Tuesday, 20 November 2012

GP Interviews Halen Vendler

GP: How many times have you been arrested?
VENDLER: I was sorting out books and I picked up John Ashbery’s “As We Know.’’ I have found him difficult in the past. You forget that after you’ve gone through something with difficulty when you go back it seems easy. I was just reading poem after poem without that undertow of difficulty.

Recently a certain irate poet called you the "critic that doth vent Trinculos." What does that mean?
VENDLER: People put their strongest work at both ends so I usually start with the opening and the closing.

GP: To get down to more serious matters, what influence do you feel Mickey Mouse has had on the American imagination?
D.A. Powell, whose work I love. I’m reading his “Chronic.” I also got an anthology edited by the poet Mark Ford called “London: A History in Verse.”

GP: What is the best way to find a new friend?
VENDLER: I would like to spend more time with Spanish poetry. I know French better than Spanish, but Spanish was my first language, and my father spoke it to us. I’d like to go back and just read the ones I’m capable of reading, such as the rhymed plays by the poet Luis de G√≥ngora, a contemporary of Shakespeare.

GP: Why don’t you like people?

GP: Have you ever?
VENDLER: No. I’ve always felt somewhat ashamed about that.

Friday, 9 November 2012

An Interview with Eeyore

[Philosopher, character in books]

“I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.”

We went to see Eeyore last year at his home in Connecticut. The eighty-three-year-old was promoting his latest book, Epistles About Thistles, about writing letters to himself about thistles. He came to the door with his dog, Herman (after Melville), and for the next two hours was everything one might expect him to be: furious, caustic, darkly hilarious, and, above all, warm about life and love and what matters most.

After his death, in May, much was written about Eeyore’s legendary crossness, but it was really just impatience with artifice. “I refuse to lie to children,” he said. “I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” There was no roughness in his delivery. It was spiked with merriment. He was also very tender. Famously, he hated being called a “children’s book character”—it reduced him, he thought.
The Editors

G'MORNING POETRY: Do you miss the city, living out here?

EEYORE: I really don’t like the city anymore. You get pushed and harassed and people grope you. It’s too tumultuous. It’s too crazy. I’m afraid of falling over in New York. People are all insane and talking on machines and twittering and twottering. All that. I’m here looking for peace and quiet. A yummy death.

GP: You do some teaching out here?

E: I have a fellowship that started last year, two men and two women living in a house, and I go over when they want me to critique, or whatever the hell. I just talk dirty. They’re nice people. Young. It’s probably not very original, but old artists like to have young artists around… to destroy. I’m joking. I really want to help them. But publishing is such an outrageously stupid profession. Or has become so.

GP: What do you think of e-books?

E: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex.

GP: Are you happy now?

E: [Sighs] My friends are all dying. They have to die. I know that. I have to die. But two friends died last week. I was completely broken by it. One was a publisher in Zurich. I loved him and his wife. It’s the loneliness that’s very bad. They’re doing what is natural. If I was doing what was natural I would be gone, like they are. I just miss them, terribly.

GP: Did the success of Winnie-the-Pooh ever feel like an albatross?
E: It’s a nice book. It’s perfectly nice. I can’t complain about it. I remember Herman Melville said, “When I die no one is going to mention Moby-Dick. They’re all going to talk about my first book, about fucking maidens in Tahiti.”

GP: How come you've never married or had children?

E: There’s a young artist in this town who’s remarkably gifted, and I’ve been tutoring him on the side. And he had this marvelous girlfriend, and I saw what was happening. And I said, “Look, don’t marry. Happily you can live together without any stench.” And they married and within eight minutes she was pregnant. And now they have a child, and all they do is complain about not having time and having to get a job. Fuck you!

GP: Thank you for talking with us.

E: Thanks for noticing me.

