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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Releasing poems from the bondage of the hard drive

Squeezed in 3 more poetry submissions before the end of the month. I now feel good enough to allow myself to go to bed.

Wednesday - breather

I always find Andrei Codrescu interesting if not amazing when featured on NPR. Last night I heard this piece of his: From Poetry to Web: Tools of Youthful Rebellion (click here).

Found this Joyce Oats quote today. Oh how very true... "A poem has a sort of fingerprint of a person on it, said Oates. People can write it to be about one thing, only to go back later and see that it pertains to something new. Simply, it follows a person's life stages."

Closing thought.... "Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles." - George Jean Nathan


Drivetime Thought

I was wondering (thank God not wandering) on the way in this morning, why Hallmark Cards has never exploited "the day of the dead?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guerrilla Ink Press / Call for submissions

Call for Submissions: Guerrilla Ink Press
Guerrilla Ink Press is currently accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction manuscripts, as well as photography and digital artwork for a new literary, arts, entertainment, news publication, GiP. This magazine allows Guerrilla Ink Press to continue providing dynamic publishing opportunities for new, emerging, and established writers in both electronic and print formats. Deadline is December 10, 2007.Send Submissions to:Attn: GiP MagazineGuerrilla Ink Press, LLC1956 E. Chestnut Exp.Springfield, MO 65802-2235

Passing this information along from Cindy

Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) - New York Times

Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) - New York Times:

"Lagrangeville Journal Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) "


Sorry, with the headline already there I just couldn't resist.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Homepage Site

My new homepage site can be found at michaelawells.com (note you must use the middle initial "a")

A Dog's World

Deep in thought Barry rests upon my lap while I snap this picture. The thoughts... maybe when is he going to feed me, how long do I have to sit here and amuse him, or perhaps he was reworking the lines of a poem in his head. Yeah, I'm sure that must be it.

Worked on a new personal website this weekend. Hopefully it will be up before long.

Got some writing accomplished as well. Nothing sent off. Sill hope to get a few more poems off before the month ends need to sit down and see what I've still got available at the moment.

Watched the World Series games without much satisfaction. The post season over now it is truly into the saddest time of the year. Of course spring comes and with it perhaps a better season for my favorite team.

Spent some time contemplating Eliot's assertion that poets live "...in what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past" and what this means both to awareness and of course poems that we create. Maybe that's what Barry had going on in his head too. Hee-he.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Legacy of Sylvia

It was 75 years ago today (27 October 1932) that Sylvia Plath was born to Otto Emil Plath and Aurelia Schober Plath in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 75 year figure seem almost unreal to me considering how significant and fresh her poetry remains today. Perhaps it is the manner in which the feminist movement attached itself to her life, death and poetry itself that has made her seem yet a contemporary figure even 44 years after her early death.

Her legacy is often debated. Was her story and poetry hijacked by the feminist movement or did she intend her work to be an early voice for feminism? Would she have escaped her tragic death if not for her split with Ted? How would her poetry stand today on its own merit without the notorious suicide in her London flat?

So many questions, so much speculation, but the fact remains that her work is that of a powerful voice in American literature and I cannot but help believe had she lived a normal lifespan she would have produced more work and that even without the attention brought to her in death, her writing would have found its way to the surface and surely have been recognized for what it was.

Her poetry today has admirers and detractors and in both instances I think it is the same powerful and edgy voice that contributes to both positions. Isn't that the thing about good poetry... how it brings out the feeling that get you right in your gut? That passion, be it positive or negative? Unquestionably she is among the great writers of our time, male or female.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Her Ancestors Lived Deep Within the Crack of Vanity

Another poem of mine is up over at The Flask Review in their current issue.

The explosive possibility of mixing coffee with books

Iran is a country that is enormously literate. Iranians love for poetry spans centuries, but reading of all types of material is serious business in Iran and is evidenced by the vast numbers of book shops that are available to the public. In recent times, books and coffee shops have seen an increasing union in this country and that combination which allows for intellectual discussions between people milling around these shops have become a concern for an Iranian government that has a notable bent on suppression of the press and Internet traffic. So it probably should come as no surprise that the commingling coffee shops and book stores have been targeted by a new rule against the “mixing of trades.”

