Posts Tagged ‘poem’
June 10, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
An excerpt from Susan Howe’s “Defenestration of Prague,” originally published in our Winter 1982 issue. Howe, who was born in Boston, is eighty-eight today. “People often tell me my work is ‘difficult,’” she told the Review in 2012. “I have the sinking feeling they mean ‘difficult’ as in ‘hopeless.’ ”
long illness of little difference Read More »
December 18, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Thomas Sayers Ellis’s poem “Polo Goes to the Moon”—an elegy for the bounce-beat go-go music pioneer Reggie Burwell—appeared in The Paris Review No. 209 earlier this year. Now he’s recorded a spoken-word version in “Amiri’s Green Chim Chim-knees Growth Tribe,” part of a tribute to Amiri Baraka to be released next year by Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Give it a listen above.
After Baraka died in January, Ellis and his frequent collaborator James Brandon Lewis formed Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group of poets and musicians. They recorded the album over three six-hour sessions. Ellis calls it “a signifying groove head-nod to Mr. Baraka,” influenced by Thelonious Monk and A Tribe Called Quest.
The text of “Polo Goes to the Moon” is below. Read More »
November 21, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
The houses look at one another,
a language of windows.
The violin stands above the collar ...
sleigh bells in a blue sky.
How calm the torso of a woman
like a naked statue.
Reclining in an alcove
with curtains, the window gives
a view of earth ... yellow fields.
She has a blue leg and a green arm,
red arm, and leg painted saffron.
The orange sphere floating in space
in front of the blue canyon
has a face like a mask
with fixed brown eyes.
Directly underneath, on the parapet,
stands a shirt with a tie
in a dark, formal suit.
He has left his shaving brush
on top of the cabinet with doors of glass
that is merging with a cloud.
October 2, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
It is not often in this day and age that something falls through the Web. And yet, today, National Poetry Day, I wanted to share with you the text of my favorite childhood poem and found myself completely stymied. Not a trace of it exists.
I even know the name of the poem—“The Call of the Child”—though I don’t recall the author. What I know for certain is that it was a little red-bound, tasseled pamphlet, probably dating from the first two decades of the twentieth century, keeping in mind that Jack London’s Call of the Wild was published in 1903. Okay, maybe calling it a “poem” is misleading—it was more a long piece of doggerel*.
“The Call of the Child” is the first-person lament of a baby who really, really has to pee. He complains about the urgency of his need, the pressure on his bladder, the indignity of wetting his pants and bed. He fantasizes about peeing with abandon, spraying fountains of urine wherever he wishes. At one point, he goes into a reverie, imagining a fantastic bed rigged up with a series of rubber hoses that lead directly from his penis down to some kind of basin, allowing him to joyfully wet the bed whenever he likes without discomfort or censure. Oh, and it’s all in rhyme. Read More »
March 7, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Georges Perec, best known for Life: A User’s Manual, was born on this day in 1936; he died at only forty-five. You can celebrate his birthday by reading a very celebratory poem of his, “Three Epithalamia,” which The Paris Review published in 1989. Granted, the occasion here is a wedding, not a birthday, but the jubilance, the insouciance, the joie de vivre—it’s all there. (A betrothed couple could do worse than to read this at their wedding.) Many happy returns, Georges; wherever you are, may it be as bucolic and festive as this poem.
It’s a delectable morning
the sun lights up the countryside
bees are gathering honey
a butterfly delicately alights by a mimosa
sheep are bleating
in the distance bells are ringing
everything is calm and peaceful
Read the whole thing here.
January 22, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Howard Moss, the late poet, was born today in 1922. Moss’s Selected Poems won the National Book Award in 1972; he served as The New Yorker’s poetry editor for nearly forty years, from 1948 until his death in 1987. The Paris Review published his poem “A Balcony with Birds” in our fourth issue, circa the winter of 1953; an excerpt follows.
The light that hangs in the ailanthus weaves
The leaves’ leavetaking overtaking leaves.
The actual is real and not imagined,—still,
The eye, so learned in disenchantment, sees
Two trees at once, this one of summer’s will,
And winter’s one, when no bird will assail
The skyline’s hyaline transparencies,
Emptying its architecture by degrees.
Roundly in its fury, soon, the sun
Feverish with light, goes down, and on
Come ambitious stars—the stars that were
But this morning dimmed. Somewhere a slow
Piano scales the summits of the air
And disappears, and dark descends, and though
The birds turn off their songs now light is gone,
The mind drowned in the dark may dream them on.