Monday, April 30, 2007

Woman Reading to the Sea

Barnard College has announced that Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Joyce Carol Oates has selected Lisa Williams and her collection of poems, Woman Reading to the Sea, as the winner of the 2007 Barnard Women Poets Prize. The prize, which is awarded annually to a female poet for her second book of poetry, means Williams' manuscript will be published in the spring of 2008 by W.W. Norton & Co. Lisa Williams' poetry appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of the Ninth Letter.

Of Williams' forthcoming collection, Oates notes that it contains "poems of arresting intelligence, precision and beauty....Lisa Williams takes us into eerily imagined worlds--the interior of a jellyfish and the interior of a glacier. She beguiles us with the most seductive of poetic possibilities."

To read more about Williams and her work, visit here

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Calling all writers

Poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, everyone in between--if you want to submit work to Ninth Letter, better step to it, because our reading period ends April 30 (postmark date). Check out our guidelines here. Our spring issue will be out in just a couple of weeks, with some fantastic new work by Chris Abani, Brock Clarke, Kim Dana Kupperman, Ben George, Kellie Wells, Thom Ward, and lots more!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

2007 Pulitzer Prize winners

The news was nearly lost yesterday amid the coverage of the tragic shootings in Virginia, but the 2007 winners of the Pulitzer Prize were announced. Notable among these were novelist Cormac McCarthy for The Road (he must be over the moon, winning this on top of being selected for Oprah's book club), and Emory University professor Natasha Trethewey for her poetry collection Native Guard. Jazz musician Ornette Coleman won for Sound Grammar, making him only the second jazz artist to win in the prize's history. Special citations were also given to two American legends, author Ray Bradbury and saxophonist John Coltrane.

On a day of sadness, it's good, if bittersweet, to honor those who bring beauty to the world.

(P.S. I just have to note here also that UI's own Richard Powers, beloved teacher and friend, was a Pulitzer finalist this year for his National Book Award-winning novel The Echomaker.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt

"I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'."--Kurt Vonnegut

Yes, they did, Mr. Vonnegut, and so did you. RIP Billy Pilgrim.


Monday, April 09, 2007

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and this means it's time to celebrate. But if you're running short of ideas, don't sweat it. The Academy of American Poets, which began NPM in 1996, features on its web site 30 ways you can pay homage to poetry. Some of my top picks are memorizing a poem (who doesn't want a poem stuck in their head? I recommend memorizing while exercising), putting poetry in an unexpected place (for someone else to happen upon and enjoy), and starting a commonplace book, or a notebook in which you copy your favorite poems and quotations. Commonplace books make fantastic keepsakes, as you can look back over them later and recall what you were reading during particular eras of your life.

In addition to the "30 Ways to Celebrate," you can keep up with the most recently published poetry by taking advantage of the Academy’s “Poem-A-Day” and “Spring Books List.” Poem-A-Day offers readers the chance to receive one poem from a new book each day via e-mail during NPM while the Spring Books List details all the latest books of poetry. The list notes anthologies, such as Cave Canem’s just released The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, as well as translated work, including new translations of Baudelaire and Lorca. We see new volumes of work from established poets such as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Galway Kinnell, Mark Strand, and Charles Wright on the list, as well as many first books and new books from younger voices.

On my personal list of recommendations is Against Which by Ross Gay, Quantum Lyrics: Poems by A.Van Jordan, and Bucolics by Maurice Manning. I would also like to give shout outs to poets with new books whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Ninth Letter: Janice N. Harrington, whose first book Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone was selected from over 900 manuscripts to win BOA’s A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize; and Philip White, whose book The Clearing received the Walt McDonald First Book in Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Texas Tech University Press; Bob Hicok, This Clumsy Living, (U. Pittsburgh); Susah Hahn, The Scarlet Ibis (Northwestern UP); David Kirby The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems (LSU); and James Hoch, Miscreants: Poems (W. W. Norton).

Finally, the Academy web site offers something called “Life Lines,” a section giving readers the opportunity to share their favorite line(s) of poetry. So, in this same spirit, I would like to invite you to post your favorites here on the Ninth Letter site. What better way to celebrate than to fill up the comments section with poetry.

For more information and additional resources for teachers, librarians and booksellers, visit the Academy’s NPM section here.

Huzzah, poetry!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bring Me the Head of Diogo Alves!

Philip Graham’s wanderings in beautiful Lisbon lead him to discover art in some out-of-the-way (and unsettling) places. Body parts, serial killers, Morlock-esque performance artists, awe-inspiring Victorian-era machinery, and disconcerting photos: watch and listen as PG leads you through some of the more fascinating and macabre corners of Lisbon’s cultural scene.

Can't get enough of living in Lisbon vicariously? Visit McSweeney's Internet Tendency to read PG's regular reports from his year abroad.