March 22, 1996 |
With a strong but gentle voice, punctuated by occasional gestures, the nation's poet laureate reminded a Temple audience last night that poetry is not only legitimate, but respectable. Bespectacled, wearing a jacket and tie, 55-year-old Robert Hass looked like a regular guy standing behind the lectern, reading to the 120 or so students, professors and others gathered at Temple's Center City campus. Then he began to read. After a few short poems, he paused, self-consciously, and said, "Oh, my God, I've started writing autobiographical poems about my childhood.
July 11, 2004 |
Molly Connors stood up through the sunroof of a 1988 Suzuki Samurai that was decorated with red, white and blue paper plates and balloons for the Fourth of July parade in Lansdowne. She sipped coffee, smiled and waved to hundreds of onlookers as the jeep inched along, right between the men on antique bicycles with huge wheels and the guys in kilts playing bagpipes. The vehicle bearing her official title - Lansdowne poet laureate - spurred conversation in this borough of 11,000, located near the West Philadelphia border in Delaware County.
July 2, 2003 |
The state poet laureate is out. Medical-malpractice reform is in limbo. But the partisan budget tussle is over. During a 32-hour marathon in the state Senate and Assembly, sharply focused on the state budget, weary legislators voted on a flurry of bills, sending 52 to the governor yesterday. Some bills thrived with quick, easy passage, while others were overshadowed by the budget drama. Medical-malpractice reform - a hot partisan issue in Trenton this spring - will rest until the houses return to Trenton in September, with the Senate and Assembly unable to compromise on how to fix the problem of skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums for doctors.
April 29, 2007 |
The night they named David Simpson poet laureate of Montgomery County, his mother showed up. So did his twin brother, Dan. When it was all over, Miriam Dell bought each a book from a vendor at Arcadia University, where Simpson was feted April 13. Then she turned to Joanne Leva, founder and director of the laureate program, and poet Carolyn Forche, celebrity judge for this year's competition. "I don't know why they want books," Dell said. "They both have so many of them, and they can't read them.
May 9, 2002 |
John Volkmer has finally gotten A.E. Houseman out of his system. Gone is the guilty pleasure of Houseman's sentimental verse. Gone is the charm of his nostalgia. Since unburdening himself in an apologia in the January edition of Parnassus magazine, Volkmer, a professor of English at Ursinus College, has moved on. And just in time. Chosen last month as the new poet laureate of Montgomery County, Volkmer must now muse upon his own verse, which is as far from the classical style of Houseman as a Nebraska grain elevator is from the wood-paneled halls of Oxford.
December 11, 2005 |
The well runs deep for Patricia Goodrich, a retired teacher, amputee, traveler and divorcee, who taps into her life experiences for art's sake. Her creative projects, which have received international attention, spill into both the visual arts and the literary world. Most recently, Goodrich was recognized for her writings and earned the distinction of 2005 Bucks County poet laureate. "My work is pretty direct," Goodrich, 62, of Springfield Township, said. "At first, I felt I had to announce a poem and summarize it at the end. Now I know I have to trust the reader to be intelligent enough to get it. " Christopher Bursk, a literature professor who has known Goodrich since they met at a poetry workshop more than 20 years ago, called her poetry courageous.
June 15, 1997 |
Jennifer Kates wraps herself in expression. In her Furlong bedroom, magazine pictures of and lyrics by divas Patti Smith, Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos and political slogans such as "Free Tibet" decorate large parts of her walls and ceiling. The words mitakuye oyasin, an American Indian blessing meaning "to all my relations," are written above her bed. The rest of the painted space is taken up by Kates' own words: Her slanted, curved print in light blue and green marker reveals the lines of her poetry to all who enter.
April 6, 1989 |
Strange thing, being the nation's poet laureate in an unpoetic time. What does one do? Write an elegy about the Tower nomination? A sonnet to first dog Millie? "When anyone asks what it is that I do," says Howard Nemerov, the third and current poet laureate, "I say, 'What does Oz do?' Just keep those emerald spectacles on and we'll do fine. " He is talking, between gin martinis and unfiltered cigarettes, in the spectacularly unspectacular Adam's Mark Hotel, in front of the salad bar, immersed in Muzak, waiting to address the local chapter of St. Louis' Washington University alumni association.
March 11, 1996 |
"It's just an awful emptiness without him," confided dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, somber in gray suit and black turtleneck, gazing up like a chastened choirboy toward the vast nave of Manhattan's Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He was talking Friday evening about the loss felt by many friends of Joseph Brodsky, the Russian poet who came to America at age 32 after years of hardship at home. Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987, served as poet laureate of the United States from 1991 to 1992, then died suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 28 at age 55. "It feels like a giant hole," Baryshnikov continued of his countryman and fellow emigre, with whom he'd bonded during their years in New York.
November 16, 1995 |
The county's new poet laureate was invited to the courthouse yesterday, but was asked to leave some words at home. Especially a four-letter word that refers rather explicitly to sex. Such was the case when River Huston performed her first official duty as laureate, reading a selection of her work at a public meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Huston, a New Hope resident, AIDS activist and lecturer, chose "Death Is for the Dead," a funky, personal discourse on living life with a death sentence handed down by the HIV virus.