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.
December 20, 2011 |
The life of Václav Havel, who died Sunday at age 75, shows poetry can shape the destiny of nations and change the course of history. Dazzled by dollar signs, we in the United States tend not to take the art of language seriously. But Havel (who was awarded the 1994 Liberty Medal) knew the potency of words to mold the future. For more than five decades - in the tradition of Mohandas Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon and Pope John Paul II - Havel used words to do just that.
December 4, 2011
By Les Murray Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 82 pp. $24 A Memoir of Depression By Les Murray Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 86 pp. $13 By Adam Zagajewski Translated by Clare Cavanagh Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 128 pp. $23. By Don Marquis Everyman. 224 pp. $13.50 Reviewed by John Timpane The world's made better by each good book of poems. We have few better examples than the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski.
November 25, 2011 |
LOUIS C. McKEE once said that it requires a large dose of arrogance to think that anyone would be interested in "something you have thought and written down. " That's why, he said, writers who think they are poets are advised to hide their poems "in a box under the bed. " Fortunately for those who enjoy the kind of poetry that Louis McKee was known for - "clarity and candor," as one critic observed - he didn't hide his work under the bed. He published his poetry in more than a dozen chapbooks while also serving as an editor and reviewer of the efforts of fellow scribblers.
September 22, 2011 |
'It's not the Da Vinci Code ," says Stephen Greenblatt, "but it tells the same story: the thrill and astonishment when something very old, something thought to be lost, forgotten, returns to the world with the potential to change it. " Greenblatt - who reads at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Central Library - is speaking of his new book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern . He's right: Swerve isn't much like Dan Brown's ...
September 9, 2011
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry (Viking, $24.95) The lyrical, award-winning novelist depicts Depression-era America through the eyes of Lilly Bere, a political refugee from Ireland. (Sept. 6) Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women by Melissa V. Harris-Perry (Yale, $28) The author, a professor of political science at Tulane University, explores how black women negotiate the many images society throws at them. The personal really is the political - and vice versa.
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.
July 27, 2011 |
Kai Davis is standing on a stage in San Francisco. Three thousand strangers stare at her, waiting in silence. She breathes and visualizes LOVE Park. There, the 18-year-old has performed more times than she can count. Davis dives into her performance - a poem, but not just a poem. Through spoken word, Davis brings the whole city of Philadelphia onto the stage of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. With the points from her performance, Davis' team then wins Brave New Voices, the largest competitive spoken-word event in the world.
July 15, 2011 |
"Never satisfied, I will practice my practice forever. " These were the powerful words spoken by Sinnea Douglas, 18, as she performed for a City Hall audience yesterday her spoken-poetry piece about wanting to become a teacher. Douglas is one of the six members of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement team who will bring their rhymes, cadences and powerful messages to San Francisco for the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam team championships next Wednesday through Saturday.