*Happy British National Poetry Day!*

A Celebration of Poetry in the Past 20 Years by Princeton University Press intern, Oliver Newman

The cloning of Dolly the sheep, 9/11, the introduction of the Euro, the election of the first black American president, the birth of Justin Bieber… A lot has happened in the 20 years since the last edition of The Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics was published. What, though, has happened in the world of contemporary poetry (not including Justin Bieber’s rise to fame)?

k9677T.S. Eliot once declared that, at its best, contemporary poetry ‘can give us a feeling of excitement and a sense of fulfilment different from any sentiment aroused even by very much greater poetry of a past age.’ Here, Eliot is implying that contemporary poetry can evoke powerful emotional reactions borne from its immediate relevance to, and subsequent reflection of, the age in which we live. Adopting this philosophy, poetry’s development during the last 20 years should reflect the development of modern society. This is immediately apparent with the rise of electronic poetry, which resembles our age through its inherent reliance upon modern technological advances and almost unlimited, instantaneous networking via the internet. However, the correlation between contemporary poetry and the present age is perhaps most interesting when examining the medium’s development as a social spectacle, and poetry is rarely more spectacular than when being “slammed” from one opponent to another.

Poetry slamming first appeared in 1984, and has generated heated reactions from poets and academics alike. Unlike electronic poetry, which leaves original material unaltered, poetry slamming is predominantly reliant upon impermanent, sensual reactions that manifest out of the spectacle surrounding the original material, lending it to comparisons with some of the most popular forms of entertainment available today. ‘Seeing poetry slams often reminds me of watching American Idol. You’ve got a series of judges, an audience that comes in looking for a certain shtick that they want to see and that’s what they’re going to cheer for’, stated University of South Carolina Professor Kip Fulbeck in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent. Whether the audience is ‘looking for a certain kind of shtick’ is subjective, but poetry slamming’s resemblance to shows such as American Idol and X-Factor is certainly evident. Indeed, it follows the same basic formula – three minute rounds, multiple opponents who are graded respectively by a panel of judges, and a general emphasis upon personality and performance.

While academics such as Harold Bloom, who has labelled poetry slamming ‘the death of art’, denounce the form for its reliance upon exhibitionism and competition, it could be argued that these very features elevate the medium to an altogether new art form, one that ironically reflects our age in a way that ordinary poetry could never do. By consciously emphasising performance over artistry, purveyors of the form are unconsciously parodying the age’s fascination with spectacle over original material, a fascination displayed through the overwhelming popularity of shows such as X-Factor (the 2011 final of which garnered a viewing audience of just over 15 million people).

Whether or not these resemblances give the reader a feeling of excitement and a sense of fulfilment equal to poetry of a past age, or whether it simply distorts the artistry of the original material is just one of the many themes explored in the new edition of The Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics. In fact this fourth edition, revised and updated for the twenty-first century, offers more than 250 new entries and covers all aspects of poetry from its history, movements and genres, to its rhetorical devices, critical terms and more, making it the most comprehensive and definitive edition yet.

Happy National Poetry Day!

 

 

Rutland Book Fair, August 16-18

Clipboard01Stop by and visit our UK colleagues at Rutland Bird Fair this weekend. We’ll have a large display of our Princeton WildGuides books, the Crossley ID Guide series, The Unfeathered BirdThe World’s Rarest Birds, and on.

Other highlights on the Princeton WILDGuides stand include:

  • free Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland posters
  • a chance to win a copy of The World’s Rarest Birds
  • all our new and recent birding and natural history books on display
  • advance copies of Britain’s Day-Flying Moths (bulk stock doesn’t arrive until September, so see it first here!)
  • a warm welcome to all

We will be located at Marquee 6, Stand 36. Hope to see you there!

“Italo Calvino – A Life” – Bristol Festival of Ideas hosts PUP authors this week

Calvino

Michael Wood and Martin McLaughlin will be speaking about their much anticipated new collection of Italo Calvino’s letters, Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985  at the Bristol Festival of Ideas this Wednesday 3rd July. The editors of this wonderful volume will discuss how they first came across Calvino, how they met and why they decided to edit this volume, the importance of the translation in how we interpret the letters, the selection and editing process, what they had to leave out, and the writing and the man himself.

The event will take place at Watershed Waterside 3 in Bristol at 7:45pm on 3rd July. For more information, or to order tickets, please visit the Festival of Ideas website.

Leonard Barkan to speak at Arts Week at Birkbeck, University of London, May 23, 6:00 PM

k9832[1]Birkbeck, University of London will host their annual Art Week next week. Leonard Barkan, author of Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures and Michelangelo: A Life on Paper, will speak on May 23 at 6:00 PM.

Barkan’s book has received some lovely reviews from The Washington Post, Leonardo online, and Choice magazine (“…deserves to become a standard work on the relations of word, image, and poetry and painting in pre-modern culture…”) in recent months. We hope you can join him for what is bound to be a fascinating discussion of the peculiar relationship between art and poetry — or as Leonardo reviewer Jan Baetens puts it, “the desire to compare apples and oranges, and the skepticism that arises when apples and oranges are put aside in different baskets.”

Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures: A book and some afterthoughts

May 23, 2013 06:00 – 07:30 PM
Venue The Peltz Room, 43 Gordon Square
Free entry; booking required

Event description

Professor Barkan (University of Princeton) will discuss his recent work on the relationship between words and pictures from antiquity to the Renaissance. Professor Barkan is the author of The Gods Made Flesh, Unearthing the Past and most recently Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures.

Booking: This event is free but booking is essential – see http://bbkmutepoetry.eventbrite.com/

This event forms part of Arts Week 2013 – you can see the full programme here.

Launch of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics— “004″!

We were delighted to host the launch of the Fourth Edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics at the London Review Bookshop last Thursday evening. Contributors, well-wishers and lifelong fans gathered together to celebrate this magnificent book. Among them was the contributor on Poetry of Russia, Andrew Kahn, who was kind enough to share his admiration for this much-loved work in a speech:

“Like the appearance of a new James Bond film, the appearance of the fourth edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics—004!—is cause for jubilation.

 
This new edition is a magnificent book and achievement. Was there ever a work that taught us more about the ideal and the practical, the historical and the theoretical? Was there ever a work that in a single volume ranged across so many forms of the imagination? Perhaps the Bible, but then for many of its readers, and I include myself, the Princeton Encyclopedia is something of a Bible, containing revelations, divine writings, miracles of concision and lightly worn authority, the precepts of wisdom literature and abundant storytelling. Except that the God of Poetics wears her learning lightly. While deeply serious, and executed with great technical finish, this Good Book is a lovable and playful work. One would want to praise it in terms commensurate it with its contents and achievement. One would therefore want to be a ‘Meistersinger’ (p. 860) gripped by a ‘furor poeticus’ (p.531), ‘inspired’ (p.709) with ‘intensity’ (p. 710) to dithyrambic flights (p.371), to new heights of ‘agudeza’ (p.26), to praise Princeton Press ‘phonesthemically’ (p.1038) in rhyme, near rhyme or even ottava rima, to lavish ‘hovering accents’ (p.640) or devise hypograms (p.649), to roar with leonine rhymes or fire a cybertext, and then to repeat the pythiambic ode, a paplindrome of rispetto or, if you all joined in, to stage a ‘poetry slam’ (p.1070)—a Zulu izibongo (p. 1553) or an epinikion in the Pindaric mode.

 
It’s not news that the art of poetry has many rules and forms from ‘agudeza’ to ‘Zulu’. But the Princeton Encyclopedia always manages to make it new. This indispensable manual has a history of being savoured and cherished, and the fourth edition will instruct and inspire faithful users and new readers alike. Its reach is global–the expanded selection of national chapters bears witness to the universality and vitality of poetry. It’s worth its considerable weight in gold (but well priced so have no fear). But there’s a further aspect to the Princeton Encyclopedia that I find profoundly wonderful. Poetry as we see it assembled, explored, taxonomized, appreciated and renewed here is a mirror of civilizations and hearts and minds. It turns out that poetry is nothing less than the sum total of virtually everything that goes into thinking and writing about life. In fact, one has only to glance at topical chapters to see that poetry IS life because poetry goes hand in hand with anthropology, belief, culture, dance, gender, history, linguistics, music, painting, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, science, technology and therapy. And if I might strike a personal note, there are many reference works about poetry, but there is only one that commands universal respect. Contributing a chapter on my subject, and writing an essayistic account of the lives and lines of the poets of Russia, was a privilege and uplifting responsibility.


Horace, a grand old man of poet legislators and sometimes a killjoy, says ‘Nil admirari est’—‘It’s better not to admire’. But the learning, style and sheer scale of Princeton Encyclopedia is worthy of Horace’s own famous Poetics, now fitted for our times yet ‘more lasting than bronze’. 007 may only have so many lives, 004 is imperishable! The contributors, editors and publishers deserve all our ungrudging admiration, congratulations and thanks for the latest incarnation of this tremendous work of learning and spirit.”

