Monday, April 16, 2012

The April 2012 Issue of POETRY

2012 marks Poetry Magazine's 100th anniversary. One way they are commemorating the occasion is using a variation of the iconic Pegasus on the cover of each month's edition. They have also introduced two special sections: From 100 Years & Poets We Have Known.

Since it is National Poetry Month, I wanted to take a look at the April '12 issue. In every issue they have an "In Memoriam" spot on the inside of the front and back covers. This issue is particularly saddening to me because they chose to include two phenomenal poets the poetry community lost, Eleanor Ross Taylor (1920-2011) and Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012).
I have long read these women's words and have always come back to them at various points in my life. Such sad news to hear of their passing. I imagine Adrienne Rich will hold a strong place in next month's issue.

The issue starts out with their regular feature of poems. A couple that stood out to me were Kathy Nilsson's "Little Ice Age" & "Still Life," Tara Bray's "Numbered," Sandra Simonds' "You Can't Build A Child," and Yusef Komunyakaa's "Snow Tiger" & "Omens."

From the Poetry site on "From 100 Years" & "Poets We've Known":

"In the course of reading poems to include in an upcoming centennial anthology of work from our pages, we found ourselves appreciating more poems than could be included in the book. Throughout the coming year, we will feature selections from past issues that illuminate current content, but won’t appear in The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. What follows are poems and letters that dovetail with “Poets We’ve Known.” "

I loved this section. Here, we get to revisit poems spanning from the 30s to the 60s by such greats as Gwendolyn Brooks, Muriel Rukeyser, Howard Nemerov, Geoffrey Hill as well as correspondence from William Empson and Geoffrey Grigson. It's interesting to see how poetry itself has evolved in publishing over such a broad time period. I find the poems from this section to be quite strict in form and language, almost stifling, in comparison to what is being published today.

The issue closes out with their usual Comment section with Sven Birkerts' Emerson's "The Poet"-A Circling and Vera Pavlova's Heaven is Not Verbose: A Notebook, translated by Steven Seymour.

They also have something called "Back Page" where they feature artwork, words, etc., from the past 100 years.

At the site, there is a Discussion Guide concerning this April issue. Check it out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Poetry, Links & Other Relevant Things

-April is National Poetry Month, in case you didn't know. How are you celebrating?

-Interview with Phayvanh Luekhamhan (Executive Director of Montpelier Alive) talking about Poem City in Montpelier, Vermont. 

-I have a poem at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library for this event. It'll be there all month.

-How To Read Poetry Today, David Kirby, New York Times Sunday Book Review-David takes a look at David Orr's book Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry
"The teachers thought that my poem said one thing but meant another, and that it’s the reader’s job to figure out what the poet is really saying. No wonder poetry doesn’t have a bigger audience. All that code cracking. Who has the time? David Orr, that’s who — though in “Beautiful and Pointless,” his new guide to modern poetry, the most important thing he reveals about codes is that there aren’t any."

-The Beauty and Difficulty of poet Nikky Finney

-My guest post is up over at Metre Maids-The Spaces In Which We Write: On Poets' Preferred Writing Spots.
Special thanks to E. Kristin Anderson, and all those who shared their spaces: Patrick Ross, Jill Crammond, Jodi Paloni, Anatoly Molotkov & Michelle Singer.
Check out Metre Maids for new poetic-type content throughout the whole month of April!

My space.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Eggs Dyed Naturally-An Experiment

Last year, we decided to dye our eggs naturally for Easter. It turned out pretty great. In fact, even better than PAAS. Yes, I said it!! The only thing I wish we had done differently is use white eggs instead of the brown.  This was a sort of experiment for me. Feel free to adjust the amount of dyes to your liking.  Start with a dozen eggs, boiled then cooled.

