Tuesday, May 31, 2005
In the 1970's - Mason began writing love poems. But would go on writing poetry on the wounds of war and published a trilogy of such poems.
From The Wall Within
"There is one other wall, of course. / One we never speak of. / One we never see, / One which separates memory from madness. / In a place no one offers flowers. / The wall within. / We permit no visitors. / Mine looks like any of a million / nameless, brick walls / it stands in the tear-down ghetto of my soul; / that part of me which reason avoids / for fear of dirtying its cloths."
He was survived by three daughters and one son.
Steve Mason, Vietnam War Poet, Dies at 65
Actually - they were very constructive and the process was relatively painless. Hence, I wonder if they are becoming softies, or if I am getting better... :)
Friday, May 27, 2005
I have to laugh at Ivy's post from several days ago where she quotes Henry Ward Beecher...
"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" And just think, in the 1800s he never saw a Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.
I am supposed to present some of my writing Sunday afternoon at the northland writers group so I need to get my stuff together tomorrow. Then Sunday evening, following writers group, it's back into the city as, I plan to read at:
Thursday, May 26, 2005
A short Q & A with Sam Hamill, founding editor of Copper Canyon in Port Townsend, poet, translator and founder of the nonprofit organization Poets Against the War, reads from his latest compilation of poems.
The Bellingham Herald
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
An interesting look at some changes in writer workshop models at 2005 Iyas Creative Writing Workshop in the Philippines. ... Putting the 'work' back into 'workshop'
The gap between J.K. Rowling's success and the attention afforded these 14 British women is mammoth... but their work is now in Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry an anthology.
New Jersey student's life cut short by cancer in 1996 continues to have impact - Letting words fly -Student poetry café celebrates life
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison
Independent reports by the Geneva-based ICRC have previously raised concerns. The ICRC has had access to the prison and is known to have expressed concerns to the U.S. Government.
The AI report cites "Attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak, such as 'environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation,' was one of the most damaging assaults on global values," and further called for the camp to be closed down.
AI admits these human rights deficiencies came with a rash of terrorist actions, including the televised beheadings of captives in Iraq, but says governments forget many victims in fight against terrorism.
It is worth noting there are many other violators the group pointed to in report. Sudan as one of the worst human rights violations this past year. Zimbabwe, Haiti, Bangladesh were also cited. As was China for forced abortions, Nepal for rapes committed by soldiers.
AI did point to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to allow prisoners at Guantanamo challenge the basis of their detention as many of these individuals have been held for over three years with no formal charges.
visit the Amnesty International site at - link
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
We have been working on a project to release poetry books into the community in conjunction with an online project called bookcrossing.com. Tonight we put the book plate stickers in the books so they could be registered and then released at various locations around town. The concept is kind of cool - a little like where's George? Where you register dollar bills online against their serial number and track their movement.
Then we read some poetry as usual. Some of our own and or works by other poets.
Just for grins, I'll share some photos of the tonight's meeting. Yes, I have taken a little poetic liberty with two of the photos.
Scot Isom - goes first.
Getting books ready for their journey.
Wait! I think Pat Berge has something to say.
- More poems
- A new prose section with some 400 essays, interviews, etc.
- Better poet biographies
- Listening booth with many audio clips that is now both pc and mac friendly
- Downloadable help for starting your own poetry reading club
- National poetry almanac with 365 days worth of highlights
- Discussion Forum has returned after a years hiatus
- New section on writing with advise from legendary poets
This weeks highlights...
Robert Creeley - Picking Up The Painting's Vibes
Arthur Rimbaud - link
Sylvia Plath's poem - Daddy
Monday, May 23, 2005
Unquestionably, Eileen has a wit about her that even allows her to rant on serious topics and make her point. In her Sunday post, she has gone to great pains to make sure that her point is not taken too lightly and I think as we all have to do at time, nudge herself to make certain not to have fallen into the self-censoring mode.
