Posts Tagged ‘Poet Laureate’
June 12, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Congratulations to Charles Wright, who was announced today as America’s next poet laureate. James Billington, the librarian of Congress, said that Wright’s poems have “an infinite array of beautiful words reflected with constant freshness” and commended his “combination of literary elegance and genuine humility—it’s just the rare alchemy of a great poet.”
Wright has received, as the Times notes, “just about every other honor in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.”
There seem to me to be certain absolutes in whatever field of endeavor one is in. In business and banking they may be availability and convertibility, security and safekeeping, minimal loss and steady, incremental accession. I don’t think it’s that way in poetry, though such values will get you to temporary high places. Brilliance is what you reach for, language that has a life of its own, seriousness of subject matter beyond the momentary gasp and glitter, a willingness to take on what’s difficult and beautiful, a willingness to be different and abstract, a willingness to put on the hair shirt and go into the desert and sit still, and listen hard, and write it down, and tell no one.
We’re happy to have published six of Wright’s poems in our Summer 2008 issue. Here’s one of them, “In Memory of the Natural World”:
Four ducks on the pond tonight, the fifth one MIA.
A fly, a smaller than normal fly,
Is mapping his way through sun-strikes across my window.
Behind him, as though at attention,
the pine trees hold their breaths.
The fly’s real, the trees are real,
And the ducks.
But the glass is artificial, and it’s on fire.
We wish Wright all the best in his new role.
June 12, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Charles Wright will be America’s next poet laureate. “I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do … But as soon as I find out, I’ll do it.”
- Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is the literary novel of the moment—but it is any good? Many, including our own Lorin Stein, respond with a resounding no. “A book like The Goldfinch doesn’t undo any clichés—it deals in them … Nowadays, even The New York Times Book Review is afraid to say when a popular book is crap.”
- “Every moment of serious reading has to be fought for, planned for … A prediction: the novel of elegant, highly distinct prose, of conceptual delicacy and syntactical complexity, will tend to divide itself up into shorter and shorter sections, offering more frequent pauses where we can take time out. The larger popular novel … will be ever more laden with repetitive formulas, and coercive, declamatory rhetoric to make it easier and easier, after breaks, to pick up.”
- A portfolio of Arthur Tress’s photographs, from the late sixties and seventies, of children at play in Coney Island: “Tress spoke with children about their dreams—often nightmares that involved falling, monsters, that buried alive scenario—and would then photograph them experiencing it in a safe, staged setting.”
- New! From the makers of “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” it’s “Morrissey Has an Infection.”
June 7, 2012 | by The Paris Review
August 10, 2011 | by Sadie Stein
July 1, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
We congratulate W. S. Merwin on being named Poet Laureate of the United States. Merwin published his first poem with the Review in 1955, and we have been proud to publish him ever since. Herewith, to celebrate his appointment (and for the pleasure of retyping it) one of his more recent contributions:
To the Long Table
The sun was touching the wet black shoulders of olives
in a chipped dish descended from another century
on that day I remember more than half my life ago
and you had been covered with a tablecloth of worn damask
for lunch out on the balcony overhanging the stream
with the grapes still small among the vine leaves above us
and near the olives a pitcher of thin black acrid wine
from the cellar just below and an omelette on a cracked white platter
a wheel of bread goat cheeses salad I forgot what else
the ducks were asleep down on the far side of the green pond
Jacques came and went babbling fussing making his bad jokes
boasting about old days that nobody else remembered
the lacquered carriages the plumes on the horses and what his mother
had replied to the admiral whose attentions amused her
all the castles they had lost before he had grown up
and when the meal was over he said you too were for sale
he had discovered you in a carpenter's shop
where you had been used as a workbench without regard
for your true worth and the scars on you came from there
your history without words upon which words have gathered