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Posts tagged poetry

Herrick backdates emoticons to 1648?
April 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Robert_Herrick_HesperidesWhile attending the WCF Davos Forum in March, I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Scott E. Fahlman, widely hailed as "father of the first smiley emoticon in 1982." As it happens, though, there have been other challengers to that claim - the New York Times once ran a story citing an excerpt from an Abraham Lincoln speech in 1862 that may have had a smiley inserted. Now, though, writer and editor Levi Stahl claims he may have discovered one of the earliest emoticons of all - a line in the poem "To Fortune" by 17th-century English poet...

Jimmy Carter endorses grant to Dylan Thomas Centre
April 10, 2014 | 4:37 pm

DSC_3730aIn the centenary year of his birth on October 27th, 1914, great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is to be recognized with a grant of almost £1 million ($1.68 million) from the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund to further develop the Dylan Thomas Centre in his home city of Swansea, according to advance reports from The Guardian. The move has been praised by ex-U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who has cultivated a long-standing enthusiasm for the poet. "I have continuously advocated the importance of commemorating his life and work," said Carter, as quoted by The Guardian. "It is great to see that this funding...

Another testament against the MFA industry
February 12, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Nick Mamatas kindly referenced this interesting post by Internet poet Steve Roggenbuck - whose personal style and deliberate spelling errors and lower case proper nouns on his "Live My Lief" blog, you have to take with a pinch of salt. Because what he does say actually makes a lot of sense in the context of current critiques of the MFA approach to fostering creative writing that I've covered recently - and that other people seem to be adding to all the time. So I hope he doesn't mind me rectifying his spelling and capitalization in places. "In September 2010 i started...

For Burns Night, the online heritage of Robert Burns
January 25, 2014 | 10:00 am

Scotland has one up on its southern neighbor a matter that says a lot about the current struggles over British identity - a national day and a national hero who is also its national bard. That gives a unity of expression to Scottish nationhood that in England is too diffuse: no one can likely remember offhand the English national day, while Burns Night is known worldwide. Yet like his near contemporary William Blake, born just two years before, Robert Burns (January 25th, 1759 – July 21st, 1796) developed his muse in poor surroundings to become an embodiment of national sentiment, with verse...

Mark Grist wants ‘Girls Who Read’
November 19, 2013 | 10:25 am

What do you look for in a woman? Mark Grist has something to say about it. According to him, it doesn’t always have to about physical attributes – but, of course, those bits are nice too. Here’s a video performed by Mark Grist, who is a poet and Educational Consultant, according to his website. His newest video is titled “Girls Who Read.” http://youtu.be/lmEbF2uhsZk Here’s an excerpt from it, but it’s worth watching: “I would like a girl who reads, who needs the written word and who uses the added vocabulary she gleams from novels and poetry to hold lively conversation in a range of social...

Amazon announces weekly digital publication focused on short fiction and poetry
October 30, 2013 | 4:00 pm

amazonAmazon is growing its publishing arm. The company announced Day One, a weekly digital publication dedicated to short fiction and poetry. The work will focus on one writer and one poet each week, and will include stories translated to English from around the world. Amazon doesn’t plan on using well-known authors, but emerging writers to be featured in Day One. The first issue came out today with a short story from Rebecca Adams Wright, Sheila, and Wrought, a poem by Zack Straight. A yearly subscription to Day One will cost $9.99 right now as an introductory offer, but Amazon will bump it to regular...

Pounding It Out With Ol Ez: Ezra Pound’s Birthday
October 30, 2013 | 2:25 pm

ezra poundOctober 30th marks the birth of Ezra Pound (1885-1972), one of those giants of 20th-century literature who, thanks to the same quirk of copyright timing that affected his contemporaries and sometimes collaborators (no, no, not that kind of collaborator ...) James Joyce and T.S. Eliot,  has a large part of his oeuvre freely available online. Project Gutenberg, to name but one source, has many of his early poems and translations, including his translations from Chinese and his apprentice masterpiece Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. The Open Library also carries numerous essays and articles. You could build entire poetic careers out of one...

How not to make an archive accessible: The Emily Dickinson feud
October 27, 2013 | 4:55 pm

emily dickinsonNormally, the release of an archive of autograph poem manuscripts online for free open access should be a matter for celebration, not consternation - especially when the poet in question published only a handful of poems in her lifetime and left almost her entire achievement in manuscript. But the dispute between the Houghton Library at Harvard University and Amherst College over the creation of the Emily Dickinson Archive has gone public with reports in The Guardian and elsewhere. As reported, Amherst essentially accuses Harvard, one of the main financial backers of the project, of restricting and drip-feeding the documents available,...

Fact vs fiction debate: Fiction ahead at half-time after spectacular GQ own-goal
October 27, 2013 | 12:19 pm

fact vs fictionThat longstanding debate of fact vs fiction has resurfaced again - and I hope that's not down to Noel Gallagher's unforgiveably imbecilic anti-literature rant in GQ Magazine, and GQ's equally imbecilic decision to make him Icon of the Year. At least the New York Times is less likely to fall victim to such an influence when it asks "What’s Behind the Notion That Nonfiction Is More ‘Relevant’ Than Fiction?" in its Bookends column. There, "Rivka Galchen and Pankaj Mishra discuss the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, and the way each form reflects the world in which we live." And it's Galchen who...

The positive curative power of poetry
October 26, 2013 | 10:47 am

poetryAs a follow-up to my earlier piece on the latest neurological evidence for the actual physical effects of verse, here's a couple of items detailing further evidence of the power of poetry over the human mind. Catherine Porteus, a reader of UK live poetry platform and fan site Pass On a Poem, describes how the sound of verse enabled her to learn poetry even though she was a self-described dyslexia sufferer. And Living Words, "an arts and literature programme that uses the spoken and written word to help ...people with dementia and isolated and disempowered people," employs "poetry, personalised word books and anthologies" plus other...

Book review: The Hat-Stand Union, Caroline Bird, Carcanet Press Ltd
October 24, 2013 | 6:57 pm

caroline birdBefore reading this review, please note that Caroline Bird: "won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001. Her first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, was published in 2002 (when she was just fifteen). She was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010 for her second and third collections." And "she was one of the five official poets for the London 2012 Olympics." Plus, "she is also a playwright. In February 2012 her children’s musical The Trial of Dennis the Menace was premiered at the Southbank Centre, and in...

Scientists show that poetry is the music of the mind
October 22, 2013 | 10:29 am

poetryClaims by generations of poets, critics and readers that poetry shares the power of music to directly affect our emotions and feelings have been given some substance by researchers at the UK's University of Exeter, as reported by the University itself and retweeted by the UK Poetry Society. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Professor Adam Zeman, a cognitive neurologist from the University of Exeter Medical School, led a cross-disciplinary team with Psychology and English faculty members to examine which parts of the brain are triggered when readers read poetry and prose. And they found that the areas of the brain which...