All the dyeing ingredients: Vinegar, Pomegranate Green Tea, Chili powder, Tumeric

Chili Powder
 Two Tbsp. of Chili Powder, three cups warm water, Two Tbsps vinegar. Stir till just boiling and dissolved.
Pomegranate tea
 Here, I used about 11 or 12 bags of tea with three cups of warm water. Add three Tbsp. of vinegar. Stir just till it boils.  This was one of my favorites! It produced such a pretty color.
 I added about two tbsp of tumeric to three cups of warm water. Stir it until it dissolves. Then add three Tbsp of the vinegar. Stir until it just boils.
Eggs soaking in the natural dyes
 Pour the dyes in some sort of glass or stainless steel container-bowls worked for me. I suppose you could also use Mason jars-it would probably be a bit cleaner. Leave them in there to soak for about 20-30 minutes.

Finished Product!
Look at these! The finished product. When the eggs have reached their desired color, stick them back in the carton to dry. Refrigerate till you are ready to use them.

What does this have to do with books, reading, writing, etc.? Nothing, really. Just a fun side track.

There are many ways to dye your eggs naturally. Here is a site for more ideas on what to use for dyes and different processes. Here, too.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sandra Simonds' Mother Was a Tragic Girl

Mother Was a Tragic Girl
Sandra Simonds
March 6, 2012
Paperback, $15.95
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
ISBN: 978-1-88-0834-96-1
74 pgs.

Sandra Simonds so graciously sent this along.
First impressions:

My daughter saw it on the table, among a growing pile of books, and exclaimed: "Mom! Turn that book over! It's yucky!" Hey, she's seven. She just says whatever she thinks. The cover is a piece by Ivan Albright-Into the World There Came a Soul Named Ida-it's housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I first came across Simonds' work in Poetry a few years ago-Landscape Made From Egg and Sperm, specifically-and became hooked because of the language (it's always the language or images). There was something else, too, as I read more of her work-a coarseness, a brash kind of  "yeah, I said it, so what" attitude.

The poems in the book are urgent, but not in the I-need-to-get-them-out-now! sort of way. More of I-have-so-much-to-say-and-I-don't-know-if-it'll-fit-on-just-one-page! type of thing. In other words: wordy and wandering, yet precise, somewhat contained, breathless. They are by no means "traditional," yet they have shape, they are real; they are rooted in real life.

Great titles-these made me say, YES, that's it- "Used White Wife", "DNA Woven From Lasers in the Jungle" ,"Solipsism as Maternal Instinct" , "You  Can't Build a Child" (in the current Poetry-April '12).

The book is divided into three parts: Beehive; Strays, A Love Story; Made From Scratch. Interesting note on Strays: A Love Story-it's composed of about twelve parts, some of those in acrostic form using lines from George Oppen and William Blake.

See more at:
Sandra Simonds' website
Mother Was a Tragic Girl

Thursday, April 05, 2012


I'm always reading something! Most likely, several things at once. In honor of Adrienne Rich, I wanted to revisit The Fact of a Doorframe: Selected Poems 1950-2001.

The Wolf Gift came in at the library. I doubt I will finish this in the two week check out time frame. I do hope it is good, though. I can't remember the last great Anne Rice book I read.

Still working through this list.

Sandra Simonds. I just got a copy of her book, Mother Was a Tragic Girl (thanks for sending that along!). I first came across Sandra in POETRY, I think, a few years ago. I was so caught by the way she used language and the way she made motherhood so accessible.

Last thing is the April 2012 Poetry Magazine. Since it's National Poetry Month, there is a special discussion guide.

I've been making my rounds in town for Poem City as well-poems everywhere!

Within the next few weeks, I'll be posting a full review of POETRY Magazine and Sandra Simonds' book. Hopefully, some pictures of Poem City events too!

Monday, April 02, 2012

PoemCity'12 Poem Displayed at Kellogg-Hubbard Library

"The Last Pregnancy" at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library for PoemCity'12

The Last Pregnancy

Couldn't name it.
Nothing more than molecules,
Clustered, on the screen.
It couldn't be anything more.
Still, the tenderness came,
Wanted or not,
And a particular craving
Immediate and intense.
After a time, it all quickly faded:
The tenderness.
The craving.
The Baby.

(Please do not reprint without permission)