Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: poet

“Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World”

The World Trade Center burns

We all want to know how to handle the horror that is, it seems, always around us now, haunting us all like a shadow we can’t shake. Poet (and director of the NYU Creative Writing Program) Deborah Landau has been thinking and writing about terror, and terrorism, and how to live in our unsafe world, for her new book.

“That Tuesday morning,” writes Fran Bigman, “September 11, Landau told me, she was pregnant with her second child and dropping her three-year-old son off at nursery school downtown; they were on a bus and people started screaming, and they saw a plane hit the tower. Scenes of disaster, both remembered and imagined, run through her head, but she isn’t a narrative poet who retells a story. “I am not a depicter, not any more. I’m never writing about something,” she tells me, “I’m always writing out of something—or into something.”

“Landau finished these poems, which make up Soft Targets [her upcoming collection], after the attack on Bastille Day 2016, in an intense 12-day burst—not her usual working method. These are poems for a world in which there is no safety. It opens with Landau’s fears for herself, familiar fears. But then the poem rushes outward—we, the innocent, are soft targets, but even bin Laden was a soft target to his attackers. The poems in Soft Targets keep sweeping outward, dizzyingly, from the intimacy of Landau and her “you” to the entire city to the entire world. Another of the book’s early poems follows this same trajectory:

I’m a soft target, you’re a soft target
and the city has a hundred hundred thousand softs;

the pervious skin, the softness of the face
the wrist inners, the hips, the lips, the tongue,

the global body,
its infinite permutable softnesses—”

Deborah Landau, Writing Poems For an Unsafe World

“For women who are difficult to love”

Warsan Shire, people.

For Women Who Are Difficult To Love

 

Sara Holbrook Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Poems

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This is very funny and at the same time sad. Poet Sara Holbrook, alive and kicking, was not asked to tell examiners the answers to questions about her own poetry.

Bogus Standarized Testing

 

Sharon Olds

Alexandra Schwartz, writing in the New Yorker, about Sharon Olds and her new book, “Odes.”

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“In some six dozen poems, Olds sings in praise of things that are not often considered worthy of appreciation—tampons, stretch marks, fat, composting toilets, douche bags, menstrual blood—and reconsiders others that are.”

Sharon Olds Sings the Body Electric

 

Eva Saulitis: “I will know how to die.”

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Today, Eva Saulitis, biologist, essayist, poet died of metastatic breast cancer.

She has left us her work with the AT1 pod of orcas in Alaska, documenting the decimation during the Exxon Valdez spill of what is now, when it is too late to save them, thought to be a separate species of whale.

Death is capricious and cruel, and I wonder as you must, in this January of domino-deaths, why someone so talented and necessary has been lost, and why we can’t bargain our life for hers.

I urge you to read The Woman Who Loves Orcas, below, and to listen to her fine essay Wild Darkness.

Her books:

Leaving Resurrection: Chronicles of a Whale Scientist, essays
Many Ways to Say It, poetry
Into Great Silence: Discovery and Loss Among Vanishing Orcas, memoir

The Woman Who Loves Orcas

Wild Darkness

Eva Saulitis reading from the Alaska Quarterly Review

A review of Leaving Resurrection: Chronicles of a Whale Scientist

 

Marilyn Hacker in conversation with Ashwaq Basnawi

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This year I re-read poet/editor/translator/reviewer Marilyn Hacker’s passionate sonnet sequence Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons. I meant to have ordered her new collected, A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems 1994-2014, but at the last moment I veered, preferring to replace what was a cherished text.

Now you can read Ashwaq Basnawi’s interview with Marilyn, here.

Eileen Myles

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The irreduceable Eileen Myles interviewed in her East Village apartment by Ben Lerner:

Eileen Myles in Conversation

Eileen Myles by Rachel Munroe:

After 19 Books and a Presidential Bid, Eileen Myles Gets Her Due

New Republic interview

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