Dec 22, C Settles rated it it was amazing. Wonderful book of classical Daoist and Buddhist poetry spanning the wide history of those movements. Most poems are short. Hinton is a master translator of classical Chinese. In this volume he provides background on the authors and periods in history so that an appropriate understanding of the poety can be attained. His sense of poetry, form and meaning, has produced a truly memorable anthology. Jun 30, Kathleen rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , non-fiction , poetry , philosophy , read-in The advantages of the broad span and excellent selections of this anthology are only surpassed by the fascinating historical context given for each poet or time period.
I have to admit to feeling something of a stereotype for classic Chinese poetry. I expected tranquil poems with natural metaphors and deep, mindful insights. Naturally, a number of the poems and poets collected here do follow that vein, but there are also poems protesting wars, calling for social change, waxing lyrical about wine The advantages of the broad span and excellent selections of this anthology are only surpassed by the fascinating historical context given for each poet or time period. Naturally, a number of the poems and poets collected here do follow that vein, but there are also poems protesting wars, calling for social change, waxing lyrical about wine instead of the moon, and some fairly purple stuff about women losing their robes.
I found something of a favorite in Meng Chiao C. Young clear-voiced dragons in these gorges howl. Fresh scales born of rock, they spew froth of fetid rain, breath heaving, churning up black sinkholes. Strange new lights glint, and hungry swords await. This venerable old maw still hasn't eaten its fill. Ageless teeth cry a fury of cliffs, cascades gnawing through these three gorges, gorges full of jostling and snarling, snarling.
Writing during a century long civil war--a war that lasted longer than his own life--Chiao's poetry is not the intellectual scribblings of a hermit on a mountain or a scholar in a garden. It retains the natural metaphor and measured form of much Chinese poetry, but it is really something quite different. This book is complete enough to give someone like me--not well versed in poetry to say the least--a real appreciation for artists like Chiao and the other men and women whose work has traveled down through thousands of years and multiple languages to find a modern audience.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history, poetry, Tao, Buddhism, or China. Sep 16, Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore rated it it was amazing. OK, I'm currently more or less reading both this book and the Mountain Poems book also translated by Hinton, and this compendious volume has for me what I would take in a backpack up Mount Kalesh or some mythic mountain in China, were I to do so It has incredible introductions and an overall opening intro that truly illuminates how Chinese poetry works in Chinese, and then astoundingly Hinton manages to transfer some of this essence over into English.
Th OK, I'm currently more or less reading both this book and the Mountain Poems book also translated by Hinton, and this compendious volume has for me what I would take in a backpack up Mount Kalesh or some mythic mountain in China, were I to do so The most exciting aspect of this poetry is that due to the somewhat open-ended grammar of the lines, the reader brings into its spatial interstices his or her own experience and interpretive possibilities.
Truly exciting for me Plus the book itself has a great "feel" to it, its weight, its pages, something, dear friends, I ween is still impossible with them Kindles and iPads Jun 16, James Violand rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone! Shelves: own. This was a thoroughly entertaining book.
I have come to appreciate the Classic Chinese poets to such a degree, that I recommend this book to everyone. The heritage of Tao colored with Buddhism gave the poet a perspective sadly lacking in the Western tradition. For the most part, they focused on nature and concisely evoked a deep reaction in the reader. They could say so much by writing so little and they used the nonexistent real to describe the world. This will be a work I will read ag This was a thoroughly entertaining book. This will be a work I will read again and again.
Feb 27, Michael rated it it was amazing. Dec 30, Lynn Cullivan rated it really liked it. I know nothing about Chinese poetry, but I found this collection interesting and informative -- and I enjoyed the selection of poems and the poems themselves. Spenser rated it it was amazing Dec 10, Wang Wei rated it really liked it Apr 04, Miriam rated it really liked it Apr 20, Moon rated it liked it Sep 28, Michael Ford rated it it was amazing Apr 25, Paul rated it it was amazing May 23, Rana rated it really liked it Aug 06, Will rated it it was ok Dec 25, Donovan rated it it was amazing Mar 07, Valerie rated it really liked it Sep 11, Kenny B.