As she states, "The ugly thing about all this Security shit... is that it generates paranoia, distrust, fear of speaking out, etc. I am doubling back to look at how I self-censored a rant and lapsed into humor. I don't like that about myself. I don't want to practice fear as part of my poetics -- it gets in the way of lucidity."
I'm not going to tell her story here... go read her post. There are so many aspects of the post 9-11 that are troubling to me as an American. She has touched on just a small bit of it, but a significantly important bit, none the less.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Regular Monthly Open Mic at the Writers Place - Midwest Center for Literary Arts
3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO - starts 8pm.
Tuesday - May 24
Regular Meeting of KC Metro Verse - 6:30 contact information.
Thursday - May 26
David and Judy Ray Poetry Reading
Community Christian Church - on the Plaza - starts 7:00PM - details call the Writers Place
Friday - May 27
Crystal Field Scholarship Reading
At The Writers Place - Midwest Center for Literary Arts
3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO - starts 7:30pm.
Saturday - May 28
Poetry Workshop / David & Judy Ray
At The Writers Place - Midwest Center for Literary Arts 3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO - starts at 10am.
The workshop focuses on seeing as a poet sees, reading as a poet reads, experiencing the world as a poet must in order to fuel and sustain their work.
Cost $30 for WP members and $40 for non-members. Call 816-753-1090 for details.
Sunday - May 29
Reading from the Pit at
PROSPERO'S BOOKS 1800 W. 39TH St. KANSAS CITY, MO 64111
Starts at 6:30pm - continues till everything that needs to be said is said.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Ted Kooser signing books in Kansas City - Rockhurst University Thursday May 19
In a week which has seen an enormous number of poetry events in Kansas City, there was still room for over 600 to squeeze in another on Thursday. The Mid-America Arts Alliance had to be happy with their sponsored event, An Evening With Ted Kooser.
The audience was a wonderful mixture of age groups. While Kooser's selected poems were from a very narrow niche- primarily family inspired work, the overall response was a grateful audience.
The event opened with the unveiling of a new postal commerative stamp honoring the first U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren.
My personal preference would have been to hear a broader composite of Kooser's poetry, but night was truly enjoyable none the less. Just the quiet and appreciative audience hanging on to his words was a joy in itself. He has a simple but preciseness in his verse. Though just once, I'd like to have been shocked by something he said. I'm sure that says something about me.
Friday, May 20, 2005
On four manic driven legs
Awaits me inside each evening.
My face safe
From an overactive tongue
Only by the sheer height differential.
I'll call the "scamper"
Tugs my heartstrings.
Hey, look at me Dad!
Intones his little cavort
Daring my brush-off.
Astute as any child would be
He understands how preposterous
It would be to ignore this performance.
[Note: Barry, my long haired Dachshund is 2 years big today. Any resemblance to the character in this poem is purely intentional]
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I got a kick out of Emily Lloyd's post yesterday about Kooser and I have to give serious thought about the implications of shambling up to him afterwards and asking him to sign my copy. Will my shamble mask the truth (that being that I already partake of and write poetry) and give him the false pretext of another convert? Or perhaps my shamble will in fact be lame. Maybe he can spot a fake shamble a mile away. In which case he might say something like, "Nice try with the shamble bit... how long have you really been reading and writing poetry?"
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I recommend reading a piece in today's WSJ.com by Michael Judge on the late Frank Conroy. Judge relates some of his own personal memories of Frank Conroy from his school days... but mostly he recalls Frank dealing with the myths surrounding creativity and mental illness.
Conroy had vast exposure with mental illness, both on a very personal level as well as a professional level. As such, his acknowledgement of it within the creative arts community is significance. He had a refreshing balance of reality without romanticizing it. The story Judge relates concerning Robert Lowell is priceless.
On another note - I read a heart warming story about a young lady named Andrea Miller, a 17 year old who lost much of her hearing as a result of chemotherapy for brain cancer as a toddler.
Andrea is a National Honor Society student at Benilde-St. Margaret High School in St Louis. In spite of multiple surgeries and deftness in one ear, Andrea has chosen a proactive course with her young life and inspires others by her own example.
