T.S. Eliot’s Erotica

web-ts-eliot-valerieA new edition of T.S. Eliot’s poetry is going to be published and according to The Guardian it will include at least three heretofore unpublished erotic poems. The poems were written for Eliot’s second wife Valierie Fletcher. She was a tall girl. He was 68. She was 30. And her nipples were just the right height when sitting in his lap:

I love a tall girl. When she sits on my knee
She with nothing on, and I with nothing on
I can just take her nipple in my lips
And stroke it with my tongue. Because she is a tall girl…

The poem closes:

Her breasts are like ripe pears that dangle
Above my mouth
Which reaches up to take them.

And:

In another poem, Eliot – who took a vow of chastity in 1928 after being confirmed into the Church of England – celebrates the “miracle of sleeping together” as he “touch[es] the delicate down beneath her navel”.

And that’s about all that I can squeak out of the Guardian. The various articles are all reporting the upcoming edition with a suitably detached air of scholarly inquisitiveness. Since the poet’s death, his sexuality seems to be a much discussed topic among the poet’s cognoscenti—call it “ivory tower tabloid-ism”. Valerie’s own statement on the matter is admirably direct:

“Valerie, who was 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall, kept control of his estate until her death three years ago when the notebooks came to light. She hinted publicly that their sex life was just fine, after an interviewer asked why his first marriage had failed. “There was nothing wrong with Tom, if that’s your implication,” she said.”

I’ll be buying that edition soon as it comes out.

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The Frost Place 2014 Summer Poetry Programs

 

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  • The Frost place, an organization based at one of Frost’s New Hampshire houses, offers an annual series of courses and conferences on poetry.  The following are this years offerings with contact information below.

The Frost Place Poetry Programs

The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching

Dates: June 22 – 26, 2014
Deadline: May 15, 2014

Tuition: $700, plus $120 for meals. Discounts are available.

Description: The Conference on Poetry and Teaching is a unique opportunity for teachers to work closely with both their peers and with a team of illustrious poets who have particular expertise in working with teachers at all levels: K–12, graduate and undergraduate, and nontraditional and community-based instructors. Over the course of 4½ days, faculty poets share specific, hands-on techniques for teaching poetry. The emphasis is on the reading-conversation-writing-revision cycle, and our teaching approach aligns with the Common Core anchor standards for reading and writing. Graduate-level credits are available through Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Certificate of completion includes 33 hours of Continuing Education credit.

 

The Frost Place Teachers As Writers Workshop

Dates: June 26 – 27, 2014
Deadline: May 15, 2014

Tuition: $170.00, includes dinner and lunch, no lodging.

Description: The Frost Place Teachers As Writers Workshop is an intensive day-and-a-half session for classroom teachers who want to focus on their own writing and revision practices. The workshop is limited to participants who have already attended the Conference on Poetry and Teaching. Continuing education credits are available. See website for more details.

 

The Frost Place Conference on Poetry

Dates: Arrival July 13, Departure July 19, 2014
Deadline: June 10, 2014

Tuition: Full Tuition: $1,475, includes all meals and lodging; Commuter Rate: $1,000, includes lunch and dinner; Auditor Rate: $1,035, includes lunch and dinner, no access to the workshop, Day Rate: $145, conference attendance, lunch and dinner.

Discounts are available.

Description: Spend a week at “intensive poetry camp” with writers who are deeply committed to learning more about the craft of writing poetry. The Frost Place Conference on Poetry offers daily workshops, classes, lectures, writing and revising time in a supportive and dynamic environment.

 

The Frost Place Poetry Seminar

Dates:  August 3-9, 2014
Deadline: July 1, 2014

Tuition: Full Tuition: $1,475, includes all meals and lodging; Commuter Rate: $1,000, includes lunch and dinner; Auditor Rate: $1,035, includes lunch and dinner, no workshop; Day Rate: $145, conference attendance, lunch and dinner. Discounts are available.

Description: The Seminar is a unique opportunity for dedicated poets to delve intensely into the poetic process in a small group setting. Participants will have their poems-in-progress given generous and focused attention in workshops and one-on-one meetings with faculty, and will be invited to think in new ways about what can be accomplished in revision. For an additional fee, the Seminar will offer full-length manuscript review to a limited number of participants.

