Grolier Poetry Book Shop // Meet Our August Poet in the Spotlight: Ruth Lepson

6613fff8-ba01-488d-8faa-06bdc7ed8ec6.jpg

Ruth Lepson is poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her most recent book of poems, ask anyone (Pressed Wafer), won the Philip Whalen Award from Chax Books; her other books are I Went Looking for You (blazeVOX), Morphology (photographs and dream prose poems, blazeVOX), and Dreaming in Color (Alice James Books). She edited Poetry from Sojourner: A Feminist Anthology (University of Illinois Press). Her poetry and prose have appeared in Jacket2, Ping Pong, Let the Bucket Down, spoKe, Harvard Review, Talisman, EAOGH, AGNI, and in City of Notions: An Anthology of Contemporary Boston, Resist Much Obey Little, Supplement, Boog City: An Anthology of New York and Boston Poets, and Caterina Davinio’s animation game at the Venice Biennale.
 
She has read on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” in St Petersburg, Russia and Barcelona, at the ICA Black Mountain College exhibit, and the Gloucester Writers Center, and will read in the Pioneer Valley Poetry Festival this October.
 
Though she has collaborated with visual artists and dancers, she has worked primarily with musicians, performing in the bands low road and Box Lunch, improvising at The Bee Hive (Boston Center for the Arts), and recording with musicians who set poems from her last book (listen at ruthlepson.com). She has often performed with musicians in New York and Massachusetts. Flutist Mario Caroli and electronic composer Jean-Paul Charles played Charles’ setting of her poetry at Harvard. She has been lucky enough to perform with some of today’s most exciting musicians from the Conservatory.
 
Ruth has taught at Boston College, The Kennedy School of Government, Bentley University, Northeastern University, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and The Art Institute of Boston. She worked at Partisan Review and Boston University Journal, gave workshops in the poets-in-the-schools program, and organized poetry readings for Oxfam America.

Read more at: http://www.grolierpoetrybookshop.org/
**Update: We are happy to announce that the August spotlight was featured on www.masspoetry.org. Thank you!

April/May Updates

I am happy to be involved with Poets for Living Waters and will, in the near future, have one of my poems featured on their website: poetsgulfcoast.wordpress.com. It's a response to an exercise in the anthology they were involved with, called Big Ecology.

Also, I’ll be reading at the 90th anniversary of The Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge on May 19th. The celebrations will be held from 12:00-6:00pm. Come out if you can!

Reading this Saturday and more...

static1.squarespace.com.jpg

A quick reminder that I’m reading with the great Fanny Howe at Outpost in Inman Sq., Cambridge, at 4:00pm on Sat., Feb 3. I hope to see some of you. http://www.outpost186.com/

I'm also happy to have poetry in the upcoming WoodCoin online magazine. http://www.woodcoin.net

Lastly, I’ve be invited to read at Amherst College in mid-October in a new, exciting poetry series organized by some of the innovative poets of the Pioneer Valley, who are putting that part of Mass. on the poetry map.

The Phillip Whalen Award

The winner of the Phillip Whalen Award this year is Ruth Lepson, for her book of poetry, ask anyone, from Pressed Wafer.

The award was created 3 years ago to recognize outstanding works of literature that seem to embody qualities Phillip Whalen brought to poetry, a projectivist practice with great flow, elements of surprise, and a sense that everything is just as it has to be. Previous winners have been Kyle Schlesinger and James Yeary, and Phillip Sultz.

There are no guidelines or applications for the award; rather, it is selected by Chax Press and friends (Chax books are ineligible) out of the books that come into our purview during a year, with the award then announced some time between April and August of the ensuing year.

There is no particular benefit from this award other than recognition; however, if anyone wishes to donate to or endow this award for the future, please contact us.

You may order ask anyone directly from Pressed Wafer, The Grolier Poetry Book Shop, or Small Press Distribution.
 

Caterina Davinio Poetry Network

Happy to be a participant in this project:

Dear friends poets and artists,

To celebrate my participation at the Medellín International Poetry Festival 2017, where I am performing for the second time (the first was in the early nineties) as a poet and an electronic poet, I have created the online poetry happening "Medellín Highs Medellín Blues” where poets from all over the world are invited.

Participation in "Medellín Highs Medellín Blues" is free; young poets and artists are encouraged. The theme is free, but texts on the topic of peace and friendship among the peoples are welcome.

You are invited to post your poem (max 30 lines) or enter a picture or video (please, send a YouTube link) in the comments of this post.

If you want to share, THIS IS THE LINK: 

http://caterina-davinio-poetry-network.blogspot.it/

If you find problems in posting or you want to stay in my mailing list, to stay tuned about the development of this project, or you just want to contact me privately, please write to: davinio@tin.it

Everyone is welcome!

Warmly

Caterina Davinio  

Daniel Wuenschel

Thank you everyone who came to Sunday afternoon's reading at the CPL. We were truly honored to be in the presence of Celia Gilbert, Ruth Lepson, and Ethel Rackin as they shared their engaging and thought-provoking work with us.

