Lyric Essentials (at Sundress)

Margaret Stawowy reads Three Poems by Robert Bly

Margaret Stawowy“As for poets being called to arms, I was once in a workshop with Ilya Kaminsky, and he commented that Americans don’t write many political poems, whereas, Europeans do it all the time. Perhaps this is because we Americans didn’t have to live in a war-torn country in our lifetimes. I find it very challenging to write a political poem without it devolving into a polemic. Writing a successful anti-war poem is just about as hard as writing a successful love poem.”

Rob Stephens reads “The Star’s Etruscan Argument” by Aleda Shirley

Rob Stephens“I remember that once, mid-semester, I brought in an overwrought poem that was a self-indulgent fantasy in which I encountered a fairy on a car ride; at the time I thought it was unique, but I’m sure it was riddled with clichés and sounded completely inauthentic because I was trying to be Spenser. Aleda called me on it – “you’ll go back to writing like you’re Rob, in plain Rob language next time,” she told me. That’s the way she was, no-nonsense and able to steer you out of a poetry sinkhole.”

Orooj-e-Zafar reads excerpts from Bilal Tanweer’s The Scatter Here Is Too Great

Orooj“…the language is so colloquial, the tragedy comes as a shock, but not a surprise. It is almost like a snare in this part of the book; nothing goes horribly wrong at first until it does.”

April Michelle Bratten reads “Songs to Joannes” parts I-V by Mina Loy

April Michelle Bratten“What is even more enticing, is that this poem is about a sexual affair and the abortion that followed. This poem was written in the 1910s. For a woman from this time period to write so boldly about this subject matter both surprised and delighted me. She was certainly a force to be reckoned with.”

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