Tag Archives: j c todd

Is Paxman right? Or Should Poetry Just Follow its Natural Course

-g emil reutter 

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Jerry Paxman, a judge for Britain’s Forward Prize for poetry said in a recent article at the Guardian “I think poetry has really rather connived at its own irrelevance and that shouldn’t happen, because it’s the most delightful thing,”  Paxman continued, “It seems to me very often that poets now seem to be talking to other poets and that is not talking to people as a whole.”  The full article appears here: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jun/01/jeremy-paxman-poets-engage-ordinary-people-forward-prize

There has been much said and much written over the last two centuries about the relevance of poetry, yet it remains. Poets are the great observers of the world around us and while many don’t read poetry or attend poetry readings on a regular basis, most folks like to know there are poets around. While the Guardian article is Britain specific I believe it could apply to any nation. It seems to me that poets are the only one’s concerned about this for in the end poets write, it is what they do, relevant or not, sales or none, poetry is written. So we asked a few poets to let us know their thoughts on the matter..

DOUG HOLDERDoug Holder, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Endicott College and publisher of the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene said: “Just because we are poets doesn’t mean we are not ordinary people. I for one am an everyday person who happens to write poetry. I write poems about life–the everyday stuff–love, loss, death the whole gamut. All poetry addresses this I think. That being said sometimes poetry that is being written today maybe too conceptual.

Holder believes in solid grounding, “You need to have some concrete detail. As William Carlos William said, and I paraphrase “Not in ideas, but things.” A poem must be grounded first–solid ground- and then you can float off after this point. Perhaps this would be a way to engage with more readers.”.

Holder may be right. Conceptual poetry may hurt poetry as a whole, grounded may be the way to go..

JC-Necklace2jpgPoet J.C. Todd viewed the article a bit differently. She takes issue with Paxman and his premise.  “Jeremy Paxman has the noun wrong. If there is a problem, it is not with poetry but with poets or, more likely, with publishers of poetry or, could the problem be with his taste as a reader. Blaming an art form? That’s a bit of fuzzy thinking since art is made by humans. Blame the humans–poets, publishers, readers? They are responding to culture. Blame the culture? You can see this is leading down a weedy garden path.”.

Todd also takes issue with Paxman as a judge and celebrity. “Paxman was reading poems as a judge, his primary motive to assign selective value instead of appreciating them or grappling with them. Could the process of choosing “the best” have tainted his engagement with the art? He was paid to judge and now he’s double-dipping making a celebrity or pundit of himself by blaming poetry. Oh, dear. And poetry, having no legal standing, can’t sue for defamation or libel or slander. The perfect victim and cause célèbre.”

So is Paxman the guy to take this position? Is Todd correct in her premise,” the problem lies with poets or more likely publishers of poetry, or, could the problem be with Paxman’s taste as a reader?”

 ???????????????????????????????Poet and Editor of The Fox Chase Review, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri agrees with Paxman on some points. “Poetry can appeal to all levels of life and should be read as widely as bestselling novels; and therefore poets writing poetry should not discount people, who are not poets, yet enjoy reading poetry.    Although poetry takes on numerous forms and voices (including but not limited to language, surrealism, experimental, and realism) there has always been a need for poetry that speaks directly to the masses, the everyday reader, and the “non-poets.”

Sahms-Guarnieri continues, “The problem is they’re so many cliques, factions, and élite groups of poets that demand that other poets (not in their group) write the way that they write.  These groups of poets truly believe that they hold the “truth” and poetry has to be written their way, as if the world of poetry exists just for them and those who drink with them from their “limited” well of water.”

She is concerned about the impact of this institutionalized exclusion and agrees with Paxman that poetry should relate to the people as a whole.  “ My friends, exclusion is  not what freedom of expression is all about, that is, you cannot and will not harness the muse into one little holding cell.  Poetry is by nature for everyone, from every walk of life, and the muse will always allow for variation and freedom.  Poems will always be written by and performed by many different poetic voices.   Poets should echo the human experience with poetry that relates to “all” people, touching and re-touching lives.”

