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A. Van Jordan
Ann Arbor, MI
Recent Activity
ERRATA: So, a few days ago I quoted a part of Gwendolyn Brooks' Annie Allen, from "the children of the poor" poem. I said it was in the "Anniad" section of the book, but it's actually in the last section, "Womanhood." Why didn't anyone write in to correct that? :-) Anyway, I just wanted to set the record straight before I signed off. Thanks! ~AVJ Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
So, for my last blog, I spoke to some poets to get an idea of what I should do, and I think I’m going to take a cue from poet John Murillo (Up Jump the Boogie), who suggested that I talk about “soul music,” or possibly about “poetic mentors,” but I’m taking a bit of a slant approach to this, and I’m using both of his suggestions: I want to talk about the blues as a form from which we can learn how to close a poem. In fact, the Blues Stanza, for the longest, was the only American poetic... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Okay, so, today I’m cheating a bit. If you’re a student of mine out there in the world, and you’re reading this blog today, you will have heard much of what will follow. Or, possibly, you weren’t listening to me the day I talked about sequencing the manuscript, and what follows will be new and fresh to you. In an earlier blog, I talked about the importance of reading full collections of poems, in sequence, cover to cover. Most people will tell you that it’s just good for you to read a lot of poetry; indeed, they’re right. As I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
The toughest question I get after a poetry reading is what are my favorite books. It’s tough for me because my list of favorites is a living entity that changes year by year. I also feel guilty sometimes because often my favorite books that inspire my poems have nothing to do with poetry. People glare at me with betrayal in their eyes when I start talking about non-fiction or fiction. But, the truth of the matter is that there are too many good books to name just a few. There’s also the expectation that a favorite book is also on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but it was just in the last two years that I actually read the Pulitzer Prize winning collection Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks. Of course, I had read a good deal of Brooks’ poetry, including A Street in Bronzeville and The Bean Eaters, but I had only read the Annie Allen poems in her selected. In the past eight years or so, I started a new commitment to read old collections of poems in their original sequence. As a result, I spend a lot of time online looking for reasonably priced (cheap) copies of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I’ve been teaching at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) Postgraduate Conference for the past week, and while there I had a few moments when my vision of poetry expanded. I don’t mean this in any kind of New Age, epiphanic way, but in a real world utilitarian way. As a poet practicing the craft in the 21st Century, have you ever pondered what poetry is really doing—how it applies to life, how it affects people, how far is its reach?—in the age of the internet, streaming video, the rebirth of 3D in theaters, and the advent of Netflix... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Aug 19, 2013