Tag: National Poetry Month

Q&A with Eryn Green, the 2013 Winner of Yale Series of Younger Poets

Eryn Green_

Happy National Poetry Month! Check out the new site, Youngerpoets.org!

 

Yale University Press had the pleasure of interviewing Eryn Green, whose collection, Eruv, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2013; his book is out this month. Here, we discussed about the life of a poet and the relevance of poetry in today’s modern society. Visit the new Yale Series of Younger Poets website for more information on the history of the prize, published books, and of course, our illustrious list of poets.

 

Yale University Press: What prompted you to start writing? And why poetry in particular as opposed to prose?

Eryn Green: I’ve been writing since I can remember. I recall walking upstairs and explaining to my parents very calmly that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to dinner because I was “really on a roll” with a story I was writing about a guy who waits his whole life to go to outer space, but misses his rocket ship to Mars because he’s kind of OCD and has to arrange everything in his house a certain way or else he’s sure the rocket will crash. I was 8-years-old. So, the impulse has always been there. But I began writing poetry in earnest in college, after years of fiddling with it, after taking writing workshops with some amazing teachers and meeting a mentor and really finding my chosen family of friends in the writing community at the University of Utah. I realized poetry was as much about what I wrote as it was about how and with whom I was writing. I knew this was what I wanted to do immediately.

 

YUP: What or who are your primary sources of inspiration?

EG: My friends and family, first of all. I am intensely lucky to have so many gifted writers around me every day—from my talented partner Hanna Andrews and the library of excellent work that has come out of Switchback Books and Coconut Books over the last handful years, to dear friends from Utah and Denver like Nathan Hauke, Kirsten Jorgenson, Geoff Babbitt, Stacy Kidd, Shira Dentz, Kathryn Coles, Brenda Scieczkowski, Chris Kondrich and Sam Knights, all of whose work slays me. Denver at this moment is a really terrific place to be a poet—we have an amazing community centered around the various creative writing programs in the vicinity and the flourishing small-press scene building along the Wasatch Front. All of that stuff helps keep me inspired. I also am a big fan of the forest and the national park and the humble bog.

 

YUP: How would you describe your overall process as well as your day-to-day writing schedule?

EG: Well, I have a very tiny 4-month-old baby girl, so my day-to-day writing schedule changes day-to-day. Which, as it turns out, isn’t such a big deal—actually, it fits right in with my long-standing general approach to writing. I write in a journal, nothing ever finished, usually scribbling just small jots and tittles, and then I return to my notebooks later as a kind of source of compost and inspiration. I try to keep the process of writing a poem low-stakes as much as I can—I try to recognize my work within the broader scope of my life and the life of the universe, which sounds hokey, but is true. The stars and the sun make writing easier—if I don’t write a poem today, does anything suffer? No, assuredly not. The sky is still there, the ground is still there, the birds still know intuitively exactly when to strike up the band. Things remain well underway. So, writing for me is a way to recognize the larger conditions of things, and my place therein, and in this thinking writing a poem is inherently a moment of joy.

 

YUP: Which audience (if any) do you have in mind when crafting your work?

EG: It’s an interesting question. On the one hand, I live and work in a community of writers, many of whom I share my work with regularly. So, my friends are on my mind. But more conceptually, really, I think about writing as a kind of prayer—what is the audience for a prayer? It’s not God, exactly—and it isn’t just emptiness. It is some kind of point in-between, a flickering intelligence inside of space that I imagine—that’s who /what I figure is giving me the material in the first place, and so that is with what/who I often imagine myself writing to.

 

YUP: How many rejections did you receive before your first published poem?

EG: So many. Like, tons. Who even knows. An amount only measurable in bulk mass.

 

YUP: What is your reaction to rejection? How do you internalize that experience?

EG: Initially it was terrible, because I felt like I was up against an impenetrable wall of insider knowledge I didn’t hold. But, it turns out, I was just writing bad poems. Once I got a couple of poems accepted to journals, the still-constant slog of rejection became less intimidating and more motivating. My general reaction to rejection today is opening a beer.

 

YUP: How do you know when your work is “finished”? Do you find yourself editing work that you deemed complete a long time ago?

EG: I suspect that all writers are somewhat bad at this, but I know myself that I am never sure when a poem is over—perhaps a reason I write so many serial works. I think one of the jobs of the poet is not to dictate to the poem what its shape or content or exact parameters are going to be, because it’s a little tyrannical and anyone can learn how to execute this kind of poetry-by-way-of-rote-equation. No, a big part of being a poet is learning how to look and listen more carefully to the subject underhand, to become evermore attentive to your circumstances and the work that is revealing itself this moment in your writing. You know a thing is finished when it says it is.

