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Guillermo Parra
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(Juan Sánchez Peláez at his home in Caracas in 1979, by Vasco Szinetar) One of the reasons I became a translator of Venezuelan literature into English is because I discovered the poetry of Juan Sánchez Peláez (Altagracia de Orituco, 1922 - Caracas, 2003). Sánchez Peláez published seven collections of poetry between 1951 and 1989 and had a profound influence on his contemporaries and several subsequent generations of writers in Venezuela. Although he was an International Writing Program Fellow at the University of Iowa in 1969 and lived in New York City in the early 1970s, Sánchez Peláez’s work remains unknown... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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DD and RFS read from Intervenir in Mexico City, 21 November 2009. Click on image for video (in Spanish). In the fall of 2014, the Mexican poets Dolores Dorantes (Córdoba, Veracruz, 1973) and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez (Mexico City, 1977) will be publishing a collaborative book of poems entitled, Intervene/Intervenir (Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014, forthcoming). The English translation of the collection (which hasn't been published in Spanish yet) is by the North American poet and translator Jen Hofer (San Francisco, 1971). Jen Hofer is, by far, the most important North American translator working with Mexican poetry today. Her many publications... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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(Tom Raworth, February 16th, 2013) One of the best poetry readings I’ve ever attended took place in a comfortable living room with a dozen people listening to the English poet Tom Raworth read at his signature breakneck speed. The night —which began with the raw and powerful folk music of Ben Collier and concluded with everyone chatting amiably throughout the house— was part of the Bonfire Reading Series here in Pittsburgh, PA. The readings always follow a simple but effective format: an invited musician, the featured poet, and an informal gathering afterwards with potluck snacks and drinks. The series has... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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(Lorca, Micah and Sunnylyn, photo by Matt Gonzalez) “Looming with the legends” (Sunnylyn Thibodeaux) I've never met the San Francisco-based poets Micah Ballard (Baton Rouge, 1975) and Sunnylyn Thibodeaux (New Orleans, 1975) in person, but we’ve been corresponding via letters, e-mail and telephone since 2007. I was aware of their work before that through our friend in common, the poet Cedar Sigo. Aside from being writers whose work I deeply admire, Micah and Sunnylyn are also the editors of a small publishing venture that goes by the names Auguste Press and Lew Gallery Editions (depending on what type of project... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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“By this time, from the cold of Bretagne, I got big flannel shirt on now, with scarf inside collar, no shave, pack silly hat away into suitcase, close it again with teeth and now, with my Air France return ticket to Tampa Florida I’se ready as the fattest ribs in old Winn Dixie, dearest God.” (Jack Kerouac, Satori in Paris, 1966) When I was an undergrad studying English at the University of South Florida in Tampa during the early 1990s, my favorite professor was a poet and actor named Kelly Reynolds. The first course I took with Kelly was a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Jan 16, 2014