Saturday, June 30, 2007
If you want to see a yet another mouthpiece in the thickening gravy that has been served up to cover the great debate over Poetry Magazine, I would encourage you to read the John Casteen peace in the Virginia Quarterly Review that can be found here.
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Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
When I do submit to a contest, I usually know well in advance that I am doing it and for some reason, I find myself always scrambling to get the entry off in the final couple of days before the deadline. Such is the case again this month. Here is a contest I’ve known about since, well the last time I entered it a year ago. I’m not waiting to write something new at the last minute. I will send a couple of pieces already written. It is a matter printing out clean copies and doing all the correct cover letters, etc.
I’m not sure what it is about contests that seem unique from other submissions. I’m sure there must be something very psychosomatic about the whole thing. Meanwhile, I have a few poems to pull together and get to the post office…
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
On a sad note: The poet Rahim al-Maliki wrote about his dreams of Iraqi unity in a place where such appeals are drowned out by daily bombings. One of them took his life on Monday.
NPR feature / More on Guantanamo Poetry. Plus more on the book of poems from Nafeesa Syeed here.
Dick Cheneny fails at American Civics.
Senator Richare Lugar changes tune on Iraq. Lugar called on Bush to "downsize" the U.S. military's role in Iraq and place more emphasis on diplomatic and economic options
Andrew Ervin reviews The Age of Huts (compleat) - By Ron Silliman
Stick Poet went over the 29,000 unique visitors milestone this past weekend. Thanks to all the SPSH readers. By the way, if you are not getting our syndicated feed of each day's posts by email and would like to, see the box in the sidebar to sign up to receive it that way. It's easy.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday evening I play the disc golf course close to our home. It can be quite rugged in spots as evidenced in the picture here with this post.
It's a 54 par course and I shot a 70 on it in the first time I played it. I was happy with the score given my experience (or lack thereof) and the terrain of the course. From holes 4 through 11 you are playing really rough landscape with lots of trees and few clear shots. My wife and daughter played too. I think everyone had a good time. We're going to check out some of the other local courses.
Late last night a read a few Plath poems. I guess I should say that I reread them. They were not new to me. I like to read stuff over every so often because I believe no poetry is static. A year sometimes even a couple of months ca make a big difference in how one comes to view a poem or any other artwork for that matter. I was reading most stuff that Sylvia wrote in the 1957 - 58 years. Certainly pre-Ariel material.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Shackling our imagination to a sinister cellar
Amid the pickling jars and moonshine
Stashed for future need
It is no wonder that our thoughts are always turned inward
And we do not see well beyond the darkness of our desperation
Souls entombed in black and surrounded by things preserved
They are dead to the present
But it is believed their usefulness
Is sometime in the distant future
What are we here for anyway—
We cannot possibly see beyond our means
Past the dead cucumbers of harvest
So many summers ago
In the days when the famous couple made Eltisley Avenue their home, the property was divided into two flats.
Today the property is a specious four bedroom home
that is presently listed at $550,000 pounds or about $ 1,098,462.
Friday, June 22, 2007
It is not at all surprising to me that the news of this is being greeted with mixed views. Some disapprove of the detainees having a public forum for their writing. Government and military sources have been quite concerned that the poems might hold some coded meaning and would not allow their publication without translation and vetting for such possibility. Still, others question the literary quality and perhaps value of these works. Indeed, these are not written by individuals who are known as poets or literary academics. Too, the whole matter of the impact of translation exists. Any work of poetry in translation perhaps loses something in the process and is only as good as the translator’s abilities with language, summation of the author’s intent and literary skills of the translator.
It is my opinion that these were not likely written for public consumption. I say that because initial indications are these detainees were crudely writing poems prior to them being allowed the use of pen and paper in 2003. Even in the general prison population in America it is not uncommon for inmates to turn to poetry in their solitary state to release emotion. I am assuming that in fact these were inspired by those same motives and not that of the paranoia expressed by Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Defense Department spokesman quoted in a June 20th article in the Wall Street Journal. Cmdr. Gordon said, “While a few detainees at Guantanamo Bay have made efforts to author what they claim to be poetry, given the nature of their writings they have seemingly not done so for the sake of art. They have attempted to use this medium as merely another tool in their battle of ideas against Western democracies.”
