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Patriarchy Bends:
Poet & Novelist Mary Mackey Honored at Harvard
by Jonah Raskin

Right now, poet and novelist Mary Mackey is sitting very pretty. But more than four decades ago, when she was an undergraduate at Harvard, she was not allowed to enter the Lamont Library on the campus. This semester the university invited her to read from her award-winning book of poems, The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams, many of them set in the ecologically endangered Brazilian Amazon. read more

Poem

Elegy for a Beloved Poet

for Dennis Schmitz,
1937-2019



by Susan Kelly-DeWitt


We gathered together in the night—
you with your tiger-eye; the night was
poetry. Your poems were skyscrapers—
the moon and stars shone down on them—
there was also a galaxy inside each window.
We stared up at the staggering grandeur,
a city at night, built of your words.
Some of us were dressed for the cold countries,
others had palm trees inside their hearts
but all of us were wearing the many-colored cloaks
of astonishment. Where are you now, poet
of the oceans, poet of the air,
poet whose words climbed the highest
mountains, dove into the deepest wells—
I will hold them to my heart. I will live
in your city of words until the breath
is stolen from me.

Gathered in the night
we saw the light inside you.

MORE >

TRIBUTE

Photo by Christopher Felver.

Philip Levine:
"I am a Poet of Memory…"
by Mari L'Esperance

Much has already been written about Philip Levine, a major American poet from Detroit and beloved teacher who published nearly twenty collections of poetry, alongside volumes of essays and translation (his posthumous works are The Last Shift, poems, and My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry, essays, both from Knopf). Perhaps best known as a poet of elegy who wrote about the lives of working-class people, Levine taught at Fresno State University in California’s Central Valley for more than thirty years. read more

FEATURED INTERVIEW

D. Nurkse. Photo by Jemimah Kuhfeld.

Green Birth, Green Death
An Interview with D. Nurkse
by Lee Rossi

D. Nurkse is the author of eleven books of poetry, the latest a re-telling of the story of Tristan and Iseult entitled Love in the Last Days. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and The Times Literary Supplement, among many others. His prizes include fellowships from both the Guggenheim foundation and the NEA, and from 1996-2001 he served as Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. He has taught prison inmates at Rikers Island, as well as students at Sarah Lawrence, Columbia, and the New School. He is an active campaigner for human rights, serving for a time on the board of Amnesty International, and has written frequently on the subject. read more

FEATURED REVIEW

Brenda Hillman. Photo by Forrest Gander.

Breathe Deeply, A Poetic Resistance to the Unknown
A review by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Mississippi
Ann Fisher-Wirth, Photographs by Maude Schuyler Clay

Extra Hidden Life, among the Days
Brenda Hillman

Terry Tempest Williams writes in her breakthrough essay, "The Open Space of Democracy," when we experience something fully, it opens us; it "creates a chasm in our heart, an expansion in our lungs…We breathe deeply and remember fear for what it is—a resistance to the unknown." Mississippi by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Extra Hidden Life, among the Days by Brenda Hillman are two stunning new poetry collections that offer us poetic duets with complicated experiences. read more

Featured Talk

The News from Poems:
Why Poetry Matters Now
by Susan Cohen

I grew up writing poetry. When I was an eighteen-year-old sophomore at Cal, I applied to my first workshop, submitted my poems, and was rejected. I thought that meant I had no talent and I didn't write another poem for almost thirty years. Sometimes I think I had to wait until I was old enough to withstand rejection. We all know, as poets, about rejection. read more

Tribute

Postscript for Julia Vinograd
by Richard Loranger

Julia's gone and it feels like the end of an era. I didn't expect that; I knew she would pass soon and it didn't occur to me once, but it really, deeply does feel that way. Julia was the core of something, a beating heart that moved a lot of psyches forward through momentum of poetry. Those psyches will continue to move forward, 'cause that's what psyches do, but they'll have to get used to a different torque, a slightly different engine propelling them. read more


Flying with "Julia" Poems: Julia Vinograd (1943-2018)
by Richard Silberg

Julia Vinograd, locally famous as 'the Bubble Lady of Telegraph Avenue', and 'the unofficial Poet Laureate of Berkeley', died on December 5 at the age of seventy-four.… I can't remember when I first met Julia; it seems as if I had always known her. We were both poets and among the tribe of Berkeley people who used the Med, the Café Mediterranean on Telegraph Avenue, as our living room. read more


Julia Vinograd
"All the Night Stars" and guidelines for her tribute anthology
read poem

Jack Foley
"For Julia"
read poem
MORE INTERVIEWS

Martín Espada. Photo by Christopher Felver.

