Friday, August 31, 2007
Goodyear will discuss her debut book of poetry, Honey and Junk. Goodyear first hit my radar screen when she became one of the 18 debut poets of 2005 that were featured in Poets & Writers.
I've read a few of her poems and she is remarkably impressionable with creating an undercurrent to her often melancholy voice.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I’m scaling down this weeks summit and being careful, but not particularly graceful in my descent. Monday and Tuesday were relatively speaking manageable days. Wednesday was on the other hand, one of those days where it all falls apart and topples down on you. So today, I continue down the incline, but with concern as not to create an avalanche behind me.
There are but two days left for people to respond to my survey on the sidebar about rewrites. I want to blog some next week on revisions and while such a survey is of course not scientifically representative of the poet population as a whole, it will give me some idea as to what readers here might consider their norm. So please, don’t make be beg, (I look so undignified) if you haven’t done so already, take a moment to respond.
Couple of bits from my journal this week:
- The lady up the street powered up her nose / in a mammoth snub / I flashed an Indian corm smile / like I wanted her approving curtsy
- Afternoon slumps / Holding its hands in its pockets
- I would watch her sleep / Sometimes in silent fog
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Then comes that fateful morning when you realize "you are it!" This has come and passed for Charles Simic. So what's going on with him?
For all the fan fair and hoop-la about raising the interest in poetry in this country by recent past laureates, Simic is not as passionately optimistic. He views Americans as a people who are not particularly proud of our literature and he is not inclined to believe you can force the issue. Oh, I'll admit that a part of me wants to be more idealistic about the picture than that, but perhaps Simic is more reality grounded here. At any point, we all really do know that the evangelism of poetry is not going to bring everyone the their knees in verse.
If I were asked to do a state of the union on poetry, I believe first of all, not a lot of people would tune in. There is a large segment of society who really could care less. Still, for a good many people poetry remains a valued commodity. And like the American economy, the leading indicators here are truly mixed.
It seems fewer presses are turning out poetry. Yet we are seeing poetry all over the Internet. There are few economic success stories among contemporary poets, yet MFA programs are everywhere. To be sure, there are a significant number of people who do in fact turn to poetry, but it is also true that this is a representatively low percentage of the American public. Simic is right, as a nation we do not proud of our literature, poetry or otherwise. Our interests are splintered and divided among so many possibilities it is like vying a piece of the Nielsen ratings.
Of course I want to see poetry promoted. And I am already pleased to know from things Simic has said that he is not about to set out to define what poetry is or should be to readers or poets. To create "ramps for poetically handicapped people" (borrowing a phrase from Billy Collins) is not going to bring America to some profound awakening about poetry. The best we can do is to support the art, gain exposure for it, and let it reach those who are receptive to it.
Simic is in his own right a very talented poet. I believe he can be a outstanding ambassador for the art. Like everyone else, we'll have to set back and give him time to develop his methodology.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
- This month, another poetic voice was lost with the passing of poet and short-story writer Grace Paley. The 84 year old Paley was also a prominent political voice in the '60s and '70's in pro-peace and anti-nuclear rallies.
- Poetry Hut turned 4 years old this past weekend.
- News this morning.... Alberto Gonzalez is resigning. Nice start. He still needs to be prosecuted along with a host of others in the Bush administration.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Ringing words. Unfortunately, the White House advance team didn't get the memo. Or the message. But the taxpayer got a bill for $80,000. Click here to here about the $80,000.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Couple of other items....
Thanks to those who have responded to the rewrite / revision survey in the side bar. It's still open so please respond if you haven't.
I still have a few of my broadsides, Give Me Some Everyday Religion a poem of my own with an Anne Sexton epigram on it. If you'd like one. just e-mail me with your address.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
David Mehegan of the globe staff wrote a piece in Simic on August 18 that provided a little more insight into Simic the laureate. Mehegan reports that Simic doesn't yet have a plan for his term but says, "All those sentences that begin with, 'Poetry must...,' 'The purpose of poetry is to... , 'Readers of poetry should...' -- 'I will not complete any of those sentences." I can't say enough about what a delight it is to hear these words.
