poetry

Homer did no injustice to his grief

May 17, 2013

. Robert Frost in the words of Tobias  Wolff, from Old School. Don’t tell me about war. I lost my nearest friend in the one they call the Great War. So did Achilles lose his friend in the war, and Homer did no injustice to his grief by writing about it in dactylic hexameters. There’ve [...]


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Interview with John Spaulding

May 13, 2013

. From the spring issue of West Magazine, my interview with poet John Spaulding. Your can read Spaulding’s poems in the issue here. John Spaulding holds degrees in English and psychology and earned a PhD in psychology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has worked as a psychologist for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center [...]


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“I’m Just a Bad Boy All Dressed Up in Fancy Clothes” (1957): West Poetry

April 23, 2013

. Another poem from John Spaulding, our featured poet in the spring issue of West. Read more here. “I’m Just a Bad Boy All Dressed Up in Fancy Clothes” (1957) by John Spaulding I’m just a bad bad boy all dressed up in fancy clothes a jive bomber a rocket 88 a war baby a [...]


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West Poetry: “Bruja”

April 17, 2013

. Our featured poet in the spring issue of West is John Spaulding. Spaulding’s The White Train was chosen by Henry Taylor for the 2004 National Poetry Series.  He is the author also  of The Roses of Starvation (1987), Walking in Stone (1989), and Hospital (2011). His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, [...]


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Speaking in Voices

April 11, 2013

. In the new, spring issue of West, my Poetic License column offers a discussion of voice in poetry, in introduction to the poetry of John Spaulding, whose The White Train was chosen by Henry Taylor for the National Poetry Series in 2004. The first thing I look for in a poem is its voice. It is [...]


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Kingdom Animalia

April 4, 2013

for JSA April 4, 1947 – May 16, 2011 Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay When I get the call about my brother, I’m on a stopped train leaving town & the news packs into me—freight— though it’s him on the other end now, saying finefine— Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away from the [...]


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We Fuses

March 14, 2013

. Julia gave me a splendid gift for my birthday today. When I was a very young man in Manhattan, in my early and later twenties, I would pour over and plow through the book reviews and journals – all the epistles from the church of literature –  including, deliciously each Sunday, the New York Times Book [...]


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Eating Poetry (XLIV) – “After Experience Taught Me …”

February 3, 2013

. Offered without comment because all the words belong to Snodgrass. “After Experience Taught Me …” W. D. Snograss After experience taught me that all the ordinary Surroundings of social life are futile and vain; I’m going to show you something very Ugly: someday, it might save your life. Seeing that none of the things [...]


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Inaugurations and Occasional Poetry

January 23, 2013

. How shall we receive Richard Blanco’s poem for the occasion of President Obama’s second inauguration? Occasional poems – poems written in honor of an occasion – may be as old as poetry itself. They have a great tradition, but quite arguably that tradition has significantly diminished. Why? One easily distinguished difference in the origination [...]


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The New Year: Drunk with Time

December 31, 2012

. I was reminded by a reader’s visit of what I posted here three years ago today: Charles Baudelaire’s “Be Drunk” (below). A good-humored dissenting comment reminded of Baudelaire that the man died at age 46 a syphilitic laudanum addict having spent fortunes of inherited money on prostitutes and wine. Ah, well, we are such foibles [...]


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Eating Poetry (XLIII) – “oh antic God”

December 23, 2012

. This past Thursday was the ninth anniversary of my mother’s death. With my brother’s wife, I was at her graveside, beside my father. Anne and I laughed before we cried: a lot of familial channeling went on – voices and manners of speech, verbal expressions. This year, more than the pain of taking away, [...]


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Eating Poetry (XLII) – Sunder

December 15, 2012

. I just turned in my “Poetic License” column for the upcoming spring issue of West. It’s topic is poetic voice. An extraordinary poetic voice is that of Atsuro Riley, featured here once before, just a short while ago. One is instantly aware of the the uniqueness of his voice. It diminishes that uniqueness not at all [...]


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Eating Poetry (XLI) – After Thanksgiving

November 25, 2012

. by Sandra M. Gilbert Related articles Writing Paradise


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Writing Paradise

October 25, 2012

. I learned at an early adult age, with only minor but memorable pain, not to hero-worship. When we lionize people, we tend to forget the natural inclination of the lion to consume the person. I prefer admiration. Admiration works from the muck up. While hero worship sets up the faithful for a fall, admiration [...]


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How We Lived On It (54) – “Scrabble with Matthews”

October 7, 2012

. The kind of poetic conceit etymologicon that delights in the service of deep feeling. Scrabble with Matthews BY DAVID WOJAHN (Poetry magazine October 2002) Jerboa on a triple: I was in for it, my zither on a double looking feeble as a “promising” first book. Oedipal & reckless, my scheme would fail: keep him a couple drinks ahead, [...]


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The Poetry of Democracy

August 29, 2012

. In my Poetic License column for the fall issue of West, I return to last year’s New York Review of Books contretemps between Helen Vendler and Rita Dove over the latter’s The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. When I first wrote about the dispute, I considered the the politics in poetry. In “Diction and [...]


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How We Lived On It (53) – “We are the knife people…”

August 12, 2012

. Maybe none of it, finally, is like bone – not solid and lasting enough – or muscle – not as strong – but cartilage: something in between, partaking of both, lesser, but also greater, because it is all about connections and making them. Some semi-random connections. Robert Hughes died this past week. What we [...]


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Eating Poetry (XL) – As from a Quiver of Arrows

August 4, 2012

. A poem about loss, or the end of things, if there is an end to things, or transformation, or it maybe being the nature in things to be lost, and remembered, so how remembered? Or maybe it is forgetting we want, and where is that, and if we do forget, what was it? To [...]


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Eating Poetry (XXXIX) – “From back when it was Nam time I tell you what”

July 21, 2012

. Here is the vernacular as the purest verbal music, singing the culture from which it is pulled, clots of earth still clinging. You may find it hard to separate the units of meaning on first read. It will be easier on second, and if you listen here to the poet reading it, you will [...]


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Eating Poetry (XXXVIII) – To the One Who is Reading Me

July 13, 2012

. To the One Who is Reading Me by JORGE LUIS BORGES Translated from the Spanish by Tony Barnstone You are invulnerable. Didn’t they deliver (those forces that control your destiny) the certainty of dust? Couldn’t it be your irreversible time is that river in whose bright mirror Heraclitus read his brevity? A marble slab is [...]


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Eating Poetry (XXXVII) – The New Physics

July 6, 2012

THE NEW PHYSICS Al Zolynas for Fritjof Capra And so, the closer he looks at things, the farther away they seem. At dinner, after a hard day at the universe, he finds himself slipping through his food.  His own hands wave at him from beyond a mountain of peas.  Stars and planets dance with molecules [...]


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