My three-year-old nephew brought the post to me this morning. He wanted to do it himself because the package was very heavy and, like all three-year-old boys, he wants everyone to know that he is very strong.
It was my contributor’s copy of Poetry International 18/19, all 736 pages of it, a treasure chest of poems and reviews. I am particularly enjoying the profile on Jane Hirshfield, whom I will be hosting for a Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading in August.
My two book reviews begin on page 700. Fred Moramarco was longtime editor of Poetry International, and his The City of Eden collects a lifetime of work spent in the rich conversation of poetry. Jonathan Harris is a newer poet, contemporary with me at the Pacific University MFA, whose brave debut The Wave That Did Not Break is a duet between him and his poet mother, who committed suicide when he was eleven.
The hefty double-issue also contains a review of Nikola Madzirov’s latest collection, exciting translations of Pablo Neruda, and many other gems. It will easily sustain me for another year. You can order copies directly from San Diego State University Press.
The Internet gives us the illusion that the best a culture has to offer will invariably find its way to us. But when it comes to art, I find that so much still comes down to local knowledge. Americans and Brits alike have long maintained a fascination with the literary work of their overseas cousins, but usually only the biggest names make the trip across the pond.
Hoping in some small way to remedy this, I have written an article for the US edition of The Huffington Post on “5 British Poets to Watch in 2013” and, for sake of symmetry, an article in the UK edition of The Huffington Post on “Five American Poets to Watch in 2013“.
How closely you watch is, of course, up to you. My hope is that you will seek out the work of these ten fine poets out for your own sake, to bring a little transcontinental mischief and mirth to your poetry reading in the year ahead.
I spent a rich and meaningful afternoon reading poems with fellow Pacific University Alumni: Kathryn Belsey, Michelle Bitting, Jonathan Harris, and George Wallace — as well as eminent faculty member David St. John. The Ruskin Art Club played host, thanks to the ever-gracious Elena Karina Byrne, to this reunion of sorts. Afterward I heard audience members remark that they felt the variety and quality of the readings gave testament to the strength of Pacific’s writing program. David St. John kindly remarked that, to him, the real secret of teaching is that one actually gets back, through the students, so much more than one gives. It was an afternoon full of generosity and goodwill — not to mention outstanding poetry.
I also took this occasion to debut my new limited-edition broadside of the poem “Recipe for the Broken.” The poem was first published in “Walt’s Corner” of The Long Islander, the newspaper founded by Walt Whitman in 1838. Fittingly, the column is now curated by George Wallace. The poem and background image are printed on sturdy 8.5″ x 11″ paper as part of The Broadsider Volume 2, Series 12 (Poor Souls Press 2010), conceived and created by Paul Fericano. A limited quantity of hand-numbered and signed prints are now available for sale on this website.