Monday, March 1, 2010

A Peek under the Lid

Art relies on the conversion of even flaws and defects into positive aesthetic values. It is a strange hymn to stupidity.

-- Anna Kaminska, from a forthcoming notebook in Poetry (translated by Clare Cavanagh)

Also coming soon in Poetry:

An excerpt of "Revelator" by Ron Silliman

A "Q&A" issue, featuring NBCC award-winner Rae Armantrout, Randall Mann, Todd Boss, Donald Revell, Cathy Park Hong, H.L. Hix, Devin Johnston, Robyn Schiff and others

David Biespiel on American poets and their disengagement:

"America’s poets have a minimal presence in American civic discourse and a minuscule public role in the life of American democracy. I find this condition perplexing and troubling — both for poetry and for democracy. Because when I look at American poetry from the perspective of a fellow traveler, I see an art invested in various complex, fascinating, historical, and sometimes shop-worn literary debates. I see a twenty-first century enterprise that’s thriving in the off-the-beaten-track corners of the nation’s cities and college towns. But at the same time that poetry’s various coteries are consumed with art-affirming debates over poetics and styles, American poetry and America’s poets remain amazingly inconsequential to the rest of the nation’s civic, democratic, political, and public life."

... with responses from various poets.

Poems by Elizabeth Arnold, Yusef Komunyakaa, Bob Hicok, Matthew Zapruder, Paul Hoover, John Kinsella, Ange Mlinko, Roddy Lumsden
& more...

Other attractions-

A piece by yours truly on V.R. "Bunny" Lang
at the Kennings Editions website
to celebrate the publication of
The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, 1945-1985

Pictured: Pandora, who else?


Henry Gould said...

My sneaking suspicion is that the main cause of the condition described by Biespiel is that in America poetry-writing is subsidized, promoted & organized by the universities. Hence there's a glut of it. If there were less pushy-subsidized-professional poetry out there, maybe Americans would start to miss it in their lives. I mean the real thing. & then the relation between poet & public would be electrified -- eroticized, let's say. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Henry Gould said...

But on 2nd thought, I don't think the universities etc. are at fault. The underlying problem, if there is one - the basic problem, if you have to have one - is that poets themselves don't know what poetry is any more. They don't know what it is.

Nikolai Gumilev knew what it was - but nobody knows who he is. There is no inner standard here.

Henry Gould said...

But then what do I know. Poetry seems to thrive on imponderables.

Steven Fama said...

Hi Don,

Pandora, yes, but by whom (the artist)? Sorry if my ignorance is showing here, but please, if you know -- lemme know!

Also, great to hear about "Revelator" coming to Poetry. Having heard the recording of Silliman reading a long bit of it, I'm curious to see (a part of) it on the page. But I hope it's pages and pages worth. If not, get on your knees and beg the poet, that's what I'd do.

And I dunno about "coming soon." That could mean . . . next month, or 2012. I usually turn off the local TV news broadcast if they try to tease me like that. I'll still look for Poetry at the news-stands, but please, re-consider how you hype the 'zine....

Don Share said...


The image is of a painting by John William Waterhouse: "Pandora," ca. 1896.

Ron's piece is an excerpt, but a pretty good-sized one. We're working it into the schedule now, which is why I didn't have a definite date for it... but June or so. I'll update this post when I know for sure. Gotta keep the suspense going, eh? That's not hype so much as hoping readers will get excited. We don't advertise much, so it's surely pardonable for me to blurble on my modest blog!

Thanks, Steven!

Steven Fama said...

Thanks Don, for the info on Waterhouse. I had the correct century guessed, it turns out, and -- having just now read a little bit about Waterhouse -- see that I "sort of" was right abou it being a Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood type painting.

It's a great image, although, in my mind, and whether it's entirely consistent with the myth or not I don't know -- but I DO NOT see Pandora on her knees, ever. I embrace Pandora as a towering force of curiosity, boldly opening the box of possibilities, not a submissive going at it tentatively.

I do like all the skin in Waterhouse's imagining, and not just because it gets me, at certain moments, going. The image suggests full-on contact (no barriers) with the unknown, and that's a powerful image.

Joelle Biele said...

Thanks so much for the heads up--looking forward to David B's piece and Kaminska's notebook--