The Fin in the Water
An Interview with Martín Espada
by Lee Rossi

For nearly forty years Martín Espada has been a voice for the marginalized and oppressed and a key contributor to the formation of Latinx literature. At a time when American poetry was fixated on questions of subjectivity and form, Espada focused on the real world of politics and history. read more




And Then There Was a Revolution
An Interview with Nancy Morejón
by Kathleen Weaver

Nancy Morejón is a renowned Cuban poet as well as a critic, translator and cultural worker. She is the author of many volumes of poetry, including translations into English such as Looking Within/Mirar adentro (Selected poems 1954-2000) edited by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. A recently published selection is Homing Instincts, translated by Pamela Carmell, Cubana Books, 2014. Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing, Selected Poetry by Nancy Morejón, Black Scholar Press, appeared in 1985, translated by Kathleen Weaver. read more

Nancy Morejón
From Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing: Selected Poetry
Translated by Kathleen Weaver
read poems
MORE FEATURES

Maurya Simon. Photo by Jamie Clifford.

Fireflies in a Jar
An Interview with Maurya Simon
by Meryl Natchez

Maurya Simon has published ten full-length books of poetry, each one of them unique. Her most recent book, The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2006, appeared this year from Red Hen Press, complete with beautiful color illustrations of her ekphrastic "Weavers Series" poems, reproduced from the original paintings by Simon's mother, Baila Goldenthal. She lives in Mt. Baldy, in the Angeles National Forest of the San Gabriel Mountains, in southern California. read more


Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart
edited by Krista Halverson
reviewed by Carl Landauer

One of my teachers, Austryn Wainhouse, the translator of De Sade (first under the pseudonym Pieralassandro Casavini in Paris but later as a staple of Grove Press), inspired me on my first trip to Paris to make a pilgrimage to Shakespeare and Company just across from Notre Dame. At the time, I was unaware of the difference between Sylvia Beach's interwar Shakespeare and Company on rue de l'Odéon, which had published Joyce's Ulysses and was second home (sometimes even the mailing address) for the lost generation of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Dos Passos, and George Whitman's postwar book store, first named Librairie le Mistral, only to be renamed Shakespeare and Company in 1964, reportedly with Sylvia Beach's blessing. read more

Photo by Mark Savage.

Restless Spirits:
An Interview with Cecilia Woloch
by Amy Pence

It's tough to keep track of the poet Cecilia Woloch. In the spring, you'll find her teaching in a small college in Georgia. By May, she's in a Paris café, surrounded by aspiring poets enrolled in her workshop. July finds her in that small cabin in the Carpathians, tracking down the mystery of her Roma grandmother. The title of her first novel Sur la Route…perfectly captures Woloch's on-the-road lifestyle where travel and poetry interweave. read more

Remembrance

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

Larry Colker (1947-2018), a Sweetheart of a Guy
by Suzanne Lummis

When Larry Colker died this fall, of lung cancer undiagnosed until its late stage, the news did not sweep through the larger literary world. No tribute appeared in The Los Angeles Times. But in the Los Angeles poetry monde he was deeply mourned—his picture and poems appearing everywhere across social media, his memorial at Beyond Baroque drawing poets from all around the region. read more


"When Larry Left Town"
a collaborative group poem for Larry Colker from Suzanne Lummis's Poetry Workshop
read poem

Larry Colker
Four Poems
read poems



Photo by Gerald Nicosia.

Jack Mueller, Judith, and baby Cristina in the basement of City Lights, after a reading in January 1982. Jack deliberately posed the family in front of that painted sign, "Born in Sin and Shapen in Iniquity." They said it came from the time when City Lights' basement had housed a church. For Jack, I think, it was a kind of inside joke, sort of carrying on our old Vesuvio's argument over "Don't give me God, don't give me grammar!"

Jack Mueller: Still Solid in the Mystery
Amor Fati: New and Selected Poems
reviewed by Gerald Nicosia

…there are other poets who decide early on that they want to spend their lives making better poetry every day, and that the chase of fame will only get in their way, so they put it completely out of mind and instead work on figuring out ways to stay alive while they're making their poetry. Jack Mueller was the latter kind of poet; and in that regard, he was the most remarkable non-famous poet I've ever known. read more

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