Stephanie Strickland’s WaveSon.nets 1

If you understand virginity,
you understand abstraction, you understand V–
V which is flight, and you understand VVV,
i.e., ric-rac, the earliest recorded

symbolic motif, Cassiopeian breasts pouring forth
a Milky Way, a.k.a. zigzag,
world-over water, meander, serpentine
cupmark U adjoining its inverse, upsidedown

U (please imagine), yourself
optimizing, as you do not lift but leave
your point (become pointed) pressed hard
to bone to pull that bone

writhing on your point, twist it one way,
then the other–a rhythm method making
your water mark.

*** 44

tracery of frost on glass.
section of such blown up–equally
exquisite, detailed, ever, over and over, a never

never decaying, never
the same pattern–recognizable at once.

Begin with a closed interval, include ends,
take out the middle: on the seperated them, do
again, again…creating, or leaving, a structure more and more
open, of sparkling points.

Indra’s Net? Cantor dust.
Do there exist beings where all take each other
into account, in their very core?


These poems come from Stephanie Strickland’s book V (Penguin, 2002). Strickland (with digital artist Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo) also devised a digital version of these poems, which is truly remarkable. Below are some screen shots. I encourage you to expore the website here.

If you consult your “13 Ways of Looking at a Poem” handout while reading these poems — pay close attention to the following issues: what kind of information is embedded in the title?  Think about sound (particularly in sonnet 1) and diction and repetition (particularly in sonnet 44).  Also, in terms of literary tradition, think about how Strickland is using and adapting the received form of the sonnet.  Finally, how is the visual presentation of the text important in the digital versions?

Posted in Stephanie Strickland | Leave a comment

Writers at Rutgers Reading Series: Billy Collins

Wed, Nov 10 2010 |   8:00
Rutgers Student Center, Multipurpose Room – New Brunswick

Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups. The poems themselves best explain this phenomenon. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment of lyric surprise. No wonder Collins sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious.” It is a door that many thousands of readers have opened with amazement and delight.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“A Sonnet is a moment’s monument,—”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a skilled painter and illustrator as well as a poet.  He illuminated the introductory sonnet to The House of Life (above) as a present for his mother’s birthday.  For a larger image (powered by zoomify), go to the hypermedia Rossetti archive here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lawrence Jordan’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (w/Orson Welles; illustrations by Gustave Doré)

Posted in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Panel Discussion and Reading – Nov. 4th

Posted in surrealism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Ballad

Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather” (1153-4) is a popular or folk ballad. 

According to M.H. Abrams’ A Glossary of Literary Terms, the typical popular ballad “is dramatic, condensed, and impersonal: the narrator begins with the climactic episode, tells the story tersely by means of action and dialogue (sometimes by means of the dialogue alone), and tells it without self-reference or the expression of personal attitudes or feelings.”

Try to listen for these components:

Here’s Joan Baez’s version:

Recommended reading/listening:

Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (1152-3).  This is Joan Baez performing the song at the Kennedy Center in 1994:

Notice the “ubi sunt” motif.

Posted in ballad | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The 2010 Poets Forum

The Academy of American Poets will be running “a series of events exploring the ever-changing landscape of contemporary poetry in America. The Forum will feature in-depth discussions with an array of distinguished poets; readings; lectures; publication parties; and a new selection of literary walking tours, led by poets, throughout Manhattan.”

The department cannot cover the cost of the tickets to the events themselves but it can, however, provide train tickets to New York.  Any student interested in receiving a train ticket should contact Rhea Ramey by emailing, calling 732.932.7380, or stopping by Murray Hall 102.

Click here for event details.  Below are just some of the planned events and activities:

Poetry Walking Tours
Fri., Oct. 29
10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Various meeting locations

Walk the same streets traversed by Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, E. E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, and countless other poets. Walking tours will explore the literary history of Harlem, the West Village, the Museum of Modern Art, and SoHo.


The Blaney Lecture
Fri., Oct. 29
3:30 p.m.
The Philoctetes Center
247 East 82nd Street

Internationally acclaimed poet Anne Carson presents a lecture on forms of contempt in Homer’s Odyssey, Moravia’s Il Disprezzo, and Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris. This lecture series was created in memory of former Academy of American Poets Board member Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney by a gift from her estate.


American Poet
Publication Party
Sat., Oct. 30
7 p.m.
Wollman Hall, The New School
66 West 12th Street

Reading and reception for the new fall issue of American Poet, the journal of the Academy of American Poets. Julie Carr, Prageeta Sharma, and Wayne Koestenbaum will read from their work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment