Blog Posts tagged "poetry"

Every famous poet and writer started small, usually with cautious publishers who printed small batches of the first edition of their early books. For most, the cautious print runs continues, even after winning awards, because poetry has ever been an relatively low-volume business, even for the big names. When they later became reknowned, even famous, at home and abroad, these relatively scarce fir... [more]

“The greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe.” -- from “The Answer” by Robinson Jeffers Within his lifetime, the work of Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was at various points revered, deliberately shunned, and generally neglected. In 1932, the poet was featured on the cover of Time magazine; but by 1948 his publisher, Random Ho... [more]

Today is the third anniversary of the sudden death of Nobel-Laureate Seamus Heaney. A ground-breaking poet, his career sought to find parallels and common ground across many different traditions. Born of a Catholic family in majority-Protestant Northern Ireland, he rejected the violence of the 1970s, yet strongly claimed his Irish heritage and identify, politely refusing to be included in antholog... [more]

Editor's note: Geoffrey Hill (1932-2016) was considered by many to be the finest poet writing in English of his time. His first poetry appeared in the early 1950s and his last book was published in 2012. His work is dense, lyrical, layered, scholarly, arcane, and sometimes not easily accessible, which makes the rewards of his poetry all the greater for those who take up its challenges. We asked Gr... [more]

I first met the poet Frank O'Hara in the early 1990s. I was in the process of abandoning the writing program I was enrolled in at a local university for the much less muddied waters of the religious studies department; and, for his part, Frank had been dead for a little over twenty-five years. Frank O'Hara died at 8:50 p.m. on July 25, 1966 at Bayview General Hospital on Long Island. Mark Ford, ed... [more]

Chaucer's Day Job

By Matt Reimann

Even when they're successful, some writers prefer to keep their day jobs. For example, Wallace Stevens was an executive at a Connecticut insurance company, and he believed that work kept the poetic spirit properly anchored. Goethe worked as an enthusiastic civil servant and administrator long after the smashing success of Young Werther. To this camp also belongs Geoffrey Chaucer, who stayed gainfu... [more]

In 1941, Knopf published Theodore Roethke's first collection of poetry, Open House, in a hand-numbered edition of 1000 copies. The book was lavishly praised and launched Roethke's brilliant career, which led to a Pulitzer Prize (The Waking, 1954) and two National Book Awards (Words for the Wind, 1959, and The Far Field, 1965). The Theodore Roethke Museum in Saginaw, Michigan, has decided to mark t... [more]

Illustrating Goblin Market

By Rich Rennicks

One reason books have not been replaced by electronic approximations -- despite many predictions of doom -- is the appeal of the physical objects themselves. Lavish illustrations, careful design, and artistic typography elevate a book from text to art. A page from the Kelmscott Chaucer (to give just one example) will never look as good on your phone. Long before pixels and digital everything, publ... [more]

Ted Hughes was born on August 17, 1930. He became one of the most-famous poets of the Twentieth Century, and was Great Britain's Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998 (Poet's Laureate traditionally served for life -- the exception being John Dryden, who was dismissed from the post in 1688 because he would not tale a loyalty oath to the new king, Wiliam III -- but the institiution was ame... [more]

Miegan Gordon of Asheville, NC's Captain's Bookshelf got a surprise last month when she opened the store. A copy of Billy Collins' poetry collection Nine Horses (a signed first edition, no less) was looking a little worse for wear. It was full of holes punched from front to back, and the author photo had been altered to make Collins look like a silent movie villain, complete with curling mustaches... [more]

The description a rare book dealer lists in a database or catalog entry is far, far more than simply a list of bland descriptors (format, publication date, publisher, condition, etc.) such as one finds at online retailers of new books (whose goal is to sell an infinite number of identical, flawless -- and thus featureless -- copies). The experience and knowledge a rare book dealer brings to bear a... [more]

In the Poetry Book Shop -- A Parody in Prose Sylvia Plath is having an Argument & Song with Stanley Plumly, while Steve Orlen gives Permission to Speak to Howard Moss, who is always Finding Them Lost on one shelf or the other. Why you'd think David Ignatow would have more to do than chasing Sunlight – collectors know it's so bad for the book spines – but he does it all for his daughter. And th... [more]

Last Friday PBS NewsHour did a feature on a fine press printing of Walt Whitman's seminal poetry collection Leaves of Grass. The limited edition is being published by Arion Press and produced in the same way the first edition was produced on 1855-- on a movable-type printing press. [more]

Robert Frost enthusiasts have reason to celebrate this week, as it was announced that a collection of rare Frost material was donated to the State University of New York at Buffalo. The donor Jonathan Reichert is a professor emeritus at the university and his father was close friends with Frost. Even though Frost was sixty years older than Reichert, he still formed a friendship with the young man ... [more]

Jorie Graham has the distinction of being the first American woman to win the Forward Prize for Poetry. Her book P L A C E was awarded Best Collection, a prize that was last awarded to a woman in 2004. P L A C E "explores the ways in which our imagination, intuition, and experience - increasingly devalued by a culture that regards them as 'mere' subjectivity - aid us in navigating a world moving b... [more]

In a nod to ancient Greece, where poetry was considered as much of a sport in the Olympics as wrestling, NPR has been hosting the 'Poetry Games'. Poets from all over the world were invited to write an original piece celebrating athletes and athletics and submit the poem into the games. Each morning on Morning Edition a poem is selected and read, and then posted on the Poetry Games site. It is then... [more]

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