Illustration by Tony Trillionaire

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Please Let Us Know

Is Robert Frost the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Edith Sitwell the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Margaret Atwood the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Gwendolyn MacEwen the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Emily Dickinson the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Franz Wright the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Bruce Andrews the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Robert Fitterman the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Sir Thomas Wyatt the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Joe Mulitis the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Susan Howe the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Anne Carson the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Suzanne Buffam the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Poetry (Chicago) the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Osip Mandelstam the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Dante the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Gertrude Stein the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Francis Ponge the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Geoffrey Chaucer the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is John Keats the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is John Cage the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is John Clare the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Philip Larkin the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is TS Eliot the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Elizabeth Barrett Browning the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Christina Rossetti the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Geoffrey Hill the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is the Norton Anthology of Poetry the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Edgar Allan Poe the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Leonard Cohen the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Rene Char the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Douglas Dunn the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Billy Collins the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Is Carol Ann Duffy the Paris Hilton of poetry?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Actual Transcript of Live Chat with an MLA Citation Specialist!

GP: Does the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook include Gangnam Style?
MLA: No. I have not heard of "Gangnam Style." It is not a recognized documentation/citation style.

GP: What is the difference between MLA and Gangnam Style?
MLA: As I said, I have not heard of this style. "Gangnam Style" is not a recognized documentation/citation style--so I cannot compare.

GP: How do I cite a tweet in Gangnam Style?
MLA: "Gangnam Style" is not recognized as a documentation/citation style. You must use an approved citation practice like MLA. You can find information about how to cite a tweet here: http://www.mla.org/style/handbook_faq/cite_a_tweet

GP: Should I use underlining or italics in my Gangnam Style research paper?
MLA: Again, "Gangnam Style" is not a recognized documentation/citation style. Where did you hear about this style?

GP: On YouTube. How many spaces should I leave after a period or other concluding mark of punctuation according to the rules of Gangnam Style?
MLA: I would advise you not to use "Gangnam Style." Please visit the MLA website so you can get a good sense of how a proper citation/documentation style works.

GP: Lastly, if we were in an elevator--dancing/shaking around our stuff--how would we cite that?
MLA: Thank you.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Special Guest Editorial Post: The Eve Pearce Schools Us in them Arts of Prize Unsquandering, Poets!

Hi Kevin,

I hope you're keeping well. I'm just getting in touch to ask if you're in need of any written content on G'morning Poetry - if so, it'd be an honor to help out and contribute if you have any need for me.

I'm a journalism graduate and have been working as a full-time content and feature writer for nearly four years now, and in that time there isn't a lot I haven't covered (there are a few samples below for you to check out). Of course, anything I send over would be written with the site's readership in mind; as long as you're happy with the resulting material, you'd be welcome to publish it as you see fit.

The great news is that I'd be able to offer my services at no cost; I work on behalf of a third party business, and as long as I am able to link to them within the content (in a related way, of course) anything I send over would be yours to publish it as you see fit and would not be used on other blogs or sites. If you don’t have something specific in mind I'm happy to spend some time on your site understanding your readership and send something over tailored to them.

If you're interested, do let me know and I'll send something over which would be useful. The offer is also open to any other sites you might own as well as gmorningpoetry.blogspot.com, but I do understand that it isn't for everyone. As such, if I don't hear from you I won't trouble you again.

Highest regards,
A few varied samples:




kevin mcpherson eckhoff kevinmcphersoneckhoff@gmail.com
31 Oct (2 days ago)
to epearce, bcc: Jake
Dear Eve Pearce,

My apologies for the tardiness of this reply. This has been a busy few weeks at the offices of G'morning, Poetry! 

Thank you for your interest in our blog and for your generous writerly offer. We are intrigued by your proposition and are curious to learn more. It looks like the style and length of your samples vary, but are each are very professional and easy to read. We would be open to having you write in the style and length of your choosing, so long as the content smells of poetry and poetry culture. Do you enjoy poetries? Do any of the following topics pique your poet-area? 

* How to NOT get published in this poetically technological day and age. 

* What is the meaning of poetry

* How do prize-winning poets spend all their prize-winning moneys?

* If music = cheese and painting = apple pie, then poetry = ______?

