Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring into Poetry

Spring is almost here. What a great time to enjoy the beauty of poetry.

"Spring has sprung, the grass has riz. I wonder where the birdies is...." Anonymous

The Scare in the Crow (M)
by Tammy Armstrong

"The Scare in the Crow races across the back roads like a muscle car making a beer run. Then it pauses, in haunting contemplation of a walk through the woods. Armstrong's poems inhabit the fantasia of this world in the peculiarities of taxidermy, crowds watching a house wash away in a spring flood, old tombstones cast over a riverbank, or rumours of a sighting of the extinct eastern panther..."  - Publisher

The Hungry Ear : poems of food & drink  (M)
edited by Kevin Young

"The world begins at a kitchen table," Joy Harjo says at the beginning of this anthology, edited by National Book Award finalist Young, featuring poems in homage to all things comestible. In his introduction, Young says that the making of poems is akin to the making of a meal-both are acts of creation and sustenance. While poetry may be more permanent, with each making the eater and reader consume beauty, internalize it, and thrive. "This anthology revels in the many tastes all around us, some of which we need poetry to help describe," says Young..." - Library Journal

Spring Essence : the poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương  (M)
edited and translated by John Balaban 

"Poet and translator Balaban, a conscientious objector during the Vietnamese war, discovered the work of Ho Xuan Huong, a eighteenth-century woman poet, while in Vietnam making recordings of folk poetry. Ho Xuan Huong, as Balaban eloquently explains, lived in an era of political turmoil, war, famine, and corruption (not unlike twentieth-century Vietnam), when few women were educated in the culture's rigorous literary tradition. Nonetheless, she became a consummate stylist and achieved tremendous acclaim for her lyricism, candor, and subversive humor, writing boldly about eroticism, compassion, religious and societal hypocrisy, the lowly status of women, and her life as a concubine.

Balaban, the first to translate Ho Xuan Huong's poetry into English, also helped reclaim the all but lost calligraphic system she utilized, called Nom, displaying Nom texts alongside English and modern Vietnamese versions of each poem. But all such historic concerns pale in the presence of Ho Xuan Huong's saucy voice, vital imagery, and nimble, teasing, sexy, and wise protestations and philosophical observations manifest in poems that transcend time, geography, and culture with startling directness, relevance, and verve. " - Publisher


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