Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

Poetic Lives Online

We mourn the death of poet Leslie Scalapino. Our condolences to her family and friends, and to all who were moved by her work.

PEN American announced the release of Burmese poet Saw Wei, imprisoned for “inducing crime against public tranquility” for one of his poems. That’s one of the highest compliments you can pay a poet, I think.

Powerful guest post at Big Other by Jennifer Bartlett about a disabled poetics.

Michael David Lukas at Virginia Quarterly Review writes about how author interviews have changed in the email age.

Reb Livingston and Hoa Nguyen have a chat at We Who Are About to Die.

I don’t know if I’ve ever recommended that people follow Paul Lisicky on Twitter, but if I haven’t, it’s a fail whale of an oversight. And since I haven’t done one of these recommendations in a while, follow D. W. Lichtenberg too.


May 29, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | 1 Comment

Poetic Lives Online

Via HTMLGIANT, Poets for Living Waters has put out a call for submissions. They’re calling it a “poetry action in response to the Gulf Oil Disaster of April 20, 2010, one of the most profound man-made ecological catastrophes in history.”

I rarely link to the same place twice in the same column, but this was too much to pass up. I don’t know how a teacher could do more to destroy a child’s potential interest in poetry than this.

The Poetry Foundation has entered App World. You can read my review here.

Monica Ferrell’s “Beautiful Funeral” in Guernica.

Amy Letter ponders the future of the book.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has appointed a Championships Poet. Will the French Open select an official novelist next?

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May 22, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | Leave a comment

Poetic Lives Online

Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout site (along the same lines as his book) is worth checking out. He’s also a more than fair Twitterer.

Via Harriet, Andrea Lingenfelter talks about “teaching Bay Area children to translate from Chinese and do concrete poetry—at the same time!” I’ve just recently (like, hours ago) seen some very similar work, and it’s fascinating stuff.

Barbara Jane Reyes on the changes at Harriet.

Jessica Smith has taken on the impossible task of listing contemporary women poets writing in or translated into English. It’s a great list, and she could use help in compiling it.

Julie Sheehan reads “Interruption by Singapore Sling” from her latest book, Bar Book.

May 15, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | Leave a comment

Poetic Lives Online

Tara Betts found herself attacked by a particularly ignorant political blogger named Debbie Schlussel over her class at UrbanWordNYC. Betts’s response is elegant, measured, and powerful, everything the attack was not.

Oscar Bermeo takes on the changes at Harriet and talks about the need for an actual exchange of ideas about poetry.

Kaya Oakes wants to know how long a person has to avoid writing poetry to be considered a non-poet.

David Biespiel’s article in the latest issue of Poetry has spawned a number of responses (including my own). Tamiko Beyer weighs in at the Kenyon Review, and Josiah Bancroft discusses it at his blog. There’s also a good comment stream going at the Poetry Foundation website.

It’s time for the Oxford Poetry Professor election again. I doubt it will be as ugly as last year’s.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Poetic Lives Online

So, did you like our National Poetry Month project? If you missed any of the poems, check them out here.

Barbara Jane Reyes has some interesting thoughts on poetic tradition.

Virginia Heffernan discusses the way self-publication has lost some of its stigma, and introduces me to a new term: microniche publishing.

If you missed seeing the Kentucky Derby today, you can read it instead, “it” being a new poem by Andrea Cohen titled “Kentucky Derby.”

The interwebs have spoken and the new Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is… a tie between Sina Queyras and Robert Lee Brewer.

Melissa Broder’s FMK Friday(Fuck Marry Kill) asks about the Black Mountain Poets–Olson, Duncan, and Levertov.

Finally, if you missed it, a few words about the differences between poets and actors performing poetry.

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May 1, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | Leave a comment

Poetic Lives Online

Most of the excitement this week is in Denver at the AWP Conference, but there’s still plenty to talk about in poetry.

For instance, have you been keeping up with our National Poetry Month project? We’re only a third of a way through April, so there’s plenty of time to catch up on your reading.

I didn’t make it to Denver for AWP, but I followed the #AWP10 hashtag on Twitter, and it seems like the biggest hit was WILLA goes live! Wish I could have been there.

Seth Abramson pens an open letter to poets who hate the MFA. I expect this disagreement will continue for, oh, ever.

Speaking of never-ending disagreements, Harriet invited everyone back for National Poetry Month–everyone who’s been a contributor in the past, that is–and given the variety of voices they’ve hosted, there’s bound to be some fireworks. Have fun sorting it all out.

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April 10, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online, poetry, The Rumpus | | Leave a comment

Day 5

Today’s prompt is for a TMI poem, and I just didn’t feel that. Not that I’m shy about sharing–in fact, if you follow my twitter feed or become a Facebook friend of mine, you’ll discover that I’m often guilty of overshare. My problem was more that I just don’t like to write grossout poems, and that’s where I almost always go with TMI.

But Robert also suggested an information overload poem as an option, and boy do I know information overload. I generally write on a separate computer from my work one just to get away from most of the potential distractions. And I turn off everything around me, even music–I try to isolate myself. But for this I decided to turn everything on–an RSS reader I never use, email, Tweetdeck, Facebook, the tv (opening day of the baseball season) and just let it wash over me, grab snippets from everything and record it as I could (the cats play a part in this as well). This is more of an experiment for me than anything else, but I’m interested in hearing how you think it works. Prose poem form because breaking it into lines would give it a coherence I’m trying to avoid.

All we read is freaks Harang is making a lot of mental 1 All Friends Diverseman 2020 Goodafternoon,how is everyone lunch? Kevin Peterford likes your post I never considered myself a maverick The seventh foul ball of this at bat The Poetry Foundation should start a fellowship that helps poorly done online Tiger Woods Press Conference Harang three up and three down I want a burrito where’s the fucking mute button Email our essay on the 2 contemporary poems is due this Thursday, right? No, Thursday after that it’s on the prompt Thank you for giving us the chance to read your work It does not 115 Chinese miners freed 8 killed in attack How Butler can beat Is that the dryer? meow I just fucking fed you How about a single to left that brings in two egabbert @mattcozart I will swoop up and then down pterodactyl style Gladys quit terrifying the other cats You eat the weirdest stuff RT@pzmyers Mmm. Octopus tacos aagh mute button MUTE BUTTON! And then…and then, sir, we dance

April 5, 2010 Posted by | National Poetry Month, original poetry, Poetic Lives Online | | 2 Comments

Poetic Lives Online

Have you been keeping up with our National Poetry Month project? The list is updated every morning with new poemy goodness.

Along with National Poetry Month, the big discussion this week seems to be the AWP Convention. WILLA has three days planned for you, if you need suggestions.

I won’t be at the AWP this year, but if I were, I’d probably make time for the panel Craig Teicher talks about in this piece. That’s probably because I spend a lot of time soliciting and editing poetry reviews, but it sounds like an interesting discussion regardless.

Sandy Longhorn takes us through a drafting session.

Okay, but how do you read it? (This question is not meant to suggest that I don’t find the idea or its execution fascinating.)

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online, The Rumpus | , | Leave a comment

Poetic Lives Online

The poet Ai Ogawa died last week, and her official obituary is available here. Oliver de la Paz, who knew her briefly while he was in graduate school, had a story to share as well.

Janisse Ray on Wendell Berry.

The Poetry Foundation has just posted part 2 of The Muslim-American Poet as Self and Other.

Michelle Kerns drops 20 annoying book review phrases. Might have to bookmark that one.

Matt Cozart wants to know where you sit when reading an e-book, assuming it’s not on an e-reader. He doesn’t like those either, but that’s a different issue.

My Twitter recommendation for this week is Jim Carmin. Nearly every day I read a story he’s tweeted, and that’s about the highest compliment I can give someone in the world of social media.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | | Leave a comment

Poetic Lives Online

You’ve probably heard of erasure as a poetic mode–how about redaction?

Arthur Lubow looks at Adam Zagajewski, calls him “the last of his kind.”

Lily Hoang at HTMLGIANT wonders about the discussion surrounding Tao Lin: “I do, however, care about the evident boredom people display in their comments about him. Why do you care? Furthermore, why the fuck do I care that you care? Aren’t there fundamentally more interesting and worthwhile things to discuss?”

Via Barbara Jane Reyes, this post from Niki Escobar talks about misogyny in the open-mic scene as well as online.

Reb Livingston calls out a magazine for selling review copies, and good on her for doing it. That’s some bullshit.

Twitter recommendation for this week is Matt Cozart. He’s funny and active and communicative.

Brian Spears

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Poetic Lives Online | , | Leave a comment