On April 29, 1971, Louis Zukofsky gave a lecture on Wallace Stevens, and a reading of Stevens’s and his own poems in honor of Stevens, at the University of Connecticut. This recording has long been available through the Zukofsky PennSound page, and we are, as ever, grateful to Paul Zukofsky for giving us permission to use them for non-commercial, educational purposes (and, as stipulated by Paul, they cannot be used for any other reason). Recently Anna Zalokostas went carefully through the one-and-a-half hour presentation, listening for which poems by Stevens Zukofsky read on that occasion. I was delighted to hear that among these is a beautiful reading of “The Planet on a Table,” a Stevens poem of meta-poetic retrospection. Here are the five poems performed:
reads Wallace Stevens’s “From the Misery of Don Joost” (1:42): MP3
As I’ve smoothed back into U.S. life over the last few months, many people have asked me which “new” Brazilian poets I’d recommend reading. I love to introduce readers to poets such as Angélica Freitas, whose Rilke Shake I’m translating, Marília Garcia and Ricardo Aleixo, both of whom I’ve written about in these commentaries, among others. And I love to discover new poets to read. Luckily, just the other week, the books editor of the Porto Alegre newspaper Zero Hora selected ten poets in their 20s and 30s “destined to keep poetic creation alive in the Brazilian literary universe” (“Jovens poetas: Uma aposta contra o tempo” by Carlos André Moreira, Zero Hora, Cultura section, p4-5, 2 June 2012). A good half of them have at least a few poems translated into English.
While contemporary Canadian poetry remains the focus of this series of commentaries, I want today to shift to another neighbouring zone—contemporary British poetry—and look into David Herd’s recently released collection All Just (Carcanet 2012).
This is a book of mostly short lyric poems that at first glance seem largely observational explorations of the local—although something remains somewhat vague and indistinct about that “locale.” Contrast this with Herd’s sharp line breaks and compressed language, which recall William Carlos Williams, whose ghost is unmistakable in the poem “Fact”: