January 3, 2013 |
Poet and journalist Dana Goodyear perches on a swivel chair in the second-floor writing studio behind her Venice home, the windows cranked open to a gentle ocean breeze. Low rooftops and tall palm trees stretch to the horizon, and Goodyear points to an anomaly just across the alley - a faded surfboard tossed up and forgotten atop a neighbor's single-story house. Such juxtapositions appeal to Goodyear, a New Yorker magazine staff writer. And while the misplaced surfboard doesn't make an appearance in her new book of poems, "The Oracle of Hollywood Boulevard" (Norton, $25.95)
January 1, 2013 |
"I'm still getting reactions to the article," said Peleg Top, the Silver Lake resident whose frontyard poetry box charmed readers when The Times profiled him in September. The business coach and life mentor had taken the kind of sidewalk box usually reserved for real estate flliers and filled it with poems, free for the taking, every week. "In the first few days after the article appeared I was bombarded by poets from around the city, thanking me for spreading beauty around Los Angeles," he said.
December 21, 2012 |
In 2006, musician Michael Zapruder boarded the Wave Books Poetry Bus in North Carolina and spent a week riding through the South. Among the poets with whom he traveled were his brother, Matthew, an editor at Wave (a leading poetry publisher, based in Seattle), as well as D.A. Powell, Bob Hicok, Dorothea Lasky and Mary Ruefle. The idea behind the bus tour was to bring poetry to its readers by making it accessible in the most public way. Poetry, after all, remains on a fundamental level aural, a form in which meaning is as much a matter of sound, of music and rhythm, as it is of the content of the words.
December 17, 2012 |
Poet Jake Adam York, 40, died unexpectedly Sunday. The news was reported by colleagues at a number of venues that had published his work, including the New England Review, the blog of Best American Poetry and the Kenyon Review. They did not report the cause of death. York , an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, was the author of three collections of poetry and a book of literary history. He had recently been named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry for 2013.
December 14, 2012 |
A translucent, animated condom filled with red candy hearts is an animated protagonist in Jordan Wolfson's marvelous video installation at REDCAT, the New York-based artist's solo debut in Los Angeles. Projected onto a white screen suspended on the diagonal in a white room carpeted in wall-to-wall white rug, the non-narrative video feels unmoored and adrift in a languorous state of liquid reverie. We soon float along with it. "Raspberry Poser" -- the title conjures Prince -- is in effect a 14 1/2-minute music video.
December 11, 2012 |
Something important is said in "Murderous Little World. " But what? This is Canadian composer Linda Bouchard's music theater collaboration with several of her country's exceptional artists. She has based her work on seven poems from Anne Carson's "Men in the Off Hours. " The 68-minute work, which premiered in Vancouver last month and reached REDCAT on Monday night, includes enigmatic video by Yan Breuleux and Frédéric St-Hilaire. It features a versatile three-man ensemble of brass and accordion - Bellows and Brass - that pretty much blew me away.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2012 |
Before sitting down for tea in Echo Park, the poet reaches for her iPhone. "I have to turn this thing off," she explains, silencing the ringer. "It's getting too noisy these days. " As a publisher, educator and author of seven books of poems, Eloise Klein Healy is a stalwart of the Los Angeles literary scene. Her phone has been buzzing more than usual in recent weeks as she prepares to take on a new title. On Friday, Healy will be named L.A.'s first poet laureate. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided earlier this year that his city, like others, should have a namesake poet.
November 13, 2012 |
The poet Jack Gilbert, who had been battling dementia for many years, died Tuesday in Berkeley. He was 87. Gilbert -- who was featured in Monday's L.A. Times -- had been in frail condition at a nursing home for several years before he developed pneumonia over the last couple of days, and he succumbed early this morning, said Bill Mayer, a poet and longtime friend. Mayer was among a group who kept a vigil at Gilbert's side during his final hours. Fellow Bay Area poets Larry Felson and Steven Rood were among the group, as was Louise Gregg, the sister of the poet Linda Gregg, who was closest to Gilbert and knew him almost from the beginning of his 50-year writing career.
November 12, 2012 |
BERKELEY - In a spacious, humane skilled-nursing home, a man sits with his elderly neighbors arrayed in their wheelchairs as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald sing. Several guests arrive to see the man, and after the last note of "Cheek to Cheek," one of them takes up a microphone and reads a poem. The reader, startled by a resident's pained moans of distress, stumbles over a word or two of "Looking at Pittsburgh From Paris. " He finishes, and the man brightens in his chair and points at his heart, mouthing to a visitor holding his arm, "Me?"
November 9, 2012 |
For the last week or so, I've been leisurely reading my way through “Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses” (Pushcart Press: 652 pages, $18.95 paper), the 37th annual collection of Pushcart Prize winning essays, stories and poems from America's independent publishers and literary magazines. I've had a love of these anthologies for 25 years - for their diversity, their range of expression, and also for their commitment to writing and publishing in a culture where the values of literature - not to mention the values of independent thinking - are often regarded as passé or naïve.