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Fiona Sampson was first a concert violinist, then studied at the Universities of Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize, and Nijmegen, where she received a PhD in the philosophy of language. This research arose from her pioneering residencies in health care.  She has published seventeen books, including Rough Music (short-listed for the Forward Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize 2010) and A Century of Poetry Review (PBS Special Commendation, 2009).  She was the founding editor of Orient Express, a journal of contemporary writing from post-communist Europe, and her other translations include books by Amir Or and Jaan Kaplinski. Published in more than thirty languages, she has eleven books in translation including Patuvachki Dnevnik, awarded the Zlaten Prsten (Macedonia). She has received Writer’s Awards from the Arts Councils of England and Wales and the Society of Authors, the US Literary Review’s Charles Angoff Award, and was AHRC Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University 2002-5 and CAPITAL Fellow in Creativity at the University of Warwick 2007-8. Fiona Sampson is the editor of Poetry Review, the UK’s oldest and most influential poetry journal, and contributes regularly to The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Independent and the TLS. In 2009, she received a Cholmondeley Award and became a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature. She is Distinguished Writer at the University of Kingston, and her books forthcoming in May 2011 are Music Lessons: the Newcastle Poetry Lectures, and Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Faber poet-to-poet series.

ooo

Zeus to Juno

He –

OO

You saw the way her body looked at me

OOOOOall address

OOOOOOOOOOcalling me down

She was so

OOOOOwell-turned,

OOOOOOOOOcurve and volume

her body presented itself

OOOOOClay –

OOOOOOOOOOI could mould it

OOO

She –

OO

You were taboo

not totem –

covered her

though your wing gave no shelter

your pale plumage

becoming shadow

your beak caught

in the net of her hair

OOO

He –

OO

When I entered her

OOOOOher death became my life

in her death swoon

OOOOOshe fell away from me

the more she fell

OOOOOthe deeper I pursued her

the deeper I went                                                             

OOOOOthe more lost she became

her body

OOOOObecame a forest of echoes

hills and valleys

OOOOOechoing each other, a language

I didn’t know

OO

She –

OO

The discarded body

lies in long grass,

flies and wasps

fumble there

On a summer day

the lost girl hums –

Kelly, Sarah, Jo, changed

into parable

prodigal hair

flung out

OOOOOObody agape

like a question

The scavenging crow

knows she’s beautiful,

outgrowing her name

in the noon heat

(more…)

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Molossus is proud to present an exclusive new poem by Mathew Timmons, to accompany his most recent book, The New Poetics (Les Figues Press, $15). Read our most recent conversation with Timmons here, and our older conversation here.


The New Craft

Hello, I’m the author: Robert David Steele. I write books about Robert David Steele by Robert David Steele on The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public and Political.

I’m here to present a paper where the author, Robert M. Steele, examines books by Robert David Steele as well as two paradigm shifts—one in relation to the threat and a second in relation to intelligence methods for The New Craft and The Future of Voices, at the International Conference, University of Dundee, Scotland, 04-06 July 2007.

I’m here to talk about Intelligence and The New Craft. I am a recovering spy. I’m here to talk about Robert David Steele’s forthcoming book, The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public & Political (The Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide and Disease). Ethics are The New Craft and I’m a recovering spy. Although I was good at it, I was stunned to learn, while creating the Marines, that intelligence and The New Craft is not the operational manifestation of the typical American. The New Craft of intelligence does not burn up its analysts with routine. Its focus would be on teaching policy-makers, acquisition managers, operators, and logisticians the intelligence of The New Craft, and in passing help revive traditional crafts & games with supplies & kits from the Eastern Woodlands and encourage custom Native American style dance regalia, with costumes of porcupine quill & beadwork.

