Posts Tagged ‘Writers & Books

30
Jan
13

James Longenbach’s Draft of a Letter (2007)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 10, which was published circa April 2007.

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James Longenbach – Draft of a LetterIn a previous issue of Redactions, we put out the question, “Can you use ‘soul’ in contemporary poetry?” Many poets responded with fine answers. Somehow Longenbach got wind of this question, as he mentioned in a reading at Writers & Books in Rochester, NY, & though he didn’t respond to the question through Redactions, he did respond. Longenbach, instead, explored using “soul” in poetry in Draft of a Letter (University of Chicago Press), & he succeeded. He affirmed what most of our responders said to the question said: Yes.

It’s not like every poem has “soul” in it, but, ah, they all have soul. You can feel it in the lines. The slow lines with long pauses at their ends. The implication of each line is: “Hey, reader/listener, read & listen. When my line ends, hold on to it for a moment. There’s more magic that will happen if you stop before making the turn. The unexplainable occurs here. Listen to the reverberations. Listen for the echo of the line that is about to arrive.” And then Longenbach, in a way, tells us this in these lines, which are not directly about poetry:

   In time,
   Without trying,
   I found a rhythm
   Of thought ineffably
   Hesitant, serene.
                              (“Draft of a Letter”)

I also want to mention one more thing that I hadn’t planned to talk about until I read Christian Wiman’s Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet [which appears in an earlier review]. My first encounters with Longenbach were his critical books on poetry and Modernism. All very good and intelligent, which you can gather from an early review/celebration of mine in Redactions on The Resistance to Poetry. Between that review and Draft of a Letter, I read Fleet River, which is a fine book of narrative poems, with wonderful vertical moments ( that is, Li-Young Lee vertical moments and not the vertical moment I mention in the Dan Gerber A Primer on Parallel Lives celebration/review). So Wiman says two things:

I have little patience for people who see the application of critical intelligence as somehow inimical to poetic creation. (p 61)

The worth of a poet’s critical awareness will have been determined by the truth and intensity of the poetic activity that preceded it, the depth to which he descended in his poems. (p 62)

I agree totally with those two statements, and I’m overwhelmed when a person can both be critically intelligent and have intense poems, especially when the poems are accessible. And Longenbach does this. The poems in Draft of a Letter are accessible with a music of tones and with rhythms of a soul that have found depth, or a person who found the depths of his soul.

Yes, Longenbach can play both sides of the ball, well.//

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Longenbach, James. Draft of a Letter. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.//

27
Oct
11

The Godfathers of Rochester Poetry – The Huff Black Reading (11-19-11)

That’s right ladies and gentlemen. The Godfathers of the Rochester, NY, poetry scene will be reading together at the heart of where the whole Rochester poetry scene really began – Brockport, NY.

Come one. Come all. Come to the November 19th reading at A Different Path Gallery on 27 Market Street. The event starts at 7:30 p.m., and it’s free.

Steve Huff Ralph Black Reading Flier(To see the poster full size, click it. To download a printable copy, click Huff Black Reading Flier PDF.)

There’ll be wine, food, and maybe cannolis.

So who are these fine readers? And why are they the Godfathers of Rochester Poetry? That’s because Steve Huff does significant work at the epicenter of the Rochester literary scene – Writers & Books. And Ralph Black co-runs the long running (if not longest running in the United States) reading series – The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport. So all poetry in the Rochester area must first go through them. Or else!

Here’s more about them.

Ralph BlackBefore Ralph Black became a respectable citizen of Western New York: he delivered The Washington Post to Spiro Agnew (after Agnew resigned from office). He cleaned carpets in government buildings in the nation’s capital. He was Fritz in the Nutcracker. He painted houses in Maine. He waited tables at a swank Italian restaurant that turned out to be a front for a Mafia-led cocaine operation. He hitchhiked to Williamsburg, VA, on a school day, to interview a craftsman who made miniature replicas of Viking ships. He ate peyote buttons while sitting in a cave in the Shenandoahs. He was bounced on Isaac Stern’s knee. He stole a 20 lb. tin of cashews from the deli where he worked. He fought fires for the Forest Service in Idaho. He nearly fell off a mountain in the backcountry in the Olympics. Ditto for a cliff in Maine. Ditto for a cliff in Virginia. Presently, he lives in Monroe Co., NY, where cliffs are few and far between.

Steve HuffSteven Huff is the author of two books of poems, most recently More Daring Escapes, and a collection of stories, A Pig in Paris. A Pushcart Prize winner in fiction, and an O.Henry Prize finalist, his poetry has been read on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and been chosen by form US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser for his American Life in Poetry feature news column. He is Director of Adult Education and Programs at Writers & Books, and teaches writing at RIT, and in the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Boston. From 2002 through 2008 he was host of Fiction in Shorts, a regular feature on WXXI-FM and WJSL-FM.

This event is sponsored by A Different Path Gallery, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and Lift Bridge Book Shop.//

11
May
11

My June 14th Poetry Reading with Adam A. Wilcox

Happy 30th Anniversary, Writers & Books!!!

Put together a poet/foodie and a poet/oenophile, and what do you get?
A banquet of tastes, textures, and sensory delights for the literary palate.

The Genesee Reading Series, with impresario Wanda Schubmehl, continues to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Writers & Books with a program featuring Tom Holmes and Adam A. Wilcox.

Tom HolmesTom Holmes (that’s me) is the editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. He is also author of After Malagueña (FootHills Publishing, 2005), Negative Time (Pudding House Publications, 2007), Pre-Dew Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2008), Henri, Sophie, & the Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex (BlazeVOX Books, 2009), The Oldest Stone in the World (Amsterdam Press, 2011), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, forthcoming). He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared on Verse Daily and has also appeared in Blue Earth Review, Chiron Review, Crab Creek Review, The Delmarva Review, The G. W. Review, Mississippi Review, Mid-American Review, New Delta Review, New Zoo Poetry Review, Orange Coast Review, Rockhurst Review, San Pedro River Review, Santa Clara Review, South Carolina Review, Sugar House Review, Swarthmore Review, and many other journals that don’t have “Review” in their name. His current poetry book reviews and writing about wine and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break: https://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/, which is right here!

Adam A. WilcoxAdam A. Wilcox is President and founder of Writ Wilcox, an information design company. Before that, he was a radio producer, curriculum developer, manager of technical documentation, and instructional designer for e-learning, and also ran an entrepreneurial custom-courseware business.

His poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Colorado Review, Cairn, and Folio, among other journals. For eight years, he wrote the “Gut Instincts” food column for Rochester City Newspaper, and currently writes for and edits RochesterFoodNet.com.

He also plays bass for The Dan Eaton Band and leads the Saturday Service Band at First Unitarian Church of Rochester. He lives in Rochester, NY, with his choreographer wife, Anne Harris Wilcox, their three home-schooled children, and their Bernese mountain dog.

The Genesee Reading Series will be held at Writers & Books, located at 740 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607, on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, at 7:30 pm. Admission is $3 for members and $6 for the general public.

Download the PDF flier for more information: Holmes Wilcox Genesee Reading Series 6-14-11.

Mark it on you Facebook calendar here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=172684909454121.//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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