 

YUP: Mark Edmundson wrote an article for Harper’s last summer, claiming that American poetry is in decline. Do you see this as real problem in today’s literary landscape?

EG: The first thing to say—and this is not said nearly often enough in the discussion of contemporary poetics—is that poetry itself cannot decline. Not in America nor on the Continent nor in the Southern Hemisphere nor Antarctica. This is why we come to poetry in the first place: it is beyond us. In the same way that matter cannot be created or destroyed, merely transferred, poetry—the substance of the thing, that which we are all working to translate and record in our poems—is an inexhaustible natural resource. It is of the world, of the universe, and can no more decline than can the cosmos. So this brand of newspaper doom-saying is just bluster, and it feels comically curmudgeonly. We do not have to worry about poetry. That recognition alone is more liberating as a poet than I can possibly articulate.

That being said, in direct answer to your question: no. Decidedly no. The poems coming out of America today are not declining in quality. Indeed, as it’s been said time and time again, the amazing proliferation of high-quality, experimental small presses publishing the work of an increasingly diverse range of poets makes this day—today—the most exciting time imaginable to read and write poetry. So you say you don’t like poetry? What kind of poems do you mean—we have other examples to show you. You say that the work was better in days gone by? Well, who knows. But there is certainly more poetry available now than ever before, in addition to all that came before, and while that might amount to a few stinkers here and there, in large it means a deeper and more satisfying literary landscape through which to saunter. We should be happy everyone isn’t Robert Lowell.

 

YUP: What would be your advice for young poets or potential writers who are timid to dive into the process and don’t know how to start.

EG: Start. If you don’t know where to start, take John Cage’s advice and “Begin Anywhere.” Honestly. Start reading the winners of the prizes you care about—start checking out the work of different poets working in different parts of the country, affiliated with different schools and literary movements—start sending your work
to recipients that might be sympathetic, even if it isn’t an official contest period. Maybe people will just be happy to see your excellent work. Worst case scenario, they won’t be. Regardless, you’ll be better for getting it out into the world.

 

YUP: Attention spans are deteriorating and we’re allegedly moving towards a post-literate society; why do you think poetry remains relevant today?

EG: Poetry is the rare form of art or literature that rewards equally on the smallest level—the music of the phoneme, the word, the line—as it does on the level of the whole work. So, even if attention spans are getting shorter, poetry is still able to impart valuable experiences and lessons to readers. Poetry packs a big punch in a variety of small packages; you can get something out of a poem at almost any juncture. This is not to speak of the wealth of cool poetry that is directly wed to the internet and web-based technologies, which is a big wealth, a richness, all of which ought to be right in the wheelhouse of 21st century inclinations. Despite the popular move away from reading and the interruptions of modern living, poetry remains a really powerful way to remind people they are human and that life is beautiful and hard and worth paying real attention to. Poetry touches on that which is shared in common.

 

Eryn Green is the author of Eruv, winner of the 2013 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. He recently received his Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Denver and holds an MFA from the University of Utah. His work has appeared in Jubilat, Colorado Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He lives in Denver, CO.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with YUP

View our 50% Off Selection of National Poetry Month Titles for e-newsletter subscribers!

April is National Poetry Month, and Yale University Press has been excited to celebrate with new titles dedicated to the art of verse and a handful of paperback releases from our Margellos World Republic of Letters series.

 

After last month’s announcement of Ansel Elkins as our 2014 winner, we are delighted to showcase the work of last year’s Yale Series of Younger Poets winner Eryn Green with our release of his collection, Eruv. As Carl Phillips, judge of the last three competitions, and chancellor of the American Academy of Poets notes, Eruv “reminds us how essential wilderness is to poetry—a wilderness in terms of how form and language both reinvent and get reinvented.” Holding both a PhD from the University of Denver and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Utah, Green has published an essay in Esquire, and his poetry has appeared in JubilatColorado Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly, among other publications. Eruv is now available in paperback and a cloth limited edition. You can read a Q&A with Eryn on our blog and be sure to visit the new Yale Younger Poets website!

