Choriamb changed to NPB:New Poetry Books

Choriamb has moved to NPB: New Poetry Books. Pretty much the same blog, with a new address and focus.

Derek Walcott’s recipe for authorial integrity

“[Sarah] Arvio recalls [Derek Walcott’s] recipe for authorial integrity: ‘If we are going to call ourselves poets, we should know the canon. If you say ‘horse’, for example, you should be able to name any number of poems with a horse in it and quote the lines’.”

Eva Salzman: With Regrets Autumn 10 Poetry London

American Life in Poetry: Column 289

American Life in Poetry: Column 289


There’s only so much we can do to better ourselves, and once we’ve done what we can, it still may not have been enough. Here’s a poem by Michelle Y. Burke, who lives in N.Y., in which a man who does everything right doesn’t quite do everything right.


A man can give up so much,
can limit himself to handwritten correspondence,
to foods made of whole grains,
to heat from a woodstove, logs
hewn by his own hand and stacked neatly
like corpses by the backdoor.

He can play nocturnes by heart.
They will not make the beloved appear.
He can learn the names of all the birds
in the valley. Not one
will be enticed to learn his.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Michelle Y. Burke and reprinted from Lake Effect, Vol. 13, Spring 2009, by permission of Michelle Y. Burke and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

New Poetry Books 10/5/2010

Jill Bialosky – Knopf


From a blank canvas sprang a swirl of color and emotion:
a mysterious figure emerging from a dark thicket.

Was he beautiful? Did it matter?
For once ugliness could be a form of beauty: an equivalent

Read rest of poem, plus an interview with Bialosky, @ On The Seawall: Ron Slate’s Website.

Kamau Brathwaite – Wesleyan Poetry

>down evening sun forever & for ever<
Heartease Which is where she is/in that
soft distance shining & i'm suddenly & at
last happy & very very sad & lonely at th

Read rest of poem @ Wesleyan University Press

Master of Disguises
Charles Simic – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Master of Disguises

Surely he walks among us unrecognized:
Some barber, store clerk, delivery man,
Pharmacist, hairdresser, bodybuilder,
Exotic dancer, gem cutter, dog walker,
The blind beggar singing, Oh Lord, remember me,

Read rest of poem @ The New Yorker, November 24, 2008

Poetry book releases: October 4

The Poets Laureate Anthology Forward by Billy Collin, Contributors: Elizabeth Hun Schmidt and The Library of Congress – W. W. Norton & Company

“The first anthology to gather poems by the forty-three poets laureate of the United States.”

The Iron Key: Poems – James Longenbach – W. W. Norton & Company

James Longenbach

Mrs. Hunter is the only name I have for her,
A rich old woman who engaged my father, a painter,
To document her collection of keys.
Photographs she considered vulgar.

Read rest of poem @ The New Yorker, July 2, 2007


Broadsided: putting art and literature on the streets

On the first of every month, a new broadside is posted on the project’s website. The jump from page to public stage is ultimately facilitated by “vectors,” interested folks who can download the PDFs and print and post them at will. Broadsides have been tacked on office doors, placed in waiting rooms, left on airplanes, and even slipped, guerrilla style, between the pages of newspapers and magazines.

Open-Air Publishing – Broadsides turn poetry into guerrilla art
September-October 2010 – Alex Dimitrov, from Poets and Writers. Reprinted at Utne Reader.

New App for Memorizing Poetry

VerseByHeart for memorizing Bible verses and poetry

Read about it @ the New Yorker’s “Book Bench:”

On Memorization: A Twenty-First-Century Ode Posted by Eileen Reynolds @ “The Book Bench,” New Yorker 9/30/2010

In the first drill, the poem is displayed with words missing, and you read it aloud to yourself, filling in the blanks. If you get tripped up, you can tap a blank space to momentarily reveal the missing word. Next, you’re given a line or two of text with the words scrambled, and you have to put them in the correct order.

American Life in Poetry: Column 288

American Life in Poetry: Column 288


I’ve spent my seventy years on The Great Plains and have lived all that time amidst vivid and touching stories about the settlement of our area, lots of them much like this one, about a long ago courtship and marriage, offered to us in a poem by James Doyle, who lives in Colorado.

Love Story

The kitchen door opens onto dirt
and the second half of the country
all the way to the Pacific. Rusted
prairie trains out of the tall weeds
elbow the last century aside, rumble
from every direction towards Chicago.

My great-grandfather, who would be
150 years old today, put on his one
tall hat and took the big trip
to Omaha for my great-grandma
with the family ring on his vest
and winter wheat lying wait in seed.

He gave her all the miles he had
and she gave him the future I walk
around in every day. The mountains
were too far west to count so they
doubled back over the land and century
and the real weather kept coming from them.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by James Doyle, whose most recent book of poetry is Bending Under the Yellow Police Tapes, Steel Toe Books, 2007. Poem reprinted from the Nimrod International Journal, Vol. 53, no. 1, Fall/Winter 2009, by permission of James Doyle and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Poets up for the Nobel Prize

Poets poised for Nobel glory; Swede is favorite – Mike Collett-White – Sep 29, 2010 – Reuters

British company Ladbrokes have given [Tomas] Transtromer, 79, odds of 5/1, or one chance in six of winning. He is ahead of three other poets backed at 8/1 — Poland’s Adam Zagajewski, South Korea’s Ko Un and Syria’s Adonis.

After a Death
by Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robert Bly

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

Read rest of poem @

by Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

I watched the arctic landscape from above
and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.
I observed white canopies of clouds, vast
expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.

Read rest of poem @

by Ko Un
Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé, Young-moo Kim, and Gary Gach

One day I took a pebble from
an East Sea beach and put it in my pocket
but it jumped back out, shrieking.

Read rest of poem @ Jacket.

Mask of Songs
by Adonis
Translated by Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard

In the name of his own history,
in a country mired in mud,
when hunger overtakes him
he eats his own forehead.

Read rest of poem @ Guernica.

Recombinant Rhyme

Going through the excellent Paris Review author interviews….

Here’s a 2008 interview with Kay Ryan:

Kay Ryan, The Art of Poetry No. 94 – Interviewed by Sarah Fay

When I started writing nobody rhymed—it was in utter disrepute. Yet rhyme was a siren to me. I had this condition of things rhyming in my mind without my permission. Still I couldn’t take end-rhyme seriously, which meant I had to find other ways—I stashed my rhymes at the wrong ends of lines and in the middles—the front of one word would rhyme with the back of another one, or one word might be identical to three words. In “Turtle,” for instance, I rhyme “afford” with “a four-oared,” referring to a four-oared helmet: “Who would be a turtle who could help it? / A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet, / she can ill afford the chances she must take / in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.” The rhymes are just jumping all around in there, holding everything together.

What’s recombinant rhyme? It’s like how they add a snip of the jellyfish’s glow-in-the-dark gene to bunnies and make them glow green; by snipping up pieces of sound and redistributing them throughout a poem I found I could get the poem to go a little bit luminescent.


Not a great video, but a good song. Loreena McKennitt sings William Butler Yeats’ “The Two Trees.”

Read the original poem and McKennitt’s changes.

PEN Literary Awards in Poetry

Read poetry by three winners of the 2010 PEN Literary Awards:

Marilyn Hacker: Selected Poems
Marilyn Hacker received the 2010 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry.

Anne Carson: An Oresteia
Anne Carson received the 2010 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

Sherwin Bitsui: Flood Song
Sherwin Bitsui received a 2010 Open Book Award.

The Nobel: “A ticket to one’s own funeral”

For a poet, life after the Nobel can be pottering, or bookkeeping, or simply keeping busy — it’s rarely full of radical departures or stunning new poems. (Eliot called the prize a “ticket to one’s own funeral,” and indeed it proved the funeral of his poetry.) Even pottering can be difficult when you are constantly in demand to judge this prize or sign that public letter, to give a blurb to old X or a recommendation to young Y. For a poet, all life can be a distraction from the siren call of the page.

Ply the Pen William Logan – New York Times 9/24/2010

My mind wanders while reading a long poem

An Anatomy of the Long Poem
by Rachel Zucker – – Reprinted from American Poet, issue 37.

My mind wanders when reading a long poem, and in this way my reading is more experiential and the experience is almost collaborative, reciprocal. My daydreams and the sensory data of the world around me become ephemerally woven into the long poem as I read so that I feel myself more fully present in the poem even as my mind wanders. My life interrupts the poem, which I can’t read in one sustained burst of concentration, and the poem interrupts my life as I find I’ve spent my whole afternoon traveling its landscape.

