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Friday, June 30, 2006

Pencil Sales Soar to New Hai(ku)

A book of poems caused sales of traditional wooden pencils to soar by nearly a third in the past few months. [story]

If you are in the Fan Francisco or East Bay areas, PLEASANTON POET LAUREATE Cynthia Bryant will hold an all-day poetry workshop:

The City of Pleasanton Civic Arts-sponsored poetry workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 8 at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd. The workshop fee is $50 and includes continental breakfast and a box lunch. Call Michelle Russo at 925-931-5350 to make a reservation or e-mail her at mrusso@ci.pleasanton.ca.us.

Sometimes the poetry is in the pauses - "A Little White Shadow" is Mary Ruefle's experiment in "found poetry" in which she recreates the ravages of time formally. [story]

Bits from my journal:

  • "...clutch the remote in a whiteknuckled figment of a controlling imagination grip."
  • "...upon my windshield, each lull a momentary reload of Orval's finest."
  • Name and origin uncertain, but you know nothing good ever comes of it."

I sent an entry of three poems off yesterday to a contest that this past year I was a runner up in. Now the wait. :::sigh:::

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Intent

"I have experienced healing through other writers' poetry, but there's no way I can sit down to write in the hope a poem will have healing potential. If I do, I'll write a bad poem." - Marilyn Hacker

I can indeed identify with two aspects of this statement. First, I have read other poetry that spoke to me in such a way as to provide therapeutic benefit. I really don't think that is going to come as an earth shaking revelation because I think most of us have had such experiences. The second is about writing poetry with the same intent. Or, any specific intent for that matter. While I have set out writing with a specific intent in mind, I don't do it often and usually don't do it well. It is all a part of that "forced" and very unnatural flow that seems to inflict poems which such intent. Fact is, I can't tell you right off the last time I wrote a poem with a specific "intended message" before my hand started dragging the pen across the blank page.


Marilyn Hacker bio (here)

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Surprise, Surprise!

In 5-3 Decision - The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions are unconstitutional. Story here.

Written any poems you'd be willing to go to jail for? Four poets get sentences ranging for seven to nineteen years for publication of book of poems. Story here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You've Got Till Friday!

You've still got till Friday to take advantage of the sale on selected Stick Poet Gear - Like the Woman's Tank Top pictured here.....

Go to the Stick Poet Shop [CLICK]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Poetry In The News June 27th

  • Gotta love the "self portrait" by James. (here)
  • And if you had happened to be present on that day in 1956 at the Cambridge poetry shindig where Sylvia Plath met Ted Hughes. (here)
  • "The next Truman Capote. The next Langston Hughes. The next Sylvia Plath are here today, referring to some of the many notable authors who created important works at Yaddo," said Elania Richardson - More than $120,000 were be raised on a single evening - noting the arts colony's role in the future is as prevalent as its historic past. (here)
  • Poetry workshop returns to Hartwick. (here)
  • Watkins’ words making big impact - Former Kansas Jayhawk releases first book of poetry through own company. (here)
  • Captured Inspirations -A collection of Poetry. (here)

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On Holding Another Back


On Holding Another Back








Chained to a heavy discontent.
An iceberg-grip,
Consequences deep below the surface;

Always holding more than a handful
Back. Back to where the fingers burn
And the palm is cotton dry.

Back to some trench of foul stench
A dirty-rotten shame on all
Who hold a fellow down and

By ignorance or hate
Seal their own fate
Anchored to the same ground.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Poetry in The News

As I was bemoaning the very lackluster way in which the major hometown newspaper presents coverage of the literary arts an then, I see this:

The Edmonton Journal commissioned several well-known local poets to write poems just for the newspaper. Each month for the next several months, the paper is publishing one of the poems illustrated by a Journal photographer and provide a biographical sketch of the poet. I am truly impressed by this. The first installment can be seen here with poet Diane Buchanan

As to our local paper, my complaint is not with the book editor, who in fact is respectable in his work, but the way the paper integrates the literary material within the paper itself a well as the amount of space dedicated to it. I'm speaking of the Kansas City Star.

Yes, the star features a weakly poem from someone local. There is never any real biographical material on the author. Just so and so lives in (insert general part of the metro area). The space provided for literary arts is quite limited (as I realize it is with most big daily papers) but sometimes we have a literary calendar and sometimes we don't. The new format of the paper is not user friendly though I admit that I very much like the feel of the newspaper stock they are using now. That is a big improvement.

