His works have been translated into many foreign languages. For many years he headed the Azerbaijan Union of Writers, was repeatedly elected a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and Azerbaijan, and was awarded many orders and medals. His early lyric poems were published only after his death, in a compilation called "Chichek" ("Flower").
Living in the era of a communist dictatorship, Vurgun had to praise the regime in his works, but in spite of this, the creativity of Vurgun, the restrained style of his poems had a tremendous impact on the development of the Azerbaijani poetry.
Thoughts from Fresno California Poet Laureate..James Tyner.
There was always a joke among poets, that everybody in the world knows about Fresno poets, except for Fresno. I was living in the mountains of Spain as monk, and here I am in the middle of nowhere, I mean no one around for miles. And one of the monks went out and brought back some newspapers, and he happened to bring me an LA Times. I wasn't in poetry at the time, so I opened up this LA Times, I was so happy to see my mother tongue, and it's about LA where I was originally born. And then I'm flipping through and there's this article on Fresno poets, this is about 1995-ish. And I was just so stunned, I wasn't into poetry but here is my hometown, Fresno, and this poetry movement."
"There was a line in there, they asked one of the poets 'why do you think are all of these poets coming out of there' and she said 'I don't know, but I think it has something to do with the dust.' And in a sense I think she's right and I think further than that, there's this work ethic. It comes a little bit from Philip Levine and this working class poet, but more than just being working class, a work ethic. You know we have the fields out here, we have the dairies and there's this real sense of work. We all work. And we bring those sensibilities and that ethic to our poetry. And I think that's really what drives us and links us shoulder to shoulder together as Fresno poets."
Also, this great line: I got into poetry years later, maybe finding that paper was the seed germinating."
Never heard of this particular "Cowboy Poet"...he bit the bullet while riding high in his saddle.
June 12, 2013 AUSTIN, Texas —
The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, acquired the archive of American poet Peter Orlovsky (1933–2010), an important figure in the Beat Generation.
Orlovsky was fellow poet Allen Ginsberg’s companion for more than 40 years, and his papers reflect significant aspects of their relationship. Orlovsky’s collection comprises manuscripts, journals and notebooks, correspondence, tape recordings, photographs and other personal documents, including unpublished poetry and prose works.
From HETQ: Abraham Alikian, one of the most important poets of the Armenian diaspora, passed away in Beirut this Saturday. Alikian was born in Beirut in 1928 and immigrated to Armenia in 1946.For the past year, Alikian had been a resident of the National Old Age Home in Bourdj Hamoud.
Tasting the bitterest fruit of exile and having experienced the most “red” ill-fates of returnees, Alikian’s blazing memory will remain sculpted in our conscience, the eternal word, and on the road to Golgotha towards true literature.
Jim Wayne Miller, on his poetry:
" Growing up in North Carolina, I was often amused, along with other natives, at tourists who fished the trout streams. The pools, so perfectly clear, had a deceptive depth. Fishermen unacquainted with them were forever stepping into what they thought was knee-deep water and going in up to their waists or even their armpits, sometimes being floated right off their feet. I try to make poems like those pools, so simple and clear their depth is deceiving. I want the writing to be so transparent that the reader forgets he is reading and is aware only that he is having an experience. He is suddenly plunged deeper than he expected and comes up shivering."
" Good poetry will deal with ordinary things...and still manage to evoke a sense of wonder, of the miraculous."
This obit by Will Nixon said Jack was a regular at the ole Frost Place saloon..
Looking For God In Downtown Jersey City
The soul tonight is a shopping bag
Floating lightly above a rusted gate.
I found it on my kitchen counter weighted down with
mustard and toilet paper.
I emptied out the garbage and when my back was turned
the soul fled
lifted up on the wind and out over fourth street
through the streets of Jersey City
people look up cross themselves
their eyes bright for an instant
The soul reflecting back pure white.
Dogs and children see it and laugh and for a moment
we are all of us full and clean and
pure in the reflected glory of the plastic soul
we have glimpsed for just a moment.
Then its gone.
A child steps back for a chance at a second look
At something else
white and plastic and high above us
that we can admire as not of our bodies.
Other poems are long-winded and declamatory, as in the bulk of his diatribe against American consumerism and bureaucracy, Angry Candy. As he wrote, “In order to make art you have to scream/ From time to time.” His favorite epithet “Gunboat” suited him: he was ever a small tug with big engine perpetually chugging upstream.
He contributed to over thirty literary publications big and small around the world, and gave more than fifty “shows” in 67 cities of 27 countries, in universities, libraries, schools, and cultural centers. Yet he encouraged other local poets to perform with him, and always shared the limelight with others. In his other guise as an actor, he performed in little theater and big, and played in operas.
