-old wordsmith living on Ashburton Place, behind the Massachusetts State House, filed what has to be one of the nastiest book reviews ever published. The volume before him was “an insult to art,” a brash and haughty Henry James told readers of The Nation, a then-months-old New York weekly. Written in free verse, each line beginning “in resolute independence of its companions, without a visible goal,” the book demonstrated, according to James, “the efforts of an essentially prosaic mind to lift itself, by a prolonged muscular strain, into poetry.”

The poet himself James found downright distasteful. “Mr. Whitman,” he harrumphed, “is very fond of blowing his own trumpet.”

Walt Whitman’s “Drum-Taps,” a collection of Civil War-themed poems, was first published 150 years ago this month, just a few weeks after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and the assassination of Whitman’s idol, President Abraham Lincoln. With scenes from the army camps, paeans to Manhattan and the American flag, and stories of wartime America from a variety of perspectives, it traced the whole arc of a war with which Whitman had been intimately involved. But the poet’s ambitions were grander still — Whitman evoked a vision of the country he thought the newly reunited states should aspire to become. / Richard Kreitner, Boston Globe

Some poems for pleasure

It’s National Poetry Month and You Haven’t Read a Single Poem Yet, Have You?

I don’t know many people who like poetry, though I do know a good number of people who read. Poetry remains rarefied and uninviting—or is the better word unappealing?—which is why I suspect National Poetry Month consistently passes uncelebrated and unacknowledged in the lives of most Americans. Poetry is the country music to those who might otherwise fancy themselves readers of everything, the form of writing almost all otherwise enthusiastic readers (of fiction and history and short stories and essays…) are excused for eschewing.

(…)

In honor of National Poetry Month, then, here are some poems that might inspire non-poetry readers to reconsider their abstinence. My only criteria for inclusion: the poem had to be written by a living American, and it had to be good. There’s no pressure to “get” anything about a certain poem and no quiz about symbolism or syllables at the end. This is purely for pleasure, not for points.

Thomas Sayers Ellis’s “All Their Stanzas Look Alike

Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It

EJ Koh’s  “To My Mother Kneeling In The Cactus Garden

Steve Roggenbuck’s “Somewhere in the Bottom of the Rain

Eileen Myles “Peanut Butter

Marie Howe’s “What The Living Do”

Stephen Dobyn’s “How To Like It

Denice Frohman’s “Dear Straight People

Yoko Ono’s “End Piece” (auf der Seite unten)

/ Charlotte Shane, The New Republic

20 Black American Poets

In 1996 the Academy of American Poets dubbed April National Poetry Month to celebrate the richness of American poetry. In its honor, here are 20 black American poets who have shown brilliance in their art and service to the community. Poets include: Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde,  Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton, Derek Walcott, Maya Angelou and Angelina Weld Grimké.

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