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.
August 29, 2004 |
If this borough of about 15,000 had a poet laureate, it's likely that Anthony Gulotta would be it. "Not that I have much competition," laughs Gulotta, a small man with a shock of white hair and a penchant for self-deprecating humor. The borough has been his home for 40 years, so if anyone could lay claim to being a town wordsmith, it might as well be Gulotta. "Nice people, down to earth, they make you feel welcome," he says of residents. Mary Seacrist, whose family has owned the luncheonette and news agency on Bridge Street for as long as anyone can remember, says Gulotta comes in a couple times a week for coffee and conversation.
August 17, 2004 |
These days, when Bob Dylan takes the stage on his Never Ending Tour - if it's Tuesday, he must be in Charleston, S.C. - he's introduced as "the poet laureate of rock-and-roll. " The songwriting bard has answered to that title since the early 1960s, when the jingle jangle of his "skipping reels of rhyme" exploded notions of pop music's creative limitations, and in the words of Bruce Springsteen, "freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body. " But do great pop songs qualify as great poems?
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.
May 23, 2004 |
A television special about the Triangle Waist Co. fire in 1911 moved Teresa Mendez-Quigley to write a poem called "Winged Victory. " Based on the reported leap of a husband and wife from a factory window in New York, the poem is Mendez-Quigley's imagined account of the couple's last moments together. "How difficult it must have been," Mendez-Quigley said last week, her sympathy rekindled as she recalled the doomed pair. "They kissed and then jumped. " Mendez-Quigley, who lives in Erdenheim, was selected recently as the 2004 Montgomery County poet laureate.
November 16, 2003 |
The pages are blank in the leather-bound journal sitting on the bookshelf in Brian Lutz's bedroom. He bought the journal four years ago for about $90 in a cathedral in Florence, Italy. He planned to write poems - his poems - on the unlined, cream-colored pages. "It's intimidating. I'm waiting for some sign I'm good enough to write in it," said Lutz, 27, who recently earned a master's degree in fine arts from Southampton College in New York. Validation came last month when Lutz was recognized as the 2003 Bucks County poet laureate.
October 24, 2003 |
Out of the ash she rises with red hair, eating men like air. In her latest resurrection, Lady Lazarus, poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), arrives in the form of Gwyneth Paltrow, star of filmmaker Christine Jeffs' portrait of the artist as a glowing meteor doomed to vaporize in Earth's atmosphere. Make that a double portrait, for Jeffs' actual subject is the volatile marriage of Plath and Ted Hughes, also a poet (and in 1984 named poet laureate of England), whose first wife, Plath, and his second, Assia Wevill, took their own lives.
August 4, 2003 |
A message of hate is scrawled on a basement wall of a prestigious university. Assailants pelt a wheelchair-bound man with an aluminum can and anti-Semitic expletives. Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti are written in a restroom of a middle school; a 9-foot menorah outside a Jewish center is dumped into a stream. While these anti-Semitic incidents are horrific and disturbing, even more shocking may be just how close to home they occurred. Each incident transpired in New Jersey, and each is an example of the sad escalation of anti-Semitic activities throughout our state, the nation and the world.
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.
May 18, 2003 |
He always had a lot to write about, Ed Galing. A Jewish kid who grew up poor on New York's Lower East Side and then moved to South Philadelphia, where his father settled him and his mother into a three-room walk-up and promptly disappeared, and who struggled to keep his own family afloat through hard times in a housing project, Galing always had to get it out on paper, click-clacking away on a typewriter in the bathroom at night so as not to...