Sunday, January 26, 2014

Here's your big chance

Do you read The New Yorker or The New York Times or The New Republic or The LA Times or Slate? Or maybe you listen to NPR or frequent the Poetry Foundation website? Or maybe you're just in the know?

Probably you are.

And in that case, you're already aware that our 2014 Summer Seminar workshop leader, Marta Werner, is all over the place right now on account of her new book, co-edited with poet and artist Jen Bervin, of Emily Dickinson's envelope poems.

The Gorgeous Nothings.

Is that a great title or what??

And you, yes you!, can meet the very amazing Marta and study with her right here in Morgantown in June! What are you waiting for? How often does this kind of opportunity come along?

If you're like us, you're snowed in anyway. You might as well think about June and read some poems and send in your registration right this very minute.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Poem on the Occasion of the Polar Vortex

How often does one get to write that sort of subject line? Not often, that's how often. Thus, for this historic deep freeze, a poem you surely know… but have you read it lately? Hmph. I thought not. Quick now: make amends.

The Snow Man
    Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

And for those of you who enjoy matters of prosody (by which I mean: everybody), I highly recommend Robert Pinksy's The Sounds of Poetry, which includes a discussion of the metrical felicities of this poem: "variations in degree of accent, variations in difference between an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable, and a varying play between accent and duration all have a part in creating the rhythm" of this single sentence flowing "inside and across lines." Isn't that nice?! Perfect cozy reading for a polar vortex.