Right out of school and grown over time, The New Craft of intelligence emphasizes hiring analysts with a clean-sheet start on the technical side of The New Craft. The New Craft emphasizes Engineering Skills and the Impact of Innovative Technology on Engineering Practice. Alvin currently lingers for about 5 hours at 2500 meters, for instance. The New Craft will be able to last up to 7 hours at that depth. With The New Craft of intelligence well in hand will come The New Strategy that understands the continuum of personnel skills needed for true homeland defense. Alvin currently lingers for about 5 hours at 2500 meters. The New Craft will last up to 7 hours and The New Buoyancy System will allow his sub to hover in midwater.

Technology Is The New Craft. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this glass-and-steel house was. Technology may be The New Craft, but it’s not the only one. Ethics are The New Craft.

Boing Boing! Cory Doctorow has written a fantastic editorial for Edinburgh University’s law department on how the tech companies influence The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political. This monograph is the third in the Strategic Studies Institute’s series. Through The New Craft and the Future Voices’ conference, the PPFCP research seeks to: Identify emergent forms of craft practice. Cory Doctorow wrote a nice editorial in The University of Edinburgh’s SCRIPT-ed online journal. This excerpt will give you a vision of The New Craft from the Future Voices International Conference, including a research exhibition designed to encourage debate surrounding the future of craft.

In The New Craft of Intelligence: Susan Beal, author of The New Night of The New Craft, a freelance writer and jewelry designer in Los Angeles, goes out to Craft Night as often as she can. While The New Craft shared the same, beautiful show facility, she felt it did not attain the instant success that the RV Show had enjoyed back in 1984. Personally, I think the RV Show embodies the direction that The New Craft show should take, at least in our area. Fortunately for us, we happen to have one of the most unique bears from the amazon here at home, an amazonian bear.

Ethics are The New Craft.

The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public & Political. The Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease and Toxic Bombs. Achieving asymmetric advantage in the face of nontraditional threats (studies in asymmetry).

Ethics are The New Craft.

The truth helps, but only when you listen. With over thirty years of history as its foundation, The New Craft of film production is a research work that deals with the phenomenon of the use of desktop computer technology in film production. The New Craft of Australia, with the support of the tech sector, is poised to write The New Tradition of The New Craft of Intelligence: How “The State” Should Lead. A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry.

 

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Mathew Timmons’ latest book, The New Poetics ($15), published by Les Figues Press as part of their TrenchArt Maneuvers Series, topped the Small Press Distribution bestseller list for poetry in December. As an admirer both of Les Figues’ TrenchArt Series and Timmons’ work, I was excited to read The New Poetics, and because of its unique nature decided an interview might best showcase the work. Following the publication of our below conversation, Molossus will print an exclusive addition to Timmon’s New Poetics, titled “The New Craft.”

DS

What is The New Poetics? How did the project come about, and how does it fit into Les Figues current series?

I began writing The New Poetics in the summer of 2006. At the time it seemed like I was often talking about the new narrative and the new sentence with various writing friends, Harold Abramowitz being one person in particular. It was a very warm summer in L.A., which tends to push me towards insomnia, and that summer I was in the bad habit of driving around downtown Los Angeles in the middle of the night, between say 3 and 5 AM, roughly. I wasn’t sleeping all that much and would come home from driving around and work on various projects in the early hours of the morning. At some point I thought I’d google “The New Narrative” and see what the internet could tell me about the subject. I liked the odd repetition and rephrasing of what came up, so I took the first three pages of google results, put them in a Word document and started moving things around until I liked what I saw on the page. I did the same thing with “The New Sentence” and afterwards I felt like I had actually learned something about both The New Sentence and The New Narrative that normal research wouldn’t offer. Then I started keeping a list of News, things that would come up in conversation or I would overhear, The New Something-or-Other phrases in people’s work. For example, “The New Debility” is dedicated to Will Alexander, because in his play Conduction in the Catacombs—which I worked on for Betalevel here in Los Angeles, ATA in San Francisco, and 21 Grand in Oakland a few years ago—one of the characters uses the phrase “The New Debility.” In the case of “The New Motherfuckers,” I was at Amoeba Music in Hollywood and on one of the end-caps there was a CD by the band The New Motherfuckers. I listened to it and really liked it, so I wrote “The New Motherfuckers” for them, and most of the material is actually about them, which means they had great google presence back in 2006 when I was working on the book.

