On Poetry

July 4, 2011

Embracing The Other I Am; or, How Walt Whitman Saved My Life 18


The first edition of Leaves of Grass is a poetical Declaration of Independence in so many ways it can be hard to keep track of them all.

April 22, 2011

A Year with Peter Porter 1


Porter had a united vision of the arts, switching in his conversation between literature, music and painting on a whim, but talking about each discipline with equal authority and interest. And then I read his poetry.

April 21, 2011

American Laurels: The Poets Laureate Anthology 4


As a volume in the cultural history of American poetry, there’s no doubt that Elizabeth Hun Schmidt’s The Poets Laureate Anthology is a valuable text. For starters, it’s the only book of its kind.

March 2, 2011

In the Company of Amy Clampitt 2


Two years ago I spent some time in Lenox, Massachusetts, at a house once owned by the poet Amy Clampitt. I slept in her bed, rifled through her books, gazed out the kitchen window at the tree by which her ashes are buried.

January 25, 2011

Dada Pedagogy: Andrei Codrescu’s The Poetry Lesson 2


Regardless of how it’s labeled, The Poetry Lesson is a brilliant work.

January 7, 2011

No More Irony: A Review of Monica Youn’s Ignatz 2


I was suspicious of Ignatz’s subgenre: poetry books that are designedly books rather than collections, their titles linked by a single unifying conceit. The category was proliferating, it seemed to me, cultured by a world of book prizes and writing programs, or encouraged by distinguished precedents and obvious advantages.

July 20, 2010

War Comes Home: Brian Turner’s Phantom Noise 1


Contemporary war, in America at least, is now defined as much by coming home as it is by shipping out.

June 10, 2010

Machine Gun Sonnets 4


World War One, when educated and idealistic young men wrote of mustard gas and aerial bombardment using sonnets and couplets.

April 27, 2010

Thrill Screen: Poetry and Performance 4


Consider that when this video premiered on MTV, I was four years old. “Thriller” broke all kinds of new ground for the way it merged storytelling, music, and filmmaking, but all that was nothing to the absolute crater this video—and Vincent Price’s reading—left on my tiny, brand-new imagination.

April 30, 2009

National Poetry Month: Kwame Dawes 1


Kwame Dawes is the author of fourteen books of poetry and many books of fiction, non-fiction and drama. His collection, Hope’s Hospice, will appear with Peepal Tree Press in May of 2009. He is Distinguished Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina where he directs the SC Poetry Initiative and the University of […]