By October 2, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Likely Stories: The All-Poetry Issue

Hayden Carruth (Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey, 1996), R.I.P. (“Hayden Carruth, Poet and Critic, Dies at 87,” by William Grimes, New York Times):

“He had a greater variety of poems than almost anybody,” said the poet Galway Kinnell, a longtime friend. “He was interested — superinterested — in everything and he could write about anything.” 

Clive James’ poem, “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered” (from Opal Sunset, 2008) prompts Alison Flood to look for the upside of the downside (“Getting remaindered is not the end of the line,” Books Blog, the Guardian):

And although the author will receive minimal – if any – royalties on these sales, it’s not all bad. A good presence in the bargain bookshops will mean exposure to the sorts of readers who might not frequent Waterstone’s; writer Mark Leslie says on his blog that he has discovered many new authors through the joys of remainders and bargain books.

Hart Seely finds poetry, including a haiku, in the speech of Sarah Palin (“The Poetry of Sarah Palin,” Slate). Which means tonight’s debate will actually be half poetry reading.

Lastly, while the questions of how and how often we’ll read books on screens have yet to be answered definitively, poems are finding the online environment quite comfortable. Most poems fit on a single screen–and, moreover, poetry is meant to be heard. As Stephen Adams reports in the Telegraph, “Poetry’s popularity soars online“:

Poetry, long thought of as an art form in terminal decline, is taking off on the internet according to new figures.

The British-based Poetry Archive has released statistics that visitors to its website are now viewing a total of more than one million pages a month.

More than 125,000 individuals – or unique users – have visited the site, which hosts poems and audio readings by the poets themselves.

Andrew Motion, the British Poet Laureate, who co-founded the Poetry Archive in 2005, said of the figures: “It’s giving the lie to the idea that nobody reads poems any more.”

And, bringing things full circle, you can listen to Hayden Carruth reading his poem, “Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey.” What a voice he had.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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