Category Archives: poetry

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader John Harshman sent some photos of bird banding; his notes are indented. On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Edgar del Valle nets and bands birds at the Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden. It happens we were there on one of those Tuesdays and took some pictures. This is a dusky hummingbird Cynanthus sordidus being removed from the […]

It’s Abramek Koplowicz’s birthday

I didn’t know about this until I was told by Kelly Houle, who recently published a lovely art book containing English translations (from Polish) of Abramek Koplowicz’s poems, written in the Lodz Ghetto before he was gassed by the Nazis. Abramek Koplowicz was born on February 18, 1930, and had he lived he’d be 89 […]

Defenders of Alice Walker’s anti-Semitism surface, including Al Jazeera

The day after Christmas I reported on a controversy that involved the renowned author Alice Walker, whose most famous work was the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. The controversy began when, in an interview with the New York Times about what books she was reading, Walker noted that one of them was And the Truth Shall Set […]

The Nation grovels to the mob, abasing itself by apologizing for a poem it published

On July 5, The Nation published a poem called “How-To” by Anders Carlson-Wee, a young white man.  It describes how panhandlers, the homeless, and others asking for money should behave. That behavior, as you can see in the poem, involves using tactics designed to pry money out of people who are reluctant to give some spare […]

Why I prefer to read a poem than hear it recited

When I was a  very young boy, I was an obsessive reader of Charles Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. Not only did I read it as soon as the daily paper arrived, but I cut out every strip and pasted it in a scrapbook, with a whole page reserved for the big Sunday color strip.  The […]

An algebraic limerick

by Matthew Cobb Spotted on Tw*tter. I’ll give the source later, along with the explanation. Post your explanations below. If you know the answer already, please refrain from posting – if you work it out, go ahead! [EDIT: The correct answer appears in the first comment below! If you want to spend some time working […]

“Metamorphosis” by Wallace Stevens

Since November has arrived, I’ll take this opportunity to post one of my favorite Wallace Stevens poems. My absolute favorite is “Peter Quince at the Clavier“, but this one is more is appropriate as it expresses both the change of seasons and the degeneration of nature, ending with a completely disordered month. Metamorphosis by Wallace Stevens Yillow, yillow, […]

Facing dismissal, distinguished teacher resigns after reciting lurid Allan Ginsburg poem in class

David Olio, a Connecticut high-school English teacher, has resigned rather than face being fired after reading a racy Allen Ginsburg poem to his class.  Olio not only teaches AP (Advanced Placement) English, but won Connecticut’s highest award for teaching excellence. You can read the poem,  “Please Master,” here.  There’s no doubt that it’s salacious, but it’s also likely […]

Google Doodle celebrates Langston Hughes

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Langston Hughes (1902-1967), author and poet, who would have been 113 years old today had he lived. The Doodle is especially good today—animated, and with music. You can see it by either clicking on the screenshot below, or, if that doesn’t work for non-USers, watch the YouTube video […]

Poems from a boy who didn’t grow up

I’ve just learned that there will be no internet where I’m staying for the next 11 days, so, barring a fortuitous Starbucks or any establishment with free internet, you won’t hear from me for a while. I’ve asked my emissaries to keep things going as best they can, so keep the faith. And here’s the […]