She took us through the history of American poetry—from the Romantics to Postmodernism using a one-page outline—a whirlwind tour requiring seat belts.
|Punk artist Kathy Acker|
Jim Powell, Berkeley poet and translator of Greek and Latin lyric poets, talked about poetry as autopsy (root meaning “seeing for yourself”), as a way to tap into evidence from the culture around us and bring the solidity of the particular into the poem. He said the poets job is to tell the truth as found in the Ten Commandments—Number 9: You shall not bear false witness.
by Ethel Mann
Most contemporary American poetry is, he told the interviewer, "essentially adolescent. Its concerns never really get past that personal subjectivity. Aristotle would say it's not even human. A lot of people would say if you don't get past that level of your personal concerns, you're not even a human being."
Poet Melissa Morphew, 2010 winner of the Sacramento Poetry Center book prize for recently released “Bluster” and an English professor at Sam Houston State University in Texas, focused on practical techniques for beating writers block and getting words onto the page. Poet and critic Dean Rader, who teaches at the University of San Francisco, presented in workshop on four contemporary Native American poets that he said everyone needs to know--Heid Erdrich, Orlando White, James Thomas Stevens and Sherwin Bitsui --while poet Tim Kahl offered a workshop on creating musical backgrounds for oral poetry readings that can be used online. Radio is still one of the greatest platforms for sharing poetry, he said.
by Tom McGhee/Harper
Orr told "Weekend All Things Considered" host Linda Wertheimer that he wanted to take a broad approach, rather than recommending specific poems. The final chapter of Orr's book asks what might be the most important question: Why bother? Why read poetry at all?
Orr had a rather surprising answer: "I don't know that people ought to bother. I think that poetry is one of those choices you make in life that's ... it's not really susceptible to reasoning or arguments." Orr says he reads poetry because it helps him negotiate the world around him and understand his own feelings about that world.
Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, thinks the problem of a shrinking audience for poetry is that too many poets show off — writing obscure verses that turn many readers off. In his latest collection, Horoscopes For The Dead, he said he strives to write poetry that all readers can appreciate. "The last thing I want to do/ Is risk losing your confidence/ By appearing to lay it on too thick," he writes in the poem "Bread And Butter."
Collins, who has sold more than a million of his poetry books, says he is often asked why "no one" reads poetry anymore. He thinks part of the problem is that the audience for poetry is comprised largely of other poets. "Everyone at a baseball game isn't a baseball player," he points out, so everyone at a poetry reading needn't be a poet. Breaking that circle, he says, would help poets find larger followings.
From the Academy of American Poets – 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month -- before it's too late!