Kategorie: USA

63. $100,000 für Dichter

Afaa Michael Weaver’s poetry collection The Government of Nature has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. The prize, based at Claremont Graduate University, is awarded to a mid-career poet “to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working towards the pinnacle of their craft.” Chief Judge Chase Twichell said of Weaver, “His father was a sharecropper. After serving for two years in the Army, he toiled for 15 years in factories, writing poems all the while. When he learned that he’d won a National Endowment Fellowship, he quit his job and attended Brown University on a full scholarship. He essentially invented himself from whole cloth as a poet. It’s truly remarkable.” Afaa’s devastating poem “If You Tell” begins:

“If you tell, the stars will turn against you,
you will have not night but emptiness.

If you tell, you will live in an old house
in the desert all alone with cactus for friends.

If you tell, people will hide their children
from the monster others say your kind are.

If you tell, the police will add you to the list
of people who might have killed the albatross.

If you tell, you will walk in a hollow room
full of the sound of liar, liar, pants on fire.”

/ Annalisa Quinn, NPR

53. Pulitzerpreis

Der in Indien geborene Dichter Vijay Seshadri erhält den Pulitzerpreis in der Kategorie Lyrik für sein Buch “3 Sections”.

Die Pulitzerpreise für Journalismus, Literatur, Drama und Musik wurden zum 98. Mal vergeben.

Mr. Seshadris ’3 Sections’ ist eine Sammlung herausragender Gedichte, “die das menschliche Bewußtsein zwischen Geburt und Demenz untersuchen mit bald witziger bald ernster, mitfühlender und unbarmherziger Stimme”, heißt es in der  Mitteilung. Der Preis ist mit 10,000 Dollar dotiert.

Der Autor lehrt Lyrik und Sachbuch am Sarah-Lawrence-College für freie Künste in New York. Er wurde 1954 in Bangalore geboren und kam mit 5 Jahren in die USA, wo er in Columbus, Ohio aufwuchs.

Er ist der fünfte Autor indischen Ursprungs, der den begehrten Preis gewann. Der erste war im Jahr 1937 Gobind Behari Lal, der in der Kategorie Reportage ausgezeichnet wurde. 2000 erhielt Jhumpa Lahiri den Preis für Fiktion für ihren Erzählungsband “Interpreters of Maladies”. Geeta Anand wurde 2003 für Reportagen für das Wall Street Journal ausgezeichnet und  Siddhartha Mukherjee 2011 in der Kategorie Sachbuch. / NDTV

50. American Life in Poetry: Column 471

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Despite having once been bitten by a rabid bat, and survived, much to the disappointment of my critics, I find bats fascinating, and Peggy Shumaker of Alaska has written a fine poem about them. I am especially fond of her perfect verb, “snick,” for the way they snatch insects out of the air.

Spirit of the Bat

Hair rush, low swoop—
so those of us

stuck here on earth
know—you must be gods.

Or friends of gods,
granted chances

to push off into sky,
granted chances

to hear so well
your own voice bounced

back to you
maps the night.

Each hinge
in your wing’s

an act of creation.
Each insect

you snick out of air
a witness.

You transform
obstacles

into sounds,
then dodge them.

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 Peggy Shumaker from her most recent book of poems, Toucan Nest: Poems of Costa Rica, Red Hen Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Peggy Shumaker 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.

36. Walt Whitman Award

Ein gutes Förderungsmodell, finde ich:

A young Korean-American poet has received a $5,000 award for first-time writers that also ensures the publication and thousands of sales of her debut collection.

Hannah Sanghee Park has won the Walt Whitman Award, the Academy of American Poets announced Wednesday. Her book, “The Same-Different,” will be released next year by Louisiana State University. The poetry academy will purchase thousands of copies and distribute them to its members. Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout chose Park for the award and praised “Same-Different” as a “literally dazzling debut.” / The Washington Post

33. Melvilles Lyrik

Zu den merkwürdigsten Phänomenen der amerikanischen Literatur zählt das Spätwerk Herman Melvilles. Nach den finanziellen Misserfolgen seiner heute berühmten, damals jedoch weitgehend verschmähten Romane war Melville gezwungen, einen schlechtbezahlten Posten als Zollinspektor im New Yorker Hafen anzunehmen. Er wandte sich nun verstärkt der lyrischen Gattung zu und veröffentlichte auf eigene Kosten die «Battle Pieces and Aspects of War» (1866), das gewaltige Versepos «Clarel» (1876) und schliesslich nur für seine Freunde in Kleinstauflagen von jeweils 25 Exemplaren «John Marr and Other Sailors» (1888) und «Timoleon, Etc.» (1891). Trotz dem auflebenden Interesse eines kleinen Kreises englischer Literaten in den 1880er Jahren war Melville im vollkommenen literarischen Abseits angelangt, ein Umstand, der sich allerdings nur in der Quantität, nicht in der Qualität seines Werkes niederschlägt.

