Poetry roundup: Maxine Kumin

February 7th, 2014

I was saddened to read of Maxine Kumin’s passing at 88 yesterday; and grateful that her long life gave us so much of her poetry. In her honor, here’s a selection of her poems I was able to find available online in the short time since I read the news and which I am fairly confident have been reproduced in the public domain with permission.

From Poetry Magazine, July 2002, “Getting There.”

At the Poetry Foundation, “After Love,” “How It Is,” “A Calling,” “Finding the one Brief Note,” and “Together.”

At Poets.org “Looking Back in My Eighty-First Year,” “In the Park,” “Jack,” “Purgatory,” (which you can also listen to), “The Hermit Goes Up Attic,” and “Woodchucks” (also available as audio).

From The Writer’s Almanac, “Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief.”

From the archives of The New Republic, “History Lesson” and “Saying Goodbye.

At The Hudson Review, “Red Tape and Kangaroo Courts I,” “Red Tape and Kangaroo Courts II,” and “Old News.”

From The Poetry Center at Smith College, “Waterboarding, Restored.”

From Poetry Daily this essay by Kumin “Metamorphosis: From Light Verse to the Poetry of Witness” originally published in The Georgia Review, Winter 2012.

And I’ll leave you with Kumin’s words from a 1973 conversation with Pearl London as recorded in Poetry in Person: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America’s Poets, edited by Alexander Neubauer (if you don’t have this book, get it!):

Because, you see, this is what I conceive the function of the poet to be. Not to moralize, not to polemicize, not to grieve, not to praise, and not to damn. But to name, to tell, to authenticate, to be specific, to report what he [sic] sees and what he [sic] feels. I suppose if I have a credo, that would be the credo that I have.

Poetry roundup

January 24th, 2014

I first read Danusha Laméris in The Sun magazine and knew I’d found a name to watch for. So I was delighted this week to see her poem “Fictional Characters” appear in The Writers Almanac this week. For those of you who also love her voice, here are some more poems from her:

The Lord God Bird” in Rattle, from 2010.

The God of Numbers” in The Sun Magazine. “Eve, After” is unfortunately not available online, I enjoyed that one even more.

The Bugs of Childhood” from The MOON Magazine.

Horse” at Connotation Press.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful poet!

Poetry Roundup

January 17th, 2014

Some reading for you this weekend:

Deer” by Deborah Miranda. I confess that this is the first I’ve read of Miranda’s work, but after reading “Deer” I can’t wait to get my hands on some more from her!

Love Poem for Naming” by Corrie Williamson is up at The Missouri Review. You do know to check their website once a week for a new poem, right?

Because I love Traci Brimhall and scour the web regularly for works of hers I’ve never read, this piece published at The Rumpus in 2012: “After The Plantation Fire.

Likewise, I’m always on the lookout for Joe Wilkins and this week I stumbled upon “The Fragments of the World Seek Each Other” at About Place Journal.

Poetry Roundup

January 10th, 2014

Whenever I read a poem by Linda Pastan I am reminded that I don’t read enough of her; here’s her poem “The Poets” up at Plume.

Up at Cave Wall, Katherine Maurer’s “Field Survey.”

I always admire poets who can pull off the traditional forms. Last week I gave you a sestina, this week I give you Aileen Bassis’s “Bulgarian Pantoum” at Literary Bohemian.

If you’re not signed up to receive a poem from the Academy of American Poets every day, you should be. Then you won’t miss out on poems like “Another Country” by Ryan Teitman. (Go here to sign up for a poem every morning.)

A poetry roundup for the new year

January 1st, 2014

I’m back. I won’t bore you with where I’ve been – dark night of the poet’s soul and all that, we’ve all been there – but will tell you what I’ve been reading.

I’ve been reading these two poems in Four Way Review by the incomparable Traci Brimhall.

I’ve been amazed by this sestina at Heron Tree: “Sestina: Two Names” by Sharanya Manivannan.

I’ve been visiting “The Isle of the Narrator” by Amy Breeder, up at Plume.

And fittingly, I’ve been reading “The End of This Year” by Jack Ridl at Writer’s Almanac.

Here’s to another year of reading and writing!

Poetry roundup

February 28th, 2013

Here’s just a sample of what I’ve been reading on the net lately. Some of it’s recent, and some of it is from a few years back, but recently discovered by me.

At Plume, “Deceiving the Gods” by Ellen Bass.

At the always wonderful Linebreak, “Because” by Michelle Bitting.

Up this week at Heron Tree, “To a Hymn Book” by Jeff Hardin.

From the current issue of Pebble Lake Review, “Saliferous” by Hala Alyan.

The Tunnel” by Natasha Saje is from a 2003 issue of VQR, but I just discovered it this week and am glad I did. I might like her “Agoraphobia” from 2004 even better…

Also from VQR (fall of 2012), “What Is The Wholesale Price of The Traveler’s Vade Mecum?” by Sandra Beasley.

And from a 2010 issue of Rattle, “On Loved Ones Telling the Dying to ‘Let Go’” by Reeves Keyworth.

Enjoy! What are you reading these days?

