Poetry

The Art of Ancient Love Poems

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In an attempt to appreciate the innocence of Valentine’s Day without the dreaded Hallmark sentiment, we’re looking back at several ancient love poems. The term “ancient” is applied loosely in some instances. But throughout the centuries, fragments of swoon-worthy, erotic lines from poets often unnamed have offered clues about some of the oldest literary examples from the ancient world. Here are some of the most compelling.
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Music, Memory, and Black Bodies: Kevin Young’s Brilliant Variations on the Blues

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“Blues are not poetry,” Langston Hughes wrote in 1927, ventriloquizing his critics among journalists of the time. He meant, it seems, the opposite, and he wasted no time straightening the record. “Those who have made a more thorough study of Negro folk verse than I and who are authorities in this field” — he’s referring, for one, to James Weldon Johnson — “say that many Blues are excellent poetry.”
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Brilliant, Under-Appreciated Books Lead This Year’s National Book Critics Circle Shortlist

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Thirty finalists across six categories will compete for this year’s National Book Critics Circle awards, which will be presented on March 17 in a ceremony that is open to the public. And although we might quibble over the exclusion of certain preferences from the list of nominees, it’s worth noting, yet again, that the category structure of the awards makes for a more interesting and perhaps fairer contest, one that also aims to put the lie to the notion that critics are more monkish and less progressive than other voting bodies.
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The Most Anticipated Poetry Books of 2016

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From much-needed surveys of our greatest practicing poets, like Kevin Young’s Blue Laws, to new collections from post-war masters, like Adrienne Rich’s 1950-2012, this year looks to be one that lays the groundwork for poetry that will be taught, read, and discussed in the coming years. Otherwise: startlingly assured, original debuts and recovered poetry from Pablo Neruda. It’s still early in the year, but there’s already much to anticipate.
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Flavorwire Staffers on What Was Criminally Underrated in 2015

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Every year, we round up the world’s best pop culture and rank it objectively so that it can be quickly consumed for years to come. Some things, while great, were for whatever reason left out of those lists, and so here we are, listing all of those “other” things that we thoroughly enjoyed in 2015 — though one of these things actually did appear on our list of best TV shows. Some of these things are abstract and some of them are concrete, but all of them are worthy. Have a look. 
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From Books to Ebooks and Back: The Future of Literary Consumption Is Unwritten

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News from the Association of American Publishers that digital sales have dropped by ten percent in the first five months of 2015 has prompted big publishing to build and expand warehouse space for print books. But it isn’t just the precipitous decline in sales that is driving publishing back to the arms of print. Increasingly, readers — including young readers — prefer a mix of digital and print books, with a tendency to favor the latter.
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