September 27, 2006 |
OVER THE PAST few weeks, I've been reading the obituary column with more interest than ever. There was time I read only the front-page news, the columns, the letters to the editor, Stu Bykofsky - and never gave the obits even a glance. I guess I just didn't want to know more than I had to about death. But ever since my wife Esther died recently at 88, and left me by myself in our little Cape Cod, I've been thinking of how I would like my own obit to read when I die. The thing that interests me the most are the ages of those who died.
August 27, 2006 |
Bob Dylan is a doomsayer, spreading the word that trouble is on the way. He's a crusty romantic "studying the art of love," still hopeful, at 65, that "it'll fit me like a glove. " And he's a devilishly cheery troubadour with a Snidely Whiplash mustache who playfully couples "I got the pork chop, she got the pie" with "She ain't no angel, and neither am I. " Modern Times (Columbia . ?), Dylan's 44th album and his first in five years, contains multitudes. No surprise there.
May 21, 2006 |
What does it mean to be a poet laureate? Elkins Park resident Deborah Fries was thinking about that recently after being named the 2006 poet laureate of Montgomery County. Already, Fries has fulfilled some of her duties. She accepted her award at Arcadia University, thanked the panel of judges headed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Galway Kinnell, and did an inaugural reading. Now it is on to other things, she said: workshops, a few readings, and "representing the poetry community in a place where I live and work and where so many good writers find space and inspiration.
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.
August 5, 2005 |
The first time I met two-time U.S. poet laureate Stanley Kunitz he was reading before more than 2,000 people at New Jersey's biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo Village in Stanhope. He had ascended the main stage, under a large circuslike tent, and was greeted by thunderous applause that hung in the air like a trapeze performer under a similar enclosure. He sipped from a water glass, cleared his throat, and surveyed the assembled masses. From the moment he spoke, I was transfixed.
June 9, 2005 |
Watching TV, playing computer games, surfing the Net - popular American pastimes. Along with poetry. Poetry? Yes, poetry, that most rarefied of literary endeavors, is hot - hotter than ever, in fact - especially among young people. Poetry readings, poetry slams, and spoken-word performances attract sellout crowds in clubs and auditoriums locally and across the country. Poetry anthologies and audio collections are selling briskly. And the weekly HBO program Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry is entering its fifth season.
May 22, 2005 |
About 200 teenagers submitted more than 600 poems to Bucks County Community College's annual poetry contest this spring. When the reading was done, 16-year-old Michael Deagler earned the title of 2005 high school poet of the year. "The intellect of his writing is what stood out for me. That and the emotional power in his writing," said Bill Wunder, one of the judges. "Many high school poets write about boyfriend/girlfriend or 'woe is me.' He had an outward-looking viewpoint, talking about politics and religion.
November 22, 2004
THE REAL reason people are making a fuss over ABC's pregame skit is plain and obvious - a white woman made a sexual advance to a black man and he gladly accepted it. Had Nicollette Sheridan done this with Brett Farve or Peyton Manning, this wouldn't even be an issue. Spare me the comparisons between this incident and last year's Super Bowl halftime show. The only similarity betwen the two is that in both incidents the African-American celebrities involved are condemned outright while their white counterpart are absolved of any wrongdoing.
November 14, 2004 |
When Bill Wunder returned from Vietnam, he sat down at his typewriter and wrote verse after verse after verse. "It was therapeutic," he said. "I don't want to sound like I had issues. It was something I wanted to do. "But I put it away. Life intervened. " A career in automotive sales, marriage, three children, divorce. Nearly 30 years passed before Wunder came across the first poem he had written about Vietnam. "It was a terrible epic," the Lower Southampton resident said.
October 13, 2004 |
Ted Kooser gets up every day before dawn. But, unlike some of his neighbors in rural America, he's not rising to milk cows or scatter feed to chickens. He gets up to write poetry, and he's been doing it since he was an insurance executive and had only a few hours before putting on a suit and going to work. On March 11, 1999, less than a year after surviving a bout with cancer, he wrote: The sky a pale yellow this morning, like the skin of an onion, and here at the center, under layer upon layer of brooding and ferment, a poet, and cupped in his hands, the green shoot of one word.