On March 19, a dozen award-winning
poets and musicians from Lyric Recovery Festivalȁ at Carnegie
Hall 2000 appear at Caffè Taci in multilingual performance as
one of nearly two hundred venues involved in the United Nations project,
"Dialogues Among Civilizations Through Poetry" (www.dialoguepoetry.org).
On March 29, James Ragan,
who featured last April with Galway Kinnell at the LyR Festival
at Carnegie, reads at the UN itself along with Yusef
Komunyakaa and Joyce Carol Oates. A multilingual "ambassador of poetry,"
Ragan has read for four heads of state, including Mikhail Gorbachev and
In This Issue
Call for Submissions - Deadlines Extended to April 1 - Consult Submissions
Featured this month are the award-winning
poems from Lyric Recovery Festival at Carnegie Hall, several
of whose authors reappear with quite different work in this month's Twelve.
Our Global Poem Zones series continues, with a poem by P.K. Page,
selected by Marilyn Hacker, to be read this month on international territory
as part of the UN Dialogues project. The cumulative Big City, Little
page adds work by Marc Desmond (NYC) and James Ragan (Paris). The Bridge
City Lit pages feature work in corresponding languages.
We continue with the second of two
installments of George Dickerson's "The Cause," a feature-length
return to the Fifties, when Americans, black and white, first took the
crash course of Brown v. Board of Education. During
Black History Month (February), a New York Times article asked whether
the seminal 1954 Supreme Court case had perhaps been 'fuzzy.'
In "Instead of Proving Human,"
Tim Scannell converses with poetry and recalls his first encounter with
the great buck in Robert Frost's "The Most of It." James Ragan,
the poet behind The Hunger Wall, is revealed in an in-depth
essay, "Stages of Man and Earth."
The poor will always be with us --
even if fortune and the Force are not. Historian Patricia Franz recounts
the enduring power of Boccaccio's image of Poverty and Fortune,
and the Church's efforts to reconcile the two. In "Bench, Bag and Frozen
Styrofoam," that Guy from Albany, Dan Wilcox, recounts a mid-winter
sleepover near the State House. The UN's "Dialogues Among Civilization
Through Poetry" anthology project offers 'big-tent' internationalism
to far-flung poets, but will they be talking to one another?
'The existentially and spiritually
profound lines in [Matthea] Harvey’s volume (Pity the Bathtub its Embrace
of the Human Form, Alice James Books) come unadorned by gimcrackery
("I too am attracted by want, that glass-/ bottomed boat"), but they are
nearly lost in a hodgepodge of effects.' (Diana Manister) Commenting
on Galway Kinnell's "The Music of Poetry" in Water to Wine to Waterford®,
the Lyric Recovery Carnegie collection, reviewer Tim Scannell
writes, 'The lyric's potential is such that the reader almost looks
forward to lyrics on out-of-body experience, channeling, astral planes,
and UFO abductions -- almost.' Jo Ann Wasserman's chapbook We
Build Mountains shows us that 'our very words, even as we speak
them, conceal more than they do reveal, all this in our terrible and absurd
effort to "feel safe".' (Bill Kushner) In her satiric, The Evasion-English
Dictionary, Maggie Balistreri 'parses the subtleties contained in our
seemingly most inarticulate, often ungrammatical constructions.'
In a special Editors' Picks Book Shelf section, we comment
on books that belong on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the
linguistic music of lyric poetry, its potential, and place among the arts.
They are: Alfred Corn's The Poem's Heartbeat, Ellen Bryant Voigt's The
Flexible Lyric, Mary Kinzie's The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose,
Dana Gioia's Can Poetry Matter? Also discussed is Mary Kinzie's
recent A Poet's Guide to Poetry.
Scheduled excerpts from interviews
with James Ragan and Galway Kinnell were not available as of press time,
but may be added later in the month.
Series on Series: The
Monday Saturn Series at Revival Bar
Before the arrival of the Zeckendorf
high rise and mega book store Barnes & Noble, the greenery at Union
Square was nearly invisible, so pervasively dreary were East 14th Street's
bargain fabric stores and bars. "Gentrification has made many Manhattan
cultural events look as artificial as the set of a Seinfeld
or Friends sitcom. Come to a poetry reading and you will find real
people experiencing spontaneous, real emotions." (Series co-host, Bill
Duke) The sofas upstairs in the salon at Revival have an honest, lived-in
Ahem, not 'euthanasia,' no,
the topic was 'youth and age.' A writers' discussion moderated by Roger
Rosenblatt (Rules for Aging) with guests, George Plimpton, Frank
McCourt, and others at the 92nd Street Y left reviewer Elena Kondracki
with thoughts of swizzle sticks. Rick Pearse contemplated Stephen Dunn
contemplating the death of God at Exoterica, and we sat in at a
Poetry Project workshop conducted by Jayne Cortez.
In her piece, "Hail to the Thief,"
songwriter Judy Klass contributes a sense of humor and fun to the serious
business of electoral illegitimacy. We defer treatment of the latest episode
of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's face-off with the Brooklyn Museum, this time
over a controversial depiction of The Last Supper, to April's
Easter and Passover season.
In "The Wilder Duck," Maureen
Holm faults The Importance of Being Oscar, recently revived
at the Irish Repertory Theatre: 'Too little in evidence in this script
is the change brought about in an artist once content to be highly styled
and amusing.' Bill Kushner's review of Edwin Torres's Gecko Suite:
An Opera in Three Colors takes poetic form, while Nicholas Johnson
offers prose notes on the preview: 'As the symbolic actions resonate
with the onlooker, he inhales meaning without knowing it, familiar actions,
ripe for allegorical interpretation.'