Even after Donald Hall's tenure as poet laureate, the handcuffs that Ted Kooser slipped around poetry still leave marks on its wrists. Simic is insightful enough to see the divisiveness trying to mold and shape what poetry is or should be has brought to the art. Enough!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
A few gems:
- Republican candidate Mitt Romney - Defending the decision by his five sons for not enlisting in military service by uttering the following, "...one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected." Romney later tried to clear the air and said he didn't mean to compare their campaign work to military service. Yeah, well duh.
- Republican Mike Huckabee has referred to Arkansas as a "banana republic" as well as jokingly attributed his 110-pound weight loss to spending time in a concentration camp. Way to go Mike!
- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.,demonstrated fuzzy math skills when he drastically overstated the death toll from a Kansas tornado, saying "ten thousand people died." The real number was 12. As in one and two with no zeros following.
- Good old Republican Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11 attacks, claims he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers" and was exposed to the same health risks. Ok, I don't think his photo opps were the same as digging through the rubble and I suspect there is a wee bit of exaggeration on the time as well.
Talked to her on the phone late last night when we got in. She had made a new friend on campus (which delighted me) and I know she is going to do so well there. I am quite proud of her.
I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow. I imagine my plate will be quite full. It is normally, so this is only going to to set me back. (sigh) But I have decided to keep a smile on my face and roll up my sleeves.
Good News!!! I had a card in the mail when I got home that Dana Goodyear is going to be in town in September. I have greatly enjoyed her own poetry as well as some of her commentary I've read. I am looking forward to meeting her and hearing her read!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Arts diary: Revealed: Sylvia Plath's unseen art, discovered in the attic | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts
Bar the floor from leaving.
We watch all day
It never moves from prison.
You and I are visitors
Neither saying much
And the floor isn't talking.
Perhaps it has spoken things to others,
Later used against it.
Dirty truths that were never intended
Beyond its horizontal plane.
I won't even bother to discuss the numerous scandals among GOP House members which he denied lead to the Republican electoral demise. But I will take issue with the insistence that the American people are impatient where the war is concerned.
Patience, or lack thereof is only a small part of the electoral revolt where the war in Iraq is concerned. It is far more than impatience. He ignores the fact that the vast majority of America realizes that they were mislead in the first place. There was no compelling reason for the US to make an unprovoked strike on Iraq. Information about possible nuclear concerns were grossly exaggerated and information at the time suggested so. We had UN inspectors in the country again surveying the situation.
It is true that the existing government in Iraq was wrought with human rights abuses, but so is the Sudan, so is China, Sri Lanka, Labia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Colombia, Turkey and the list of places with major human rights abuses goes on. Where is the U.S. response in these places? The fact is that our government and in particular the Bush administration found it politically expedient to go to war with Iraq, and they believed it would be a short campaign and there would be minimal causalities. They shifted resources from Afghanistan (a real stronghold for anti-American extremists) to Iraq.
For all the bad you could say about the Saddam Hussein, he did after all rise in power with behind the scenes help from the United States government. Further there existed a stable government environment that was not susceptible to outside interference in the region.
What Representative Hastert ignores of fails to understand is that we know the truth about Iraq and it is an ugly scar in the history of the U.S.
At last count, we've lost at least 3,699 U.S. servicemen and women in the ear in Iraq. At least 25,000 Americans have been wounded. This Mr. Hastert is a pretty heavy price to pay for what amounts to a lie. Your President was bound and determined to go to war in Iraq to the extent that he would present less than honest assessments of facts. That is a polite way of saying he lied.
On the other side, the price has been worse. By other side I am speaking of Iraqi citizens. Bush's war has created a vacuum in leadership in country where there is no consensus among the Iraqi people themselves. There are deep divisions between neighboring people. To the point of bloody civil strife on a daily basis. The death toll in one day alone in a northern Kurdish province that was previously one of the quieter spots is now at least 400.
We've destroyed so much of the countries infrastructure, in the capital alone they are lucky to have an hour or two electricity a day. One seriously has to ask the question, are they better off today than under Saddam?
Efforts to create a democratic government in Iraq have had only partial success. While the structure of a legislative body now exists, the divisions between the Iraqi people themselves are so deep that this brave body of men and women that rick their own lives daily are in worse gridlock than anything we've ever witnessed here in America.
Given this, and the fact that this whole mess has in fact lead to greater disdain for America Islamic people worldwide, how exactly has this made us safer?