The possibility of people engaging in thought provoking discussion in groups where there is a presence of literature that could influence thought, evidently is a frightening thing to this otherwise repressive government. I guess you can just never be to careful of what might happen when thinking people put their heads together.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PBS did an interesting piece on Copper Canyon Press

Seattle Poetry Publisher Finds Method to Adapt to Changing Cultural Times ( click here for more)

Mail Box

From the mail box yesterday, came my latest issue of Poets & Writers. This is the issue where P&W features the 12 debut poets for the year. I always enjoy this issue because I like to see who's there. A notable gem was among the 2005 list - Dana Goodyear. Her book Honey and Junk was a very worthwhile read. It will be interesting to see who among the 2007 group will hit my radar down the road.

Also noted a piece in this issue that looks interesting titled The Art of Reading John Ashbery.

Side note... 8 out of 10 people responding to the survey - If Spencer Tunick came to your community to do one of his photo shoots and needed volunteers, they would you talk it all off for art. There were two blushers who said no way. (OK, I added the blushing part)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A spoonful of medicine


"People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind." ~ William Butler Yeats
How true! Logic is the the language of limitations whereas creativity is the language of possibility. Not that logic isn't important, but it is best when balanced with a healthy spoonful of creativity.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Craziness last night

I can't believe I slept till 10:20 this morning. What is even more incredible is my wife was still asleep at that time.

I has a crazy assortment of dreams during the night. I've been thinking all day about them and contemplating the creation of a poem that pulls from what I recall of them. I've been tired much of the day. Cathy suggested it was the dreams... perhaps I was worn ragged by them. Could be.

Game seven (deciding game) of the ALCS is on tonight. I am so pulling for the Indians.

I've done no writing at all today. Something I would like to rectify, but unless it happen really later, it likely won't happen.

I picked up a CD today at Starbucks... Hail Britannia - the British invasion '64-'69. Lot of good stuff from back in the day. A few things that I'm not crazy about but for the most part it's good.
something different to listen to in the car.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ta-Da!

I can't sit on this any longer...

I have secured the dot com name for Rogue Poetry Review and now have a new site to house it so it will be moving away from the old address wordpress.com location. Only the opening page is ready but I am putting together the third issue, so you will get to see more of it over the next few days. Do check it out! Rogue Poetry Review

Friday, October 19, 2007

Missing with my change up

It seems like I'm writing a lot of stuff these last few days that I am not at all happy with. Some with a few delectable lines, but overall I am not happy with the continuity of thought in the pieces. I feel a bit like a pitcher who's three best pitches are a breaking ball, a fast ball and a change up. I can throw one of them well, but the other two are off. Oh, I can still throw them, but location control is just not right. So, I can go through the motions of pitching, but I'm not winning. I know it just a matter of connecting mechanics and mind set. Still, being close is only effective if you are lobbing hand grenades, not throwing pitches, and certainly now writing poetry. Enough with the baseball analogy.


Are any of you familiar with Writing Poems by Robert Wallace, Jack Davis, and Michelle Boisseau? It's a text book I've been wanting and I ordered a used copy today. Michelle Boisseau is on the staff at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. I've heard her read, read some of her work and have a friend who in the program there with her. I've been impressed with her and heard good things from others about her.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am so glad it is Friday. The weather seems improved today. It had been rainy - dreary here for several days and that coupled with the normal time of the year has left me feeling down. It's the SAD time these days.

Taking an inventory of the last twelve months of my publication efforts, I've made 35 submissions. Nine are pending responses. I've made 6 submissions so far this month. Overall, for the past twelve months, my acceptance ratio: 19.35 % - for which I am not at all disappointed. I only wish I had more stuff out there. Ah yes, a goal for this weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Defining the inner life through poetry

Marvin Bell is gray haired and bearded. The 70 year old is Iowa's first Poet Laureate. In the mid 1960's Bell was an army officer so it is perhaps not at all surprising that he has written on the subject of war extensively. Of his 17 published books of poetry, many deal with war.

In a recent Des Moines Register interview I was particularly struck by his response to the question, "What is the role of art in war time?" Bell's response seems particularly relevant to writing in a broader prospective about any social concern, not just war. He said, "Poets talk about current events, just as everyone does, but some of us also embed it in our art. Poetry doesn't change minds. However, it becomes part of the consensus. It finds words for what it feels like during wartime. That said, there is no one way to write and no right way to write. A poet is perfectly within his or her right to graph the inner life without reference to outer events."

