poetry

“St. Louis is kind of underappreciated as a literary city,” St. Louis author Ann Leckie said. “There’s the long history, but there’s also plenty of writers who are here now.”

That history, including authors like Maya Angelou and Tennessee Williams, and award-winning authors like Leckie are fueling next weekend’s Lit in the Lou festival.

St. Louis Public Radio photos

Boise has one. So do Houston and Los Angeles, and even East St. Louis. But St. Louis is one of the few major cities that doesn’t have a poet laureate, an official poet to document its culture in verse.

image courtesy of Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: Ted Kooser | Applause

Louis Brodsky
Provided by the family

Louis Daniel Brodsky, a stunningly prolific writer who composed nearly 12,000 poems, including more than 350 on the Holocaust, has died.

When Mr. Brodsky decided to become serious about his poetry, he committed himself to writing a poem every day of his life.

“He worked at being a poet,” said Eugene Redmond, professor emeritus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and poet laureate of East St. Louis. “Lou went to work like a physician, like a person who worked in a coal mine, like a janitor, like a math teacher. It was amazing.”

image courtesy of Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: A.E. Stallings | Daphne.

River Styx’s 39th (because who wants to turn 40?) Anniversary Issue just hit the stands and mailboxes. It includes this poem from the point of view of Daphne, a naiad chased by Apollo. Just before she was overtaken, she called out to her father, a river god, for help, and he turned her into a laurel tree.

A. E. Stallings

Daphne

Rooted in my shade so long,

I have forgotten dance, and song,

The wild escape that brought me here.

My hair is leaves, the leaves are sere

And pregnant with a bitter oil,

My grip is pitch-forked in the soil.

No one pursues. I do not run

But stand all seasons in the sun:

Autumn shook me for his rattle,

Winter wooed me. Witless prattle

Coupled in my brain all spring

And changed into a crackled thing.

A poet’s wreath, a girl’s lost beauty

Crown me dryly, like a duty;

Now that the wind begins to shift,

Careless as a match, and swift,

Let summer find me in his turn

Slow to fade, and quick to burn.

A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Athens, Greece, since 1999. Her most recent collection is Olives (Triquarterly, 2012). She is a recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

In this 2011 photo taken in Harlem, Maya Angelou is seated and Eugene Redmond is at her right.
Ros Crenshaw

The passing on Wednesday, May 28, of world-renowned poet, novelist and activist Maya Angelou has been a major news and social media topic.

Here in the St. Louis area, where Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, as Marguerite Johnson before moving away to Stamps, Ark., at an early age, she leaves behind her “brother in spirit,” East St. Louis-born poet and scholar, Eugene Redmond.

image courtesy of Styx

Richard Newman of River Styx brings his poetic touch to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. He regularly selects a poem to appear on this site. It's a free glimpse into the vibrant poetry life in this area. Today: Jeffrey Bean | The Voyeur’s Blues.

This month we’re featuring a blues poem from River Styx’s upcoming anniversary issue. The blues often come in dark shades, and this one makes the speaker compelling and creepy, the scene sinister yet almost sweet.

Jeffrey Bean

The Voyeur’s Blues

detail from Gallery 210 postcard

Tuesday afternoon, I got away from the office a little early and headed south, dodging raindrops on the way to Chester, Ill. Past Ruma, the sky commanded attention.

On my right, streaks of thin clouds danced against an opaque, pale blue. Straight ahead, dark, deep foreboding clouds layered upward. The rain streaked below. But above all that, a dome of the clearest, cleanest blue provided the beginning of a benediction that was completed in the rainbow patch shimmering at my left.

Frazier Glenn Cross once headed a North Carolina Klan organization.
Wikipedia | archival photo

The national news brought poignant remembrances of the Boston Marathon this week. Close to home, the news brought fresh, stark examples of the best and worst in human nature.

Aaron Williams

When St. Louis attorney recruiter Aaron Williams became interested in croquet 30 years ago, it was about partying, not poetry. Getting some friends together to play croquet in Forest Park was just “something to do.”

“It was an opportunity for everyone to wear white and bring a bottle of champagne,” Williams quipped.

Pages