Poetry roundup

January 11th, 2013

This morning my brother-in-law J. put down his horses. He drove them away one at a time, though he has a horse trailer for two, not wanting one to wait at the hospital for the time it took to euthanize the first. He took Lady first, the old dappled grey and white mare who hasn’t been able to take a rider for years but was, for a long time, healthy enough to keep Cyprus company. Cyprus, a chestnut gelding, whinnied the whole time Lady was gone; they have been constant companions for years, parted only when J. took Cyprus for a ride which he hasn’t been able to do for at least a year now. My brother-in-law drove him away about two hours after Lady. I haven’t seen him yet today. The whole family is torn up, but I’m guessing J. most of all. It’s a hard thing, to love an animal, to hold its welfare in your hands.

I’ve just got one poem for you this week, “The Love of Aged Horses” by Jane Hirshfield (from the Atlantic Online, February 1994).

Poetry roundup

December 20th, 2012

At Poetry Daily, “Last Day on Earth” by Lawrence Raab.

In Union Station Magazine, “Taken for Granted” by Marie-Elizabeth Mali.

From The Missouri Review, “What Was Missing” by Margaree Little.

That poem put me in mind of Eduardo Corral’s “Border Triptych” which can be found in his collection Slow Lightning (get it! read it!) and also here (from the summer of 2005).

And in the about poetry category, Sandra Beasley has an interesting post on her blog about point of view in poetry. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot in this manuscript and I’ve switched back and forth between points of view and forms of address more than once. But this line from her post might finally have gotten me to look at it in the way I need to:

But I think point of view is undervalued as a determinant of tension. The POV you choose helps shape the risks your poem can take.

Go read the whole post, it’ll give you a lot to think about.

Poetry roundup

December 14th, 2012

Switzerland is giving us a right proper winter this year, although the weather forecast for the weekend is calling for a warm front (known as the Föhn) to move through that will unfortunately probably melt everything. So in honor of the winter we’ve had so far, a selection of winter poems for you. All of these poems are “about” more than winter and ice and snow, of course, as good poems should be.

From Poetry Foundation, “Ice” by Gail Mazur. (Also at Poetry Foundation, the editors there have put together their own collection of winter poems here.)

At Poets.org, “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens and “Snow” by Naomi Shihab Nye.

From Valparaiso Poetry Review, “How Heavy the Snow” by Diane Lockward.

From Pebble Lake Review, “You Tell Me of the Winters in Laramie” by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder.

By Jared Carter, “Snow” (published here on his personal website and yes, I think I’ve linked to this one already but honestly: look at how he handles those rhymes!).

From the Poetry 180 project “Herd Of Buffalo Crossing the Missouri On Ice” by William Matthews. I’ve watched bison wade across the Madison river in late fall with the boys, and almost 10 years ago R and I saw bison crusted with ice and snow on a winter visit to Yellowstone, but I’ve never seen the two combined. The magic of poetry is that it brings us there anyway.

Enjoy the weekend, stay warm, build a snow fort, and may wild creatures visit your yards and your dreams.

Poetry roundup

November 23rd, 2012

(Posting this a day later than usual, because I figure nobody’s paying attention on Thanksgiving. Probably nobody’s paying attention the day after Thanksgiving, either, but there’s a better chance at least.)

I printed out a first draft of my chapbook manuscript earlier this month, and although both the manuscript as a whole and several individual poems within the manuscript need a great deal of work before I can send this thing anywhere, I have reached the point where I am starting to think about it as a manuscript as opposed to a pile of poems I’ve been working on. Compiling and ordering a manuscript introduces a whole new set of questions regarding structure, order and intent than writing what I flippantly call “one-off” poems does, so I’ve been reading up on how to think about ordering a collection. Here’s a sample of what I’ve found:

My manuscript is probably at the right stage to take some of this advice in this post, “It’s 2 a.m. Do you know what your manuscript is doing?” by poet Kelli Russell Agodon (Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room). She’s got a great list of things to think about once you’ve got the majority of the creative work done and are ready to turn that pile of poems into something more coherent. Like, if somebody asked you what your collection is about, could you tell them? How many sentences would it take for you to explain it? It’s the question she put in the title of her post: what is your manuscript doing?

Over at the This Frenzy blog, Elliott batTzedek takes a look at some of the possible theoretical approaches to ordering a collection in her “Notes on the Syntax of the Book

Once you’re ready to really impose structure on that pile of poems, read “On Making the Poetry Manuscript” by Jeffrey Levine (adapted from his essay “Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Poetry Manuscript” which originally appeared in the January 2007 issue of AWP Job List). The conversation and advice continues in the comments section, so be sure to read those as well.

More thoughts about order and structure from Kelli Russell Agodon here (part 1), here (part 2, Order), here (part 3, Sections Yes or No?), and here (part 4, The Final Revisions). Poet January Gill O’Neil (Underlife) also blogged about ordering her manuscript here. Again, advice and suggestions continue in the comments section so keep reading.

The book Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems, edited by Susan Grimm, came up on both those blogs. I have only just begun to poke around in it, since I have only just gathered a pile of poems into something resembling a manuscript, but this collection of thoughts about ordering a manuscript from eleven different contributors offers a wealth of ways to think about how to go about this. Perhaps too many ways.

April Ossmann offers some thoughts on the process from an editor’s point of view in this 2011 Poets & Writers article “Thinking Like an Editor: How to Order Your Poetry Manuscript.”

And as you can see, if you just google “thoughts on how to order a poetry manuscript” you’ll have a wealth of options to choose from. Feel free to add thoughts and suggestions in the comments.