American Life in Poetry: Column 287

American Life in Poetry: Column 287


I love to sit outside and be very still until some little creature appears and begins to go about its business, and here is another poet, Robert Gibb, of Pennsylvania, doing just the same thing.

For the Chipmunk in My Yard

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From What the Heart Can Bear by Robert Gibb. Poem copyright ©2009 by Robert Gibb. Reprinted by permission of the author and Autumn House Press. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Fenton and Bird nominated for Dylan Thomas prize

Women dominate Dylan Thomas prize shortlist: Judges hope list will encourage ‘young women writers across the world’ as five out of six places are taken by female writers – Alison Flood – Guardian – Wednesday 22 September 2010

The annual Dylan Thomas prize goes to a writer under the age of 30. The two poets nominated this year are Caroline Bird and Elyse Fenton.

Gingerbread House
Caroline Bird

He smelt of ‘fresh from the oven’ adulthood,
his tongue on the hinge of his lips, his eyes spinning
with sex and cinnamon as he invited you in.
You gazed with wonder at his gingerbread house,
Read rest of poem at Ralph.

Elyse Fenton

Staking fencing along the border of the spring
garden I want suddenly to say something about
this word that means sound and soundlessness
at once. The deafening metal of my hammer strikes
Read rest of poem @ The Cleveland State University website.

Howl: The Movie

Ginsberg’s Howl to Franco’s Ginsberg: How a famous poem became a remarkable movie.
BY D.A. POWELL, Poetry Foundation

This is a poem that, when it was introduced, actually changed the culture. It was a golden moment for Allen, and that was the moment we wanted to concentrate on. What happened in the courtroom became a great vehicle for talking about the world at that time.

Aphorisms: “poetic thoughts, minus the poems”

Aphorisms are short sayings containing truths or observations, and–as can be seen in the articles below–poets find them a heck of a lot of fun.

George Murray, cofounder of Canada’s leading literary blog Bookninja, just came out with “a catalogue of 409 aphorisms [he] culled from his journals and poetry over the years.” The book is called Glimpse, According to an article by Richard Helm in the Edmonton Journal, the book started when the poet James Richardson “told Murray many of the closing couplets from the sonnets of his last collection, The Rush to Here, would work as aphorisms if removed whole from their host poems.”

“‘Everybody, not just poets, has these little moments of epiphany where you have a bit of a deeper understanding of the universe,’ Murray said…’These aphorisms try to go straight for the moment of epiphany with the fewest words possible. … It doesn’t have the inaccessibility of a lot of contemporary poetry.’

“So we get poetic thoughts, minus the poems.

‘The cat that dies is simply the cat that lost count.’

‘The slot machine is the idiot’s ATM.’

Sneaky truths: A poet peers into the heart of the matter with 409 wise and witty aphorisms Richard Helm – Edmonton Journal – 9/19/2010

Some of the aforementioned James Richardson’s aphorisms can also be found on-line at, in a piece called On Writing: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays. They can also be found in his book Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays. At Poetrynet, Richardson says that he began writing aphorisms after reading the maxims of La Rochefoucauld (find a few translations of these by Arthur Chandler at The Maxims of La Rouchefoucauld) and that

Soon, aphorisms were fizzing up in response to whatever I was reading…and I hardly had the attention span for longer thought. This was a distracting, obviously useless, and vaguely guilty pleasure, like playing video games or eating corn chips.

When contemporary poets use epitaphs….

When T. S. Eliot quotes Dante and Heraclitus, it’s because Eliot wants to be seen as binding together thousands of years of Western culture. When a contemporary poet quotes the same authors, however, it’s more likely that he wants to be seen (whether he knows it or not) as T. S. Eliot. That’s not a bad thing, of course. But it does reflect a change in the way that Eliot’s signature device is being deployed: once a symbol of ambition, the epigraph is now more likely to be an indication of community. It tells us less about whom a poet hopes to equal and more about where he’d like to hang out.

The Age of Citation David Orr – September 17, 2010 – New York Times

American Life in Poetry: Column 286

American Life in Poetry: Column 286


One of my friends told me he’d seen a refrigerator magnet that read, PARENTING; THE FIRST 40 YEARS ARE THE HARDEST. Here’s a fine poem about parenthood, and about letting go of children, by Chana Bloch, who lives in Berkeley, California.

Through a Glass

On the crown of his head
where the fontanelle pulsed
between spongy bones,
a bald spot is forming, globed and sleek
as a monk’s tonsure.