She has created her own foundation which has raised over $27,000 for an orphanage in India. The springboard for raising funds has been offering prints of a painting called "The Elephants of Kerala" and a recently published book of her own though-provoking poetry.
Andrea's website is linked here.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Version of All Shakespeare Sonnets
in a free encouraging friendly Others
apc 57 jimi 57 sonnet 57 97027cps 57 savers
Scrapbook Alpha - on subjects
accessoir,2 - Shakespeare,
rate the poetry higher on He's
form - young Will begins to write
should be accessable to all and
is now becoming more accessable to
it in accessable modes. maybe i need
form, it is now becoming more
and hope that you can get back to
Asshole which begins "Dark and wrinkled"
Sonnet 73" (Shakespeare
Dance Of The GOP Puppets
nation's top GOP spin-nurses in an incredible show of chutzpah on ...
puppets writing for the mainstream press, this signals she may be ...
... is the
beginning of a hostile take over of our University system by the
along with Hannity, is just one of Murdoch's dime-a-dozen meat puppets. ...
comment: Wilson showed a clip of GOP Allen asking his question, ... Layers of
puppets. Jerk the
string at the
top, and all of the
levels start to
GOP’s champions of this war had a hard time finding their own way to the
battlefield ... ,
White Boy, .
I suddenly really want some Pocky ...
... He's innocent, and the
nothing more than ... This time, ol'
BartCop let you
f easy. Next time, you'll dance. ...
... act in Bush’s Theater
Pain starring helpless Democratic puppets. ...
…and the masquerades as the
fiscal sanity that must be kept in ...
... wouldn’t gamble and could never, ever be caught – God forbid – dancing. ...
the puppets under control? Stupid is as stupid does ...
Dylan - Master
Puppets (Metallica - Master
Puppets) ... They ripped
a page from the
playbook as they ripped
the no-tax-but-still-spend ...
Because puppets are better. You can control a puppet. ... pledge that had to
be drafted, then redrafted to the specifications of
... Existential puppets contemplate the mysteries of
animation Dead Puppet Talk...
Genre Fluent in British Dialect Produces Paranoid Pleasures ...
... blurring of
the issue by the GOP
in the 2000 and 2002 campaigns. ... about foreign
intervention by making Iran's liberals look like Western puppets. ...
... A New Kind of
Dancing in Iraq: from Occupation to Guerrilla War ... opened a
warehouse for building puppets, attracted puppet builders from all over...
... But polls suggest the GOP's Clinton blame-game will have some resonance ...and we think that if he learned to do it with dueling sock puppets,...
-driven musical to the all-American songs of Billy Joel. ...
Monday, May 16, 2005
I was hoping for more feedback from Friday's post on attention deficit disorder, but not really surprised that it has not elicited more response.
Met with my writers group Sunday afternoon and it was really a good session thought I was not prepared to present. After the featured work was presented and completed, I did offer a poem I wrote last week that was in a first draft/with last minute scribbled changes. I knew it was really roughed and did not even read it well. I only was looking for a general feel for what I was trying to do and the feedback was positive. However, I have since come to the conclusion it needs major changes beyond what I was thinking because the ending is too personal to a broader readership awareness of what it implies. In some respects I'd be inclined to toss this one back into the lake, were it not for the fact that I have a larger idea that this poem would fit nicely into if I can only get it together in a way that holds the general idea that is very personal and at the same time meet a more universal paradigm.
I'm still feeling less than 100% which is getting old. Hell, I don't think I'm even up to 75% and given how long it has been since I felt really good, this is draining both in a physical and emotional way.
Friday, May 13, 2005
As Adult ADD is historically, somewhat a young condition (it's recognition) I'm sure that information on the affliction within the poetry community is limited.
My interest relates to a better personal understanding of what I perceive as impact to myself and the experiences others may have.
Anyway.... your posts are welcome or e-mail me directly if you would prefer. E-mail-Michael Wells
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
If Haji Abdollahi Sefid Kasseh were to become Iran's next president, he says that he would not shy away from working to restore ties with the United States after a quarter of a century of bitter animosity on both sides. And how would he do this? He said he would sit down at the table with President George W. Bush and tell him “we are all brothers”. “We have to teach our arts to others and they should teach us theirs,” is how he explained his simple diplomatic formula. He adds, “And my art is poetry.”
