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Can I wait until tomorrow to know this? April 4, 2011: Shiho Fukada / International Herald Tribune "The love of form is the acceptance of mortality." - Charles Simic Once again it is April, the month poetry creeps out of its hole and into the public arena with somewhat more insistence than it does during the other eleven months. It gets in the news. It even becomes news. But, in spite of what [...] by

Saudade April 28, 2010: António Nobre’s House -- Eugénio de Andrade The house was small, in front of the sea. It would be insignificant if António Nobre Had not finished his days there: He went there to die, with all his papers, Sick of the world, his lungs all undone. He was thirty-two—he’d written Such a singular book That it remains [...] by

What Do You Do? April 24, 2010: “I have sleep to do. / I have work to dream.” (Bill Knott, “(End of Summer (1966)”; Naomi Poems) 'Today, the question “What do you do?” means “How do you earn your living?” On My passport I am described as a “Writer”; this is not embarrassing for me in dealing with the authorities, because immigration and customs [...] by

The Problem with Exile (after Ange Mlinko) April 19, 2010: Irony heaped on irony: I was exiled from my home in the U.S. in the midst of the economic meltdown, so went to live, against my will, in Beirut; I needed to do some April readings for my new book so I came to stay in my parents’ home for a few days; now I can’t leave my parents’ home, though my children are waiting for me in our [...] by

Documentary Poetry and Language Surge April 13, 2010: One of the posts from the first week and half of April that most struck me was Mark Nowak’s on the 6th: “25 miners killed in West Virgina Coal Mine blast.” It is (apart from its reportorial relation to a tragic event) deliberately putting the question to the reader. And asking what? Nothing less than what the use of poetry is; in particular, [...] by

April is the Cruellest Month April 6, 2010: Correct me if I’m wrong ( probably I am), but poetry is the only art form in the United States to have been handed its own month and given free reign to use it as it likes. There is no novel month, no painting month and no photography month. On the other hand, poetry now finds itself competing with such important, non-artistic causes as [...] by

The Mulch Shoveler July 12, 2009: Walter Earl, age 76, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, shoveling mulch. This is supposed to be the post in which I sign off, pack up my bags and leave as gracefully as possible. Unfortunately I’ve been distracted from that task by a recent article in the Boston Review by Stephen Burt called “The New Thing”, an attempt at [...] by

The Fish, II (following a recent post by Camille Dungy) June 30, 2009: Gabriel Metsu – “Maid Broiling Fish”, mid 17th century, Flemish Gary Winogrand, one of America’s greatest street photographers, working in the tradition (or rather reworking the tradition) of Henri Cartier-Bresson, said that he was not interested in reality, per se, but what it looked like in a photograph. Camille’s passionate [...] by

Poets and Painters June 17, 2009: Richard and Mafalda sitting beneath a Pontus Carle painting, Lisbon 2008   The image of Thomas Mann at his writing desk is, for me, emblematic. The writer at work. Five thirty am, the light of day nowhere apparent, two candles illuminating the mahogany surface of his desk, haloing pens, inkstand, blank pages. The order in his studio is [...] by

The Fallacy of Rejecting Closure June 2, 2009: Gary Hume, Dream, 1991 (From "Door" series) 1. My first camera, which I was given at the age of twelve, was a Japanese made Petri, a simple rangefinder camera that my father had bought at the PX in Okinawa, where he was stationed for three years as an Air Force Lieutenant, from 1954 to 1957. The camera traveled back to the U.S. in the hold [...] by