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LeRoi and Ornette – Becoming in Time

I was listening to a PoemTalk (PennSound) about LeRoi (Amiri Baraka) Jones’s early poem “Kenyatta Listening to Mozart“ and one of the guests mentioned that Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come came out in roughly the same year as this poem was written. Coleman’s album is 1959 and the poem was published in 1963. […]

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Dislodged Giant: Can We Use Stevens to Interpret Dickinson?

You tell me. “I thought that nature was enough” by Emily Dickinson I thought that nature was enough Till Human nature came But that the other did absorb As Parallax a Flame— Of Human nature just aware There added the Divine Brief struggle for capacity The power to contain Is always as the contents But […]

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Druid Hill, 1969

I’ve known Dean Smith for over twenty years. Dean gave me his book of poetry American Boy upon its being published…I loved “Druid Hill, 1969″ immediately and took to Amazon.com to say so. What I said then, dear heavens, nearly 15 years ago–the age of my oldest child–is pretty much what I’d still say. But, […]

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In the Heart or In the Head

Andrew Bird’s “Darkmatter,” a riff on a song from The Merchant of Venice. Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender’d in the eyes, With gazing fed; and fancy dies In the cradle where it lies. Let us all ring […]

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Immeasurably the Most Important Book of Poetry

  CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING “KORA IN HELL” by Robert McAlmon [Williams reprinted Kora in Hell: Improvisations in 1957 without the Prologue.  So, here is an audio recording of the 1920 Kora without the Prologue. (1:46:13); and here is beginning of the Prologue from The Little Review.] Dear POETRY:—Writers, quite as much in the countries of older art tradition as in […]

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Mean Alloy Notes

One needs to make one’s own discoveries, I found Mina Loy by way of William Carlos Williams, who wrote, in the “Prologue” to Kora in Hell (1920), printed first in Margaret Anderson’s “Magazine of the Arts,” The Little Review, in May of 1919. Of all those writing poetry in America at the time she was […]

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Reading Oppen’s “Workman”

Preface: The blog is an odd space. The I and the You are confusing here. There is no “discussion” (though one often supposes a “commenter” out there somewhere who might engage rather than “comment”) and the mode of telling seems strained. Before this insertion of a preface I had begun this way: I first came […]

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Pouring Out of Various Devices

After reading pages 40, 43 and 44 of the 9/25/14 New York Review of Books. 1. p 40: a review essay by Robin Lane Fox on several gardening books and an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden called “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them.” Gardening is for the “birds.” It […]

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To Fart and Think of Dante

It’s hard not to love this paragraph from an essay on the poet Walter Lowenfels by Jim Burns. Lowenfels was clearly at home in this kind of atmosphere. With a friend, Michael Fraenkel, he started the Anonymous Movement, advocating total anonymity in the arts. The idea collapsed when he thought the authors of the musical, […]

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Maurice Manning Reads “Binsey Poplars”

Below is a link to a reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Binsey Poplars” by poet Maurice Manning. This reading is taken from a 2007 Interchange program on WFHB Community Radio in Bloomington, Indiana. Manning was teaching in the Creative Writing Department at the time. He’s currently on the faculty at Transylvania University–a nice place for […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]