Monday, November 10, 2008

Poetry Instead

Readers, the deadline for us Yalobushers to go to press approaches. November 20th. Ten days, and then it's out of our hands, quite literally. Funny how close literally comes to literarily. Almost makes one want to check the epistemology, but we'll leave such matters to another time.

Yesterday, on To the Best of Our Knowledge, many poets who write poems, along with at least one who, along with poeting, spends a great deal of time writing about poetry, stopped by. Guests included Patricia Smith, author of Blood Dazzler, nominee for the 2008 National Book Award. She read a poem or two, one of which took on the persona of a skinhead and did dazzle with it's brutal sort of empathy. She's a four-time champion of the National Poetry Slam, and there's something of the way she becomes the skinhead as she reads that's unsettling in the best of ways. And by the power of YouTube, you can watch her perform "Skinhead" live. Be warned, there be offensive language here.

The second guest, Jay Parini, is a poet who sometimes is a scholar that publishes books like, Why Poetry Matters. In his segment, he paraphrased, I believe, Robert Frost as saying that if you don't know how to live in a metaphor, then you're not prepared for life. Chew on that one for a while, readers. Let it stick between your teeth. Be surprised when a few days later, after you've forgotten about it, something bitter and true pops out on your tongue. But seriously, such a sentiment struck a deep chord for me, one who tends to believe in metaphors the way some people believe in Tuesday.

Les Murray rounded out the guests yesterday. An Australian considered by many critics to be the greatest living English poet. In the interview, he talks about writing through depression and reads many of his poems with one of those voices that sounds like what you think a bear would sound like if it could talk and also had an Australian accent.

See you next time, true believers.

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