Browsing the archives for the poetry category.

Thoughts for the day, German mystical poet edition


novalis“We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible.”




rilke“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”


Williams’ wheelbarrow - opposing views

canon, humor, poetry

Offered at CafePress on tee shirts, mousepads, etc.:


[For those scratching their heads.]

“Howl” movie

art/graphics, free speech & censorship, movies, poetry, writers' lives

A movie about Ginsberg’s “Howl” is officially underway:

“Howl” is a genre-expanding feature-length exploration of the courtroom drama of the obscenity trial over Allen Ginsberg’s poem, as well as an animated re-imagining of the poem.

James Franco stars as Ginsberg; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are directing; Gus Van Sant is co-executive producer.

illuminated-poemsThe Ginsberg Project reports that the film’s animated version of the poem is being done by Eric Drooker, who graphically adapted “Howl” and other works from Ginzy in the book Illuminated Poems.

NOT “e. e. cummings”

canon, poetry, writers' lives

cummingsNorman Friedman definitively buries “the cutesy-pooh notion” that E. E. Cummings’ name is supposed to be written “e. e. cummings” (or “e.e. cummings” or “e e cummings” or “ee cummings”).

NOT “e. e. cummings”

Not “e. e. cummings” Revisited

The Flowers of Evil

blogs & sites, poetry

baudelaireSupervert - the entity responsible for the subversive classics Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish and Necrophilia Variations - has put together a site devoted to that classic of Decadent poetry and French lit in general, Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil [Les fleurs du mal]. Every poem from all three editions in the original French is there, accompanied by two to five different English-language translations of each one. This cleanly designed site is a model of how to present a work of poetry in a foreign tongue.

Bolaño on dreams, death, Huck, Dick, and favorite books

fiction, poetry, the "on" series, writers' lives

bolanoBelow are extracts from “The Savage Detective,” a long look at Roberto Bolaño by his friend, the Argentine writer Rodrigo Fresán. Published in The Believer, March 07 (only a small portion is available online). Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer.

“Then what is quality writing? The same thing it’s always been: knowing how to stick your head into the dark, knowing how to leap into the void, knowing that literature is basically a dangerous profession.”

“Writers are worthless. Literature is worthless. Literature only exists for literature’s sake. That’s enough for me.”

“Dreams are like psychiatrists, curing you every night.”

“I’d rather not die, of course. But sooner or later the great lady comes. The problem is that sometimes she’s no lady, never mind great, but a hot slut, as the poet Nicanor Parra says, which is enough to make even the bravest man’s teeth chatter.”

[O]ne of his recurring ideas was his suspicion that he had died ten years earlier, in a hospital in Gerona, where he was diagnosed with a severe case of pancreatitis, and that everything that had happened to him in the last decade - children and wife and books - was just his final hallucination, the merciful prolongation of the last seconds of a dying man. On more than one occasion, Bolaño confessed that he wished he were “a fantasy writer, like Philip K. Dick.” And it’s clear that Bolaño’s foremention obsession is an obviously and perfectly Dickian obsession.

Bolaño himself thought of The Savage Detectives as belonging to the genre of roman-fleuve and wrote, “I think I see it as yet another reading of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, one of the many that have followed in its wake; the Mississippi of The Savage Detectives is the flow of voices in the second part of the novel.”

Fresán also relates Bolaño’s favorite books:


Don Quixote

Satyricon (Petronius)

“the complete works of Borges”

A Confederacy of Dunces (Toole)

Life: A User’s Manual (Perec)

The Trial and The Castle (Kafka)

Hopscotch (Cortázar)

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein)

the works of Philip K. Dick, especially Dr. Bloodmoney, Or How We Got Along After the Bomb

O’Connor on poets

canon, poetry, the "on" series

From the New York Times review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor:

She propelled herself to both the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at times when life at both places was eventful, but she managed to steer clear of trouble. When her friend Robert Lowell began exhibiting extreme behavior at Yaddo, she recalled: “I was too inexperienced to know he was mad, I just thought that was the way poets acted.”

Please Plant This Book by Richard Brautigan

books as objects, poetry

please-plant-coverThis is the rarest of Brautigan’s books. Four are currently listed on ABE, ranging from $395 (for an incomplete set) to $1,250. explains:

Richard Brautigan published Please Plant This Book in the Spring of 1968. It consisted of eight packets of garden seeds, each printed with a poem, all gathered in a small folder.

A version is at Although the cover of the folder (above) appears to be an actual scan, the packets with verses look like digital facsimiles rather than scans.

The Brautigan Bibliography and Archive has lots of info here, including what appear to be scans of the actual packets (scroll to the bottom of the page). The scans are tiny, and clicking on them won’t make them bigger, but if you right-click on any of them and choose “View Image,” you’ll see a larger version.

My favorite erotic line of poetry

poetry, sex

It’s a tough call, but my vote for the greatest erotic line(s) of poetry is the close of Neruda’s “Every Day You Play,” the fourteenth poem in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair:

I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

The whole last stanza is amazing, with each line even greater than the one that came before it, stair-stepping to a perfect, beautiful penultimate line that leads to that greatest line of all.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

[Translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin.]


OK, this is weird. I Googled the final line of the poem to see what might pop up. On his blog Crafty Odysseus, Tim Leach has posted the entire poem, mentioning in his intro that it’s “notable for including possibly the sexiest final line of a poem ever written….” Taking this synchronicty to unbearable limits, he posted this just two days ago. Clutching my skull, I shriek, “Tim, get out of my heeeeeeaaaaaad!”

Literary gang anthology

anthology, essays, poetry

bandana-republicThe Bandana Republic is the first literary anthology written by gang members (current and former).

MySpace page

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