Friday, July 29, 2011

Philbrick Poetry Project Chapbook Competition

The Providence Athenaeum has announced guidelines for the 14th annual Philbrick Poetry Project Chapbook Series. This year's poet-judge is Lisa Starr, Rhode Island Poet Laureate

The winning poet will receive $500, publication of her or his chapbook, publication of an e-book on the Athenaeum website, and the opportunity to read with the poet-judge.
  • Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked between July 15, 2011 and October 15, 2011.
  • A check for the entry fee of $10.00 must be enclosed with the submission (includes free chapbook of a previous honoree).
  • Manuscripts should be 15 to 25 pages. Please send two copies.
  • Eligibility is limited to residents of the New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) who have not had a poetry chapbook or a full-length book published. The Philbrick Poetry Project honors a spirit of fairness and integrity among poets. If you have been a student of the judge within the last five years or if you have a close personal or professional relationship with the judge, please wait until next year to submit your work.
  • The author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • Please enclose with your submission two cover sheets with the following information. Cover sheet #1: Title of manuscript, author name and address, telephone number and e-mail address. Cover sheet # 2: Title of manuscript.
  • Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for announcement. Manuscripts will not be returned.
  • The honoree will be announced in February 2012.
  • The reading by the poet judge and honoree will take place at the Athenaeum in April 2012.

Manuscripts may be sent to: The Providence Athenaeum, attn. Philbrick Poetry Project , 251 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903.

Kinglsey Amis: "Something Was Moaning in the Corner"

O muskrat, ramble through the living grass
And coil the leaves on the abandoned bone;
Bring to the midden your eliding grease
And load the summer zephyrs with your bane.

O viper, mad with coiling on a pin,
Deadly Narcissus gazing on your scales,
Vomit your naked young sentenced to pain
And learn to love the bad sun where it scalds.

O spider, crawl into my tiny heart
And find your doom. The blood is vacant there.
With needle legs prick my dull skin apart
And build your web of sweet inhuman hair.


One of several experiential elements which have not yet been translated from physical libraries to e-reader storefronts and other digital spaces (I'm looking at you, Cushing Academy) is the likelihood of serendipitous discoveries brought about by catalog propinquity. Case in point: I was looking for a Kingsley Amis novel not too long ago, and happened to find on the library shelf in the same section, the thin volume which I have since discovered is relatively rare: Bright November, Amis' first collection, published by The Fortune Press in 1947, and from which the poem above is taken. A neat thing, -- imperfect to be sure, but full of Positions and Perspectives which would get a newly-minted MFA in trouble now-a-days is he or she tried to thicken a first manuscript with them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Literary Seminar: American Expat Literature

This is now the third summer in which the Boston Poetry Union has organized a Seminar in Literary Appreciation. This year, Christopher Ohge will guiding participants through a tour of "AMERICAN EXPATRIATE WRITING IN THE 19th & 20th CENTURY".

These reading seminars are intended to acquaint participants with major personalities and events in the broad body of American literature written by Americans abroad. No prior experience is assumed or needed, and no preparation is required to attend.

These are relaxed and informative affairs, where the aim is for all involved to grow in their appreciation of literature. The moderator will provide reading packets for each session, in hard copy at the seminar and in PDF in advance. At each session, the moderator will deliver a brief expository lecture introducing the themes and relevance of that evening's texts, before leading group discussion focused on close reading.

Thursdays 6-8 PM
Boston University's Mugar Library
771 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 414
"BU Central" stop on the Green Line "B" trolley

Seminar 1: July 28th
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The Sphinx"; "Persian Poetry"; and selections from Journals while abroad in Italy
- Nathaniel Hawthorne: "P's Correspondence"

Seminar 2: August 4th
Herman Melville: selections from Typee; "Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids"; and Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant

Seminar 3: August 11th
Henry James: selections from Italian Hours
Edith Wharton: selections from In Morocco

Seminar 4: August 18th
Gertude Stein: "Ada" and "Guillaume Apollinaire"
T. S. Eliot: "Fourth Caprice in Montparnasse" and Four Quartets

Seminar 5: August 25th
Paul Bowles: selected letters from France, 1929-1932; "A Distant Episode"; "Allal"; and "Baptism of Solitude"

Participants may attend any or all sessions; the seminar is not cumulative.

If you'd like to register, please email your name to as well as your contact information and the dates you plan to attend. A maximum of 12 students can be seated at each session. The cost to attend each session is $5, or $25 for the whole seminar series. Payment may be made at the first seminar with cash, by check to "Boston Poetry Union," or via PayPal to