Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poetry Daily's Poet's Pick April 30

CP Cavafy is a particular favorite but not just because I lived in Aex or read Durrel, surely contributing factors though. Durrel and others refer to him as the "poet of the city" (Alexandria, Egypt). His urban sensibility evokes other cities, past and present - fallen, falling or not just yet.  Poetry Daily picked Waiting for the Barbarians. A very hard choice, but (today at least) I would pick "The City" (also the poem closing my dissertation on literary representations of cityspace). I won't get into runners up - the list would be too long.

A few Cavafy links (among many) for you to pick your own favorites(s):
contains all of Cavafy’s major works in the translation of Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (edited by G.P. Savidis), plus select alternative translations; unpublished material from the poet’s Archive, plus a Cavafy Companion section and up-to-date information on Cavafy’s continuing presence as seen through the web.
bio and audio presentation on Modern Poetry site  (Huck Gutman, Prof. English, U Vermont). A page well worth exploring further. I will and just might share.

"Waiting for the Barbarians"
by Constantine Cavafy (1864-1933)
translated by Edmund Keeley

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn't anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?
Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city's main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.
Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
Why don't our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?
Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

From Cavafy: Collected Poems, translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
© 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
Reproduced with the permission of Princeton University Press

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Monday, April 28, 2008

from Poetry Daily

Selected Sponsor messages from Poetry Daily

Latino Poetry Review

Latino Poetry Review (LPR) publishes book reviews, essays, and interviews with an eye towards spurring inquiry and dialogue. LPR recognizes that Latino and Latina poets in the 21st century embrace, and work out of, a multitude of aesthetics. With this in end, its critical focus is the poem and its poetics. LPR is published by Letras Latinas—the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

The Kenyon Review Blog
Visit The Kenyon Review blog today — featuring daily commentary on contemporary topics in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and the literary world at large. From critique to praise, from elegy to enthusiasms, you'll find it all there.  Visit the KR blog and bookmark it today!  Improving the quality-of-life everywhere since 2006.

For over half a century Shenandoah has been publishing splendid poems, stories, essays and reviews which display passionate understanding, formal accomplishment and serious mischief. Founded in 1950 by a group of Washington and Lee University faculty and students, Shenandoah has achieved a wide reputation as one of the country's premier literary quarterlies.  Visit Shenandoah Review online...

Off The Grid Press
Off The Grid Press is looking for poetry manuscripts by people over 60.  Please see our website for guidelines...


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Featured Articles on Poetry Month

From I firmly believe it is not possible to get too much Dante. We make fun of Longfellow's sentimentality, but he was also a gifted translator of poetry - not Dante's. His Dante translation stands up with the best of current translations. That is if you don't do it the way you ought to: learn 14th c. Italian to read Dante... The other two articles sounded so interesting that I could not resist including them.
Poetry History

About Dante! Italian Language Guide Michael San Filippo has the entire Divine Comedy posted on his site, the original Italian terza rima in parallel columns with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s English translation. Bonus treat: the six sonnets Longfellow wrote while he was doing the translation, which served as “poetical fly-leaves” introducing the three parts of the great poem.

Chansons de Geste — an introduction to the Old French epic poems, “songs of deeds” centering around heroic historical figures, from Medieval History Guide Melissa Snell
The Shapes of Poems To Come

Concrete Poetry/VisPo — Poems Take Shape on the Screen
CyberSpace is not simply htmlizing, is what we here at About Poetry believe, nor is it simply a community-enforcement squad’s redefinition of friends and lovers fleshless. We see a poem on a screen as a poem, a connector of linguistic holistic hooliganisms, a shameless shaman sham’n’truth shake. Partake of our collection of poetry in which the visual element is part of the poem’s art, the typographical arrangement of letters and words on the page (or as here, on the screen) is as much a part of the poem’s essence as the more traditional poetic techniques like prosody, meter, image, etc.

Why I Love Making, a meditation on media with poems, by Mike Hazard aka Media Mike — Mike Hazard, artist-in-residence at the Center for International Education in St. Paul, Minnesota, writes about making video poems and poetic videos even though they drive him crazy.
Poetry Everywhere on Earth

Geology Poetry Geology Guide Andrew Alden has amassed a varied and entertaining collection of poems written by geologists and fossil-hunters or touching on geological topics, including his own poem, “Quakespotting.”

Alfred Joyce Kilmer and His Memorial Forest — an annotated photo gallery on the North Carolina forest memorial dedicated to the author of “Trees”, from Forestry Guide Steve Nix

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today's Special Delivery April Poem

If you'll recall, has added daily "special delivery poems" to celebrate April as poetry month. I'd like to think that Earth Day is every day and poetry month is every month.

History does not just strike back (like the empire?), but returns over and over (more like the recurring nightmare). We should be able to decode and learn but keep missing - or misreading - the important clues.

The editors write,

To end our week of special delivery poems by the poets who have written articles for About Poetry, we bring you a poem by Victor Infante, the author of many articles for us. He granted us this poem to accompany his essay "Poetry in Times Like These," written just after the 9.11.2001 attacks.

Feature articles by Infante for About Poetry:

"Gunfighter Nation"
by Victor Infante
for Richard Kappemeir
These are the fever prophecies of soldiers
bound at Andersonville, one has drunk
fouled water, eaten maggot laden bread
and when he crooks his neck to see
behind him, views instead
black crows with singed feathers.

     "I have seen the sky alight with ravens,
     blotting out the sun, casting shadows on the fields
     where men with hardened arms lift bails of wheat
     to burn in sacrifice to 'Surplus' gods;

     and when the evening creeps across horizons
     I can catch a gunfighter's silhouette-- perhaps
     the lingering ghost of Jesse James casting shadows
     on the wall of a Missouri cave, or Wyatt Earp, still
     vilified despite the rugged jaws and deadpan grins
     of countless movie reenactments:

     Let me be aiming a shotgun underneath the table
     while holding marked cards with an ace up my sleeve--
     it is, after all, an American dream."

If I were capable of speaking in
another man's voice, I would use Mark Twain's--
let my tongue be sharper than a devil's horn, but,
my voice is just my own and
we recall little of the men who create, instead

we American boys-- hidden underneath the blankets
past bedtime, holding flashlights to read our comic books--
we dream of the OK Corral, or of bearing swords
outside of Camelot,

we would be our grandfathers in the South Pacific,
we would know the cost of freedom,
we would be Superman,
we dream of little, as boys, save flying.

     "When John Lea was captured by Union Troops,
     Custer saw to it that his injuries were treated,
     and when Lea was released, he married the woman
     set to nurse him back to health. Custer
     attended the wedding in his Union uniform,
     and if the confederate soldiers bristled
     it was not evident."

I would have that sort of courage, knowing full well
The price of it is history--
     portraits of yourself as a butcher, as a fascist, as a fool.
We tie our dreams to the backs of birds and pray that they will
remain airborne, return to us like Noah's dove, teach us new lands.

As a child, I would sit by the ocean on placid days,
skipping stones into the water, always wondering
how long those ripples would last.

This is the way that history stares back at us:

Ten years after the Civil War, the graves of rebel soldiers were scattered
throughout the South, and some were dug so shallow
that the bones would jut from the Earth, mistaken for the remains of horses--
unless a skull should appear, to cast its gaze upon
the scarred and bitter landscape.

Also blogging from Mountainair NM at
Mountainair Arts,
Mountainair Announcements,

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Poetry Super Highway

Great Poetry E-Book Free-For-All

The mission of the Poetry Super Highway is to expose as many people to as many other people's poetry as possible.
A crazy project in which your poetry e-books will be freely available to all interested humans on Earth for a 24 hour period. Throughout April we will collect e-books from poets and writers interested in participating.

