World’s coolest hotel rooms? That’s what the folks at Flavorwire claim. I confess I’m not so keen on the schizophrenic graffiti or the creepy vault at the bottom of a mine shaft, but you might tempt me to sleep in the glass igloo or the Kenyan glamp-out. And I’d definitely stay at the butterfly preserve.
What’s in a name? Well, it may be there’s a poem, or a piece of one. Publishers Weekly compiled a list of 12 famous book titles that find their origins in poetry.
Poetry goes to the Olympics, my friends. Alfred, Lord Tennyson will be there, along with five contemporary British poets, their words prominently displayed in the Olympic Park. The committee who made this decision deserves gold medals all around.
While poetry gets pride of place in London, it gets you imprisoned in China. Okay, this poet’s not actually in prison; she’s just under house arrest. Well, whew. I feel better; don’t you?
I found this look at the rise of the “career writer” rather deflating. Perhaps even depressing. But that’s just because I’m one of those antiquated souls who doesn’t care (much) about fame and filthy lucre but instead aspires to that outdated notion, greatness. Sucks to be me.
But then I read Anthony Horowitz’s irreverent rant against (and for!) traditional publishers, and I felt much better.
Relations between [my publisher and me] have been strained ever since they published my Sherlock Holmes novel, The Mouse of Slick, with no fewer than 35 proof-reading errors. Their proof-reader tried to kill herself. She shot herself with a gnu.
(Snicker. Snort.) Those of you who didn’t find that as funny as I did might want to head over to Jane Friedman’s handy, helpful recap of her Tech-Empowered Writer talk at last weekend’s AWP Conference. It’s not funny, either, but at least you won’t be subjected to bad puns. (Or would that be pnus?)
In her review of Henri Cole’s most recent book of poetry, Touch, Julia Guez frames the collection in terms of pleasure and pain, of life and loss.
And Wesley Morris writes a review of Kevin Young’s most recent book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness.
Mistakes make me feel lousy. I’d rather not make them. Ever. But John Caddell has reassuring news: mistakes actually fuel creativity, if we let them. Ah, there’s the rub.
I think we’d all agree that writing is an act of creativity. We might not be as inclined to see reading as a creative act, much less the curating of a library. But Leon Weiseltier would. He reflects on the pain-in-the-patookis of moving a whole library full of physical books—and then proceeds to wax eloquent (and even rhapsodic) over the joys of those very same books:
But even now, with the crates piled high in the hall, what I see most plainly about the books is that they are beautiful. They take up room? Of course they do: they are an environment; atoms, not bits. My books are not dead weight, they are live weight—matter infused by spirit, every one of them, even the silliest. They do not block the horizon; they draw it…
A library has a personality, a temperament. (Sometimes a dull one.) Its books show the scars of use and the wear of need. They are defaced—no, ornamented—by markings and notes and private symbols of assent and dissent…There is something inhuman about the pristinity of digital publication. It lacks fingerprints. But the copy of a book that is on my shelf is my copy.
Yes, exactly so: the copy on my shelf is my copy and cannot be replaced by any other, my creativity and the author’s co-mingling in the pages.
One of the first stories I ever wrote was called “What Bunnies Do At Night.” And, no, it’s not what you think. (I was eight, for heaven’s sake!) They play baseball. Duh. What else would they do in the dark of night? What would you do? Hayden’s Ferry Review wants to know for their upcoming issue, “In the Dark.”
“Turn the lights off. Make shadow puppets on the wall. Leave something out. Tell us what happens when the screen goes black. Blindfold us and take us by the hand. Lock us in the trunks of cars. Take us to attics, basements, graveyards. Find a darkness that hasn’t been found.”
Or if you’d rather, you might start a collection of, say, feathers or overheard snippets of conversation or random things you find on the sidewalk (or in my case, littered all over my floors) and use that as the raw material for a poem.
I saw you
in a dream
John Burnside, who won this year’s Forward and T.S. Eliot prizes, recently spoke about his writing process and “high-functioning madness”. Two lines of especial note:
“Poetry stands or falls by its music.”
“Poetry is speech at its most privileged.”
Sunday marked the 49th anniversary of William Carlos Williams’ death. You can remember this iconic American poet—or more precisely, his iconic poem—via this William Carlos Williams photo and video tribute. Or you might just want to close your eyes and listen to Williams himself, for a spell, from 1954.
I believe that stories are at the heart of education. Read them stories. Tell them stories. Get them to tell you stories. And celebrate the day that 500 new stories are discovered in an archive in Germany.
And since it’s women’s history month, the New York Times has a whole slough of links to learn more about women-in-the-(fill in the blank with the field of your choice).
10 Sound n Motion
This time-lapse video of the northern sky by night really has nothing to do with poetry, but it’s still pretty dang awesome. Be sure to watch it with the soundtrack, and if inspires you to write a poem, be sure to let me know!
Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In March we’re exploring the theme Angels.