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a cheerful hour, refrains February 13, 2008: Not a true blog entry here so much as an attempt at auxiliary crowdsourcing: other than the ghazal, what poetic forms-- oral or written-- from non-European languages feature prominent repeated stanzas, "choruses," or refrains? (If the post title baffles you, click here.) by

te whiori o te kuri: james k. baxter redux February 8, 2008: When you read much of the poetry that comes out now--- when you try hard to read as much as you can, to figure out fast what's going to seem original, what's going to stick in people's heads years down the road-- when you do this and, at the same time, remember and reread and think about the poetry of the past-- the so-called canonical writers, [...] by

surveying the territory February 6, 2008: Like most of the other folks around here, I've just come back from the pneumonia-generating crowds and rainstorms professional event for writers and critics that was the annual conference of AWP, this time in New York. (Don't worry, I'll quote some poems in a moment.) This time, the big event had me thinking about-- sometimes frowning on, [...] by

domestic and foreign January 31, 2008: The classroom next to my office has been booming all morning in Russian, a language I don't speak at all: I recognize it when the students respond to the teacher, in unison, by shouting "Spasibo!," though the other frequent shoutouts wouldn't be phonologically possible in any of the (too few) languages I read: one of them sounds like "Ktonk!" and [...] by

ode-y & emo January 28, 2008: I've been reading part five of The Grand Piano, the serial self-mythologizing nostalgia 1970s scene report "collective autobiography" of ten poets and critics who lived in the Bay Area during the 1970s, participated in (some also directed) a reading series at the eponymous café, and later became known as Language Poets. Since one of the ten is [...] by

hallo out there January 27, 2008: I warned you about it last month, and now it's happened: this week I think I did more writing than reading, and in the rush of finishing up other sorts of prose about poets and poetry, I plumb ran out of new poetry-related discoveries of the sort that one would blog. I hope to bring back a few from what looks to be a very crowded AWP, but at least [...] by

all-name team January 21, 2008: Poetry is a kind of naming-- the Rilke of the Duino Elegies certainly thought so, and Wallace Stevens, in the wonderful late poem "Local Objects," said that he wanted to give the things in his poetry fresh names, "to keep them from perishing." Naming is a kind of poetry too: or so the news around these parts suggests... examples, elaborations, [...] by

more scots, less porn January 18, 2008: We knew that the continuing malaise among independent bookstores (despite success stories in North Carolina, in Minnesota, and elsewhere) has long spelled trouble for literary fiction, which relies on in-store events, loyal customers, and local buzz to move the books that never become bestsellers. Now comes word via an expert in the field that the [...] by

rounding up and rounding off January 14, 2008: As some of you know, I write-- indeed, I promise various editors that I will write-- reviews and essays about other people's poetry with an almost depressing frequency. When I started trying to do that sort of thing I would visit this wonderful bookshop, pick up an armload of poetry books, and try to review them. At this point I'm lucky enough to [...] by

helphenstiniana January 11, 2008: Arts-oriented blogs like this one may resemble collections of essays and reviews-- written in haste, perhaps, and repented at leisure-- but they can also draw on other sorts of forms far older than HTML. One such form is the so-called diary-- not the book of daily entries Americans think of when they think of the term, so much as the periodic [...] by