Poetry RSS feed for this section

New Writing Group Launched on Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill has it all, we like to think. Its own chiropractor, its own pharmacy, its own chocolate shop. And now, it even has its very own writers’ circle.
The brand new Beacon Hill Writing Group held its first-ever meeting this past Wednesday. Its goal is to provide a warm, welcoming environment that will motivate its members to write each week, and to share their work in a safe, non-critical setting.

Beacon Hill Writing Group
Beacon Hill Writing Group

So far, most members are from the neighborhood.
“I’ve lived on Beacon Hill for the past 14 years,” said Jenny Attiyeh, one of the group’s founding members. “I’m a journalist, and I’m happy as a journalist, but I’ve always wanted to be a writer with a capital W. So I thought, why not start a writers’ group? That way, I won’t be all on my own. I’ll have some support and encouragement as I try to do something that’s new and challenging.”
The camaraderie is key. Meetings are planned for Wednesday evenings at members’ homes, and will rotate among those who can accommodate the group.
“There are so many opportunities for writers today with digital media alongside traditional magazines, newspapers and hard copy books,” said Gigi Cockerill, a founding member.
Writing of any kind is an art form that requires practice and skill. Having relationships with other aspiring writers will be a real source of inspiration for me.”

— The Beacon Hill Times, February 18, 2014

Posted on February 18, 2014 in Literature, Poetry, Public Media
Continue Reading

Charles Simic’s the choice at San Francisco’s Dog Eared Books!

Note: This interview was broadcast on KUT-FM, an NPR station based in Austin, Texas.

Kate Rosenberger, owner
Kate Rosenberger, owner
Kate Rosenberger is one of those rare people who collects independent book stores in San Francisco the way the rest of us collect antique door stops, or unusual African masks. Her most recent acquisition is Alley Cat Books, but she also owns Phoenix and Red Hill Books, and we met at Dog Eared Books, her fourth store, in the Mission district.

Dog Eared Books
Dog Eared Books

When asked to discuss a piece of writing that’s had a profound impact on her, Kate chose Charles Simic‘s poem Gray-Headed Schoolchildren. Born in Serbia, Simic came to the US as a teenager, but went on to write his poems in English, win the Pulitzer prize, and become the U.S. Poet Laureate. His poetry is often stark, perhaps reflecting his formative years, spent surviving World War II.

Kate Rosenberger & customers
Kate Rosenberger & customers
Note: This interview is the sixth in a ThoughtCast series which examines a specific piece of writing — be it a poem, play, novel, short story, work of non-fiction or scrap of papyrus — that’s had a significant influence on the interviewee, that’s shaped and moved them. Prior interviewees include author Tom Perrotta, poetry critic Helen Vendler, and other independent bookstore owners – from Ireland!

Click here to listen (11 minutes.)

Posted on December 16, 2012 in Literature, Poetry
Continue Reading

Honor and Fair Play in Homer’s Iliad

Note: the audio version of this interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, and also on KUT in Austin, Texas!

In this fifth installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with the esteemed Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy about one of the earliest and greatest legends of all time: Homer’s epic story of the siege of Troy, called The Iliad. It’s a story of god-like heroes and blood-soaked battles; honor, pride, shame and defeat.
In this interview, we dissect a key scene in The Iliad, where Hector and Achilles are about to meet in battle. Athena is also on hand, and she plays a crucial if underhanded role, with the grudging approval of her father, Zeus.
And Nagy is of course the perfect guide to this classic tale. He’s the director of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, as well as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard.

We spoke in his office at Widener Library.

Click here: to listen to a longer audio version of this interview! (9 minutes)

Posted on July 12, 2011 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
Continue Reading

Harvard Critic Helen Vendler on Emily Dickinson

Note: This interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, Prairie Public Radio, and on KUT in Austin, Texas.

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
When Helen Vendler was only 13, the future poetry critic and Harvard professor memorized several of Emily Dickinson’s more famous poems. They’ve stayed with her over the years, and today, she talks with ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh about one poem in particular that’s haunted her all this time.  It’s called I cannot live with You-
According to Vendler, whose authoritative Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries has recently been published, it’s a heartbreaking poem of an unresolvable dilemma, and ensuing despair.
Click here (18 minutes) to listen!

This interview is the first in a new ThoughtCast series which examines a specific piece of writing — be it a poem, play, novel, short story, work of non-fiction or scrap of papyrus — that’s had a significant influence on the interviewee, that’s shaped and moved them.

Up next – esteemed novelist and short story writer Tom Perrotta discusses Good Country People,  a short story by Flannery O’Connor that’s particularly meaningful to him.

Posted on February 3, 2011 in Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Literature, Poetry
Continue Reading

New England Poetry Club Prizewinner Richard Hoffman

Richard Hoffman

The New England Poetry Club is apparently the oldest poetry reading series in the country. It was founded in 1915 by Amy Lowell, Robert Frost and Conrad Aiken. This spring, it awarded its Sheila Motton Prize to Richard Hoffman for his book of poetry called Gold Star Road. Hoffman is the Chairman of PEN New England, the Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College, and the author of Half the House: a Memoir, Interference & Other Stories, and Without Paradise, his second book of poetry.
To listen to Richard read from “Gold Star Road” (42 minutes), click here!


Wendy Mnookin

A runner-up for the Sheila Motton Prize was Wendy Mnookin for her book of poetry The Moon Makes Its Own Plea. She teaches poetry at Emerson College and at Grub Street, a non-profit Boston writing center. Her previous books of poetry are What He Took, Guenever Speaks and To Get Here.

To listen to Wendy read from “The Moon Makes Its Own Plea” (28 minutes), click here!

Posted on April 4, 2010 in Poetry
Continue Reading

Poet Robert Pinsky takes on King David

Note: The WGBH sister stations WCAI and WNAN broadcast this interview, and it also received a 5 star review on PRX!

Robert Pinsky
Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky tackles King David of the Bible – the shepherd, poet, warrior and adulterer – in his “Life of David.”
Is David a legend? A real, flesh and blood warrior who killed Goliath, and united the 12 Jewish tribes into one nation? Robert Pinsky delves into these questions, and into David’s story, with relish.

David’s story has been told many times, and the tale has changed with each telling. There’s the David of the Hebrew Bible, and another version of his life in the Talmud. We know he slept with Bathsheba, but was this a sin? An act of love? Of violence? It depends on whom you ask.

David, who lived about 3000 years ago, was beloved of God, and as a result, he got away with more than his share. He was a seductive, wily politician, a doting father, a bitter old man. These contradictions in David’s character spur Pinsky on, and he adds his own twist to the tale, as you will hear, on ThoughtCast!
Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).
And click here to listen to a discussion with Robert Pinsky on Poetry and Democracy on the Forum Network.

Posted on March 22, 2006 in Literature, Poetry, Religion
Continue Reading