“The White Ship” by Geoffrey Hill

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Geoffrey Hill, the son of a police constable, was born in Worcestershire in 1932. He was educated at Bromsgrove County High School and at Keble College, Oxford. After teaching for more than thirty years in England, first at Leeds and subsequently at Cambridge, he became Professor of Literature and Religion at Boston University in Massachusetts, where he was also founding co-director of the Editorial Institute. In 2010 he was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford.

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In Search of Steve Ditko (2007)

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A BBC Four documentary about comic artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spiderman and Doctor Strange. Features interviews with Stan Lee, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman.

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Top Five Literary/Cultural Reference Points Still Recognizable to Kids Today

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Nowadays, there are vastly more entertainment options available than there were in decades past. That has resulted in a greater diversity of knowledge and appreciation of movies, TV shows, and books, a fact that became obvious to me one day when I tried to use Star Wars as an example in class, and found that less than half of the students had seen it. So I thought E-Versers might appreciate this list, based on a comment by the late Christopher Hitchens. He used to teach writing to students, and he has found that there are really only five common cultural reference points he was able to use in his classes.

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Excerpt from It’s Time by Frank Sherlock

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Frank Sherlock is the Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia, and was a Pew Fellow in the Arts for 2013. His books include Over Here; The City Real and Imagined; and Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated. His current project is “Write Your Block,” which encourages Philadelphians to write about their neighborhoods.

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For Mardi Gras, Some Professor Longhair!

Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd (December 19, 1918 – January 30, 1980), better known as Professor Longhair, was a New Orleans blues singer and pianist. The music journalist Tony Russell, in his book The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, stated “The vivacious rhumba-rhythmed piano blues and choked singing typical of Fess were too weird to sell millions of records; he had to be content with siring musical offspring who were simple enough to manage that, like Fats Domino or Huey “Piano” Smith. But he is also acknowledged as a father figure by subtler players like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John.”

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Philip Levine at the NYS Writers Institute in 1996

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The former Poet Laureate of the United States (2011-2012) Philip Levine died this weekend at the age of 87. Levine was best known for his poems about the American working class and his native city of Detroit. Below is footage of him speaking and reading at The NYS Writers Institute in 1996, the year after he won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection The Simple Truth.

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Music Alive Trailer for Stella Sung’s New Ballet “Fate of Place”

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As may of you probably know, I’ve been working on a new opera with composer Stella Sung, commissioned by New Music USA and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, to premiere in May 2016. The Dayton Opera and Ballet may also stage a full production of our last opera, Red Silk Thread (2014), in the next few years. Here is a short video created by Music Alive to promote Stella’s latest ballet, which premieres this week.

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Top Five Movies You Should Watch this Weekend Instead of Fifty Shades of Grey

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So, Fifty Shades of Grey is coming out tomorrow. It’s awful, of course. But is it fun awful? Low expectations seem to be contributing to it getting tepidly OK reviews. And it’s got a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a lot better than Jupiter Ascending with its truly dismal rating of 23%. But still, Fifty Shades is going to suck, and not in a good way. So what’s a person to do who wants to see two people going at it with kinky gusto? Here are our top five suggestions.

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“Inside Paul Muldoon” by Rick Mullin

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Rick Mullin is a journalist and painter whose three latest books of poetry have been published by Dos Madres Press, Loveland, OH: the book-length poem Soutine, on the painter Chaïm Soutine (2012), the collection Coelacanth (2013), and, most recently, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle (Fall 2014). He is also the author of the book-length poem Huncke, published by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland (2010), and two chapbooks, Aquinas Flinched (Exot Books, New York, 2008) and The Stones Jones Canzones (Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2012). His poems have appeared or are upcoming in American Arts Quarterly, Ep;phany, Measure, The Flea, The New Criterion, and other journals and anthologies, including Rabbit Ears, an anthology of poetry about TV.

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“In Retrospect” by Elizabeth Scanlon

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Elizabeth Scanlon is the Editor of The American Poetry Review and teaches at The University of the Arts. Her chapbook Odd Regard was published by ixnay press in 2013 and her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Boston Review, Colorado Review, MiPoesias, and Ploughshares.

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“On Leaving an Old Mirror Out at the Curb” by Ernest Hilbert in the New Issue of the Hopkins Review

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The Hopkins Review has been called a “postmodern blend of intellectual heft and Vaudeville” by Susan McCallum-Smith of WYPR and Urbanite magazine. Contributors include literary and scholarly heavyweights such as Max Apple, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Millard Kaufman, Frank Kermode, and many others.

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“Meteor” by Susan Delaney Spear

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Susan Spear is the managing editor of Think, a journal of formal poetry, book reviews, and criticism housed at Western Colorado State University. She has published poems in Academic Questions, The Lyric, Mezzo Cammin, Raintown Review, and other print and on-line journals. She lives on the eastern plains of Colorado where she enjoys jogging on the dusty trails.

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Top Five Examples from JUST THIS YEAR of “If You Give a Creature Life, It Will Try to Kill You”

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Mary Shelley may have started it with her maniacally vengeful creation, but it’s now become the go-to mode for horror and sci-fi.