Middlethought rated it it was amazing Aug 06, Carl rated it it was amazing May 17, April Joy Brown rated it it was amazing Oct 12, Ruth Awad. Everything in front of us seemed like a blindfolded rollercoaster ride, a plunge into the wild unknown. Philip Schaefer. My house is unfamiliar to me when suddenly there is somebody new—a visitor to startle me off the couch where I've grown listless from memory. This poem began as I assume all poems do: with a gift.
The gift in this case was a stone, smaller than my palm, which my two-year-old daughter, Esther, picked up in the parking lot of her school. She's now three-and-a-half, and my pockets are still filled with stones, leaves, dried flowers, and other of the world's ephemera. Geoffrey Hilsabeck. I wrote this poem a long time ago, after I had my first child. Victoria Chang. This oil painting depicts two lovers in bed, and it seemed, at first, rather unremarkable. It looked to me like any one of numerous European paintings one might whisk by in a state of museum-fatigue while bounding toward marquee exhibits and brochured galleries.
Zora Neale Hurston is such a fascinating and wondrous character to me. Although she is most well known for her work as a fiction writer, she was also a trained anthropologist, and I think that the capacity for intense observation, cultural analysis, and keen questioning that are so important to that kind of work are traits that inform her work in other genres.
Eve L. Ewing Photo by RJ Eldridge. Maybe it's strange that Queen Elizabeth appears in this poem since I've never been incredibly interested in British royalty. But, years ago I saw a book review of a Queen Elizabeth biography while reading other sections of the paper. There was a description of Elizabeth hearing about her father's death while she was in a hotel in the trees, watching elephants.
Jenny Sadre-Orafai. I don't speak Japanese, so I came to this word as many others do, through a history book. And yet, I understand enough about Japanese American culture to sense there is a lack in the terms "endure" or "persist. Christine Kitano. All the things that I am going to tell you about this poem, and about all the Double Portraits, are things I didn't know as I was writing. The only thing I knew then was to do what I had always done: listen for the language, try to find the pattern, move toward whatever it was that was trying to reveal itself. I was sober for three years between my overdose in The Bay Area and having my heart obliterated by an awful relationship in Texas.
This poem grapples with some of the wreckage that followed, tries to order it—how I became dangerous by making my body do dangerous things. When I first read about Reyhaneh Jabbari, her story completely broke me. There is something in the way Reyhaneh seeks to calm her mother, to relay gratitude, of all things, for her mother's love. The letter closes: "Dear soft-hearted Sholeh, in the other world it is you and me who are the accusers and others who are the accused. Let's see what God wants. I wanted to embrace you until I die.
I love you. Kaveh Akbar Photo by Charles Bakofsky. You may remember the rapture of Sure, the threat of apocalypse comes and goes, but this one made national news. Harold Camper predicted that on May 21st, believers would be taken to heaven, and those left behind would face a cornucopia of horrors. Proselytizers took to their local channels with predictions and pleas. My friends and I quipped about not paying our student loans. Erica Wright Photo by Paula Wright. I write things down that are occasionally transactional and most always interested in relation. They address separation, connection, loneliness, and becoming.
That's a sort of shitty, generic term, I realize. What it looked like was a lot of crying. Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Without having read the play, I agreed to play the part of Judy; Aaron would play Jack, Judy's husband, and John would direct. The trouble with talking about a poem is that what you say will repeat or replace or wreck the poem, when the reason you wrote it in the first place was that prose doesn't go far enough. Angela Veronica Wong. In each generation, poets try to explain anew what poetry does, using metaphors that reflect the technology of their age.
In our internet era, Harryette Mullen writes: "If encyclopedia collects general knowledge, the recyclopedia salvages and finds imaginative uses for knowledge. That's what poetry does when it remakes and renews words, images, and ideas, transforming surplus cultural information into something unexpected. I started writing "Dead Year" during a gray, bitter New England January without much more than a generative process in mind—a challenge to let myself write every day without constantly deleting the first line, staring into space, and giving up, which is too often my pattern.
Anne Cecelia Holmes. The most accurate definition of a poem that I have ever heard is Theodor Adorno's: "a philosophical sundial telling the time of history. Susan Barba. A lot of my work deals with the mind or maybe memory, our access to it and how poetry as a medium can show us the ways our mind collapses periodicity, so sometimes like in a poem we are remembering everything all at once. I have always valued what it means to write across different genres. So many of the literary figures I've long admired refused to situate themselves within a singular mode of writing.
