Contributions by Susan Kelly-DeWitt

The Splendor of Letters

By | Book Review, Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

I’ve been reading The Splendor of Letters by Nicholas Basbane, absorbed by his stories of poets and writers connecting through time—of literature saved from obscurity or rescued from oblivion by translators, by booklovers, by fellow writers. I’ve also been inhabiting all those terrible times he details, when an entire culture’s writings have been obliterated—deliberate attempts …

Vinings

By | Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

I guess like most writers I’d like to defeat time. I’d like the dead to live on forever, along with some trees, flowers, birds and insects I’ve known. At some point a seed was planted, and it continues to sprout through my eyes, my ears, my mouth—even my nose (that bloodhound for the troubles of …

Thinking About Irina Ratushinskaya

By | Book Review, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

I’m not quite sure what got me thinking about Irina Ratushinskaya recently but something did, and brought back how closely I followed her work during the Eighties; poets all over the world took her case very personally. Many of us wrote letters protesting her imprisonment and asking for her release. (Here is a link to …

Merton

By | Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

Sweet brother, if I do not sleepMy eyes are flowers for your tomb So Merton wrote in “For My Brother: Reported Missing in Action, 1943.” Merton’s brother John Paul was killed after his plane crashed in the North Sea during a bombing mission. He was pulled from the water into a rubber dinghy but died …

Wide and Deep

By | Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

One of the great things about being a blogger is that you can shine a little light on work you admire. Today I’m going to direct a fat beam on two very different poets, John Rybicki and Louie Skipper. Rybicki’s poetry is new to me but I have followed Skipper’s work for a number of …

Levertov

By | Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

I keep returning to that moment, that first Tuesday afternoon, the door with its frosted pane. It swings open suddenly, pulled back into the dusky hallway, and Denise sails in, salt and pepper curls wind-tossed. It reminds me of the course my life is about to take, a change from the routine academia I had …

How to Build a Poem and the Ars Poetica

By | Poetics, Prose, Susan Kelly-DeWitt

I’ve just been talking on the phone to my good friend Kathleen Lynch about her poem, “How To Build an Owl.” Recently Kathleen told me a great story about how she happened to write this poem, a fascinating tale which I won’t go into here because Kathleen is at this very moment writing a piece …