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Posts Tagged ‘poems’

Surrendering to Your Own Maneuvers: An Interview with Jana Prikryl

June 21, 2016 | by

jana-prikryl

The After Party, Jana Prikryl’s debut collection of poems, is divided in two. In the first half, the reader is mainly in New York, swaying between the modern and the classical, easing between Internet aphorisms and well-dusted literary lives; in half a dozen gently mocking, moving lines in “Ars Poetica,” we find ourselves falling from an observation about Kelly Oxford’s tweets into Arthur Conan Doyle and the history of spiritualism. The collection’s second half switches modes, and we find ourselves engaged with a long, bold sequence of fragments that carry an air of nostalgia. These later poems explore the natural world, the interplay between femininity and masculinity, and a lingering sense of not belonging. Perhaps it’s an odd comparison, but the closing sequence, “Thirty Thousand Islands,” made me think of Matisse and his 1940s cutouts: the preeminent sense of environment, but also the way that techniques of balance and contrast seem to give the work its structure and much of its impact. Read More »

On a Certain Epigram by Anna Akhmatova

June 21, 2016 | by

Akhmatova

Detail of a portrait of Anna Akhmatova by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1922.

In my village it’s a famous epigram, but I wonder how many of you are familiar with it. Here it is, complete and unexpurgated, in Anna Akhmatova’s original Russian, from 1958:

Могла ли Биче словно Дант творить, 
Или Лаура жар любви восславить? 
Я научила женщин говорить... 
Но, Боже, как их замолчать заставить!

And now here is a transliteration, with metrical stress represented by bold type, so that the Russianless—or persons like myself with only a year of Russian, the might-as-well-be-Russianless—can have at least some chance of appreciating the sounds. (Note: iambic pentameter, with an inversion in the first foot of line 2.) Read More »

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Becoming a Redwood

June 9, 2016 | by

Trees_and_sunshine

Dana Gioia’s poem “Becoming a Redwood” appeared in our Summer 1991 issue. His latest collection is Pity the Beautiful. Read More »

George Plimpton on Muhammad Ali, the Poet

June 6, 2016 | by


In the clip above, our founding editor George Plimpton recalls hearing Muhammad Ali give a lecture to thousands of Harvard graduates, and the poem that emerged from it:

He gave this wonderful speech … It was moving, it was funny at the same time, and there was a great roar of appreciation at the end of it. And then, someone shouted out, Give us a poem! Now the shortest poem in the English language, according to Bartlett’s Quotations, is called “On the Antiquity of Microbes.” And the poem is “Adam / Had ’em.” It’s pretty short. But Muhammad Ali’s poem was, “Me? / Whee!!” Two words. I wrote Bartlett’s Quotations and I said, Look here, that’s shorter than “Adam / Had ’em.” You wanna put it in? It stands for something more than the poem itself: Me, whee. What a fighter he was, and what a man.

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The Licorice Fields at Pontefract

May 23, 2016 | by

… Yum?

Today I happened to pass one of my favorite spots, Myzel’s Chocolates—a small, idiosyncratic shop in midtown Manhattan, with a world of confections. For the licorice lover—that strange, fierce, embattled tribe—the store is a must. Myzel’s has the best licorice selection in the city: salty, sweet, terrier-shaped, boat-shaped, cute, creepy, hard, soft. “Licorice of the world,” they advertise. “Over a hundred different kinds.” And today a sign in front of the door read: NATIONAL LICORICE WEEKRead More »

April to May

May 4, 2016 | by

Camille_Pissarro_-_Gelee_blanche,_ancienne_route_d'Ennery,_Pontoise_-_1873

Camille Pissarro, Gelée blanche, 1873.

Joyce E. Peseroff’s poem “April to May” appeared in our Spring 1979 issue. Her latest collection is Know ThyselfRead More »