The Sunday Poem

November 2013

The Sunday Poem: Ed Skoog’s Rough Day

By |11.02.13

Writer Ed Skoog (Photo by Kelly O courtesy the author)

 

We don’t give much thought to the covers of the poetry books we read, but the genre is plagued by amateurish typography and ill-chosen imagery. Copper Canyon Press consistently has some of the strongest, most thoughtful designs, and Ed Skoog’s Rough Day is the perfect marriage of style and substance.

A 1939 photograph of Skoog’s mother, looking rather displeased with a pet crow on her lap, graces the cover of Skoog’s second collection. It’s an intentional choice, and also a memorable one.

“The book is about a lot of things, […]

October 2013

  • Poet Bridget Lowe
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    The Sunday Poem: Bridget Lowe’s At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky

The Sunday Poem: Bridget Lowe’s At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky

By |10.19.13

Poet Bridget Lowe (Photo by Jennifer Wetzel courtesy the author)

 

The publication of Bridget Lowe’s debut collection, At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013), is a bit of a full-circle moment for Gwarlingo.

Bridget Lowe was one of the first Gwarlingo Sunday Poets, back in the early days when the Sunday Poem feature was limited to a single poem. Bridget’s “In My Study of Hysteria,” which is included in her new book, was a runaway success (for both Gwarlingo and poetry) and also my first hint that the audience for quality poetry might be bigger […]

The Sunday Poem: David Bottoms’ We Almost Disappear

By |10.11.13

Poet David Bottoms (Photo courtesy the author)

 

David Bottoms grew up in Canton, Georgia, the only child of David H. Bottoms, a funeral director, and Louise Ashe Bottoms, a registered nurse. Their home had only two books: a King James Bible and a book by preacher Billy Graham. It was his grandmother who was the “dreamer” in the family, Bottoms explains in an interview with the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She had ten novels on a little shelf in her living room, and two of the books were Gone with the Wind, a hardback and a paperback.

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The Sunday Poem: Anne Valley-Fox

By |10.05.13

Poet Anne Valley-Fox in Oaxaca, Mexico (Photo courtesy the author)

“A poet makes everything up, including one’s job description,” says Anne Valley-Fox. “My job: to retrieve rejected or edgy bits of inner material and put them together in ways that illuminate and provoke. My poems seek connections, complications, and small astonishments.”

In her latest collection, How Shadows Are Bundled (University of New Mexico Press), Anne tackles topics as diverse as sexuality, aging, family, hurricanes, war, asteroids, and cancer. The 70+ poems in this volume also include explorations of the work of other artists, everyone from Charles Mingus, to Joyce […]

September 2013

The Sunday Poem: Joshua Beckman’s The Inside of an Apple

By |09.28.13

Writer Joshua Beckman (Photo courtesy of Wave Books)

 

The poems in Joshua Beckman’s new book, The Inside of an Apple (Wave Books, 2013), have all the immediacy of a “V” of geese passing overhead: for a brief moment, everything else falls away. While not technically haiku, Beckman’s latest work shares many characteristics with the form—the spareness, the juxtaposition of images, a focus on the natural world, and a sensory urgency.

It makes sense that Beckman was the co-translator of Jorge Carrera Andrade’s Micrograms, which was featured on Gwarlingo in July of 2012. The Ecuadorian writer’s micrograms—poems between three to six lines […]

The Sunday Poem: Janet Kaplan

By |09.21.13

Janet Kaplan (Photo by Silvia Sanza)

 

(Note: This introduction and interview with poet and publisher Janet Kaplan are by Adrienne Brock)

While Janet Kaplan has her roots solidly in the New York area, her work reaches into the dirt of both American continents. Born and raised in the Bronx, she was educated at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and at Columbia University, and earned her MFA in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She has published three books and two chapbooks. Her second full-length collection, The Glazier’s Country, featured her maternal grandfather as the […]

The Sunday Poem: Michel Butor Translated by Jeffrey Gross

By |09.15.13

 

“Every word written is a victory against death,” says French writer Michel Butor (Photo via aucoindelaruedelenfer.com)

 

According to The New York Review of Books, only 3 to 5 percent of books published in the U.S. are translations. Whether this is the result of American isolationism, or commercial practicalities is a subject for debate, but it’s hard not to wonder what literary gems we’re missing in this country.

Gwarlingo has featured a fair number of poetry translation projects: Russian poets Anzhelina Polonskaya, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Gennadi Aygi, the fascinating micrograms of Jorge Carrera Andrade, Japanese haiku master Kobayashi Issa, and Korean Zen […]

  • Beth Copeland-Transcendental Telemarketer
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    The Sunday Poem: Beth Copeland’s Transcendental Telemarketer

The Sunday Poem: Beth Copeland’s Transcendental Telemarketer

By |09.07.13

Writer Beth Copeland (Photo courtesy of Beth Copeland)

 

The poems in Beth Copeland’s Transcendental Telemarketer evoke a range of emotions and places. They’re colorful and playful, but also rich in meaning.

Copeland writes about the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki, Hokusai’s “great wave,” and Japanese typhoons, but also Buddhist scrolls, Christian morals, and Afghanistan. Her poem “Russian Dolls” is cleverly shaped just like Russian nesting dolls, with long sentences stacked upon short ones, and the stanzas growing ever bottom-heavy. There is Southern musicality in her voice, as well as a sly sense of humor.

Copeland now lives in North Carolina, […]

  • Seamus Heaney Reading
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    At a Time When Poetry Was Forbidden, Seamus Heaney Was a Lifeline

At a Time When Poetry Was Forbidden, Seamus Heaney Was a Lifeline

By |09.01.13

Seamus Heaney in 1970. Heaney, Ireland’s foremost poet who won the Nobel literature prize in 1995, has died after a half-century exploring the wild beauty and political torment of Ireland. He was 74. Heaney’s family and publisher, Faber & Faber, say in a statement that Heaney died Friday in a Dublin hospital. (AP Photo / PA file)

We lost one of our greatest poets this week—Irish writer Seamus Heaney. The news of the Nobel Laureate’s death at the age of 74 came as a shock to the literary community, particularly to readers like myself, who considered […]

August 2013

The Sunday Poem: Jim Harrison’s Songs of Unreason

By |08.25.13

Jim Harrison in his Livingston Montana writing cabin (Photo by Kurt Markus via outsideonline.com)

 

What a pleasure to have writer Jim Harrison re-launching Gwarlingo’s Sunday Poem series this weekend.

Harrison’s poetry, fiction, and essays pack a visceral punch. His writing is steeped in the senses, in nature, and the American landscape’s violent history of bloodshed. (If you haven’t read his 87-page masterpiece, Legends of the Fall, put it on your reading list).

Harrison has an uncanny ability to express the connections (and tensions) between past and present, nature and humans, the body and the mind, wildness and civilization […]