They were poets, they were playwrights, they were essayists, they were novelists. This literary dexterity enriched the scope of their work and often led to an interdisciplinary, creative output that could not easily be compartmentalized. Clint Smith. AU stands for "alternate universe. What if the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine worked at a coffee shop.
And so on. In October , my grandfather's house got destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. My grandfather lived in Brigantine, New Jersey, a small island suburb of Atlantic City; he'd been in that house for over fifty years. My mom and her sisters grew up there, and when I was a baby, we lived around the block. I learned to swim off my grandparents' dock. The relationship between my work as a writer and my work as a healthcare provider is porous, and "Propofol" lives in that friction more than any other poem in the book.
Ruth Madievsky. Maybe I couldn't see very well, maybe I am still waking up. Either way, I have stopped believing in this description. I mean, if this is my ars poetica, ok. But if this is my plan? I'm gonna need a better plan. Let me try again. Ellen Welcker. How do we define existence? When does it begin and when does it end? Humans have wrestled with these questions for millennia. When it came to the memory of the daughter I never had, these questions felt irrelevant.
In some of my new poems I've been playing with the idea of audience. Am I talking to myself or to strangers? I'm talking to myself, but letting strangers listen, and I'm talking to strangers, though maybe also to my future self. Rachel B. I am obsessed with maps. Their giving and withholding information. You travel and document. You travel again to confirm. I live in Connecticut and saw an eastern cottontail crossing the road in the very early spring. It made me wonder about the thousands of bunnies hiding underground, in the shrubbery, and in line at the post office.
In the spring anything is possible. Every Saturday night my entire paternal family—grandparents, all of their children and all of their children's children—would eat dinner after the mall's closing hours. Christine Shan Shan Hou. At the time that I was writing "I do not want to stay" I was in the midst of a relationship ending and leaving New York City. I was staying in my former apartment, empty of all furniture, until the lease ran out. I forget how sad some of my poems are because people tend to point out the humor. And I like making people laugh. Writing about this poem, though, made me see the sadness.
This poem came a little after realizing I had all these poems about a confrontation between mother and teenage son, a rupture that occurs because of the son's growing sense that he is not, at least not fully, straight. Chen Chen Photo by Jess Chen. This poem's origins go back to April , when I was living in Paros, Greece, and had the privilege of being an artist-in-residence with a travel stipend at the Aegean Center for Fine Arts.
Books I carried with me at that time included H. Grace Bonner. Cortney Lamar Charleston. That muteness is not only silent, but turbulent and noisy and ineloquent. Carolina Ebeid. That semester was home to a simple yet invaluable epiphany, the notion that poems don't have to look or behave like "poems" to be poetry.
We invited about thirty-five poets to submit manuscripts for this year's chapbook box set. This is an annual ritual that we are committed to carrying until we arrive at the tenth year of publishing the chapbooks of a new generation of African poets. Each year, the task gets more and more difficult.
The quality of the manuscripts is extremely impressive. Allison Titus. These are natural exchanges in New York places, the currency we use to be ways unregular in our lives: vacating our Is while another temporarily stations a coating of injection. Hossannah Asuncion. Elise Partridge — was born in Philadelphia and grew up nearby. She returned to Harvard for a Master of Arts and then took a degree in writing from Boston University. In she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she lived with her husband, for the rest of her life.
Elise Partridge. No, it wasn't the band that killed him, or Gene Simmons, or the blisteringly loud music coming through that wall of Marshall "stacks" sitting behind the band on stage. It was the drive to the concert. Christopher Salerno. My friend Cody Walker says you learn in two years of grad school what you'd otherwise learn in 20, and I agree.
However, I'd been writing with a specific group of horrifyingly smart and talented people in mind for two years, and this was the first thing I'd written in a while that was just to please myself.
Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (54): 'Incantation for Jaguar Macaw Madness'
That's where all poetry should come from—the discovery of treasure and desire to share it. Sara Galvin. In January , on a cold winter day, a small package appeared in my post box, postmarked Debrecen. This one, like many others previously, arrived in a standard white envelope with bubble-wrap on the inside. One of the highlights of the Pocantico Center is the sculpture garden surrounding Kykuit, one of the Rockefeller family's homes. Jonterri Gadson. When I wrote this poem, I wanted to use humor and absurdity to gesture toward a scary reality adjacent to our own.
