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The Best American Poetry
Welcome to The Best American Poetry blog. We launched this blog in January, 2008, to create a place where we and friends can exchange, discuss, and argue about poems and poetry. We soon discovered that it would be even more fun to post about anything that fuels our passions, be it movies or sex or baseball or ballet or cocktails or finance or music, because these are, after all, the same subjects that generate poems. Then we flung the doors open and invited others to join in. And we decided that contributors to the blog need not be poets as long as they share a love of good writing and poetry. The only things we ask our regular and guest bloggers to avoid are personal attacks. You'll find enough of that stuff elsewhere. We celebrate freedom of expression. The opinionS of our contributors are their own and not necessarily those of the blog's editorial team or of other contributors. We welcome comments as long as they keep within the bounds of civil discourse. Our roster of correspondents is always changing. We are large! We contain multitudes! Please visit often.Our roster of correspondents is always changing. We are large! We contain multitudes! Please visit often.
Interests: music, food, finance, cocktails, movies, baseball, sex, poetry, mad men.
Recent Activity
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THE BEST THANKSGIVING EVER by Jennifer L. Knox After the meal, Sandy decided we should spice up charades by slapping the loser’s butt with a ping-pong paddle. Whenever Ed got slapped, he farted because he was so nervous. The ladies won, slapped all the men’s butts, but then what to do? “Take off your clothes!” I told Sean, who didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d do such a thing—but he was, and he did. Then Jim took off his clothes. Then John. And then the other Jim Continue reading over at Painted Bride Quarterly . . . Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Alan. Poem and photo go well together.
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Woman Reading by Candlelight by Peter Ilsted (Ed. note: Just in time for Thanksgiving, David received this note. Ms. Roderberg kindly gave permission for us to post it here. Thank you Mallory! Happy Thanksgiving. sdh) Mr. Lehman, I bought the 2014 edition of The Best American Poetry a few weeks ago, and having finally found the time to begin reading it, I am struck by a question you pose in the foreword, "Does anyone anywhere buy books of poetry?" I want to tell you that I do. I'm a 30 year old mother who manages a masonry business in Evansville, Indiana, and so far this year I've bought books by Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Mary Szybist, Czeslaw Milosz, Joseph Brodsky, J.V. Cunningham, Margaret Atwood, Mark Doty, Anna Swir, Bob Hicok, Tomas Transtromer, Robert Bly, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, and that's just what I can remember offhand. I offer this as a small token of encouragement because I love The Best American series and I'm so grateful it exists. Poetry does matter--and not just to writers in MFA programs, or scholars walled off by dusty tomes in dying English departments--it matters to people like me who still read poems aloud to their children, who carry dog-eared copies of chapbooks in their purses to stave off impatience in inevitable waiting rooms. You probably already know we're out there, but I think it never hurts to hear a little validation. Thank you! Awaiting the 2015 edition, Mallory Rodenberg Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
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Thanksgiving Later, after dinner, we examine your uncle’s photos of trees, flowers, waterfalls, birds until I just can’t stand it another second. I am not at one with nature. Never was. Some of the people can be fooled all of the time, even when you yawn right in their faces. Guests, or ghosts, have taken over the house, lounging in the living room, watching t.v. Ugly images of war and politics are all I see. Cancel the rest of the holidays, please, until this knot can be untied and our hearts released. -- Terence Winch Happy Thanksgivukkah from Over Here [by Moira Egan, 2013] "I'm already sick of turkey" (by Karen Resta, 2012) Boxed in, Blue Humorous and Bleary Eyed (Bildungsroman Holiday by Jessica Piazza, 2010) How to Chop a Fuckton of Onions (more Bildungsroman Holiday, by Jessica Piazza, 2010) Bildungsroman Holiday (by Jessica Piazza, 2010) Thanksgiving, 1977, Albany NY (by Stacey Harwood, 2010) A Poem for Thanksgiving (by Martha Silano, 2009) Happy Thanksgiving (by Jennifer Michael Hecht, 2009) A Poem for Thanksgiving Week (by Laura Orem, 2009) Venerdi Nero (?) by Moira Egan (2009) Happy Thanksgiving (2009 - photograph) "We Gather Together" (2009 - video) A Thanksgiving Post (by Laura Orem, 2008) Thanksgiving and Black Friday (by Jennifer Michael Hecht, 2008) Your Brain on Turkey and Fixings (by Martha Silano, 2008) Live Poetry Blogging on Thanksgiving (by Sharon Mesmer, 2008) (Not so) Live Blogging, 10:54 pm [(by Sharon Mesmer, 2008) Live Thanksgiving Blogging 12:26 pm (by Sharon Mesmer, 2008) Happy Spanksgiving, from the flarflist [by Sharon Mesmer, 2008] Pre-Thanksgiving Emergency Narrowly Averted (by Martha Silano, 2008) Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
