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Virginia Valenzuela
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"I can hardly be alone in the fascination I have for Antigone, as who would not be? The daughter (and younger sister) of Oedipus, she supports the blinded ex-Rex to the end, and she is more steadfast than her sister, more valiant than her brothers. She plays a major part in Oedipus at Colonus, the second play in the Oedipus cycle of Sophocles, and is the title character of the third. One reason for her appeal: she is the incarnation of the spirit of resistance to tyranny and authority. Defying the state to uphold a moral principle that transcends politics, she gives up her life for her belief, and the prince who loves her kills himself in despair." (DL) For this week's prompt, we will be visiting a hero of our classical past, creating an acrostic poem in the form of her name: Antigone. Much has been written about her, but as with anything in the literary canon, there is always something new to be said, and I can't wait to see what the participants of Next Line, Please will come up with! Visit the American Scholar's page to read the rest of Mr. Lehman's excellent post, and to enter your candidate. Virginia Valenzuela Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Best American Poetry
Just when I think I've learned all the tricks up his sleeve, the ever impressive, devilishly clever David Lehman finds a way to wow us, yet again! In this week's installment of Next Line, Please, Mr. Lehman chooses the best of the best autumn haikus from a ground-breaking, record-setting three hundred and eighty-three submissions and comments. But he doesn't stop there. Mr. Lehman also ventures to write the entire post in haikus, from the introductory comments to the promise of another prompt next week. Here is a taste of some seasonally spiced haikus: Michael C. Rush The fog at dawn asks the falling leaves leaving fall to wait for winter. Angela Ball "Trees Along Highway 49 between Jackson and Hattiesburg" Monomania of pines, a long shot of gold, a headdress of red. Paul Michelsen "America in Fall" Morning has seized us Orchards flung out on the land Backward into light And lastly, a translation of Basho's most famous haiku: David Lehman Pond Frog Splash! Visit the American Scholar's page to read more or to enter into the next competition! Virginia Valenzuela Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
This week, American Scholar and the writers at Next Line, Please find the answer to the question: What is the one thing that will save America? As it turns out, there were numerous answers, and thus, many wonderful poems, which editor David Lehman strings together in a spirited and intriguing post. Not only do we get a glimpse into the world of John Ashbery's poem, "The One Thing That Can Save America," but also, we get a mini anthology of interesting ideas and some darn good lines! Visit the American Scholar's page to read all the entries, and to enter your candidate for next week's competition: autumn haiku. Here is my favorite "one thing": "The one thing that can save America" posted by Maureen is not another Walmart. You could guess Amazon—but you’d be wrong. No, Starbucks didn’t invent it (like those lattes you concede to liking lately). A daily dose of it’s always good. Children are truly terrible at containing it. Beware: it can be contagious. When its volume gets too high, just try suppressing it but don’t be surprised if tears free-flow and you feel transcendent. -- Virginia Valenzuela Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
That's right, everybody! Tuesday is here and so is another week in the life of Next Line, Please. Last week's prompt was inspired by the clever, punchy, and thoughtful poetry of Marianne Moore. This week's winner was a poem by Angela Ball: "To Marianne Moore" Your poems, steam rollers from beneath we emerge re-dimensioned. They are used for leveling surfaces without traction, their live steam festival flattening genuine dilations such as a bill of lading, an introduction to computing Ve- nus, an action bracketed by double colons, a pseudo-element. Smokebox far extended at the top to incorporate support for assembly. “Steam Roller” first meant a fixed machine for rolling and curving steel plates for boilers and ships. Some have seen you walking by the harbor un- der a distinct pole star, your hat a sextant, your consciousness a crow’s nest sighting solid constellations, stars like spark- ling chips of rock above scrip of river, silence’s storehouses. Next week's prompt asks you to either write a poem entitled, "The One Thing That Can Save America," or, to decode John Ashbery's poem of the same title, in ten lines or fewer. Visit the American Scholar's page to enter your candidate! Virginia Valenzuela Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2017 at The Best American Poetry
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Oct 25, 2017