I sense a sort of poking fun at schools and movements in The New Poetics. Can you comment on that?

It’s true, I’m not so much into writing schools and movements, or I have a healthy skepticism for them. Kurt Schwitters, one of my favorite artists and writers, created his own movement, Merz, after he wasn’t accepted by the Berlin Dadaists. Schwitters was closer to the Zurich Dadaists and dabbled a little with the surrealists. He wasn’t easy to pin down. I myself don’t like to be easy to pin down, and I don’t need to follow the marching orders of the movement at whatever moment some movement wants to get on the move. I also find that movements and schools should be left to the 20th century avant-garde. Movements and schools require a solid identification and tend towards an Us vs. Them mentality. I’d prefer to recognize mutual affinities between artists and writers around me. I’d prefer not to be limited by what may or may not fit into a perceived or constructed regimen of any school or movement. Yet I love manifestos, the typical founding documents of any movement. I love the didactic voice of a manifesto, always ridiculously self-assured. In my aesthetic statement for Les Figues TrenchArt: Maneuvers Series, which I very appropriately titled, “The Old Poetics,” I bloviated on and on for about 5,000 words about the old poetics. It read like a manifesto for the old poetics, while I am of course, obviously all about the new.

What’s happened with the PARROT series and Insert Press since we last talked?

PARROT 4, 5 & 6 came out: But on Geometric by Joseph Mosconi, Loquela by Allyssa Wolf and Viva Miscegenation by Brian Kim Stefans. We sold out of the first three issues during that time and we ran into a bit of a printing snag that caused a few months delay. I’m happy to say that the printing snag has been dealt with and PARROT 7 On the Substance of Disorder by Will Alexander will be out for the new year and we should get back to getting them out in quick succession again after that. In the meantime we published a booklet in collaboration with MATERIAL about artists’ communities, The Futility of Making Salad. The publication includes texts from Harold Abramowitz, Stan Apps,
 Marcus Civin,
 Ginny Cook,
 Dorit Cypis,
 Robin Dicker, Bradney Evans, Nicholas Grider, Dan Hockenson, 
Peter Kirby,
 Elana Mann, Melanie Nakaue, Julie Orser,
 Adam Overton, 
Putting On, 
Declan Rooney,
 Kim Schoen,
 Charlotte Smith, 
Jesper List Thompsen, Mathew Timmons, and
 Jason Underhill.

Looking ahead to 2011 we’ll be continuing with the PARROT series and working on two books, Bruna Mori’s Poetry for Corporations and The Ups & Downs exhibitions catalog as well as issuing the last two volumes of Vanessa Place’s trilogy, Tragodía through our print-on-demand wing, Blanc Press.

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Carol Moldaw’s most recent book is So Late, So Soon: New and Selected Poems (Etruscan Press, 2010). She is the author of four other books of poetry, The Lightning Field, which won the 2002 FIELD Poetry Prize, Through the Window, Chalkmarks on Stone, and Taken from the River, as well as a novel, The Widening (2008). Through the Window was translated into Turkish and published in a bi-lingual edition in Istanbul as Penceredon/Through the Window; her work also has been translated into Chinese and Portuguese. Moldaw is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Marfa Writer’s Residency, an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize, and her work is published widely in journals, including AGNI, Antioch Review, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, FIELD, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Parnassus, Threepenny Review, and Triquarterly and has been anthologized in many venues, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, and Under 35: A New Generation of American Poets. As noted in The New Yorker, Moldaw’s work “repeatedly achieves lyric junctures of shivering beauty.” About The Lightning Field, Frieda Gardner wrote in The Women’s Review of Books: “She courts revelation . . . in a voice variously curious, passionate, surprised, meditative, and sensual. On the surface of her work are rich sound and variation of rhythm and line. A few steps deeper in lie wells of feeling and complexities of thought.” From 2005-2008 Moldaw was on the faculty of Stonecoast, the University of Southern Maine’s low-residency M.F.A. program, and she has conducted residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, taught at the College of Santa Fe and in the MFA program at Naropa University. Moldaw lives outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband and daughter.  In the spring of 2011 she will be the Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University.