High Five!!! for The Vermont Humanities Council and the Vermont Women's Fund. Together they provided for nine two-hour sessions by for novelist and Vermont Humanities Council Scholar Deborah Lee Luskin to come to the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Vermont, to encourage the creative impulse of women behind bars. (story here)

Poem in Arkansas Junior High class incites parental complaints (here) for use of "f" word.

The virtues of memorized poetry are extolled by Alice Quinn, who talks about her new book, Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke-Box. (here) I am especially interested in reading this book. It has been somewhat controversial among some who believe it is a disservice to the work of Elizabeth Bishop because it contains some of her drafts that have not been published. Honestly, that is precisely why I want to see it.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

In the mail....

Yesterday, the mailman brought cheer with the latest Poets & Writers.
Articles that look especially interesting:
  1. Poetry - Built to Last
  2. Five Debut Authors
  3. After The Flood - A Writer Says Goodbye to Her books
  4. The Writer's Web Site - Build It and They Will Come

There are a host of other yummy looking tid-bits between the pages. Those who may not be familiar with P & W should be aware that it also has great resources for:

  • grants and awards
  • contests
  • conferences & residencies
  • calls for manuscripts

Off the subject of poetry & writing for a moment but another subject that has peeked my interest of late, the arrogance of AT&T.

Thursday USA today reported that AT&T was adopting a new privacy policy that requires internet customers to consent to its ownership of their account information and authorizes it to tract consumer usage.

This policy change comes as AT&T is named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation that accuses AT& T with improperly sharing customers' private phone and internet records with the federal government without any court orders or oversight.

What the new language is saying to AT&T customers is this, "While your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T. As Such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests..."

The USA Today article also states that the new policy drops a reference stating that company "does not access, read, upload, or store data contained in or delivered from private files without the member's authorization."

The EDT lawsuit accuses AT&T with providing the federal government with access to customer records on virtually all phone based communications since 2001.

I WOULD RECOMMEND PEOPLE CONSIDER BOYCOTTING ALL AT&T SERVICES - PHONE AND INTERNET. THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR THE PRIVACY RIGHTS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

You Read Your Favorite Blogs and....


DRINK YOUR MORNING COFFEE IN WHAT?


Ok, there is still a week to save $2 on a Stick Poet Superhero Coffee Mug

The Korea Times : Boon to Modern Korean Poetry

The Korea Times : Boon to Modern Korean Poetry: "Despite Korea's 3000-year-history of poetry, it is not sufficiently known outside Korea, poetry is a mark of civilization. It shows to what extent humanity has illuminated the darkness, to bring more light into human existence." - Ko Chang-soo

Real Imagination

Where exactly is the line between reality and imagination severed? I, from time to time think about this and of course have no concrete answer that I can uphold with fact. If that sounds a tad bit circular, that's because it is. Another, "Which came first..." sort of thing. In fact, just like the great Chicken and Egg debate, many would likely say of the reality and imagination question, "So What!"

The problem is, if you think this comes down to, one is real and the other isn't, then clearly you will think this is just a dog chasing his own tail. If this were "real vs. not real" then I likely would not even be blogging on the subject today.

Imagination is a product of the mind and the mind is real, therefore I see no reason to discount the imaginative powers that be. Such bold thoughts have put a man on the moon and may one day cure cancer, HIV, diabetes and a whole host of things we haven't even discovered yet.

Walk into a gallery and see a painting of a farm scene with great detail and you can easily say, wow that artist is good, that looks almost real. Further along the wall is an abstract piece of art on a canvass medium. On first glance you see nothing distinguishable in it. So, you convince yourself that the first one is closer to reality, and the latter one is not. However, both paintings were a product of the artist's creative thought process and it seems to me that being said, they both must be reality.

Sometimes I will write a poem and someone I know will ask, when did that happen to you? I have to chuckle because in many instances, it happened to me in my head over a period of time and several rewrites. It becomes difficult at times to assure someone that a particular poem is not a historical account of something that happened to me. And, sometimes it is. Then of course, I have written things that people will tell me seem not at all reality based and that that I should write straight more forward poems that are clear in meaning. If I conjured it up I my head, is it not real?

