The Poetry of Trains

Maybe it's all those movies we watched as kids. Lovers parting or greeting at train stations. Murders on the Orient Express. Windows and windows of blurry landscape, all to the comforting rumble of the tracks and the horn. It came back to me while reading Faith Shearin's poem, "The Sound of a Train." It seems …

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A Carnival of Losses, A Big Top of Gains

I just finished poet Donald Hall's second (and final, given his death last year) collection of essays, A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety. His prose style is concise and entertaining, proving compression (i.e. "the art of poetry") has pay-offs for the essay writer, too. Make that "especially." For fans of poetry, two of the …

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“All Genuine Poetry in My View Is Antipoetry.”

Like Tony Hoagland, Charles Simic is no one-trick pony. In addition to his prowess in poetry, he knows his way around an essay, too. Yesterday, reading "Notes on Poetry and Philosophy," I noted much of interest, both from Simic and from the poets and philosophers he quotes. For instance, Wallace Stevens once said that the …

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Poems Inspired by Football

Did you know that Super Bowl Monday---the day following the N.F.L.'s championship game---is the most called-in sick day in the United States? Talk about the tail (football) wagging the dog (country)! As for those going to work, they will no doubt burn some water-cooler time discussing the merits of Super Bowl commercials, even to the point …

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What Groundhog Day Means to Poets

When the movie Groundhog Day was released in 1993, it received mixed reviews. Since then, however, the film has been embraced by many as a dark-horse (woodchuck?) comedy with serious undertones. It's even been embraced by Buddhists, who see TV weatherman Phil Connors's repeating day as a metaphor for reincarnation and striving to try, try, try again …

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