Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Poetry is Not a Luxury: Alicia Ostriker, "Waiting for the Light"

Poetry is Not a Luxury Book Club May 2017

Waiting for the Light by Alicia Ostriker

 


“‘Let us now praise famous cities,’ says Alicia Ostriker in Waiting for the Light. Indeed, let us now praise these poems, their ferocity, tenderness, intelligence, compassion, and joy. A seeker and seer in the tradition of Whitman, Ostriker searches for the ‘light that stabs me with joy’ amid the sidewalks, schoolyards, marketplaces, and many tongues of her beloved New York, spurred by ‘ancestors who remember tenements.’ A walker in the city and a walker in the world, she knows about the flow of dollars and blood through the streets, speaking fearlessly against whoever crushes the body and the spirit. Wait for the light no longer; the light is right here, in the pages of this book.”
—Martín Espada


“Ostriker so loves the world, its griefs, traumas, praises, mysteries, and joys, that she teaches us to love the world with her—sometimes desperately, heartbrokenly, never despairingly. Ostriker is an essential poet, writing at the height of her powers.”
—Daisy Fried


What is it like living today in the chaos of a city that is at once brutal and beautiful, heir to immigrant ancestors "who supposed their children's children would be rich and free?" What is it to live in the chaos of a world driven by "intolerable, unquenchable human desire?" How do we cope with all the wars? In the midst of the dark matter and dark energy of the universe, do we know what train we're on? In this cornucopia of a book, Ostriker finds herself immersed in phenomena ranging from a first snowfall in New York City to the Tibetan diaspora, asking questions that have no reply, writing poems in which "the arrow may be blown off course by storm and returned by miracle."


Alicia Suskin Ostriker is a major American poet and critic. She is the author of numerous poetry collections, including, most recently, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems, 1979–2011; and The Book of Seventy, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, among other honors. Ostriker teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Drew University and is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.



Poems from Waiting for the Light

Peaches 
Utopian
 Biking to the George Washington Bridge

 

Essays and Articles

Craft Talk: How a Poem Happens  - Daffodils

Article: Alicia Ostriker on Emily Dickinson

Interview:Feminism, Spirituality, and Changing Mores: An Interview in Rain Taxi

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jen's Five Recommendations for Mother's Day, or for Anytime

Some last-minute ideas for those who are celebrating. Also, a reminder, for those who celebrate Mother's Day and those who do not, that Mother's Day was conceived as a day of activism, back in 1870, by Julia Ward Howe. "Arise, then, women of this day!"

Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley by Edward Barnard, Paul Meyer, and Catriona Briger (Columbia University Press, $19.95)

Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World by Srdja Popovic, with Matthew Miller
(Spiegel & Grau, $16.00)

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(Knopf Publishing, $15.00)

Why I March: Images from the Woman's March Around the World (Abrams Books, $14.95)
and
Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope--Voices from the Women's March (Artisan Publishers, $14.95)

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, translation by Henning Koch (Washington Square Press, $16.00)

Jennifer Sheffield, May 2017