March 16, 2013 |
If you're going to put on a poetry festival . . . first get on a ship. Paul Muldoon, poet and professor at Princeton University, is setting up the third Princeton Biennial Poetry Festival for Friday and Saturday. And getting on a ship, in part, is how he chose the poets who'll be there. We'll explain. First: The festival, which began in 2009, is a great chance to see a diverse group of wonderful poets, poets who write all sorts of ways about all sorts of things. Friday kicks off with the New Jersey state finals of Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition for high school students.
March 8, 2013
Poems 1962-2012 By Louise Glück Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 656 pp. $40. Reviewed by John Timpane My mixed feelings about Louise Glück's poetry may, in some eyes, make me unsuited to write a useful review of this book. It's a very important book to have, if you like the U.S. poetry of the last half-century. Louise Glück, no doubt about it, occupies a singular and influential place - for the good - in poetry since 1962, inspiring countless poets, and teaching countless more.
January 18, 2013 |
Siduri Beckman, 14, swoons over George Eliot's Silas Marner with a passion many girls her age reserve for, say, One Direction boy-band phenom Harry Styles. "I loooove that book," she said, sitting in the auditorium at her school, Julia R. Masterman. Correction. She loves Eliot's Middlemarch first, then Silas Marner . But Philadelphia's first youth poet laureate - Mayor Nutter announced her title this week - has never read Harry Potter. If her tastes seem a little serious, Beckman herself is not. She explains that her parents, Karen and Michael Beckman of West Philadelphia, named her Siduri after the "bartender to the gods" in the Epic of Gilgamesh . The literary Siduri knows the secret of everlasting life, Beckman says.
January 15, 2013 |
I LOVE MY CAT. It sat on a mat. It's OK that it's fat. I love that. That was the first poem written by Siduri Beckman, then 6 years old. It was terrible, she says now. But eight years later, her poetry has landed her a one-year gig as the city's first youth poet laureate. Mayor Nutter and Gary Steuer, the city's chief cultural officer, will make the announcement Monday evening in City Hall. Beckman, 14, a student at Julia R. Masterman School in Spring Garden who aspires to be a district attorney and eventually a Supreme Court justice, stood out among the 30 applicants.
January 14, 2013 |
THE CROWD ROARED as Kai Davis walked toward the stage and took her place behind the mike. She stood there for a moment, silent, her wavy locks glistening beneath the spotlight. She rubbed her eyes, took a deep breath and released a stream of poetic verbiage before an intimate audience at a poetry slam Friday night inside Studio 34, in West Philadelphia. The spoken-word poetry scene (also known as slam poetry) is booming in Philadelphia. After the sun sets, the poetically inclined and curious file into venues throughout the city to share their work or, as some poets call it, to "get free.
January 8, 2013 |
If Muhammad Ali's approach to the boxing ring was to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Philadelphia's Jon Barthmus sounds as though he's thinking likewise when it comes to making music. Yet rather than treat his audience to pummels and poetry of insults, Barthmus - as the main man and singing compositional center of Sun Airway - soothes and romances his listeners with an insistent and constant flutter. Two albums of Barthmus' chirruping tones and sparse lyrics - 2010's Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier and last year's Soft Fall - are as metrical as any Ali rant and doubly melodious to boot.
January 6, 2013 |
Tom Quinlan calls her "one of the great wonders of the Western world. " Her name was Sister Marie St. Joseph, and she was a nun who taught fourth grade at St. Bartholomew's School in Wissinoming. Every Friday afternoon, she would pull out a little green book. "She would read great poetry, Longfellow and Kipling, people of that nature, and she did it with such depth and such feeling," Quinlan recalls. Every once in a while, when she was called to the office, she would ask a student to take her place.
December 1, 2012 |
Aylisha Brown has been writing poems since age 16, when she found it the best way to make sense of her crazy world. One of her first poems was included in a news story about her mother, Crystal Brown - a narrative of tragedy and triumph - published in The Inquirer in 2006. It was then that Aylisha learned that her biological father was also her grandfather, that her mother had long been abused by her father, and that that relationship had caused the progressive genetic disease leaving Aylisha in a wheelchair.
November 17, 2012
Libya question The writer of the letter "Questions that need answers" (Tuesday) posed interesting questions that journalists need to ask of former CIA Director David Petraeus. Although the list of questions is thoughtful, another significant one needs to be added: Did Petraeus' testimony to the House Intelligence Committee about the attack on Benghazi relate to the pending disclosure about his affair? Given Petraeus' sterling military career and fine reputation as CIA chief, his strange support of the White House theory that the attack was a spontaneous demonstration is shockingly disingenuous.
November 12, 2012 |
November 11 will forever remind Dorothy Blair of the Armistice Day celebration her beloved uncle captured on paper in 1918. Thomas Staller Edwards was 19 and at work in Center City when news arrived that World War I had ended. "When the mad crowd went rushing and roaring past . . . I completely lost my head. I grabbed all the papers from my desk and dumped them out the window," he wrote. "I wanted to kiss someone. I ran out on Chestnut St. and kissed all the pretty girls.