I haven’t posted often enough lately, mainly because I’ve been distracted by another web project that’s finally complete. So, I’m back. And here’s a couple of poetry links I’ve been storing up:
1. I’ve long enjoyed the work of Sparrow, a journeyman spoken-word poet from New York with a gentle voice and a deep, calm sense of conviction. Ten years ago he took it upon himself to picket the New Yorker Magazine’s offices in midtown Manhattan for not publishing him, carrying a sign that read “My Poetry Is As Bad As Yours”. In fact, he was too humble to say so but his poetry is sometimes better. See for yourself: America: A Prophecy has just been published by Soft Skull.
2. I really like the cover of the new Saul Williams book, The Dead Emcee Scrolls: the Lost Teachings of Hip-hop. That doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily like the poems, but I’m usually a sucker for biblical pretensions so I probably will.
3. A small British publishing company called Diva Pictures has sent me a semi-homemade DVD of a complete 1995 Allen Ginsberg poetry reading. An Allen Ginsberg poetry reading was always a stunning, powerful event, a carefully calibrated mix of theater, music, verse, personality and religious symbolism designed, like an ancient Greek tragedy or a Pearl Jam concert, to produce a state of mass Dionysian ecstasy among all members of the audience. The show captured here was Ginsberg’s last performance in England before his death, and I’m glad it has been preserved for future poetic generations to observe and learn from.
4. Is poetry news? Is news poetry? MacNeil Lehrer News Hour and the newly-flush Poetry Magazine are going to find out with their new joint venture. Poetry Magazine was given a well-publicized gift of $100 million not too long ago, and we’re glad to see they’re not just keeping it in the bank. I hope this turns out to actually be something.