The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Poet Laureate’

Constant Freshness

June 12, 2014 | by

wright

A manuscript page from “Reading Rorty and Paul Celan One Morning in Early June,” an unpublished—or at least unpublished ca. 1989—poem by Charles Wright.

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.”

The Paris Review interviewed Charles Wright in 1989 for the Art of Poetry series; he said of the form, 

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.

NO COMMENTS

Daymares, and Other News

June 12, 2014 | by

5atress14

Arthur Tress, Child Buried in Sand, Coney Island, 196o, black-and-white photograph. Via Gothamist.

  • 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.”

NO COMMENTS

Bradbury, Trethewey, and an Android

June 7, 2012 | by

  • “I am not afraid of robots. I am afraid of people.” Ray Bradbury answers a fan letter, 1974.
  • Natasha Trethewey is named Poet Laureate.
  • Telling tales on the mid-century New Yorker. Just who was Janet Groth’s thinly disguised cad, the Great Deceiver?
  • Protesting New York City library cuts.
  • An Emily Dickinson garden party in Amherst.
  • Controversial words in China and the USA.
  • The android head of Philip K. Dick is terrifying.
  • NO COMMENTS

    On the Shelf

    August 10, 2011 | by

    A cultural news roundup.

  • Philip Levine is America’s new poet laureate.
  • Save the Words is dedicated to bringing underutilized vocabulary back into circulation. A locupletative goal!
  • The Popeye Cookbook is, not shockingly, heavy on the spinach.
  • Bienvenue en France, Google Books!
  • An unlikely hit: The Waste Land app earns back its costs in a mere six weeks.
  • “I think it’s one of those things where you’re standing in a room, and you’re like, ‘Let’s make a new food magazine.’ And that’s a terrible idea. The world does not need a new food magazine ... But if it’s such a bad idea that you can do a good version of it, then that’s a cool challenge.”
  • An Edinburgh marathon reading of Theresa Breslin’s Prisoner in Alcatraz attempts to break the world reading record.
  • Signs of a publishing rebound?
  • John Burnside on researching a book: “I went for a walk in the Arctic Circle without map or compass. Fortunately, I was only lost for hours, not days.”
  • Watch Britten’s Turn of the Screw, live.
  • There was something a bit Wellsian about photographs of riots and looting across London this weekend. Pictures of burning shops and broken windows and young men confronting uniformed police included crowdsourced images snatched by witnesses in the rapid, unexpected diffusion of trouble. The most dramatic, of Tottenham on fire and the blackened aftermath, are positively apocalyptic. To me, it all seems uncanny and reminiscent of late Victorian science fiction. Even the place names have that quality of ordinariness that Wells exploits in his fantasy of a London apocalypse: Tottenham in flames, insurrection in Enfield, anarchy in Leyton and Islington ...”
  • 1 COMMENT

    W. S. Merwin Named Poet Laureate

    July 1, 2010 | by

    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

    NO COMMENTS