extended hiatus

Due to expanded commitments to my small press, I've been forced to cut down on some other projects. I would be delighted if someone else came forward to carry on this blog. Meanwhile, I hope some of the links and contacts herein are of some use.



Reading of Elizabeth McFarland's poems: Philly: 5/27/08

Tuesday, May 27, 6pm: Moonstone Poetry Series is honored to have Dan Hoffman and Elaine Terranova present Over the Summer Water by Elizabeth McFarland.

Elizabeth McFarland (1922-2005) brought poetry into the lives of millions. As poetry editor of The Ladies' Home Journal from 1948 to 1962, she published some 900 poems by authors like Maxine Kumin, Randall Jarrell, W.H. Auden, John Updike, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Marianne Moore. While much of what she published is not considered the best work of those poets, she tended to select their most accessible, uplifting poems and turned many of the top poets of her day into household names. She also published 70 of her own poems. Hoffman thought of herself as writing and publishing poetry that appealed directly to readers' emotions. She was dismayed by both the modernist tradition, whose lyrics reflected T.S. Eliot's injunction of impersonality, and by the confessional school that became increasingly popular in the later 50's, free verse by poets like Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton, which represented what Hoffman considered tabloid topics, like sexual abuse, insanity, alcoholism and suicide. Focusing primarily on domestic subjects, the poems Hoffman published were essentially conservative; they were designed to affirm rather than to disturb the reader's life and to illuminate the beauty rather than to reveal the horror or emptiness of the everyday. By the time she left L.H.J. in 1962, the style of poetry she favored was out of vogue, and poetry itself disappeared from women's magazines.

Throughout her life, however, she continued working quietly on her own verses--one of which her husband is having inscribed on a plaque under a cherry tree in a favorite grove on the Swarthmore campus. The poems in Over the Summer Water are gathered by her husband, Daniel Hoffman, whose preface illuminates their distinctive lyric virtues and her exceptional editorial career.

Elizabeth McFarland's poetry will be read by Dan Hoffman and Elaine Terranova, who will also discuss her life and works.

Dan Hoffman served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1973 to 1974 (now called the Poet Laureate) and is a Chancellor Emeritus of The Academy of American Poets. From 1988 to 1999 Hoffman was Poet in Residence at St. John the Divine, where he administered the American Poets' Corner. Until 1996, Hoffman was Felix E. Schelling Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

Elaine Terranova, the author of three books of poems, The Cult of the Right Hand, which won the Walt Whitman Award, Damages and The Dog's Heart. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Philadelphia and teaches writing at the Community College of Philadelphia.

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