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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solitude


Funeral follows funeral ---

the second line between ---

resentment segregates the tombs.

The universe is wrinkled

with the whims and the winds.

Saints cut of silk, frantic like the turf,

wanting terror to touch down,

explore lucid leaves of grass


for the asking

 is nevermore.

The universe is wrinkled

with the whims of mothball hours.

Time.  An old man erect,

folding the canals of his bones.

An old woman, pious,

rigid in her rapture on an urn,

grinning toothless passion.

The universe is wrinkled

with the whims of worried days.

Words copulate not

none the less but more.

Salvation burns

where peace be still

is still to be.

The universe is wrinkled

with the whims of stinging seconds.

Sounds, jazz iced down,

signal the ending

always beginning

time. Sufferings in ascetic hymns

wash.  Absolute soap for the soul.

Primate wings renounce a name.

Yes, seeded clichés. Pungent despair

in the fragrant dust.  Flowers rust.

Gravity marks wasting time.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

December 21, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Brenda Marie Osbey's website

I do wish more people would read her works, learn from her poetry, and comment on her genius.

Brenda Marie Osbey is an author of poetry and of prose nonfiction in English and in French. Recent work appears in Illuminations: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing; Poet Lore; Planète Ovale; Southern Literary Journal; and Atlantic Studies: Literary, Historical and Cultural Perspectives. From 2005 to 2007, she served as the first peer-selected poet laureate of Louisiana.
Osbey is the author of All Saints: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press) now in its third printing. She is the author also of Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991), In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988) and Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983; University Press of Virginia, 1985).
Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and collections including: Callaloo, Obsidian, Essence, Southern Exposure, Southern Review, Early Ripening: American Women's Poetry Now, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, 2PLUS2: A Collection of International Writing, Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, Epoch, The American Voice, and The American Poetry Review.
Studies of her work appear in such reference works as Contemporary Authors, the Oxford Companion to African American Literature and the Dictionary of Literary Biography (Oxford, 1997), as well as such critical texts as Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women by Lynn Keller (U. Chicago Press, 1997) and The Future of Southern Letters, edited by Jefferson Humphries and John Lowe (Oxford, 1996). Her work has been the subject also of such literary conferences as the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), as well as masters and doctoral theses and dissertations.
Her essays on New Orleans appear in The American Voice, Georgia Review, BrightLeaf and Creative Nonfiction. Her column on race and culture in contemporary France was published in Gambit Weekly.
Click the vèvè to read work samples.
For more than twenty years she has researched and recorded the history of the Faubourg Tremé, a community founded by free Blacks in New Orleans. She served as a consultant and commentator on New Orleans Black culture and history for Faubourg Tremé: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans (Serendipity Films, 2007) and Claiming Open Spaces (Urban Garden Films/ PBS, 1996).
Osbey is the recipient of fellowships and awards, including: the 2008-09 Louisiana Board of Regents Award to Artists and Scholars (ATLAS); the 2008 Manship Summer Research Fellowship; the Camargo Foundation Fellowship (Cassis, France 2004); Louisiana Division of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (1993); New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Maxi-Grant (1993); National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Writing Fellowship (1990); Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Poetry Award (1984); the Academy of American Poets Loring-Williams Prize (1980).
She has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University.
Osbey has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles and Loyola University. She has twice been appointed Visiting Writer-in-residence at Tulane University and Scholar-in-residence at Southern University. She has conducted seminars and colloquia in literature, creative writing and New Orleans Black Culture at Dillard University; and has taught at Louisiana State University since 2005. In Fall 2011, she was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.
Brenda Marie Osbey is a native of New Orleans.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

On a criticism of a presentation of poetry

In response to Helen Vendler's review "Are These the Poems to Remember?" (New York Review of Books, November 24, 2011), Rita Dove provided civil justifications for her choices in editing The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.  Dove's "Defending An Anthology" (New York Review of Books, December 22, 2011) was, however, not accorded equal civility by Vendler's curt reply: "I have written the review and I stand by it."  Vendler owes Dove and the readers of NYRB more than a laconic sentence.  On the other hand, given what Vendler said in her review about the Black Arts Movement and Amiri Baraka, I suspect that Vendler's teeth are cracked and her locution is reduced to a whisper.