It seems that poets have long been charged with defining moments in the use of language. It is the utilization of individual words and phrases that bring "feeling" into better focus. This not only gives greater clarity to the feelings but the words themselves. I've had times and I am sure I am not alone, when I have felt some way that I was not able to adequately describe. That ability to graph the inner life is one measure of exceptionally good poetry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The brain lateralization test from October 10th prompted me to ask my immediate family if they would take it as well. My wife and two of my daughters have obliged. Interestingly the two daughters both scored 40% left - 60% right. Not far off my 35% - 65% split in favor of the right. My wife, not surprisingly split 85% -15% left favored. I will say, she has a strong aptitude for creativity so that 15% is well spent. Still, I am not otherwise surprised to see her more dramatically left brain orientated. She carries it quite well. ::smile:: ~0~

Let me take a moment to plug the e-mail syndication of stickpoet. If you find yourself reading these posts frequently, why not go to the left sidebar and sign up to get the posts in your e-mail? ~0~

This weekend I read a post on Kelli's blog in which she cited a poem by W.S. Merwin entitled Berryman (after John Berryman the poet).

I will tell you what he told me / in the years just after the war (it starts) and true to his word, the poem elicits advise. I was especially taken by the final stanzas of the poem.

...I asked how can you ever be sure /that what you write is really /any good at all and he said you can't //you can't you can never be sure /you die without knowing /whether anything you wrote was any good /if you have to be sure don't write

We write, proof, rewrite multiple times and finally conclude we are finished... yet worry endlessly. These are good words to remember. ~0~

Monday, October 15, 2007

The power of words against oppression.

It's always amazing to me the lengths many under oppression will go to by contrast to the relative apathetic nature of many in America. (see A war on words)

When Burmese officials use military force to crack down on pro-democracy advocates, it is the military against words. The opposition to oppression in Burma has little to offer but the burning desire to be free and the courage not to be silenced. Journalists and poets as well as the monks in rebellion against the government have been the target of officials who fear them to the point of imprisonment. These will be the historians of Burma. The officials do have cause to fear their words because they tell the story of oppression - a history the government can only change by changing itself.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Interesting

At different points in his life, Wolf has had episodes of hypergraphia, a compulsion to write that takes hold for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. Heartbreakingly Poetic Prose

Journal bits this past week...

  • no amount of social acupuncture / would ease the burden I carried /in a crinkle brown bag / with the sweet stench of rotting fruit
  • what have I to want but a portion of real estate 12x13 to call mine / plant my sovereign flag in its heart
  • your festive laugh disordered my thoughts / I skipped something critical on vinyl
  • silence poured out of a pause
  • some days I am the father of righteous indignation / searching for my child / lost among conformists.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The sky has been weeping all morning

As I look out my window this morning to the ball field across the way, water stand in the infield like a rice patty. Then emptiness of a rainy fall morning and the approaching end of baseball for the year are like a deep blue blanket that has been drooped overhead. It reminds me of how, when I was young and had a parakeet, we'd drape his cage at night.

These are the days when the soul yearns for light and life. It is too early for the colors of fall that provide some solace from this dreariness and so it is a between time and it feel like we are stuck there.

Missouri to Appoint a Poet Laureate

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has announced that he will name an official Missouri Poet Laureate.

Blunt said, "Missouri has a rich cultural heritage of men and women in the arts, by naming a poet laureate, we will help continue this tradition for future generations of Missourians."

Jay Barnes of the governor's staff asked for your nominations by December first.
They are looking for a poet who is local, renowned, and wholly well-versed. The Missouri Poet Laureate will be responsible to help promote the arts in Missouri by making appearances at public libraries and schools across the state. The poet will also be called upon to compose an original poem in honor of Missouri and to perform the poem at an event commemorating the new position. Gov. Blunt will accept nominations through December 1, 2007. Nominees must be a current resident of the state. The governor encourages Missourians to think of poetry in its broadest sense when considering potential candidates for this new position.

The governor will work with the Missouri Center for the Book to select the Missouri Poet Laureate. He plans to announce the honoree in mid-December. Missourians interested in the position or who would like to nominate a candidate should visit the governor's Internet site at gov.missouri.gov/MPL.htm for more information. Submissions must include the poet's name, city of residence, contact information and writing samples.

San Diego Poetry Annual call for submissions!

Passing this along to those who are eligible to submit. Came in my e-mail from Cecilia Woloch

The San Diego Poetry Annual will be published in February, 2008. It will include poems written in 2007 by poets who live, study, work or who were born or raised in San Diego County.

If selected, your poems will be published alongside celebrated poets, including:
Anne Wilson, Sam Hamod, Brandon Cesmat, Megan Webster, Trish "The Dish" Dugger and Ellen Bass!

There is NO entry fee!!! Poets send up to two (2) poems of any length.Send poems in body of email to: sdpasubmissions@gmail.com by: November 1, 2007.Special Idyllwild section! We are pleased to include an Idyllwildsection in our upcoming edition. Poets that went to any of the Summer Poetry in Idyllwild 2007 events or were featured readers at these events, please submit up to 2 poems to sdpasubmissions@gmail.com with the word "Idyllwild" included in the subject line of the email. The deadline is November 1st, 2007.

We look forward to your submissions! For more info, visit sandiegopoetryannual.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

San Jose Mercury News - Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby

San Jose Mercury News - Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby:

"Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby"

Oh My God.... who complained... is John Ashcroft a tenant there? Shorenstein Properties LLC, must have some pretty lame tenants.

Friday Bits...

Oh my, here's what happens when a watchdog gets a little too close for comfort when investigating a spy agency. ~0~ An Oscar an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize for Guess Who?

5 Questions With Poet Margaret Gibson who has five Pulitzer Prize nominations, two Shortbread awards, and short-list consideration for the National Book Award. [story]

Remember Sam Hamill? - Poet remains unbowed against Iraq war [story] and Sam's latest book Measured By Stone

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poet Harassed by China Government



Reporters without boarders reports on the harassment by Chinese police of human rights poet Tao Jun after interview for US newspaper. China is increasing its repressive attitude to individuals and reporting of information. This is a sad commentary given the insistence that China is becoming more open and free, something they would have the west believe in advance of the 2008 Olympics.

This blog for example will not pass the scrutiny of the Chinese government censors. Will yours? Find out by using this test site: click

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bush Presses Congress on New Eavesdropping Law - New York Times

Bush Presses Congress on New Eavesdropping Law - New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — President Bush prodded Congress on the issue of eavesdropping today, warning that he will not sign a new law unless it confers immunity on the telecommunications utilities that helped the National Security Agency eavesdrop without warrants."

Why should a telecommunication company that gave private information about millions of U.S. Citizens to the government without a court order be given immunity from civil action? I'm sorry Mr. President, but even YOU are not above the law!

Giving them immunity says to everyone that it's ok in the future to violate people's civil liberties because if the President wants it, he'll just cover your ass.

Big Surprise




You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained



The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.



The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Humpday - Riding Gravity To The Weekend

Thumps Up:

  • Guy Holliday and his box of poetry - [story]
  • Gene Racz did it for the sake of art, beloved children, for the sake of art [story]
  • Members of the K.C. Metro Verse who showed up last night with poetry to read, listen and workshop.
  • Poetry to build a climate of hope and resistance [story]

Thumbs down:

  • Burma Police State - [story]
  • Supreme Court declines suit over U.S. rendition - [story]

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Second Language of Poetry

Reading Donald Hall's essay Goatfoot, Milktounge, Twinbird - infantile origins of poetic form is loaded with interesting insights that I feel are truisms and while I could not have articulated them as well, I believe in some strange way I've known these things all along. Perhaps they have simply been lost among too much other mind clutter and by reading this, it allowed me to skim some of it off the top of that murky pool.

Discovery & Recovery - That is what poetry is about. It is the poet pulling from within and getting it on paper which allows a reader to process it. Hall says it is one inside talking to another inside. For the reader, it is a process of recovery.

I have long held that poetry is really a collaborative between reader and writer. What Hall describes here confirms this. What the writer and the reader have is something in common, but different (usually). The writer relates something that the reader identifies with from their own life experiences. Since each of us has different life experiences their discovery and recall may be similar, but not identical. This constitutes the second language of poetry. Speaking through the second language of poetry, can be clearly different from a more obvious message or story line of a poem. When such a connection (second language) is made, this becomes the sensual body of the poem or where some connection between reader and writer occurs.

There is more to this essay, but I will tackle that another day.

Spencer Tunick and the Art of Nothing at all

Hundreds of people took their clothes off in the name of art in South Beach Florida yesterday. Monday. Spencer Tunick, a photographer and artist of the human form, last month let it be known he needed 600 volunteers to be part of his upcoming art installation at South Beach's Sagamore Hotel. Tunick has had no problem attracting participants and the 600 number for this event is actually rather small by his standards. Last year 18,000 took part in a Mexico shoot.

