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September 25, 2014

Burnside, Miller and Williams up for Forward Best Collection

John Burnside, Kei Miller and Hugo Williams are among the poets shortlisted for the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection.

The three 2014 Forward Poetry Prizes celebrating the best of the year’s poetry, awarding the best collection, best first collection and best single poem.

Shortlisted for the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection are Colette Bryce for The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (Picador Poetry); John Burnside for All One Breath (Cape Poetry); Louise Glück for Faithful and Virtuous Night (Carcanet); Kei Miller for The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion (Carcanet); and Hugo Williams for I Knew the Bride (Faber & Faber).

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July 5, 2013

A Very Short, Free And Dangerous Book – 25 Love Poems For The NSA

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:06 pm

screen-shot-2013-07-05-at-9-17-48-amBy Iain S. Thomas

Warning.

Every poem in this book has one or more words in it that have been taken from the NSA’s watch list.

A full list of the words appears at the back of this book.

By transmitting this book via email or other means,

you are liable to be tracked by the NSA as a

potential terrorist threat.

This book is dedicated to how ridiculous that is.

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May 8, 2013

From Dissections To Depositions, Poets’ Second Jobs

RadicalBy David Orr

“No man but a blockhead,” Samuel Johnson famously observed, “ever wrote, except for money.” This is tough news for poets, since the writing they do is often less immediately profitable than a second-grader’s math homework (the kid gets a cookie or a hug; the poet gets a rejection letter from The Kenyon Review). Poetry itself is tremendously valuable, of course, but that value is often realized many years after a poem’s composition, and sometimes long after the end of its author’s life.

In the meantime, everyone has to eat. So unless you win the lottery, being a poet means finding a job that can support the writing of poems. Over the past few decades, that job has overwhelmingly involved teaching in university departments of English and/or creative writing. In , for instance, almost all of the 75 contributors have taught poetry in universities or earned an advanced degree in poetry, or (more frequently) both.

But the university job is a relatively recent development in Anglo-American poetry. spent eight years in a bank and decades in publishing. was a lawyer and insurance executive. was a doctor. worked in a university library, and ran the Library of Congress. was, improbably enough, a postal clerk.

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May 4, 2013

e. e. cummings reads “anyone lived in a pretty how town” (Harvard, 1953)

cummingspoemsBy Maria Popova

“…and noone stooped to kiss his face…”

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life,” Hemingway observed in his short and stirring 1954 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “One can never be alone enough to write,” Susan Sontag sighed. “Learn to be alone,” Tarkovsky advised young people. And yet the art of being alone comes with a dark side, the loneliness of a nonconformist amidst the herd mentality of society — something e. e. cummings captures poignantly in his poem “[anyone lived in a pretty how town],” originally published in the 1940 edition of Poetry Magazine and later included in E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904-1962 (public library). Tucked inside it is one of the most beautiful poetry lines of all time: “down they forgot as up they grew.”

On May 28, 1953, while lecturing as a visiting professor at Harvard, cummings recorded this mesmerizing reading of the poem — let his voice sweep you away:

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April 18, 2013

From the X-Men to the Greeks of Antiquity: Genre in Contemporary Poetry

Missing You, MetropolisBy Nora E. Derrington

Happy National Poetry Month!

You may not have been expecting an exclamation like that in a blog post with the “Genreville” tag, but the truth is that there’s a lot of poetry out there that plays with genre tropes, or fits into the category of genre entirely (and I’m using genre here as an umbrella term that includes fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, or science fiction). People often still seem to have the idea that poetry is inaccessible, suited only for those in ivory towers, but poetry that includes elements of the supernatural, mythological, or romantic (just to cite a few possibilities) can give readers points of connection, of entry. I know I can’t be the only person around here who was first drawn into both poetry and horror by the darkly creepy atmosphere of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”! In that spirit, then, here are a handful of recommendations for poetry that incorporate genre.

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April 10, 2013

Pablo Neruda’s body to be exhumed over Pinochet regime murder claims

Pablo Neruda in 1950.

Pablo Neruda in 1950.

Chilean poet was long thought to have succumbed to cancer but driver claims he was murdered by Pinochet regime.

By Jonathan Franklin

The remains of the Nobel prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda are to be removed from his grave in Chile as part of an investigation into his death nearly 40 years ago.

A team of forensic specialists will remove bones from the casket where he lies near his seaside home on Monday morning.

Neruda, who died suddenly 12 days after the 11 September 1973 military coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power, had suspected prostate cancer and for decades it was assumed that he had succumbed to the disease.