I was the earliest pinch of civilization,
the one who laced him
into shoe leather
when he stumbled into walking upright.
“Shoes are unfair to children,” he’d grouse.

Through a pane of glass
that shivers when the wind kicks up
I watch my son walk away.

He’s out the door, up the street, around
a couple of corners by now.
I’m in for life.
He trips; my hand flies out;

I yank it back.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

The Wallace Stevens Walk

My husband was walking along Asylum Avenue in Hartford today, and saw a couple of poetry stanzas chiseled into rocks. At first he thought they were related to whatever businesses they were near, then realized they were part of a larger poem–excerpts from “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. He liked the incongruity of the stones, and emailed me the photo above.

Turns out that he was on what’s sometimes known as the “Wallace Stevens Walk.” describes it as “a 2.4 mile self-guided walking tour that traces the path the poet took each day to and from his Hartford home.” It was set up by the Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens According to the website:

For decades, Stevens worked at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, now the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., eventually becoming vice president. Because he never learned to drive, walking became a central part of his daily life. He walked the two-mile route every day from his West End home to his office in Asylum Hill. He composed poems in his head while walking, and explained that he enjoyed matching the words in his head to the rhythm of his steps.

The Boston Globe also has a good article on the walk:

Where poetry lighted – Jane Roy Brown – Boston Globe 12/21/2008

I went to heaven

Carla Bruni’s rendition of Emily Dickinson’s “I Went To Heaven.”


I WENT to heaven,—
’T was a small town,
Lit with a ruby,
Lathed with down.

Read rest of poem @ Bartleby

Literary Magazine Reviews @ New Pages

Nice. I’ve always wanted to find a publication that reviews current literary journals…and I just found out that New Pages does so.

New Pages Literary Magazine Reviews

Is this poem REALLY that awful?

Poem of the week: Wind by Sydney Dobell – Carol Rumens- Guardian 9/13/2019 “This week’s poem has often been cited as an example of the most entertainingly awful verse. But is it really that bad?”

Excerpt from “Wind:”

Oh the wold, the wold,
Oh the wold, the wold!
Oh the winter stark,
Oh the level dark,
On the wold, the wold, the wold!

“Is American poetry @ a dead-end?” and other questions

What Is the State of American Poetry? Leading American Poets Speak Anis Shivani, 9/11/2010 Huffington Post

Clayton Eshleman, Annie Finch, Ron Silliman, and Danielle Pafunda answer the following questions:

Is American poetry at a dead-end? Have American poets betrayed the great legacy of modernism? Why or why not? What worries you about the present moment in poetry? Do you see signs of life? Where is the most promising work coming from? What is your advice to a young poet trying to make sense of the current poetry scene?

What’s remarkable about Peacock’s THE SECOND BLUSH

Book: The Second Blush by Molly Peacock. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York, 2008.

What’s remarkable: Many of the poems were written to help fill what Peacock sees as a lack of contemporary married love poems. She also “risks several cat poems,” as she says in a short interview on, her Canadian publisher’s website. “It turned out that the feline world paralleled the married world in affecting ways.”

A couple of the marriage poems, “Marriage” and “Our Minor Art,” which include cats, can be found on Peacock’s webpage.

Some poems of note: “Of Night,” the first poem in the collection, can also be found at Peacock’s site. Its haunting rhythm and refrain make it a good example of how much fun her poetry can be when she indulges herself in her love of form and innovation.

The second and third poems in the book also demonstrate Peacock’s skill in experimentation. For “The Happy Diary,” she uses a pilcrow at the start of each sentence fragment.  The poem begins:

¶ A man on the train feeding grapes to his son.*
¶ Tossing my shoes in the trash one by one.
¶ The smell of tomato sauce. ¶ Square of son.
¶ Deciding NEVER AGAIN and being really done.

“The Silver Arrow,” a poem about a married couple dealing with cancer, uses crossed-out words to help evoke emotion:

…melanoma taught us to live
on two tracks with two new velocities:
Track Death–with cancer fantasies, life
without you, without us–and Track Future
–track of speed, of world detrius, of wife.

Peacock has used this trick in poems in previous books, perhaps most successfully in “ChrisEaster,” which is a poem about abortion. Peacock uses X-signs over several words in “ChrisEaster” to indicate a fugue-state in which the narrator can’t figure out whether she’s “in the manger, on the bald hill, near the tomb/at home.”

