Pauls Toutonghi lovingly recalls his grandfather, Philippe Elias Tütünji, a writer, poet, and translator from Aleppo, Syria. Tütünji immigrated to America during World War II and never gave up his dream to achieve success as a poet in his adopted homeland.
I think there’s a very interesting poetry moment going on culturally now. Part of what I’m experiencing with this nice reception of this book is the way being a female poet is a certain version of coming of age — poetry is very diaristic, small pieces, an art form you can realize — you wrote […]
Indeed, the famous eclecticism of “The Waste Land,” which incorporates quotations from multiple languages and literatures, can be seen as a tribute to the educational philosophy that governed Harvard during Eliot’s time there… Yet as Crawford shows in the impressively researched Young Eliot, the “melange of topics” that Eliot explored in college “mightily enriched his poetry.” […]
A few weeks later, my friend sends me a copy of Dunn’s poem “A Coldness.” The speaker says about his sick brother, “From then on he was delusional, / the cancer making him / stupid, insistently so, and lost. / I wanted him to die. / And I wished his wife / would say A […]
I was brought up in Cincinnati, Ohio. My parents were very nice. The first time I wrote a poem, my mother gave me a big kiss and said, “I love you.” The whole idea of writing poetry had a lot to do with escaping, escaping from the bourgeois society of Cincinnati, Ohio, escaping from any […]
[W.B. Yeats’s 1919 poem] “The Second Coming” may well be the most thoroughly pillaged piece of literature in English. (Perhaps Macbeth’s famous “sound and fury” monologue is a distant second.) Since Chinua Achebe cribbed Yeats’s lines for Things Fall Apart in 1958 and Joan Didion for Slouching Towards Bethlehem a decade later, dozens if not hundreds of others have followed suit, […]
With the recently released What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, the work of a brilliant, difficult, much-mythologized and little-known American poet is finally widely available. Frank Stanford’s short life was a study in contradictions: his childhood was divided between the privilege of an upper-crust Memphis family and summers deep in the Mississippi Delta; he was a […]
Fifty years later, he awoke one fine morning like Rip Van Winkle, and found himself again with his sea bag on his shoulder looking for anywhere he could live and work. The new owner of his old flat now wanted $4,500 a month, and many of his friends were also evicted, for it seemed their buildings weren’t owned by San Franciscans anymore, but by faceless investors with venture capital. Corporate monoculture had wiped out any unique sense of place, turning the “island city” into an artistic theme park without artists. And he was on the street.
[Rosemary] Tonks’s first poetry collection, Notes on Cafés and Bedrooms, was published in 1963; her second and final one, Iliad of Broken Sentences, in 1967. She interweaves images of her years in Asia and Africa with snapshots of bohemian London: desert oases and mirages, jazz and cocktails. True to the first collection’s title, the poems carry a […]
As poetry readings go, the setting was unique. The Al Raha Beach Theatre in Abu Dhabi boasted light-up floors, backdrop projections and a light show of a kind that would be familiar to fans of Pop Idol, X Factor or America’s Got Talent. Since February, global audiences of up to 70 million have tuned in […]
She was still living in the rectory when “Rape Joke” was published in The Awl. There is a section of the poem about the speaker’s parents’ response to the rape: It was a year before you told your parents, because he was like a son to them. The rape joke is that when you told […]
Let me state it so you get the picture clear as wind chimes in a soft breeze on a somnolent noon. Underlying my existence is a deeper intelligence that speaks to me when I am writing. My artist friends say I am an anomaly—no education, no family grounding, no proper socialization. My writing gifts seem to […]
I was a closet poet always. I didn’t stop writing poetry just because Wallace Stegner told me I was a terrible poet. I went underground. I had exempted English A at Harvard, which was a big mistake. Everybody should take it. They bucked me up to a high-level class in creative writing. It was all […]
This week we’re excited to feature Elissa Schappell‘s essay, “The Craft of Poetry: A Semester with Allen Ginsberg,” as our Longreads Member Pick. Her recollections are an intimate window into the Beat legend. The piece originally appeared in the Summer 1995 issue of the Paris Review and was later anthologized in their 1999 collection Beat […]
Emily Perper is a freelance editor and reporter, currently completing a service year in Baltimore with the Episcopal Service Corps. Salinger’s life is being made into a movie. Someone said writers work best with only one kid. Print journalism is, apparently, still the domain of white men. It’s been an unfortunate week. Here are four […]