Then on May 1st, for a 24 hour period, a special website will go live with links to all of the e-books. For 24 hours anyone will be free to download, for free, as many of these e-books as they like...a poetry e-book free-for-all.
To participate, read all of the guidelines below and then click on our Online Submission form. That's it. It's simple. By doing so, your e-book will be included.

The E-Book has to be written by you. E-books should be in PDF Format for universal compatibility with anyone's computer.

If you have an e-book in Microsoft Word or another format, please convert it to PDF. One way to do this (if you don't know how) is to visit the website Then click on the orange link "Convert to PDF for Free >>". From there you will be allowed to select the file on your computer which will uploaded and e-mailed back to you in PDF format.

When creating your e-book file, please keep it smaller than 1 megabyte. Once you've created your e-book (not before), click on our Online Submission Form to join in!

Also blogging from Mountainair NM at
Mountainair Arts,
Mountainair Announcements,

some poetry blogs

"some" to indicate that this is a sampling of poetry blogs, not a comprehensive plogroll. Poem of the Week - showing up on blogger's blogs of note list - gave me the idea. PotW is not poet's blog so much as a blog publishing poems past and present.

... and (drum roll) introducing the subject with the
Poetry Foundation's online journal feature about blogging poetry by Shanna Compton, Just Get the Poems Out There or How one writer found her home among the poet bloggers

... followed by plog overdose...

A smattering of individual poetry blogs...

would a blog/blog post blogging poetry blogs & blog be metaplogging?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April Poetry cyberspecials

from (Poetry) April specials

It may be the cruellest month in Chaucer's world, but in North America April is National Poetry Month... so once again we're bringing out our special gathering of poems, poetry articles and resources from all over the network. We're also starting a special NatPoMo newsletter this year. The newsletter you're reading right now, our regular weekly Museletter, will continue to arrive every Thursday morning, and every other day of the week for the rest of April, you will receive a "special delivery poem" from our libraries. Enjoy! Bob Holman and Margery Snyder

At Poetry Daily

Special April poems! As always during our Annual Poetry Month fund drive, we've asked 22 poets (including Mary Jo Bang, A. Van Jordan, Albert Goldbarth, and Susan Hahn, pictured here) to select poems to be delivered to you by email Monday through Friday of each week in April — their favorites from among The Greats — and to add their comments on the poems.

At Poetry Foundation - Watch a Video for National Poetry Month (for example, "I started early" ... By Emily Dickinson. Animated poem read by Blair Brown). April 2008 Poetry News from around the world... and many tools / features / articles year round.

And the rest of the world....

April is National Poetry Month for both the US an Canada - but not International Poetry Month. The UK designates October 4th another month as their National Poetry Day but, judging from this month's pieces in both blogosphere and traditional press, now seems to be picking up on April. Such is the media spread effect in the internet age.

World Poetry Day (UNESCO) was March 21

National Poetry Month on Podcast Alley

WordPress Blogs about: Poetry Month

Chicago poet Bernstein is against National Poetry Month and writes

As an alternative to National Poetry Month, I propose that we have an International Anti-Poetry month. As part of the activities, all verse in public places will be covered over—from the Statue of Liberty to the friezes on many of our government buildings. Poetry will be removed from radio and TV (just as it is during the other eleven months of the year). Parents will be asked not to read Mother Goose and other rimes to their children but only ... fiction. Religious institutions will have to forego reading verse passages from the liturgy and only prose translations of the Bible will recited, with hymns strictly banned. Ministers in the Black churches will be kindly requested to stop preaching. Cats will be closed for the month by order of the Anti-Poetry Commission. Poetry readings will be replaced by self-help lectures. Love letters will have to be written only in expository paragraphs. Baseball will have to start its spring training in May. No vocal music will be played on the radio or sung in the concert halls. Children will have to stop playing all slapping and counting and singing games and stick to board games and football.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

still poetry (sort of anyway)

This should have been the April 1st post - poetry for National Poetry Month + merry (sorta or maybe just ersatz) poetastric prankstering. I'm (finally) in process of inviting this year's guest readers (such as they are at this point) for April poems, both their own and their personal favorites.

While waiting and for mindless fun, check out Rob's Amazing Poem Generator. After all, Miriam Sagan, guest reader and workshop instructor writes, "But art is also play." Rob, aka Commander Taco, writes that he has resorted to programming to escape from productive labor. This one generates poetry. The poem you will see if you visit the page was generated by chance. If this entertains you, enter a URL and have it generate a poem based on the contents. The generator may even improve mundane pages - but only marginally.

BBC's Dylan Thomas rpg page (working with better source material to be sure) turns out more interesting results. Maybe even something the daring (or foolish) would bring to a poetry open mic - to be sure rediting it to Dylan and whoever wrote the software code  as co-poets. This rpg suggests yet another possibility - one surely edging into cut-ip and found genres - enter poems, whether yours or by another or sundry others, into a generator. What might a rpg yield if fed your journal or favorite poems or passages, those most formative influences?

Baudelaire, in "Correspondances," evokes hidden metaphysical connections in nature that can be apprehended by the senses. Different objects and experiences can correspond to one another in an unexpected but purely aesthetic way. The connection can be metaphorical, or poetic even: in a rhyme or by juxtaposition in a line of verse. RPG's make random juxtapositions by algorithm.

A London Guardian blogger (arts section) suggests that mobile phones are random poetry generators with secret poetic intelligence because they make connections between things on the apparently random basis when key strokes for two different words are the same:

73532833 is both 'selected' and 'rejected
7468 - shot/riot/pint'
7259 - 'play' and 'slay'.
7638 - 'soft' and 'poet'

I wonder what Baudelaire or Rimbaud (the Drunken Boat guy), progenitors of Tristan (and thereby granddadas), would have thought of random poetry generators, whether they possess a secret poetic intelligence. They make random connections by algorithm, yet throw out / up occasionally startling combinations.

Other Random Poetry Generators:
American "Cut-Up" poetry, kin to "found poetry," dates back to the 50's when Brion Gysin sliced up part of a newspaper and happened to notice that by combining random parts of the text, one could come up with some interesting passages. William Burroughs followed suit. Cut-up technique started with Tristan Tzara's 1920's DaDa experiments

Anyone with a pair of scissors could be a poet. Now anyone with a JavaScript-compatible browser can generate poetry. Digital word collage. Leave the scissors in the drawer - you might fall and hurt yourself - and try these. Post the promising or just impertinently amusing to this thread as comments.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Corpse Comes Back to Life

It's National Poetry Month. the plog should by hyperactive. So I've been poking about the internet and skimming my mailbox - pondering poetry - waiting for lightening to strike. The following from About Poetry caught my eye, appealing for the Louisiana connection, home for the long years between overseas and westward ho...

"The Corpse Comes Back to Life in Louisiana - A certain note of sardonic and cosmopolitan literary interest has been missing from the poetry world since Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast: Andrei Codrescu's magazine published out of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Exquisite Corpse. The Corpse became Cyber-Corpse in 1999 and worked its way up near the top of my browser bookmarks -- but it's been dormant since 2005. Now comes the welcome news of its resurrection...." read more

Appropriately renamed (perhaps only temporarily as the name on the masthead remains the same) "Post-Katrina Resurrection Corpse," founder and editor Andrei Codrescu writes:
Welcome to the Post-Katrina Resurrection Corpse, back from a dank hiatus of one year in a formaledehyde-poisoned FEMA trailer. We festered, we raged, we contemplated suicide, and in the end, voted for life because we are a Corpse already and we hate to keep on dying

31 Poems (Katrina Series), by Bill Lavender.

This poem [in 31 parts], without the graphics and media, previously appeared in Psychoanalytic Perspectives and in I of the Storm (Trembling Pillow, 2007). Photos and videos by the author.

we row across the bayou
and a family on their
front porch hails us.
“we’re gonna die”
they say.
I tell them they will be OK,
and besides, there’s no place
to be rescued to

the apartments across
the bayou— what a vile
atmosphere, debris &
oil and gasoline floating in the fetid
water where the pool used to be,
yuppies & vagrants
together in the soup,
stolen boats, everyone
wanting out even though
the building is tall and
relatively safe.
while in our neighborhood
everyone is calm
and friendly and
in much more danger

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Scattered April poetry showers all over NM & So. CO

From: Cirrelda Snider-Bryan <> via Dale

Sun Apr 6th @ 3 pm First Sunday Reading Series: Larry Goodell & Ellen Roberts @ the Dresp Room of the library, 200 E. Picacho Ave in Las Cruces, sponsored by Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, the Branigan Library, and Friends of the Branigan Library, reception following. Afterwards, a reception at 3710 Shalem Colony. Free! For more info contact Wayne Crawford

Sat Apr 12th @ 7 pm Treehouse Open Mic Featuring Ben Bormann @ the Sumner & Dene Gallery, Upstairs 517 Central Ave NW in Albuquerque 1.5 hour open mic, small break, Featured Poet. Albuquerque's own West End Press, La Alameda Press & Destructible Heart Press will sell books. A night of good poetry has mystical healing properties. Free. For more info: S&D (505) 842-1400 or

Fri Apr 18th-Sun Apr 20th The 14th Annual Borders Book Festival on and around the Mesilla Plaza in Mesilla. Panels, workshops and readings; Cristina García, Quincy Troupe, Perla Batalla, Amy Costales, Xavier Garza, Alex Espinosa, Don Usner, Adalucía Quan, La Familia Vigil, Cipriano Vigil, Sudeshna Sengupta, Armando Cepeda. Libros y Más Trade show features local, regional, national and international authors, presses and artists. Highlights include al fresco readings and music, children's storytelling tent, 3rd annual Children's Book and Pet Parade. For more info

Sat Apr 19th @ 10 am to noon Poetry & the Absurd Dada writing workshop with Erika Sanchez @ 516 ARTS, 516 Central Avenue SW between 5th & 6th Street in Downtown Albuquerque. Free! For more info - sign up with Rhiannon @ 242-1445

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Fri Apr 23rd-Sun Apr 27th 19th Annual -in-honor-of-Dolores LaChapelle - TALKING GOURDS a Western Slope festival of poetry since 1989 @ & around the historic Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado presented by The Telluride Writers Guild and the Ah Haa School of the Arts together with the Wilkinson Library. or Email Art Goodtimes at
Art + art

Thu Apr 24th @ 7 pm AUTHORS SPEAK SERIES poets Janet Rodney & Nathaniel Tarn @ Mesa Public Library's Upstairs Rotunda 2400 central Avenue in Los Alamos. Free! For more info contact

Sat Apr 26th @11:30 am, 3rd Annual Middle School Poetry Slam VE=NT: Voices Emerging=New Thunder@ Albuquerque Journal Theater National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque Teams so far: Harrison Red, Harrison Yellow, Jimmy Carter 1 & 2, Monroe 1 & 2, Cleveland, Los Lunas, Mountain View Rio Rancho, Taft, Jefferson, NACA. Free! For more info contact the National Hispanic Cultural Center or email Sal Treppiedi at

'thin pipes lit lines' brought to you by La Alameda Press and the Duende Poetry Series

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Poetry Hangman

The links aren't working the way I hoped for the hangman game I copy/pasted below does not work. I'm just not in the mood to wrestling code to fix it. So go to the online version of Poetry Terms Hangman to play the game. I got there from the Poetry Hangman post on the English Teacher blog, which I came across following an ed list link to an April Fool's post (NCLB Repealed!).

Ain't curiosity and link following (internet variant and manifestation of curiosity) grand?

Poetry Terms


Program based on "Hangman" by Jan Mulder (GPL)

Word lists from Information Please® database, © 2006

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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