I think reality and fact must be separated. They are not one in the same. Especially where art is concerned. That is where the whole issue of reality and imagination get tangled up. Reality and fact are often interchanged, then we want to test imagination against a (factual) standard. This is how art in all forms, including poetry often get discounted in terms of importance. Factual, perhaps not, reality, always!


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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Anniversary / Reading List / World Cup / Journaling

I know my wife will on occasion read my blog, so let me start my post for the day wishing Cathy a Happy Anniversary! Thirty-two years today. Can you believe that? Thirty-two years with an anal retentive poet. ::grin:: Ok, I have not been a poet all that time.

Well, I've put together my reading list for the summer. It consists of the following:
  1. Wooroloo by Frieda Hughes
  2. Swarm by Jorie Graham
  3. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  4. Her Husband: Hugh and Plath - a Marriage by Diane Middlebrook

I must digress for a moment to the subject of World Cup Soccer. I mentioned the other day that I am by no means a soccer fan and I'll make no apology for that. I find it perhaps the most boring sport or athletic event on the face of the earth. Now let me underscore just one more perplexing aspect of the World Cup frenzy. The USA is looking to advance into round two. They have played two games. Lost one and tied another. One loss and a tie, and get this... they have yet to score a goal. Yes, even their tie game came because the opposition kicked the ball by accident into their own goal. Hence, the U.S. ties not because it scored, but because it didn't manage to kick one in it's own goal.

Finished another journal last night.... Started it on April 1st so I filled it in less than three months. Ready for the next volume today.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Corner on National Review Online

The Corner on National Review Online


NBC's Progressive Poetry Moment [Tim Graham]
MRC’s Geoff Dickens discovered that NBC’s Today brought on “deadline poet” Calvin Trillin and giggled over his “hilarious” book of Bush-bashing verse titled A Heckuva Job.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What they are saying about Donald Hall

Here is a sampling of things that are being said about our next Poet Laureate - Donald Hall:

  • "He's a highly sophisticated intellectual with an Oxford education who nevertheless presents himself as a poet of simple New England pleasures and forthright passions." National Post (part of Canada.com)
  • "Upon the selection of Donald Hall, a 77-year-old New Hampshire resident, last week, I discovered that no federal money is spent on the position. The $40,000 annual budget -- $35,000 for expenses and $5,000 for travel -- is donated by the Archer M. Huntington Foundation, so don't blame poetry for the $8.4 trillion U.S. budget deficit." Arizona Daily Star
  • "Hall, the nation's new poet laureate, writes about love and death, war, baseball, life in rural America and other things. Yet, we Americans turn instead to Oprah and Jerry Springer, ESPN and the Weather Channel. We lust for news, day and night, about Brad and Angelina. Is it possible for any poet to get a verse in edgewise in this culture? It is Hall's job to try. As the poet laureate, his assignment is to find ways to raise America's awareness of poetry." Herald-Tribune
  • "In this country there is no job description for the poet laureate. And yet the title, which carries a stipend and a travel grant, is not entirely honorific. It's assumed that the laureate will try to advance the cause of poetry
  • " especially the public awareness of poetry" in a manner somehow separate from the writing of poems. To speak on behalf of poetry sounds like a natural task for a poet, and for some poets it certainly is. I don't know whether Hall will turn out to be that kind of laureate, and, in a way, I hope he doesn't. So much of his poetry has emerged from the rigor of his privacy from what appears in his verse to be a deep, unsettling sense of what's possible in one's life. There's always the temptation for the laureate to find some anodyne ground to stand on. But these are not anodyne times." Rutland Herald
  • His life (Hall's) has not been without tragedy. When Hall was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, it was widely assumed that the disease would claim his life. He made a remarkable recovery, only to lose his wife and fellow poet Jane Kenyon to leukemia. Hall has chronicled their marriage in an eloquent recent memoir, "The Best Day the Worst Day." "String Too Short to Be Save," a lyrical memoir of Hall's New England childhood, appeared many years ago. A representative sample of Hall's poetry can be found in "The Museum of Clear Ideas," which includes, among other things, a set of poems about one of Hall's favorite subjects, baseball. We do not know whether poetry, like baseball, will ever be hailed as a great American pastime. But if anyone can promote the idea of poetry as something to be savored, it's Donald Hall." 2the advocate.com
  • "The NY Times announced this morning that New England poet Donald Hall is expected to be named the successor to Ted Koosner. So how many of us immediately thought of Robert Frost when we heard the phrase "New England Poet"? It just conjures up all these bucolic images of white clapboard cottages and low-rise stone walls (good fence make good neighbors, after all), maple trees forever caught in the fall explosion of color, soft spoken poets with down-home folksy attitudes. A sort of Garrison Keillor vision for the northeast. According to the story (which I'm going to have to go on because I have NO idea who Donald Hall is), our new laureate-to-be is rather outspoken about arts funding and plans to use his new position as a means for expanding the reach of poetry in society. Noble, noble aims. This was something both Robert Pinsky and Billy Collins advocated (and still do). If anything needed to be brought out of the Ivory Towers of academia and into people's everyday consciousness, it would be poetry." Orlando Sentinel
  • "I don't know the work of Donald Hall. Indeed, until yesterday, I'm not sure that I had even heard of him. Certainly, the name hadn't stuck." Ready Steady Book
  • "Hall's a good choice for the role of laureate, because his real strength is not so much his own poetry as his support for other poets, and the position is one that's as much about politics as it is about poetry. He's definitely a denizen of the more traditional and (aesthetically) conservative wing of the poetry world, and often passionately so, but he has nonetheless supported quite a wide range of writers. He helped found and continues to guide the Eagle Pond Poetry Series at a local college, a reading series that's often diverse and illuminating." The Mumpsimus
  • "I'm pleased by the news Donald Hall has been appointed the new Poet Laureate of the United States. I have a very low opinion of modern American poetry, but Hall seems like the best of a bad bunch. His poetry especially after his wife died was particularly moving. I'm not that familiar with Hall's work--I think I may have an anthology of someone else's poetry that was compiled by him--mostly because I tend to dislike modern US poetry. But, frankly, I like the idea of government-funded highbrow culture, even in the United States. " Voyeuristic self-indulgence
  • "Donald Hall is the new Poet Laureate. I have always loved him. Specially since the 90's when I saw him read poems at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was teaching there then." tiny things are nice
  • "Donald Hall is the first poet I discovered on my own. I was in highschool and held to the idea that modern poetry was crap and if it wasn't written by one of the early greats then it isn't worth reading. I was a teenager. I knew everything. I found scurrying through the magazine rack a poetry journal with a few of his poems. I was so blown away by his work that I went right out and bought one of his books. Two years ago I finally got to meet him." Cubicle Reverend
  • "Nothing against the new U.S. Poet Laureate, Donald Hall. I'm sure he's due, well-qualified, palatable to the masses, etc. Alas, there were no worthwhile poets of the other gender available for the position? Any recommendations? And I won't even get into race. So without further ado, for the love of poetry:
    U.S. Poet Laureate Timeline [1937 - 2006 = 36 Men and 8 Women]" amy king.org
  • "Yes! Yes! Donald Hall has defied the odds to be named the new poet laureate of the United States! Hall, dude, you rock!I feel kind of bad for Oates, though." The At Largee Blog
  • "Donald Hall is one of the better poets around, and certainly rises above the mediocre ranks of the established names. His lyrical style is quite sharp and straightforward, and he's superbly economical (the white space on the page plays a big role in many Donald Hall poems). His voice is never flowery or airy, but neither does he indulge in sweaty vulgarity like many poets who fear being flowery or airy." metaxucafe
  • "Hall's poetry just doesn't grab me. A Poet at Twenty really doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid. In fact, I downright dislike it. An Old Life, I get, though it still doesn't really sing to me. I get The Man in the Dead Machine, and no, not because it's about an airplane! It's not just any airplane, incidently. It's a Hellcat. Nonetheless, it still doesn't hit me where I think I should feel poetry. Where is Keats when you need him? What's happened to Yeats? Maybe I'm just spoiled by collected poetry going back (for me, at least) to John Donne, but I'm really not so sure of Hall's poetry. Anybody find his poetry arresting? Please tell me about it." Mojave Jack
  • "I'm sure many of you have heard this already but I just found out that the new poet laureate is Donald Hall. I'm sure Robert Bly is thrilled..." Steve's House of Love
  • "- an exponential improvement over his prairie predecessor." The Elegant Variation

There you have it... some good, bad and indifferent.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Seattle Times: Arts & Entertainment: Berkeley agonizes over bookstore's closing

Cody's - the famed independent bookseller where poet Allen Ginsberg once howled, 1960s activist Mario Savio once clerked and author Salman Rushdie defied a fatwa, will close after 50 years.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Changing of the guard

I wanted to celebrate with news of a new Poet Laureate, Donald Hall, coming this fall.

