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Poetry

In Defense of Poetry

Old poetry is laden with the baggage of centuries of hidden metaphor and archaic references. New poetry is prone to abstraction and whimsical laziness. But poetry deserves our consideration as an art form nonetheless. After all, all the music we love is poetry, and all the fun little things we can do with language are best done in poetic form.

Translation as Commentary (or, Commentary as Translation?)

It is September, which means—inevitably—that I find myself thinking about Paul Celan’s “Todesfugue,” this time (the first time) as a teacher.  It is hardly easy, in subject matter or in style—it is credited for being the target of Adorno’s, “Poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,” and the exception that made him back away, ever so slightly,…

Another from Edmond Rostand

Rostand’s second poem from Les Musardises, entitled “The Bedroom.” For my English translation I chose rhymed couplets, though I admit with BlaiseP that there’s a procrustean quality to some of them. Incidentally, the author dedicates a short essay to explaining the title of the book. Musardise is not a word in standard French, and figuring…

A poem for Wednesday

The Old Fools by Philip Larkin What do they think has happened, the old fools, To make them like this? Do they somehow suppose It’s more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools, And you keep on pissing yourself, and can’t remember Who called this morning? Or that, if they only chose, They could…

A Golden Age of American Poetry?

From the NYRBlog: In a country in which schools seem to teach less literature every year, where fewer people read books and ignorance reigns supreme regarding most issues, poetry is read and written more than ever. Anyone who doesn’t believe me ought to take a peek at what’s available on the web . . .…

a poem for sunday

Japan ~by Billy Collins Today I pass the time reading a favorite haiku, saying the few words over and over. It feels like eating the same small, perfect grape again and again. I walk through the house reciting it and leave its letters falling through the air of every room. I stand by the big…

a poem for sunday

Anastasia & Sandman by Larry Levis The brow of a horse in that moment when The horse is drinking water so deeply from a trough It seems to inhale the water, is holy. I refuse to explain. When the horse had gone the water in the trough, All through the empty summer, Went on reflecting…