August 22, 2010
Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds By Lyndall Gordon Viking. 512 pp. $32.95 Reviewed by Polly Longsworth Among a spate of biographical and fictional works about Emily Dickinson pouring forth this year is Lives Like Loaded Guns , Lyndall Gordon's volcanic replay of the Dickinson family feud, the famous "war between the houses," which resulted in the most bizarre debut of any major figure in American literature....
August 21, 2011
By Rachel Hadas Paul Dry Books. 204 pp. $16.95 Reviewed by Frank Wilson The average life expectancy for persons born in 1900 was 47 years. Today, in the United States, it is 77 years. Today also, more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia. They are not always elderly. In 2005, poet Rachel Hadas' husband, George Edwards, a composer and professor of music at Columbia University, was diagnosed with dementia. He was 61. Statistics, of course, are utterly impersonal, but it is people who fall victim to disease.
February 27, 2005 |
It's a poetry circle, but like an untamed verse, this eclectic group runs counter to what you might expect. First of all, the 16 people who gathered two weeks ago in a meeting room in the new Cherry Hill Library sat at tables that formed a rectangle. Two extra people who arrived late gave it legs. The chairs were hard, the setting not exactly cozy. But what transpired made up for first impressions. Iambic pentameter and metaphor ruled, but no one banged a gavel when life intruded.
March 29, 2011 |
A few days ago, the Guardian in London boldly put out a list of the top 10 American poems. It was sobering reading, largely because only one of the poets is still alive. John Ashbery, a masterly wordsmith, is 83. He was born the same year as the present U.S. poet laureate, whom I am certain only a tiny percentage of us could name. Can you? Did you know we had one? It's William Stanley Merwin - a wonderful, if sometimes opaque, poet, who lived in Scranton from the age of 11, but moved to Hawaii in the 1970s.
November 8, 1994 |
I recently I got a very nice computer-generated letter from an outfit called The National Library of Poetry. "Dear Dave," the letter begins. "Over the past year or so we have been reviewing the thousands of poems submitted to us, as well as examining the poetic accomplishments of people whose poetry has been featured in various anthologies released by other poetry publishers. After an exhaustive examination of this poetic artistry, The National Library of Poetry has decided to publish a collection of new poems written by THE BEST POETS we have encountered.
March 4, 1990 |
Fire shooting off your branches makes even me like summer How rotten can a season be if yellow flowers upend the tidy diligence of a Ridley tree? - From the poem "Tree Sparks" by Kenneth Pobo Local poet Kenneth Pobo doesn't require serene mountain ponds, urban street theater or political upheaval for inspiration. In fact, the only requirement the 35-year-old Widener University assistant professor needs to make words sing is a "place.
May 23, 2004 |
Reading the words of Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath and Billy Collins inspired high school sophomore Megan Kyle to convey her emotions through poetry. Her lyrical style caught the eye of the judges for the Bucks County Community College poetry contest, who declared Kyle the 2004 Bucks County High School poet of the year. Entries from 162 students were received for the contest. "She wasn't afraid to have fun with the language," said judge Brian Lutz, 2003 Bucks County poet laureate.
March 22, 1987 |
Beverly Stoughton found solace in writing poetry when her 26-year-old son, David, died in 1982. Stoughton, the 1986 Bucks County poet laureate, said she first wrote only of her grief. Then she came to accept David's death from diabetes after creating, with words, a comforting vision of him in heaven. Stoughton brought the heavenly images of "black walnut trees" and her son playing his "spirit harmonica" into her poem, A Landscape I Longed to Find, to the sixth-grade class at Stackpole Elementary School.
July 14, 1987 |
Edward Hirsch belies whatever stereotype you might have about poets. For one thing, he's a former jock who played three years of varsity football at Grinnell College. As a tight end, he caught more passes than any player save one in that Iowa institution's history - 95. He still plays a mean game of amateur basketball at the University of Houston, where he teaches literature and creative writing. For another thing, although poetry is a solitary art and his own poetry often deals with themes of despair, anguish and suffering, Hirsch is a cheerful, charming, gregarious man with dark curly hair who looks like a mother's dream of a son-in-law.
July 1, 1986 |
Award-winning poet Etheridge Knight will read from his works and lead a round-table discussion on South Africa tomorrow at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. Joining Knight to read their own poems and the work of South African poets will be a number of Philadelphia-area writers, including Elaine Terranova, Lou McKee, Eugene Howard, Clark White, Chain Woon Ping, Gil Ott and Sharon Goodman. "It's been bothering me in my belly," Knight said when asked his reasons for addressing South Africa.