If you missed the reading, you can still come and visit the work of these three excellent poets by borrowing their books or visiting the display of their materials on the second floor of Cambridge Public Library.

 

Numéro Cinq

Coming in March. It's the Magic Box issue. With fantastic work by the Egyptian ceramics artists Michel Pastore and Evelyne Porret (Porret Pastore) and new art work from Anne Hirondelle. Also essays by Rikki Ducornet (on Gnosticism), Timothy Ogene (on Ruth Lepson), Yannis Livadas (on experimental aethetics), and Steven Moore (on the American avant-pop novelist J. P. McEvoy). And a brilliant interview with the Costa Rican-born Puerto Rican novelist Carlos Fonseca by Jessica Sequeira. New fiction from Kelly Cherry, Ben Slotsky, and Sean Preston. Poetry from Fleda Brown, Maura Stanton, and Sue Elmslie. Plus poetry in translation from the fantastic Spanish writer Agustín Fernández Mallo. Reviews by Jason DeYoung, Carolyn Ogburn, Mark Sampson, and Linda Chown. And for our Irish series this month, a gorgeous childhood memoir by Amanda Bell.

Grolier Poetry Book Shop: Staff Picks to Bring You Peacefully Into The New Year

You can purchase any of the following at: grolierpoetrybookshop.org

Small Ceremonies
by Cynthia Snow / $17.00

"The "Small Ceremonies" of Cindy Snow's marvelously unafraid poems are the liturgies of Eros and Thanatos,  of sex and love and birth and aging and death. The book itself works a kind of sympathetic magic, telling stories of everyday encounters in ways that reveal their essential strangeness, and casting the powerful light of imperfect, sensual, living bodies upon the hidden life of the spirit.  
-Patrick Donnelly                                                   

Hanging Loose 107
by Donna Dennis / $11.00

Features an art portfolio by Donna Dennis and exciting new work from Rosalind Brackenbury, Liuyu Chen, Harley Elliott, Gerald Fleming, Joanna Fuhrman, Gardner McFall, Maureen Owen, Ron Padgett, Tim Robbins, Mark Terrill, and many more, including our regular section of wonderful high school writing.

ask anyone
by Ruth Lepson / $12.50

"ask anyone is the record, think disk, of Ruth Lepson's encounters with some of the musicians she has taught at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music.  For twenty years, she has worked in a world where words meet music and the results lead, often as not, to performance. At the Conservatory she befriended her colleague, the great soprano saxophonist and lover of poetry, Steve Lacy, who long collaborated with her poet-hero Robert Creeley. Creeley is ask anyone's guiding spirit, but the book's looseness, stretching out and swing is all Lepson. In ask anyone Lepson honors her lineage by bringing it into the here and now. Lend an ear."
-Pressed Wafer

"I have this theory (burp) that every poet, including me, wants to write like the proverbial "ancient Chinese" one on a mountain top; to write clearly, whether passionate or wise or both (can one be both?), to simply tell. Well, you're a model of that. Only Joe Ceravolo of my generation came anywhere near.
 - Bill Berkson

THREAD
by Michael Palmer / 15.95

"Thread presents eighty-six new poems by "the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations" (The Poetry Society of America's 2006 Wallace Stevens Award citation).
 "Michael Palmer's new collection is structured in two parts, "What I Did Not Say" and "Thread", subtitled "Stanzas in Counter light." It begins with a beautiful suite of poems featuring The Master of Shadows (first glimpsed in his 2006 collection The Company of Moths). The counter light of the title section shines in shafts of Palmer's ever-surprising ironic wit, which is given to sidelong parallel leaps. Several poems in Thread directly address our endless wars, yet even in sorrow and rage the poems still glow with wonder. In multi phonic passages, voices speak from a decentered place, yet are grounded in the central rootedness of the whole history of poetry and culture that has gone before. In his new poems, signature palimpsests create complex cycles of thought, "returning and returning" via echoes to what he has called "the layering process, the process of accretion and the process of emergence."
- New Directions website


It Takes One To Know One
by Michael Lally / 18.95

"Michael Lally, winner of a 1999 American Book Award for his sensational debut Black Sparrow volume, It's Not Nostalgia, evinces the same stunning honesty and self-analytical clarity in this powerful new collection of autobiographical poetry and prose. Retracing his wandering life-path from a rough Irish-Catholic boyhood in a working-class suburb of Newark, N.J., through turbulent years of radical political engagement in Washington, D.C., struggling-poet bohemianism in New York and elusive brushes with movie-star fame in Hollywood, Lally finally circles back to his home turf of South Orange, an older and wiser man."

"If in the chapter, "Lally's Alley," the author's large family "owned" the eponymous block on which they lived, so too does Lally own this work. The book's melange of vignettes, poems, tracts, and reminiscences is daring to say the least; still, sprawling like the Lally clan, these variegated ruminations manage quite nicely to cohere."

"Lally is a fierce writer and intellect. His Irish-American heritage is a recurring theme, but it provides a jumping-off point for exploring the American Way and the different American zeitgeists the author has witnessed, rather than acting as a limiting agent. Though his "Newark Poem" explains that the speaker has waited all his life in Jersey for the great cities of the world to come to him, It Takes One to Know One rises above New Jersey and indeed even America as Lally plumbs the soul of his people, his country and himself."
- David R. Godine, Publisher

 

Patrick Pritchett - Best of 2016

It's that time of year again -- time for the dreaded "Best Of" list. You can read my full screed on my blog. For those of you who just want to cut to the chase I've appended the list by itself below.

The Ratio of Reason to Magic | Norman Finkelstein | Dos Madres Press
Archeophonics | Peter Gizzi | Wesleyan UP
Of Beings Alone (complete) | Lissa Wolsak | Tinfish
Day for Night | Richard Deming | Shearsman
Falling Awake | Alice Oswald | Norton
Poesis | Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Textile Series
Lay Ghost | Nathaniel Mackey | Black Ocean
The Laughter of the Sphinx | Michael Palmer | New Directions
Poems Hidden in Plain Sight | Hank Lazer | PURH (France)
Exile’s Recital | Andrew Mossin | Spuyten Duyvil
The Sampo | Peter O’Leary | The Culture Society
Ask Anyone | Ruth Lepson | Pressed Wafer
Memory Cards: Thomas Traherne Series | Susan M. Schultz | Talisman House
I Rode with the Cossacks | Bill Corbett | Granary Books
Fugue Meadow | Keith Jones | Richochet
Self-Portrait as Joseph Cornell | Ken Taylor | Pressed Wafer
Dianoia | Michael Heller | Nightboat Books
Sowing the Wind | Ed Foster | Marsh Hawk Press
House of Lords and Commons | Ishion Hutchinson | FSG
Gap Gardening | Rosmarie Waldrop | New Directions
You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior | Carolina Ebeid | Noemi
Ravenna Diagram | Henry Gould | Lulu Press
Song of the Systole | Matthew Gagnon (ms.)

Published in Supplement v.1

Curated by Ariel Resnikoff and Orchid Tierney, SUPPLEMENT is a new annual anthology of writing & visual art published by the Creative Writing Program and Kelly Writers House at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. A constituent of Jacket2, PennSound, and the various reading series at KWH, Supplement v.1 aims to document the diverse contemporary poetry and poetics networks in and around Philadelphia.

Ruth Lepson to Dispatches, 6 June 2016

As published on: http://dispatchespoetry.com/articles/letters

A Poetry Innocent: What Comes to Mind

Which is not to say that I don't have strong feelings about the necessary relation between poetry and sound. Without it, poetry is to me faded old drapery. With it, there is the movement of molecules that pervade the world.

Having no idea until recently about the Olson disputes I am inclined (like someone reclining after a seder) to say here I am in the middle, which seems to be a kind of muddle but to my mind isn't. There is room for discussion of Olson and gender without being dismissive of his work. It takes nothing away from the poetry though it may modify it in our minds.

Bill Berkson recently sent me Merleau Ponty's essay on Cezanne. There it's all spelled out, systematically. The knowledge that who we are born and what our early life is limit us profoundly but that the choices we make in our art are what free us. The two are inseparable--and how could they not be, given that every choice we make comes from our sensibility--how could it be otherwise? Yet given that sensibility one could move in a number of directions and therein lies a certain amount of freedom and even an earth-shattering way of knowing the world that can be conveyed to some extent to others.
Namby pamby? I don't believe so. Just inclusive.

It's vital to fight about that which we believe in the arts--that is of course how they progress. To me the Black Mountain poets moved poetry along, a train that was chugging slowly till wham WCW gave it some steam and others such as Olson, Creeley, Levertov, Duncan, also The Objectivists said let's go for a fast ride, and so we did. Or to put it another way we slowed down and looked around.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis' measured writing has always added to my understanding of Olson and Creeley and others. That's all.

Can someone be a Zen master and still be limited by the consciousness of the age? A question I often asked myself when young. The answer, I now take for granted, is that a person can go beyond ordinary life into we know not what and yet in one's daily life hold certain beliefs which may be infuriating to others.

Tangentially related: I have heard that in India some prisoners, even murderers, who renounce their deeds may be freed in order to become Buddhist monks who beg for a living. Couldn't Dostoyevsky have made something of that! Would you be profoundly changed if society treated you profoundly differently or would you just continue if you were say a sociopath, on your (excuse me) social path as before, fooling people?

There are no complete answers to these questions. Poetry is questions without final answers. Poetry to me is an integral from Creeley to Rich, but these two poets aren't mutually exclusive since both have a superb sense of sound and are visionaries, each in her/his way.