Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday's Three on Literature and Poetry

Recently, there have been a number of wonderful online posts or features about poets and writers and their projects. Today, I'm spotlighting just three you might have missed that are worth checking out.

✭ Win Bassett, "The Soul of Things Goes", Interview with Christian Wiman, Oxford American, January 21, 2015. Wiman, formerly editor of Poetry magazine, currently teaches religion and literature at Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. His fourth poetry collection, Once in the West, which I highly recommend, was published last year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In the interview, Basset talks with Wiman about his background, the new collection, faith, the subjects of absence and loss and fear, and the music of poetry. I particularly like this quote from Wiman: ". . . The mystery of poetry is that the sound of language carries the soul of things. The sadness of poetry is that the soul of things goes and goes and goes." 

Christian Wiman Profile at Yale Divinity School

Oxford American on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ "Walt Whitman — Song of Myself" at WhitmanWeb. I learned about this University of Iowa International Writing Program project via a Best American Poetry blog post by Sholeh Wolpe, "Translating Walt Whitman", January 27, 2015. On the Whitman project site, you'll find a description of this fascinating project and its contributors, and 52 weekly installments of and commentaries on Song of Myself, which has been translated into 15 languages (begin here). Also available are recordings of the poem in Arabic, English, Persian, and Russian. The project welcomes suggestions for additional languages. Links are provided to an interactive online study of the poem. 

WhitmanWeb on FaceBook

✭ Karla Strobel, "Radcliffe Institute Fellow and Harvard Students at the Intersection of Languages and Culture", News, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, January 22, 2015. Ashford King, who is in his senior year at Harvard, is working with Radcliffe Institute fellow Ben Miller, a writer, and senior Eliza Pan on the MuralSpeaks! project, the aim of which is to translate William Carlos Williams's famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow", into the more than 140 languages spoken in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As part of the public art project, the team is planning for a recitation, in May 2016, of the translations, involving as many citizens as possible from different countries. (A call for translations went out this past December. If you're fluent in a language other than English, contact the team at muralspeaks [at] gmail [dot] com.) In addition to Strobel's post, read "New Poetry Project Inspired by 'The World Comes to Whittier'" at the Sioux Falls Mural Project blog. (My thanks to Poets & Writers Daily News for the link to the item.)

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