Monday, March 1, 2010
All the Poetry News that’s Fit to Print!
In case you’re wondering: yes, I do still play guitar & banjo, tho a look at the blog lately wouldn’t clue you into that so much. I only have mild anxiety about this—but then, I have mild anxiety about many things!—& I’ll be on the road with the ol’resonator starting this weekend, with scheduled visits to at least a couple of musician friends.
But to the topic—I should say “topics” at hand. We’re sorta kicking off a real “poetry week” on Robert Frost’s Banjo, with the second poem in my “Grace” series posting this morning, & the other two poems in the sequence scheduled to post Thursday & Saturday; & of course, we’ll have a fine poem by B.N. tomorrow—in case you’re curious, it’s titled “Three Battles & One Flight.”
But there’s more poetic news—where to begin? How about by announcing a new blog: Alcools. This is something that should intrigue the Translation Tuesday fans: the blog will be dedicated to my ongoing translation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1913 collection Alcools, which is very close to being my all-time favorite 20th century poetry collection. I translated over half of Alcools during the 1990s—in fact, it’s possible that I may have translated a couple of them in the late 80s—but at a certain point my translation energies flagged. In going back to translating I picked Apollinaire primarily because of my great love for his poetry, but also because his works are in the public domain, which means if I complete the work in a satisfactory way, I’ll be able to publish it. The first post on Alcools went up this morning: it’s “Zone,” a long poem & to my mind one of the truly great 20th century works. It was Samuel Beckett’s translation of “Zone” that first spurred me on to find Apollinaire’s work, read it in the original French as well as in various translations, & begin to translate it myself. Poems will appear on Alcools in the order they appear in the book itself; posts will be scheduled for each Monday morning on Alcools.
Speaking of publishing: I have been on somewhat of a roll lately. I published my poetry from Charlottesville in another 92-page book on lulu.com; this one’s entitled Nightingales in a Stateside Zoo. My 1980s poems were different in many ways from what came after—more formal, a bit more mannered—but I feel content with the work represented in the book & am glad to see it made public. What may be even more exciting to me, however, is that I recently completed the manuscript I began working on in May 2008 (before I realized I was working on a manuscript)—actually, the “Grace” series, tho dispersed thru the work, was the final touch. This one is called The Spring Ghazals—long-time readers may remember the sequence of ghazals I wrote last spring. The book is 76 pages (proving that I don’t have some “thing” for 92!) & contains material has been posted right here on Robert Frost’s Banjo plus a few poems from 2008 that never made it on the blog. The link for The Spring Ghazals on lulu is here, while the link for Nightingales in a Stateside Zoo is here.
Before wrapping up, I have to say that there are a number of people I credit for my return to poetry after a 12 year lay-off. If you want a complete list, you should buy the books! But Eberle must be credited first & foremost— I know my poetic self is not always the easiest person to be with, & she’s consistently shown patience, enthusiasm & most of all, displayed her own truly amazing creative energy, which is an inspiration not only to me but pretty much every one who knows her. & finally, in addition to be a hugely talented writer herself, she's also a great reader—in fact, you can see her putting these talents to work today on her blog Platypuss-in-Boots blog: please check out her reading of Kat Mortensen's "Lament of the Fiddleheads." You can find the poem itself on Kat's Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes blog here (there's also a link there from Platypuss-in-Boots).
But I digress, & there's one other “person” who gets a huge amount of credit—& that’s you, as in y’all! Thanks so much for all the support you’ve shown here for my poetry & translations (& music!) It has meant a very great deal to me.
Anyway: hope some of you check out the books & the new blog!