I have only seen the text of three of the poems. One riles on about President Bush, hypocrisy, and lies; it also denotes the anguish of his oppression and separation from family and references his religious faith. Is It True? by Abu Kabir has only the backdrop of nature against his fate and speaks of his family and his innocence. The third one written by a detainee who has made multiple attempts on his own life while in detention is largely laced with the sentiment of death.
The former poet laureate Robert Pinsky was asked to comment on the merit of these works. In the New York Times, Pinsky was quoted as saying, “I haven’t found a Mandelshtam in here,” referring to the Great Russian poet who died in a Stalinist labor camp. He notes also, the poems were written by amateurs in the Arabic tradition of poetry, and were translated into English by legal translators, not literary ones. But Pinsky seems to see a value in these words none the less. He is quoted by the publisher, University of Iowa Press as saying, “Poetry, art of the human voice, helps us turn toward what we should or must not ignore. Speaking as they can across barriers actual and figurative, translated into our American tongue, these voices in confinement implicitly call us to our principles and to our humanity. They deserve, above all, not admiration or belief or sympathy—but attention. Attention to them is urgent for us.”
The title is Poems from Guantanamo - The Detainees Speak - edited by Marc Falkoff.
Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Okay, it has been long enough and I've received no "Stick Poet Superhero" poems - not a one. Moving on...
Aleah Sato has a poem in Blood Orange Review that is awesome. Sato was featured in the last issue of Rogue Poetry Review and was interviewed here not long ago. Her poem titled What This Poem Will Do is another great read!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The White House revealed yesterday that Tony Blair and George Bush have discussed the outgoing Prime Minister taking on a UN role as Middle East envoy. Now there's two peas in a pod. Given the Bush - Blair relationship as well as Blair's failed history in middle east policies, how constructive can this possibly be.
Then there is this hot item...
John Travolta stands by Tom Cruise's stance against psychiatry and the use of anti-depression and other psychotropic drugs. You may recall the thrashing Cruise gave Brook Shields over taking anti-depressants.
"I don't disagree with anything Tom says," and Travolta adds, "...I still think that if you analyze most of the school shootings, it is not gun control. It is (psychotropic) drugs at the bottom of it."
Way to go Cruvolta!
If you've read my blog very long, you have likely figured out that I am not impressed with John Barr's efforts to bring poetry to the masses. To be clear, I have nothing personally against Mr. Barr and in fact I applaud his desire to further the art of poetry. It is not his objective but rather the means to that end that I dislike, both from a practical point and an artistic point of view.
Poetry, like any of the arts, is a broad expression of many genres. Not every song, not every painting, not every photo and certainly not every poem strikes everyone the same way. The way to strengthen any art for is not to divide it's benefactors or practitioners. This is where I part with the John Barr's of this world. So when I read a commentary by Mike Burnside - Winning ways in the war of the words , I found myself whispering under my breath, "...yes, yes!"
Barnside suggests that Barr would do well to use a model more like that of Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He argues that if there is any art that struggles more in public persona then poetry, it is perhaps opera. And opera, like poetry, can easily be divided into accessible and not so accessible groupings. Barnside give Peter Gelib high marks for promoting opera across these divides with great success and suggests Barr and Gelib do lunch. Not a bad idea!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
- They are much preferred over bills.
- They are tangible confirmation in the existence of life forms elsewhere.
- You can wallpaper your room with them.
- In a pinch they can be used as backup for toilet paper.
- They remind us to recycle our work elsewhere.
- You can write new drafts on the back of them.
- They can help demonstrate to the IRS that your writing was not profitable this year.
- In large quantities, they may establish you as an authority on rejection, which gives you the basis for writing a profitable book on the subject.
- Mementos for the grandchildren
- They are like a losing lottery ticket they you didn't have to buy.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Couple of items from Father's Day.... A Waterman Phileas fountain pen -burgundy and black marbled ( picture doesn't do it justice) and my ASU ball cap complete with "Sparky" the Sun Devil. By the way, ASU won their opening round of the College World Series Saturday. They play again tonight.
The pen is from my lovely wife. It is gorgeous and way more pen then I would have bought myself. Writes as smooth as honey. It will certainly make both journaling and hand written poetry drafts much more enjoyable.
Speaking of Father's Day.... Enjoyed this piece about Donald Hall & the poems he wrote on the passing of his father. While he write about the experience right away, the poem took 17 years to complete.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Hasn't getting work noticed always been the problem? Keller makes a case for the problem. What is the solution?
