Poetry

NWPR Books
1:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

On July 4, A Celebration Of Walt Whitman's Irreverent Hymnal

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 3:27 pm

Instead of you throwing a curve here instead is a fastball, high and hard.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the granddaddy of American poetry; the gray ghost; the big thumper; the barbarian's text with its barbaric yawp; the nation's first truly great mega biblion; the Kosmos; the Civil War witness; the seaside songbook; the irreverent hymnal; the book of the lover; the book of the loafer; the peacemaker; Leaves of Grass.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Avant-Garde Madness, Seen Through 'My Dog-Eyes'

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 12:45 pm

Oftentimes, madness breeds the finest art. It's factual. Some of the most historic and well-regarded pieces of literature have come out of a sort of psychosis. From the works of Edgar Allan Poe to Tennessee Williams and a host of others, the evidence is there. And I find it celebratory — the way the mind overcomes itself to render something beautifully charged.

"God? A surface of ice anchored to laughter."

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NWPR Books
10:21 am
Sun May 4, 2014

James Baldwin Reappeared Just When We Needed Him Most

Author James Baldwin poses for a photo during an interview in London.
Jenkins Getty Images

More than once this week I've caught myself reading yet another news story about Donald Sterling or Cliven Bundy, wondering what it means for me, a black gay man, to exist in America at the same time as men like them. Have they been thinking about people like me just as intensely as I, for the past few days at least, have been thinking about them? Are Sterling and Bundy privately wringing their hands? Or are they cursing America for eavesdropping on their bigotry?

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NWPR Books
5:53 am
Tue April 29, 2014

'Nothing More To Lose' Forges A Connection To Palestine

Roughly halfway through Najwan Darwish's Nothing More to Lose, wiping awkwardly at tears and trying self-consciously not to sob with my partner in the room, I found myself wondering what someone with no connection to Palestine would make of it.

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NWPR Books
10:23 am
Tue April 8, 2014

For Poetry Month, We're Taking To Twitter — And We Want Your Help

According to iStockphoto, these floating letters "symbolize the idea of literature." Sure. We'll just roll with that.
iStockphoto

Help us make poetry!

April is National Poetry Month: 30 days set aside for the celebration of all things verse. Many of us here at Code Switch love poetry every month of the year, but we can't always make space for it in our coverage.

So this month, we're taking advantage of the national celebration and highlighting great poets and poems that address issues of race, ethnicity and culture.

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Book Reviews
4:03 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Percussive Poems In 'Shorty Bon Bon' Pin The Stage To The Page

iStockphoto

Willie Perdomo's third collection of poems is sonically charged: he celebrates his Puerto Rican heritage and the music that came out of the Puerto Rican community in New York by narrating the imagined life of Shorty Bon Bon, the percussionist of a descarga (jamming) salsa band in the 1960s and '70s. The character is partly inspired by Perdomo's real-life uncle, who played percussion on two of Charlie Palmieri's '70s recordings.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed April 2, 2014

With Poetic Intensity, Kevin Powers Tackles The Terror Of War

iStockphoto

"I am home and whole, so to speak," writes Kevin Powers in his debut poetry collection. "But I can't remember / how to be alive." At its most striking, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting finds Powers — an Iraq veteran and the author of the acclaimed war novel The Yellow Birds — contending with conflicts endemic to the home front, struggling to "remember how to be alive" after having known so much death.

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NWPR Books
2:05 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Book Review: 'How To Dance As The Roof Caves In'

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:25 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Making poetry out of something as messy as the recent housing crisis may sound like a tall order, but Nick Lantz has done it. The collection is called "How to Dance as the Roof Caves In." Our reviewer, Tess Taylor says calls it biting but tender.

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Michael Weaver
1:02 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Book News: Former Factory Worker Wins $100,000 Poetry Prize

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:24 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Twinning Grief And Hope, A Poet Softens Pain's Sharp Edge

Knopf

Death and birth; grief and hope; fear and elation — these seeming opposites are made of much the same stuff, asserts Kevin Young in his eighth book of poems, which works to wrap itself around the extremes of a father's death and a son's birth. In a kind of poetic daybook or diary, Young tracks his unfolding emotions in the aftermath of his father's death, and, in a separate set of sequences, narrates his growing anticipation in the months leading up to, and then just after, the birth of his son.

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