These two poems are reminiscent of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” in which Bishop writes

…It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Peacock’s cross-outs and Bishop’s use of parenthesis/italics make it seem as though the reader is watching the narrators talk to themselves out loud while crafting the poems. When done well, the trick makes one pause and feel sudden tugs of sympathy.

Don’t miss: The loveliest poem in The Second Blush, however, is neither as tricky or personal as most of the others in the book.  

“Chance,” which can be found at, is a quiet, mysterious piece, with rhymes and a rhythm that make one want to reread it many times.

Also interesting to note: The poems in this book were written for a general assignment Peacock gave herself to write verses of 14 lines, each with a single image. At the McCleland website, Peacock says:

Sometimes I really did write 14 lines, and a live, contemporary sonnet to boot. Other times, 14 turned into 20. Coming up with a single image for each poem turned out to be equally hard. Multiple images crowded my imagination, though sometimes I put them through a mental strainer and came up with just one that I could revisit in the poem, making it a kind of metaphysical verse. Every once in a while I met both requirements. But giving myself the assignment let me complete the book, since I wrote it in between rehearsals and performances of my one-woman show in poems, “The Shimmering Verge.”

Other poems from The Second Blush can be found at the following sites:

“The Cliffs of Mistake” and “The Flaw”
Molly Peacock’s webpage

The Cup
Poetry Society of America

“Fellini the Cat” and “Widow”
The Society for Veterinary Medicine and Literature

The Pearl Tear
Prairie Schooner




A nice gimmick from The Oxford Dictionary, and a great place to find lovely, underused, and useful words such as “panchymagogue,” “vacivity,” “sparsile,” “jobler,” “pregnatress,” and “snollygoster.”

A note from the site:

“Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language.

“Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved, and unwanted.

“Today, 90% of everything we write is communicated by only 7,000 words.

“You can change all that. Help save the words.”

John Koethe wins 2010 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

New York, September 10—The Academy of American Poets announced today that John Koethe’s Ninety-fifth Street (Harper Perennial) was chosen by poets Marianne Boruch, David Kirby, and John Yau to receive the 2010 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which awards $25,000 to the most outstanding book of poetry published in the previous year.

Read more @

The title poem is esp. of note for its long narration of Koethe’s friendships with other poets, including John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Frank O’Hara.

Ninety-Fifth Street

By John Koethe

Words can bang around in your head
Forever, if you let them and you give them room.
I used to love poetry, and mostly I still do,
Though sometimes “I, too, dislike it.” There must be
Something real beyond the fiddle and perfunctory
Consolations and the quarrels—as of course
There is, though what it is is difficult to say.

Read rest of poem @ The Poetry Foundation.

Other poems from the book:

This is Lagos
The Yacht Clubs
Fear of the Future
Creation Myths
(all found at The Academy of American Poets)

“Sampling” poems

As we move into the next decade, it seems very likely that a subset of all published poetry will, like music, become readily experienced or viewed for free, and that readers will “sample” poems and make any buying decisions based on these samples….It may even turn out that the book of poems as physical object no longer holds us…we might instead purchase only 5 or 10 poems at once, or a “mixed tape” of poems we love, or a subset of poems by a favorite poet….

-Joan Houlihan, The Tell-Tale Line Contemporary Poetry Review

Houlihan reviews the first lines of:
Word Comix by Charlie Smith. Norton, 2009.
The History of Forgetting by Lawrence Raab. Penguin, 2009.
Blind Rain by Bruce Bond. Louisiana State University Press, 2008.
Trust by Liz Waldner. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009.

Got poems on war, water, hats, or Mark Twain?

Here are various and sundry upcoming themed issues, found via New Pages.

Includes a call for poems which will be distributed in a gumball machine and the first call-for-submission I’ve ever seen in video-format….

KITSCH AND CAMP: Rio Grande Review


“Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf partners with Verse Wisconsin to conduct the Jawbreaker Poetry Project. “Luck of the Draw” is the theme, and poems are sought that touch, in some way, on good fortune, misfortune, opportunities gone awry, flukes, coincidence or second chances.

“Selected poems will be packed into jawbreaker capsules with candy, gum or toys, and available – along with the possibility of winning a year’s subscription to Verse Wisconsin – from a dispenser coined the Verse-O-Matic.”


