Poetry

photo: Brady Carlson, NHPR

Each week, at a club in Manchester called Milly's, some of the region's top poets take the stage for what's known as a slam. 

Next week some of the poets who take part in Slam Free Or Die head to Boston, as a team, to compete in the National Poetry Slam.

Mark Palos is Slam Free Or Die's SlamMaster, and a member/coach of the team heading to Boston. He gives All Things Considered host Brady Carlson a preview of the 2013 team.

Robert Frost
Leslie Jones / Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

For more than 30 years, Robert Frost’s old home in Franconia has celebrated the poet on the first Sunday of July.  The Frost Place’s Executive Director Maudelle Driskell says the annual event draws a variety of visitors.

“And it’s everybody from people, just [from] the local area--they want to come out and listen to the readings and see the Frost Place--to people that specifically come up to hear readings on Frost Day, and tourists that are traveling through," Driskell says.  "This year, we hope that we’ll have more families.”

via indiebound.org

Throughout her career the poet Sharon Olds has been asked if her poems were true or autobiographical. There are poems about mothering and domesticity and eroticism filled with personal details and described with remarkable directness and insight. Sharon Olds has rejected the auto-biographical characterization and resisted talking about her life while her children were young, and her parents were alive. She even kept the disillusion of her 32 year marriage from the public; waiting more than a decade to publish Stag's Leap, a collection of poems that is being praised as the best book of her career, and earlier this month won the Pullitzer Prize for poetry.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  For the past 25 years, New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm College has hosted a celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday with period music, theatrical renditions, and public readings of all 154 of the bard's famously melancholic and romantic sonnets. Ryan Lessard brings us this audio postcard.

Poetry In Life

Apr 28, 2013
spo0nman / Flickr/Creative Commons

We'll tackle couplets, stanzas, limericks, sonnets, odes, dirges; free or rhyming verse of any meter. From the epic to the cursory, from the aggressive to the  consolatory, we’re all about poetry today.

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky  from Crime and Punishment

In this fearless edition of Word of Mouth, we take new steps and utter new words about crime, punishment and everything in between.

Photo courtesy Moonmilk.com

Ranjit Bhatnagar is no stranger to cool projects...he's made iambic pentameter from tweets, and is creating a bunch of instruments out of unexpected items, like a robo- toy piano.  Now, the sound artist can add one more feather to his cap...coming on our show.

Inspired Lives: Poet Maxine Kumin

Sep 5, 2012

Maxine Kumin’s career has spanned over half a century. She's the recipient of  awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Kumin was the poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1981-1982, and has taught at many of the country’s most prestigious universities, including MIT, Princeton, and Columbia. Despite traveling away from home to lecture at schools and universities around the United States, Kumin has retained close ties with her farmhouse in rural New Hampshire.

Inspired Lives: Wesley McNair

Jul 18, 2012
Malcom Cochran

Award-winning poet and New Hampshire native Wesley McNair was born in Newport, grew up in the Connecticut River Valley, and has lived for many years in Mercer, Maine, the state for which he has been named Poet Laureate. Drawing from his personal experiences, McNair's poetry is emblematic of both family and economic hardships, and New England living.

You asked for it...

May 1, 2012
(Photo by Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR)

Last week, we reviewed new experiments in spoken word with Marc Masters of music review site Pitchfork. He told us about the new spoken word album Sex Magic – a poetic reading of lyrics from the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 1991 release, Blood Suger Sex Magik…

Afterwards, we asked listeners to suggest songs for us to “Blankenship,” our new term for reading song lyrics as poetry.   Here’s the best one we came up with.

Today, we celebrate National Poetry Month with a mix of audio craft and spoken word.  Poetry Out Loud was a band of poets which experimented with spoken word forms in the 1970s.

It’s been said that poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. We asked folks to tell us about their memories of how a poem had affected their life. Rodger Martin from Harrisville, New Hampshire remembered hearing a poem that helped him return to civilian life after a tour of duty in Vietnam.

RODGER: The state of the country was in a far different place in 1970.

Zach Houston runs his Poem Store (on any given sidewalk) with these items: a manual typewriter, a wooden folding chair, scraps of paper, and a white poster board that reads: "POEMS — Your Topic, Your Price."

Houston usually gets from $2 to $20 for a poem, he says. He's received a $100 bill more than once. The Oakland, Calif., resident has been composing spontaneous street poems in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Five years ago, it became his main source of income.

Slam Free or Die

Feb 16, 2012
photo: Brady Carlson, NHPR

Slam poetry is all about finding a voice – combining the written word with a spoken performance to create new forms.

A group of New Hampshire slam poets have found a voice and a home in Manchester.

NHPR’s Brady Carlson talked with some of the members of Slam Free or Die.

Slam poets say they typically get just three minutes to perform – so they have to make the words count.

(Sam clip)

The path to international fame as a poet generally doesn't involve writing short poems about sea cucumbers. Yet for the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize in 1996 and died Wednesday, the little things — onions, cats, monkeys, and yes, sea cucumbers — turned out to be very big indeed.

A popular writer in Poland for many years, Szymborska became a reluctant international literary celebrity after her Nobel win.

The stark beauty of New Hampshire's November

Robert Frost's poem My November Guest begins:

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,

            Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

            She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Urban Sprouts

Mar 24, 2011

A composite of the voices, poetry, and free-styles of young men who are residents in a youth detention facility located in the mountains south of San Francisco. The young men participate in a garden and nutrition education program with Urban Sprouts.

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