 

 

Kiki Dimoula; Photo Credit: Michalis Anastasiou

 

Kiki Dimoula is one of the most highly regarded names in the canon of Greek contemporary poetry. She is a recipient of the European Prize for Literature and a full member of the Academy of Athens, to which only three women have ever been inducted. Now available in paperback, The Brazen Plagiarist, translated by Cecile Inglessis Margellos and Rika Lesser, selects poignant poetry comprising her immense oeuvre and highlights the beautiful verse, which according to poet Yves Bonnefoy, is reminiscent of “reflections of a cloudy sky in earthly words.”

 

 

Dante, the medieval Italian poet fondly known as the “Father of the Italian language,” is probably most well-known for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. In hopes of being able to examine the poet and the social climate of his time through the lens of The Divine Comedy and Dante’s other minor works, Open Yale Courses is offering “Dante in Translation,” taught by Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of the Humanities for Italian at Yale and specialist in medieval literature. Mazzotta’s Reading Dante situates the writings within the poetic and political context of the late Middle Ages while exploring the poltical, philosophical, and theological issues at the forefront of Dante’s mind, including the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, love and knowledge, and exile and history.

 

 

While some of our readers may be somewhat familiar with Kabbalah and some not at all, we aim to expand your consciousness of the subject with the paperback publication of The Poetry of Kabbalah:  Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition, translated and annotated by Peter Cole. The compilation, the first in the English language examining Jewish mysticism, spans over 1,500 years of Kabbalistic tradition. A 2007 MacArthur Fellow and founder of Ibis Editions, a small literary press in Jerusalem dedicated to publishing overlooked works in the languages of the Levant, Cole has been praised for his talent for transforming poems “long regarded as untranslatable” into English translations that “retain the subtleties, complexities, and formal elegance of the original verse.” His elegant treatment of the sacred texts in this work is reflected even further by his translation philosophy, which dictates that he regard language as “sacred, or a reflection of the sacred,” describing his care of language as a moral and metaphysical act.

 

Just as Peter Cole has brought to light the tradition of religious verse, so do Jay Hopler and Kimberly Johnson, editors of Before the Door of God: An Anthology of  Devotional Poetryin which Hopler and Johnson follow the development of devotional poetry throughout history, tracing it back to the very origins of poetry in English. Focusing on the works more as “literary artifacts rather than spiritual exercises,” Johnson and Hopler showcase a range of poetry from sixteenth-century hymnody to the contemporary poetry that both adopts the devotional posture and reflects the widening influence of non-Christian traditions in the Anglophone canon. As the editors explain in the anthology’s preface, “This anthology brings together some of the finest poems of the Western literary tradition and does so with the hope of generating a conversation—not just among scholars, artists, and academics, but among readers generally—about the relationships among literature, history, and the idea of the spiritual.”

 

We invite you to read and share the works of poets and their translators in our Margellos World Republic of Letters series, featured in our WRLbooks sampler celebrating National Poetry Month!

Q&A with Will Schutt, the 2012 Winner of Yale Series of Younger Poets

Will-Schutt-Photo_smHappy National Poetry Month! Check out the new site, Youngerpoets.org!

 

Yale University Press had the pleasure of interviewing Will Schutt, whose collection, Westerly, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2012 and was published last spring. Here, we discussed about writing poetry and the relevance of poetry in today’s modern society. Visit the new Yale Series of Younger Poets website for more information on the history of the prize, published books, and of course, our illustrious list of poets.

 

Yale University Press: What prompted you to start writing? And why poetry in particular as opposed to prose?

Will Schutt: I had good teachers, bookish parents, and a brother who was a great talker. I have never been a great talker, yet I have always felt an urgency to express myself. I tried drawing, but I was no good at drawing. I tried acting, but I was too shy to perform. When I wrote prose, I had no gift for storytelling. That’s not to say that poetry was my last resort, but it turned out to be the best means of articulation at my disposal.

 

YUP: What or who are your primary sources of inspiration?

WS: Good books, a room with a view, my wife’s curiosity.

 

YUP: How would you describe your overall process as well as your day-to-day writing schedule?

WesterlyWS: I write early in the morning, when I have the feeling that I don’t owe anyone anything yet, that I only have myself to answer to. I’m not sure there’s an overall process to speak of. As with soup, you keep stirring and tasting, stirring and tasting. Writing the poems in Westerly largely consisted of unearthing a pattern in an idea or experience (real or fictional). Pattern, after all, is pleasure. But there is pleasure in variation too. More and more often I find myself beginning with a formal pattern or turning over a particular word—ferry, carnival, wishy-washy, etc.—and figuring out how much I can deviate from the pattern or word’s associative meanings without giving way to chaos.

