True story: A teenager saw me with Matthea Harvey’s new book of poems as I sat with it in a café and asked if she could look at it. She was the scowly sort, angry tattoo on her shoulder, who I thought was going to ask me if I had a cigarette; not, offhand, the type who maybe cares much about modern American poetry.
I do, though, and if you care about modern American poetry you care about Matthea Harvey. / Daniel Handler, Los Angeles Times
If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?
Poems and Images
Graywolf: 160 pp., $25 paper
Matthea Harvey: Du kennst das auch · Gedichte Englisch-Deutsch. Aus dem amerikanischen Englisch von Uljana Wolf
kookbooks _ Reihe Lyrik _ herausgegeben von Daniela Seel _ Band 18
192 Seiten, mit Zeichnungen von Andreas Töpfer, Klappenbroschur, 19.90 Euro, ISBN 9783937445427
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Here’s a fine poem by Heather Allen, a Connecticut poet who pays close attention to what’s right under her feet. It may seem ordinary, but it isn’t.
So still at heart,
They respond like water
To the slightest breeze,
Rippling as one body,
And, as one mind,
The perfect confidants,
They keep to themselves,
A web of trails and nests,
Burrows and hidden entrances—
Do not reveal
Those camouflaged in stillness
From the circling hawks,
Or crouched and breathless
At the passing of the fox.
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 ©1996 by Heather Allen. Reprinted from Leaving a Shadow, 1996, by permission of Copper Canyon Press, http://www.coppercanyonpress.org. Introduction copyright © 2014 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.
Local news, Bronx. In New Yorks Botanischem Garten gibt es nicht nur viele Bäume und Blumen, sondern auch Poesie. Ein Lyrikspaziergang, Gedichte von Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) in Landschaft.
I had forgotten how the frogs must sound After a year of silence, else I think I should not so have ventured forth alone At dusk upon this unfrequented road. I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk Between me and the crying of the frogs? Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass, That am a timid woman, on her way From one house to another!
Frank O’Hara’s “Lunch Poems,” the little black dress of American poetry books, redolent of cocktails and cigarettes and theater tickets and phonograph records, turns 50 this year. It seems barely to have aged.
O’Hara wrote these poems, some during his lunch hour, while working at the Museum of Modern Art. He started at MoMA as an information desk clerk and, though he lacked formal training, became a curator. He had a painterly eye and a silvery personality.
“Lunch Poems” was urbane and sociable, a cheerful rebuke to the era’s more determined academic verse. “I do this I do that” poetry, O’Hara called his work, and this collection’s first poem, “Music,” sets the tone of his free-associating voice and method.
If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf’s
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
“Naked as a table cloth,” “nerves humming”: These are not-bad distillations of O’Hara’s sensibility. / Dwight Garner, NYT 9.8.
Peter Mendelsund often says that “dead authors get the best book jackets.” / New York Times 29.7. S. C1
Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion … was born in Azerbaijan and is half-Armenian and half-Fewish” / New York Times 10.8. S. 3
IT’S HARD NOT to love an artist who can craft a bronze phallus, exhibit it on a meat hook, then tuck it under her arm and go. Louise Bourgeois’s feminist energy is contagious, and her art invites articulation — words called up to answer image. Her oneiric intelligence, equal parts bawdy and brutal, provokes poets to match her mixed-media oeuvre with verbal riffs. Carmen Giménez Smith invokes a Bourgeois sculpture as a figure for desire, a source of “milky, / blobbing […] star-fuckery.” Mary Jo Bang looks at Cell (Three White Marble Spheres) and sees “The crazy face / Of the day looking back with its blank / Brazen sky-high stare.” Camille Guthrie deems Fillette “accurate as the entrails of a rabbit.” Bourgeois’s messy, uncanny accuracy and her peculiar irreverence and disturbing scatology are for many contemporary poets a mother lode. In excavation of that lode, what follows is a rumination, a reading, and a review.
Looking into Louise Bourgeois’s Cell I (1994) reveals this prismatic sentence:
Pain is the ransom of formalism.
The words are embroidered with rust-colored thread on one of several burlap mail sacks that cover a metal cot, and they are the punch line of what may be Bourgeois’s most famous and enigmatic artistic statement:
The subject of pain is the business I am in. To give meaning and shape to frustration and suffering. What happens to my body has to be given a formal abstract shape. So, you might say, pain is the ransom of formalism. / B.K. Fischer, LA Review of Books
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
The ancient Chinese poets used to say that at some point in each poem the poet ought to lift his (or her) eyes, ought to look beyond the surface of the present into something deeper and more meaningful. Here is just such a poem by Linda M. Hasselstrom, who lives in South Dakota.
It’s not spring yet, but I can’t
wait anymore. I get the hoe,
pull back the snow from the old
furrows, expose the rich dark earth.
I bare my hand and dole out shriveled peas,
one by one.
I see my grandmother’s hand,
doing just this, dropping peas
into gray gumbo that clings like clay.
This moist earth is rich and dark
as chocolate cake.
Her hands cradle
baby chicks; she finds kittens in the loft
and hands them down to me, safe beside
the ladder leading up to darkness.
her smile, her blue eyes, her biscuits and gravy,
but mostly her hands.
I push a pea into the earth,
feel her hands pushing me back. She’ll come in May,
she says, in long straight rows,
dancing in light green dresses.
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 ©1984 by Linda M. Hasselstrom; http://www.windbreakhouse.com. Her most recent book of poems, written with Twyla Hansen, is Dirt Songs, The Backwaters Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Linda M. Hasselstrom and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 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.
Garrison Keillor im Gespräch mit der New York Times:
Whom do you consider your literary heroes?
John Updike for his vast ambition and the Lutheran diligence that realized it. Edward Hoagland for his style and bravery and love of the world. May Swenson, again for bravery, independence, also wit. A. J. Liebling and Roy Blount Jr. as reporters who wrote literature: You can read them over and over and over. P. G. Wodehouse for sheer elegance and invention. Robert Bly, a wonderful poet into his 80s, a great old troublemaker.
Local News, Harlem. Aus Anlaß des 90. Geburtstags des Schriftstellers James Baldwin am 2.8. wurde ein Teil der 128. Straße zwischen Fifth und Madison Avenue in James Baldwin Way umbenannt. Baldwin wurde 1924 in Harlem geboren und starb 1987. Er besuchte dort die Public School 24 (heute Harlem Renaissance School). “Wir holen ihn uns als Sohn Harlems zurück”, sagte Rich Blint von der Columbia University School of the Arts.