The wrap: poetry in the news (w/e 8 May 2013)
A handwritten poem by Oscar Wilde has sold for over four times its estimate at auction – fetching just over $100,000 (roughly $2,500 per line) – making it one of the most valuable poems ever written by an Irishman. Born on the same date that Wilde died, Alex Dimitrov – founder of a queer poetry salon in NYC called Wilde Boys – is Doing It Ruthlessly and All the Time, while patron saint of poetry, James Longenbach, is busy singing The Virtues of Poetry. Tony Hoagland thinks Twenty Little Poems Could Save America, but James MacManus thinks nothing could’ve saved Baudelaire from the Black Venus who betrayed, bankrupted and bewitched him into drug addiction. On Jerusalem Day, Yehuda Amichai was remembered with a poem comparing the city to a carousel, while translators of Dan Brown’s forthcoming novel – borne of his deep reading of Dante’s Commedia – toiled in a circle-of-hell of their own. The multitude of sham Dante tie-ins, including Jonathan Black’s Secret History of Dante – which will expose hidden codes, connections to the mysterious Knights Templar and “a 2,000-year-old conspiracy” – has some people (ok, me) dreaming of a galaxy far, far away … while NASA, hoping to take poetry to a new frontier, has put out a call for 17-syllable haiku for Martians.