Melissa Tuckey interviews the Iranian poetess Farideh Hassanzadeh for Foreign Policy In Focus. Very provocative ~ worth reading.
Looking forward to some baseball this afternoon. College World Series game between Arizona State University and UC Irvine. ASU is noted for a strong baseball program. My daughter is starting her studies there this year. We'll sit down to enjoy the game together this afternoon.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
First Draft: Leonardo Likes Gulls: Running of the Poems - Or Why Seattle is a Great Place for Poets & Poetry
What a cleaver idea... thanks Kelli for sharing this story of the Running of the Poems by The Poetess at Green Lake. This is the kind of activity that I like to see to broaden the reach of poetry to society today. It's the integration into normal everyday life and common places. I am far more impressed by this sort of undertaking then the John Barr approach to gutting literary art to make something more palatable to spoon feed the public.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Here is a really cool site. If you enjoy awesome photos - check this out: street:haikuby an xiao. I'd love to do some collaborative writing with photos like these.
Only recently I've been turned on to Charles Simic. How he had slipped under my radar I cannot say. Here is one of his poems to enjoy: My Noiseless Entourage
Fettweis writes in his piece titled Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome of the lasting impact the earlier Soviet war in Afghanistan had on the Soviet Union and societal effects of defeat linger to this day in our own country as a result of Vietnam.
While Fettweis talks of the finger pointing from politicians on all sides, he acknowledges that the American people as a whole see this war pretty much as it was.... "The American people seem to understand, however — and historians will certainly agree — that the war itself was a catastrophic mistake. It was a faulty grand strategy, not poor implementation. The Bush administration was operating under an international political illusion, one that is further discredited with every car bombing of a crowded Baghdad marketplace and every Iraqi doctor who packs up his family and flees his country." Did you catch that? Our troops did not fail us, the war itself was a mistake.
Like Vietnam, which clearly divided my own generation- Iraq syndrome will be no different.
Fettweis points out that while Vietnam was far more costly in American lives, in the end it was strategically irrelevant. While Saigon fell, there were no dominoes that followed, and in the years that followed, communism became less relevant to to the power structures of the world, not greater. He is correct to point out that the situation in Iraq perhaps could be more costly. Iraq could soon collapse into an uncontrollable, lawless, failed state that destabilizes the region.
So the cost of this mistake could be far worse than that of Vietnam.
In spit of this, Fettweis suggests there is an outcome which will not have made this all have been in vain. Read his Op-Ed piece and see for yourself [ Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome ]
Monday, June 11, 2007
Few notes about some poetry I read this weekend [here]
VALPARAISO The spring/summer edition of the Valparaiso Poetry Review, Valparaiso University's online journal of contemporary poetry, is now available online
Powell Calls for Closure of Military Prison at Guantanamo
And finally, I find Sen. Joe Lieberman more than a little disturbing these days.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I've wanted to play disc golf for some time now. I've picked up some equipment at a local DG store. I think this is something my wife and I can do together outside. Fun!!!
It is actually become a really big thing over the years. There is a professional disc golf association and the 25th Annual Kansas City Wide Open tournament is coming up on June 22 - 24th. What fun!
What has any of this got to do with poetry? Not a damn thing. I just didn't want people to think I was one dimensional. ::grin::
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Torn from a page of grief
Overcome with tears
Words like sponges soaked
Into the margins of a life
Shackled to a story
Whose end is overlapped
Twisted gray jabs
And flattened blunt trauma
To a child like psyche
Thursday, June 07, 2007
A standing-room-only audience of 225 people turned out for the 50 minute performance!
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in favor of a Fox Television-led challenge to the policy and returned the case to the Federal Communications Commission to let the agency try to explain how its policy was not 'arbitrary and capricious.' The court said it doubted the FCC could."
Reading in the Round: Wilsons and Friends
June 8, 2007
at The Writers Place
Jeanie Wilson and Thomas Zvi Wilson will read from The Door into the Dream. Both poets have previous books to their credit. Thomas’ Deliberate and Accidental Acts came out in 1997; Jeanie’s Uncurling appeared in 2000. The Door into the Dream was listed in the KC Star’s 2006: The Year’s 100 Noteworthy Books. Jeanie currently serves as a board member for TWP, and Thomas formerly served as treasurer on the TWP board. Jeanie and Thomas host The Writers Place Poetry Reading Series held monthly at the Johnson County Central Resource Library.
