Mary Jo Bang

Happy Birthday, Mary Jo Bang!

Today is awesomepoet Mary Jo Bang’s birthday. Over on her wall, the best wishes are piling up; fellow awesomepoet Erin Belieu even proclaimed-

All hail Mary Jo’s existence! Hip hip, hooray!

which seems just about right to me. As our regular readers know, HTMLGiant encourages you to celebrate the existence of writers you admire and enjoy by reading their work and buying their books. You can start over at, where there are five MJB poems and a bio. A similar setup, but with mostly different poems, can be found at the Poetry Foundation. Her most recent collection is The Bride of E, and the one before it, Elegy, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Those two are both published by Graywolf. I also know many people who are strong partisans for her early book, Louise in Love. All this plus The Eye like a Strange Balloon and The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans, so there’s really no excuse for not getting your fill. Mary Jo Bang, HTMLGiant wishes you a very happy birthday, and advises that you never–ever–do a Google image search for your last name. Cheers!

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October 22nd, 2010 / 1:32 pm

Maggy Poetry

Hey this is new and interesting. Also, attractive! Meet Maggy Poetry, a new journal edited by Alina Gregorian, Allison Power, and Adam Fitzgerald–three people whose first names all begin with “A.” Is this how they came to agree on an alphabetical arrangement for their issue? (It’s by last name, but still.) The journal is a perfect-bound 8.5 x 11 volume with a handsome cover–you might reasonably mistake it for an issue of Purple or Flaunt (except that it, duh, the cover says Maggy on it)–and a very impressive and varied list of contributors. Some of the biggest “Names” are John Ashbery, Timothy Donnelly, Jeff Clark, Mark Strand, Fanny Howe, Alice Notley, and Matthew Zapruder. (Just because they do the alphabetical thing doesn’t mean that I have to.) Of the up-and-comers, I was especially glad to see Bianca Stone and New Michigan Chapbook Prize-winner Ben Mirov. Plus translations! We get two Dante cantos from Mary Jo Bang, and some of Richard Zenith’s Fernando Pessoa. Oh and did I mention the previously unpublished James Schuyler poems? Holy Christ there’s a lot to be excited about here. How they’re doing it for ten bucks an issue is beyond me, but that’s not my problem anymore than it is yours. The point is, they’re doing it. They did it. It’s here. You should get it over to where you are, but if you’re still not convinced, look below the fold for some samples from the issue, hand re-typed with love and a hearty cheers to The A Team on the occasion of their auspicious and promising debut. (And with apologies about the space-breaks, which are represented by¬† _ marks–please just ignore them, and know that in the actual issue they aren’t there.)


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January 21st, 2010 / 1:30 pm

Mary Jo Bang’s favorite book covers

Over at Best American Poetry Blog, they’ve apparently been running a thing where poets choose some of their favorite poetry book-covers. I’m a little late to the party, as there are already entries from Major Jackson, Jesse Ball, David Lehman, and several others. But I’m a big fan of Mary Jo’s, and so it was exciting to enter the series via her entry, which by the way, includes the cover of Mark Bibbins’s forthcoming The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon), perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated follow-up collection of 2009. So why don’t you head over to the blog, read Mary Jo’s piece, then check out some of the others.

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August 5th, 2009 / 11:40 am