Category: Literary

“We Need a New Song”: A New Book on the Old Story of Misogyny and War

“If the moments sometimes clash awkwardly with the more classical sections of prose, they also force readers to compare the misogyny of ancient Greece with the misogyny of the present.” —Sophie Gilbert review of The Silence of the Girls by novelist Pat Barker There is no doubt that women and girls have been–and, as recent events show, continue to be– the victims of a … Read More “We Need a New Song”: A New Book on the Old Story of Misogyny and War

Is American “Romantic Conservatism” a Thing?

A recent short piece in The Atlantic caught my attention: “John McCain and the End of Romantic Conservatism.” Romantic conservatism seems an obvious oxymoron. The author of the piece, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, contrasts the international idealism of Sen. McCain–now ill with cancer and absent from the Senate–with the “America First” nationalism of President Trump and most other D.C. Republicans through an interview with Mark Salter. … Read More Is American “Romantic Conservatism” a Thing?

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To Honor Poetry on World Poetry Day, Help Imprisoned Poets Across the Globe

By John Frederick Kaufman PEN International is profiling four poets on World Poetry Day now being held either in prisons or under house arrest for dissenting against injustice through art and/or journalism: Aron Atabek of Kzakhstan, Liu Xia of China, Amanuel Asrat of Eitrea, Dareen Tatour detained by Israel. To see what you can do to help, click on this link to learn more … Read More To Honor Poetry on World Poetry Day, Help Imprisoned Poets Across the Globe

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William Blake: “Auguries of Innocence”

[JFK: An augury is an omen and this is a political poem because . . . today is Blake’s birthday and the poem details connections, relationships ecological and human we too often, especially in the halls of power, fail to acknowledge. The first four lines are famous but we often neglect the rest of this poem of transcendental justice.  Thanks to the Poetry Foundation … Read More William Blake: “Auguries of Innocence”

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Rumple Oxbridge: “On Pornography”

By Rumple Oxbridge, The Pacific’s radical rhymer, sometimes referred to as “rhymer-in-residence.” I was going to say a little goes a long way but if I may be so bold why should any sex be sold? Watching nakedness cavort suggests it’s just a spectator sport; sex is touching when eyes are closed– open, it’s just rubbing.

The “Human Rights Poetry” of Yevgeny Yevtushenko Very Relevant Today

By John Frederick Kaufman Speaking of his poetry, here’s what Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who died yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 84, told the Associated Press in an interview back  in 2007: “I don’t call it political poetry, I call it human rights poetry; the poetry which defends human conscience as the greatest spiritual value.” If you are not familiar with … Read More The “Human Rights Poetry” of Yevgeny Yevtushenko Very Relevant Today

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Resist the “Instapoets”: a quick poem for the young

There are some things, like poetry, that cannot come easy if the thing is likely to last. Some advice: don’t enter a building or a poem (or any long-term relationship) that is not carefully constructed for what you risk is deconstruction of all you thought you stood upon– the present fails to slam the past and you fall until you hit something more resistant. Call it “lit.”