Poetry

10 Must-Read Books for May

Often a given year’s publishing calendar is lopsided — the heavyweight books come out in September, after the literary mind has been thoroughly and evenly baked by the summer sun. But not this year! After a spirited April, we’re seeing a wise and hilarious May. One-of-a-kind acts of literary brilliance? Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Nell Zink’s Mislaid. Clear-eyed interventions in American life? Try Susan Neiman’s Why Grow Up? or n+1‘s City by City. There is even a potential science-fiction masterpiece in Neal Stephnenson’s Seveneves. If we project our minds to the end of 2015, my guess is that we’ll see many of these on those lists of “best” and “notable”… Read More

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The Swooniest Lord Byron Quotes

English poet Lord Byron’s reputation as a heartbreaker precedes him. During his most publicized affair with British aristocrat Lady Caroline Lamb, the society darling famously declared the Don Juan “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” It’s an epitaph still quoted to this day. On the 191st anniversary of the Romantic rogue’s death, we’re looking back at some of Byron’s swooniest quotes — pieces of his works that prove the bon vivant’s seductive writing prowess was always on point, making him one of the greatest Romantics of the age. … Read More

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Presidential Hopeful Rand Paul Celebrates National Poetry Month

Senator Rand Paul has had a rough first foray onto the Presidential campaign trail. He scolded female reporters, dodged questions, and seemed bored by the salt of the earth constituent types he claims to represent. As The Washington Post noted after a mere day of America’s experiencing Candidate Paul: “The rocky media rollout of his presidential effort highlighted a key question facing him now: whether the same tough approach that has made him a favorite among Tea Party activists and libertarians might be limiting in a national campaign,” To put it more simply: is this dude too much of an abrasive jerk to win over the country?

Rand Paul needs to soften his image, no doubt about it. Fortunately, National Poetry Month in April offers us a great opportunity to see the more scholarly and, um emo, side of the guy (as evidenced by the recently unearthed photo above). To that end, Paul sent us some great discussion questions to jumpstart our consideration of six famous poems, excerpted below. … Read More

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2015 Guggenheim Fellows Announced

Today the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 173 Fellowships to “a diverse group of 175 scholars, artists, and… Read More

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Who Wrote the Best Translated Book of 2015?

Has translated literature in the United States turned a corner? With some exceptions, readers of literature in translation (which should include every schoolchild in the land) no longer wait listlessly for their favorite authors to be translated. Thanks to a thriving, industrious translation community at home and abroad, the situation is now the opposite: brilliant unknown or unfamiliar authors are published every month, along with new translations of classics, lost or beloved. Surely there is still work to be done, but we have the translation community to thank for doing it. … Read More

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Kenneth Goldsmith’s “The Body of Michael Brown”: How a Poem Meant to Illuminate Racism Ended Up Performing It

Last Friday, at a Brown University conference titled Interrupt 3, MoMA Poet Laureate Kenneth Goldsmith read from the St. Louis County autopsy report for Michael Brown, which he had appropriated and lightly edited for a poem he christened “The Body of Michael Brown.” The audience reaction, according to one report, was “fairly subdued.” The Twitter reaction was not. … Read More

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Words of Wisdom From Haiku and John Oliver: Links You Need to See

Daylight Saving Time has returned to rob us of our coveted hour of sleep for no apparent reason and unify us in fatigue and crankiness. But the Nacho Punch comedy group appreciates how precious our time is to us and has decided to do something about it. In this dramatic film we see a group of heroes embarking on what’ll surely be classified as the greatest mission in the history of humanity: getting our lost hour back and returning us to our original sleep cycles. Wish them well. … Read More

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Read Three Poems From Sarah Blake’s “Unauthorized Lyric Biography of Kanye West”

Sarah Blake‘s new book of poetry, Mr. West, is an “unauthorized lyric biography of Kayne West,” where the rapper serves as the muse for Blake’s poetry. Blake spends years thinking about West as father, son, boyfriend, husband, celebrity, genius. Through her poetry, Kanye becomes as sharp and multifaceted as a diamond, with a reflection that changes every time you look at it. Released on March 9, Mr. West is a unique and risky book. We’re happy to excerpt three of Blake’s poems — a selection that deals with Taylor Swift, the MTV Movie Awards, and “I Am a God.” Click through to read them. … Read More

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Can This Small Publisher’s Radiohead-Style Plan Change the Way Books Are Sold?

With the release poet Noah Eli Gordon’s The Word Kingdom in the Word Kingdom, Brooklyn Arts Press is attempting something rare in small publishing — they are trying to change the way books are sold. Specifically, BAP, run by managing editor and publisher Joe Pan, is selling Gordon’s books via a “pay what you want” model, in the vein of Radiohead and Louis CK, albeit with some significant differences. To begin with (and perhaps surprisingly) BAP is selling physical and not digital copies of the book — you pay only a five dollar S&H fee along with whatever price you choose. And the obvious thing: Radiohead and Louis CK were able to implement such a model because they are famous. Although Gordon is not famous, Brooklyn Arts Press is hoping that word-of-mouth, the model itself, and the quality of the book, which is excellent, will help drive sales. And it already seems to be working. … Read More

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