OOO

Out of the West

Out of the west, unexpected, lyric,

a stand of yellow irises

rises from the pond muck.

Two horses graze the field,

one limping from the fire they fled.

Matter and spirit meet, love,

argue, wherever you rest your eyes,

on microscopic midges, horseflies.

OOO

Matter and Spirit

1. In the Beginning

Mortified by their attraction,

whoever introduced them long forgotten,

Matter and Spirit meet

on the sly,

their affair an open secret.

ooo

2. Upstairs to the Left

Matter turns down the sheets,

Spirit closes the blinds.

An itinerant composer

hearing the creaking bedsprings

fills a page with half-notes,

quarter-notes, melissima.

The desk clerk drowsing

in front of a deck of cards

dreams of palm fronds,

asphalt blistering in the sun.

(more…)

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Featuring Molossus editor David Shook, alongside Molossus-featured writers Aaron Kunin, Mathew Timmons, Douglas Kearney, Harold Abramowitz, and others, as well as 2010 Pulitzer winner Rae Armantrout, Lyn Hejinian, and many others!

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I first encountered Tom Pow’s dying villages work at the Edinburgh Poetry Library, on a tour with the Poetry Translation Centre. I was fascinated by the Cornell-like collections of simple objects, small shrines to the lives once lived in the villages in which they were found. Very curious about his project, I bought two small books, the letterpress-printed Songs from a Dying Village and the equally beautiful Cean Loch Reasort and Other Dead Village Walks, both printed in limited editions. Shortly thereafter, Tom and I began the email correspondence that eventually led to this conversation.

Tom Pow is very much a multidisciplinary poet and artist, as he explains below, and the photographs that accompany this interview were taken on his travels through the dying villages of Europe, as part of his series “Signs of a Dying Village.”

DS

OOO

Tell me, briefly, about dying villages. What are they?

It is estimated that by 2030 Europe will lose roughly one third of its population, the greatest demographic change since the Black Death. The effects of depopulation will be felt most acutely in rural areas, as a result of high levels of emigration to cities and low birth rates. Europe is home to 22 of the world’s 25 lowest birthrate countries, so there are many areas where villages are dying. I travelled to northern Spain, central France, southern Italy, eastern Germany, Bulgaria and central Russia. In Russia, for example, according to recent statistics, 11,000 villages and 290 cities have disappeared from the map of the Russian Federation. 13,000 villages remain on the map, but have no inhabitants. I came across a village there with one surviving inhabitant. This is not unusual.

How did you hear of them? How did that initial impulse—the spark of interest in the dying villages—evolve into the project it now is?

I was in Edmonton for the 30th anniversary of the University of Alberta’s Writing Program for which I’d been a visiting fellow in the early 90s. There was an article in the Edmonton Journal, with the title Withering Heights. It was about a village in northern Spain called Villabandin which had a handful of inhabitants all in their 60s and older. I learned that the phenomenon of the dying village is widespread in Europe and the subject gripped me—history, memory, loss, identity: very Scottish themes, I think! I was given a Creative Scotland Award, which funded my research trips and I began at Villabandin.

 

What do we stand to lose with the death of so many villages? Do you think dying villages contribute to a larger cultural attrition?
I’ve just read that 84% of people in Sweden live on 1.3% of the land. That is a sign of the increasing urbanisation that exists throughout the world. Villages die. Villages have always died, when they can no longer find reasons to exist. What  is undoubtedly lost with the deaths of so many villages is a myriad of ways of looking at the world. But what is perhaps more  concerning is the future of our relationship with the natural world—a world more and more people are distanced from and with which fewer and fewer have an intimate relationship.

