Friday, August 3, 2012


Two micro-essays on craft by two young poets to whom you should be paying attention:

Recently I heard a Slovenian poet draw a distinction between two kinds of writers: those who write facing a wall and those who write facing a window. His point being: the writer who faces a wall engages in a tête-à-tête with the imagination, whereas a window gazer performs the diligent, all too loyal office of copying down the visible world. Clearly, this poet preferred—and considered himself a member of—the wall-facing variety.

-Will Schutt at Blackbird


But. Religion, or at least the basic tenets and concepts of Judeo-Christianity, figure prominently in my writing life because, though I am not a religious person, some of my favorite poets were or are. I used to be a poet, so the writing fanning out in back of me, stretched out in a long haphazard peacock-dazed line, is largely still poetry. Some of my favorite poetry has the fire and fury of the Old Testament and some the sweet forgiveness of man’s sins the New Testament promises.

-Amber Sparks at The Rumpus


If we assume (on the basis of very incomplete evidence) that literature has in fact helped to diminish acts of injuring—not only during the Humanitarian Revolution, but also in other epochs—what attributes of literature can explain this? Three come immediately to mind: its invitation to empathy, its reliance on deliberative thought, and its beauty.

-Elaine Scarry at Boston Review


The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announced 29 finalists for the 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. They'll announce five winners, each receiving a $15,000 award, by September 1.

I'm honored and amazed to have my name on the list of finalists. It's an astounding group of poets, and I'm thrilled to join so many young poets I admire. All we can do now is hope!


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