In all this it is amazing how prophetic Dick Cheney was in 1994. The question is what lead to his mental lapse?
Congressman Hastert needs to understand that the American people are not simply an impatient bunch. No, we realize that George Bush pulled a Gulf of Tonkin on us (see here, here, and especially here) and are angered and the loss of lives on both sides, the loss of American prestige, the monetary cost of over $450 billion of non-budgeted tax money and counting , and creating a cause celeb for recruiting anti-American terrorists. If THIS is not a crime against the American people and humanity as a whole, I don't know what is.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The trip is truly a mixture. I have greatly enjoyed being able to see my oldest daughter. That's been a blessing. I am however homesick- missing my wife tremendously, and beginning to feel a bit emotional already about the fact that when I leave, my youngest will be staying behind. So the emotions for the trip are a bit like taking a jar and putting the good and the bad together and shaking them up. What you get is pretty messy emotionally.
Writing has been difficult. Still a sampling of my journal from the last few days:
- These are not afterthoughts / That spill over the levee / But plateaus of articulation
- Things I wanted to say in deep cobalt blue
- Raining syllabic utterances
- His skin circumcised by a combination / Of sun and shifty motivations
- We saw in him all the signs / Of a man able to straddle / the Continental divide
- UA Poetry Center moves into new home (here) : According to Gail Browne, Executive Director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center, they will begin moving to a new facility on Wednesday. With more than 60,000 items it is one of the largest such centers in the country. I'd like to browse through this when they are finished.
- Classified evidence debated / Court likely to allow suit against AT&T (here) Wednesday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco - hearing arguments about President Bush's clandestine eavesdropping program, appeared inclined to keep alive a lawsuit accusing AT&T of illegally letting the government intercept millions of Americans' phone calls and e-mails.
- Acclaimed poet Pavel Chichikov debuts on Catholic Radio International (here)
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I saw the ASU campus yesterday with youngest daughter. Heat aside it's a pretty nice place. Tomorrow I should see even more of it.
Last night we watched "A Night's Tale" which I really enjoyed. The pop-culture aspect of it was pretty entertaining.
My writing the past few days hasn't been entertaining. It's been pathetic. Heat, change of environment? Who knows.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Wept for those pressed into
By grown men with archaic presence of mind
To plunder the
It is all remedial arithmetic.
More soldiers equals more tokens in their hands.
More chips they can gamble away
With low maintenance child warriors.
No enlistment paperwork or die-cast metal tags
To string around their necks.
No toe tags for the dead.
No one knows where they come from
Or cares where they go;
No duty to notify families or messy emotions.
Just a simple war-
With child labor.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The ink in my journal tonight reeks of this death.
It is not fit or noteworthy enough for an obit.
I should not mention its passing.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I've always considered that Virginia Woolf was never in short supply of thoughts to express. Nor timid about getting them out. I found an interesting quote that is one of the more profound statements I've heard attributed to her. "If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or 'our' country, let it be understood soberly and rationally between us that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits where I have not shared and probably will not share." -Virginia Woolf
It seems very evident that Woolf sees war largely the sexual aggression of men (emphasis on gender). I don't suppose I am qualified to challenge or uphold the psychological pretexts of such assumption, but it is rather profound that she is serving notice that she shares no such stake in these actions. A strong stand that I have to admire.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Michael Vick Chew Toy: The Only Thing You Can Still Buy With Vick's Name on It - Sports Blog - The FanHouse
Michael Vick Chew Toy: The Only Thing You Can Still Buy With Vick's Name on It - Sports Blog - The FanHouse: "Michael Vick Chew Toy: The Only Thing You Can Still Buy With Vick's Name on It"
A few bits from my journal this last week:
- a pretentious line from a love song / neither recalls the tune
- tracing a smile with his finger / her red lips kiss his index
- the days are ruled / by tweezer fingers /picking here, picking there
- crystal frost clinging to the bony flesh /of the best face one could put forward / under blistery circumstances
- a mind is a terrible thing to use when it's fucked up
- no one's here but scamper feet / who've come to witness my headache- / a mind with anxious classical thoughts / the Greek gods eavesdrop through paper walls
You there when history was made
I saw you in high def
You didn’t want to be there
Your face said as much
Your looked so uncomfortable in your skin
Later you talked on your cell
I wonder who it was
There was no excitement in your face
I was excited for him
You should have stayed home
- Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
- John Barrow (12th Georgia)
- Melissa Bean (8th Illinois)
- Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma)
- Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
- Allen Boyd (2nd Florida)
- Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania)
- Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky)
- Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee)
- Jim Costa (20th California)
- Bud Cramer (5th Alabama)
- Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
- Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
- Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee)
- Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana)
- Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
- Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana)
- Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
- Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee)
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota)
- Brian Higgins (27th New York)
- Baron Hill (9th Indiana)
- Nick Lampson (23rd Texas)
- Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
- Jim Marshall (8th Georgia)
- Jim Matheson (2nd Utah)
- Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina)
- Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana)
- Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
- Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota)
- Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
- Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas)
- Mike Ross (4th Arkansas)
- John Salazar (3rd Colorado)
- Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina)
- Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
- Zachary Space (18th Ohio)
- John Tanner (8th Tennessee)
- Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi)
- Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
- Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio)
Thank you for bringing us closer to a police state!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
In my own humble view, there are quite a few women I believe would be excellent candidates. I am perhaps more bothered by the gender issue than the geographical one. Why? I suppose being from the Midwest I should have been jumping for joy at the Kooser appointment. It turns out that his being from a neighboring state meant little of nothing to me.