Mit Anmerkungen und einem instruktiven Nachwort versehen, liegt «John Marr und andere Matrosen» nun erstmals in einer integralen Übersetzung durch den Melville-Spezialisten Alexander Pechmann vor. So schmal der Umfang mit nicht mehr als neunzehn Gedichten ist, so gewichtig der Inhalt, weshalb Melvilles lyrisches Œuvre den Arbeiten seiner grossen und in dieser Hinsicht produktiveren Zeitgenossen Walt Whitman und Emily Dickinson getrost an die Seite gestellt werden darf. / Jürgen Brôcan, NZZ 3.4.

Herman Melville: John Marr und andere Matrosen. Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt und herausgegeben von Alexander Pechmann. Mareverlag, Hamburg 2013. 184 S., Fr. 34.50.

19. American Life in Poetry: Column 470

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Considering that I’m a dog lover, I haven’t included nearly enough dog poems in this column. My own dog, Howard, now in his dotage, has never learned a trick of any kind, nor learned to behave, so I admire Karla Huston for having the patience to teach her dog something. Huston lives in Wisconsin.

Sway

The cruelest thing I did to my dog
wasn’t to ignore his barking for water
when his tongue hung like a deflated balloon

or to disregard his chronic need for a belly rub
but to teach him to shake hands,
a trick that took weeks of treats, his dark eyes

like Greek olives, moist with desire.
I made him sit, another injustice,
and allowed him to want the nuggets enough

to please me. Shake, I said. Shake?
touching the back of his right leg
until he lifted it, his saliva trickling

from soft jowls, my hand wet with his hunger.
Mistress of the biscuit, I ruffled his ears
and said good dog until he got it. Before long,

he raised his paw, shook me until he got
the treat, the rub, the water in a chilled silver bowl,
the wilderness in him gone, his eyes still lit with longing.

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 Karla Huston from her most recent book of poems, A Theory of Lipstick, Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Karla Huston 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.

6. Poets’ graves

PORTLAND, Maine — A poet and filmmaker plans to visit and film more than 80 poets’ graves in 11 western states in the coming months.

Freeport resident Walter Skold, a 53-year-old former middle school computer teacher, said the journey will bring his total number of graves visited to 400. He and his son Simon, 26, leave April 7.

Skold said his ultimate goal is to document 500 dead poets’ graves in all corners of the country. He said the pair hope the project brings attention to National Poetry Month, which begins April 1.

“There’s this whole long tradition of poets visiting poets’ graves and writing about them,” he said. “I invariably find that they have an interesting story to tell.” / The republic

106. American Life in Poetry: Column 469

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

The love between parents can be wonderful and mysterious to their children. Robert Hedin, a Minnesota poet and the director of The Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, does a fine job of capturing some of that wonder in this short poem.

My Mother’s Hats

She kept them high on the top shelf,
In boxes big as drums—

Bright, crescent-shaped boats
With little fishnets dangling down—

And wore them with her best dress
To teas, coffee parties, department stores.

What a lovely catch, my father used to say,
Watching her sail off into the afternoon waters.

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 © 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.

75. American Life in Poetry: Column 468

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s another lovely poem to honor the caregivers among us. Amy Fleury lives and teaches in Louisiana.

Ablution

Because one must be naked to get clean,
my dad shrugs out of his pajama shirt,
steps from his boxers and into the tub
as I brace him, whose long illness
has made him shed modesty too.
Seated on the plastic bench, he holds
the soap like a caught fish in his lap,
waiting for me to test the water’s heat
on my wrist before turning the nozzle
toward his pale skin. He leans over
to be doused, then hands me the soap
so I might scrub his shoulders and neck,
suds sluicing from spine to buttock cleft.
Like a child he wants a washcloth
to cover his eyes while I lather
a palmful of pearlescent shampoo
into his craniotomy-scarred scalp
and then rinse clear whatever soft hair
is left. Our voices echo in the spray
and steam of this room where once,
long ago, he knelt at the tub’s edge
to pour cups of bathwater over my head.
He reminds me to wash behind his ears,
and when he judges himself to be clean,
I turn off the tap. He grips the safety bar,
steadies himself, and stands. Turning to me,
his body is dripping and frail and pink.
And although I am nearly forty,
he has this one last thing to teach me.
I hold open the towel to receive him.

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 Amy Fleury from her most recent book of poems, Sympathetic Magic, Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Amy Fleury 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.

66. American Life in Poetry: Column 466

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Li-Young Lee is an important American poet of Chinese parentage who lives in Chicago. Much of his poetry is marked by unabashed tenderness, and this poem is a good example of that.

I Ask My Mother to Sing

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.

I’ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more.

Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.

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 ©1986 by Li-Young Lee, whose most recent book of poems is Behind My Eyes, BOA Editions, Ltd., 2009. Poem reprinted by permission of Li-Young Lee 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.