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Gregory Hewett
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Very interesting comment on Barbara Guest. I agree!
Thanks both for your comments. I think you are right about why people might read H.D.--the mythic gets right to the psychic without the detritus of the present social world. Also, the sheer beauty of her free verse. She is a master of free verse rhythm.
What a great idea to do a "best of"! TJWR did publish short stories and interviews, too. Essays once in a while. Hadn't thought about the parallel fading of the "men's world" in the straight world too. Somehow that seems different? As the straight was exclusionary to begin with and the gay was a form of survival. Thanks for your comment.
A couple of weeks ago the poet Ted Mathys gave a well received talk about ecocriticism and poetry at the Poet’s House. In one strand of his complex argument he implies that ecocriticism is not just interested in ecological imagery or subject matter. He examines the ways in which several poets conceptualize our planet, and how images such as the Earth taken from outer space fundamentally altered our mental and ethical relationship with Earth. In other words, a nature poem can no longer maintain an innocent stance toward its subject matter. Though the history of ecocriticism was beyond the scope... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
46 I_M NOW EIGHTY FOUR O’Hara’s brand of outrageous, gimlet-eyed poetry criticism became a cottage industry for one of the unsung heroes of contemporary poetry, Robert Peters. Peters is the author of the iconoclastic poetry collections Songs for a Son, Love Poems for Robert Mitchum, and Snapshots for a Serial Killer. He is also an eminent scholar of Victorian poetry. However, he may be best known (though, I think, not well-known enough) for his criticism of contemporary poetry from the 1970s and ‘80s. In an era immediately prior to the Internet and blogs, Peters was King Critic of the Poetry... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Still thinking about the mainstreaming of gay culture, and more specifically, gay poetry, and I am struck by the fact that so many of the touchstone poets for younger poets today happen to be gay men: Duncan, Ginsberg, Spicer, Blaser, Wieners, Ashbery, O’Hara. This unbigoted interest and longing for influence is wonderful. What this group of mid- to late-20th century poets has in common, besides their sexuality, is an iconoclastic, avant-garde bent (as it were). However (and I hope I don’t sound like a curmudgeon), I worry a little when so much talk is about the experimental aspects of these... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Next month, as part of a series guest-edited by Mark Doty, Graywolf Press will reissue James White’s uber-lyrical, posthumous 1982 The Salt Ecstasies. This has got me thinking about what may be only an asterisk in recent literary history, but one I view as a particularly shiny one, that is, the review named after White. Begun in 1983 by a gay men’s writing group in Minneapolis, the review was created in honor of their friend, who had died of heart disease in 1981 at age forty-five. The James White Review was part of a second wave of gay literary journals... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Since that day I first read H.D., I tagged along behind her, wantonly blending her poetry with her biography. I wanted to jag from independence to romantic thralldom, just as she did. What abandoned lover would not want to emulate her Eurydice’s defiant cry to Orpheus? Before I am lost, hell must open like a red rose for the dead to pass. Eventually, I found H.D.’s Hellenic range of aesthetics can sometimes seem a little narrow or awkward in the modern era, but this was simply learning the limitations and humanity of a friend you idolize at first meeting. I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
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Jun 17, 2010