The Incentive of the Maggot


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The incentive of the maggot : poems, Ron Slate ; [foreword by Robert Pinsky]

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Many poets have contributed to its pages, including T. To find out more about The Nation visit www. The award was established by a gift to the Academy from the Drue Heinz Trust in honor of the poet and publisher James Laughlin — As a sophomore at Harvard College, James Laughlin founded New Directions, one of the most important publishers of twentieth-century literature. Laughlin was the author of numerous books of fiction, essays, and poetry, including Collected Poems , The Man in the Wall , and Random Stories The Drue Heinz Trust is a private charitable foundation, whose director is Drue Heinz, the widow of the "57 Varieties" former chairman, the current publisher of the Paris Review , and the former publisher of Antaeus , the international quarterly of contemporary literature.

Heinz and James Laughlin were long-time friends and colleagues, sharing a vital interest in good writing. About the Academy of American Poets The Academy of American Poets is a c 3 nonprofit organization founded in to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.

The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem.


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Poetry Near You. Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Smith Receives the James Laughlin Award. In response to winning the award, Lerman said: When I turned back to my writing career after a long absence, I knew that not only would I have to rededicate myself to my work, but that I would have to change everything about my life in order to do that.

It is extraordinary, now, to be recognized in this way, for having been given the chance to fall back in love with poetry and the writer's life. On choosing the collection for the Marshall Prize, poet Tony Hoagland wrote: Eleanor Lerman's poems have sociological savvy, philosophical rue, historical recognition, and vernacular resilience.

They sing a song that is bravely gloomy, but they sing it with a fierce and earned dignity. Academy of American Poets Educator Newsletter. Teach This Poem. The question, however, has a special resonance for someone like me, an indie writer committed to online, i. That I collected all those science fiction and Nero Wolfe paperbacks as a teen isn't surprising; perhaps I should even admit to an early addiction to Nancy Drew mysteries, one of which inspired my very first 'publication' in primary school, a play.


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Today I'd probably be branded a plagiarist, since it was actually performed in public, though I can't recall that any money changed hands. These volumes are shelved not far from my Ezra Pound.

The incentive of the maggot : poems, Ron Slate ; [foreword by Robert Pinsky]

No, they wouldn't do. Maybe I should pick one of the books from my twenties, a jumble of 19th century classics, poetry Yeats, Eliot, Plath, Bishop, Rilke, and many, many more , laconic Americans, the Gods Proust, Nabokov, Joyce , and earnest litcrit. But then came Zimbabwe, and all the African writers — why not Coetzee or Marechera? The African years soon became family years, when it was often young-adult novels and Georgette Heyers and light reading which kept me from strangling one or another of my five children: you can't get more important than that!

Or the books I've bought en masse since returning to Germany, and still keep buying, though I know I'll never read a fraction - OK, most - of them. So my selection is not a book at all, but a blog, though in fact it's led me to a book. There are a number of wonderful, quirky blogs which I read first thing every morning for the idiosyncratic voice, the richness of language, the madcap interests, the sheer exuberance, but Slate's is not one of them.

If you have any doubts that literary discourse is moving online, I suggest you have a good look at his posts. Here, for example, is an excerpt from his recent review of Joanna Klink's new volume of poetry, Circadian and I wonder whether there's an element of self-criticism in his assessment : March brings the new tide of books in time for April poetry month.

The latest group behavior is to leap from public to private and back, add a spasm of chic bitterness, and speak with a stress fracture or be goofy, be strange. But Klink, single-minded and original, accepts an old-fashioned responsibility: getting at the relationship between reality and the imagination, and creating the sound of its discovery.

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Ron Slate has got all the 'right' qualifications: an MA degree in creative writing from Stanford, once published in journals like Antaeus , The Georgia Review , Virginia Quarterly Review and Poetry Northwest , 15 years as founder-editor of the poetry magazine The Chowder Review , and even the corporate experience of an American poet like Wallace Stevens. What initially drew me to Slate, however, was the fact that for 20 years he hadn't written any poetry at all; a wordless hiatus, and now this: the Bakeless Prize in and nomination for National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.

What drew me was what tormented me as well - my own years of silence, and what silence means for a writer. But regardless of the length or depth of the silences, one still must decide, that is, if the impulse to write remains, if you're going to be a poet who'll wait until you have something critical to say.

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How a Poem Happens: Ron Slate

The silences have a way of reminding you that a poem needs to sound necessary, to have the deliberateness and dynamics of a rescue. How many poems achieve this? Not many. The silences, confronting you with stolid reality, suggest the obverse of that world, the one thing that all poets in all ages have in common - Octavio Paz pointed this out - "the perception of the other side of reality.

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Our silences, seemingly so threatening to our progress as writers, are chaotic in that regard. And so, they may be necessary, and this may be why we must act in complicity with them by waiting for what's necessary. Read the full interview here. Slate's poetry is dense with those years of silence, as if all the voices he's stored up are clamouring - in the best possible way - to be heard: a Zen master, the Shah's daughter dying of an overdose, Holocaust survivors, a museum security guard, nurses faced with their first case of gangrene, a terrorist.

Many of his poems, in their compression, remind me of distilled short stories. Though they are not precisely narratives, they carry a great deal of dramatic weight. The title poem 'The Incentive of the Maggot', for example, transforms gangrenous rot into the fodder of greenfly maggots, which cure some of the afflicted soldiers - a reversal typical of Slate.


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Not long ago I sat with a clairvoyant;. But others were saved by green blowflies,.

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