on poetry

August 29, 2016

Thom Gunn“My greatest fear is that I’ll discover — or worse, that someone else will point out to me — that I’ve stolen another man’s words, thinking them my own.”
Thom Gunn
(August 29, 1929 – April 25, 2004)
. . . . .
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Nooksack Salutation*

August 28, 2016

Nooksack Salutation - Leslie Wharton
2016 Merit Award
By Leslie Wharton

Down by the river,
sun rises lifting fog.
I watch, and wait,
for clarity.
I came to fish,
but first bend over
to touch
flowing water.
I gather words.
Raise my arms,
shake my hands,
remember rain.
Turn toward the bank.
Dry my hands
on soft moss,
warm them on
smooth stones,
left bare in drought,
laid down by the river.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Leslie Wharton. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

Elizabeth Bishop

If you are a fan of Elizabeth Bishop or if you muse on the mysterious interweaving of a poet’s life and writing, you may want to visit “One Long Poem” by Heather Treseler, published last week in the Boston Review.

The article talks in particular about three (unpublished) letters written by Bishop to her psychiatrist, Dr. Ruth Foster, in 1947, placing their forthright language in contrast to Bishop’s reticent poetic style. It’s a very well-written article and worth your time.

In considering how letters and diaries contribute to (or detract from) the understanding of a poet’s work, compare “How to Lose Things: Elizabeth Bishop’s Child Mourning,” a scholarly article by Diana Fuss published in Post45. Fuss focuses on the presence or absence of mourning in Bishop’s poetry, and one can’t help but wonder how Bishop’s letters might have altered Fuss’s reading of the poems. (If she read them, she does not mention that fact.)

Read more in the Fall 2014 Bulletin of the Elizabeth Bishop Society, and “Approaching Elizabeth Bishop’s Letters to Ruth Foster” by Lorrie Goldensohn is available for rent/purchase from The Yale Review, with additional comments by Goldensohn in the Fall 2015 EBS Bulletin.
. . . . .
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get listed

August 26, 2016

Poets & Writers

P&W’s Directory of Poets and Writers lists more than ten thousand contemporary authors. Are you one of them? If you accrue a minimum number of points according to P&W’s Criteria for Listing, you can apply and take your place among your peers. (If you are relying on journal listings for your points, note that not all journals are officially listed with P&W, so it’s a good idea to have a few spares.)

reading two-fer

August 25, 2016

Snyder-Camp reading

Megan Snyder-Camp has no shortage of awards and literary credits. But it’s a swell month when a poet triples her book credits. Her 2008 collection, The Forest of Sure Things, won the Tupelo Press/Crazyhorse First Book Award. In the next couple of weeks, she will add to her shelf a second Tupelo Press book, Wintering, as well as The Gunnywolf, from Bear Star Press.

You can join Hugo House and Open Books as they welcome Megan Snyder-Camp reading from both books on Thursday, September 1, 2016, 7:00pm at Hugo House First Hill, in Seattle. This should be a terrific reading. Open Books will have copies for sale at the event.

Here’s a link to the Megan Snyder-Camp event on Facebook.

on poetry

August 24, 2016

Jorge Luis Borges
“The original is unfaithful to the translation.”

Jorge Luis Borges
(August 24, 1899 – June 14, 1986)

. . . . .
photo by Grete Stern, 1951

rolling with the books

August 23, 2016

St Rita's Amazing Traveling Bookstore

If you’re a regular here at The Poetry Department, you know that we’re big fans of independent bookstores and now and then we mention some that are particularly cool. St. Rita’s Amazing Traveling Bookstore and Textual Apothecary falls into that category.

Based in Eureka, Montana, the van travels throughout Cascadia to fairs, festivals and neighborhoods to sell used books. Launched in June 2015, the bookstore on wheels was named for St. Rita of Cascia, the patron of impossible causes. With shipwright-worthy shelves — “The books stay on the shelves perfectly! Haven’t lost one yet even driving across fields, on gravel roads and across the mountains.” — plenty of books and cards, and a typewriter for people to try out (many have never touched one before), the Bookstore becomes a hub of activity for the duration of its visit.

See for yourself. St. Rita’s Amazing Traveling Bookstore and Textual Apothecary will be in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, September 2, 2016, 9:30am to 4:30pm, in front of Ace Typewriter at 7433 N. Lombard Street, and Saturday, September 3, 10:00am to 2:00pm, at 1448 NE 28th (near Fred Meyer). You can follow St. Rita’s on Facebook and read occasional posts on the Amazing Traveling Bookstore website.

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