This past Sunday Teju Cole reviewed in the New York Times Derek Walcott’s The Poetry of Derek Walcott: 1948-2013, selected by Glyn Maxwell and published by FSG. The book is over 600 pages and traverses more than 50 years with one of the world’s great living poets....more
Granted my affliction does not in any way parallel the gravity of close friends who aren’t so much battling but, as Christopher Hitchens put it, being battled by cancer, and fatally, I fear, but my affliction, by contrast, my woe, is, to be perfectly honest, more like a pain in the ass....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
Earlier this week, while speaking to some younger poets, I became intrigued with their nascent fascination, to the point of headiness, with all things poetically elliptical, non-linear, and disjunctive. I say intrigued, but in my heart it felt more like exasperated....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
Not that one needs an excuse such as the imminent threat of nuclear armageddon to read poetry, but the early 1960s might have been a good time to turn to poems for comfort, insight, solace, and understanding about the disposition of human beings to threaten their own existence....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
A flurry of last-minute phone calls, philippics, tweets, and Facebook posts by poets and critics late last night failed to break a bitter standoff over the latest poetry-is-dead attacks, setting in motion the first poetry shutdown in the history of American poetry....more