Contact:
Sarah Audsley
PO Box 74
Franconia, NH  03580
Phone: 603-823-5510

Email: saudsley@frostplace.org   •  Website: http://www.frostplace.org

Subverting Early English Poetics

fig2-leninbedeThe title above belongs to a post by the blogger Harper Eliot of the blog (It Girl. Rag Doll). She’s written a beautiful little treatise on Old English poetics. She writes:

“When I was in the upper school I spent a month of each of my four years studying the history of literature. By looking at a variety of texts from Gilgamesh to Oedipus Rex to The Tempest to the Lyrical Ballads to Riddley Walker, I was able to gain a rather comprehensive overview of the evolution of literature, and one of the main things I remember from these classes is writing poetry. Whatever era or subject we were studying, we were encouraged to write poetry in a similar style. So I wrote sonnets and villanelles; I wrote in iambic pentameter and trochees; I wrote quatrains and free-verse; and I often enjoyed the freedom of subject juxtaposed with the structure of the form. I also very much liked the way in which I now, in a contemporary setting, I am free to pick and choose from past forms and find one that will fit whatever poem I would like to write.”

I highly recommend the post: informative and playful. Among other things, she tries her hand at old English verse. (If you need a refresher on the rules of alliterative verse, visit my post The Beautiful Changes.) She what you think. ! Be warned though, Harper’s blog contains erotic content and is intended for grown-ups. If you’re underage, behave yourself. !

The Frost Place ❧ 2012 Poetry Programs

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I read and especially enjoy Robert Frost’s poetry. This information was just forwarded to me by the Frost Place.

Conference on Poetry and Teaching

June 24 – 28
$675, plus $100 for food
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline May 30
Financial assistance deadline April 15

eld each year in June, the Conference is a unique opportunity for teachers to work closely with their peers and with a team of illustrious poets who have particular expertise and enthusiasm for sharing poetry with young people.

Over the course of four and one-half days, faculty poets will present specific techniques for teaching poetry including sample exercises and prompts which teachers will be invited to try out and then discuss. Each day will offer sessions devoted to the participants sharing their own teaching ideas—a popular element in prior conferences. Certificate of completion includes thirty-three Continuing Education credits. Graduate level credits are available through Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Festival and Conference on Poetry

July 15 – 21
$1,395
includes private room and all meals; other options available – see application form for details
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline June 15
Financial assistance deadline April 15

pend a week at “intensive poetry camp” with writers who are deeply committed to learning more about the craft of writing poetry. For thirty-plus years, the Festival and Conference on Poetry has been a daily immersion in listening, reflection, and conversation about the writing and reading of poetry. Each day, there is a faculty-led discussion class or talk on an aspect of craft; a three-hour workshop for all; a period of silence for reading poetry and time to generate and revise poems. Each night, we gather at the Henry Holt Barn (Frost’s actual barn) at The Frost Place for readings by faculty and guests. If you would like to spend a portion of July writing, revising, reading, learning, and having a wonderful time with other writers, please join us! Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty. Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty in community with other poets. Share your work in a special reading at the Henry Holt Barn at The Frost Place. Immerse yourself in poetry.

Advanced Seminar

August 8 – 13
$1,000 tuition includes 4 lunches and 6 dinners
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline July 15
Financial assistance deadline April 15

pend five days in August with a select community of poets exploring your artistic work in the context of a rich variety of poetry ancestors and contemporaries. Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty how poets choose, imitate, enter into dialogue with, and sometimes argue with the work of our poetic ancestors and contemporaries. Seminar participants will read their work on the final night of the Seminar in a special reading at The Henry Holt Barn at The Frost Place. This is a unique opportunity for dedicated poets to delve intensely into the poetic process. Seminar participants will have their poems in progress given generous and focused attention.

  • For more information on Scholarships and discounts, click here.

Reblog: The Public Responsibilities of Known American Poets

  • This article was just brought to my attention by the author, Eugene Schlanger. I thought that many readers, even if they didn’t agree with my post Let Poetry Die (or its later rewrite Redux), might find the piece equally thought provoking.

ecently, Forbes magazine attempted to measure the effect of Ruth Lilly’s $185 million bequest to the Poetry Foundation. That foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine, claims that it reached 19 million new poetry readers last year. John Barr, its president, a poet and a former investment banker, suggested this was positive evidence of the growth of the public’s awareness and reception of this art form. Quantitatively, the market for poetry may have increased. Qualitatively, the results are far less clear.