But two years ago when Neruda’s bodyguard and driver, Manuel Araya, began describing his recollections of the poet’s last days, a new narrative was born: the Pinochet regime eliminated Neruda to avoid the possibility that he would become a renowned voice of dissidence.

Neruda was known for his erotic, passionate, romantic poetry, particularly Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. He was also a leftwing politician, diplomat and close friend of President Salvador Allende, who killed himself rather than surrender to Pinochet in the 1973 coup.

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March 28, 2013

Kate Tempest wins Ted Hughes poetry prize for ‘spoken story’

Young poet was recognised for Brand New Ancients, which reincarnates the gods of old in members of two London families.

By Claire Armitstead

Kate Tempest – one of the few well-known poets to have performed at Glastonbury and with grime MCs – has pipped six others to win the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry. The 26-year-old Londoner, who started out rapping on night buses and at raves, is one of a new generation who are bridging the divide between poetry and theatre.

She won the £5,000 prize with Brand New Ancients, an hour-long “spoken story” with orchestral backing, which – in the spirit of Hughes’ own engagement with classical myth – reincarnates the gods of old in members of two London families.

The award was presented at a ceremony at the Savile Club on Wednesday by Carol Ann Duffy, who funded it with her poet laureate’s stipend as part of a mission to “recognise excellence and innovation in poetry – not just in books, but beyond”.

 

 

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March 22, 2013

John Agard: ‘I feel an empathy with the bad characters’

Alternative Anthem

Alternative Anthem

Ahead of receiving the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the poet John Agard tells Felicity Capon about his poetry, growing up in Guyana and what he thinks of British society today.

Raucous laughter emerges from the studio where the poet John Agard is being photographed. The photographer asks him to leave his coat on, and Agard cheerfully agrees, telling us in his deep Caribbean voice that it will “make him look like he just arrived from the tropics”. Dressed in a jaunty hat and jazzy shirt, casually rolling a cigarette as he talks, Agard is warm and thoughtful. I am told that his favourite place to write is in a pub with a pint of Guinness and I get the impression, as we speak, that he is pretty down to earth.

One of the most highly regarded poets in the UK, Agard has won many awards. Today his poetry will be recognised by the Queen, when he is awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. The award was first instituted in 1933 by King George V, and the recipient is chosen by a committee chaired by the Poet Laureate. Past winners include Stevie Smith, Ted Hughes, Norman MacCaig and Derek Walcott – a cross-section of poets that Agard describes as “good company”.

Though he is touched by the honour, for Agard a medal from the Queen means as much as, for example, the letter of congratulations he recently received from his old sixth-form teacher, or the support of friends in Lewes, Sussex where he now lives.

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March 10, 2013

Shelley’s most scandalous poem: but who really censored it?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A recently discovered copy of the uncensored poem suggests someone other than Shelley amended The Revolt of Islam

By Felicity Capon

New light has been shed on the story surrounding the publication of Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam, his epic romance of nearly 5,000 lines in Spenserian stanzas.

Whilst it is common knowledge that the poem was censored due to its anti-religious content and incest theme, it has always been assumed that Shelley himself made the amendments.

But the discovery of a copy of the original printing of the uncensored poem has led Nora Crook and Stephen Allen, writing in the Times Literary Supplement to believe that someone other than Shelley made the amendments.

The story surrounding the poem has been well-documented. What originally began as Laon and Cythna was revised, after a group of Shelley’s friends and publishers, alerted by the printer, urged Shelley to amend its subversive content.

Shelley’s publisher, Charles Ollier, along with Thomas Love Peacock, Shelley’s friend and neighbour, Mary Shelley and her stepsister Claire Clairmont, met with the poet on December 15, 1817 at his house in Great Marlow. They were alarmed by the anti-religious nature of the poem and its incestuous content. Both Ollier and the printer, Buchanan McMillan, would have faced prosecution for blasphemous libel if the poem was ever published.

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How the internet is kickstarting a teen poetry revolution

Sites such as Movellas and Wattpad are seeing huge numbers of teens writing, reading and sharing poetry. Alison Flood investigates the phenomenon and talks to some of the teens publishing their poetry online

Talk to publishers or booksellers about poetry, and you’ll hear the same refrain. It’s niche, it’s difficult to sell – and young people just aren’t interested. Look online and you’ll see a different picture. More than 20,000 teenagers are writing poetry on the social reading website Wattpad, and over 100,000 are actively reading Wattpad’s poems on both web and mobile, while on the young adult community writing site Movellas, there are 20 to 30 new poems uploaded a day, with the most popular read up to 15,000 times, receiving between 20 and 200 comments. That’s not a particularly convincing display of indifference.

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