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Tag Archives: New York Times

Poetry Pairing: Whitney Houston Meets Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

I might have mentioned before that we’re loving the Poetry Pairing series in the New York Times? Inevitably, Whitney Houston’s death has found its own poetry pairing.

The poem’s very affecting, right?

Poetry Pairing in the New York Times – ‘Or’

I must admit that I’m enjoying the recently discovered Poetry Pairing series in the New York Times. You never know what a poem is going to be paired with. Sometimes it’s a picture, sometimes a song, sometimes an event from history…it’s always a surprise and always thought provoking.

With attitudes to race very much on the agenda in the UK these days, this pairing – Thomas Sayers Ellis’s Or with a 2011 video and article from the “Race Remixed” series in the New York Times – seems very timely.

Downton Abbey Helps Push Poetry! Who Knew?

And all things literary too, according to the New York Times.

It seems British TV series export, Downton Abbey, is going down a storm across the pond. That in itself is not unusual. Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (whose a Cumberbitch then? Check it out. They are ALL over the internet!) and Martin Freeman have all proved that point. The difference here is that publishers have realised that the viewers of Downton Abbey are book readers too. Stephen Morrison, the editor in chief and associate publisher of Penguin Books even shamelessly admits “We’re just riding that ‘Downton Abbey’ wave.”

It makes me feel somewhat caught on the backfoot (only joking!). I’m a huge reader but I’ve never watched Downton Abbey so don’t quite appreciate what all the fuss is about. And now it looks like poetry publishers are getting in on the act. Sadly, it seems poetry doesn’t have the power to bask in the Downton Abbey luminosity as much as prose.

Go figure!

Zombie Poetry Please…

It does exist and has been anthologised in this book, Aim for the Head. Last week we         had a bit of a love-in with a little something vampire. Frankly, it’s easy to figure out why vampires have had their time in the sun and cornered the market on literary cachet for all things undead. They are seductive. Zombie’s however…well, they are zombies! Rotting flesh, gouged out eyes, spilling guts, no personalities…somehow I can’t see a Twilight style saga being made about them. No, they ain’t the stuff romance is made of.

In poetry, much like the movies, the zombie has been used as a trope to consider blind consumerism,  racism and rabid mindlessness.  I’m thinking of films like 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead and Blade. Humour too has been the preserve of the zombie – let’s not forget how many funny films have animated the zombie to great effect. Shawn of the Dead, anyone. Aim for the Head wants to redress the balance, making the zombie stand (pun intentional) on its on two feet.

I can’t see myself writing any zombie films just yet but never say never, eh? But if this kind of thing is your bag, The New York Times has this write up.

And if your craving for viscera and brains still remains insatiable after that, Tom Beckett has written a Little Book of Zombie Poems which can be consumed in one easy sitting. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has got in on the act, with a fun way of teaching about disease and prevention in a comic novella about what emergency measures to take during a zombie apocalypse.

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