Ted Koozer has shown great dedication to the post and I am appreciative of the publicity he has given poetry from his post. After two terms, I am very ready for the change.

I am especially ready for someone who is able to put more complexity on a page. While Hall is no Ashbery or Lowell, he is able to muster more depth to his work and I do not anticipate that he will divide the poetry dominion over accessibility.

Yes, he is another New Englander, but I am less concerned with the geography of where he is from and more with the geography of his mind. I am anxious and excited for his term to begin.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hall to be named US poet laureate - The Boston Globe


Hall to be named US poet laureate - The Boston Globe


New Hampshire poet Donald Hall, will become the next U.S. Poet Laureate this fall according to an announcement by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Hall received the news by fax last week and responded saying, "I feel grateful and excited and a bit frantic."

Hall is 77, a former New Hampshire poet laureate, has written poetry for more than 50 years. His 15th book was published this year and is titled, White Apples and the Taste of Stone, a selection of poems from 1946 to 2006.

The widower of poet Jane Kenyon, who died in 1995 of leukemia , he published a memoir of their marriage, The Best Day the Worst Day. A good many of his poems commemorate death and loss.

Some critics cite his complex, book-length poem, The One Day, as Hall's greatest achievement. It was published in 1988, however Hall spent some seventeen years in writing it.


Biography Some of his poetry

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Village of the Past, Present and Future

Village of the Past, Present and Future

My head feels heavy yet empty
Thoughts sparsely dot the skyline;
A village of the past, present and future.

The streets are deserted and ghostly.
My significance has found a vacant building
And withdrawn therein.



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Sunday, June 11, 2006

A New Poet for quoting this week

"Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out." ~ Edwin Markham

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Responses - inappropriate & otherwise

A few items this Saturday morning...

  • Yesterday I was looking at google news and saw a link to this item Click here: The Poetry of Mass Movement - OhmyNews International - The significance of which is that Ivy Alvarez is mentioned in connection with her poetry chapbook anthology "A Slice of Cherry Pie." Small world!
  • Congratulations are in order for Christine Hamm who landed a teaching job at Rutgers!
  • "How the Ink Feels," a new exhibit in the Runyan Gallery of the Newport Visual Arts Center, features 71 matted and framed letterpress broadsides which illuminate poetry and prose selections by well-known writers. [story here]

Yesterday, Cindy at Quotidian Light posted the following quote on her blog:

"When artists discover as children that they have inappropriate responses to events around them, they also find, as they learn to trust those responses, that these oddities are what constitute their value to others."-- Kathleen Norris / The Cloister Walk

A couple of things have struck me about this quote since I first read it. The first being that I can't ever recall thinking myself an "artist" during my childhood. This immediately caused me to wonder if this is an anomaly? Should I have? It seems a stretch to me to think that most artists viewed themselves as such as children, but moving beyond that curiosity, I tried to recall inappropriate responses to events around me as a child. In terms of worldly events, I come up empty. Such earth shattering things as natural disasters, assassination of JFK and the likes that I view as a child on TV all seemed to me to be things that I reacted to pretty much the norm.

There were lesser occurrences, a more personal nature in my life, that I believe my responses to often seemed inappropriate at the time. Looking back I believe it was more that I even had a response that I was lead to believe was inappropriate, than what the actual response was. Considering I was on the end of that generation that was expected to be seen and not heard, I suspect this was not uncommon for others my age.

Today in the arts, I see examples of responses that are often viewed by many onlookers that something is being conveyed that is inappropriate. I think this universal across the spectrum of the arts, but perhaps it is more impacted in language arts because the consumer can identify with word definitions and reach conclusions or interpretations much quicker and with greater ease than say a painting, a photo, sculptor or music.

There are some for example who want poetry to be void of any social or political content. And sometimes they will superimpose such when it was not even the intent of the author.

Sometimes I feel I must be the only person in the country that did not write a 9-11 poem. I have read so many of them and quite frankly I was never able to bring myself to do so. I can appreciate that many found this perhaps therapeutic, but I don't think I would have been satisfied to simply add to the many sincere expressions of loss. For me a 9-11 poem could not simply be a me too exercise. And even as I think back on that day, deep down there were so many images and words that swelled inside and the end result of them may never be plotted on a page. But the fact remains that I did not feel a tremendous burst of patriotism. Nor did I want revenge. To many, those would seem inappropriate responses. I was not void of sadness or loss. Those were clearly within my vision. But I saw so much more as well.

