Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Final Round Results

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, FINAL ROUND RESULTS

The winner of the final round of my fifth Daily Poem Project (see the call for votes here) is Cataract op, by Edward Field, which received 6 votes out of 29 cast.

David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father, came in second with 5 votes, with Jack Gilbert, Not Easily, in third place with 4 votes. Three poems (by Jason Gray, Hester Knibbe, and Andrew Hudgins) received 3 votes each.

I would like to thank everyone who participated, especially those of you who took the time to vote almost every week!

The winners of the first four Daily Poem Projects:

1DPP: "The Shout," by Simon Armitage
2DPP: "Fragment," by A. E. Stallings.
3DPP: "Inside the Maze (II, III, and IV)", by Hadara Bar-Nadav (blog vote)
3DPP: "Friends", by Laure-Anne Bosselaar (class vote)
4DPP: "Come to Me, His Blood," by Martha Rhodes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Leonti, "Everyone / I"

"Everyone / I" is (Nadia) Leonti's first solo CD, and it's available now from Faze Records, featuring "Tundral Glories" and "He Who Hesitates," with lyrics by yours truly. Plus the astonishingly beautiful "Poor Souls," with lyrics by Eric Facon. And the brilliant Stefan Strittmatter is on bass.

Get yourself a copy! [By buying one, that is! :-)]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sebald

As Terry at the Vertigo blog pointed out here, today would have been W. G. Sebald's 65th birthday.

Das Schreiben ist notwendig, nicht die Literatur. (W.G.S.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Final Round Call for Votes

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, FINAL ROUND

Here are the poems to vote for in the final round of my fifth Daily Poem Project. They are the winners of the twelve rounds from Monday, February 16, to Sunday, May 10 (each week's poems being those that appeared on Poetry Daily that week; week 5 ended in a tie, hence the two poems from that week):

1: Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
2: Edward Field, Cataract op.
3: David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
4: David Schloss, The Myth.
5a: Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted
5b: David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
6: Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
7: Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
8: Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).
9: Louis Simpson, Ishi
10: Andrew Hudgins, The Cow.
11: Christian Wiman, Sitting Down to Breakfast Alone.
12: Jennifer Grotz, Landscape with Arson.

HOW TO VOTE: You can send your vote to me by email or as a comment on the blog. If you want to vote by commenting but do not want your vote to appear on the blog, you just have to say so in your comment (I moderate all comments on my blog). I will post comments as they come in. (If you want to vote anonymously on the blog, please sign your vote with some sort of pseudonym, so that I can keep track of the various anonymous voters more clearly.)

Please make a final decision and vote for only one poem (although it is always interesting to see people's lists).

Please VOTE BY SUNDAY, MAY 24! But you can still vote as long as I have not posted the results.

FEEL FREE TO POST THIS CALL FOR VOTES ON OTHER BLOGS WITH A LINK TO MINE (or on Facebook, or wherever). The more, the ... well, more work for me, but more fun, too! :-)


The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week 12 results

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK TWELVE RESULTS

The winner of the twelfth week of my fifth Daily Poem Project is Jennifer Grotz, Landscape with Arson, which received 8 votes out of 27 cast.

Three poems tied for second with four votes each: Malcolm de Chazal, Translations from Poèmes (tr. Karina Borowicz and Ben Admussen), Cleopatra Mathis, Survival: A Guide, and Michael Hofmann, Family Holidays.

My thanks to everyone who voted. I will be posting the call for votes for the final round (the winners of the twelve weeks against each other) in few minutes.

Human Shields and Phil Dolby, Sissy's Place, Birsfelden, June 19, 2009

Human Shields (Dany Demuth, Christoph Meneghetti, and Andrew Shields) will be playing at Sissy's Place in Birsfelden (Muttenzerstrasse 17) on June 19, 2009. Phil Dolby will be opening.

Click on the poster to see a large version. (There's a Facebook event for this here.)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

George Szirtes in Basel

George Szirtes has posted a few lines about his visit to Basel, with a lovely photograph of the ferry across the Rhine. My thanks to him and to Roddy Lumsden for their excellent joint reading last night at Bergli Books!

The Painting in Elizabeth Bishop's "Poem"

If you, like me, are a reader of Elizabeth Bishop who has wondered about the painting described in her "Poem," then you do not need to wonder any longer: John Felstiner has published it in his new book, Can Poetry Save the Earth? There's an article about the book here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week Twelve Call for Votes

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK TWELVE

Here are the poems to vote for in the twelfth and final week of the fifth Daily Poem Project (the poems on Poetry Daily from Monday, May 4, to Sunday, May 10):

May 10: Esther Jansma, The Word for Lion (tr. Francis R. Jones)
May 9: Malcolm de Chazal, Translations from Poèmes (tr. Karina Borowicz and Ben Admussen)
May 8: Cleopatra Mathis, Survival: A Guide
May 7: Kim Addonizio, Storm Catechism
May 6: Jennifer Grotz, Landscape with Arson
May 5: Carl Dennis, Disgust
May 4: Michael Hofmann, Family Holidays

HOW TO VOTE: You can send your vote to me by email or as a comment on the blog. If you want to vote by commenting but do not want your vote to appear on the blog, you just have to say so in your comment (I moderate all comments on my blog). I will post comments as they come in. (If you want to vote anonymously on the blog, please sign your vote with some sort of pseudonym, so that I can keep track of the various anonymous voters more clearly.)

Please make a final decision and vote for only one poem (although it is always interesting to see people's lists).

Please VOTE BY FRIDAY, MAY 15! But you can still vote as long as I have not posted the results, which I will do by Sunday, May 17, at the latest. When I post the results of week 12, I will also post the call for votes for the final round, with all the winners (and co-winners) of the twelve weeks.

The winner of week one was Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
The winner of week two was Edward Field, Cataract op.
The winner of week three was David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
The winner of week four was David Schloss, The Myth.
The co-winners of week five were Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted, and David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
The winner of week six was Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
The winner of week seven was Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
The winner of week eight was Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).
The winner of week nine was Louis Simpson, Ishi
The winner of week ten was Andrew Hudgins, The Cow.
The winner of week eleven was Christian Wiman, Sitting Down to Breakfast Alone.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Branford Marsalis with the Dead

A must for all Deadheads! Fire up "Fire on the Mountain" with Branford!

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week Eleven Results

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK ELEVEN RESULTS

The winner of the eleventh week of my fifth Daily Poem Project is Christian Wiman, Sitting Down to Breakfast Alone, which received 5 votes out of 17 cast.

Jim Harrison, Age Sixty-Nine, came in second with 3 votes, and the other nine votes were almost evenly distributed among the other five poems (four receiving two, one receiving one).

My thanks to everyone who voted. The call for votes for week twelve (the last week before the final round) will be up tomorrow morning (Sunday, May 10).

The winner of week one was Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
The winner of week two was Edward Field, Cataract op.
The winner of week three was David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
The winner of week four was David Schloss, The Myth.
The co-winners of week five were Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted, and David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
The winner of week six was Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
The winner of week seven was Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
The winner of week eight was Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).
The winner of week nine was Louis Simpson, Ishi.
The winner of week ten was Andrew Hudgins, The Cow.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Nadia Leonti

Two songs that I wrote lyrics for, "Tundral Glories" and "He Who Hesitates," are on Nadia Leonti's forthcoming CD, and you can hear them, along with other tunes from the CD, on Nadia's MySpace page.

Human Shields links

I've now put links for the sites of my band Human Shields up on the right-hand side of the page.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New Human Shields songs

I just realized that I forgot to post an announcement about this: I've put five new recordings on the MySpace page of my band Human Shields. Check 'em out!

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Purposeless Universe

Sometimes other people say things just perfectly. Here's something from Incertus:

I don't think there is a grand, over-arching meaning to the universe. I think it just is, and that we're damned lucky to have developed at all, that this life is all we've got and that we'd better make the most of it.

And I think this is the ultimate disconnect between religious people who rail against atheism and atheists who refuse to be quiet about it--people like Fish and Eagleton just can't seem to grasp the concept that there are humans who are willing to accept a purposeless universe. I am. The universe is transcendent, it's awe-inspiring, and it seems, to me at least, to be completely unconscious of me and the rest of humanity. It doesn't have plans for me; things don't necessarily happen for a reason. We just are--we struggle through each and every day, trying to make the best lives we can for ourselves and those close to us, and in some cases, for the rest of the human family, and for those animals we have chosen to take into our care. Some of us dedicate our lives to nothing more than that; some take on the creation of beauty through art; some seek after scientific knowledge; some seek a purpose for a universe which baffles or even terrifies them; some try to make the world a better place for everyone; some try to make the world better for only themselves.

As I said in my comment on that post, it reminds me of an old Bloom County, in which Opus said that we should all be in a state of non-stop astonishment at our very existence.

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week Eleven Call for Votes

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK ELEVEN

Here are the poems to vote for in the eleventh week of the fifth Daily Poem Project (the poems on Poetry Daily from Monday, April 27, to Sunday, May 3):

May 3: Du Fu, Mr. Song's Deserted Villa (tr. David Young: vote only on the first poem)
May 2: Randall Mann, The End of Landscape
May 1: Patrick Warner, The Lost Years
April 30: Richard Jackson, Cause and Effect
April 29:Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Geisblatt
April 28: Jim Harrison, Age Sixty-Nine (vote only on the first poem)
April 27: Christian Wiman, Sitting Down to Breakfast Alone

HOW TO VOTE: You can send your vote to me by email or as a comment on the blog. If you want to vote by commenting but do not want your vote to appear on the blog, you just have to say so in your comment (I moderate all comments on my blog). I will post comments as they come in. (If you want to vote anonymously on the blog, please sign your vote with some sort of pseudonym, so that I can keep track of the various anonymous voters more clearly.)

Please make a final decision and vote for only one poem (although it is always interesting to see people's lists).

Please VOTE BY FRIDAY, MAY 8! But you can still vote as long as I have not posted the results, which I will due by Sunday, May 10, at the latest.