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I'm already sick of turkey. I'm sick of the idea of it, disgusted by the thought of it, huge, pale and looming on the kitchen counter, threatening and nasty, unconciliatory like the approach to a war. Those goosebump pimples on its hide, the nasty neck looking like someone's severed penis captured and wrapped in tight plastic with dangling gizzards, bloody liver, little gobs of excess fat, it all adds up to sheer terrorism, and I won't have it. Not for the rising aroma from the oven that serves as the fireplace-replacement of our times, steely and meaningful; not for the drumstick which screams like a Medieval painting when wrenched free from its tendons, hungering peasants and small children alike. -- Karen Resta Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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It’s a wonderful and rare event to come across a perfect ending. Recently I discovered one: the six words that conclude “The Faber Book of Adultery,” the opening story by Jonathan Gibbs in The Best British Short Stories 2014. I admire the story’s ending not only because it closes the narrative in a wonderfully gasp-worthy way, but because it’s a perfect little story in itself: This can’t be what it’s like. What precedes those words is a sex scene. The story’s protagonist, an academic as well as a writer, views adultery as the overriding subject compelling the achievements of a previous generation of writers: Roth, Cheever, Updike, Yates. Half stunned by a flirtation that’s turning into action, Mark edits in his mind each sensation as it occurs, as if he’s writing a story. His actual participation in adultery unfolds not out of lust so much as out of curiosity, his desire to cannibalize experience for his own writing, and his naïve conviction that an earlier generation led lives infused with more sexual daring—and wrote better fiction as a consequence. Continue reading over at the Quivering Pen . . . Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Have we taught a generation of college graduates to vilify capitalism without doing it the honor of knowing how it works? Spot checks at New York’s Penn Station reveal that a vast majority of college-educated commuters do not have a clue about the relation of the prime rate to the federal funds rate, the advantage of capital gains over wages, the difference between a progressive income tax and a sales tax, the reason bond prices go up when interests rates go down, and the best age at which to start taking Social Security benefits. This test for advanced financial literary was devised by a team of professors at Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania. – DL 1) The Dow-Jones Industrial Average was created by a) Charles H. Dow, either alone or with Edward Jones, two cofounders of the company that bears their names b) Charles W. Dow in partnership with Samuel J. Jones, the infamous Sheriff Jones of Douglas County in the Kansas Territory c) Standard & Poor’s d) Dow's stepdaughters Jane and Martha Bancroft, on instructions from Clarence Barron prior to his acquisition of the company in 1902 e) Meyer Wolfsheim 2) According to the Dow Theory, there are three phases to a primary bull market and three to a primary bear market. The theory was developed by which of the following, for which purpose: a) Charles W. Dow and Alexander Hamilton, to develop a metric to gauge the wealth factor associated with the Louisiana Purchase b) Charles H. Dow, and refined and sustained after his death in 1903 by his understudy William Hamilton, for the purpose of predicting stock fluctuations c) Elmer Bernstein, Carolyn Leigh, and Max Shulman, the Tony Award-winning producers of the musical comedy How Now, Dow Jones? (1967), mainly for laughs and the sheer pleasure of it but also to entertain audiences, employ actors and musicians, and make a profit at the box office, all by poking fun at the academic study of risk, economics, and finance d) John Maynard Keynes in a 1938 letter to President Roosevelt arguing that “the present recession is partly due to an ‘error of optimism’ which led to an overestimation of future demand” and that continuation of “public works and other investments aided by Government funds or guarantees” was essential going forward. e) Herbert Henry Dow, a grandson of the founder of Dow Chemical, in 1969, as a way to divert public attention from protests against the use of napalm, which the company manufactured, during the war in Vietnam. 3) Mutual funds are a) An attempt by rogue elements in the legal profession to monetize the value of a married couple’s community property b) The amount on the paycheck that is left after all taxes, charges, and fees have been deducted c) A way for individual investors to hold a basket of stocks and other securities d) A recurring loophole that allows high-ranking corporate executives to rent hotel rooms at clients’ expense, entertain guests there, and not... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Best American Poetry
<<< There will with some asides on technology, a few scoops of Marshall McLuhan, tales of the Cincinnati Bengals of present and recent yore, an aside on the tradition of war games going back to Ancient Rome; also, maybe a little John Ashbery and Vergil (I like it with an "e") since it's a poetry forum after all. That's what you're in store of in this week of blogging.>>> This is an excellent foretaste of what we're in for. For though we discourage the poetasters who make comparisons between football and life, we do enjoy exercising our poetic wits on a sociological challenge. When football displaced baseball as the true national pastime, it meant something. And it does require McLuhan et al plus theologians like Tillich to help us figure it out. Be Vergil to our Dante and lead the way. DL
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This week's "Next Line, Please" contest -- sponsored by The American Scholar -- is for the best kast line or last sentence of a book that doesn't exist. Here is quizmaster David Lehman's explanatory head note: <<< We love last lines. The endings of favorite novels enter the mind and lodge there. Scott Fitzgerald’s majestic conclusion of The Great Gatsby is a favorite: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Hemingway concludes The Sun Also Rises with a bitterly ironic line of dialogue enlivened by an unusual choice of adjective: “‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’” The terseness at the end of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is no less memorable: “For there she was.” For their full impact, the great endings depend on the narratives that precede them. But a surprising number will be seen to have a meaning and a charm even when removed from their context. This is true of several of the lines I’ve quoted, and others spring to mind. When Dostoevsky brings Crime and Punishment to its finish, he leaves the door open for subsequent developments. He dangles the possibility of his hero’s redemption, then says matter-of-factly: “That might be the subject of a new story—our present story is ended.” Herman Melville airs a similar sentiment but with an effect that is both eerie and menacing at the close of The Confidence Man: “Something further may follow from this Masquerade.” The last line of Sholom Aleichem’s story “A Yom Kippur Scandal”—“Gone forever”—concludes its narrative beautifully while making this reader believe it could perform the same function admirably for a half dozen others. Your task for next week is to write the last sentence of a nonexistent story—either a story that we can imagine or one that we would yearn to read strictly on the basis of your sentence. The winning entry may imply a specific narrative—or it may be so suggestive that readers will be inspired to supply the writing that culminates in the sentence. It doesn’t have to be long—just unforgettable. Deadline: Midnight, Sunday, November 30. >>> And I didn't even mention the Borges story that waits until the last sentence to solve the mystery it poses. To submit your best last sentence please follow this link and hea straight to the comments section. Oh, and what does Elizabeth Peyton's painting of Jake (1995) have to do with the contest? Nothing, but you didn't know that until you reached this, the last line of the post. -- DL Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Best American Poetry
<<< And the sad man is cock of all his jests. -- George Herbert >>> Epigraph to Graham Greene's novel Our Man in Havana (1958). The protagonist -- an English widower living in pre-Castro Cuba -- is a vacuum-cleaning salesman named Wormwold, as unattractive a name as Greene could manage. In order to satisfy the demands of intelligence officers in a gray faceless London building, Wormwold dupes them by creating "purely notional spies" and killing them off, "like a bad novelist preparing an effect." (Alec Guiness plays him in the movie.) The book is in a comic tenor but is less a spoof than a forcible statement of the extent to which military intelligence work and espionage fiction resemble one another. -- DL Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome back Matthew Yeager as our guest author. Matthew's poems have appeared in Sixthfinch, Gulf Coast, NY Quarterly, and elsewhere, as well as in Best American Poetry 2005 and Best American Poetry 2010. His short film "A Big Ball of Foil in a Small NY Apartment" was an official selection at thirteen film festivals in 2009-2010, picking up three awards. Other distinctions include the Barthelme Prize in Short Prose and two MacDowell fellowships. He is the co-curator of the long running KGB Monday Night Poetry Series, and he lives in Ridgewood, Queens, NY. You can read an interview with Matthew here. Read Matthew's poem Sleep Mothers here. Welcome back, Matthew. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Best American Poetry
The blessed babe in a divine Eden is a Romantic trope, but it received a pure exposition long before the age of Blake and Wordsworth. A shoemaker’s son from Hereford, Thomas Traherne (1636-1674) captured the radical wonderment of childhood in his poems. Educated at Oxford (Brasenose College), he published next to nothing in his lifetime, and for many years his poems were casually and mistakenly attributed to Henry Vaughan. No until the turn of the twentieth century was Traherne’s authorship of Poems (1903) and the prose Centuries of Meditation (1908) established. The latter comprises paragraphs of reflection that may be considered forerunners of the prose poem. Traherne wrote as one for whom angels were real and the innocence of childhood a state that can survive maturity. The child is “heir of the whole world,” able to converse with everything he sees. Clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars, he was born to celebrate creation: “the skies in their magnificence, / The lively, lovely air.” From Centuries of Meditation: “Once I remember (I think I was about 4 years old when) I thus reasoned with myself, sitting in a little obscure room in my father's poor house: If there be a God, certainly He must be infinite in Goodness: and that I was prompted to, by a real whispering instinct of Nature. And if He be infinite in Goodness, and a perfect Being in Wisdom and Love, certainly He must do most glorious things, and give us infinite riches; how comes it to pass therefore that I am so poor? Of so scanty and narrow a fortune, enjoying few and obscure comforts? I thought I could not believe Him a God to me, unless all His power were employed to glorify me. I knew not then my Soul, or Body; nor did I think of the Heavens and the Earth, the rivers and the stars, the sun or the seas: all those were lost, and absent from me. But when I found them made out of nothing for me, then I had a God indeed, whom I could praise, and rejoice in.” -- DL Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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<<< The Emily Dickinson competition awakened an enthusiastic and voluminous response—no surprise, given her deserved popularity. But what did surprise me was the high quality of the submissions. Dickinson is easy to caricature but notoriously difficult to imitate well. Kudos to the contestants who took Dickinson’s fragment—“Soft as the massacre of Suns / By Evening’s Sabres slain”—and supplied the rest of the poem. First prize goes to Jennifer Clarvoe (pictured left) for her ingenious extension of the simile. Her lines offer complexity, a satisfying sound pattern ending with two full rhymes, and the sense that she has appropriated Dickinson for her own poetic agenda, which is disclosed to us in its entirety only with the last word of her poem. >>> For Clarvoe's poem -- and for runners up -- visit "Next Line, Please" on the American Scholar web site. And next Tuesday a new competition commences. . . -- DL Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Photo by Matthew Murphy At his recent New York solo recital debut at The Frick Collection, English pianist Charles Owen featured the compositions of past masters—J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, and Debussy—as well as two brief pieces by the composer Nico Muhly, who was in attendance. Owen gave Muhly’s scores a skillful and energetic reading, and Muhly seemed genuinely pleased by the performance. Muhly, now 33, has been in the public eye for quite some time. Music critic Alex Ross first wrote about him in the New Yorker ten years ago, when Muhly was a 22-year-old Juilliard student. Rebecca Mead profiled him in the pages of the magazine in 2008, and Ross has since covered the premieres of Muhly’s two operas, Two Boys—which received its U.S. premiere at the Metropolitan Opera a year ago—and Dark Sisters. Andrew Solomon included Muhly in Far from the Tree, inthe chapter on prodigies. In the following interview, conducted by email, Muhly shares his thoughts on setting verse to music, among other topics. JS: I enjoyed Charles Owen’s recent performance of your compositions—my only quibble is that he ought to have played more of your music. I wondered whether the pairing of pieces he played in the first and second halves of the recital was meant to suggest ideas about influence: Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses are clearly in dialogue with Bach, and your Short Stuff and A Hudson Cycle seem to echo Debussy’s Preludes, no? NM: Concert programming is really the art of imagined correspondences, isn’t it? I think that you hear a lot of Debussy in A Hudson Cycle, with those tight French chords, but really, you could well have played Short Stuff next to the Bach and it would have had its own resonances with Bach’s clear economy. I’m touched that you’d think to ask for more contemporary music! JS: Another influence I heard in A Hudson Cyclewas Philip Glass. NM: Glass is always there for me. That piece takes a fundamental building block of his music—the two-against-three rhythm—and subjects it to hiccoughs and bumps. It’s sort of like taking the first cycle of Mad Rush, slowing it down, putting it all in the same register, and then going through and erasing beats at random. The idea is that there is an implied regularity that actually never happens. JS: You’ve composed a lot of vocal music. What qualities in a text inspire you to set it to music? NM: I have found that the best text to set is the King James Bible. The trick becomes about finding language that is simple and that can unfold over the length that music requires without losing its meaning. This is harder than it seems; one of the tricks of great poetry is that each line, when read silently, retains its meaning from beginning to end. Set to music, it becomes more complicated, and by the time you’ve got to the end of the line, the beginning is forgotten. So I’ve found that short, simple, declamatory statements work best.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
