Though my appetite is small, I will prepare a feast.
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.”
A Brighter Word Than Bright Dan Beachy-Quick University of Iowa Press, 2013 — In a rejected preface to his long poem Endymion, John Keats—apparently not having internalized the workshop admonition “no disclaimers”—writes: “…this Poem must rather be considerd as an endeavour than a thing accomplish’d; a poor prologue to what, if I live, I humbly hope to do.” The poem, however inadequate in its author’s mind, was not an exercise without reward. The criticism that the young poet faced, both internal and external, became a transformative experience. As biographer W. Jackson Bate explains: “Another reaction was his strong dislike [after Endymion] of forcing himself to write for the mere sake of writing… For the same reason he was henceforth to feel freer, if a longer poem was not developing the way he hoped, to leave it unfinished and turn to something else; and his eagerness to publish subsided until, by contrast, it almost approached indifference.” In A Brighter Word Than Bright (University of Iowa Press, 2013), Dan Beachy-Quick undertakes a close reading of how Keats’s …
In June 2014, poet Mathias Svalina promises to operate a Dream Delivery Service. “I will write the dreams, without consultation with the dreamer, & deliver them daily,” Svalina writes. “Each dream is unique to the dreamer/subscriber.” Subscriptions cost $40 if you live within three miles of Svalina’s house, $55 for everyone else. Dream Delivery Service as social media. * Svalina is an editor with Octopus Books. A while ago, another Octopus editor, Zachary Schomburg, started posting portraits of his friends on his blog, The Lovely Arc. He’d honor each as “Person of the Week” and write a brief profile. “Jesse got Clyde Drexler’s autograph three times between fifth and seventh grade,” Schomburg wrote. “He went to a Waldorf school from kindergarten through third grade, so he learned to knit, crochet, paint with watercolor, sculpt beeswax, play the recorder, and count in German before he learned arithmetic.” “Person of the Week” as social media. * Discussions of social media and poetry often focus on poetry’s absorption of—or reduction to—familiar virtual modes.
By Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey On July 10, 2014, Patricia Lockwood read at Seattle’s Elliot Bay Book Company from her most recent book of poems, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. The room–a book-lined basement annex with a small raised stage and podium–was full. Over the next few months, editors Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey exchanged a series of emails, sharing their thoughts about the event. This conversation results from that exchange. 1: Meme-Numbed MK: First impressions first: that reading was absolutely feral. The energy that Lockwood exuded seemed barely containable by the typical reading format. This was apparent from the get-go, when the woman introducing Tricia struggled to stay composed or even objective. She was effusive, probably to a fault. But between that anterior energy and the tone of Lockwood’s poems (and that voice!—those are hard poems to read aloud, I think, and she did herself a service), it’s hard to believe we were all seated, quiet and well-mannered, in the basement of Elliott Bay Bookstore, no? I know we’ll have to discuss how Lockwood became …
By Diana Khoi Nguyen | Contributing Writer
Two takes on Carson & Friends’ performance Tuesday, May 13 at Town Hall by Jack Chelgren & Cali Kopzcick. Two takes because how many eyeballs did you wish you had that night? The Maximalist: Anne Carson at Seattle Arts & Lectures by Jack Chelgren, Special Projects Intern During the Q&A after Anne Carson’s performance at Seattle Arts & Lectures last week, someone in the crowd asked Carson if she’d ever considered translating the New Testament. Carson cooed wistfully, thought for a moment, then replied, “No—the New Testament’s too minimalist for me.” A warm chuckle rose from the crowd, filling the dim, vaulted ceiling of Town Hall. But for all the ironical self-parody of her answer, it’s conceivable that Carson wasn’t really joking. She is an artist and intellectual whose work consistently shatters our rote expectations of poetry, smashing divisions of ancient and modern, lyric and academic, fictional and historical, personal and mythical with the zeal of Hektor chopping down the Achaian ranks in Homer’s Iliad.
We’re very pleased to introduce Poetry Northwest‘s new audio podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo. This first series will feature editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets during the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Seattle. Each episode will feature lively conversation between writers in a different Seattle location.
In the not-too-distant future those to whom it matters may look back at some point in the 1990s, when the networking of the Internet really started to take off, and wonder if at that moment the actual writing of thorough and styled and even personal letters, as a medium of one reflective silence speaking to another reflective silence (roughly Rilke’s definition of poetry), ended.
On March 21, 2007, in Portland, some 400 people crammed the sold-out Wonder Ballroom to hear to hear the former poet laureate speak, read poems, & launch the Music Issue. Robert Pinsky condemned educational administrators who want to break the chain of culture by cutting funding to music, arts, & creative writing programs. “Woe unto them,” said Pinsky, who also read recent & new poems, & closed the night with an electrifying reading of John Keats’s hymn to music & poetry, “Ode to a Nightingale.“ Listen to an excerpt of his performance exclusively through Poetry Northwest Online: