An Interview with Poet Amy Newman

December 2, 2016

amy-newman1If Amy Newman’s On This Day in Poetry History is topping your must-read list, you’re certainly not alone. Poetry lovers here at EPL have been clamoring for a copy since the summer, and demand for her follow-up to Dear Editor only continues to grow. Described as a “dazzling new collection” by the NY Times, On This Day in Poetry History finds Newman exploring the lives of poetry heavyweights such as Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Berryman in search of that elusive “moment when a person becomes a poet.” A wholly innovative mix of biography and stunning verse, Newman’s latest showcases what Image praised as her “true mastery [of the] ability to play with language.” We recently spoke with the Northern Illinois University professor via email about rediscovering poetry in Manhattan, the history and allure of the “Confessional” poets, the challenges of biographical poetry, and how her favorite poem from the book came into being.

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National Poetry Month: April 6th

April 6, 2015

Tulips by Sylvia Plath

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.

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National Poetry Month: April 26th

April 26, 2014

The Applicant by Sylvia Plath

First, are you our sort of person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something’s missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand Continue reading “National Poetry Month: April 26th”


Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

May 16, 2013

sookieHow to Kill a Vampire (Series)

Fans’ outrage over the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series is chronicled by the Wall Street Journal.  Despite her best attempts at a satisfying finale, author Charlaine Harris was so overwhelmed by taunting emails and death threats she was frightened into canceling her Dead Ever After book tour.

kurt vonnegutSelf-Portrait of an Artist

Flavorwire curates this impressive collection of 20 visual self-portraits by famous authors. Ranging from scribbles to studied oil paintings, the digital show includes works by Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O’Connor, Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, and Kurt Vonnegut (above).

pollockCountry Noir

The emerging genre of Midwestern noir is featured in this American Prospect article.  Exemplified by the work of Donald Ray Pollock and Frank Bill, these violent, unsentimental books turn the tables on “don’t-bother-locking-the-doors nostalgia” for rural America.

Literary Legos

Book Riot showcases eight incredible Lego projects based on books.  Included are scenes from Moby-Dick, Don Quixote, The Shining as well as a mind-blowing, 400,000 brick reconstruction of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series.


National Poetry Month: April 19th

April 19, 2011

Mirror by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact.  I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful —
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles.  I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart.  But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake.  A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her.  She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)

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National Poetry Month: April 30th

April 30, 2010

April 18 by Sylvia Plath

the slime of all my yesterdays
rots in the hollow of my skull

and if my stomach would contract
because of some explicable phenomenon
such as pregnancy or constipation

I would not remember you

or that because of sleep
infrequent as a moon of greencheese
that because of food
nourishing as violet leaves
that because of these

and in a few fatal yards of grass
in a few spaces of sky and treetops

a future was lost yesterday
as easily and irretrievably
as a tennis ball at twilight

This poem was selected by Sue M. (Reader’s Services)

Poetry Copyright Notice