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Luke Hankins
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Yvan Goll (1891-1950) was a poet, playwright, novelist, and translator born in Alsace-Lorraine who wrote in German, French, and English. He later lived in Paris and the U.S. and was an active part of the literary circles in Paris and Greenwich Village, along with his wife, Claire Goll. In the final years of his life, suffering from leukemia, he devoted himself to writing the poems of Das Traumkraut, translated as Dreamweed by Nan Watkins and recently released in a bilingual edition by Black Lawrence Press. (See an interview with Watkins at The Brooklyn Rail.) These poems, written in pain and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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A number of the poets included in my anthology Poems of Devotion (Wipf & Stock, 2012) have superb new books out. Here’s a list of the ones I know of and have read: Bruce Beasley: Theophobia (BOA Editions) (Look for my review forthcoming in Contemporary Poetry Review) Steven Brown: To the Wheatlight of June (photographs by Ben Nixon, poems by Steven Brown) (21st Editions) Morri Creech: The Sleep of Reason (Waywiser Press) Jennifer Grotz (translator): Psalms of All My Days by Patrice de la Tour du Pin (Carnegie Mellon Press) (See one of the psalms and my brief commentary on... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Keith Flynn founded the literary magazine Asheville Poetry Review in 1994. What began as a regional publication quickly grew to a national one. Keith was the lead singer and lyricist of the band The Crystal Zoo at the time, and he took every opportunity to place the magazine with independent book stores around the country as he toured with the band. The distribution and subscription base grew accordingly, as well as the breadth of submissions from around the country, and indeed around the world. I started as an intern in 2006, and shortly thereafter joined the staff as an Associate... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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I find it very difficult to understand the thinking of poets who spend a lifetime writing and publishing the same kinds of poems, over and over and over. I don’t mean poets whose work simply bears certain hallmark stylistic or thematic elements—that’s the mark of many a genius whose bodies of work are varied and exploratory. I also don’t mean poets who always write in traditional form, or who always write in the freest of verse—these poets often achieve great variety of effect within similar structures. What I mean are poets who write poems in the same voice, tone, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you for your insightful comment, David. I think that what misgivings I have about irony are based on the observation -- and the experience -- that in the most profound encounters with the holy (i.e., the divine, the sublime, the spiritual -- the other), irony and ornament are stripped away. But I do also acknowledge that irony can characterize our attempts -- usually our frustrated attempts -- at transcendence. -LH
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In my first post here at the Best American Poetry blog, I outlined my perspective on the devotional mode in poetry; in my second post, I offered some samples of work from my forthcoming anthology, Poems of Devotion (Wipf & Stock, Nov. 30, 2012); in my third post, I discussed virtuosity and simplicity in art. For my final post, I'd like to offer a few more samples from Poems of Devotion. I offer them without comment, except for a few notes: 1. Robert Seigel, "A.M.": Pentecost is the biblical event when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’ disciples, appearing as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you for reading, and for your kind words, John.
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When I was young, it seemed logical to me that the most virtuosic performances should be the “best” music, and most worthy of my appreciation. As my tastes ran more toward classic rock than toward classical music, I was particularly an advocate of Led Zeppelin’s most fiery guitar and drum solos, or their more complex picking patterns in songs like “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Black Mountain Side”. As I grew older, however, I began to sense deep flaws in this way of thinking, as it privileged a proposition about music over the actual aesthetic experience of music. As... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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Yesterday, I posted here about the devotional mode in poetry and my forthcoming anthology, Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets, and featured two poems from the anthology. Today, I'd like to highlight the work of two additional poets from the anthology about whose work I am very enthusiastic. As far as I can tell, Patrice de la Tour du Pin has been little known in the U.S., but thanks to the efforts of poet and translator Jennifer Grotz, he has begun to reach an English-language audience in literary journals, and will continue to do so in Grotz's translation... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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A certain kind of irony is fashionable in contemporary American poetry. The kind of irony I mean is a tonal façade of disaffection, of jadedness. Read a handful of the thousands of literary magazines or books of poetry published in the U.S. every year, and you’re sure to encounter it frequently. The underlying tenet seems to be that sincere expressions of emotion have to be balanced with a significantly greater amount of pretending to have little investment in the subject at hand. I imagine that this has come about out of fear of the sentimentality we often associate with previous... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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Oct 27, 2012