What is the musical analog of poetry? (Moonlight)

Composer Nicholas Brittel talks to Song Exploder about how he discovered the theme to Moonlight: On what drew him to Moonlight: When I first read [the script], I was just overwhelmed by this feeling of beauty and poetry, that was really the starting point for my personal experience with the film. There was just thisContinue reading “What is the musical analog of poetry? (Moonlight)”

To be young (and old) in the wild: This Feeling

Last week, in his un-ostentacious but no bullshit way, Nicholas Kristof of the NYTimes wrote a great column on the joys of being on the PCT. I'm not going to quote it, because it's hard to know which bit to choose, but encourage you all to take a look.  Today, in a similar vein, butContinue reading “To be young (and old) in the wild: This Feeling”

The pleasure of making sense of the world: May Swenson

Or trying to. To say something simply and well, is a pleasure like no other. Poetry magazine, a consistently wondrous publication, concludes their December issue, their last issue of the year, with an essay on May Swenson that could not be gentler, nor more sweetly loving. Example? Simply publishing a stanza that may be oneContinue reading “The pleasure of making sense of the world: May Swenson”

Whispering in the ear of nature’s secrets: Harriet Monroe

In Nature's Altars, Susan Schrepfer looks at how much it meant to women of the turn of (the 20th) century to go to the mountains. She writes: "High altitudes…released [women], they said, from the requirement of being a consumer, from "clothes and vanities," from the corsseted, perfumed, and coiffured dictates of polite society. Of aContinue reading “Whispering in the ear of nature’s secrets: Harriet Monroe”

The only ones who know spring is coming: Jack Gilbert

The poet Jack Gilbert died this week, after a long illness (which usually means cancer, but in his case meant Alzheimer's…a story well told in the Los Angeles Times).  Gilbert was brilliantly eulogized in Andrew Sullivan's irreplaceable blog, and in passing Sullivan mentioned the name of his poetry editor Alice Quinn, formerly of The NewContinue reading “The only ones who know spring is coming: Jack Gilbert”

“Nothing is more permanent than the temporary”

A really good essay can be read and re-read just like a really good novel. Example: Austerity Measures: A Letter from Greece, by translator A.E. Stallings, in a recent issue of Poetry. Have read it several times.  So good it's difficult to figure out what to quote in this poetry-rich piece. Every time I find aContinue reading ““Nothing is more permanent than the temporary””

Poetry vs Oil (and bulldozers)

Vancouver poet Stephen Collis writes about the poetic resistance to another pipeline planned to transport oil sands slurry from inside western Alberta to market in Poetry vs. Oil.  Right now, one major pipeline carries the goop to Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, where it is loaded onto supertankers tourists can wave at from scenic Stanley Park. TheContinue reading “Poetry vs Oil (and bulldozers)”

What we have over-run and on which we rely

Here's a lovely profile of a poet new to me, Kim Stafford, from High Country News' Uncommon Westerners features series.  The writer finds Stafford in a coffee shop in Portland. Nearby, writes Tara Rae Miner, is "a strip of untamed land, bounded by busy roads in a dense, urban landscape. It is not a park,Continue reading “What we have over-run and on which we rely”

Tennessee Williams: The literary factory

In l937, when Tennessee Williams was twenty-six and just beginning to write plays as well as poems and stories, he and a friend named Clark Mills, who grew up to be a professor of French and poetry, set up what they called a "literary factory" in the basement of Mills' parents' home in St Louis.Continue reading “Tennessee Williams: The literary factory”

Poetry: the difference between objective and verifiable

Verifiable — which is also popularly characterized, imprecisely, as "objective" –doesn't necessarily mean numerical, as Belle Randall reminds us in a great letter to Poetry.  To put it another way, judging poetry (or writing, or human beings, for that matter) is not purely a matter of opinion. Not if the points can be proven. Mathematics isContinue reading “Poetry: the difference between objective and verifiable”