I read about 12, new poems to select the 75 pieces for the anthology. I read new work for several hours every night for a year. I had three goals. I wanted to include the broadest variety of poems possible in every style.
I wanted to reflect the social and cultural complexity of the country. Most important, I resolved only to include poems that evoked a deep personal response—wonder, delight, terror, fascination, or gratitude. Dana Gioia: There is a huge revival going on in American poetry. It is the fastest growing art in the U. The audience is expanding, especially among the young. The revival is populist, inclusive, and unacademic. Poetry has finally broken out of the English Department. It has moved into cafes, bookstores, libraries, bars, and galleries.
The new poetry is musical and performative—written as much to be spoke aloud as read on the page. We also see many poets returning to rhyme, meter, and story-telling.
It is a very interesting time to be a poet. CWR: In the introduction to that volume, you reflect on how popular culture, in many surprising ways, actually references poetry and even encourages it. What does it say about both elite culture and popular culture? Dana Gioia: Poetry is in an odd position right now. It is constantly quoted in movies, television, and the general media.
There are even commercials now that consist only of poetry. I noted this trend years ago, and I have watched it grow. First, electronic technology has moved society from the printed page back to spoken language as its primary means of communication. Poetry is primarily a spoken art—so ancient that it predates writing. Spoken recitation feels more natural than it did fifty years ago. Second, poetry has remained oddly pure. It may be weird and self-indulgent in some ways, but it has survived outside the marketplace.
The great global corporations cannot make money from poetry. The art still belongs to individuals. That makes it uniquely uncompromised among the arts. Why are readings so important? How has using YouTube and other media helped you share your poetry? Dana Gioia: The poet today reaches his or her audience through performance—either in live readings or electronically. I publish books that sell well and stay in print, but I reach many more people through readings and recordings. I see my audience in a way that earlier poets rarely did.
I can feel their reactions, good or bad, to what I recite. My younger son is a filmmaker who has created a company called Blank Verse Films to produce literary and intellectual videos. He convinced me to film a few poems several years ago. He remarked that his generation likes to discover new poetry on line. He was right. I have an audience on line that has enlarged my total readership. I have always thought of my poetry in musical terms, so I am also pleased to have a record of how I hear each poem.
CWR: Finally, what are some current projects you are working on, or projects you hope to pursue in the future? This is the magnificent Crystal Cathedral designed by Philip Johnson that was purchased by the diocese of Orange County, which has remodeled it for Catholic worship. I have been turning down most lectures and readings. I need a more contemplative life to write poetry.
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Wow, look what I found! Poetic expression impresses a sense of hidden meaning. Wisdom that is often thoroughly lacking. Not all. Many the less credentialed like myself discover writing on the internet [not always] a medium to convey thought as it appears unadulterated in the mind a form of stream of conscious redaction. Then there is learning from tradition myself the easy deeply beautiful poetry of the master John of the Cross in his Living Flame of Love.
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The facile glissando, the shallowing impulse, the look past instead of into — ours is a culture of insubstantiality and noncomprehension. It — we — cannot last.
The suffering poet who sighed for lost Edens | Catholic Herald
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Images: danagioia. About Carl E. Olson Articles. Carl E. Previous Analysis: Which state pro-life laws could arrive at the Supreme Court. Next Archbishop of Paris: Notre-Dame restoration donations still needed. August 11, Carl E. This gives his poetry a directness and clarity which still speaks to the heart. Despite the depth of learning that lies behind his writing, his poems have the beauty of simplicity. Medieval preachers often included short English verses in their sermons, on the principle that memorable little poems would lodge in the minds of their hearers.
This interest in vernacular poetry means that some of the most important collections of medieval English poems and songs were compiled by friars like Herebert — an invaluable contribution to the history of English literature which is often forgotten today.
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Herebert wanted his congregation to understand the hymns of the Church in their own language, to hear and remember the meaning of these enduring texts — some of them the same hymns congregations will be hearing this Holy Week, years after Herebert was writing. This article first appeared in the March 10 issue of the Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here. Eleanor Parker.
The suffering poet who sighed for lost Edens
William Herebert wrote his beautiful short poems in 14th-century Oxford. Slice 1. Christ answers: Ich hit am, Ich hit am, that ne speke bote right, Chaunpioun to helen monkunde in fight. Read more. William Oddie. Sally Read explains why she thinks the Mass is a beautiful poem.