Posts by: David Biespiel
Becoming a poet means to think about delight and distress with equal poise. Becoming a poet means to embrace the child of your imagination where resentment is understood....more
When you trust the wisdom from the art of poetry as a guide to writing your new poems, you put your writing in service of something larger than your own ambitions and impulses....more
There’s a unitary circulation between poet and reader. The poet dwells in the gap between dream and waking, and the reader is offered entryway to become alive and enlivened....more
Poets, Poetesses, and Unacknowledged Legislators of Mankind:
I address you at a moment unprecedented in the history of Poetry. I use the word “unprecedented,” because at no previous time has American poetry been as seriously threatened as it is today.
Since the permanent formation of the art of American poetry under the Constitution, in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our narrative affairs....more
Nelson Mandela 1918–2013...more
If war is a defeat for poetry, what is diplomacy? Like poetry, diplomacy involves craft and discretion, finesse and poise, skill and subtlety. It requires canniness, deliberation, presence of mind, and shrewdness, as well as providence and wisdom.
I’ve been thinking about what poetry might tell us about the landmark deal the United States and five other world powers made this week with Iran to curb its nuclear program in an effort to prevent Tehran from building nuclear bombs....more
New book reports postmodernists forced to write in rhyme and meter
Exposing widespread abuses faced by beginning poets writing in postmodern verses, a new book titled “Between the Lines,” revealed that poets who write post-experimental poetry are forced by their betters to write, sometimes as often as fifteen times a day, completely in rhyme and meter....more
There comes a time in the process of writing a poem when you find yourself putting the reader’s interests and desires ahead of your own as the poet. Not that the reader is a potted plant, I mean. Because the reader is sometimes hostile, other times skeptical, and still other times easily moved, or hopeful, or open, or predisposed, willing to be carried forth....more
As with the myth of America, America’s poets believe a poem should go from rags to riches. And yet, why so much surprise when it actually happens?
There is more to American poetry than its genial and hospitable prairie lands. And yet the poetry of its postmodern coasts all too often acts like an immigrant who is naive about the nation’s enigmas and repugnances....more
Every since I wrote this weekend with the news that I’m stepping down, after 11 years, as a columnist on poetry for my local paper, I’ve received some very nice farewells. I mean, very nice. One woman wrote me to say she had read and kept each and every one of the pieces in binders marked On Poetry....more
We live in a world where whenever the discussion turns to humanitarian assistance or military intervention what is meant by that is American assistance and American intervention.
There are good reasons for this fact. It was the United States that pushed for the creation of the United Nations in 1945 and then insisted on becoming the organization’s host....more
I mean, his [Heaney's] verse is under my skin. His verbs are inside my veins. His metaphors are in my nervous system. His moral clarity is a light inside my own, shall we say, republic of conscience....more
Mark Edmundson’s take down of contemporary American poetry, “Poetry Slam,” (currently behind the paywall) in this month’s issue of Harper’s, is not so bad really. He’s right about the insularity of the American poetic idiom, the stranglehold of deconstructive theory on the imaginations of younger American poets, the influence of William Wordsworth for two hundred years on American poetry’s sense of ambition as a private rather than public art, the proliferation of teaching the writing of poetry and therefore the difficulty in discerning what might be the, quote-unquote, poetry of the age — notwithstanding that we will never know who those poets are or what those poems are for certain until the age is over....more