James Tate, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and long time University of Massachusetts professor, died at 71. He wrote over twenty poetry collections, including The Ghost Soldiers and The Oblivion Ha-Ha.
You ... [ read more ]
British poet and journalist James Fenton has won the Pen Pinter Prize, established in honour of playwright Harold Pinter.
Previous winners of the Pinter Prize include Tom Stoppard, Carol Ann ... [ read more ]
Rachel Bennett, Smartish Pace Reading
Rachel Bennett reads at the Smartish Pace Issue 18 party at KGB Bar in New York City on December 17, 2011. Intro by SP Associate Editor Clare Banks.
Traci O’Dea (Associate Editor, Smartish Pace): How has translating Sappho affected your own poetry?
Aaron Poochigian: I had always wanted each line of my poetry to be songlike and ravishing. Now, after having lived with Sappho for about two years, I have a better sense of what that means. But I should be more specific about her influence. Many of Sappho’s poems give the reader the impression that he or she is eavesdropping on a private conversation, as in the following fragment:As you are dear to me go find a youngerBed as your due.I can’t stand being the old one any longer,Living with you.I now readily slip into the conversational mode in my own work. Sappho, in fact, is credited with pioneering the “personal” in poetry, partly because she gives the reader this window into the intimate. She also makes frequent use of what I call “choral” expression—that is, the speaker as a first person plural “we” representing a group of people. I now often write poems in “group voices.” Perhaps the poem “The Marriage of Peleus and Thetis” is the best evidence of her influence on my work. The Marriage ... [ read more ]
Richard Wilbur seems an anomaly in today’s largely postmodern, elliptical, elegiac, multicultural poetical climate. His fidelity to structured form and meter, heavy reliance upon classical antiquity, optimism, and ivy-league background make him something of a throwback to the 1950’s when he first gained public recognition. If his harshest critics are to be warranted in saying that Wilbur did not venture much outside of his formal style and themes, then his new collection Anterooms provides plenty ... [ read more ]