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The State of Poetry Today
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With poet Joseph S. Salemi


We haven't focused on poetry on The Writing Show nearly as much as we should. And what better way to start than by looking at the state of poetry today! But if you think you're about to hear a lot of flowery talk, grab hold of your seat. This week's guest, unlike most of the poetry establishment, is not pleased.

Joseph S. Salemi has published poems, translations, and scholarly articles in over one hundred journals throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. His four collections of poetry are Formal Complaints and Nonsense Couplets, issued by Somers Rocks Press, Masquerade from Pivot Press, and The Lilacs on Good Friday from The New Formalist Press.

He has translated poems from a wide range of Greek and Roman authors, including Catullus, Martial, Juvenal, Horace, Propertius, Ausonius, Theognis, and Philodemus. In addition, he has published extensive translations, with scholarly commentary and annotations, from Renaissance texts such as the Faunus poems of Pietro Bembo, the Facetiae of Poggio Bracciolini, and the Latin verse of Castiglione. He is a recipient of a Herbert Musurillo Scholarship, a Lane Cooper Fellowship, an N.E.H. Fellowship, and the 1993 Classical and Modern Literature Award. He is also a four-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Prize.

Dr. Salemi is currently completing an epic-length satire on modern American life titled A Gallery of Ethopaths, and he is a regular essayist and reviewer for the Expansive Poetry On-Line Web site. A former associate editor of the journal Iambs & Trochees, he is the publisher and editor of a new journal of formal poetry that will appear in the spring of 2008.

Please join Joseph S. Salemi and host Paula B. as they explore:

  • Why he feels poetry is dying
  • How poetry got to this point
  • What types of poetry he would like to see people write
  • What his eight rules of thumb for writing poetry are.

Interviewee: Joseph S. Salemi
Host: Paula B.
Date: February 24, 2008
Running time: 01:08:03
File size: 32 megabytes
Rating: Sexual content, drug references
The New Formalist Web site, where you can read some of Joseph S. Salemi's poems: The New Formalist

Purchase Joseph S. Salemi's books at