Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Poetry News, In Brief

France's first lady and Mick Jagger's ex, Carla Bruni, is about to release a disc of poetry. Her verses may be trite, but that cover image oughtta help keep sales erect afloat.

Promises Like Pie Crust

Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?

The NYTimes has an interview with poet laureate Charles Simic, wherein he rates the current state of poetry in the US ("It is doing quite well"), criticizes the self-help book market ("It’s really frightening"), and reveals the secret to happiness ("For starters, learn how to cook").

The Partial Explanation

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.

Seems like it has grown darker
Since I last heard the kitchen door
Behind my back
Since I last noticed
Anyone pass on the street.

A glass of ice-water
Keeps me company
At this table I chose myself
Upon entering.

And a longing,
Incredible longing
To eavesdrop
On the conversation
Of cooks.

The Boston Globe thumbs its nose at the nose-in-the-air-elite, running a group of poetry reviews featuring the work of witty poets. Kenneth Koch, X. J. Kennedy, and Brad Leithauser all get their heads patted.

Nude Descending a Staircase

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh.
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.

(X.J. Kennedy)