Posted by: literaryfolk | February 28, 2010

Literary Update for March 1, 2010

Dear Literary Folk,

Top of the news this month is both sad and celebratory. The sad news is the loss of two great women poets: Lucille Clifton, who passed away on February 13, and Ruth Daigon, who died on February 17, 2010.

Lucille Clifton’s poems, like her life, were inspirational. Indeed, many women’s lives were changed forever by reading Clifton’s great “homage to my hips.” If you don’t know her work, you’re in for a treat. If you do, perhaps you will enjoy rereading old favorites or discovering new ones in her prolific collections. Besides her astonishing career as a poet, Lucille Clifton held another honor–one which few poets can claim: she was a grand champion on the game show Jeopardy!

Poet Gerald Stern had this to say about her passing:

“I want to give thanks to the dear woman who suffered so much. To her wisdom—like no other; to her presence—like no other. I want to thank her for her humor, her memory, her stubbornness, her honesty, her grace, her anger. She will walk along some river—where else?—and she will know her way home by how the air feels, by the wind. There was nothing like her; there was no one like her. No one will cry mercy like her.”

Here’s a great web link to find out more:

Ruth Daigon was another force to be reckoned with. She was a singer, poet, editor and publisher. As a musician, she sang at Dylan Thomas’s funeral. She worked with W. H. Auden on a recording of Elizabethan verse and music for Columbia Records. As a poet, her poems earned many awards, and as the publisher and editor of Poets:On (with her husband Artie), she nurtured a poets’ conversation on a wide range of subjects. I was fortunate to know her and count her among my friends.

To find out more about Ruth and her poems, here are a couple of web links I recommend:

D.A. Powell wins $100,000 prize for poetry

We also have some joyous news. I’m so pleased to announce that Doug Powell has won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement that ran in the LA Times.

Photo of D.A. Powell: Trane DeVore

D.A. Powell, who teaches at the University of San Francisco, has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University. His books include “Tea,” “Lunch,” “Cocktails” and “Chronic.” In a review in The Times last year, John Freeman described Powell as “a modern romantic: obsessed, enraged and turned about by love. His language is infiltrated by songs, phrases from movies, the treacle-sweet soundtracks of so many musicals. ‘Love,’ he writes in one poem, ‘is the chorus waiting to be born.’ ”

The Tufts prize was established in 1992 to honor work by a midcareer poet. Powell is 46.

— Lee Margulies

Poetry Out Loud Winners

I’d also like to extend congratulations to Giovanny Espinosa and Brooke McLaughlin who took first place and first runner up in the Poetry Out Loud Competition on February 6. The competition was the most intense I’d ever witnessed, with 12 students delivering inspired and dramatic presentations.  Giovanny goes on from here to the state competition in Sacramento. You can find more on their winning performances in the County Wide News page of the Literary Update.

The rest of this month’s Literary Update can be accessed by clicking on the pages from the menu above.


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