 

YUP: Which audience (if any) do you have in mind when crafting your work?

WS: Usually I do not have an audience in mind. Occasionally I wonder what certain writers I admire would think. Once in a blue moon I worry about what someone who isn’t a native speaker of English might make of my work.

 

YUP: What is your reaction to rejection? How do you internalize that experience?

WS: “They don’t know genius when they see it.” Or “They’re absolutely right. It’s crap.”

 

YUP: How do you know when your work is “finished”? Do you find yourself editing work that you deemed complete a long time ago?

WS: It is a good sign if I have surprised myself, if I have landed somewhere I hadn’t set out to land originally. I try to exhaust a poem’s possibilities and then work backward to see if everything in the poem is essential. I do return to work I had thought was finished, oftentimes with the result that I rip the poem up and repurpose a few lines.

 

YUP: Mark Edmundson wrote an article for Harper’s last summer, claiming that American poetry is in decline. Do you see this as real problem in today’s literary landscape?

WS: No, I don’t. I don’t even think Edmundson’s criteria for great poetry—that is, if I remember correctly, poetry that is more “public”—fits my own criteria for greatness. I come across plenty of ambitious, inspired American poetry of the moment. Poetry continues to change and sometimes people get off on sounding poetry’s death knell whenever it doesn’t resemble the model they’ve established for it.

 

YUP: Attention spans are deteriorating and we’re allegedly moving towards a post-literate society; why do you think poetry remains relevant today?

WS: I currently teach modern and contemporary poetry to high school students who prove to me on a weekly basis that poetry has hardly lost its relevance. It continues to be an antidote to deteriorating attention spans, to the manipulation of language, to deadening language, to dullness period. 

 

Will Schutt is the author of Westerly, winner of the 2012 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. A graduate of Oberlin College and Hollins University, he is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Gilman School, the James Merrill House, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He was recently awarded the Jeannette Haein Ballard Writers’ Prize. His poems and translations have appeared in Agni, FIELD, the New Republic and elsewhere. He currently lives with his wife in Baltimore, Maryland. More information can be found at his website: www.wschutt.com.

Westerly: “A book of uncommon wisdom”

WesterlySince 1919 the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize has helped burgeoning artists find a well-deserved audience for their poetry. Last year’s winner, Will Schutt and his new anthology Westerly, is no exception. Carl Phillips, acclaimed poet and the judge of last year’s prize, writes in the Foreword to Westerly:

Will Schutt’s Westerly takes on nothing less than, on the one hand, the ways in which we, the living, both late and soon, make our stumbling way westward, mostly oblivious to the fact of mortality, and, on the other hand, how the dead make their resonant way back to us, sometime as memory, sometimes as guide directing us toward and through the inevitable… This is a book of uncommon wisdom… its poems sustain me. They give me hope – which may very well be, among gifts, the one we need most.

Schutt’s poems are concerned with both the real and the mythical, the modern and the historical. He weaves translations, illusions, and inventive narratives into effortless pieces of a wholly moving collection.

Read a poem excerpt below, then pick up a copy to read the whole work!

“Westerly”

Even up close it’s hard to tell

whether the white and blue

church tower is defunct or half-finished

or, like every third house

block after prim block, let for summer.

Only an odd patch of moss

flecks the siding, and thin ginger-colored

stains make a noncomittal

braid, like wicker or wings at rest.

From our third-floor window

long scarves of water push

right up against the houses.

They seem to clip the gutter spouts.

If one were Elizabeth Bishop

one might hear it turn into a tidy music.

Tidy and resolved, the way

history says, “Look West, Future-looker,”

and kids worry a blue vein

of hope in their spiral notebooks.

At night after each boat has pulled in

behind the artificial bulwark

moonlight saddles a galvanized tub

of orange marigold and sedum,

and green and burgundy rosettes

creep upward like weird insect antennae

trucking the earth off to Westerly,

Rhode Island, where nirvana is a long time

coming, or untidy, unresolved,

the way stupid hope won’t shut up.

Excerpted from Westerlyby Will Schutt. Copyright © 2013 by Yale University. All rights reserved.

Love Poetry Contest!

The Progress of Love

In celebration of National Poetry Month and the publication of The Progress of Love, we are holding a contest for all you devoted Yale ARTbooks blog followers! A collaborative project between the Menil Collection in Houston, Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, The Progress of Love invites a dazzling array of 30 contemporary artists from  across Africa, Europe, and the United States to converse with one other about manifold forces that shaping our understanding of love.