Since then, the world has sidled in. Elsbeth Pancrazi. In a sense, it is. It deals with an encounter with my child-self. To write a sonnet-a-day for a year and explore what the form allows. Traditionally a line poem, a sonnet is a "little song" from the Italian sonetto and the Latin sonus "sound. I began writing a series of poems in my mother's voice, during that year of her life. Through persona, I wanted to demystify her—to make her more vulnerable, more uncertain.
This poem, "Twenty-Four," begins in Jersey—a place far away from where she grew up in a small village near Taishan, China. Jackson Mac Low was born in Chicago in He is best known as a poet, but he was also a seminal and influential figure in the avant-garde visual arts, performance, theater, film, dance, and music worlds beginning in the s. Joshua Bennett Photo by Rog Walker.
Love and language create community. Just as a documentarian hasn't effaced a viewpoint just by having a pretense to "fly-on-the-wall" observation, so the poet hasn't effaced an "I," even if it never shows up in a poem. We all go home to the editing room. That doesn't mean one can't point or indicate, or even arrive at something like a fact. Jos Charles. I think I'm at my most focused when I'm writing serial poems. Things that are often invented, or with loosely-driven rules. Poems in the voice of my barber, poems in the voice of my mother's ghost, poems prompted by sneaker purchases.
I wrote the book trying to build this very touchable, livable world, but I didn't want to sacrifice my process. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. I picture Charles K. Bliss, the inventor of a language, listening to Goebbels's speeches over loudspeakers in Dachau and then in Buchenwald. He heard this: how Goebbels drew from beloved poems and phrases inside German to tell lies to make his dream of Germany true.
But then I turn the picture in my brain off. No matter how many books I read about the camps, how many photos I see, I know that imagining myself completely inside that particular horror is a lie. Jennifer Kronovet. I'm about to devote a host of words to this two-year old prismatic scrap—it's Nov. Check the date if you need to, future persons. Present persons, idling ghosts— Day 4. Dana Levin. Vincent Millay's poem "Endings. Paisley Rekdal.
Mike Lala Photo by Kate Enman. Sometimes, deer lock antlers during a fight and being stuck truly together, head to head, die of starvation. I found myself writing these seven line poems. I wish I could say from where they came, but they just happened. I wrote a couple. Then I wrote a couple more imitating myself. I started each line with a capital letter and ended each line with a period it was liberating! I was keeping a record. Ali Power Photo by Hillery Stone. My Ponge translation project began as it were inadvertently, on social media, where very occasionally an ephemeral suggestion sticks around long enough to become compost and feed something green.
I said on Facebook that someone ought to do a new translation of Francis Ponge's first book, given all the interest lately grouped under such filiations as "the new materialism," "object-oriented ontology," "thing theory," "actor-network theory," "hyperobjets.
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Daniel Borzutzky. In the classical tradition, there is no more moving evidence of that than the three times Aeneas tries to hug his father's shade on a green bank in Hades. I panic at that moment, here cited in Seamus Heaney's enviable translation: "Three times he tried to reach arms round that neck. Iris, my asthmatic, elderly landlady, was standing crouched over in the doorway of the apartment I was living in when she said this.
Wheezing between every few words, wearing a dress that hung off her thin frame like off a clothing rack, she was only talking about the sink leaking water behind the walls, but her wide and worried eyes underscored everything with a kind of desperate gravity. Pippin ," I imagine the discovery of a new painting by Pippin, one clearly forged: a portrait of President Barack Obama. The violence, absurdism, shifting linguistic registers, and emphasis on gesture as image combine with Michaux's particularly dark, dry humor to present a reality dependent on the imagination.
The first is Marianne Moore. I used my cash register receipts as the starting place for the poems, and Moore, I think, is best at capturing both the thrill and the ultimate flatness of buying stuff. And do you hear my prayer, Lord? It is always to be less exuberant. I have always been too exuberant to artfully fry an egg. Many of the poems begin in simple suburban settings—a city park, a kitchen, outside a church, a cemetery—but then, by virtue of the poem, become theatres to stage the scenes of an extended family drama.
