Tips Picked Up at a Poetry Reading

I fought Boston traffic (without even broaching the city limits) to reach Salem for a reason. I wanted to learn. Learn by listening to a poetry reading. And learn I did. In Ocean Vuoung, Sandra Beasley, and Martha Collins, I got three distinct readers and styles for the price of one. This at the 8th …

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Going to a Poetry Reading in the Witch City

OK, I'll admit it. Not only have I never been to a poetry reading, I have never even considered it. The very idea of it is rife with clichés, for one thing. You know, some hippie-type who forgot time wearing an Existentialist, black turtleneck and beret while muttering navel-gazing notions into a malfunctioning mic. Whoo-we! …

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Ekphrastic Poetry (of a Sort)

"Ekphrasis" is a Greek word meaning "description." In poetry, it conjures a poem describing a painting or sculpture. Using the adjective form, we get "ekphrastic poetry," and although I have not written about a painting or a sculpture, I have written about a photograph. Is this "ekphrastic poetry"? Durned if I know. I suppose strict …

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Playing Favorites with Your Own Poems

As any parent knows, you don't play favorites among your kids. You can HAVE a favorite, of course, but you take that scandalous secret to your grave. If you have a toothpick of common sense, that is. For your children, circumspection is clearly called for, but what about your poems? Publish a book and people …

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Who Gets to Determine a Poem’s Meaning?

In a 2005 press release upon the death of one of their own former professors, Louise Rosenblatt, New York University published an obituary that included these words about Rosenblatt's pioneering work on reading theory: "While teaching literature to college students, [Rosenblatt] developed an approach that broke with the dominant academic model (the New Criticism), which elevated …

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