Bukowski still attracts the crowds!
“Are you here for the poetry reading?”, asked the constant stream of people that lined up outside Cornelia Café last Friday. “Yeah,” was the steady response. It’s not often you get lines more akin to those at Grimaldi’s for a poetry reading, but then again, not every poet elicits the level of devotion that Charles Read More
A worrisome trend has surfaced for writers who make their meager livings from sporadic literary prizes and public alms: two British poets, Alice Oswald and John Kinsella (update: oops, John Kinsella is Australian), have dropped out of consideration for the T.S. Eliot Prize in poetry because for the first year the prize is sponsored by a hedge fund, Aurum Funds. Unfortunately for the Poetry Book Society, which organizes the prize, it lost its public funding in austerity cuts this year and negotiated its replacement from what Mr. Kinsella refers to as the “very pointy end of capitalism.”
The Benefit of the Doubt
If you really want to understand Occupy Wall Street, you have to talk to the poets.
One night last week, late, after ducking out of a birthday party, we wandered down Broadway like we sometimes do now, looking to extend the evening a bit, see what was doing in the park.
Zuccotti was quiet, but charged with energy as it had been for a month and counting. Many of the sleeping bags were already lumpy and zipped tight. Some were moving gently. The library was closed, covered with blue tarps. But two of the librarians, who were also the poets, were still kicking it. They met three weeks ago and are now best friends, they agreed.
These were Stephen Boyer, 27, a former model and paid dominatrix, and Filip Marinovich, 36, a sometime associate professor of poetry.
Not that any of that really matters anymore. “Hierarchies are bullshit,” Mr. Boyer said. In the last three weeks, he had met celebrities, philosophers, politicians—then curled up under a table to await the next unknowable day. “I’m in the most uncomfortable situation I’ve ever been in in my life, and I have more access to the world than ever.”
The Nobel Prize
All kinds of rumors have been going around in New York publishing about who would win this year’s Nobel prize for literature. Cormac McCarthy? Haruki Murakami? Philip Roth? In the end it went not to a novelist, but to a Swedish poet, Tomas Tranströmer.
The Neverending Story
One of the things Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted on for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was no speeches, at least not from the elected officials who would take turns at the lectern following the six moments of silence throughout the morning—one for each of the four plane strikes, one for the collapse of each World Trade Center tower.
Poems for our times
A few days ago, Philip Levine was named the next poet laureate.
Yesterday, the New York Times picked up a New Orleans journalist’s revelation that Zabar’s lobster salad was not made of lobster but was, in fact, made of crayfish, prompting Zabars to change the product’s name to “seafare salad.”
Being named the government’s official poetic voice of America really does matter! Since Philip Levine was crowned poet laureate yesterday, The New York Times reports that readers are buying every copy of his books in sight, Knopf is rushing to print more and Amazon has back orders six days deep.
The Read More
Wednesday, June 1
Not all is well at Lincoln Center–the City Opera finally bolted for greener (hopefully more acoustically sound) pastures, and the City Ballet’s season was described by our venerable dance critic as “schizophrenic.” Plus, they have a theater named after a tea-partying Koch brother! But the site’s ongoing redevelopment continues apace, Read More
No one reads poetry. If you are a poet or poetry critic (odds are, if you’re one, you’re the other) and are not thoroughly sick of this topic, there is probably something wrong with your brain that prevents you from experiencing boredom. You should give up poetry and become an astronaut. But now comes David Read More
Wednesday, March 30
We’re betting Tina Brown likes her coffee the same way she likes her copy: “V. v. hot!” Guests will find out tonight as the High Beastess herself throws a private book party at her Upper East Side townhouse for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s memoir, Onward (we hear it’s full of Read More