For he was highly educated and knowledgeable on international as well as literary affairs. He grew up speaking and eventually translating seven languages. In World War Two he served with the Office of War Information, broadcasting from Algeria to Europe, then served in the US Army, later lived in Berlin. This had quickly become the era of the Cold War, Soviet Occupation of Eastern Europe, and injustices on the home fronts of not a few nations. Pauker worked for fifteen years for the Voice of America, which parachuted him in to cover the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. One can imagine that slight figure in shabby trench coat slipping through the dark and dangerous streets of Budapest, clutching notebook and microphone.
Among other jobs with the United States Information Agency, he served as public affairs officer during John Kenneth Galbraith’s tenure as U. S. ambassador to India. On his own initiative, Pauker brought together Indian poets of various linguistic groups whose only common language was English and set them communicating with each other and with the outside world.
During these years with USIA, Pauker pulled many strings and spun a veritable cat’s cradle of literary networks around the world. He directly and indirectly organized formal gatherings which brought internationally-known poets together with local ones in many countries. Among the American poets he arranged to have serve as Volunteer Overseas Speakers and for whom he organized readings and meetings with their peers abroad were Reed Whittemore and Stanley Kunitz in Moscow, William Meredith in Bulgaria, and Allan Ginsberg in India (this proved a bit disconcerting when Ginsberg undressed while reciting his poems). Likewise James Dickey upset his Brazilian hosts by chasing winsome local Lolitas under the grand piano.
Betty Parry was a prime shaker-and-mover--an apt cliché in a city of politicians and lobbyists. With her many activities and projects, and the poets and writers of all ages and backgrounds whom she encouraged, she helped change the course of Washington's literary history. She quite worshiped poets and poetry, perhaps indeed believing, "Poets not priests / intercede with the Gods" (from "Double Helix in a Mirror").
Public relations was her métier, both professionally and personally, and she used her skills to organize several ground-breaking readings featuring new as well as established poets in a town that hitherto had offered little beyond an occasional reading, usually by a big-name out-of-town poet or writer, at the Library of Congress and Folger Shakespeare Library. And through all her activities, from conducting personal interviews to organizing public forums, as well as in smaller gatherings at her house, she brought countless new and established writers, including many from Washington's Black intellectual circles, to broader audiences.
Born January 5, 1927, (as she writes in her poem "Flowers and Astrology": "nee Widder, German for ram,/ born Zodiac-goat on the fifth/ of January in the Chinese year/ of rabbit"), she died of pancreatic cancer August 1, 1997. She published the anthology The Unicorn and The Garden (The Word Works), and a collection of her own, Shake the Parrot Cage (New Poets Series).
There was no preacher rattling off about the splendors of heaven. (Neal was, as one person recalled, "a militant atheist.") There was no elegantly adorned coffin--there was only Neal resting in a plain pine box, just like he requested. At the end of the service, the pallbearers loaded Neal's coffin into a hearse (full disclosure: I was one of the people doing the lifting), and one of the most epic voices to ever grace the District skipped town and proceeded off into a wind-whipped Sunday night. --Ta-Nehisi Coates
Poet, community activist, teacher, Gaston has been a force in Washington's cultural and poltical life for four decades. He was a passionate civil rights warrior in the struggles of the 1960's and 70's. His commitment to equality and justice is just as strong now, as he focuses on the myriad of devastating public health issues that beset the District.
A nationally known poet and lecturer, Neal's work is highlighted in several anthologies including Black Fire, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal (Random House), Black Power Revolt, edited by Martin Bourber (Sargent Press), and Voices of Struggle, (Lighthouse Press). In addition, his work has been published in numerous literary magazines and he reads and lectures extensively at universities and other national forums.
Neal was co-founder of the internationally acclaimed New School of African-American Thought in Washington, DC. The New School (1966-1971) was a major crucible in which the spirit of Black pride, empowerment and community was forged. This break-through community intellectual center firmly established him as leader in the Black Arts development in both Washington, DC and the nation.
As a "cultural field worker" Neal designed and implemented model programs in the arts. He pioneered city-wide programs bringing music to the neighborhoods, which led to the city's Jazz in the Parks summer concerts. He created one of the first poet-in-residence programs for Lorton Prison and the DC Public Schools. More recently he has produced an innovative jazz and poetry series for the Corcoran Gallery with artists like Quincy Troupe, Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Jackie McLean, the late Art Blakey and Sun Ra.
A native of Pittsburgh, Neal is credited by fellow Pittsburg writers such as Rob Penny and prize-winning playwright August Wilson as an influence. As to his own influences, Neal cites Arthur Rimbaud, Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas, and Jean Toomer.
Gaston Neal is currently working on a collection of his poetry to be published by Third World Press and on his autobiography, Scattered Pieces: A Poet's Life.
Neal is struggling with cancer and the July 13 benefit concert raised money to support a scholarship fund for his two young daughters. For info write Kenny Carroll.