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My Poetry Picks for 2013 December 17, 2013: Aaron Kunin, Grace Period: Notebooks, 1998-2007 (Letter MachineEditions, 2013) In the generous, open spirit of Steve Benson’s improvisations, Kumin collects his ruminations that live up to Charles Olson’s desire for a language practice “outside” the inherited categories of narrative and, more generally, teleological thinking. [...] by

Just Another Book Fiend October 30, 2013: It was the late singer-songwriter Warren Zevon who once quipped that when we buy books we think we’re buying the time to read them. I know that’s true of me and, I suspect, many other poets and fiction writers. The situation at home is ridiculous. Despite five bookcases in my home office, one in the bedroom and three in the finished [...] by

Digital Texts, Analog Books October 24, 2013: [caption id="attachment_75474" align="alignright" width="500"] Environmental Sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy[/caption] Last month I participated in a workshop on digital archives (specifically, the conversion of analog recordings into digital files) in the Langsam Library at the University of Cincinnati. This was the first of five events on the [...] by

Amateur Poets and the Academy October 21, 2013: As in other major cities across the United States, Cincinnati has its share of what we might call amateur poets. By amateur I mean poets who have published chapbooks and books, usually by small presses, but who have not done the usual national (as opposed to regional) readings in support of their work. Specifically, amateur poets usually have jobs [...] by

Oracular Redux: The Poetry of Robert Murphy and Ralph La Charity October 17, 2013: Living in Cincinnati Ohio for thirty years, I've had my ups and downs adjusting to the cultures of the metropolitan area, quite distinct in form and emphasis from my hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Given the Motor City’s decimation by a number of global (e.g., NAFTA), national (e.g., the boom/bust cycle facilitated by Reaganomics [...] by

Poetry Anthology Wars October 14, 2013: As I mentioned in a previous post, I am teaching a creative writing class, the first time in eight years, for the Cincinnati Art Academy. I’m also teaching the survey in British and American poetry at Xavier University for the first time in my career. So I’ve been thinking about and poring over the plethora of poetry anthologies and [...] by

Individuality vs Individualism: Coteries, Affiliations, and Loners October 10, 2013: As a poet born in the United States of America in the middle of the last century, I grew up amid the conflicting messages of my traditional education (e.g., I took Latin in high school), my working-class family (with middle-class values and aspirations), and the emerging pro- and countercultural messages filtering through the television set, [...] by

Occupation Everywhere October 7, 2013: In my last post I tried to draw an analogy between the evolution of the version of human known as homo sapiens and the development of poetries and poetics “beyond” humanism. Although pundits sometimes lay the “blame” for all this at the foot of academia, the truth is that cultural developments outside academia—like the Internet [...] by

‘Why Can’t Poets Write Poems as Good as a Jay-Z Song?’: Posthumanism and Poetry October 2, 2013: In her well-known essay “How We Became Posthuman,” N. Katherine Hayles links the disappearance of the liberal humanist subject to the distribution of human desire and will through digital technology. Of course, as Hayles herself acknowledged, the “human” has always been a concept mediated by technology. For Hayles, however, the [...] by