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Without refrigeration a body decomposed almost faster than it could be cut into. One of my ongoing projects has been the work of the late-Tang era Chinese poet Li Shangyin, and during this time I came upon a cache of poems by him on the subject of writing, of which the above are two.
Like his other poems, these poems depict the twinning of grief and hope, wanting and loss, but more concretely they are about the disillusionment of being a poet. Li Shangyin , was a late Tang poet whose works are famous for their lush and obscure imagery. During his lifetime, he held various posts as a low-level government official, and though his poetry and prose were appreciated within certain literary circles, his status as one of the most important poets of his time was not recognized until after his death.
This one's about fourteen poems from the back. I had to get the press to send me a copy. I only have books, and the notebook the poems were written in. This version is really just a version — the screen can't hack the form. The book can't really hack it either. It's a great form to write into, the-line-at-the-edge-of-the-page-that-goes-all-the-way-around — it leaves you with no end and no beginning, a loop with corners, an illusion of empty space inside, an immediate apparent velocity that doesn't have to be obeyed, and nothing for explanation to leech.
When I'm not writing poems, as I am not currently, I have no idea how I once managed to create them. Most of the situations described—the wrong dress at the party, the drunk at the memorial service—are invented, though I'm positive they have happened to someone, somewhere, and possibly even to me in some place memory can't access. Visiting museums in Rome a few years ago, I was surprised by how much of the post-Renaissance art—because there was just such an amazing quantity of it—was bad.
Piles of awful eighteenth-century portraits, lots of minor paintings from major periods. But seeing this kind of work was strangely stimulating giving glimpses of creative activity you don't see at, say, the Metropolitan Museum , and when I came across Benvenuto Tisi's scene of an obscure classical episode I stopped short and stared at it for a long time and returned to it over several visits. This poem used to have an epigraph: "Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together. When I first became aware of the Mars One marketing campaign, my emotional response included incredulous wonder, to be sure, but also anger and fear.
For me, "writing" is mostly scowling at what'll be left on the threshing-room floor: failed attempts to smooth out the insurrection. It's not cathartic or even particularly pleasurable. When it's going well, the scraps are about to coalesce into comprehensible piles. The appearance in print of the selected poems of Donald Britton is an affront to cynicism and a triumph over fate.
As the few became fewer it seemed all but certain the audience for his poems would disappear. Donald Britton. We have tomatoes and kale and fennel and favas in garden boxes out front, artichokes on the sidewalk median strip, lemons, potatoes, rhubarb and figs in the back. It is California, says my husband. The landscape should be edible. In this political climate, I've notice how easy it is to define oneself in opposition to another, and "Grown to Covet," dips into my ambivalence toward the relationship between politics and ego.
I want to remain human in my politics, and not get lazy by taking on simple popular rhetoric or preconceived sets of beliefs. A few years ago, my partner and I spent a month volunteering at Hospital San Carlos, a rural hospital in Chiapas, Mexico. A medical student at the time, my partner saw patients both in the hospital and in the indigenous communities in the surrounding jungle that were reachable only by foot. I spent my time helping Lupita, one of the elderly nuns who ran the hospital, write grants for new hospital beds, stethoscopes, ultrasound Dopplers, and other medical equipment.
This is one of my favorite Hai Zi poems. Its folkloric simplicity, startling imagery, its fine balance between mystery and clarity, emotional openness and restraint are among the qualities that compelled me to translate Hai Zi's work in the first place. Hai Zi. A year ago I fell in love with the poems of Peggy Freydberg and quite immediately afterwards, I fell in love with Peggy. Peggy was years-old when I met her in the fall of on Martha's Vineyard.
Peggy Freydberg Photograph by Eli Dagostino. At first, of course, a poem has no name—but when it finally acquires that object of language to signify an individual identity—that's when it really starts to become a poem. So for me, names and titles are an important part of the writing process: they help get to know a poem, a book, or a series, to let it grow into a real thing. In many ways, it would be tempting to try to offer some definitive statement about what African poetry is, but this would be a silly thing to attempt, and, at the end of the day, such exercises belong to our colleagues in academia and not to us in our capacity as editors.