Sahms-Guarnieri agrees  with Paxman that poetry should reach out beyond poets. Poetry written and read for the people as opposed to a select group of poets would seem to make sense. As she states, “poets write to “echo the human experience”, to touch all people.”

Frank WilsonPoet and publisher of Book Inq. , Frank Wilson believes Paxman’s premise is more applicable in the U.K. than in the U.S. “… where poetry seems to be flourishing at readings in bars, galleries and parks.” Wilson stated he was just finishing off reviews of three poetry collections, “They have much in common, but are still quite distinct.”

He points to the internet, “The internet abounds with poetry, and most of it is not at all academic. Some, I have no doubt, will have quite a long life.” 

Poets write poetry often without recognition or profit. Paraphrasing Stanley Kunitz, “poetry is the last uncorrupted art… there is no profit in it.” Commercialization as Paxman calls for is not the answer, it may be a very simple answer indeed, writing poetry people will read. Poetry rises and falls with the changing cultural ocean. It is as natural as the rising and setting of the sun. Let nature take its course, reach out to people, go out and write a poem.

Related post at FCR:  Poetry in Decline- Is a Revolution Needed?

g emil reutter 2-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA) http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

 

Poets Read in Rustic Philadelphia- Poets @ Pennypack

Peter Krok reads as a cowboy passes in the background

Peter Krok reads at Poets @ Pennyapck as a cowboy passes in the background – Philly Poetry Day

A rustic reading in the city of Philadelphia, the first installment of Poets @ Pennypack was held in the amphitheater at the Pennypack Environmental Center in the Northeast. The featured poets delighted the crowd, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Peter Krok, Wendy Schermer, Bruce Kramer, B.E. Kahn, Tom Mallouk and J.C. Todd gave outstanding readings followed by Mike Cohen and Rodger Lowenthal reading in the open mic.

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads at Poets @ Pennypack – Philly Poetry Day

Wendy Schermer reads

Wendy Schermer reads at Poets @ Pennypack  – Philly Poetry Day

Bruce Kramer reads

Bruce Kramer reads at Poets @ Pennypack  Philly Poetry Day



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B.E. Kahn reads

B.E. Kahn reads at Poets @ Pennypack  Philly Poetry Day

Tom Mallouk reads

Tom Mallouk reads at Poets @ Pennypack Philly Poetry Day

J.C. Todd reads

J.C. Todd reads at Poets @ Pennypack Philly Poetry Day

.You can view photographs of the event at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12065560@N04/sets/72157643749179114/

We return to the amphitheater on May 10th. More information will be forthcoming.

FCR Report on Philly Poetry Day

philly poetry day By: g emil reutter

Philly Poetry Day was slated to kick off at 12:00 am in West Philly with over 30 events scheduled across the city, Delaware and Bucks Counties. Philadelphia is home to a diverse group of poets mirroring the arts scene across the city. Realism, Language, Spoken Word, Mathematical, Haiku, Confessional, Formal, Concrete, Dada, Modernist, Post-Modernist, Avant-Garde, call it what you want but in Philadelphia this day words flowed forth from porches, coffee houses, in front of buildings, parks, studios, on Septa buses, town halls and colleges, on street corners and backyard barbeques . We at the Fox Chase Review and Reading Series have a fondness for the parks in Philadelphia. Our Poets @ Pennypack was planned over six months ago and fell on Philly Poetry Day. We decided to add two informal events to the day. Diane Sahms-Guarnieri and I slated a reading in Lions Park in Fox Chase because that it is where it all started, the idea for the review and reading series. We also slated a reading at Gorgas Park in Roxborough where Diane graduated from the adjacent Roxborough High School and grew up just a block away where the elders of her family still reside.

Lions Park in Fox Chase, Philadelphia

Lions Park in Fox Chase, Philadelphia Philly Poetry Day

Our day began at Lions Park for an 11 am reading centered on reading our poetry about Philadelphia’s people and places. We enjoyed reading in Lions Park to the folks waiting on the 18 bus in the loop.

