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A big day for poetry here at PEN American:

1) Check out the latest edition of the PEN Poetry Series, edited by Ana Božičević and Amy King, which features a selection of Salvadoran poetry in translation from the latest issue of Aufgabe

2) Next, stop by the PEN Poetry Relay, where you can read Dante Micheaux’s “Good Kisser" and listen to audio of Micheaux reading the poem. And be sure to stop back through in a week for an interview with Micheaux on his poetry.

3) Last but never least, Ben Mirov is here with the poetry roundup to keep us all savvy on the latest and greatest in the poetry world. Of particular note, let’s all buy a book or seven from Mud Luscious Press, who is facing some financial straits.

See you on the mean streets of poetry, warriors.

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Aufgabe’s current issue features poetry from El Salvador

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems). We hope you like the pieces we find as much as we do, and pass them on.

This installment, selected by Ana Božičević and Amy King, features selections from Aufgabe #11, which features a section of Salvadoran poetry guest-edited by Christian Nagler.

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Flaubert meets Lohan (photo © Terry Richardson; image by Ana Božičević )

September is all about banned books here at PEN American. We reached out to writers, editors, literary illuminati, and PEN staff to write about the banned books that matter to them most. Today’s piece comes from poet Ana Božičević, author of the forthcoming collection of poetry Rise in the Fall.


The Fuss Over Madame Bovary

“Art without rules is not art. It is like a woman who discards all clothing.”

M.E. Pinard

On January 30, 1857, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary goes on trial, after appearing as a successful serial in the Revue de Paris. The prosecutor, one M. Ernest Pinard, representing the interests of the public censor, makes plain that the manager and printer of the Revue aren’t truly to blame for this indecent book: “the principal culprit” is Flaubert himself. Flaubert’s painstakingly chosenmots justes are an outrage aux bonnes moeurs, and it is precisely this contrast between the “true/just/right” and the “good” that is on trial: aesthetic clash manifest.

The speeches of prosecutor and defense are a fun read, but certain things jump out at one from among the rhetoric and objections to Flaubert’s style, and clarify what the fuss is actually about. It is fuss that is still about. The problem of Emma is the problem of desire.

“Is it natural for a little girl to invent small sins?”

“Thus, from this first fault, this first fall, she glorified adultery, she sang the song of adultery, its poesy and its delights.”

“She is always the same passionate woman, seeking illusions and seeking them even among the most august and holy things.”

Click here to read more.