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Posts Tagged ‘World Poetry Portfolio’

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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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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Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light (2009), Quipu (2005), The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 (1998), Archipelago (1995), and The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese (2001) from Copper Canyon Press. He is also the editor of Chinese Writers on Writing (Trinity University Press, Texas, 2010). A professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he taught for twenty years, Mr. Sze was Poet Laureate of Santa Fe from 2006-2008. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a PEN Southwest Book Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, an American Book Award, and two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships. His poems have been translated into Albanian, Burmese, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish, and he has read his poetry at such international festivals as the XIX International Poetry Festival of Medellín (2009), the Delhi International Literary Festival (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in England (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in China (2007), the Pacific International Poetry Festival (Taiwan, 2008), Poetry International (Rotterdam, 2007), and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (2002).

OOOOOOOOOOOOO

After Completion

1

Mayans charted the motion of Venus across the sky,

poured chocolate into jars and interred them

with the dead. A woman dips three bowls into

hare’s fur glaze, places them in a kiln, anticipates

removing them, red-hot, to a shelf to cool.

When samba melodies have dissipated into air,

when lights wrapped around a willow have vanished,

what pattern of shifting lines leads to Duration?

He encloses a section of garden in wire mesh

so that raccoons cannot strip ears in the dark,

picks cucumbers, moves cantaloupes out of furrows–

the yellow corn tassels before the white.

In this warm room, he slides his tongue along

her nipples, she runs her hair across his face;

they dip in the opaque, iron glaze of the day,

fire each emotion so that it becomes itself;

and, as the locus of the visible shrinks,

waves of red-capped boletes rise beneath conifers.

OOOOOOOOOOOOO

2

A sunfish strikes the fly

as soon as

it hits the water;

OOOOOOOOOOthe time of your life

OOOOOOOOOOis the line extending;

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwhen he blinks,

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOa hair-like floater

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOshifts in his left eye;

OOOOOOOOOOwhen is joy

OOOOOOOOOOkindling to greater joy?

this nylon filament

is transparent in water

yet blue in air;

OOOOOOOOOOgrasshoppers

OOOOOOOOOOrest in the tall grass.

(more…)

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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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Nathan Hamilton is a poet, publisher, and critic. He runs Egg Box Publishing and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Inpress Ltd. Among other things, he currently curates the Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival and works for the poetry magazine The Rialto. His poetry and criticism have been published in a number of places, in print and online, including Poetry London, The Manhattan Review, nth position, Intercapillary/Space, The Guardian, The Rialto and The Spectator.


181 ST

traffic embers late
in window light from this bridge
and we need different measures
for our buckets of luck

our own dark brains recall       away
in cigarettes to answer
a black mirrored screen       two baffled lights
across a bay

OOO
MALCOLM’S DEPARTURE

the hour draws round      field-distant fire
oilsmoke slouching out
his fingerprints dust a corridor wall

watching ground freeze      he toes
a new patch in a snow
full footsteps are too loud it seems

an idiot wind is growing
his words draw further back     clear
like frost

disappearing in a frost
after music he found        his own footsteps
disappointing

OOO
MALCOLM’S LANDING

high-flown Malcolm        how to manage
precision of a landing     tail-ends of a time in pieces
flowcharts pointing downward

the plane falls in
its belly up       licked fire     appears
to unzip the sky in vapours       lost Malcolm

dimly listens with a telescope        to logic
predicting quietly
tries not to wake the day

he was homeward bound
when a red eye street stared deep
and it’s a while now since we’ve spoken

he wakes again
the bones within his skin still sleeping
considers the last of anything interesting

(more…)

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Tamar Yoseloff was born in the US in 1965. Since moving to London in 1987, she has been the organiser of the Terrible Beauty reading series at the Troubadour Coffee House, Reviews Editor of Poetry London magazine, and from 2000 to 2007, Programme Coordinator for The Poetry School. She currently works as a freelance tutor in creative writing.

A pamphlet collection (Fun House, Slow Dancer Press, 1994) was followed by her first full collection, Sweetheart (Slow Dancer Press, 1998), which was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and the winner of the Aldeburgh Festival Prize. She received a New Writers’ Award from London Arts (now Arts Council England, London) for a manuscript in progress, which was eventually published as her second collection, Barnard’s Star (Enitharmon Press, 2004) Her most recent book, Fetch, was published by Salt in April 2007, as well as a collaborative book with the artist Linda Karshan, published by Pratt Contemporary Art. She was the editor of A Room to Live In: A Kettle’s Yard Anthology, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge (Salt, 2007) and the Poetry Editor of Art World magazine from 2007-2009. Her upcoming collection with Salt, The City with Horns, will feature a sequence of poems inspired by the life and work of the American abstract artist, Jackson Pollock.

