All posts tagged: Katrina Roberts

Hello Goodbye Hello

Kevin Craft (Editor 2010 – 2016) Signs Off   Most poetry readers I know chuckle wearily at the steady stream of “poetry is dead” articles that have appeared with astonishing tenacity in various venues, including The New York Times, these past few years. The authors of these articles agonize in some way or another over poetry’s irrelevance to modern culture: poetry is too abstract and obscure, they argue, too much an insider’s game, divorced from the real wants and needs (to borrow a phrase from Whitman’s early review of Keats’s poems) of actual bodies in the 21st century. But why should poetry worry over its relationship to popular culture? Must it be popular (or topical) in order to be vital, in order to sustain a reader, or fortify a readership? What happens to those who win (or live by) popularity contests in the contemporary cultural grind? We know all too well that the speed of the attention-getting news cycle is debilitating. Presidential primaries come and go, talk radio blathers on, discourse hardens, partisans lob grenades …

On Kizer: “The Substance of Song”

In the coming weeks, we will publish a series of tributes to Poetry Northwest founding editor, Carolyn Kizer.  We’ll post additional material throughout the spring: for additional features in the series, please visit here.  We are very pleased to open with an appreciation by Katrina Roberts of Kizer’s hard, sweet music. — I’ve long been struck by the final gesture in Carolyn Kizer’s poem “Lines to Accompany Flowers for Eve,” addressed to one who’s tried to take her own life: “No Way of knowing its strength, or your own, / Until you lie quite still, your perfect limbs / In meditation: the spirit rouses, flutters / Like a handkerchief at a cell window, signaling, / Self-amazed, its willingness to endure.” We’ve recently lost important poets—great women—to suicide. Their tragedy reminds us the world is hard, indeed, and unfair to so many women in countless ways. And also that an individual life, even one apparently lovely, is simply inscrutable. I’m buoyed at least by the sustaining insights these poets have left in their stunning, tumultuous wakes. …