If I take Kathleen Norris to heart with her message, then I am to believe that what I might create if I in fact did write a 9-11 poem would be of value to others. I have to ask myself, "In what way?"

An example of literary art that was considered by many to be inappropriate was that of Amiri Baraka, the New Jersey Poet Laureate who was asked to resign due to the uproar over his 9-11 poem. I wonder where the value to others was in this instance.

If Norris considers it dangerous to suppress art because of what some consider inappropriate responses to the world, I can agree with that premise. That is indeed a danger to society as a whole. Still, there is a risk to the artist for exercising honesty in his or her work, if that takes the consumer of such art to a place they are uncomfortable with.

So how do we learn to trust our responses? And maybe that is not the question at all. What if I trust my response but not the audience? How do I learn to deal with that?

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Big Yawn....

I read something the a couple days back in someone's blog that they had experienced problems with blogger. It certainly had issues yesterday. I had a fairly long comprehensive post that covered many topics and I completely lost it in the process of trying to post. Today, I've toyed with trying to recreate it and I've decided not. Though I may touch on some of the items over the next few days. ::heavy sigh::

I saw on TV the world was all abuzz with World Cup Soccer this morning. ::Big yawn::

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I am inclined to echo Jilly's sentiments.... What the #$*% is this????

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NPR - Summer Pages for the Mind, Heart and Tastebuds.... booklist including The Book of Lost Books: Stuart Kelly chronicles the vanished (and sometimes recovered) works from Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath and others.
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Radcliffe Was a 'Crossroads' For Free-Verse Poet ~Rachel L. Pollack writing about poet Jean Valentine
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The Wakoski Quote for today...

"High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this." ~ Diane Wakoski
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

With Misplaced Urgency

With Misplaced Urgency

Mystic sands slide
Through fingers nimble of sleight
Ancient particles
Tickle toes and beach feet

Standing with misplaced urgency
Lost amid grinding glaciers

And pounding seas reducing to a grain
Past significance



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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Love Poem Advise

I was out and driving home last night when this hellatious storm just pounced on us like a cat. It has beet overcast with some bits of sun rays parting the clouds in places. An occasional rain drop here and there. You know the kind of situation where you see sunshine to you left and oh may was that a raindrop on your right?

My daughter was with me and as we pulled away from her karate class, the sky just filled with vengeance all at once.
Winds, rain and lightening like you would not believe. On the interstate a car hydroplaned and spun out ahead of us. There was just so much going on all around us. In hindsight, I am thinking today how I'd like to have captured some of the images on paper. I'm sure however, my daughter appreciates my attention to the road without writing while driving.

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So I was thinking the other day about subjects that should never be written into poems. Then, I remember the advise from someone much wiser than I, who said that the best subject matter for poems is that which you least think is poetic material. Hence, in place of suggestions for subjects that would make bad poems, I give you the following....
Five words of advice if you are writing a love poem....
  1. If you are writing a love poem, I'd stay away from whale blubber as a metaphor.
  2. If you are writing a love poem for your spouse, I'd forget about mentioning in-laws.
  3. If you are writing a love poem, take it easy with words that rhyme with runt and bunt.
  4. If you are writing a love poem, try not to make yourself the subject of worship.
  5. If you are writing a love poem, remember fantasy is a whole other genre.

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So tonight at the KC METRO VERSE MEETING:

Our topic of discussion is the poetry that is in the April issue of Poetry Magazine. This issue is entirely translations of poems. Which begs me to wonder the following for example.

On page 6, the poem titled The Fog - originally by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli is translated to English by Geoffrey Brock. So, here we have what appears to be an eight stanza terza rima with a single one line floater at the end. This of course means the first and last lines of each stanza rhyme and the middle line will rhyme with the first and third in the following stanza. Or so this is what Brock has given us in translation. In my trivial mindset, I am wondering, is the original Italian likewise in a tera rima as well? If so, it would seem the task of translating could become a little more diecy. The word translations are not going to all have the same letter or sound endings making it difficult to follow the rhyme pattern over into a new language with another word meaning approximately the same as the first. Further complicating, is that very often Latin derived languages have noun and verb placements different in sentences from that of our own. Such changes in the syntax would seem to give one a headache much less actually trying to translate, keeping a specific rhyme form.

