Samuel R. Delany: poetic form & prose form

Samuel R. Delany on “The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction”
September 9, 2012 (originally: 09.25.2011)

Samuel R. Delany has been described as “American science fiction’s most consistently brilliant and inventive writer.”  Delany’s non-fiction includes the essay collection, “The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction.”

2:00 “when the words are put together in poetic form, you listen to them differently. You pay attention to them differently. When they’re put together in a prose form, again you pay a different kind of attention to them. And it’s the same thing with science fiction.”

2:33 “Then her world exploded”

3:35 dyslexia


Junot Diaz on Samuel R. Delany
April 13, 2014
Writer Junot Diaz tells us why he’s a big fan of Samuel R. Delany’s novel, “Dark Reflections”.


Writing is a kind of way of speaking

Ursula K. Le Guin Steers Her Craft Into A New Century
Aug 29, 2015

sound is often forgotten in a piece of writing. “Writing is a kind of way of speaking, and I hear it,” she says.
“And I think a lot of readers hear it too. Even if they hear it in silence. And so the sounds of the language, and the rhythm and the cadence of the sentences are very powerful.”

Colm Toibin on Elizabeth Bishop

Colm Toibin on Poet Elizabeth Bishop
May 10, 2015

The celebrated Irish novelist Colm Toibin talks about his admiration for the poet Elizabeth Bishop and the kinship he feels for her.

01:45 confessional, autobiographical poems

02:46 her poems are canonical

4:34 people are very careful about what they say
people hint at things rather than declare them
language of restraint … everything is understated

07:40 we live in an age where you’re meant to–even with the most casual acquaintance–sit down and tell them all about how you’re feeling this week

08:10 somehow speech is not accurate enough, language is not clear enough


The lyric poem advances by layers of imagery

New Poet Laureate: ‘The Meaning Has Always Stayed The Same’
June 12, 2014

The Library of Congress announced Thursday that the nation’s next poet laureate will be Charles Wright, a retired professor at the University of Virginia.
“I’m very honored and flattered to be picked, but also somewhat confused,” the poet told The New York Times. “I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do. But as soon as I find out, I’ll do it.”

“Thinking about things” has been fruitful for Wright, who’s won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for his poems, which often center on faith and nature.

He will pick up the position from current poet laureate Natasha Trethewey in the fall. In the meantime, he tells Block about the bad fiction he wrote in his youth and how spirituality has consistently informed his poems.

I first started reading it seriously when I was in the Army, in Verona, Italy, and I was 23 years old, which is very late for a poet — most poets start about the age of 3, I’ve come to find out. And they have a whole stack of poems that they wrote before kindergarten. But that was not my case.

I did try to write stories in college, because I was interested in writing, and I was interested in the sound of language, but I was just no good at narrative and at fiction. When I discovered the lyric poem, that advanced not by narrative steps but by blocks and layers of imagery, I said, “Gee, I probably could do that. So let me try that.”

sources of insipiration: the idea of the music of language



What do you think you’re flying?

In ‘Poetry,’ The Story Of An African-American Military Family
February 08, 2014

Marilyn Nelson is one of America’s most celebrated poets. She is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Newbery and Printz and Coretta Scott King awards. Many of her most famous collections are for children.

Her latest work, How I Discovered Poetry, is a memoir about her own childhood. It’s a series of 50 poems about growing up, traveling all over America in the 1950s to follow her father’s job in the Air Force. Each of the poems is identified with a place and a date.

… we were driving once some place in California and a cop stopped us and said, ‘What do you think you’re flying, boy?’ And my father said, ‘B-52s.’ “

We’re on the verge of understanding, but …

Lines of Defense. Poems. by Stephen Dunn .

Life’s Minutiae Gain New Magnitude In Dunn’s ‘Lines’ Of Poetry
January 19, 2014

On what poetry — and literature in general — is for
What good literature has always done is give me the language for the occasion –- a lot of times not, of course –- but I think that the poems that matter to me are the ones that speak to that which cannot easily be said. We’re on the verge of understanding, but we finally get the words from the poem or the story or the novel or whatever.

I’ve written an essay called “Basketball Poetry,” in which I try not to push the metaphor too far. One of the points that I make in the essay is the similarity between poetry and basketball is a chance to be better than yourself.
To transcend yourself, if you’re hot that day. And that happens in writing in our best moments.
Where we find ourselves saying what we didn’t know we knew, or couldn’t have said in any other circumstance.

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca, Singing At The Gates
January 03, 2014

When Jimmy Santiago Baca was 20, he was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to prison. He was illiterate when he arrived at the Arizona State Prison. When he got out five years later, he was well on his way to becoming one of America’s most celebrated poets.

Baca writes about oppression, love and migration, and his poems range from just a few lines to many pages.

A new anthology of his work called Singing at the Gates tells the story of his life in poetry, from prison to renown. The anthology begins with a series of letters Baca wrote from prison to a woman named Mariposa. The letters are themselves poems, and are some of the first things he ever committed to paper as he learned to read and write.