MARK TWAIN: The Village Pariah

“The Village Pariah, a bi-annual literary journal sponsored by the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, launched its inaugural issue in Spring/Summer 2010. TVP is interested in publishing poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction inspired by the writings and life of Mark Twain, his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, the Mississippi River, the Midwest, and small town or rural life in America.”


“Special Issue: Disaster (Volume XXV, Number 1 — 2012)
The theme for our 2012 special issue is disaster. We invite work that addresses any facet of the subject—whether natural, financial, personal, environmental, governmental, literary, or otherwise—or that is calamitous in its construction. Submissions for the special issue will be accepted from September 1, 2010 to April 1, 2011.” (Witness accepts “original fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and documentary photography.”


“CONSEQUENCE Magazine Announces The 2010 Consequence Prize in Poetry….The prize will be awarded for the best poem addressing the culture and consequences of war.” (Note: no entry fee.)



“We’re calling in submissions about the food/craft/self-sufficiency movement taking root across our nation: Beekeeping in New York City. Homesteading in Los Angeles. Canning in Cleveland. Raising goats in the ’burbs. From rooftop gardens in Brooklyn to farm stands in Portland; to reclaimed old tobacco farms in Carolina and rediscovered kitchens all over the country — send us your stories, your household rituals, your recipes, your poetry, your prose and artwork about Bringin’ It All Back Home in Twenty-Ten.”

WATER: New Madrid

“New Madrid will dedicate the Winter 2011 issue to the viability of water as resource and symbol. We’re looking for submissions that incorporate lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, rain in all its guises (hurricanes, monsoons, floods), rituals involving water, recreational uses of water, etc. We’re also interested in work that addresses such concerns as access to water, potability of water, water pollution, water rights, water tables, and water-borne diseases. Our hope is to explore the threat of water scarcity from the vantage point of a number of literary genres and a number of philosophical, religious, social, psychological and economic perspectives.”

THE AMERICAN SOUTH: Crab Orchard Review

“Crab Orchard Review is seeking work for our Summer/Fall 2011 issue focusing on writing exploring the people, places, history, and new directions that have shaped and are reshaping the American South.”

FOUND! The Broken City

“Aside from reports on specific finds, we’d also like to see your fiction, poetry and essays that deal with issues of exploration and discovery. Do you have a short story about a protagonist that struggles to discover an important truth about their character? Have you invented a teachable, foolproof methodology for unearthing the best finds at garage sales? Surely, you have some poetry about looking for gold at the end of a rainbow!”

Criticism Of William Logan’s Criticism

Choriamb has been on sabbatical off and on for a couple of years, as I met the quirky, brilliant, funny William Weir two years ago and (last week) became married to him. It’s difficult for me to maintain a good writing life, love life, and blog….but out o’love for the field I’m making another go at this, starting by posting a link to a review of one of our best contemporary reviewers, William Logan.

Raising the Bar and Then Electrifying It: The Savage Criticism of William LoganReview of Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue, William Logan -by Rory Waterman from The Dark Horse, Summer / Autumn 2010 -reprinted at Poetry Daily.

Waterman has written a balanced review of Logan’s often-scathing, sometimes-loving, and always-important criticism. It’s fun to read both for Waterman’s thoughts about Logan and for Logan’s thoughts about poetry in general.  Here’s a brief excerpt re: the latter–

Logan reserves a special, sad frustration for the established, esteemed poet worthy of admiration who has let himself and his readers down by becoming ‘so secure in his tendencies he can’t remember when he didn’t have tendencies at all’. Moreover, he sees that many of our more established living poets have become weak parodies of their former selves, and his disappointment is almost palpable. Most of the poets that come onto the radar screen for this particular line of attack are certainly writers whom the critic obviously admires, some a great deal. Discussing Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle Logan writes: ‘The things he does well he can still do brilliantly’, before warning that ‘If he’s not careful, he’ll become the equivalent of a faux Irish pub, plastic shamrocks on the bar, Styrofoam shillelaghs on the wall, and green ale on tap’.

The rest of the paragraph also gathers Logan’s similar sentiments about Paul Muldoon, Richard Wilbur, Geoffrey Hill, John Ashbury, and Les Murray.  Cool to see them gathered together like this, and to read this thought-provoking review about a thought-provoking reviewer.
While on the topic of Logan, here’s a link to his latest review in The New Criterion:

Trampling out the new vintage–by William Logan–June 2010–On Wait by C. K. Williams, Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty by Tony Hoagland, Simplify Me When I’m Dead by Keith Douglas, Rain by Don Paterson, White Egrets by Derek Walcott & Nox by Anne Carson

My favorite line here comes from a bit on Walcott, who Logan considers “a poet of great gifts.”  Logan writes:

“A poet of great gifts can make all sorts of mistakes and not fail, while a poet of mediocre talent can do almost everything right and not succeed.”