Tunick will unveil his work during Miami Beach's annual Art Basel festivities in December.

Here's my question. Tunick is coming to your community and need volunteers for his next photo shoot. Do you bare it all for art? See poll on sidebar to left.

The results were:

8 or 80% said you would take it off for art.
2 or 10% said No Way... Not in Public.

Thanks to all who voted.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Where's the Beef?

Wow.... That's some big beef jerky!

Weekend is over. I succeeded in sending out more submissions as I had planed.

This morning, I was pleased to learn that a submission of a poem I wrote earlier this year but had never sent out till now has found a home! So there's the beef!

I'm reading Breakfast Served Any Time All Day- Essays on Poetry New and Selected by Donald Hall. There is some wonderful stuff in here. There are things in it that you feel as you read them you must have known because deep down they seem like truisms... yet at the same time they are new to you. I'll have more to say on some of these things later.

I have enjoyed the Indians / Yankees series. Some really exciting baseball. I have to say I'm pulling for the Indians in this series. Go Tribe!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

7th Annual A. Poulin, Jr Poetry Prize

Passing along this information I received from Cecilia Woloch.



BOA EDITIONS, LTD.

SEVENTH ANNUAL A. POULIN, JR. POETRY PRIZE

Judge: Jean Valentine


The A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize is awarded to honor a poet's first book, while also honoring the late founder of BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publishing house of
poetry and poetry in translation.

WINNER RECEIVES:
A $1,500 Honorarium, paid in March 2008, and book publication by BOA Editions, Ltd. in March, 2009, in The A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series.

ELIGIBILITY:
* Entrants must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
* Poets, who are at least 18 years of age, who have yet to publish a full-length-book collection of poetry.
* Translations are not eligible.
* Individual poems from the manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, journals, anthologies, chapbooks of 32 pages or less, or self-published books of 46 pages or less, but must be submitted in manuscript form. Published books in other genres do not disqualify contestants from entering this contest.
* Employees, volunteers and board members of BOA Editions, Ltd., or their partners or spouses, or their immediate families, or immediate family of the judge are not eligible.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES REQUIREMENTS:
Send one copy of the manuscript, our entry form, and the $25 entry fee, to BOA Editions, Ltd., between August 1, and November 30, 2007, at the address listed below. Make check or money orders payable to BOA Editions. Do not pay by cash or credit card.

MANUSCRIPT FORMAT:
* Minimum of 48 pages, maximum of 100 pages of poetry.
* At least 11pt. font.
* Name address and telephone number must appear on the title or cover page of the manuscript.
* Do not send artwork or photographs.
* Typed or word-processed on standard white paper, on one side of the page only.
* Paginated consecutively with a table of contents.
* Bound with a spring clip (no paperclips, please).
* Attach publications acknowledgments if any.
* Include a stamped, self-addressed postcard for notification of receipt of manuscript.
* Do not send by FedEx or UPS.
* Electronic and fax submissions will not be accepted.
* Neither late nor early manuscripts will be accepted.
* Contestants may submit the manuscript elsewhere simultaneously, but must notify BOA Editions immediately, by mail in an envelope (not by postcard or e-mail) if a manuscript is accepted by another publisher.
* Once submitted, manuscripts cannot be altered. Winner will be given the opportunity to revise before publication.
* Contestants may submit more than one manuscript, but a separate entry fee and entry form must accompany each manuscript.
* Manuscripts mailed from foreign countries risk not being received before final selections have been made.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES SUGGESTED:
* Send manuscript in a plain or padded envelope. Please no boxes.
* For notification of competition results, include a business-size SASE.
* Keep a copy of your manuscript, as manuscripts will not be returned.
* We advise that you send your manuscript by first class or priority mail.

ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
* The winner will be announced by March 1, 2008.
* Honorarium will be awarded within two weeks of a signed contract between the winner and BOA Editions.
* Winning manuscript will be published in March, 2009, in an original paperback edition in the A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series.
* The winner will retain full copyright of his or her work.
* The paper from all manuscripts will be recycled after the winner is announced.

BOA Editions assumes no responsibility for loss of manuscripts.