You do more than just write poems, right? You also take photographs, collect artefacts, and more. How does your poetry interact with those other forms or disciplines of remembrance?

The photographs and the sound recordings were part of the research—they are a kind of noticing. But they also reflect my interests: for example, there are many photographs of doors and windows (thresholds), of what is worn and decayed; the recordings reflect an interest in the texture/the impossibility of silence. The website makes much of this material available. The artefacts grow from the poetry. I see them as physical embodiments of the poems. For example, one of the signs of a dying village is fruit lying unpicked. I came across an arrangement of apples that reminded me of the French game of boules. I showed the photograph to a sculptor and she made three apples on the edge of decay which were then cast in foundry bronze. I call then Boules from a Dying Village. They are beautiful to handle. After they were made, I discovered Gustave Courbet’s still lifes of apples which he painted while in prison. They are acknowledged as rustic memories of the village where he was born and spent his childhood. Each of the artefacts has similarly rich resonances.

People love to bemoan the state of poetry; I hate listening to them. Tell me about how the medium of poetry worked (or didn’t) for this project?

John Berger writes, in And Our Faces, My heart, Brief as Photos, that prose is a battle and that poetry moves through the battlefield tending the wounds. Poetry can still the narrative, so that something can be looked at and considered—given due attention. Some of the pieces I wrote were very short—poems of three or four lines. They are sequences with, I hope, a cumulative power. But each of them offers a threshold into the world of the dying village:

She’s sitting on the old green bench
by the side of the lilac tree.
Oh, the songs she once sung here!
The thought of them still makes her blush.

OOOO(from Songs from a Dying Village)

Did the project—and especially the travel portion of it, actually visiting these communities—affect your writing? What did you learn?

Of course. The small poem above is part of a sequence that drew on the Russian folk poem, the chastushka, a short lyric that was sung and that reflected village life. So common was it that the Soviets high-jacked it and used it as a way of spreading propaganda. My poems drew on what I read, but also on field work in Russia, listening to old women singing these songs.

What’s the future of the dying villages project?

I have begun a series of intimate engagements, using my Suitcase of the Dying Village. These are events/presentations round a table of 12-15 people. I share photographs, artefacts, recordings, read poems and tell stories relating to the project. There is always time to engage with others’ experiences and memories and  there is opportunity for them to write very briefly about their connection with a (dying) village. At one of these events, after the presentation, we served soup, bread and cheese. I like to think I am creating a space for people to engage with the subject in their own ways. And I suppose there is something about the intimacy that fits the subject. On the other hand, I have also given talks/lectures to fairly large audiences about the subject. I am working on a book about dying villages in Europe, which will be published in 2011. The book will contain travel essays, poems and short stories. But I’d like to go on one further dying villages trip.

What do you take with you on the road? Any specific books or albums? Have you picked up anything great recently?

Travelling can be a good time to read things you’ve been meaning to read for some time and never got round to. On one of the trips I took Gaston Bachelar’s The Poetics of Space. It started me writing a sequence of short poems about nests. I’d thought they were an escape from the enormity of the dying villages project. But I came to realise that nests are intimately connected to the themes of home and of abandonment that are at the heart of dying villages.

A nest is a blessing
for a tree and a prayer
upon the water.

December 2010

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Alfred Corn is the author of nine books of poems, the most recent titled Contradictions. He has published a collection of essays, The Metamorphoses of Metaphor, and a novel, Part of His Story. In 2008, University of Michigan Press brought out a collection of essays titled Atlas: Selected Essays, 1989-2007 and Copper Canyon recently published a new edition of his study of prosody, The Poem’s Heartbeat. Fellowships and prizes awarded for his poetry include the Guggenheim, the NEA, an Award in Literature from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and one from the Academy of American Poets. He has taught at Yale, Columbia, UCLA, the Poetry School in London, an Arvon workshop at Totleigh Barton, and at the Almàssera Vella Arts Centre in Spain.

