Posts Categorized: Poetry

Gathering Radiance

Dear Poetry People,

This weekend here in Indiana was glorious–a positively tropical 75!–and as a result I decided to take a drive through Brown County State Park to marvel at the magnificent reds and golds. I had forgotten, however, about wind and rain the previous week, and upon passing through the gate was devastated to see many of the turned leaves fallen, or hanging brown. I forgot how fast autumn goes, how easy it is to miss a season, or let life drain by. As I drove back, cider in hand, I couldn’t help long for a copy of  Louise Gluck’s chapbook October. It is a lyric beauty that both rails against and welcomes, questions and illuminates, the coming darkness that October foreshadows. Each year her words somehow prepare me for an impending winter, all the while reminding me of the wonder in a flagrant fall that announces its arrival. May you too enjoy October, for:

“This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.”

 

MFA Master Class with Steve Scafidi

Last week, one of IR‘s favorite contributors, Steve Scafidi, spent several evenings here in Bloomington to write, read, and talk about poetry with us.  Check out some scenes from our time with Steve:

A poem should matter as much as stepping on a nail, or being kissed —
If I step on a nail I could die; if I’m kissed my life could change from such a thing.
Steve Scafidi, IU MFA Master Class

Ryan More than O-Kay

Yesterday I received a message from a friend of mine telling me that Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, received the 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. After taking an undergraduate seminar with Ms. Ryan, (knowledgeable, dry and witty, generous with her time, ostensibly soft-spoken, convicted) there is no doubt in my mind that her poetic talent warrants the $500,000 prize for continued creativity. She has, and will continue to be, a voice speaking out against established paths of success and notoriety, and one that uses language as both a tool and a gift. What surprises me more than Ms. Ryan’s talent (which I already had some idea of) is that a poet recieved this recognition, in an age that has marginalized its writers and artists. In her work, Ryan demonstrates that poetry is essential, and that we must continue to read it, love it, and believe in its power, with or without the half million to compensate. Enjoy Ryan’s “Tenderness and Rot,” or watch an interview with her here.  Congratulations, Kay!