Please feel free to write on any of these... or knot. Thank you again for considering our blog as a potential home for your words! We are excited to read them!


Co-supervising Editorial Consultant Vice-Manager

Eve Pearce via gmail.com 
10:03 (12 hours ago)
to kevin
Hi Kevin,

Many thanks for getting back to me earlier, and for the invitation to send something over for your review.

Finally got something written up today which may be of use on your site - I think it shaped up pretty well, but do let me know what you think as I'm fully open to revisions and suggestions (I've pasted it below but I can send it over as a .doc if that's preferable).

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing back.


Prize Winning Poets – How Did They Spend Their Cash?
For many people, the lure of poetry contests comes not from the exposure or possible fame, but from the cold, hard cash that will keep them in coffee and cigarettes for months to come. After all, poetry isn't exactly going to make you rich, but even a small prize can be a nice bonus. Here are some famous, and not so famous poets and how they enjoyed their winnings.

Elizabeth Jennings - Travelling
A prolific poet who often covered uncomfortable subjects, Jennings won the Somerset Maugham prize for A Way of Looking in 1956. The award, given to the best writer under the age of 35, was a real boost to her career, and she became one of the most popular poets in England during the 1960s. Instead of sensibly saving the money, or investing in shares, Jennings used the cash to visit Rome for three months, which strengthened her Catholic beliefs and inspired her to use religious themes in her future works. Her work was traditional, not exactly breaking boundaries, but beautiful in its simplicity. Friday is a good example of her use of religious imagery, describing the crucifixion of Jesus from the point of view of an observer: “For excitement's sake, we stood at the dusty edge / Of the pebbled path and watched the extreme of pain.” Perhaps the artwork in Rome inspired these lines.

Sylvia Plath - Education
Perhaps one of the 20th Century's most famous female poets, Plath may not have become so famous without money from prizes and scholarships. Not only did she receive financial help from writer Olive Higgins Prouty, but probably wouldn't have made it through Smith college without winning a prize of $1,200 in 1954, enough to keep her in education for another year. Upon graduation, she won the Fulbright scholarship, allowing her to travel to Cambridge to study literature. As we all know, this is where she met Ted Hughes and sealed her fate. However, it also inspired some of her most passionate works such as Love Letter which describes the paranoid nature of love.

W. S. Merwin – Donations
With over 30 published books, Merwin is one of the most prolific living poets around, and continues to write from his home in Hawaii. He's well known for his support of the anti-Vietnam war movement, so when he won the Pultizer for poetry in 1971 for The Carrier of Ladders, he donated the money to antiwar causes such as the draft resistance movement. The peaceful nature of his personality comes out in his later works, as he enthusiastically embraced Buddhism and environmentalism. A lot of his work revolves around animals, nature and how man is ruining the environment.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Turned it down
Not every poet is happy to accept their prize. Turning down cash from government prizes is a strong political act, and Ferlinghetti declined a cool $64,000 prize which had been partially funded by the Hungarian government because of concerns over civil liberties in the country. He tried to donate the money to an organisation that deals with free speech, but wasn't satisfied his request would be done, so was happier to decline the cash outright. This act certainly gained attention to his cause, with news outlets all over the world talking about it.

Edgar Allen Poe – Drinking
Although Poe's legacy revolves around his poetry, he was also a writer of short stories and won an award for “MS. Found in a Bottle” a story about an unnamed narrator writing about his adventures as sea as he faces death. Although this award offered new connections in the publishing world, as well as a cash prize, Poe managed to burn his bridges after just a few weeks by being drunk on the job. His drinking continued as he returned to poetry, writing his masterpiece The Raven, and he later used alcohol to get over the illness and eventual death of his wife. A few years later he was found drunk on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and wearing someone else's clothes. He died just days after.

Perhaps the best use of prize money is to spend it doing something that will help your future work. Investing in something that will broaden your mind like travel, new experiences or simply a poetry course is probably more productive than drinking yourself to death, but each to their own. Who will your inspiration be?
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