The Latin poet Catullus is often presented in expurgated versions thought to be suitable for teenage boys. But the whole transgressive flavor of the original is lost in the process. His poems are full of invective, passion, lust, and a graphic delight in body parts.Catullus was born in Verona in 87 B.C. and died in Rome in 58 B.C. He had a love affair with a consul's wife, whom he calls Lesbia and whose real name may have been Clodia. He praised her pussy ("A single whiff and you'll get on your knees") and denounced his rivals for her affections ("scumbags") in immortal verse. The following is a good example of the intimate insult as practiced by Catullus: * Improba Carmina by Catullus I will fuck you up the ass and in the mouth, Aurelius you sodomized ass-licker And Furius, you perverted cock-sucker Who read my sensual poems and conclude I'm too wanton. For everyone knows It's meet and proper for a poet to be Pure, pious, and always correct in his behavior. But we don't expect the same of his poems. Of mine they'll say sure, they have wit, they have charm They're so sexy and lewd they can Arouse – I won't say boys, but these hairy Men whose unstiff dicks wilt on the vine. You who have kissed many thousands of mouths Upper and nether, man and girl, How dare you think me less than manly? I will fuck you up the ass and in the mouth. * Molly Arden (translator) majored in classics at Bryn Mawr. She has worked as a librarian and an arts administrator. Her translations of Catullus have appeared in Classic Literature in Translation. She is working on new translations of Gaius Valerius Catullus and Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal. Poem copyright c 2003, 2014. * For more "F-U" poems. . .see issue # 17 of SLOPE: http://slope.org/archive/issue17/FU_main.html Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
<<< In Jinan, as previously in Dalian, we can post, but we cannot read the blog, nor can we make comments -- so let me take a moment to express our sympathy for you, Jim, on the loss of your father, and our appreciation of your poem. You're in our thoughts, good friend. On Monday the 19th, lecturing on American poetry to a room of over 100 college juniors majoring in foreign languages, I read my fifty-line "Oxford Cento," all lines culled from "The Oxford Book of America Poetry." I asked the students to write down their favorite line and make it the opening line of a poem of their own. Near the end of the lecture a student stood up and told us her name in Chinese, then added that her "Western name" is Daisy. (Evidently, the Chinese choose their own Western forenames, which need have no relation to their Chinese names.) Daisy, who announced that Rabindranath Tagore has influenced her, recited the poem she had just written beginning with Poe's line from "Annabel Lee": "and the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes." The poem was about the Sichuan earthquake. "If you shed tears for the stars, you won't see the sun," she wrote. Her poem concluided, "and the sun also rises." At this point a young man challenged me to write a one-line prose poem on the spot about my visit to the university. Luckily I had been reading Whitman. I said, "At your university I see a sea of faces and in the sea of faces I see the face of God." Appreciation was expressed with a collective murmuring sigh. The students liked two-line poems I read by Pound, Charles Reznikoff ("The Old Man"), J.V. Cunningham ("An Epitaph for Anyone"), Dryden, Dorothy Parker ("News Item"), A. R. Ammons ("Their Sex Life"), and Ogden Nash. Someone asked for my opinion of Edgar Allan Poe. Just as at West Point, I encountered a strong, genuine, populist love of Poe that countered the received negative judgment that has dogged the writer from the start. The fact that Poe's name is identical with the first three letters of "poetry" seemed to clinch the case. >>> (May 20, 2008) Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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I can still see his in my mind. Leather boots, dark like night, shining like mirrors. I'd never seen such shoes. In the tiny town of Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia, where I grew up, everyone had a farm, so boots were worn. But not shiny boots, not like these. Shooting up and out the tops of his boots were billowy pants, no crease. His crisp shirt was tucked flat under his belt. A tightly tailored jacket covered in shiny buttons and pins drew my eyes up to his dark, smoothed-back hair. His elegant, calm face framed the gleaming monocle in his eye. I did not yet know that this was the man called the "Angel of Death." I did not know that Dr. Josef Mengele was the Nazi physician who performed amputations without anesthesia, plucked out and collected blue eyeballs, tossed live babies into crackling fires, and gave twin girls candies before shooting them in the neck and using their corpses for medical experimantaion. I knew none of these things. How could I know? I was a fifteen-year-old boy. All I knew, standing in that line in Auschwitz, was that my father, Joseph Grünfeld; my mother, Tzyvia; my sisters, Simcha and Rivka; my five-year-old baby brother, Sruel Baer; and I, Maximilian, were in trouble and far from home. -- from Measure of a Man, A Memoir: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents' Tailor by Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