The mass kidnapping and murder of 43 teachers' college students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico brought renewed international attention to the ongoing precariousness of life under the country's dirty war, its "narco-politics. Money, the quiet fascia of state violences. How easy it can be to be gently seduced by USAmerican comfort and privilege. When I was a young kid, I had to take a school physical. My mother came in with me, and the errand was supposed to be quick, but I refused to undress.
The doctor and my mother didn't force me to do anything, but I remember them both asking me why I wasn't doing it, and what was wrong, and I remember not being able to answer. The title comes from teaching a poetry workshop at UC Berkeley during the Occupy movement. The class met late on Tuesday afternoons and its beginning coincided with the arrival of media helicopters circling and re-circling overhead, hosing the campus in spotlights to be televised on the nightly news.
This poem was written with some anger, during a time when all my poems were rebuttals to anticipated put-downs and critiques, especially the ones scaffolded by racism and misogyny. I was getting frustrated with my writing and my voice, feeling suffocated by an ingested, self-reproducing colonization in my bloodstream.
There are poems that answer questions, and there are poems that take you further into the question without any hope for an exit, an exhale, a reckoning. This is a poem without hope of finding its way out. Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, I spent many sweltering summers picking vegetables with my parents; for years it had been one of the main sources of income for our family.
We'd go to other people's farms mostly relatives and pick green beans or Thai chilies, hauling buckets and boxes from dawn to dusk. I'm always drawn to contemplating extreme states—of being and mind—and the post-apocalyptic world offers instant access to extremity. For those of us on Earth who don't already know poverty, hunger and habitual discomfort, an apocalypse could mean a complete overthrow of the comfortable life we know now, one that reduces us to our most basic skills and instincts.
I imagine there are many readers who miss the primary prosodic constraint of this poem—the strict decasyllabic line. Let me come back to this. I am forever mishearing and misreading surroundings, it's how I edit others and myself , it's how I practice living and tell jokes and in this small suite I let the method be clearer, I showed my work. Humor is that tracking.
Palimpsests are proof of that work. At moments it feels like a beloved other: "These are the days in which you come to me…". During my stay in Antarctica, I met a woman who'd spent several years teaching Yup'ik children in Alaska. Joolee told me how baffling the Common Core curriculum had been for the elementary school kids: they had no reference point for a cow, a lawn mower, a grandfather clock. A glorified play on words.
I wanted to riff about words and how they haunt us in our sleep. Or, better yet, when a poem writes you. What is the responsibility of the both-eyes-wide-open poet?
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How do we access freedom in language in discussing topics many audiences would rather not hear about, such as racialized violence? When I wrote this poem, I lived in a narrow house perched at the top of a hill in the Leschi neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. I was a newlywed, and it was an extraordinarily hopeful place to live. You can read a selection of Broodthaers's poetry here.
Over the course of his career, Broodthaers continued to fashion new forms of language through writing, sculpture, painting, printmaking and film. It's just who you are, bumping into the world. But how you link them is what shows the nature of your mind. Individuality resides in the way links are made.
I'm interested in the relationship between language and the mind. And so the mind's relationship to meaning. On the one side a reflexive, desperate assertion of his old prerogatives as a poet, now impossible; on the other a sort of acceptance, and an eerie contemplation of the future. Visiting home from college, I caught this particular episode one sleepless night: two black gay men talking about fraught and humiliating sexual encounters they'd had with white men.
In a cosmic infinity, what exists at random and what survives by error? Is the idea of a cosmic infinity still relevant to a human sense of self—can it help us to confront our present-day violence? Poetry is a losing context. The shooting at my college was in I tried to write about it for years after in a subjective, direct way, and failed. In my workplace held a workshop— Active Shooting Training. Making notes, reminding myself how to survive, on a campus in a lecture room at a much different place and time, hearing the sort of matter of fact instruction that confronted a new gruesome reality was the only slant, cold, way I could approach the topic, so I just transcribed it.
That language indicates more about the experience than any more direct attempts I had been making. In April , I write and exchange a daily poem with Adam Clay.
