Translating Homer's Odyssey into limericks

Emily Wilson is the author of a new "lean, fleet-footed translation" of Homer's Odyssey that "recaptures Homer's 'nimble gallop.'" Read the rest

Where would you put the word "fuck" in William Carlos Williams's "This is Just to Say"?

Your choices: Read the rest

Joy Harjo named 23rd Poet Laureate, first Native American to serve in U.S. position of honor

“Words are powerful and can make change when understanding appears impossible.”

David Silverberg's "Terms and Conditionals": the things you just agreed to

[David Silverberg's As Close to the Edge Without Going Over is a new book of genre poetry from Canadian speciality press ChiZine (previously). I was tickled by his poem "Terms and Conditionals" (for reasons that will be immediately obvious) and I asked him if we could reprint it here -- he graciously assented. -Cory] Read the rest

Video for Patti Smith's gorgeous tribute to avant-garde poet/dramatist Antonin Artaud

The great Patti Smith collaborated with New York City experimental audio artists Soundwalk Collective on the forthcoming LP "Peyote Dance," a celebration of French avant-garde dramatist and poet Antonin Artaud (1896-1948). I've been fascinated with Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty" since my first exposure to him in my friend Adam Parfrey (RIP) and Bob Black's seminal 1989 anthology Rants and Incendiary Tracts: Voices of Desperate Illumination 1558–Present. Knowing Smith's admiration for French 19th century poets like Arthur Rimbaud, this glorious homage to Artaud makes perfect surrealist sense.

"The will of that man, the energy," Smith said. "If we, the living, send out radio and energy waves, the energy of those last poems is still reverberating."

Above, the track "Ivry." Background from the Bella Union record label:

The Peyote Dance focuses on a brief part of Artaud’s time, who travelled to Mexico City in early 1936 to deliver a series of lectures at the University of Mexico on topics including Surrealism, Marxism and theatre. In the summer, he travelled by train towards the Chihuahua region, and saddled by horse to the Tarahumara mountains with the help of a mestizo guide – which the album’s opening track, recited by Gael Garcia Bernal, evokes. Artaud was drawn to the story of the Rarámuri: Native Indian people who live in the Norogachi region of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, the Sierra Tarahumara. One of Artaud’s goals was to find a peyote shaman who could heal him; allowing him to recover from an opioid addiction.

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Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. Read the rest

Explore Dante's Inferno as a fantastic interactive visualization

The Alpaca graphic design cooperative created this terrific "illustrated and interactive Dante's Inferno, an alternative learning tool for the Divine Comedy first Cantica, made for aiding visual memory." From the project page:

The work is based on the anthology "Testi e scenari" - Volume 1 (Panebianco, Pisoni, Reggiani, Malpensa), published by Zanichelli in 2009, and it has been developed by Alpaca together with the Molotro design studio...

The translation to the English language is based on the one provided by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The whole text is available on Wikisource and it's in the public domain. We chose the Longfellow translation not only because it's open source, but also for its closeness to the language of Dante. The syntax, the rhythm, the lexicon used by Longfellow may feel odd for native english speakers, but they render the original language with great accuracy.

"Infernal Topography" (Alpaca via MetaFilter)

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'Heartbreak' is a towering work of art

Heartbreak, written and performed by poet and playwright Emmet Kirwan, is a spoken word masterpiece. Full of passion, rage and love, heartbreak tells the story of a young Irish woman, raised in an oppressive patriarchy and poverty, who scrambles to survive before finally coming to thrive. Read the rest

A Thanksgiving prayer from William S. Burroughs

And in accordance with tradition, Uncle Bill will now lead us in "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (1986).

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Why Edgar Allan Poe's work is still so damn good and creepy

Edgar Allan Poe scholar Scott Peeples explains the black magic of Poe's work nearly 170 years after he died. From TED-Ed:

The prisoner strapped under a descending pendulum blade. A raven who refuses to leave the narrator’s chamber. A beating heart buried under the floorboards. Poe’s macabre and innovative stories of gothic horror have left a timeless mark on literature. But just what is it that makes Edgar Allan Poe one of the greatest American authors? Scott Peeples investigates.