The winner of week one was Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
The winner of week two was Edward Field, Cataract op.
The winner of week three was David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
The winner of week four was David Schloss, The Myth.
The co-winners of week five were Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted, and David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
The winner of week six was Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
The winner of week seven was Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
The winner of week eight was Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).
The winner of week nine was Louis Simpson, Ishi
The winner of week ten Andrew Hudgins, The Cow.

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week Ten Results

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK TEN RESULTS

The winner of the tenth week of my fifth Daily Poem Project is Andrew Hudgins, The Cow, which received 8 votes out of 19 cast.

Robert Dana, After the Storm, was a distant second with 3 votes!

My thanks to everyone who voted. The call for votes for week eleven will be up shortly.

The winner of week one was Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
The winner of week two was Edward Field, Cataract op.
The winner of week three was David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
The winner of week four was David Schloss, The Myth.
The co-winners of week five were Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted, and David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
The winner of week six was Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
The winner of week seven was Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
The winner of week eight was Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).
The winner of week nine was Louis Simpson, Ishi.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Doin' That Rag

Here's a bit of The Dead from Charlottesville, April 14 (check out Warren's jamming at the end; first-rate stuff!):

Ciaran Carson's Dante

Ciaran Carson's translation of Dante's Inferno was such a rush to read that I was still buzzing from it a day after finishing it. It's chock full of quotable passages, but I was particularly pleased to find a fantastic bit of trash talking between two sinners in Canto XXX:

"Though I'm kept back,"
he quipped, from moving by my watery weight,
I have this arm that's well-prepared to smack."

The other said: "You weren't so free with it
the time they put you to the fire; the alloy
that you'd coined with it had sealed your fate."

The dropsied one: "You speak the truth, old boy;
but not so truthful were you, truth to tell,
when you were asked to tell the truth at Troy."

"If I spoke false, your coin spoke false as well,"
said Sinon. "I'm here for a single falsehood;
you, for more than any fiend in hell."

"Remember, perjurer, the horse of wood,"
replied the Paunch, "and may it torture you
to know the whole world knows that you're no good!"

"With thirsty tongue may you be tortured, too,"
the Greek shot back, "and with the dropsied piss
that swells your gut to keep the world from view!"

The forger then: "Your filthy orifice
spews out the usual ravings of your brain;
and if my thirst has bloated me, your sickness

makes you burn, and gives your head a pain;
and were Narcissus' mirror conjured here
for you to lick, I don't think you'd abstain."

Virgil threatens to chew Dante out for lingering too long—and as I noted when I read the Aeneid last year, Virgil was just as good at representing trash talking as Dante himself!

*

And this passage from Canto VII seems like a nice comment on our contemporary financial crisis (Virgil is commenting on the avaricious):

My son, see how the wheel of fortune whirls!
Observe them, as they dance to money's tune,
in money wars eternally ensnarled!

Not all the gold that lies beneath the mon,
or ever did, could buy a moment's rest
for even one of these misguided fools.

*

The other verse Inferno I have read is Robert Pinsky's, which I read with delight back in 1998. But while that delight was made possible by Pinsky's translation (I don't know Italian), its source was, I now realize, Dante's magnificent work itself. In contrast, Carson's translation crackles with a ferocious energy that had me gasping at times, I was so impressed, and often had me laughing out loud (as with the trash talking). For comparison, here's Pinsky's version of the same passage from Canto VII:

"Now you can see, my son, how ludicrous
And brief are all the goods in Fortune's ken,
Which humankind contend for: you see from this

How all the gold there is beneath the moon,
Or that there ever was, could not relieve
One of these weary souls."

Pinsky's Virgil: majestic, sonorous, oratorical. Carson's Virgil: temperamental, impatient, aggressive. At least in this reader's experience, that stands for the difference between the two, and it explains why Pinsky's book is a good read, while Carson's is a great one.

The Fifth Daily Poem Project, Week 9 results

THE FIFTH DAILY POEM PROJECT, WEEK NINE RESULTS

The winner of the ninth week of my fifth Daily Poem Project is Louis Simpson, Ishi, which received 6 votes out of 21 cast.

Two poems tied for second with 4 votes each: R. T. Smith, Storm Warning, and Rita Dove, Prologue of the Rambling Sort.

My thanks to everyone who voted. The call for votes for week ten is already up (with results due tomorrow), and I'll be posting the call for votes for week eleven tomorrow as well.

The winner of week one was Sherod Santos, Film Noir.
The winner of week two was Edward Field, Cataract op.
The winner of week three was David Bottoms, A Chat with My Father.
The winner of week four was David Schloss, The Myth.
The co-winners of week five were Jason Gray, Letter to the Unconverted, and David Huerta, Before Saying Any of the Great Words (tr. Mark Schafer).
The winner of week six was Stacey Lynn Brown, Cradle Song II.
The winner of week seven was Jack Gilbert, Not Easily.
The winner of week eight was Hester Knibbe, Lava and Sand (tr. Jacquelyn Pope).