The Felling of the Banyan Tree
Often the poems are quick and sent before the day's responsibilities; other days are fits and starts, culminating in an email sent minutes before midnight. Weeks are no luxury, nor the shaping of multiple drafts. April spills forward and poetry becomes a serious addiction. I'm going to start outside this poem, outside the book it comes from, and begin with that book's cover. It was the time of the fiercest battles in Iraq, the early days of the forever war. All around us, there was a new language— "homeland," "Operation Iraqi Freedom," an argot of fear pouring out of television anchors and sometimes even our public intellectuals, turned overnight into macho men on death drive.
When I think of the soul, I think of furniture. The two occupy a similar place in life, so domestic as to be mostly ignored and thereby capable of seeming totally surprising and alien when looked at closely. Or: is it all fiction? Could I tell many plausible-sounding stories about the composition of each?
Edward Estlin Cummings was born into a family that celebrated poetry, and both his parents nurtured his artistic impulse from a young age. His mother, Rebecca, dreamed that her baby boy would grow up to become a poet, and she recorded his earliest attempts in a notebook titled "Estlin's Original Poems. This poem is about a bourgeois woman caught between two men: one, the uneducated mechanic she is having an affair with and the other, the educated father of her children. This poem is about a woman who wants to find a man who would make her feel anonymous, outside of her personal history, outside of her education, outside of her marriage and profession.
The subsequent prose excerpt is the final two paragraphs of Schluter's afterword to the translation, written in direct and intimate address of Saenz himself, over thresholds of distance, language, and mortality. Jaime Saenz was born in in La Paz, Bolivia, the city where he was to spend his days until his passing in It was around his now notorious, magical Krupp Workshops that a generation of young La Pazian poets burgeoned, and his body of work was the first Bolivian, and among the first Latin American, to openly explore bisexual experience.
I am a poet; I am a translator. It is something else entirely to be both of those things at once, which is why I initially and forcefully resisted translating poetry. The National Youth Poet Laureate initiative YPL is a program of Urban Word, an award-winning youth literary arts and youth development organization, that strives to elevate the voices of teens while promoting civic engagement and social justice. Through building visible and deep-seated partnerships with city agencies and government, the YPL program situates youth voices in spaces of power and attempts to equip young people with opportunities to creatively respond to the litany of social and political factors that impact their cities and their lives.
To be recognized as a city or region's Youth Poet Laureate, young people undergo a comprehensive and rigorous application process that considers not only the artistic merit and subject matter of their writing, but also their commitment to servicing their communities in a number of extracurricular ways. The first and only of its kind in the nation, the NYPL program strives to provide a platform for youth to assume central roles in the cultural and political climates of their communities.
Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay. There is so much missing here. First, it might be important to tell you that this poem was once a novel. The novel is now missing, of course, and the missing novel begins with this missing quote by Hannah Arendt: "the freedom to call something into being, which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which, therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known. The plan is simple, as publishing plans go. Publish seven to ten chapbooks by African poets each year. Promote said chapbooks. In ten years there will be seventy to one hundred chapbooks by African poets that might not have existed before.
Oh, and make sure the work is first-rate, representative, and new. This plan only works if there are seven to ten really gifted African poets who have not yet had a major publication. I'm fascinated by the idea of "new old" and the consumerist mentality that underpins it, the belief that everything is disposable and replaceable, that anything old can be recreated. What about old growth forests? How shall we remake those? It will certainly require a great deal of planning, and that must begin with infrastructure.
When I first started thinking of what to write about this poem, attempting to formulate cogent thoughts—usually while jogging in the June heat—that would theorize and illuminate this poem of memory clots and digressions and non-sequiturs that, as the title poem of the book, promises to hold the major themes together, I became really stressed out. Like really stressed. I was hugely inspired by the determination and consistency of the people out in the streets there. Whereas other popular eruptions in response to anti-black police murder would often dissipate after a few days, the people in Ferguson kept coming out, night after night, for weeks.
The word was first introduced to me in a workshop by the brilliant poet, Dawn Marie Knopf, and it means a spoken curse. It was irresistible as a conceit, but I didn't touch it for years. I grew up sealed shut, ashamed of my body, ashamed to speak. From imprecari , to invoke, call down upon. Looking back, I see why this line, in one broad stroke, moved me. I am subject to the swerve—when presenting something difficult or heavy—toward a kind of ecstatic resignation, toward laughter.
I love the elegance and music of ghazals and wanted the inventiveness of language that a ghazal's rhyme scheme demands. But not only do I suffer from the need to rebel against rules—even the ones I set for myself—I also found that the lilting rhythm of the ghazal was at loggerheads with my sense of indignation. Time and time again, I returned home from such trips eager to see what images I had captured, and upon developing my photos was surprised to find I had taken significantly more pictures of unknown pieces of art from inside a museum than of the usual landmarks and landscapes.
This poem started when a friend challenged me to write something "elegant. I write about disappointing one night stands, peeing on street corners at night, getting too drunk to hide how I feel. As a woman, I almost cringe at the idea of being elegant, weary from men on the street telling me to smile and averse to anything that insists I "behave" or be "lady-like. Against that, I wanted to record intimacies of all kinds, but especially between children and parents and between friends, as a response, maybe an answer, to such threat.
Yet again and again translators have returned to Wang Wei, hoping to create an English equivalent for his instant of illumination. Entering these deep woods, late sunlight flares on green moss again, and rises. For if Wang takes care to tell us what he sees and hears, he has not a word to say about why it matters, or why he wished to record it in verse.
Once Wang has seen something, the reader has seen it; and because what he sees is so elemental, no barriers of time and distance seem to separate the reader from the poet. Poems, even the most pictorial poems, are never really visual. They are not about things seen, but about why the poet feels compelled to preserve in writing what he sees.
It is impossible to describe these poems without using a vocabulary that is more philosophical and even ethical than visual. To some extent, this is because Hinton himself is intent on teaching the reader to share the ethics and the metaphysics that he finds so appealing in the Chinese poets. This is a matter of overcoming subjectivity, of curing the breach between consciousness and the universe:. This spiritual practice is a constant presence in classical Chinese, in its fundamentally pictographic nature.
It is also the very fabric of Chinese poetry, manifest in its texture of imagistic clarity. As with late Heidegger, and no doubt for the same historical reasons, Hinton admires a philosophy that seems more quietistic, modest, and anti-technological than Western rationalism. Again and again, this work advocates withdrawal from a world bound up with change and suffering:.
Presence and absence give birth to one another, difficult and easy complete one another, long and short measure one another, high and low fill one another, music and noise harmonize one another, before and after follow one another:. This diagnosis of the world and its becoming can sound like Platonism. The ideal here is not erotic-intellectual flight to a world of Being, but withdrawal into a world of Nothing. The wisdom of the sage is insistently negative:. With other poets, the Taoist, and later Buddhist, imperative toward withdrawal and renunciation is more explicit. If you light candles and lamps, you know moths will gather in swarms.
It is impossible to be at the same time a poet and a sage, because the sage insists on withdrawal, inactivity, selflessness, and silence, while the poet lives by observation, creation, introspection, and speech. The poet who achieved enlightenment would not, and could not, still write poetry. Self-abnegation was their trope, and perhaps even their ideal, but it was never their practice: they were too committed to perception and expression to desire a radical or permanent detachment. Nothing like all the others, even as a child, rooted in such love for hills and mountains,.
I stumbled into their net of dust, that one departure a blunder lasting thirteen years. But a tethered bird longs for its old forest, and a pond fish its deep waters—so now,. Peach blossoms drift streamwater away deep in mystery here, another heaven and earth, nowhere people know. Reading such poems, it is easy to forget that their audience was precisely the well-connected literati who staffed the imperial bureaucracy, and that each of these poets eagerly pursued an official career. But there is another way to look at these poets. It is possible to see them as worldly and sophisticated men who—like Horace, or like the Elizabethan court poets—found it creditable to praise rusticity, without intending to practice it unless bad luck and old age compelled them to do so.
If it is a sort of Stoicism that these poets seem to espouse, it is worth remembering that the great Stoics of Rome, Seneca and Cicero, spent their lives in the corridors of power. It is telling that one of the standard subjects of Chinese poetry was visiting a remote monastery: they were good places to visit, but would the poet really want to live there? If he did, who would see his poetry? There was in fact no such person, only a collection of poems that legend attributed to a wild monk who lived on Cold Mountain, writing verses on rocks and trees.