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Ernest Hilbert Reads with Lynn Levin and Laura Spagnoli

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, 7PM Upstairs at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19102, 215-928-8118

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“Portrait of a Stranger in Mt. Moriah Cemetery” by Ernest Hilbert in the New Issue of the Battersea Review

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The new issue of The Battersea Review is packed with all sorts of great things: Robert Archambeau reviews T.S. Eliot’s Letters Vol. I; Saskia Hamilton reviews T.S. Eliot’s Letters Vol. II; Marjorie Perloff reviews T.S. Eliot’s Letters Vols. III & IV; R.P. Blackmur: 1954 Report to the Rockefeller Foundation, Edited by Allison Vanouse; John Wieners: Letters (with Poems) to Michael Rumaker, Edited by Michael Seth Stewart; Robert Archambeau on W.H. Auden’s The Orators; Marjorie Perloff on Ian Hamilton Finlay; Bill Berkson on Gertrude Stein; Richard Tillinghast on Edward Thomas; Flaminia Ocampo on Waldo Frank; James Dempsey on Scofield Thayer, Elaine Orr, and E.E. Cummings; Fiction by Leslie Hodgkins; Cassandra Nelson on Education; Daniel Sofaer on Henry Reed; Larissa Shmailo on Philip Nikolayev; Poetry: What’s Next: Robert Archambeau, Stephen Burt, Ben Mazer.

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“Ich Bin ein Charlie Hebdo” by Quincy Lehr

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Quincy R. Lehr is the author of several collections, most recently Heimat and the forthcoming The Dark Lord of the Tiki Bar. He is the associate editor of The Raintown Review, and he lives in Brooklyn.

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Top Five ’60s Songs about Lonely Middle Class White People

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It’s a whole genre!

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“Picker” by Miller Williams

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“Miller Williams writes about ordinary people in the extraordinary moments of their lives.” – John Ciardi

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“Letter to Virginia Woolf” by Terese Coe

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Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Poetry, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Huffington Post, Poetry Review, the TLS, Agenda, New Walk Magazine, Warwick Review, The Stinging Fly, and many other publications, including anthologies. One of her poems was heli-dropped across London for the 2012 London Olympics Rain of Poems, and she has a new collection of poems and translations coming out in February-March 2015.

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“Mineral Point” by Ernest Hilbert in the New Issue of Yale Review

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Like Yale’s schools of music, drama, and architecture, like its libraries and art galleries, The Yale Review has helped give the University its leading place in American education. In a land of quick fixes and short view and in a time of increasingly commercial publishing, the journal has an authority that derives from its commitment to bold established writers and promising newcomers, to both challenging literary work and a range of essays and reviews that can explore the connections between academic disciplines and the broader movements in American society, thought, and culture. With independence and boldness, with a concern for issues and ideas, with a respect for the mind’s capacity to be surprised by speculation and delighted by elegance, The Yale Review proudly continues into its third century.

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“Mingus at The Showplace” by William Matthews

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“A deliciously irreverent, classically minded poet . . . One of the wittiest and most heartbreaking American poets in the second half of the twentieth century.” – Edward Hirsch

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Books Read or Reread by Ernest Hilbert in 2014

My basement library, poised to grow larger this year.

Well, that’s it. Another year swirls slowly around the drain, soon to be gone. Here is my annual roundup of books I somehow found the time to read over the past year.

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“As the Rooks Are” by Elizabeth Jennings

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Elizabeth Jennings was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1926, and lived most of her life in Oxford, where she moved in 1932. She was educated at Rye St Antony and Oxford High School before reading English at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she began a B.Litt., but left to pursue a career in copy-editing in London. Returning to Oxford to take up a full-time post as a librarian at the city library, Jennings worked briefly at Chatto and Windus before becoming a full-time poet. Her second volume of poetry, A Way of Looking (1955), won the Somerset Maugham Award, which allowed her to travel to Rome, a city which had an immense impact on her poetry and Roman Catholic faith. While she suffered from physical and mental ill health from her early thirties, Jennings was a popular and widely read poet. She received the W.H. Smith award in 1987 for Collected Poems 1953 – 1985, and in 1992 was awarded a CBE. She died in Rosebank Care Home, Bampton, in 2001 and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford.

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“Broad and Washington” by Ernest Hilbert

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The BU Literary Society was founded as BU Students for Literary Awareness in the fall of 1997, under the leadership of Jennifer Herron. The group’s original members meant to publish a magazine called The View from a Window; however, campus plans often being well-laid and then lost, the first issue of their new organ was released in spring 1998, under a more enigmatic title: a single question mark. Since 1999, that publication has been called Clarion, and been published under the aegis of a right red rooster.

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A Christmas Message from Our Cat Wicked Lester Bangs

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Merry Christmas one and all!

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Top Five Similarities Between Dr. Evil and Kim Jong Il

Is life stranger than comedy? Possibly. Let’s have a look at two evil leaders who resemble each other in a remarkable number of ways.

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“Christmas Eve” by Rick Mullin, from Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle

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Rick Mullin is a journalist and painter whose book-length poem Soutine, on the painter Chaïm Soutine, was published by Dos Madres Press in 2012. His poetry collection Coelacanth was published by Dos Madres in 2013. He is the author of the book-length poem Huncke, published by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland, in 2010, and two chapbooks, Aquinas Flinched (Modern Metrics/Exot Books, New York, NY, 2008) and The Stones Jones Canzones (Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2012). He works as a business editor at Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. His paintings are in collections in the U.S., Europe, and the British Virgin Islands.

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“Skeptic Christmas” by Jules Laforgue (Trans. by Kate Flores)

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“He is an exquisite poet, a deliverer of nations, a father of light,” – Ezra Pound

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Top Five Movies to Avoid if You Want to Keep from Angering Kim Jong-Un

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Be careful what you watch, folks.

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