The Contester: Down Came a Contest, Cradle and All

Kevin Larimer

The brief, contentious, and ultimately fruitless relationship between poet Stacey Lynn Brown and the editors of Cider Press, points to an essential question that pops up often in literary publishing: Whose opinion—author's or publisher's—should matter most when it comes to finalizing the product that enters the marketplace as a book?

Poetry Makes Strange Bedfellows

Travis Nichols

By presenting seventy-three poets, all of whom the editors believe constitute what Charles Bernstein famously called "official verse culture" as well as its unofficial, avant-garde counterpart, the new anthology American Hybrid strives to showcase the diversity of contemporary American poetry while also revealing the unusual affinities within it.

The Dorothy Parker Book Battle

Suzanne Pettypiece

On April 4, United States District Court Judge John F. Keenan ruled in favor of Stuart Y. Silverstein in a plagiarism suit he filed against Penguin Putnam in 2001. Silverstein, who compiled Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker (Scribner, 1996), claimed in his lawsuit that Penguin infringed on his copyright by publishing Dorothy Parker: Complete Poems, which includes a section titled “Poems Uncollected by Parker,” the identical poems published in Not Much Fun.

The United State of Poets Laureate

Denise Hart

During the past year, poets laureate have been the unlikely recipients of national media attention. New Jersey's Amiri Baraka was excoriated for reading a poem that some labeled anti-Semitic, and California's Quincy Troupe resigned after inaccuracies were discovered on his resumé. With their public profiles growing, the role of poets laureate is being called into question. In April the nation's first conference for state poets laureate will convene in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they will discuss poetry and their responsibilities as public representatives of their art. 

Jimmy's Place: A Haven on Water Street

Sarah Gorham

When James Merrill died in 1994, he willed his large, turn-of-the-century house on Water Street to the Borough of Stonington, Connecticut. The village improvement committee was free to use the building any way it desired; Merrill made no stipulation in his will. But the National Book Award–winning poet had been an important figure in the village's ongoing literary tradition. The committee decided to keep Merrill's legacy alive by creating a writer-in-residence program. Since 1996, a lucky poet or scholar has lived, for either six months or a full year, in Merrill's curious home across from the harbor. Writers chosen for residency are notified more than a year in advance. Several Merrill House residents have reported "the happiest period of my life," surrounded by Merrill's books and knickknacks, far removed from the snarl of city life—Boston, New York, or Louisville, in our case.

Poetry at the Crossroads of America


Last spring I embarked on a modest project. Having photocopied 10 of my favorite poems—by poets living and dead, from several different countries—I stapled them into an anthology and stood on a sidewalk in Times Square, where I read the poems aloud. I had no other gimmicks and no amplification. I did this on several occasions, always bringing a friend along for moral support and to assist in handing out free copies of the anthology, which I titled "Antidote."


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