July 15, 2012
One of the most popular City Hall topics in recent years has been Mayor Nutter's relationship with City Council and its 17 varied personalities and motivations. Mostly, the conversations boil down to who's winning and who's losing the political game. Last week, Council sought out a new arena where the combatants could wage this particular warfare. The challenge to Nutter and his administration arrived in a missive from Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr. It read: On this day: the 10th of July, We extend this challenge, and anticipate your reply.
April 24, 2012 |
Every e-mail from Philadelphia poet and provocateur CA Conrad ends with this note: "I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!! My real life has exceeded my dreams. " Conrad, 46, has plenty of reasons to be overjoyed. His oversized book, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, was just released during April's Poetry Month through the prestigious Wave Books imprint, in time for a reading tour through the South. The new work is a follow-up to the highly acclaimed, startling The Book of Frank, the Whitman-esque The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems, cowritten with Conrad's pal Frank Sherlock, and Advanced Elvis Course, the Soft Skull press effort that put Conrad on the national map with its gay Presley riffs and taunting, effortless humor.
April 23, 2012
Can't play without the best It's already apparent that the Phillies without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are comparable to my wonderful Philadelphia Orchestra attempting to play the masterful "Ninth Symphony" without the services of concertmaster David Kim and the first violin section. It's just not going to happen, either at Citizens Bank Park or Verizon Hall. Jules Slatko, Holland Save the United States Joe Henwood aptly describes the concept, design, and construction of the SS United States as exemplifying the "can do" attitude of our country in his call to action to save that iconic symbol of the American spirit from being reduced to a scrap heap, quite likely in a foreign scrap yard ("Time to rescue another great ship," April 15)
April 22, 2012 |
If Philadelphia and environs were a garden of poetry, it'd be … quite a garden. It'd be huge. This is a big poetry town that, while perhaps not as famed for verse as New York and San Francisco, is lush and fertile, especially during April, Poetry Month. No gardener could tend it all, much less get to it all. Too many events, readings, poets, speakers series (Bryn Mawr, Green Line Cafe, Moonstone Arts Center, Monday Poets at the Free Library, Kelly Writers House), and poetry groups (Moles Not Molars!
April 17, 2012 |
‘That was the stupidest poem ever. " Imogene, a ninth-grade English student, was critiquing my favorite poem, "Year's End," by Richard Wilbur. Such moments in teaching give me second thoughts about whether I should have gone into law, or plastics. I actually enjoy answering the question: "Why do we have to read this poem?" But more and more, the question has become: "Why do we have to read poetry?" This was essentially Imogene's lament, and it made me feel like a defender of the faith — a solitary English teacher facing the forces of darkness, chaos, and MTV. The resonant literary image, the ordered experience and cadence of the sentence, the counterpoint of the paragraph, and the music of the muse needs preservation — though we may be bloodied in the attempt!
April 8, 2012 |
'Poetry is dead. Long live poetry!" That's my rejoinder to National Poetry Month's seasonal hue and cry - febrile lament of poetry's demise coupled with celebration of its monarchal reign as highest of arts. For poetry lovers this renders April "the cruelest month," as T.S. Eliot observed. Like most poets writing today, I grew up with the notion that poetry is knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door. My teachers, my peers, and many literary journals reminded me that I am merely bloodying my knuckles.
March 16, 2012 |
AT TRADITIONAL poetry events, poets read their written work aloud. But this weekend, Swarthmore College shows that not all poetry is composed in a written language, or even in a language that can be spoken. "Signing Hands Across the Water" is a sign language poetry festival featuring American and British poets who express themselves through movement rather than by speaking. The festival is the work of Rachel Sutton-Spence, a reader in Deaf Studies at Britain's Bristol University and a visiting professor at Swarthmore this year.
February 16, 2012 |
David Livewell found poetry in Kensington long before downtown artists discovered that rough and resilient Philly neighborhood. "As a poet, you're always looking for that right word," says Livewell, whose fondly remembered childhood in a Master Street rowhouse inspired many of the poems in Shackamaxon . His manuscript won the 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize from Missouri's Truman State University Press, which will publish the book in September....
January 5, 2012
The Deleted World Poems By Tomas Tranströmer Versions by Robin Robertson Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 64 pp. $13 paperback. Reviewed by John Timpane Why wouldn't you buy this book? Thirteen bucks. Exactly 15 poems on 37 pages, plus a short introduction. Less than a dollar a poem, people, to be introduced to the latest Nobel Prize in Literature!? Most of the poems are 20, maybe 30 words long. I realize poems scare the lightning out of people, but really, can we be serious?
December 29, 2011 |
HAIKU: A leading lady in poetry embraces Philadelphia Sonia Sanchez, a retired Temple University professor and an award-winning poet, educator and activist, will be Philadelphia's first poet laureate. Mayor Nutter was to make the announcement this morning in City Hall. "I considered it quite the honor," Sanchez, 77, told the Daily News yesterday. "I accepted this post because you really want to remind the city, the country and the world that poetry reminds us of the best in ourselves and others . . . it brings us to that avenue where conversation will be discussed.