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Daniel Nester
Delmar, NY
Daniel Nester is a journalist, essayist, poet, editor, and teacher. His next book, How to Be Inappropriate, a collection of humorous nonfiction, will be published by Soft Skull Press in Fall 2009.
Recent Activity
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Last February 1 was the New York launch reading for The Incredible Sestina Anthology, held at the beautiful Poets House. Featuring yours truly as the master of ceremonies, we had a host of contributors (or, as I call them, "Sestina Masters"): David Lehman, Sharon Mesmer, Iam Sparrow, Jade Sylvan, Victor Infante, Marilyn Nelson, Patricia Carlin, Sharon Dolin, Scott Edward Anderson, Michael Costello, Jason Schneiderman, Drew Gardner, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Jenna Cardinale, Marilyn Nelson, Brendan Lorber, and Ned Rust. It was an intense afternoon of sestinas, and I was floating. There was a film crew there--Thomas V. Hartmann, Michael Bodapoti, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Poet, teacher, and founder of Brooklyn Poets Jason Koo emailed me a few days ago to tell me more about its new venture, The Bridge, which he describes as “the world's first poetry networking site connecting student and mentor poets.” After a few exchanges, it turned into a real interview, which appears below. Brooklyn Poets launched a campaign to develop The Bridge; their Indiegogo page has a video and more details. I enjoyed exchanging thoughts with Jason about poetry and mentoring, as well as new ways of teaching and learning--“delivery models,” as we say in the education business--and, of course,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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There’s always the anxiety that the line to Albany is not the line to Albany. I’m standing in Penn Station near Gate 6, waiting, I hope, for the Empire Service to board. A woman with mid-length blonde hair and a cotton Nehru-style jacket stands ahead of me. I ask if the line is the line for Albany and she says yes. We talk about trains, then why we’re here. She’s a singer, she tells me. Opera and theatre. Teaches part-time at one of the colleges in Albany, not mine. I tell her I’m a writer, professor. Almost in passing, the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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At Our Lady of Perpetual Help elementary, the game we played for years was Wall Ball. All you needed was a wall and a ball. Actually, that’s the generic term we used, when one of the sisters or teachers asked us. Wall Ball meant we were throwing a rubber or tennis ball against the two-story tall brick wall and catching it, throwing it again. But then it got boring. So we started keeping score, like how people play Horse in basketball. If you tried to catch the ball off the wall and missed it, you got a letter: A, then... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Here in Albany and the Hudson Valley, poet and activist Dan Wilcox is known for many things: founding member of "3 Guys from Albany," photographer with "the world's largest collection of photos of unknown poets" (some of which I posted guest-blogging for BAP here), member of Veterans for Peace. and host of the Third Thursday Reading Series at the Social Justice Center. But to me, it's his blog, where he writes reviews of local poetry events, that is his true claim to fame. There, Dan expresses his unfiltered, unpretentious opinions on what, to him, poetry and poetry readings should be.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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What follows is an adapted version of an essay I contributed to Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine, edited by Mari L'Esperance and Tomas Q. Morin and published by Prairie Lights Books earlier this year. The book collects accounts of Philip Levine as a teacher and mentor, and it was a real thrill to be included in the book, alongside some great writers. Strictly speaking, Levine wasn't a mentor as much of a professor I had one semester. As I hope I explain here, he is much more than that, but the process of wanting a mentor, and accepting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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What follows is the introduction I wrote for The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which is about to be released by Write Bloody Publishing. Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Greetings from the Capital Region, 800,000- and four counties-strong. We're north of the Hudson Valley, south of the North Country, west of Western Massachusetts, east of Central New York. So now you know where I come from (or from where I come). Anyway! Stacey invited me to post here once in awhile to pass along news of events going on and stuff that goes on. So here goes. Frequency North: The Visiting Writers Reading Series at The College of Saint Rose, is my little series, and starts up this Thursday, October 27, with two super novelists, Dana Spiotta and Tobias... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Greetings from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where I am waiting for my flight to the Motor City, where I will connect to my flight home to Albany International Airport, where I will be picked up by my lovely wife and little daughters. I’ve been on a mini-tour of Atlanta and Morrow, GA. Wednesday night, I was at Clayton State University, at a series hosted by Brigitte Byrd, who was a lovely host. I got a hold of Byrd's latest book, Song of a Living Room, published by the mighty Ahsata Press. The collection of superb prose poems leaps from folk... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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-- Eleanor Berry, "The Free Verse Spectrum" "I know some will say it is a mingled language. And why not so much the better, taking the best of both the other? Another will say it wanteth grammar. Nay, truly, it hath that praise that it wanteth not grammar. For grammar it might have, but it needs it not; being so easy in itself, and so void of those cumbersome differences of cases, genders, moods, and tenses, which, I think, was a piece of the Tower of Babylon’s curse, that a man should be put to school to learn his mother-tongue.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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I. That ambivalent, oblique, laconic way of speaking, it’s very self-defensive, but it thinks of itself as very up-front. A really charming guy last night, one of the musicians, said to me ‘Hey, man, you got a really interesting voice.’ You know, I was very charmed. And he said, ‘Yeah, the way you really push it out there--you can hear every beat.’ [laughs.] That’s terrific. That’s the way I feel it. These words, taken from an interview with Anne Waldman in Ron Mann’s 1982 documentary Poetry in Motion, come from the most laconic of 20th century laconic American poets, Robert... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Lisa. It really is a clever book. I contacted the co-author a few years ago to maybe interview him, and then life happened, but I'd still like to ask him questions.
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I am not sure if I would be interested in machine-generated poetry, or poetry at all, if it wasn’t for reading the work of Racter. Short for “Raconteur,” Racter was touted to be the first computer program program to write a book. Called The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed, Racter’s literary debut and swan song was published by United Artists Books in 1984 and went out of print shortly thereafter. New copies fetch a good price on Alibris and Amazon. I used to keep a copy of The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed in a desk I had when I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Hey there. Daniel Nester here. I've guest-blogged before in this space, so I'll cut to the quick and start posting things. If you want to know more about me and whatnot, check out where I live online as well as my usual blogging space, the group blog We Who Are About To Die. I'll start off with a scan of W.H. Auden's "daydream College for Bards," from his essay "The Poet and The City" collected in The Dyer's Hand. I love bringing this up when, as the seasons seem to dictate, people start talking about the utility of graduate, and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Sometimes I am a dirty little bird. My feet wrap around branches winds will never clack together. My tongue lies in the splatters of rain that pool in low spots. I swallow what feet say to the ground, and none of their claims are sweet enough to caress my mouth. I stand for hours. I close on nothing. I cannot sit up, and I do not bow. Sometimes I am nothing but a dirty little bird with a wet beak. Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
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-- Phil Rizzuto [from Oh Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto] Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2009 at The Best American Poetry
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My favorite movie of all time is the 1980 Harold Ramis-directed comedy Caddyshack. It will take too long on this Sunday afternoon post to explain why in full; I will say that I watch it at least two, three times a year, that I've been trying to write about my love for the movie in that sort of high-meets-low culture way I admire in such essayists as Susan Sontag, Chuck Klosterman, and I daresay David Lehman. I wanted to finish the piece in time for my new book, but that was not meant to be. One aspect of Caddyshack that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2009 at The Best American Poetry