On Poetry

July 29, 2014

“Story with a Real Beast and a Little Blood”: on Rose McLarney’s Its Day Being Gone 0

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Appalachian literature plays an elegaic refrain. It is a literature of dislocation and transition and survival.

July 21, 2014

Americans Love Poetry, But Not Poetry Books 3

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Although the audience for poetry is vast, despite the very hard and creative work being done by publishers, this wider audience hasn’t yet crossed the bridge from reading poetry into buying poetry books.

July 18, 2014

The Saddest Poem Ever Written 12

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Novels have hurt me. Stories have punctured my skeptical skin. Essays have made me rethink the world. But a melancholic poem shatters me.

July 9, 2014

Performance Anxiety: When Poets Read Aloud 11

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Why do some poets perform as though they had just come to in a bad dream?

June 13, 2014

Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline: The New Jersey Poems of Timothy Walsh 0

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When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive understands that loss is imminent and inevitable, and that the things we have lost are beyond retrieval. That’s what makes it so painful, and so lovely.

April 3, 2014

Liner Notes: A Poetry Playlist 4

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Poetry and music share a word of process — composition — and are linked by negotiations of melody, harmony, rhythm, proportion, and discord. Here is a poetry playlist: 10 poets offer their composition soundtracks.

April 1, 2014

Afghanistan’s Secret Feminism, Through Verse 2

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In a corner of the world far from the western imagination, poetry may stand for something vibrant, illicit, honest, and subversive.

March 27, 2014

Filling the Silences: Race, Poetry, and the Digital-Media Megaphone 2

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For most white Americans born outside the South, the Civil Rights Movement is the stuff of history books — fascinating, but abstract. For people like Taylor and myself, whose families were profoundly shaped by the civil rights struggle before we were born, that turbulent era is acutely personal, and at the same time distant and exotic.

November 7, 2013

How to Be Alone: The Millions Interviews Tanya Davis 0

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No matter how people approach loneliness or solitude or community, we all do. We’re not that different from each other. The way we experience it is different, but we all experience love, pain, loneliness.

October 17, 2013

Clean New Music: On Seamus Heaney 2

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I needed Heaney’s voice to know what a voice could sound like, and through Heaney I discovered my own voice. I learned to listen to the timbre of its echoes.