Author John Banville has been reading Raymond Chandler novels since he was in his early teens. When Banville turned 60, he invented a pseudonym for his crime fiction. As Benjamin Black, the writer has just come out with a new novel about Chandler’s famous fictional character, private eye Philip Marlowe. That book, “The Black-Eyed Blonde,” builds on Chandler’s depiction of Los Angeles. Continue reading
For Deandre Evans, Will Hartfield and Donte Clark writing poetry isn’t solely about expressing themselves, it’s also about reporting on a story that’s affecting their community. Through the Off/Page Project, a collaboration between Youth Speaks and The Center for Investigative Reporting, the three poets joined CIR’s Amy Harris in the field while she was conducting research on the housing crisis in Richmond, Calif. Continue reading
Cummings was one of the most popular poets of his time. His work is linked to the movements of Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound. The group of modernists from the 1930s and ‘40s covered all artistic mediums. “You’ve got the whole idea in painting that the painting should not represent the form and you’ve got the whole idea in writing that words should not just mean something, but that the sound of the word was also tremendously important,” said Cheever. Continue reading
Irish writer Roddy Doyle reads an excerpt from his latest novel “The Guts.” Doyle spoke with chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown. That conversation airs Wednesday night on the PBS NewsHour.
Carolyn Forche was deeply affected by her experience in war-torn countries. Forche is the co-editor of “Poetry of Witness.” When she began collecting poems by writers who had endured warfare and other extreme situations, Forche wanted to look more deeply and “understand the poetry as an outcry of the soul.” Continue reading
To remember the Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who died Jan. 14 at the age of 83, writer and professor of Latin American culture Ilan Stavans read his translation of Gelman’s poem “End.”
Juan Gelman was a major literary figure throughout Latin America and Spain. A poet born in Argentina, Gelman is known for fighting against the military junta that ruled Argentina in the 1970s and ’80s. He died early this week at his home in Mexico City at the age of 83.
“The moment he died in Argentina, the entire country came to a halt. It understood that part of its soul had left,” Ilan Stavans told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown. Stevens is a writer and a professor of Latin American culture at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
Walk around the market town of Dumfries, Scotland, and at first glance you’ll see what looks like a kind of graffiti in the windowpanes — faint etchings in some, and in others verses written boldly in thick black pen. A few are the surviving work of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, etched into the glass centuries ago when he stayed at the Globe Inn. Others are the work of contemporary poets, writing to pay him tribute.
January 25th marks the 255th anniversary of Burns’ birth, and around the world, Scots and devotees of the poet alike will gather to commemorate the event with Burns Suppers — eating haggis, raising a wee dram of whisky (whiskey to us Americans), and most importantly, reading his poetry aloud. Burns was only 37 years old when he died, but was a prolific writer, giving the world “Auld Lang Syne,” “A Red, Red Rose” and “To a Mouse,” among others.
Rafael Campo explores poetry through his experience as a doctor. He teaches this practice to his medical students out of the belief that healing is more than just knowing how to respond to symptoms.
Rafael Campo is a doctor, professor and highly-regarded poet who has just published his sixth book of poetry titled, “Alternative Medicine,” which explores the primal relationship between language, empathy and healing.
For Campo, poetry and healing are intricately related.
“To me the patient’s voice, the stories they have to tell are absolutely central to the work of healing. … The poetry of the encounter helps me to think even more effectively and more thoughtfully really about that. I feel like listening to that story and really attuning my ear to the patients voice helps me listen to their heart more clearly .”
A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he teaches there and practices general internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is also on the faculty of the Lesley University Creative Writing MFA program.
Campo sees poetry everywhere. “It is in every encounter with my patients. I think healing really in a very profound way is about poetry. When we read a poem, we participate in another narrative. We really get inside another person’s head, under their skin and medicine and medical interactions are very very similar you know.”
Campo read three of his current works for us: “Hospital Song,” “Health” and “Primary Care.” READ MORE
Photo by Flickr user Bob AuBuchon
As the year comes to a close, Art Beat reflects on our best stories from 2013. On Thursday, we revisited the musicians worth a second listen and on Friday we rediscovered our conversations about great movies and tv shows. Today, it’s all about our poets.
We began 2013 by talking to Richard Blanco, the poet who offered verse at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Later on, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey joined chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown out in the field to find out where poetry “lives” in American communities. Here are some year-end highlights from Art Beat’s substantial poetry series.
Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco Hopes to Offer Words of Unity, Belonging
Richard Blanco, the poet chosen to read at President Obama’s second swearing-in, talked to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about what it meant to be a part of the festivities. Blanco, a Spanish born Cuban-American, was the first Latino, openly gay and youngest poet to present at a presidential inauguration.
Conversation: Poet Gerald Stern
Eighty-seven-year-old Gerald Stern, one of the nation’s most honored poets, has been writing poetry for a long time. In 2013, the Library of Congress honored his work, “Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992,” with the prestigious Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry given to the most distinguished book of verse published in the last two years. Stern dropped by the NewsHour studio for a conversation with Jeffrey Brown.
- A Poetic Odyssey: Dick Davis translates Hafez in “Faces of Love,” his new installment in a life dedicated to medieval Persian literature
Dick Davis spoke to PBS NewsHour chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about his new book “Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz.”
According to Dick Davis, Hafez is the poetry world’s version of Bach.
“People say that Bach sort of gathered together everything that had gone before him in music and brought it into a new kind of stage. Hafez did the same with the conventions of lyric poetry,” Davis said.
In fact, Davis, who is a leading scholar of medieval Persian literature in the Western world, explains that Hafez is basically “canonic” in Iranian culture. “There are very few literate Iranians who can’t quote off by heart poems or at least many lines of Hafez.”
Hafez is featured in Davis’ new book, “Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz.” Davis translated poems by Hafez, Jahan Malek Khatun and Obayd-e Zakani, all poets from 14th century Shiraz.
This book continues in a line of Persian translations by Davis. A poet himself, Davis first went to Iran as a young man. He intended to stay for only two years, but fell in love and ended up staying for eight. While there, he met his wife, who is Iranian.
“When I got back to England, I realized that I had had this extraordinary privilege of getting to know this culture which is almost unknown in the West.” He began to study medieval Persian seriously, becoming a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, in order to be bring pieces of Iran to the West.
“And so that’s what I’ve done with the past 30 years of my life really and I’m very happy to have done it. It’s been a wonderful odyssey, going from poet to poet.”
Davis has won awards for his translations over the years, but converting Hafez’s poetry to English is not as simple. Here is where Davis’s own poetic sensibilities come in handy.