Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mei Mei Berssenbrugge Poetry Links

Berssenbrugge’s poetry combines the wide angles of abstract thought and the loving details of the most specific, intimate observations; her poetry reveals a life-long devotion to western and eastern philosophy, visual arts, architecture, mathematics, and science, as well as a deep connection to geographic and linguistic “place.” She is the author of The Heat Bird (1983), winner of the American Book Award; Empathy (1989), winner of the PEN West Award; Sphericity (1993); Endocrinology (1997), a collaboration with the artist Kiki Smith; Four Year Old Girl (1998), winner of the Western States Book Award; Nest (2003); and I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems (2006).



Penn Sound Files


About the Author

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carolyne Wright Poetry Reading Review

Carolyne Wright gave a poetry reading that was very interactive. Rather than just reading us her poems, she told us stories and provided her audience with the history behind the poems, which made for a very interesting a delightful reading. Her lyric, narrative style combined with her highly energetic and theatrical personality complimented each other well. She read us poems that she had translated into the Chilean dialect of Spanish as well as fun poems that made us all laugh such as "A Villanelle from Hell", "Not on My Resume", and "Upon Hearing I Was not C.D. Wright, the Couple Left the Bar". But perhaps her most intriguing poems were the poems written by Eulene, her alter-ego. Poems like "Eulene Declares", "Eulene's Reply to a Dead Man", and "Confessions of Eulene", which will be published in her next book. Being a poet has made Wright very in touch with herself and of course Eulene.

Wright always knew that she wanted to write. She said there is a difference between saying "I want to write" and "I want to be writer". One is active and one means having the life of a writer. In order to have the life, one has to write. Wright discussed what the life of a writer was like, and said that one must be very comfortable with being alone for hours in a room. But she does not have the sense of being alone because she is with her thoughts and voices in her head. She fills up pages of notebooks and always has her journal with her, as it is her most prized possession. Sometimes when she goes back to read her notebooks from the past, it is nostalgic and inspires more poetry, such as the poem about Mrs. Tice. But what has inspired Wright more than anything is her freedom to travel all over the world and experience different cultures and situations than a normal person can. She said she is very self-protective, practical and organized, which have allowed her to branch out and gain freedom. She always got good grades, applied for grants, stayed out of debt and this allowed her the ability to travel, study and teach in places such as Chile, Brazil and Bengali. Being fluent in Spanish has also given her a very valuable perspective on, and respect for language. Poetry is not really valued in our generation, not as it once was, but for Carolyne Wright, it is the center of her life. She love poetry mostly because of the "intensity of the language", and she believe that language is the best and most important way to get involved in another culture.

"Each word, line, form and relationships these aspects have with each other create a wonderful challenge", she said. "Form gives this to me rather than prose of free verse. It makes the language evermore concentrated."

She talked about how it also makes it more memorable. How we all remember the sonnet where Romeo first meets Juliet. Shakespeare chose poetry to illustrate this because poetry has that intensity of language, and in that intense, special moment, their language turned to poetry, because that is how it felt to them. She pointed out the difference in a novelist writing poetry vs. a poet writing prose. Often times the prose that is written by the poet has that intensity of language.

It was very interesting to hear some literal explanations of Wright's poetry, especially the "Eulene poems". Once a poem is on the page and out there for anyone to read it, it is up for interpretation and translation though the eyes of the reader. It may mean something to them that has nothing to do with what it meant to the poet. We discussed how this is an example of how poetry translates to people/readers on what they add to the poem and how they interact with it and perceive it based on their own experiences... based on how they want to see it. The new author becomes the reader, in a sense. And this is what all good poetry does. It speaks to everyone differently and means something different to every person who interacts with the poem.

It was wonderful getting to meet Carolyne Wright and listen to her read poetry and discuss her poetry with us.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Carolyne Wright Poetry Links

Wright received an MA in Creative Writing and a Doctor of Arts, both from Syracuse University. Wright’s lyric, narrative-leaning poetry engages history and social concerns, through deeply committed explorations of female subjectivity along the lines of Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, and Naomi Shihab Nye. Wright is the author of eight books of poetry. Her most recent collection, A Change of Maps (2006), was a finalist for the Idaho Prize and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has won many awards and served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, 2004-2008.




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Reading

I didn't get to write down all the poems that Mr. Kgositsile read. But here are a few:

These are from If I Could Sing:

1. "Red Song"
2. "Seaparankoe"
3. "Memorial"
4. "Rejoice"

Most or all of these poems are from This Way I Salute You:
5. "Messengers"
6. "Brantome"
7. "Cassandra Wilson Will Sing"
8. "In the Naming"
9. "No Serenity Here" (click on link for poem) - This was my favorite poem!!!
10. "No Boundaries"
11. "Letter from Havana"

I have to say that this poetry reading was one of my favorite experiences. I think it came at just the right time in my life. I needed to hear all that he said. And the way that he read his poems was like he was reaching deep down inside the souls of all living things and striking that special chord that connects us all. It made perfect sense to me. It was good to go to a reading where this was the case. Sometimes I get lost in the words, the phrases, and I am not sure in the way the reading affected me, even though it did. But Kgositsile's reading left me with an overall message and feeling of peace, yet an understanding that it us up to us to make peace, within ourselves and then within this world we live in. He spoke to all our fears and sorrows, but then gave us hope.

A line from "Seaparankoe":

"Not that we are strangers to fear
But we love freedom and peace more
And for this we work and fight."

- Morgen Moxley

You will soon be able to see a video of the entire reading on the MAE Poetry Series website