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Why everyone is talking about Childish Gambino's "This Is America"

Since Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover debuted his single "This Is America" on last week's Saturday Night Live, the song and its accompanying video have raced around the internet, sparking analyses and arguments. Read the rest

Watch intense trailer for Patti Smith's new concert documentary

High priestess of punk poetry Patti Smith assaults us with her epic 1975 jam "Land" in this trailer for her new concert documentary "Horses: Patti Smith and her Band," celebrating 40 years of her seminal album. The documentary screens tonight as part of the Tribeca Film Festival and the band performs following the movie. Wow.

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HP Lovecraft meets Billy Joel

Julian Verland's "HP Joelcraft," an unholy union between the spine-tingling words of HP Lovecraft's "Nemesis" and Billy Joel's "Piano Man" music.

Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night, I have liv’d o’er my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight; And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright...

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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It's Poe's birthday, so here's Neil Gaiman reading The Raven

Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. Read the rest

How would Emily Dickinson fare with online dating?

After swapping online dating disasters with friends for hours, writer and poet Erin Bealmear decided she didn't want to be the kind of woman who spends all her time "talking about boys."

She joked with these friends that she was going to create an OkCupid profile for Emily Dickinson, to see how she'd "fare in the world of online dating." She pondered, “Would a lovelorn poet, obsessed with death and privacy, be able to woo a modern man?”

Then Bealmear took it one step further and started humorously answering the dating site's questions, imagining how Dickinson herself would answer them. For an extra layer of authenticity, she included specific details from the 19th-century American poet's life:

What I’m doing with my life

Being a hermit. Overusing the dash.

I’m really good at

Breaking rules, specifically capitalization and punctuation.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Movies: What is a movie?

Books: Wordsworth, Browning, Keats, Emerson, Shakespeare (i.e. dead people)

Music: Yes, I do enjoy playing the piano on occasion. Thank you for asking.

Food: Baked goods, especially my famous gingerbread. I love making it for the neighborhood children, but I can’t leave the house. Instead, I stand at the window and lower it down to them in a basket. It’s so much easier that way.

Then, she decided to publish it. Once she did, "Emily's" inbox started filling with messages. Some men were amused, others were not. Many were just confused. Some curious responses came from men that Bealmear calls, "'Hi' guys."

Every woman who has participated in online dating knows them.

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Hawk Moon: Sam Shepard’s Forgotten First Book

In the flurry of obituaries for Sam Shepard, who died last Thursday, at 73, from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, the playwright and actor appears in close up, as an uncompromisingly honest anatomist of family traumas, and in long shot, as the last mythologist of the American West. He grew up “all over the Southwest, really -- Cucamonga, Duarte, California, Texas, New Mexico,” yanked from place to place by his Air Force-pilot dad’s postings, but when he moved to New York in ’62, he seemed oddly at home in the bohemia of the Lower East Side, plunging into the experimental theater scene orbiting around La MaMa. His Gary Cooper features, laconic way with words, and cowboy cool seemed right, somehow, for the post-beat, proto-punk underground that produced Andy Warhol’s 1968 movie, Lonesome Cowboys, and Velvet Underground songs like “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” (1970), both ironic, deadpan jabs at the moribund myth of the American Frontier (at the very moment that John Wayne was performing CPR on it in True Grit). In his early play, Cowboy Mouth (1971), binge-written in the Chelsea Hotel with his then-lover, Patti Smith, Shepard reimagines the high-plains drifter of John Ford legend as a wannabe Keith Richards, “a street angel…with a cowboy mouth.”

Coming of age at a moment when the rock guitarslinger was coolness itself, both Shepard and Smith, like many Boomer writers, sublimated their dreams of rock stardom into bravura improvisations on the typewriter. “First off let me tell you that I don’t want to be a playwright,” wrote Shepard, in 1971. Read the rest

Delightful Fibonacci sequence poem

Poet Brian Bilston wrote this delightful poem above describing, and embodying, the Fibonacci sequence in which each every number after the first two in a series is the sum of the preceding two numbers. (via @pickover) Read the rest

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