Thursday, July 30, 2009

Poetry Blog Round-Up

Something of a round-up today. I’d been hearing that people are deserting blogs for Twitter. Hope not. Or, at least, I hope the good writers stick with blogging. Recently there have been really interesting articles in blogs I follow, which couldn’t fit in the small space you’re allowed for a tweet. Compression can be good, but too many one-liners in a row make me yawn.

First of all, here’s a fascinating theme for the next issue of qarrtsiluni, Words of Power. Something to think about even if you don’t submit anything...

At his Samizdat blog, Robert Archambeau discusses unusual critical reaction to his work.

C. Dale Young quotes from an article on Charles Simic by David Biespiel. The whole article and poem is worth reading, but here’s the paragraph in question:

“Often beginning poets tell me they know exactly what it is they want to write about, that they can almost see it. What I'm thinking to myself is, no you don't. Because as soon as you begin to write -- for that matter, draw, paint, sculpt -- your imagination overwhelms your certainty, and the object itself, the poem, say, lurches toward discoveries you didn't know you intended to make. It's a curse of a sort, a mummy's curse, perhaps, and a good one.”

One good thing about the Internet is that a reader can easily uncover articles from years back, which would have been lost if only printed on paper. This article, from 2003 by Joseph Bottom on Robert Lowell is an absorbing read (not a blog article, but I may as well include it).

Don Share discusses an interview series, most intriguingly an interview with the late Michael Hamburger, who "… once wrote in PN Review that for a poet to spend most of his time doing readings of his poems, or talking about them in interviews, ‘calls for a mode of attention which, for me, makes the writing of a poem impossible.’ There is, if you look at it this way, a conflict of interest between poet and interviewer.”

Maybe that’s why I‘ve written so few poems over summer, although I've enjoyed doing the Cyclone virtual book tour. When it's over, I'll write poems in penance. Can't start enjoying it all too much, I'm Scottish!

Finally news of two new Salt books:

Nude by Nuala Ní Chonchúir (short fiction), and The Wrong Miracle by Liz Gallagher (poetry). Both collections look very good to me. In fact, the whole summer list looks great. In August, Salt are offering 33 percent off all books, so that could be an ideal time to buy. To get the discount, insert the code HU693FB2 when you’re in the Salt store.

Good news for readers from North America. You can now buy Salt books, even those only published in the UK, from The Book Depository with free postage. Actually, it says that there's "free delivery worldwide." Does that mean anywhere at all - Australia? South Africa? Uzbekistan? Might be worth testing.

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