As a part of this exploration, Elias K. Bongmba details the various forms of love letters and poetry in African Culture in her contribution to the exhibition catalogue. In South Africa, for example, young Zulu women weave together colorful beads, each color weighted with symbolism, into patterns that express their feelings and intentions towards a prospective suitor. A pattern containing white, black and pink would communicate the woman’s purity and hope for a blossoming romance and warn the man not to flirt with other women or waste away his wealth on gambling.

Inspired by the Zulu Love Letter and the coming spring that always seems to bring with it the promise of new love, we at YUP are asking our readers to tweet us your favorite line of a love poem. Whether the poem awakened new love, fanned the flames of an old love, or consoled you during heartbreak, we want to hear from you! Whoever sends us the most creative, heart-rending, or downright funny line will win a free copy of The Progress of Love. Tweet us your favorite line at #YUPpoetrycontest by Wednesday, April 24. On Thursday, April 25, we will announce the winner!

The Progress of Love is an exquisitely illustrated cross cultural exploration of love, edited by Kristina Van Dyke, Director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis and Bisi Silva, director of the Centre for Contemporary  Art, Lagos. The Progress of Love is published by the Menil Collection and the Pulitzer Foundation of the Arts and distributed by Yale University Press.


April Theme: The Arts

Broadening our scope from a usual combined celebration of poetry and architecture, timed to national commemorations in the month of April, we’re broadening our focus to include a broader range of the arts, including many new books on the philosophy and history of art, several accompanying traveling exhibitions with the Yale University Press art museum partners.

Pevsner's Architectural Glossary AppIn time for National Landscape Architecture Month, we are proud to release the Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary app for iOS, based on the eponymous book. Look up architectural terms anywhere with Pevsner’s vocabulary in your pocket, including expanded text, numerous additional color images and relevant building descriptions to support the definitions, clear line drawings and an audio pronunciation guide to the terms. And for architecture a bit closer to home, later this month we publish Phyllis Lambert’s Building Seagram, a captivating history of one of the 20th century’s most influential buildings, as told by the woman whose involvement and vision helped change the face of American urban architecture.

Renowned critic Arthur Danto returns to the YUP list with What Art Is, challenging the popular interpretation that art is an indefinable concept, instead bringing to light the properties that constitute universal meaning. We’ll update you on another favorite author, cartoonist Ivan Brunetti, and his forthcoming book, Aesthetics: A Memoir.

Yale University Press Recently, we announced the 2013 winner of the Yale Series of Younger PoetsEryn Green for his manuscript Eruv—and this month, we publish the volume of the previous winner: Will Schutt’s Westerly. Also just announced today is the winner of the 2013 Yale Drama Series competition, Jen Silverman for her play, “Still.” Yale Drama Series winners receive the $10,000 David Charles Horn Prize award, publication by Yale University Press, and a staged reading at Lincoln Center.

Coming soon from Michael Hass is Forbidden Music, a rich exploration of the Jewish composers and musicians banned by the Third Reich and the consequences for music throughout the rest of the twentieth century; the Facebook page shares many of the photographs, posters, and stories from the period, not to mention the music itself.

Lastly, the @yalepress Digital Laboratory students will show off the Warhol Museum DIY Pop app; after dates at The Metropolitan Museum of Art last fall, the Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years exhibition closes later this month at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, with the catalog distributed by Yale University Press.

Read along all month for more news and updates on the blooming and intersecting worlds of books and arts!

World of Letters: The Beginnings of Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich is unforgettable. Last month, we announced the winner of the 2012 Younger Poet Series competition, and beginning our celebration of Poetry Month in April, it takes little effort to remember one of YSYP’s best and greatest poets. The world was sad to note her passing last Tuesday, March 27, but the language of this most noteworthy American poet is her lasting gift, one that is sure to reward us more and more, just as it has in the 61 years since she was first published.

Born May 16, 1929 in Baltimore, Rich was encouraged from an early age to write poetry. Her father took a special interest in her education and that of her younger sister, Cynthia, and Rich herself would later comment that her father intended for her to be a “prodigy.” After finishing high school, Rich enrolled at Radcliffe College, where she continued to study and write poetry.