She holds a MPhil in Writing from the University of Glamorgan, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University. She teaches for a number of institutions, including Birkbeck, Spread the Word and the Poetry School. In 2005 she was Writer in Residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge, as part of their Year in Literature Festival. She divides her time between London and Suffolk, and has recently completed her first novel.

Her writing encompasses a wide range of ideas and subjects, but she is particularly interested in the relationship between poetry and visual art, specifically contemporary art. She has run a number of site-specific writing workshops which are concerned with poetry and place.

Of the following poems, the first three are new and unpublished, and the rest are selections from her previously published books.


Train

The smell of mould, of permanent dark
as we lunge into the tunnel, a cold
I savour in this unseasonable heat
before the sputter into light:

a far field, a bonfire; a man
and his accumulated junk.
He swelters in the wake
of his destruction. Blaze, then go.

Facing the direction of travel
I’m beyond the pull of nostalgia:
the future is wherever
I care to disembark.

O

Invisible Nearby Sea

This landlocked city

spills into suburbs, lots choked with weeds,
fills what space it can take

like the man sitting beside me on the bus
who’s burst the banks of his bones to overflow –

we are too intimate in this folded space,
his breath timed to the beat of my heart.

I did not ask for his breath, his wet flesh,
his hands like slippery fish –

he must want to escape the swell
of his body, the contrived constraints of clothes.

And he will sense that I carry
the stagnant air of shuttered rooms, stalled lifts,

the slow creep of complacency. But still
it rises from tarmac to find us, clings

to our skin: that saline longing
for somewhere else.

O

Forecast

The sky is cloudless,
reverting to its life before the birth of flight,
revealing no clues to its weather.

The track continues, dips
as the hill descends. I can’t see
where it leads,

just the hills beyond;
green of nearness, parched brown
of distance, the far black

like the dark sound of the volcano.
It perches on an island unlike ours,
echoes in memory, a folktale,

until its people nearly forget,
immersed in the fiction
of their own lives, their small storms,

and then, in the force of its eruption
it reminds them of their ignorance,
their blindness.

The wind bends the spruce
to watch their backs, as if something
has captured their attention,

carries the ash further, further,
like a whisper; I can’t see how it coats
my skin, my lips, a thin film covers my eyes.

It settles over the hills, dusts the valleys,
furs the branches of trees. It catches
in the throats of birds.

(more…)

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Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales, and lives in London. Her poetry collections include What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo (Seren, 2010), The Treekeeper’s Tale (Seren, 2008) and The Zoo Father (Seren, 2001). Two were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and were books of the year in The Times Literary Supplement. The Zoo Father was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She has won numerous writing awards, including three from Arts Council England, and has been shortlisted for a Forward Prize.

The Poetry Book Society selected her as one of the Next Generation Poets in 2004. She is widely travelled, including in the Venezuelan Amazon. In 2008 she took part in the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in China and the British Council’s New Silk Road project in Almaty. A bilingual edition of The Zoo Father is published in Mexico and her poems are translated into many languages. She originally trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art, and spent the first part of her life as an artist, before deciding to concentrate on poetry. She has worked as editor of Poetry London, was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Middlesex University 2007–9 and has tutored for Oxford University. She currently tutors for The Poetry School, Arvon Foundation and Tate Modern.

Exiled Elm

My comet-roots trail earth through the dark,
my trunk swarms with homeless insects
and from my starry crown seeds
scatter, searching for new worlds.

O

Night Boat on Galilee

I board when the surface is calm
OOOOOas the lull before a symphony.

In that pause a lyre-lake
OOOOOmirrors the stars.

If I listen hard I almost hear a nocturne’s opening chords
OOOOOas I float over earth’s rift,

and in my net, a shoal of notes
OOOOOflap their tails.

My boat cradles me as a squall swoops
OOOOOfrom the Golan Heights

and plucks the roots of subterranean springs
OOOOOthat feed the shrinking lake.

The woods of quiet are carob, willow, Aleppo pine,
OOOOOterebinth, tabor oak and cedar.

The two-thousand-year-old fishing vessel dredged from clay
OOOOOafter a year of drought

was built from these – planks so waterlogged
OOOOOthey would disintegrate in air.

I board that craft between destruction and repair,
OOOOOin the listening-lake Kinneret

where Jesus walked over two thousand strings
OOOOOof liquid harp,

summoning lightness from a breath of birdsong.
OOOOOI board my boat

as sound waves lap against the hull
OOOOOdrawing Aeolian sighs

from the rings of the Tree of Life.
OOOOOAnd if this wreck is from a battle

I’ll sing to the spirits of the trees
OOOOOwhich were felled to build it

until the leaves grow back on their branches
OOOOOand water rises up dry veins – enough for the world

to drink, for the water-music to stop all wars. I still my ears
OOOOOas the constellations tune their instruments.

OOOOO

(more…)

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