The poet and beloved teacher Paul Violi died early this month, and I’ve just found out that the Best American Poetry blog has a section devoted to thoughts and memories shared by friends and associates; anyone who has something to share may contribute. It is here.
Coldfront did a nice tribute w/ poem here.
I hadn’t the pleasure of studying with Mr. Violi at the New School, but I was lucky enough to have a conversation or two with him and to hear him read a few times, which was always a great treat. For someone like me, who didn’t really know him, he was nevertheless a fixture at my school in the best possible way, and it’s hard to imagine the place without him. It is surely a keen loss to those who knew him. If you didn’t know him, it will be your gain to discover or rediscover his work now. Here is a list of what you can find online.
Author News / 3 Comments
April 11th, 2011 / 2:19 pm
Today class happened amidst the bumble and burst of plumbers and electricians, anxious dogs, and un-showered, tired, frenzied me. But it happened nonetheless. We workshopped a lot today. First, in whole-group fashion (there are 16 of us) to finish up where we left off last week with our reckless poetry. At the end of class, concentrating on sound and how sound moves through the air and into our ears and around in our noggins, students got into groups of three in which one person read while the other group members listened. After the poem, each group member wrote down what stuck the hardest in their memories, and then we talked about how the poems [we’ve been thinking about rhythm and chant] accomplished their sonic goals, or didn’t. That was fun. I bounced around the groups, interjected here and there, but mostly I let them do the talking. They’re all pretty smart readers, and I trust them.
Another of my favorite games is to annotate Philip Levine’s They Feed They Lion together with a class. I’m trying to teach students about writing annotation papers as writers versus as academic critics. It involves a helluva lot more looking at how craft informs our understanding of a poem versus simply what the poem means. Students get super frustrated, usually, about the phrase, “they feed they lion,” and they want me to tell them what it means. I tell them I don’t know what it means, but maybe by looking at how the poem is written we’ll start to get our heads around it. Chaos ensues. I write things on the chalk board. People start seeing biblical allusions and apocalypse. It’s great. Then I say something teacherly like, “well, how does all this anaphora and accreted repetition inform the poem?” Today I got some really astute answers that I’m too exhausted to expound on.
I showed students this excerpt from a Levine interview in which he explains the nascence of the poem [here] [I like the stories Mr. Levine tells]:
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Craft Notes / 18 Comments
September 29th, 2010 / 5:39 pm
In a comment on yesterday’s “Power Quote” post, one of our regular commenters said he couldn’t find much about M.L. Rosenthal’s The Modern Poets: A Critical Introduction on the web. Well, neither could I, actually, which is one of the reasons that my post had links to some Yeats poems he had written about instead of to anything by Rosenthal himself. So by special request, please find below the T.O.C. to the book, plus some info on Rosenthal, for the edification and enjoyment of all. Before we get to that, however, I want to give a shout-out to Paul Violi. I was lucky enough to study with Paul when I was an MFA at The New School. Of all the poets–hell, all the people–I know, he’s easily one of the best- and widest-read, and is always generous with his vast knowledge when I get a bug up my ass about this or that poetry-related topic and start suddenly shooting him emails. Most recently, that topic has been Ezra Pound. Paul pointed me to Rosenthal specifically for chapter three, “EZRA POUND: THE POET AS HERO.” After–or before–you check out the T.O.C. to this book, I emphatically recommend you click over to Paul’s website and check him out, if you don’t already know his work.
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Author Spotlight & Excerpts / 7 Comments
January 27th, 2009 / 5:51 pm