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Short bits

I’m going to hear Magdalena Kozená sing tomorrow night! Gluck, Rameau, Rebel, and some as-yet-unannounced Mozart. Huzzah for other people’s last-minute ticket cancellations! I think I’m going to be pretty close to the stage, too. Cole Swensen’s poems are hard to describe: you never know where she’s going subjectwise, but the way she breaks up […]


Your random poetry link of the day: 30 translations of Matsuo Basho’s frog haiku, with commentary. From the literal — "Old pond / and a frog-jump-in / water-sound — to the not at all literal — "There once was a curious frog / Who sat by a pond on a log…" Kerplunk. (Via this moment.)

Poetry out loud

A few links for a rainy evening. I’ve always liked hearing poets read their work out loud, caveats about the "poetry-reading voice" notwithstanding: The PENNsound archive, home of more recordings of poets reading than you can shake a stick at. Paul Muldoon, whose work has interested me for a while, has a bunch of recordings […]

Coming to a theater near you: Seventeenth-century libertine poets.

In the Department of Movies I’m Eagerly Looking Forward To: The Libertine, starring Johnny Depp as the notorious John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. But why isn’t Aphra Behn in it? I want to see someone make a movie about her. Meanwhile, scribblingwoman blogs about reading Rochester with her students, one of whom was amazed that […]

In case any classics geeks out there hadn’t noticed…

… there’s a new Sappho poem! (And now languagehat has posted the Greek. Where’s my middle Liddell again?)

Ashbery on the bridge

One of the sights I saw while in Minneapolis was a pedestrian bridge with a John Ashbery poem running all along its length in both directions. According to this article, the poem was commissioned expressly for the bridge. I didn’t know it was there until I spotted it while crossing the bridge itself, and even […]

News flash: poetry makes you smarter

I knew it. I knew it! Psychologists at Dundee and St Andrews universities claim the work of poets such as Lord Byron exercise the mind more than a novel by Jane Austen. By monitoring the way different forms of text are read, they found poetry generated far more eye movement which is associated with deeper […]

For Elizabeth Bishop’s birthday: roosters and moths

Tuesday was Elizabeth Bishop‘s birthday. Here are some thoughts, inspired by the list-meditation thing that LiL has been doing: 1. Chinese New Year also fell this week. It’s the Year of the Rooster, so I can’t resist mentioning Bishop’s poem "Roosters," which it took me multiple readings to realize is a war poem. (Then I […]

Charlottesville autumnal haiku

Just a scribbling from a notebook the other day… Bricks last three lifetimes,maple leaves, a season; butboth are the same red. Once the leaves are gone,at last you see the ridge ofthe Blue Ridge Mountains. By each student’s doorlogs stacked forward and crossways;no chimneys smoke yet. [Footnote to the last one: the tiny single rooms […]

Derrida and the hedgehog

I have been slow to blog about the death of Jacques Derrida. He wasn’t as formative an influence on me as he was on others, but his essay "Freud and the Scene of Writing," together with the text it comments on, Freud’s "A Note on the Mystic Writing Pad," helped shape key parts of my […]