In 1943 T. S. Eliot addressed the British-Norwegian Institute and attempted to measure the social function of poetry. He asked whether a poem could serve a public purpose. In addition to the pleasure of reading, can a poem expand the public’s awareness of non-literary issues, such as those in the social, political, economic, or religious arenas? Noting his inability to read Norwegian, Eliot said that if hypothetically no new Norwegian poetry were ever to be written again, he still understood that was a global loss because it would affect the ability of all people to express themselves. In other words, although civilizations and nations differ, poetic language has a universal purpose.

Against these differing backgrounds—monetized and anthropological—one may inquire about the current state and purpose of contemporary American poetry, not from the point of view of the poetry establishment but from the perspective of the general public. This question may be even more relevant in our age of constant communications when an astute observation or an expression of heightened awareness can circumvent all boundaries and be republished instantly. One might expect well-crafted words to have more of an effect and function in these circumstances. One might also expect American poetry to have more of a general audience.

(….)

Continue Reading This Article at The University Bookman

The Best of Poetry: Internet 2010 – A Call for Submissions

After my last post, I imagined creating an anthology called Way Better than the Best American Poetry: 2010.Then I had a better idea.I’d like to take submissions from all you who blog on the Internet. I’d like to create an E-Book out of our best and most popular posts. The posts can be essays and a poem, but not a poem without “a post” and not more than one. In an ideal world, I would pay each of you for your submission. What I’m willing to do is to create an E-Book out of our posts that we can each sell on our blogs (among other places). We would sell the E-Book for the same price – maybe a dollar. I would like to produce something by the end of June.

.:Please circulate this post:.

This is a new era. This is for those of us who publish on the web rather than in print media. We all have readers who enjoy what we write. Let’s look after each other and celebrate what we do.

The entry requirements are as follows:

  1. The subject is poetry.
  2. Keep it to the English language.
  3. The rights to your post or poem needs to be yours.
  4. It can’t have been published in any print format.
  5. The post or poem has to have been posted in 2010.
  6. The focus is on articles and/or editorials. However, if you don’t post articles or editorials, I’ll consider a poem from 2010 if something new is written to accompany it.
  7. Please include  the number of hits your post or poem has received since publishing it.
  8. Please include a link, your name, the name of the blog, and how many hits your overall blog has received.

Deadline: May 31, 2011 (Or at least let’s try that.)

Will everything be accepted? No. I’m going to be judicious. I want to put something together we can be proud of. The length will depend on the interest. My feeling is that the E-Book should max out at 35 entries but, again, this depends on interest.

Please include, with your post, a suggested category. This will help me decide how to organize the E-Book: Poetry, Personal, Essay, Confession, Rant, etc… Make up your own if you like.

Lastly, this is a new idea. Dates and goals might change. All of you can help shape it. I can’t make it happen without you.

If any of you would be willing to help (to be an editor or proofreader or a second opinion with a better idea) I’m glad to accept.

You can find my contact information here.

.:Please circulate this post:.

Just In

Here’s a web site you might not have heard of. The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog…Period.

Tom Dhorman, the site’s Managing Editor, contacted me and asked if I would mention their new and upcoming (this Sunday – Aug. 15) USTREAM broadcast: The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog Live. He tells me that “the show’s primary focus [will be] discussion of literary news from the past week and to engage the audience in an open dialogue (via the social stream chat box)”.

The website itself was started at the end of 2008 and was inspired by the blogger Cortnee Howard. She wanted to move from the blog format to something more newspaper-like. To that extent, one of the site’s goals is to provide a centralized source of daily news for writers in all genres – and that includes poetry. And it’s working. While not yet within the top 100,000, they’re closing in.

One of the site’s more refreshing attributes? An avoidance of the overly academic language and rhetoric typifying so many other literary websites. You don’t have to have an MFA to join the conversation. Tom tells me: “…many of our posts are AP style, on the shorter side and rather lighthearted. We want people to enjoy literary discussion.”