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Stephanie Paterik
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Arguably the biggest occupational hazard of the poet is that sooner or later, your lover will request a love poem. If you are either very cocky or very skilled, you might whip out a fountain pen and write a fitting ode upon a cocktail napkin. But if you possess the slightest doubt about your abilities, or about the notion of "love poems" in general, you might quiver in your oxfords. Most writers I know agree the love poem is the hardest to write. Breakup poems? Child's work. Meditations on death? No problem. Pastoral portraits and comic scenarios? They can be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I’ve been a happy renter all of my adult life, relishing the freedom of a short-term lease. But in the fall, without warning, the unfamiliar desire for a place of my own crept into my bones. It might have started at last year’s AWP conference in Chicago, where a group of poets lectured on the craft of assembling a manuscript. They said you need a room of your own, a space where you can hang poems on walls – live with them, listen to them, rearrange them. New Yorkers in the audience (myself included) laughed out loud as we pictured... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you, Corinne.
Jenny, you made my day! I'm a big fan of yours, too! Thanks for taking time to offer such valuable comments. "Fugacity" is wonderful, and I didn't know the meaning until you shared it. The poem you placed it in is very lucky.
The word utterance keeps coming to mind this week. It’s not a word I’ve thought about before. If I saw it on the side of the road, surely I would drive by. It means a cry, an animal’s call, a power of speaking ... one or more words preceded and followed by silence. It derives from the Middle French outrer, “to go beyond.” Why's this on my mind? Perhaps because I’m reading poems by prisoners, preparing for a community poetry reading at St. Paul’s Chapel, and trying to crystallize my thoughts into daily blog posts. All three remind me of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Folks, our favorite literary television show announced today that it will return April 7 with a two-hour, movie-style premier. Brush up your O'Hara, stock up your vermouth and plan your parties accordingly -- and invite me, please! "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner isn't giving much away about the penultimate season opener. But new cast photos suggest that Pete grows sideburns, Betty slims down and our favorite women, Megan, Peggy and Joan, are still in the picture. "It has some cliffhanger elements to it, it does propel you into the rest of the season -- it does foreshadow a lot what... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you, David!
About once a year, I'm compelled to humiliate myself in the form of a hip-hop workout class. As a perfectionist, I don’t give myself many chances to fail. So it’s weirdly thrilling to slip into a studio alongside lithe, muscular men and women who learned to move their bodies to a beat in youth while I sat in a windowsill reading Madeleine L'Engle. I get a little rush knowing that I can’t do what they do, that the next hour will bring fresh embarrassments, that this will be ugly. Every time I attend a class, I build up my tolerance... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Stacey! I've never heard of heteroscedasticity or multicollinearity. Love it.
Halfway through a poetry reading in a Greenwich Village bar where Bob Dylan used to perform, a peculiar trend emerged. The word “whale” was slipping out of the mouth of every other poet. In a workshop a few days later, another whale swam into the room. After class, I flipped through a poetry collection only to find more blubber. There were blue whales, gray whales, humpbacks and orcas. Sperm whales, bottlenoses, delugas and fins. What was up with poets and whales? I was a newcomer to New York and to poetry, and like the village outsider, I saw the place... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Alissa!
You're welcome, and thanks for sharing this! I love poems based on tidbits of thought. A former instructor once asked our class to carry notebooks for a week and capture all of the weird and wonderful tidbits that come to mind, which led to great/unexpected poetry.
My husband celebrated his 40th birthday last week, and being a planner, he sat me down six months ago. “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown,” he said quite calmly, holding my hands. “At the very least, a midlife crisis.” “OK...” I said. “Are we talking red convertibles?” “No, no. Not like that. I'm going to search for meaning.” I exhaled. Then fretted. I had been planning to whisk him away to the kind of mindless resort that plies you with Mai Tais and corn fritters and lets you nap in five different kinds of hammocks. Clearly, I had to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
“There are no words.” That phrase flooded my newsfeed in the minutes and hours after 20 children and six adults were murdered at a Connecticut elementary school yesterday. I understand the feeling. One of my relatives was gunned down in a senseless act of violence this May. My aunt’s brother, a sweet-hearted musician with a penchant for floppy hats and coke-bottle glasses, died when a gunman opened fire in Seattle’s Café Racer Espresso. I didn’t know him, but I shared my loved ones’ grief. There were no words then like there are no words now. Speechlessness can be troubling to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Happy birthday to the sensational Jane Russell, who was born on June 21, 1921 and passed away last year. She caused a stir in 1954 when she sang "Lookin' for Trouble" while wearing a bodysuit with three strategic cutouts in The French Line. Producer Howard Hughes reportedly designed the film's outrageous costumes himself. Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
“To write in Slovenian is to write in fragility,” poet Aleš Šteger said at a New School poetry forum on March 29. He was speaking of his fractured native language. He and Brian Henry, the Virginia-based poet and translator, visited the university for a cross-cultural conversation about poetry and translation. They collaborated on The Book of Things, which BOA Editions released last November and is a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award. At the New School both read their poems, then fielded questions from moderator David Lehman. Šteger is something of a poetry rock star in Central Europe –... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
In May, Norton will release John Ashbery's translation of French poet Arthur Rimbaud's prose poem sequence, Illuminations, originally published in 1886. Click to see Ashbery read and discuss the poem "Promontory" at The New School on February 7, 2011. - Stephanie Paterik Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
John Ashbery, who forged his poetry career out of a genius ability to surprise us, spent last Monday evening talking about the art of chance. The poet visited an audience of 300 people at The New School to read poems from his most recent book, Planisphere, and from Illuminations, his translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s prose poems due this spring from Norton. Ashbery repeatedly encouraged the audience to invite chance into their work. Slam words together, he said, welcome surprises in your titles, your sestinas and your writing prompts. His own ability to surrender control and piece together disparate items helped... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Feb 10, 2011