Shortlistees for the TS Eliot Prize

TS Eliot prize The Sunday Times review by Alan Brownjohn: a preview of the 10 shortlistees for the prestigious poetry prize January 10, 2010

T.S. Eliot Prize from the Poetry Book Society, not to be confused with the T.S. Eliot Prize from Truman State University Press.

Frayed Rope for a Thousand Years

Frayed Rope for a Thousand Years by Jess Row. from The Threepenny Review, Winter 2010. Reprinted at Poetry Daily. (Review of: Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, edited and translated by David Hinton/The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry: A Critical Edition, Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenellosa; edited by Saussy, Stalling, and Klein)

How can we come to a new understanding of Chinese classical literature when our inherited view of it is so powerfully shaped and conditioned by a “strong misreading,” which is a vital part of our own poetic language?


WB Yeats and Sigmund Freud works posted on Wikipedia as copyright expires Matthew Moore Telegraph January 1, 2010

The poetry of WB Yeats and texts by the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud are among the cultural works available to read for free online from today, as their copyright expires.

A Scattering

Amazon UK

The five winners of the Costa Book Awards, once known as the Whitbread Awards, have been announced. The poetry award went to Christopher Reid’s poetic tribute to his late wife, A Scattering.

Christopher Reid on winning poetry prize -from BBC News. (Contains a worthwhile video clip–esp. interesting for what he has to say about writing poetry about the death of a loved one.)


Late home one night, I found
she was not yet home herself.
So I got into bed and waited
under my blanket mound,
until I heard her come in
and hurry upstairs.

Read rest of poem @ the Telegraph.

1/8:  The Yorkshire Post has much of the same information from the video clip posted above: A bitter-sweet triumph for poet’s tribute to the wife he lost by Chris Bond, January 5


I’m now posting info. for new poetry collections on a separate webpage called Amphibrach.

When possible, I will post excerpts from those books, or–when excerpts are not yet available–examples of the poet’s previous work. -Tanya

Doesn’t everyone know that the sonnet should be dead by now?

Chaos in Fourteen Lines: Reformations and Deformations of the Sonnet Annie Finch, Contemporary Poetry Review

Doesn’t everyone know that the sonnet should be dead by now? As the poet Tim Yu put it in his blog last year, “the real issue, to my mind, in using a form like the sonnet is belatedness.” Doesn’t it go without saying that the sonnet is a form too late for itself, too old-fashioned to really exist? Somehow, though, the sonnet has not cooperated with the reports of its death.

How has poetry changed in the past 10 years?

The Poetry Foundation gives us  2000-2009: The Decade in Poetry: How has poetry changed in the past ten years?

Contributing poets and poetry-critics: Matthew Zapruder, Annie Finch, Ron Silliman, Rigoberto González, Marjorie Perloff, Brent Cunningham, Camille Dungy, Francisco Aragón, Eileen Myles

LEMON HOUND: On Reviewing

Lemon Hound is publishing a series of posts by contemporary poets and writers on book reviewing. Participating reviewers so-far: Anselm Berrigan, Ben Friedlander, Emily Warn, Michael Robbins, Eileen Myles, Mitchell Parry, Ron Silliman, Brian Joseph Davis, Stephen Burt, Catherine Daly, Michael Bryson, Daisy Fried, Steve Collis, and Jordan Davis.

Issac Asimov on poetry

Happy Issac Asimov’s birthday!

Editorial: Poetry by Issac Asimov Asimov’s Science Fiction

When there was talk of decommissioning the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) as hopelessly obsolete, a twentyone-year-old medical student, Oliver Wendell Holmes, wrote a poem that began “Ay, tear her tattered ensign down” that was printed in a newspaper and that brought a lump to the throat of every reader. (It still does, at least to mine). Millions of people were moved to protest against the action, and into contributing money to save the ship. Even schoolchildren brought in their pennies. And the ship was saved. It still exists and no one would ever dream of decommissioning it. I don’t know of any modern poem that could possibly achieve such a result.