Meanwhile since 1947, W.H. Auden had been serving as judge of Yale University Press’s Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, a position he would hold until 1959. His run as series judge brought to light poetry collections from promising mid-century poets like John Ashberry, W.S. Merwin, and John Hollander. In 1951, Rich’s final year at Radcliffe, Auden selected her submission, A Change of World, as the winner of the competition and subsequently wrote the introduction to her first published book. The prestige of the literary award and Rich’s own poetic brilliance and use of form would establish her writing career in the time-honored way that Yale Younger Poets beautifully achieve.

Over the next six decades, Rich challenged convention and conformity alike with her writing. She wrote more than thirty volumes of poetry and prose, the last of which was published by W.W. Norton in 2010, her publisher since the publication of her fourth poetry collection in 1966. Her single identification as a woman evolved into many: as a feminist, a lesbian, and increasingly as a Jew, as the years went on and she began to reflect on her father’s family heritage. As the New York Times reported in an obituary last week, “For Ms. Rich, the personal, the political and the poetical were indissolubly linked,” and as part of the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s, she was involved in civil rights and feminist activism, and turning her writing towards themes of womanhood and motherhood. Following her the end of her marriage to Harvard economics professor Alfred Conrad, Rich came out as a lesbian and began to publish in prose, as forceful and effective as her poetry, about identity politics and the question of rights in the United States. She is best known through this second half of her life, but for YUP’s acquaintance, we remember most the one packet—of the hundreds and thousands of submissions—that started it all and simply read:

Adrienne Cecile Rich.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the YUP

April is National Poetry Month, and the Yale University Press is prepared to celebrate with an outstanding selection of new titles related to the fine art of verse.

It Is Daylight: Arda Collins
In her foreword to Arda Collins’ It is Daylight, the 2008 winner of the annual Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, contest judge Louise Glück calls Collins’ volume “savage, desolate, brutally ironic . . . a
book of astonishing originality and intensity, unprecedented,
unrepeatable.” A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Collins has previously published her work in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and A Public Space, among other magazines and journals. Both tender and sly, It is Daylight is a disarming and highly original debut, available now in paperback and a cloth limited edition.

Hill
Geoffrey Hill has been called “England’s best hope for the Nobel Prize.” In a new selection of his work, readers will now be able to appreciate the arc of his more than 50-year career in a single volume. Beginning with Hill’s striking debut For the Unfallen and concluding with selections from his acclaimed Without Title, also published by the Yale University Press, Selected Poems presents an authoritative collection of work by a poet who is not afraid to face his work head on.

My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century: Adina Hoffman
Finally, the poet Taha Muhammad Ali may not be a household name; however, after reading Adina Hoffman’s vividly written My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness, readers will no doubt feel a great connection with the man and his work. Born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya, Muhammad Ali was
forced to flee during the war in 1948. He traveled on foot to Lebanon
and returned a year later to find his village destroyed. An autodidact,
he has since run a souvenir shop in Nazareth, at the same time evolving
into a writer whom National Book Critics Circle Award–winner Eliot
Weinberger has dubbed “perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet
alive today.” To see Muhammad Ali read his poem “Revenge” with translator Peter Cole at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival, please click here.

Yale Press continues Nat’l Poetry Month celebration

Earth in the Attic: Fady Joudah Fady Joudah, author of The Earth in the Attic, was featured on Tuesday by the online anthology of contemporary poetry, Poetry Daily. The site also shared two of Joudah’s poems, “Atlas” and “The Tea and Sage Poem.”Those poems, both from The Earth in the Attic, can be read here. Also, you can click here to listen to Fady Joudah read “In the Calm” from his poem, “Pulse.”

Fady Joudah is a Palestinian-American medical doctor and a field member of Doctors Without Borders since 2001. He lives in Houston, TX. He is also the translator of Mahmoud Darwish’s recent poetry The Butterfly’s Burden.

Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew: John FelstinerAs part of their celebration of National Poetry Month, CBC Radio’s Writers & Company invited Yale Press author John Felstiner to talk on Monday about his book Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew. Click here to hear that interview in RealAudio format–and to hear Celan himself read from his most famous work, Deathfugue.

This book is the first critical biography of Paul Celan, a German-speaking East European Jew who was Europe’s most compelling postwar poet. It tells the story of Celan’s life, offers new translations of his poems, and illuminates the connection between Celan’s lived experience and his poetry.

Felstiner’s biography has received many accolades: nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; chosen as a best book of 1995 by Choice magazine, Village Voice, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Philadelphia Inquirer; and winner of the 1997 University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin.