All posts filed under: Essays

Emily Warn: “The Almost Wilderness – Remembering Denise Levertov”

May 16 is Denise Levertov Day in Seattle. For a listing of related events, including a choral setting of Levertov’s poem “Making Peace,” visit St. John’s Parish. I’m waiting for the kettle to boil in Denise’s kitchen. It’s mid-November and raining. Out the window, the branches of her unruly pear are outlined against the gray sky. At three-thirty it’s already dusk. I look across neighboring roofs and down to Lake Washington where I can barely distinguish lake water from the black forest rising behind it. I pour boiling water into Denise’s serviceable yellow tea pot wide enough to hold four cups, swirl it around the sides, and dump it into the sink. I put three tablespoons of English Breakfast tea into the pot, refill it with water, and steep until it is black and strong. I set it on a tray next to a sugar bowl, pitcher of milk and a plate of cookies, and carry it all into the living room where Denise is sitting on the couch. Brewing a perfect pot of tea was our …

Derek Mong: “Walt Whitman’s iPad”

There will come a time when I fall out of favor with the American marketing machine. My “likes” will have stabilized, even calcified, and my opinions will slump into the armchair of middle age. I will become unswayable and thus unsellable, and would—were I plied with the latest cellular doo-dad—shoo the damn thing from my front lawn. But the ad men will know of my disinterest before I do. One day their targeted commercials will dissolve into white noise, retuned for the young couple who bought the house down the street. I look forward to that moment more than I ought to and practice a Ludditism that will speed it along. Today, however, is a day like any other. Today is the day I hear the late Robin Williams read Walt Whitman while some iPad users chase tornadoes, photograph waterfalls, and make art. It is the latest and slickest ad from Apple, their pitch for the new iPad Air (retail: $499), and I can’t turn away.

Emily Bedard: “Reading Lucie Brock-Broido in Mexico”

Seattle Arts & Lectures is delighted to be partnering with Poetry Northwest to be launching a series of original essays and reflections on some of the speakers in our Poetry Series. This first installation, poet and Writers in the Schools teaching artist, Emily Bedard, dives into the most recent collection by Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion. The piece is not a review, but rather a view from that book. A view from inside its textured covers. A view from a week spent traveling in the book, dreaming with the book, swimming in its inky infinity pools. Part travelogue, part meditation on the meditative poems of Brock-Broido, the essay shows, not tells, what is so richly compelling about the dream worlds of these poems. We hope you enjoy this essay, and will join us for Lucie Brock-Broido’s reading for Seattle Arts & Lectures this Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 at Chihuly Garden and Glass. For a 15% discount on tickets, Poetry Northwest readers may enter PNW1415 at checkout. —Rebecca Hoogs, Associate Director, Seattle Arts & Lectures Reading Lucie Brock-Broido in Mexico On the …

“Dismal Situations”: Loneliness, Racism, and Knowing the Present Through Verse

By Jack Chelgren | Special Projects Intern and Contributing Writer   As a word is mostly connotation,  matter is mostly aura?  Halo? (The same loneliness that separates me  from what I call “the world.”) — Rae Armantrout, “A Resemblance”   I. It’s afternoon not long ago. I’m listening to music in my apartment, and “The Last Time I Saw Richard,” the closer from Joni Mitchell’s Blue, comes on. The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in ’68 And he told me, “All romantics meet the same fate someday: Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café.”