Perhaps one of you have had some personal experience in translations. I find this process interesting. My daughter is very fluent in French and I have often thought of having her translate some of my work to French. Of course I largely write in free verse, and this would be far less demanding.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Is American Poetry All About Me?

This week the quotes come from the poet Diane Wakiski.


"American poetry is always about defining oneself individually,claiming one's right to be different and often to break taboos." ~ Diane Wakoski

Always is such a specifically defining word and am not really sure that Wakoski is correct here, but I would say that I agree that for the most part, this statement is accurate to American poetry. I think it is often true of poetry other than American, though perhaps not to the same degree.

Certainly I have written of things that I don't believe have particularly spoken to my own individuality. At least not intentionally, though I perhaps do a good deal of the time.

Et Cetera:

  • A city with it's own poet laureate - Poet laureate working to connect local writers [here]
  • An Essay - A Toast to the Happy Couplet [here]
  • Editorial - Shameless election politics [here]
  • Greenfield: Going back to the well -Will gay marriage and flag burning rally the GOP base one more time? [here]
  • Advise to the person who came to this site via a google search for "long hair dachshund cuts," Don't! I've had two long haired Dachshunds, and aside from trimming a tangle (usually around the ears) or cutting away hair on their hind side, for obvious reasons, the dogs don't need cuts. They are not poodles for God's sake. The natural growth of their long hair is part of the beauty of this breed. Of course this person has already come and gone from this site so right now there is probably some previously long haired Dachshund out there looking half naked and feeling silly & shy.
  • Poetry and Politics [here]
  • Picked up a book of Love Poems over the weekend.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Down in flames

Boggle came and went last night. The Megster prevailed, beating us all. Her vocabulary is phenomenal for her age. I bow and pay homage to her this morning. But we will challenge her again and again and again. We'll beat her or die of old age trying. ;)

Reading some translations today from the April Poetry Magazine. I have KC Metro Verse chapter meeting Tuesday in which we are discussing the April edition.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I feel a Boggle game coming on

Busy day… Fixed Kitchen sink sprayer, went to grocery store, Target, and some other store I won’t bother to give the publicity. Cooked lunch for wife and self. Worked on a poetry manuscript, selections of poems and arranging proper order, in addition to a new first draft of a poem that I mentally wore myself out on.

Blogger was acting strange earlier so I am doing this off line to upload. Hopefully it will work.

My daughter just walked through and asked if any of us were up to getting beat at Boggle. She knows we are glutton for punishment so easily. However, It has suddenly occurred to me that she was beaten by her mother last match we played, so technically she is challenging for her title back.

Saw this news item: Gays, flag-burning and indecency! Good Grief! The GOP CULTURE WAR is alive again. [here]

Friday, June 02, 2006

By the way...

I just love how the red dots are overtaking my cluster map on the sidebar. Hum... Wonder if I can get those in blue? :::snicker:::

Poets without boarders?

"I never thought of myself as a New York poet or as an American poet."~ Kenneth Koch
This sort of remind me of Doctors Without Boarders. I'm not sure that Koch is suggesting anything other than the fact that he never saw himself in any more specific role then that of just "a" poet. Still, I think there is something exhilarating about poets being able to transcend artificial boundaries of geo-political & cultural nature.
  • Canadian Sylvia Legris and Barbadian-born Kamau Brathwaite were the toast of Toronto on Thursday night after being named winners of the Griffin Poetry Prize. [here]
  • Queensland has been home to some of Australia's finest poets [here]
  • One of the most unusual galleries in New Harmony, Ind., will celebrate five years of exhibitions with art, music and poetry. [here]
  • ‘New’ national writers workshop raises the bar [here]
  • North-Voorhees High School (New Jersey) student editor resign over censorship, nearly all of staff walks too. School. David Steffan, principal said that many of the magazine's poems and photographs failed to meet "community standards." [here] Oh boy, we have another gifted person who is capable of defining community standards for those of us not in the know. Thank you Mr. Steffan for your "gift" of censorship. (did I sound sarcastic enough?)

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

That Clicking Sound

"When you finish a poem, it clicks shut like the top of a jewel box, but prose is endless. I haven't experienced an awful lot of clicking shut." ~ Kenneth Koch