I believe what may say a lot about the latest selection, and a very positive way to view it, would be that Simic is a first generation immigrant to the U.S. This at a time when our own American culture seems to be at such odds with our own American heritage. Simic was born under the dark shadows of very troubling times in his native land. I've seen in his work a more worldly view of life and I think this is a good time for Americans to experience a poet with such background.
On another note my copy of Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak arrived on Friday.
Friday, August 03, 2007
"Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships. " — Charles Simic
But don't stop there.... her blog is a great read for poets.
This is somewhat a bittersweet moment in my view as I have especially enjoyed the Hall period. Hall was such a refreshing voice to me following Ted Kooser. Kooser is enjoyable, but in my view lacking in the depth that Hall's work shows. Additionally, while Kooser was and remains a strong advocate for broadening the consumer base of poetry, I believe he has done so at the expense of dividing those in the literary arts themselves.
Simic is an immigrant. He was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in1938. Living as a child under the shadows of Hitler and Stalin. His family came to the U.S. in 1953.
Like Kooser, Simic is not a difficult read. Like Hall, there is clearly more depth to his work. He is no Bly or Ashbery, but he is a brilliant mind and I have enjoyed what work of his I have read. I believe he'll bring a positive voice to the position.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
There has been a sign on the clubhouse like forever that reads, "No Dogs, No Women." Progress can be a very slow thing.
While somewhat disappointed about the trade, Young Davis came up with a fantastic fielding play in center and firing to 2B to cut down a Dodger hitter challenging the young fielder for a two bagger. In the 8th, he safely bunted on, had a stolen base, then went to third on a wild pitch and was latter driven home. Oh, did I mention he hit safely in I believe the 5th? The kid definitely has wheels. ###
(sigh) I know who the winneris in Rupert Murdoch's acqusition of the Wall Street Journal. Sadly, I think I know who the loser is as well. ###
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A special court that routinely has approved eavesdropping operations has put new restrictions on the ability of U.S. spy agencies to intercept e-mails and phone calls of suspected terrorists overseas, U.S. officials said Wednesday.The previously undisclosed ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has prompted concern among senior intelligence officials and lawmakers that the efforts by U.S. spy agencies to track terrorism suspects could be impaired at a dangerous time. Gee - I suppose this is the consequences of not being able to trust them not to abuse of this power. ###
Hey, in case you have't noticed it - check out the poll on the side bar. - Thanks!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Since one of the thing I like to do in my poems is to create a strong dissonance, I thought what an opportunity. So I am thinking of a series of poems on different obsessions. So I will be brainstorming on obsessions for a few days. Maybe it can become a compulsion; or not.
And I could not pass up this bit of news to share.... 237 Reasons to have sex. Psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin say they have catalogued a total of 237 reasons people dance between the sheets.*
* not all of the reasons in this article are condoned by Stickpoet Superhero. Some may have a pathology that is unhealthy; additionally this may not be a totally inclusive list. Their may actually be many more reasons to have sex than have been disclosed here and Stickpoet Superhero assumes no liability for any omissions or errors.