Middle English Texts Online

Hundreds of them, free to browse. Here’s an excerpt from Chaucer’s adaptation of a Marian lyric from Guillaume de Deguilleville’s La pèlerinage de vie humaine:

Almighty and al merciable queene,
To whom that al this world fleeth for socour,
To have relees of sinne, of sorwe, and teene,
Glorious virgine, of alle floures flour,
To thee I flee, confounded in errour.
Help and releeve, thou mighti debonayre,
Have mercy on my perilous langour.
Venquisshed me hath my cruel adversaire
.

Each piece has a thorough introduction. The texts can be accessed online at the University of Rochester (NY).

“Guillaume de Deguileville dreaming of celestial Jerusalem” (France, 15th century)

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Of What’s To Come

A repeat poem and a new essay:

Of what’s to come, I know nothing or I know enough. I think I know enough. Most of us do, of course. There is no wisdom where there is nothing but wisdom. Randall Jarrell called it pain; I prefer to call it life. And there is no life where there is nothing but life. Or, as Jarrell also put it, the ways we miss our lives are life.

noise & silence

          Possible image of Matias Perez, center.

Total Eclipse

[O]nly one total solar eclipse swept past Amherst in Dickinson’s lifetime — on September 29, 1875 — which must have provided the raw material for her vivid verses:

It sounded as if the streets were running —
And then — the streets stood still —
Eclipse was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.

By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there —
Nature was in her Opal Apron —
Mixing fresher Air.

Also lots of good stuff by Mabel Todd, Dickinson’s first “publisher:” Brainpickings.


And also, some ancient theories on solar eclipses, with Empedocles for the win: “[A]n eclipse happens when the moon moves under the sun.”

Science This

My Heroes Haven’t Always Been Real

Oh hey, yeah, so it’s me on the AGNI blog:

At a recent reading, someone did in fact note how frequently my poems name-check historical characters.

“That’s because,” I answered, not altogether unseriously, “my poems are the only place my name is ever going to be alongside theirs.”

the AGNI blog


    Looking for Bobby Fisher

Two Lists of A-List Journals (For Submission Purposes)

This is the list I latched on to when I started submitting again in 2011 (46 to go…):

Top 50 Literary Magazines, via Every Writer.

It probably should be called “50 Top Established Literary Magazines” (not necessarily “best,” since that’s so hard to quantify), and it does need further updates (for example, Barrow Street has been taking online submissions for quite a while). It also leaves out online-only journals.

And this is a list I check as it is updated every year, a great resource:

Perpetual Folly Literary Magazine Ranking — Poetry, via Cliffordgarstang.com.

Hope these are useful.

Stephen Burt on Contemporary American Poetry

The poetry we’re going to talk about today belongs to the era that began in the 80s and ended around 2015. It’s an era characterised by an increased distance from the pre-modern past; by an increasing but in a lot of ways insufficient attention to the diversity of experiences and backgrounds, especially among white poets; by the integration of avant-garde techniques, techniques for avoiding prose sense, into poetry that ultimately did make prose sense. It’s also an era characterised by the integration of techniques and attitudes towards poetry that in the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s would have seemed to belong to distinct camps.

from Stephen Burt on Contemporary American Poetry.

New Poem: Learning to See in Another Language

In the beautiful new Poetry Northwest, Summer/Fall 2017.