Anne Carson

Translation, free & wild: Catherine Theis on Catullus, the newlyloved, & other dislocations

Catherine Theis. Photo by Jessica Savitz.
Catherine Theis. Photo by Jessica Savitz.

Catherine Theis's The Fraud of Good Sleep begins the delicious logbook of its dreaming with the ancients who "loved in a way that allowed / them to relay their delicate campaigns / across opposite seas," a surety of guidance, if not arrival. No matter. As Hélène Cixous counsels in The School of Dreams, "This is what writing is, starting off. . . . This does not mean one will get there. Writing is not arriving; most of the time it's not arriving."

Most mornings I set out from my house to run — albeit not with any speed — urban sidewalks that lead to trafficked boulevards that merge with a California State Park trail, switch-backing up a hill of some height.

A slowing 9: Necessary unsayability (or: what the poetic makes)

Image: looking back is for the birds (detail), 2012 by Jennifer Wroblewski

At some point, yesterday or long ago, you read a poem and something happened to you: and you thought, or you didn’t quite think: yes. And this affirmative recognized a need, or a touch, or more precisely an answer to a question you hadn't even asked. The question hadn’t existed until the work appeared to create it, opening that space, revealing a gap.

At some point, yesterday or long ago, you read a poem and something happened to you: and you thought, or you didn’t quite think: yes. And this affirmative recognized a need, or a touch, or more precisely an answer to a question you hadn't even asked. The question hadn’t existed until the work appeared to create it, opening that space, revealing a gap.

A slowing 5: Attentive decentering (2)

Part 2

...And in this attention to being, this quiet, this un-writing, we recognize beauty. The dead fly, the seen thing, the slowing.

A slowing 2: Gestures of attention

What can language open when given space? Poetry invites pause, the pause of music, of introspection, of spreading sensitivity. Maggie Nelson reports, in The Art of Cruelty, that John Cage proposed this “exceedingly difficult” advice: “The most, the best, we can do, we / believe (wanting to give evidence of / love), is to get out of the way, leave / space around whomever or whatever it is” (268).  What is exceedingly difficult is necessary and important.

Emily Carr: Three new poems

She might be an American-born poet who lives and teaches in the United States, but I first became aware of Emily Carr during her time at the University of Calgary, so can’t help think of her, somehow, as a Canadian poet (these designations are so often arbitrary and rather fluid). She has been a finalist in seven national poetry competitions, most recently the National Poetry Series, and is the author of two trade collections — Directions for Flying, 36 fits: a young wife’s almanac (Furniture Press, 2010) and 13 ways of happily (Parlor Press, 2011) — as well as a number of poetry chapbooks, including & look there goes a sparrow transplanting soil (above/ground press, 2009) (reprinted in full in the anthology Ground rules: the best of the second decade of above/ground press 2003-2013), UP THE SHINBONE SUPERLATIVES (Horse Less Press, 2012), Resurrection Refrains: 22 Tarot Lyrics in the Form of the Yellow Brick Road (Dancing Girl Press, 2013) and STAY THIS MOMENT: THE AUTOPSY LYRICS, ACTS 1 & 2 (Little Red Leaves, 2013).

A fierce intellectual pacifism

Riding's 'Contemporaries and Snobs'

In writing on poetics, we often find a necessary equivocation. Turning over the pages of an old issue of Poetry, you might discover “The Meaning of Simplicity” by poet Yannis Ritsos. In its simplicity the final stanza of the short poem opens questions for the reader, revealing something unsayable and elusively poetic.

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