Other poet colleagues reading from The Door into the Dream:
· Brian Daldorph
· Gregg Field
· Denise Low-Weso—Poet Laureate fro Kansas for 2007-2009; her latest book is Words of a Prairie Alchemist.
· Jo McDougall—an Arkansas native, has published most recently Dirt and Satisfied with Havoc. Jo was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame (2006)
· Robert Stewart—is author of Outside Language: Essays and editor of New Letters magazine.
· Maryfrances Wagner
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) called the hours spend debating Wheat's fate, "... time wasted."
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Peter J. Schmitt, Republican legislator voiced is objection because he felt that Wheat's book condemned the troops fighting for America in Afghanistan and Iraq. Democrat Wayne Wink was the lone legislator who voted to uphold Wheat's nomination.
Since that time, families too have squared off over the issue. But there has been support for Wheat, even from families who have members serving in Iraq.
Linda Geremia, of South Setauket, NY who has a son serving believe the committee did the right thing.
Nicole Lundin, who lost a son recently however saw not contradiction between supporting the troops and opposing the war. Nor did Elaine Brower, who has a son who served there last year.
And Mary Ann Kochman, also with family in Iraq suspected politicians were more concerned with political cover than with poetic excellence.
I've grown a little less angry over this. The reality is that many people see it for what it is. Short sightedness and as Ms. Kochman put it running for political cover. I believe it was Plato who said,"Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history."
What is sad to me is that Wheat seemed to be an excellent choice. He has written for many years on the natural beauty of the Nassau County region. The people in there will truly miss an opportunity.
There are I suppose always going to be the likes of Peter J. Schmitt, (recipient of my thumbs down award for the day) who are hell bent on defending that which is indefensible. No one I know disrespects the troops and I know precious few people personally who believe this war was ever justified. These young men and women were called upon to serve and (aside from a small handful) have preformed in very difficult circumstances honorably. But they were not the architects of this mistake. The best support was as Americans can give them is to return them safely to their families as quickly as possible.
Sources for this post: here and here
Monday, June 04, 2007
"Thanks for submitting these. I'm happy to accept them. They will do nicely in the next issue... I hope these won't be the last I'll see from you"
I am so easily amused. I enjoy looking to see what kinds of searches bring people to this site. As I have reported in the past, there are some truly interesting things that pop up. Among the greats is this first timer that came up today:
- long-haired sylvia looking for her ted
followed by some others that often reoccur or at least come up in similar fashion...
- published superhero poem (multiple times)
- nude super heroes (multiple times)
- super hero poem
- i am a superhero quote
- superhero poems (multiple times)
- when life gets you down superhero quotes
- question of interview of super hero
- a superhero of kansas
- meaning of earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with god (don't ask me, I just report these)
So there are a few and I am sure you begin to realize as I have the common theme of superhero resurfacing over and over. In the past I've has some other interesting variations of Stick Poet. Thinks like beating poets with sticks, sticky poets, poet superheros, stick people poets... it goes on.
These searchers must be terribly disappointed not to find super hero poems here. I have never written one. Though I have been tempted, I have resisted. Perhaps feeling too close to the subject. So just for fun... ( remember I am easily amused) consider this a call for poems about a superhero. Not any superhero mind you, but "Stick Poet" superhero.
For the next week, e-mail me your best effort at a Stick Poet Superhero poem. I promise I'll post them all on here ( the good, the bad, and the ugly) and then you can all vote on the best one. In the end, those who keep coming here in search of super hero poems will at last feel there Google searches are not have been in vain.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
I am following a story about a Boeing Subsidiary that is being Sued Over CIA Transfers of individuals to other countries for detention a practice known as "extraordinary rendition.""[VOA link] This is interesting because I seem to recall earlier stories that an airplane that was somehow connected to the Boston Red Sox franchise or owner was reportedly linked as well to one of these covert transfers.
It's nice to see Jilly back and up to speed over at Poetry Hut.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Breaking ground in forced exposition
Hoisting aloft the engine of ingenuity
Panels fastidiously fastened to iron girders
Reflecting upon a day stars dream
Of colossal architectural spawning
From the mind’s envelope pushed past all others
Higher vision touching nothing but the wide open
Thinness of molecular indifference to volume