Poetry

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Emily Dickinson’s Writing Process

When Emily Dickinson (born on this day in 1830) wrote her thousands of famous poems, she largely intentionally eschewed publication. That means there’s a treasure trove of fascinating information to be gleaned from both her manuscripts and the interpretations and publication of her poem in the ensuing years.

And then there are those dashes. Dickinson’s frequent use of the dash has been interpreted on dozens of symbolic and practical levels. They were musical notes! Pause indicators! Signifiers of female negativity punctuating the male space of the page! … Read More

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The Best Poetry Books of 2014

If you fell asleep on poetry in 2014, you might not actually be asleep: you might be dead. Poetry this year not only proved itself the liveliest and healthiest genre of writing, it also showed itself to be the most intellectually voracious. (I would even argue that one of the best American novels of 2014 was written by a poet.) Here are the ten best books of poetry from 2014. Frankly, they may just be the ten best books. … Read More

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PJ Harvey Announces Book of Poetry, ‘The Hollow of the Hand’

PJ Harvey has announced her collaboration on a book of poetry with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy (director of all 12 music… Read More

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The Works of 10 Contemporary Native American Poets

November is Native American Heritage Month — and we’re celebrating with a selection of poems from contemporary Native American writers. Joy Harjo, whose writing is featured below, once wrote: “The literature of the aboriginal people of North America defines America. It is not exotic. The concerns are particular, yet often universal.” These poets explore these universalities, as well as historical concerns and the issues facing Native Americans in the contemporary world. … Read More

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Enter Winter: 10 Poems for the End of Autumn

Thanksgiving’s coming up and there’s a definite chill in the air — so we thought we might warm ourselves by sharing ten of our favorite poems to accompany frosty mornings and leaf-shaking nights. Some of these poets’ speakers delight in snow and cold, and some get thoroughly depressed. A wintry mix, as it were. Curl up and read this near your favorite fire! … Read More

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5 Unthankful Literary Treats for Thanksgiving Day

Are you proud of your unthankfulness? Do you loathe Thanksgiving? Do you loathe everything? If so, you may want to disgust yourself with this cornucopia of literary misery, ready-made for your disapproval. Thwarted romance, hatred of country, bullies, Billy Crystal: it’s all here. Enjoy it now: you won’t thank me later. … Read More

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The Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feelings: Poetry as a Political Response

After listening to failed prosecutor Bob McCulloch debase the English language for 15 minutes on Monday night, repeatedly exculpating himself in favor of blaming social media, I felt ready to turn to the language of poetry. But I have to admit that I wasn’t (emotionally) ready for Tuesday’s post-Ferguson outpouring of what I’ll just call, for the sake of shorthand, response poems. Thankfully, as yesterday proved, response or reaction poems don’t have to be politically reactionary. … Read More

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10 Famous Poems That Appeared in Film

For decades, Hollywood has looked to the annals of literature for inspiration. Literary adaptations are more popular than ever, but poetry is still largely untapped. Films like Ken Russell’s Gothic and Jane Campion’s Bright Star center on famous poets, and there are some great movies based on poems, but we’re looking at the appearance of poetry in films — instances where characters and narratives are reflected in poetic works, recited in the movies themselves. Here’s a video scrapbook of poetry in movies. Feel free to continue adding to the list with your own video examples, below. … Read More

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Body Unlimited: The Incredible Poetry of Samuel Beckett

The Samuel Beckett we’re taught in America is solitary, dryly humorous, and existentially distressed: basically, he’s an absurdist playwright from a Charlie Kaufman movie. Beyond this, we may know him as a writer of unerringly spare and despairing prose — of the sort that literally gives Salman Rushdie a headache — or as James Joyce’s assistant, or as the guy who drove Andre the Giant to school each day. But we do not, generally speaking, appreciate him as poet. This is regrettable, not only because Beckett began his career as a poet in Paris — and continued writing poetry for the rest of his life — but also because his poetry strips down and by some means intensifies the qualities that imbue his drama and novels. And by this I mean that Samuel Beckett’s poetry wrests a negative infinity out of words without appearing to do much of anything at all. … Read More

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10 Creepy and Haunting Poems About Ghosts, Madness, and Fairy Abductions

With Halloween coming up and spookiness in the air, it seemed like a good time to share ten of the most haunting, uncanny, and unsettling poems — that are also the most beautiful. … Read More

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