Such a meeting, however unlikely, would be interesting. Until recently, American publishers and editors were restricted from publishing works in collaboration with authors from various U.S.-sanctioned countries, Iran among them. These rules have been somewhat eased, but the government continues to assert authority to categorically approve editing and publishing activities — a power that has questionable authority according to many lawyers who represent U.S. publishers and editors.
So here is this humble 72 year old Iranian poet who believes there is something beneficial about the exchange of culture between these two nations who are at each others throats. Then you have the President of the most powerful nation in the world... A nation who's basic foundation was built upon the principal of free expression of ideas, freedom to practice religious beliefs of one's own choice apart from the state's interference and a free press. So I have to wonder why our government remains so fearful of writers and poets that it feel it must protest us from their works by exercising censorship and control over their material.
Sources: NM&L and Daily Times
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
I didn't realize that Emily had a fondness for dogs. Though it is perhaps not surprising to me that she speaks of them in more endearing terms than fellow man. They seem to be able to sit for long periods of time and simply consume (I'm talking about take in - not eat) their surroundings.
So what is Dickinson really saying here? Well, I'm going to surmise that she rather likes Fido because he sees- he takes in and knows, but holding that within is sufficiently satisfying.
Now, someone go ahead and tell me she meant something all together different. I don't really care to argue the point one way or another, so you are welcome to your own explanation, but to me it is all quite amusing. I can picture Emily Dickinson and her four legged friend sharing the commonality of poetic thought. They glance at each other, say absolutely nothing, but they both understand the other's knowledge. None of this Lassie runs down the road backing... "What? Hold on Lassie... You say Timmy has fallen in the well? OK, I'm coming girl."
Sometimes I think where art and nature are concerned we all have to start with a Fido moment. Take it in. Let it just be. Once it has settled in long enough.... we can then do what differentiates man and woman from dog. Having processed all of something we can.... put it in a visual. A picture, a sculpture, a poem. The human inclination is to input / output. Pardon the expression but the morning breakfast becomes the afternoon waste.
Humans have an intellectual component that is unique but often hurry to use it with less than desirable results. . Dogs can teach us a lot.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Of course, I imagine that people likely do not work their best at anything when under the weather. Generalizing, that is likely a safe assumption. While none are coming to my mind at this moment, I am sure there are examples of writers who have created some profound work on their death bed. I wonder if they might have done better were they at full strength and feeling quite fit at the time? More particularly, I have considered that a possibility exists that a poet, very sick... even dying could perhaps write from a "place" that he or she might not otherwise outside the realm of such illness, and perhaps provide something more profound as a result of their own "place" in the physical world of health.
Feeling as lousy as I have certainly has not produced anything more profound from me these past few weeks. It has seemed to add to an urgency to write, but that urgency has not resulted in any stronger will or drive to write. The physical body remains limited in energy and that level of efficiency seems to out power any mixture of mental and emotional capacity to stay with a poem or project for too long.
I have tried the denial thing.... where you pretend you are not sick as long as you possibly can. Going to work in spite of how I feel because you figure that if it all stacks up and you come back feeling better, the increased work load just makes you feel lousy all over again.
So right now, I want to feel good if not great. I also want the move ahead on several projects. Things that I believe are best served better by both physical and mental health (attitude) which I do not feel are immediately within my control. As a result, I resort to thinking about how health and writing might be impacted beyond the obvious quantity factor and more to the nature of quality. Hence, you get today's blog. Long on thoughts, short on answers.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Check out the Poetry Garden. The Writer's Den. Or the Erotica Literature Room.
There are some specials. Check out this Suite.
An idea of price ranges........
Room Types :
Love Room w/terrace
Junior Suite/king bed
Family Unit/2 rooms
Ok, adding this to my list of things I'm NOT doing anytime soon.