Eleven   Londons

1967

Christmas carols, light-strings, mist, and rain.

Learning how to pronounce Marylebone.

A cut-rate holiday flight over the Channel

had lobbed us from our year on the Left Bank

to London, where Ann and I put up in a Baker Street

two-star, heated only when numb-fingered guests

fed shillings to the gas-gauge. Shillings, thruppence,

half-crowns, and the imaginary guinea:

Sterling’s baffling backup currency

at least had been marked down by Harold Wilson,

which gave grad-student cash a little boost.

Currency was everything, birds on Carnaby Street,

rock fans at Camden Round House, hip mandala

for music happenings. Stones and under-thirties

were rolling their own, and soon as Jimi Hendrix

breezed into town youth hair ballooned out

in fluffy, copycat spheres. Are you experienced?

A purple haze drifted through Notting Hill,

compounded of smoke, incense and hallucination.

Fire up the time machine, get in and drive

with Vanessa Redgrave in Blow Up, levitate

on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and tune in

to visible autonomy now the overdue

Sexual Offences Act has gone into effect.

At Liberty’s, my paisley shirt compared itself

to their extravagant flower-power cottons,

strawberry fields the Doors of Perception

could open on as before for Aldous Huxley,

Jim Morrison. And if for them why not for us?

Doors onto an innocence at least less vapid

than Holborn’s fake Olde Curiosity Shoppe,

a private blamelessness we tried to fabricate,

making a separate peace untainted by what

America had locked, loaded, and fired in Vietnam

Sure, but innocence of the standard sort

won out when we queued up to see the Tower’s

ravens, its tourist bait of regal finery.

With meeker if still jeweled exactitude,

Van Eyck’s uncanny Arnolfini Marriage

wakened enlightened silence in the gazer,

transmuting a public-funded institution

into a Buddhist shrine for rag-tag pilgrims.

Our friend Jean took us up to Hampstead,

Keats’s leafless garden subsisting without its Bird,

a no-show we shrugged off with a trudge up to the Heath,

to nurse a pint at Jack Straw’s Castle, another

in the brown interior of the Spaniards—

somehow followed by a trip on the Northern Line

to Charing Cross and a prance down Whitehall,

the tall-hatted bobby on duty not bothering

to challenge whoever stepped into Downing Street.

So plant yourself in front of No. Ten’s

unassuming door, take in the plain white spokes

of a fanlight set in soot-black brick, and then

push on to the bridge, waiting until Big Ben

strikes three, lit up by winter sun and brazen

as Hendrix’s ax. Evening the same as morning,

Earth had not anything to show more… Cool.

We experienced the scene that experienced us,

reciprocal fuels pledged to set the night on fire.

OOO

1978

Yale English had opened its doors, to us

junior-faculty types sufficient motive

for culling closer knowledge of the source.

At Paddington, no stereotype fogs

Or rains, instead, mid-July heat. Reception

at our hotel in Bayswater suggested

Hyde Park as the guest’s likeliest cool refuge.

Untrue in the event, but on we loped,

on past the statue of Peter Pan, recalled

from an album cover of The Wand of Youth.

My own I’d shelved; was serious; had published.

On offer at the National Portrait Gallery

were dour Tudors, Stuarts, Pepys, Blake, Shelley.

And why not follow up with a tiptoe through

Soane’s lapidary house by Lincoln’s Inn Fields?

Meanwhile, on the south bank of the Thames,

where, except to take in Turner’s spectral

cyclones, no one used to go, had risen

a massive modernist performance complex,

design incarnate in gray concrete. Elsewhere

the Wallace Collection hoisted its genteel

standards, attracting patrons with Boucher

or Poussin’s Dance to the Music of Time, a title

Powell’s panoramic Proustian twelve-speed

novel recycled for his own charmed circle.

(more…)

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