The best advice I’ve received as a writer comes down to a single word: relax.Variants of that advice include: “Let the plot breathe.” “Allow digressions.” “Follow your own mind.” But sometimes, being a witness to an actual scene of instruction can be more significant than advice. I would have been no more than four or five when I heard my mother, sitting at the dining room table, talking to herself. Only she and I were in the house. Her face was contorted and she was whispering. Was she hurt? How could I help her? I put my hand on her arm. She comforted me briefly and then went on whispering. This scene repeated itself in the future. Continue reading over at the American Scholar . . . Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Hillary Jones declared her intention to register as a Republican today. "She did it at breakfast, " said her sister Paula. "It was like awesome. She announced that she was just plain fed up with being an Independent because, like, even though she is an independent-minded individual, this status prevents her from voting in the primaries of either party except in certain crossover states like, I think, Texas." Paula Jones (not to be confused with the woman of the same name who hurled allegedly baseless accusations of sexual misconduct at Bill Clinton when he ran for president in 1992) said she tried to discourage her sister. "Now that all the midterms are over, is this really the time for a change?" -- Giacomo Joyce Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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It's Like a Monthly Mini-Vacation on Long Island. (L to R: Laura Cronk, Liz Axelrod, David Lehman It's easy to see why the 19th Century poet, William Cullen Byrant, wrote much of his nature poetry at his Long Island summer home. For just a few hours, you too can be Bryant's guest at a brand new poetry reading series that began this fall. You can take in the harbor views, admire the stained glass windows, and enjoy a reception that follows each reading at Bryant's home and historic landmark, Cedarmere. Located just a short train ride away from Brooklyn and Manhattan, it feels many miles and centuries away. Poetry at Cedarmere has brought some serious talent out to read poems and celebrate the life and work of William Cullen Bryant at his Gold Coast summer "cottage." On November 2nd, three prominent New York poets came to celebrate Bryant's 220th birthday. David Lehman, Star Black, Laura Cronk read and Liz Axelrod hosted to a full and appreciative audience. Star Black put us all in a mystical trance as she read poems from her books, Ghostwood and Waterworn. Laura Cronk's food poems were the talk of the afternoon post-poetry reception. Her advice in one of them: "Just don't eat!" David Lehman impressed the Friends of Cedarmere with his expertise on the life and poetry of William Cullen Bryant. Of course his own poetry was pretty spectacular, too. We wished olnly he brought more copies to sell of his New and Selected Poems. Liz Axelrod, Stefanie Lipsey, Star Black The first event in the series brought Long Island poets Julie Sheehan, George Guida, Liz Axelrod, and George Wallace for a reading and outdoor reception on the grand porch. Thanks to some generous funding and the efforts of Friends of Cedarmere, a non-profit that helps maintain the culture, grounds, and history of Cedarmere, poetry will keep going all year long. (There will be a winter break in January and February). December's holiday reading features award-winning poets Gregory Pardlo and Cynthia Cruz. There's an open mic too. (Limited to the first names that sign up!) Come to Cedarmere and get inspired by the waterfowl , mill, harbor and sky. Like us on Facebook or visit the Friends of Cedarmere to learn more about the series. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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John Ashbery & James Cummins (photo (c) Stacey Harwood) Dog We truncate what you need to be to fit you in your lucky life with us. We cut and paste, to see the version that brings us delight. The almost-language in your eye, that seems such sorrow to my own, is just a suffocated cry that leaves you, finally, alone, and willing to accept much less: a place beside the hearth, had we still hearths; mock food; a pedigree that shapes, yet won’t admit, redress. Pies Odrzucamy to, czym musisz być, by wpasować cię w twe szczęście z nami. Wycinamy i wklejamy wersję ciebie, która nam jest miła. Ten prawie-język w twoich oczach, widzę, że jest straszliwym bólem – zdławiony krzyk, który w końcu przynosi ci twój święty spokój; gotowość, by przyjąć o wiele mniej: miejsce przy ogniu – jakbyśmy wciąż mieli ogień; karykaturę jedzenia; rodowód – rodzaj zadośćuczynienia. przekład z angielskiego: Joanna Kurowska Continue reading here. -- sdh Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Enjoy an evening with fall workshop poets as they showcase new work honed in Erica Hunt’s Letters to the Future. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public. Cave Canem 20 Jay Street Suite 310-A Brooklyn, NY For more information and to find out about upcoming events, go here. Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at The Best American Poetry