May 6th - Riverfront Readings and The Writers Place
Host a reading by Elizabeth Dodd and Susan Rodgers at The Writers Place - 8:00 p.m. Suggested donations at the door at $2 for members, $3 for non-members and $1 for students.
Elizabeth Dodd is Professor of English, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at K-State in Manhattan, KS. She earned an M.F.A. and a Ph.D., both from Indiana University. She is the author of: Like Memory, Caverns and Archetypal Light (poems); The Veiled Mirror and the Woman Poet (criticism); and most recently Prospect: Journeys & Landscapes (nonfiction essays).
Susan Jackson Rodgers is an assistant professor teaching fiction writing at K-State in Manhattan, KS. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of literary magazines including Nimrod, StoryQuarterly, Beloit Fiction Journal, Prairie Schooner, North American Review and Glimmer Train. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. Her story "Bodies" won the 2002 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Her collection of stories, The Trouble With You Is, won the Mid-List First Series Award in Short Fiction and will be published in the fall of 2003.
May 10th - KC Metro Verse -chapter meeting 6:00pm
May 19th - U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will speak at Rockhurst College at 8:00pm
MAY 20 - The Writers Place, Michelle Boisseau and Katrina Vandenberg will read as part of TWP Reading Series starting at 7:30pm.
Michelle Boisseau was educated at Ohio University (BA, MA) and the University of Houston (PhD). Her books of poetry include, Trembling Air, University of Arkansas Press, 2003; Understory, winner of the Morse Prize, Northeastern University Press, 1996; and No Private Life, Vanderbilt, 1990. She is also the author of the popular textbook, Writing Poems (Longman), in its 6th printing. Her work has appeared in The Yale Review, Threepenny Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Poetry, and elsewhere. She's has received a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and two Poetry Society of America awards. She is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she is also associate editor of BkMk Press and coordinator of the Creative Writing program.
Katrina Vandenberg was raised in the Downriver area of Detroit, and her poems have appeared in American Scholar, The Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, and other magazines. She was a 1999-2000 Fulbright fellow to the Netherlands and a hemophilia-AIDS activist and is currently the visiting writer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
May 22nd - Jonathan Holden - Kansas State Poet Laureate will be at the Writers Place at 2pm
May 23 - Writers Place Open Mic 8PM
May 24th KC Metro Verse - chapter Meeting 6:00pm
Click heading for complete story.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
With brisk fingertips it stroked the integument.
I shook with the chill of a starry night
Stuck in-between, the way seasons often do.
Spring tugging and summer pulling to no avail.
I felt it- half-frozen ice cube water
Within my veins, fluid enough to circulate
The chill evenly throughout my limbs,
To fight off any sensation of fraternity
That might come with the memory
Of another in human form or even a dog
That might have communicated by presence
A care or inclination to mutual necessity.
I am alone within the still of a night so big
That I shiver and telepathically give notice
Only to the stars beyond, and not another soul
Intercepts, knows of the journey or cares. No one.
There is an inexplicable beauty here, but wasted.
The rising spiral of a Hail Mary
Without a soul downfield.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Alright... enough about me...
WOW - I just went over to cast my vote for Blogger Poet Laureate [here] and found an amazing hot race going on. My vote, and I don't mind saying so... was for JILLY. After voting, Jilly now has 32 of a total of 68 votes cast. She has 47% of the total vote and is just one vote behind. Come on folks- get over and vote for Jilly to be the Blogging Poet Laureate for the next year!
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Her work can be edgy, a quality that I rather like. I suspect that some will get snookered into thinking Safe Word is simply about sex... and that she is just cleverly using some shocking verse to raise some eyebrows and libido at the same time. Is Animal Husbandry really about a woman distraught over her two-timing dog who no longer is satisfied by her? If you say so... but I find that Christine has a way of getting us all tangled up with this chapbook in social commentary that blings with a little linguistic glitter.
She makes you laugh and makes you cry - even in the same poem. Safe Word unwraps the emotional baggage often a part of the human sexual experience and too often wrought with interdiction where our written language is concerned.