Category Archives: poetry

His name was writ in oil: Philip Levine’s industrial sublime

People spend a lot more time earning a living than having sex, but you certainly wouldn’t know it from reading poetry.  You can flip through most anthologies without finding many songs in praise of labor.  There might be a bit … Continue reading

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Help me, Ziggy Stardust–you’re my last hope! The Bowie-olatry of Tracy K Smith

From Tracy K Smith’s collection Life on Mars (this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry) here is “Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?”: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/243882 Modern poets who write about death, time, the universe, God, and that sort of thing have to steer … Continue reading

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No such thing as an original sin

The other week, a friend was helping us take down our storm windows, and my job was to hold the bottom of the ladder and keep it stable.  He commented that they also serve who only stand and wait; this … Continue reading

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Boy from the Low Country

It is not often that you run across a style as distinctive and memorable as Atsuro Riley’s.  To say that something is unique is not necessarily to praise it–James Merrill, when asked to writer a blurb for a poet he … Continue reading

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Criticism will be love

I think Lynn Emanuel has joined my list of favorite poets. I would like to point you to “April 18th, the 21st Century” from her collection Noose and Hook.  Sadly, what exists on the Web is  “The World Outside: A Letter to Baudelaire about … Continue reading

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This poem sends ninjas and wizards out to reverse time and destroy the robots.

Another favorite item in this year’s BestAmPo is “Four Addresses” by Peter Davis.  The “addresses” are diected at 5-year-old boys, “People Who Are Tired, Hungry, or Horny,” “People with Certain Expectations About Poetry That Are Not Fulfilled in This Poem,” … Continue reading

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America, when will you take off your clothes?

Last summer there was a review of Allen Ginsberg’s photography in the New York Review of Books,  featuring Edmund White in all his saucy urbanity casting a cold but not censorious eye on the Beats: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/aug/19/beats-pictures-legend/?pagination=false I love the story of White’s … Continue reading

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