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.

newspaper-icon-thumb10559428A 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.

The wrap: poetry in the news (w/e 2 May 2013)

A British scholar finds Vita Sackville-West’s poem to her mistress, Violet Trefusis, when it falls out of a book, while a Canadian poet constructs a found poem from reviews of books by women in major publications (but switches the pronouns to male). Par exemple: “Much of his novel seems held together with a kind of teary hormonal paste”. In Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice, Professor Daisy Fried proclaims “The Poetess has long felt that women’s equality should be founded in the notion that a woman is no worse than a man” and proceeds to declare Charles Bukowski “our greatest living poetess“.

newspaper-icon-thumb10559428A British scholar finds Vita Sackville-West’s poem to her mistress, Violet Trefusis, when it falls out of a book, while a Canadian poet constructs a found poem from reviews of books by women in major publications (but switches the pronouns to male). Par exemple: “Much of his novel seems held together with a kind of teary hormonal paste”. In Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice, Professor Daisy Fried proclaims “The Poetess has long felt that women’s equality should be founded in the notion that a woman is no worse than a man” and proceeds to declare Charles Bukowski “our greatest living poetess”. Appalachian Elegy, legendary-feminist bell hooks’ new book of poems, honours the first-people in her native state of Kentucky, while the first known Native American literary writer, Bamewawagezhikaquay (Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), is remembered on the last day of National Poetry Month. On Poetica Spike Milligan’s poem “Manic Depression at St Luke’s Wing, Woodside Hospital Psychiatric Wing, 1953” opens: “The pain is too much, a thousand grim winters grow in my head, in my ears the sound of the coming dead”, while the working papers to “Sheep in Fog” reveal how Sylvia Plath arrived at the poem’s grim end: “They threaten 
/ To let me through to a heaven /
 Starless and fatherless, a dark water”. A Washington Post critic fears Charles Simic’s whip-smart metaphors are wielding less of a bite, but a professor of economics explains conceptual poets peak early, and experimental poets peak late. Meanwhile a book of cat-themed poetry – I Could Pee On This – swishes its tail on the NPR best-seller lists, amid self-help books and memoirs, while a bemused editor curates a gallery of insouciant feline poems.

Past Wraps:

w/e 25 Apr 2013

The wrap: poetry in the news (w/e 25 apr 2013)

In Los Angeles, a Harvard poet wondered ”Is this too loud, is this too soft, am I going on too long?” while Sharon Olds put the ideal of her husband to rest and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Anne Carson published a poem composed using a random integer generator in the London Review of Books, and James Franco released a poem on the occasion of his 35th birthday. Bollywood heartthrob Farhan Akhtar penned a poem after hearing a five-year-old girl in Delhi had been raped and tortured by her neighbour. Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer penned “the worst poem of all time“ in her musings on the younger Boston Marathon bomber. Historians noted 397 and 189 years have passed since Shakespeare and Byron, respectively, died of fevers.

newspaper-icon-thumb10559428In Los Angeles, a Harvard poet wondered “Is this too loud, is this too soft, am I going on too long?” while Sharon Olds put the ideal of her husband to rest and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Anne Carson published a poem composed using a random integer generator in the London Review of Books, and James Franco released a poem on the occasion of his 35th birthday. Bollywood heartthrob Farhan Akhtar penned a poem after hearing a five-year-old girl in Delhi had been raped and tortured by her neighbour. Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer penned “the worst poem of all time” in her musings on the younger Boston Marathon bomber. Historians noted 397 and 189 years have passed since Shakespeare and Byron, respectively, died of fevers. The only known poem by Winston Churchill, “Our Modern Watchwords“, failed to sell at an auction at Bonhams. The priest who found Malta’s earliest poem died at age 97, and Irish rare-book collector Rick Gekoski prayed that the poem James Joyce wrote as a little boy – “Et Tu, Healy” will never be found.