by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan • from Spans: New and Selected Poems • Louisiana State University Press
Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
A native of Atlanta, Elizabeth Seydel Morgan is the author of four previous poetry collections.
Spans: New and Selected Poems
"The great gift of Spans is the chance it affords the reader to cross and re-cross life’s bridges in Morgan’s perspicuous, wry, and irresistible company."
(Lisa Russ Spaar)
"Midway through my freshman year at college, my roommate, Roger, asked if I would read a poem he'd written and tell him what I thought. I was pleased to be considered a literary person whose opinion might be valued. And my roommate, who would major in geology, had previously shown no interest in poetry. 'Of course,' I said.
"The subject of the poem was the death of Roger's father, and I felt a small shock in reading it, since no one I knew had yet lost a parent. Unfortunately, Roger's poem was a very bad poem. I don't now remember the various ways in which it failed, but there seemed no doubt in my mind. Given the subject, however, what kind of criticism would be appropriate or bearable?
"I began by expressing my condolences, and Roger interrupted quickly to say, No, his father hadn't really died. That was just the subject of the poem. 'But you can't do that!' I exclaimed. Perhaps I didn't actually exclaim, or even say it directly. But it was what I felt. This was wrong, a violation of some rule or code. You couldn't do it, or you shouldn't.
"But why not? What if the poem had been good? Would I have condemned it because it wasn't 'true'? Would factual truth have been transformed into a larger 'truth' (quotation marks intended), determined by literary value? This essay is an attempt to think about these questions."
—Lawrence Raab MORE
- John W. Evans
- Patrick Hicks
- Sarah Rose Nordgren
- Mark Strand
- Lisa Bubasch
- Jeffrey Schultz
- Chelsea Woodard
- Kimiko Hahn
- Bill Berkson
Audio recordings of events in our Readings & Conversations and In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom series are available via podcast generally within one week of the event. Selected past Lannan events are also being released periodically in audio and/or video format. We also have rare video interviews with people such as Peter Reading and John Berger.
PD on Twitter!
Recent collections by David Mura, James Cihlar, Wang Ping, Kate Green, and Sheila Packa reviewed by Elizabeth Hoover.
William Porter profiles Colorado poet laureate Joseph Hutchison.
West Chester University Poetry Conference canceled, director reassigned.
Brian O'Neill talks with MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes.
Ben Lerner's novel 10:04 reviewed by Christian Lorentzen.
Andrew McCulloch introduces Nicholas Wade's "Nicholas Wade’s Trousers."
Ted Kooser presents Karina Borowicz's "September Tomatoes."
Terrence Hayes and Khaled Mattawa win MacArthur Awards.
Carol Rumens introduces "The Sea and the Skylark," by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
National Book Award longlist is announced.
Arlice Davenport reviews W. S. Merwin's Moon Before Morning.
Christopher Dickey talks about the poetry of his father, James Dickey.
Tim Adams reviews Gabriel, by Edward Hirsch.
National Poetry Series announces winners.
Eric Trethewey, 71
Recent collections by Ruth Padel, David Harsent, and Michael Longley reviewed by Paul Batchelor.
Craig Morgan Teicher on The Collected Poems of W.S. Merwin.
Joseph Hutchison named Colorado poet laureate. MORE