Classic video games might not seem like traditional fodder for a book of poems, but the surprise of it seems to be what Wisconsin-based poet BJ Best revels in. His new collection of prose poems, But Our Princess is in Another Castle, has just been released by Rose Metal Press and takes inspiration from such vintage arcade and home video games as Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, and The Legend of Zelda. And while the focus of the book […]
In Some Sense, But in Another, Not at All: Talking about Music with Paul Muldoon
You’ll see the word “gaiety” a thousand times if you read any essay on Paul Muldoon; while linguistic feats like “pulley glitches, gully pitches” abound in his work, he is somehow never donnish. He can show you ways of looking at words without pushing you away from them. His resume—spotted as it is with names like Princeton, Oxford, and The New Yorker, where he is the poetry editor—also includes two rock bands, operas, and a song that has been covered in […]
Looking for Larkin on Jazz Leads Back to Larkin’s Poetry
As noted in this past weekend’s Indexing, I read through Philip Larkin’s collected jazz reviews, All What Jazz, and liked it quite a bit. After finishing up I immediately started searching out a few of the songs he talked of throughout the book, then realized there had to be some sort of one-stop playlist or boxset I could just check out if I wanted to hear the music Larkin had written about. After all, there are plenty of those sorts of CDs […]
“Either you dress for the music or the occasion”: The Complex and Challenging Poetry of Leah Umansky
I tend to gravitate towards people who can utter statements with passion and honesty sans irony to the effect of “The first chapter of Wuthering Heights changed my life.” I long ago dropped the pretension that a love of books in anyway, necessarily, speaks positively of a personality. Yet, Leah Umansky, makes me rethink my opinion. Umansky, a prolific and talented poet, a loving and devoted teacher, represents someone of the rarified kind who still believes, deeply, in the power […]
Odd Future and the Poetry of Violence
Posted by Jason Diamond Odd Future are hanging out with Charlie Sheen in the realm of “things I don’t need to hear anything else about.” That’s really no slight on them or their craft, it’s just that I spent the last week walking around in the hot Texas sun, hearing about Odd Future this and Odd Future that.
Working on My Entry into the Ronald Reagan Centennial Poetry Contest
Posted by Jason Diamond When I think of Ronald Reagan, I don’t think of the Iran-Contra scandal or the whole nuclear arms buildup thing. In fact, those things might not even make it into the top five. When I think of president #40, the first thing I think of is poetry. I think of The Gipper and in my mind I hear “Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Ronald Wilson Reagan.” I see a picture of Ronald dozing off in an interview and I’m […]
You had me at the Glenn Danzig/King Diamond Poem
Craig Sernotti really likes playing with the phrase “shaved off my dick.” That’s one of the things I found most interesting about his first collection of poetry, Forked Tongue (Blue Room Publishing). This is confessional poetry in the truest sense, but it doesn’t resemble John Berryman or Anne Sexton in any way shape of, eh, form. Instead Sernotti comes across as a person that despises most poetry, but figures he’s too good not to write it.