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads in Lions Park for Philly Poetry Day

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads in Lions Park for Philly Poetry Day

g emil reutter reads in Lions Park for Philly Poetry Day

g emil reutter reads in Lions Park for Philly Poetry Day

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Pennypack Environmental Center on Veree Road - Philadelplhia

Pennypack Environmental Center on Verree Road – Philadelplhia – Philly Poetry Day

Following the Lions Park reading in Fox Chase we traveled down Rhawn Street to Verree Road and the amphitheater located to the rear of the Pennypack Environmental Center. This rustic setting set on a ridge high above the Valley of the Pennypack  in the Northeast was perfect for a poetry reading. The reading began at 1 pm with our featured poets.  B.E. Kahn, Peter Krok, Tom Mallouk, Bruce Kramer, Wendy Schermer, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri and J.C. Todd delighted the crowd with full 15-20 minute sets of poetry. The following poets participated in the open mic following the features: Mike Cohen and Rodger Lowenthal

Crowd Shot at Poets @ Pennypack

Crowd Shot at Poets @ Pennypack Park- Philly Poetry Day

Crowd Listens to Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Crowd Listens to Diane Sahms-Guarnieri Poets @ Pennypack  – Philly Poetry Day

Gorgas Park in Roxborough

Gorgas Park in Roxborough – Philadelphia- Philly Poetry Day

After a brief rest we traveled south on the Boulevard to the Fox street exit and down Henry to Leverington Avenue arriving at Gorgas Park which rests on Ridge Avenue. At 7 pm we completed the day much as we started, on reading our poetry about Philadelphia’s people and places. We were met by the elders of Diane’s family and a few neighborhood kids and enjoyed reading in Gorgas Park.

g emil reutter reads in Gorgas Park for Philly Poetry Day

g emil reutter reads in Gorgas Park for Philly Poetry Day

 

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads in Gorgas Park for Philly Poetry Day

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri reads in Gorgas Park for Philly Poetry Day

Philadelphia is blessed with possibly the most beautiful park system in the country. From the expansive Pennypack Park to neighborhood parks like Lions Park and Gorgas Park. The poet Joseph Brodsky once said, “Poetry must be available to the public in far greater volume than it is.”  On this day, the 12th of April 2014 in Philadelphia, on Philly Poetry Day in over 30 venues, poetry was available in abundance.   Photographs from our events are available at these links: Philly Poetry Day : https://www.flickr.com/photos/12065560@N04/sets/72157643749178684/ Poets @ Pennypack: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12065560@N04/sets/72157643749179114/   For other reports from across the city  please visit: http://www.phillypoetryday.com/

More poetry? On April 27th @ 2 pm Dan Maguire and Ann E. Michael are reading at our Featured Poets/Writers Series at Ryerss Museum and Library. More information on this reading can be found at this link: https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/michael-and-maguire-april-27th/

Poets @ Pennypack – April 12th @ 1pm

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The Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present the first installment of Poets @ Pennypack on April 12, 2014: 1 pm to 3:30 pm – Amphitheater/Camp Fire area at the Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600-A Verree Rd, Philadlephia, Pa. 7 featured poets will be followed by an open reading. For more information please visit : https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/poets-pennpack-april-12th-1pm/

Philly Poetry Day – April 12th

philly poetry day

A day of celebrating poetry for National Poetry Month across the City of Philadelphia. The events are beginning to build so have a look or create one of your own. It all starts here:

http://www.phillypoetryday.com/

Poets @ Pennypack – April 12th – 1pm

Amp at Pennypack Environmental CenterThe Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present the first installment of Poets @ Pennypack on April 12, 2014: 1 pm to 3:30 pm – Amphitheater/Camp Fire area at the Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600-A Verree Rd, Philadlephia, Pa. The featured poets will be followed by an open reading. 

The Lineup

BEKahnB.E. Kahn – B.E. Kahn, a native Philadelphian, now lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. She is a recipient of Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Pew Grants. She was awarded First Prize for Poetry at the Philadelphia Writers Conference and some of her other awards include The Lotus Bloom Journal and The Missouri State Poetry Prize. You can read the poetry of B.E. Kahn in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/10AW/BEKahn.html 

SchermerWendy Schermer – Wendy Schermer was born in Detroit, grew up in Philadelphia, and is now a resident of Arden, Deleware, where she has lived for the past eight years. Wendy shares her home with a dog and two cats who have been steadfast companions since her two sons became adults and made lives of their own in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, respectively. Although Wendy works full-time for the State of New Jersey’s Judiciary, her real love is writing. You can read the poetry of Wendy Schermer in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/Schermer.html and http://www.foxchasereview.org/12AW/WendySchermer.html 

kramer Bruce Kramer – Bruce Kramer is a writer from South Jersey. Most of his work has appeared in boring technical documents, medical publications, and marketing propaganda, but he has also been published in the occasional magazine and literary publication. He believes in cold beer, rock and roll, and baseball. He sometimes acts like he is named after Bruce Springsteen, but he knows he is named after somebody much cooler. He has poetry forthcoming from Barrelhouse Magazine and you can read his poetry in the Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/11June/BruceKramer.html

 PKrokPeter Krok – Peter Krok is the editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal and serves as the humanities/poetry director of the Manayunk Art Center where he has coordinated a literary series since 1990. Because of his identification with row house and red brick Philadelphia, he is often referred to as “the red brick poet.” His poems have appeared in the Yearbook of American Poetry, America, Mid-America Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Blue Unicorn and numerous other print and on-line journals. In 2005 his poem “10 PM At a Philadelphia Recreation Center” was included in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (published by Penn State University). His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press in 2007. You can read the poetry of Peter Krok in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/16-PKrok.html

mallouckTom Mallouk  – Tom Mallouk’s work has appeared in a number of literary journals, including GW Review, The Pisgah Review, The Quercus Review, Red Rock Review, US 1 Worksheets, The Schuykyll Valley Journal and The Sun. His book, Nantucket Revisited, was published in May, 2013. He has been a psychotherapist for many years and resides in Doylestown Pennsylvania with his family. You can read the poetry of Tom Mallouck in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14tmallouk.html

???????????????????????????????Diane Sahms-Guarnieri – Diane Sahms Guarnieri is a Philadelphia Poet and Poetry Editor of The Fox Chase Review and co-curates The Fox Chase Reading Series. Her first collection Images of Being was released in October of 2011. She was awarded a grant in poetry from the AEV Foundation in May of 2013 and currently serves as Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library in Philadelphia. . Diane’s poetry has been published widely in the small and electronic press. You can visit her at http://dianesahmsguarnieri.wordpress.com/  and http://www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com/  On Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9oJuy6i2gw

JCToddJ.C. Todd – J.C. Todd is the author of What Space This Body published by Wind Publications 2008 as well as Nightshade and Entering Pisces, chapbooks published by Pine Press. Her awards include a Fellowship in Poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, two Leeway Foundation grants, and a fellowship to Kunstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has an M.F.A. from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and teaches creative writing at Bryn Mawr College. You can read the poetry of J.C. Todd in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/12AW/JCTodd.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/10-JCTodd.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/08AW/04-JCTodd.html

….. We’ll Be Back in January

FCRMasthead2011-RGB-for PRINT docs

We are looking forward to a great 2014 here in Fox Chase.

The Winter/Spring 2014 Edition of The Fox Chase Review is slated for release in January. Until then you can enjoy the review at www.foxchasereview.org

We will resume blogging in January 2014.

ryerss

Our Featured Poet/Writer Series at Ryerss Museum and Library kicks off on January 26th with Maryann L. Miller and J. Erin Sweeney. Our full lineup for 2014 can be viewed here: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FCR2014ReadingSchedule.pdf

Amp at Pennypack Environmental Center

Our new outdoor poetry series, Poets @ Pennypack will be held on April 12th and May 10th. Our lineup can be viewed at these links:

April 12th: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FoxChaseReadingSeries-414.pdf

May 10th: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FoxChaseReadingSeries514.pdf

Scenes from Poets on the Porch 2013 045

Poets on the Porch at Ryerss Museum and Library will be held on July 13th. Our lineup can be viewed at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/PoetsonthePorch_2014.pdf