If 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.
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.
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?
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand Continue reading “National Poetry Month: April 26th”
How 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.
Self-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).
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.
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.
Mirror by Sylvia Plath
This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)
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)