February 17, 2014 |
'Without my death, who will I be?" That central existential question in the futuristic Tod Machover opera Death and the Powers threatens to reverse the usual leading-soprano dilemma: Instead of preparing to die, she decides she should live, possibly forever, in an alternative realm. And since the medium is its message, this acclaimed 2011 opera about billionaire Simon Powers, who downloads his essence into his possessions, arrives in Philadelphia in the apotheosis of virtuality.
August 11, 2011 |
He's as American as poets get - a son of immigrant parents, the hardworking classes, a master of straightforward, uncompromising American-English poetry telling of life as flesh-and-blood people live and feel it. And Wednesday, Philip Levine, 83, was appointed by Congress as U.S. poet laureate, succeeding the eminent W.S. Merwin. It's amazing Levine hasn't been laureate yet. He has won almost every high-profile prize for poetry, including a Pulitzer, two Guggenheims, two National Book Awards, and a Ruth Lilly Prize.
May 11, 2011 |
O Philadelphia! My Philadelphia! Rise up and hear the bells! We are getting a poet laureate! Camden, home of Walt Whitman, will shame us no more. Mayor Nutter recently announced that Philadelphia - city of clamorous larynx and dexterous middle digits! - will establish through its Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy an official Poet Laureate program. Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer, who will chair the planning committee, "hopes the poet laureate can be announced sometime this fall.
May 14, 2006 |
I saw the best minds of the PEN "World Voices" Literary Festival annoyed by overbooking, starving, hysterical, sometimes not remembering why they were there. . . . How to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Howl, the chantaholic 1956 poem by Allen Ginsberg that became a mantra of the Beat Generation, a countercultural update of Whitman's barbaric yawp, a "Mardi Gras of Freedom" (Robert Pinsky's apt phrase) for every outsider who ever felt a victim of large oppressive forces? How to mark a radical, prophetic scream against everything official and boring in poetry, a long-line, free-verse apotheosis of the experimental and uninhibited (drugs, homosexuality, friendship, you name it)
November 16, 2005 |
Tonight, the American Poetry Review, the most widely circulated poetry magazine in the world, will celebrate its 33d year of continuous publication at a gala event titled "Of the People, For the People: A Celebration of American Poetry. " It will take place, fittingly, at the National Constitution Center and feature Meryl Streep reading selections from Emily Dickinson. The audience will also hear the poets John Ashbery, Rita Dove, Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, and I reading from our own work.
April 9, 2004
Robert Pinsky is one of the nation's most prominent poets and public figures in the arts. During his unprecedented three-year term as U.S. Poet Laureate, he directed the nationwide Favorite Poem Project, in which ordinary, average people were videotaped reciting their favorite poems. The archive of readings is now in the Library of Congress. Pinsky is reading at 8 tonight in the Library Auditorium of Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown (215-968-8150). In an e-mail exchange with The Inquirer, Pinsky spoke of technology and poetry, the place of the poet in the community, and the connection between New Jersey and poetry.
April 8, 2003 |
Bryn Mawr College has an illustrious and long history - 118 years to be exact - as a sterling academic institution for serious, bright young women, historically bypassing such traditional areas of study as education and the arts. This was not the place for prancing girls in black leotards or those lost in the world of their journals, a perception that continues to this day when a third of its 1,330 undergraduate enrollment major in the sciences. But Bryn Mawr "wants to encourage a greater balance in life, and is raising its profile in the arts," says provost Ralph Kuncl.
December 28, 2002
The New Jersey Legislature seems hell-bent on abolishing the post of state poet laureate only two years after it was created. This is overkill. It is a kneejerk reaction to controversy. Yet a bill to eliminate the post has sailed through committee and awaits full Senate action following the holiday recess. The lawmakers have reason to be upset with current poet laureate Amiri Baraka, whose controversial poem, "Somebody Blew Up America," included a reprehensible suggestion that Jews were responsible for the World Trade Center attack.
October 7, 2002 |
Something exciting happened in New Jersey last month, and it had nothing to do with The Sopranos' new season, hazardous waste, or political corruption. After a two-year hiatus, poets by the hundreds returned to Waterloo Village in Morris County, like swallows to Capistrano, for the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. There was an informal armistice, of sorts, in the rhetoric of the faraway Middle East conflict as Taha Muhammad Ali, a self-taught Muslim who writes in Arabic, read his poems of simple life in Nazareth, where he sells tiny statues to Christian pilgrims.
September 18, 2002 |
This weekend I will make my biennial pilgrimage to poetry heaven, otherwise known as the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. This renowned gathering will be held for the ninth time at Waterloo Village in Stanhope. I plan to visit as many of the Chautauqua-style tents as possible, where present-day masters of the spoken word will be offering explorations in the poetic craft. Billy Collins, the U.S. poet laureate, will be there, as well as three previous poets laureate - Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove, and Stanley Kunitz.