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59th St Bridge Photo

Not the way we see / objects
but the way we / know them to be there.
-- Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Photo: George Kunze (


Live Performances/Recording Sessions

May 10, 7:00 Caffè Taci (B'way/110th) Alfred Corn (The Poem's Heartbeat) appears with distinguished alumni from Columbia University's Writing Division whose work is featured in the May issue, "Degrees of Affinity". Reservations strongly recommended: (212) 678-5345.

June 15, 6:30 Housing Works Used Books & Café (126 Crosby, betw Prince & Houston, B or D to B'way/Lafayette).Our mid-monthly feature recording session/music event for June is 'Only the Dead' (--'have seen the end of war.'), on Vietnam, with a special live preview of jazz violinist Billy Bang's CD, based on his tour of duty. The many contributors include Yusef Komunyakaa, William Ehrhart, Jim Bodeen, Alan Catlin, Marc Levy, and Richard Levine.

June 21, 7:00 Caffè Taci (B'way/110th) is the key to Big City Lit's Summer Solstice Free Expression Festival on NY's Upper West Side. Poetry/music event will preview work from "The Dark." [Submissions considered until June 1.]

In This Issue: May 2001

Note call for submissions: Fairytales, The Kiss, The Dark, The Hudson.
Consult Submissions page for guidelines.

"Degrees of Affinity", the second in our "Degrees" series, features alumni from The Writing Division at Columbia University. Introduced by Alfred Corn (The Poem's Heartbeat), contributors include Corn, Lucie Brock-Broido, William Wadsworth, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, David Yezzi, and several others. Twelve's narrow ledge displays the sure-footed experiments of Edwin Torres, Dave Brinks and others. The Global Poem Zones series continues, with work by Patrick Henry, Paul Espel, and Susan Scutti. The cumulative Big City, Little page grows, with a piece on Damascus (Syria). The Bridge City Lit pages feature work in French, Czech and Slovenian.

Fiction/Short Prose:
In "Railroad Apartment," a short story by K. Nadine Kavanaugh, metaphor runs parallel with matter until the two meet at an emotional vanishing point. In Jeremy Simon's short prose pieces, a found bouquet resents rescue, a city inhospitable to children softens under a foot of new snow.


My Name is Hélène: The Transgressive Eros of Georges Bataille
by Chris Tysh
"[Bataille's] is a literature of abjection, horror, always invoking what is divinely obscene, sacredly profligate, poetically pornographic. . . [Ma Mère] could be said to parody a Bildungsroman in its diegetic movement. The sentimental education reserved for Pierre, the young protagonist is an infernal descent into libertinage and incest."
Swans of our Fathers: A Difficult Loyalty (The Poetry of Franz Wright)
by Michael Graves

Victim Elixir: Kathryn Harrison's Poison, Retasted
Only a Mother: Notes on Poems by Stanley Kunitz and Billy Collins


The Taliban Tantrum: A Buddhist Response to the Destruction by the Taliban of
Ancient Religious Statuary in Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan
Pity the Child: The Buddhist Response to the Destruction by the Taliban of Religious Statuary in Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan
by Elena Kondracki

The March UN Readings: Impressions
3/28: Dana Gioia Launches Interrogations at Noon (Graywolf Press 2001)
3/29: The Primary Dialogue: Ragan, Komunyakaa, Oates et al.

Why Poetry Fails: Robert Mezey's Collected Poems (1952-1999)
"There are good poems--ekphrasia of a print by Edward Hopper; the survival of just-born Thomas Hardy, . . . --but these couple of dozen efforts are overwhelmed by scores of poems of insensate, shallow hatred." (Tim Scannell)
and in brief:
Ralph Dranow's Sunday Ritual
Alan Catlin's Stop Making Sense

Interview: Subtext of Swan and Curtsy

Petri Liukonnen interviews Finnish poet-novelist Hannu Niklander. " Saint-Saëns's 'Le Cygne' from The Carnival of the Animals cannot be played without sweat and spit, but it doesn't diminish its value. The fascination with the moon has not lessened after space flights and chemical analysis of moon rocks."

Series on Series: The Bronx Literary Tour (sponsor: 92nd St Y)

Series/Event Reviews: Open on a Rock, Close on a Roll
The People's Poetry Gathering, 3/30 - 4/1, is the focus of a slew of detailed
accounts from Stanley Kunitz's Great Hall appearance to Patti Smith's concert.

Free Expression: Fahrenheit 4.51? The Sorcerer's Cold Storage

"In April, five police officers showed up at my office with a search warrant, demanding to review records of books purchased by one of our customers."

Legal Forum:

Nuance or Nuisance Suit: The Muggle Muddle
Blows The Smell Test: The POV P-U of The Wind Done Gone

Book Shelf:

The editors comment on books that belong on the shelf of anyone who wishes to understand the linguistic music of poetry, its potential, and place among the arts. They are: Alfred Corn's The Poem's Heartbeat, Ellen Bryant Voigt's The Flexible Lyric, Mary Kinzie's The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose, Dana Gioia's Can Poetry Matter? Also discussed is Mary Kinzie's recent A Poet's Guide to Poetry.

Other Arts:
Theatre: Tasting Tom Stoppard (92nd St Y)
"Alfred Housman is my name. My friends call me Housman. My enemies call me Professor Housman." -- The Invention of Love

Excerpts from Dana Gioia's Nosferatu and Notes on the Libretto as a Literary Form: "[But] if one reads all of Auden's libretti in chronological order, one sees that . . . the most distinguished English-language librettist of the twentieth century eventually considered poetry a secondary consideration in creating an opera. . . ."


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