Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, and Five Poets with Staying Power

Cover by Oberc

As noted on today's Writer's Almanac, it is the poet Gary Snyder's birthday (in addition, don't miss Patrick Phillips's sad and beautiful poem "Matinee" on today's WA posting). Recent winner of the 2008 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement, Snyder, along with poet, novelist and activist Wendell Berry, is one of our finest living writers; both celebrate and advocate for the earth from which we come and to which we return. As Alan Watts used to say, we are not born "into" the world, we are born "out" of it.

Rus Bowden's Poetic Ticker pointed me to the following Gary Snyder video on YouTube. I'm linking directly to part 1 for convenience. Click here for parts 2 through 4.

As part of the reorganization of the sidebar (look right) on this site, I've put together a group of links to the work of Issa, patron of all things small. Lots of interest may be found there.

There are two other notes before getting to this week's selection from the Lilliput archive. The Washington Post recently had a posting on their "Short Stack" blog entitled "Five Poets With Staying Power." There are at least two on the list I agree with. The comments that follow the posting are even more interesting than the choices. Any thoughts on your 5 poets with staying power (I'll take Whitman, Dickinson, Sexton, Shakespeare, and cummings - Frost would be 6th)? And, for those who might have missed it here, my review of Mary Oliver's new book, "Red Bird," has been posted at the library blog "Eleventh Stack."

This week's issue of Lilliput is #93, from December 1997. Here are three tiny highlights:

Before the wake ...
the eldest daughter helps
with her mother's make-up.
Patrick Sweeney

at the zoo
not a single
human face
George Ralph

ancient headstones
the names and numbers
worn to mutters
William Hart

And one to lighten the day:

Another Contributor's Notes
"I learned at the Iowa
Writers' Workshop that if you don't
jiggle the toilet's knob two or three
times, it won't ever stop flushing."
Wayne Hogan

Today is the last day for the
free 6 issue gift subscription offer to Lilliput Review. Details at the link.



Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, that comment thread. The wisdom of crowds, indeed.

Then again, I am a poor judge of character, for I've never really met a poet I didn't like...or wouldn't at least be willing to befriend for one hour, over a quiet drink in the bar...



Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Oh, Whitman, you know he is going to be one of my nominations for near perfect book of poems - he made imperfection perfection!

If you're nominating Whitman, I can supply the free 6 issue subscription ...