 
Andrew Kahn — Contributor, Poetry of Russia

JEREMY ADELMAN GIVES PUP IN EUROPE LECTURE IN OXFORD

 

On Tuedsay night our European office held at St Hugh’s College Oxford its second annual PUP in Europe autumn lecture in honor of our European Advisory Board. Jeremy Adelman, the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilisation and Culture at Princeton University, gave an extremely engaging overview of his forthcoming biography of the renowned social scientist Albert Hirschman (May 2013). Adelman framed his talk around Hirschman’s famous triad Exit, Voice and Loyalty. He showed that Hirschman’s life, from his work in getting Jews out of France in 1940 to his development of a new kind of social science with Clifford Geertz at the Institute for Advanced Study, offers a unique vantage point on the political, economic, and cultural history of the twentieth century. Adelman’s talk exemplified the values of big ideas and clear expression which Hirschman has made his own.

Celebrations in the UK

2012 has been a noteworthy year in the UK: the magnificent celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II were followed by the fabulously successful London Olympics. But the UK is not only home to these inspirational events, it is also home to PUP’s European office.

 It has been 12 years since PUP set up its European base in the beautiful town of Woodstock, just outside the world-leading university city of Oxford. Since then the number of staff in the European office has increased threefold with UK-based editors, a publicity team which handles PR for all PUP books in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and PUP’s International Rights team. Five years ago the office moved to larger premises and two years ago it was joined by a new European Publishing Director, Al Bertrand. Since Al’s arrival a PUP Europe Advisory Board has been set up and the Princeton University Press in Europe Lecture Series has been instigated, with annual lectures in the spring and autumn. To complement the European office’s activities we have updated and expanded the PUP Europe information on PUP’s website - our contribution to the UK’s year of celebration.

The Olympic Flame passes in front of Princeton University Press!

9th July 2012

52 days after it embarked upon its historic journey across the UK, the Olympic Flame finally arrived in Oxfordshire.

There was a feeling of excitement in the air as crowds lined the streets of Woodstock, the historic town which has been home to PUP Europe since it opened its UK office in January 2000.

 

 
The red, white and blue spectators cheered and waved their flags as a convoy of sponsors’ lorries warmed up the crowd with cheerleaders and loud pop music. Even our humanities editor Ben Tate had a boogie.
 
The torch was carried through Woodstock by Clive Stone, who has campaigned for better access to cancer treatments in the UK and was instrumental in the creation of the Cancer Drugs Fund. Prime Minister, David Cameron, who is MP for nearby Witney, made an appearance.
PUP Europe was well represented, with our youngest fan proudly wearing the Princeton UP baseball cap! We may not have tickets to the Olympics, but at least a little bit of the Olympics came to us. You can see a video of the Olympic Torch filmed from a PUP office window at this YouTube page.

 

Could the EU learn a thing or two from Blackbeard?

“The idea that pirates were better at governing themselves than the European Union might seem a little surreal, unless you’re a very sceptical person when it comes to the EU. So prepare for your timbers to be shivered and your preconceptions of pirates to be swashbuckled. According to Peter Leeson, author of the Invisible Hook, a wordplay on Adam Smith’s invisible hand, pirates were quite a civilised bunch. When it came to governing themselves, that is.”

Ahoy Mateys! The Daily Reckoning posts a long article about the EU, drawing on ideas from The Invisible Hook by Peter Leeson. And since there’s nothing like a pirate economics book to bring out some wonderful imagery and piratical puns, this article is a must read. If your appetite is whetted, we’re happy to offer two ways to dip further into the material:

The Secrets of Pirate Management is a new Princeton Shorts that distills important lessons that can apply to any enterprise, nautical or otherwise. This short e-book is available on internet retailers at a bonny low price and is an economical way to sample the book.

The Invisible Hook is the whole kit and kaboodle and is now available in paperback. You can further sample the book via a PDF excerpt on our web site.

Paul Seabright in the UK

Seabright RSA photo

Paul Seabright, author of ‘The War of the Sexes: How Conflict and Cooperation Have Shaped Men and Women from Prehistory to the Present‘ was in the UK in May.  He spoke at the RSA and recorded an interview with VoxEU.

Please follow the attached links to listen again to any of these.

John Adam at the RSA

John Adam Street 1

On 17th May, John Adam spoke about his latest book at The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). In John’s book, ‘X and the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life‘  he discusses mathematical questions such as how you can estimate the number of dental or doctor’s surgeries, petrol stations, restaurants, or cinemas in a city of a given size. How can mathematics be used to maximize traffic flow through tunnels? And what is the likelihood that your city will be hit by an asteroid? One might also be tempted to use John’s methods to work out the probability of an American-dwelling British professor called John Adam coming to a city the size of London to speak at an event that happens to be on John Adam Street. Let us know if you have the answer!

You can listen to John’s talk at the RSA here.

Robert Shiller in the UK

 

Robert Shiller was in the UK during the first week of May to promote his latest book ‘Finance and the Good Society’.  His appearances ranged from an interview on CNBC Europe Squawk Box to videos for The Guardian and Economia as well as lectures at the Royal Society of Arts and the London School of Economics.

Please follow the links to catch up with any of these appearances.