Send manuscripts, postmarked between August 1, and November 30, 2007, with entry fee, to:

BOA Editions, Ltd.
PO Box 40490
Rochester, NY 14604
Picked up three interesting books at the Library yesterday. They are:


  • Breakfast Served Any Time of Day - by Donald Hall

  • Your Own Sylvia - by Stephanie Hemphill

  • Otherwise - New and Selected Poems - by Jane Kenyon

Another writer / poet friend of mine has started a blog - Scot Isom - you can check it out here.

Wow... Poet season baseball has been really incredible so far. Even without my Giants, I have been enjoying some exciting games. The Indians / Yankees series has been super! Go Tribe! What a nail bitter last night!


Friday, October 05, 2007

Journal Jottings This Week

From my journal this week:

  • As if coded in some way the birds / converse clearly aware of the time / to the exact minute in spite of / the human element of relativity.
  • One cannot pluck notion / from the tangled presence / of central air against the popular / theory of tidal pull.
  • Free admission flourishes / where depressed economics / wrapped itself around disinterest.
  • World hunger beware, her dimpled / diplomacy will restore world peace / to its proper priority.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mind Policing in America

In spite of the Constitutionally protected freedom of speech, mind policing in America has been going on for a long time. This week, we celebrate Banned Books week. Each year libraries remind us that even today there are those who are vigilant in exercising their discretionary view of what you and I should be able to read.

Who are these mind police? Often they are simply mothers and other busybodies who for the most part are afraid of what might happen if one of their children, or God forbid, you or I happen to read something they disapprove of. Some of the books they target for reasons that seem quite silly on the surface. Still, their assault on this protected liberty (freedom of expression) is not silly at all. Here is a statical overview between 2000 - 2005.


In another stroke of irony, it's the 50th anniversary of the legal action surrounding poet Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." The publisher of Ginsberg's poet was put on trial contending the work contained obscene language, but a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem was not obscene. Still, half a century later, a New York listener-supported radio station WBAI decided not to air the poem because program director Bernard White fears that the FCC will fine the station $325,000 for every one of Ginsberg's dirty-word bombs. This concern was based upon recent actions by the FCC in numerous other imposition of fines to broadcast outlets. Instead, WBAI will include a reading of the poem in a special online-only program called "Howl Against Censorship." It will be posted on www.pacifica.org, the Internet home of the Berkeley-based Pacifica Foundation, because online sites do not fall under the FCC's purview.


Half a century later and the battle over such censorship continues in America. In fact, in many ways the issue is even greater today and the Government has sought library records of individuals under the Patriots Act to see what we are reading, so they can make subjective decisions if we might be terrorists or who knows whatever else they may fear we are?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Queen Latifah Tunes into 'Trav'lin' Light'

From NPR / "My mom played 'Poetry Man' a lot when I was a kid in the house. I mean, she played that album endlessly," says Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens.

Around the time Queen Latifah was choosing songs she would record for her new album, she happened to hear "Poetry Man" on the radio and thought she might like to try it.
"But since I knew this was one of my mom's favorite songs, I had to go ask her" what she thought about her daughter covering "Poetry Man," Latifah says.

Owens says she told her daughter: "You know Dana, that's not an easy song to do. And you have to do Phoebe Snow justice. If you're going to take on a legend's song, then you have to really step to the plate."

"She recently heard it and she really likes it," Latifah says. "She felt like I kind of followed the template but sort of made it my own."

full story

Trav'lin' Light' is Queen Latifah's second album of popular jazz and R&B songs.

14th Annual Juried Reading / Poetry Center of Chicago

14th Annual Juried Reading

Literary activist and award-winning poet E. Ethelbert Miller will be the final judge for The Poetry Center of Chicago's 14th Annual Juried Reading Competition. First prize winner will receive $1,500; second prize, $500; third prize, $250; five finalists will receive $50. Poetry by the eight finalists will be published in a chapbook by Dancing Girl Press, and all eight poets will be invited to read at an award ceremony in the spring of 2008.

The Juried Reading is open to all poets residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Poets may be unpublished or have published no more than one full-length book of poetry, not including self-published books. All submissions are blind; the jury and the judge will have no access to identifying information about the submitting poets.
Click here for more information and full competition guidelines

On the Lighter Side

This is too funny.... "We Want The Funk"

Monday, October 01, 2007


"In working on a poem, I love to revise. Lots of younger poets don't enjoy this, but in the process of revision I discover things." ~ Rita Dove
I heard Charles Simic talking about the great thing in writing poetry is discovering things about yourself. How true!

Poetry Revision Part 2

I am revisiting the "revision" subject of my earlier post with a few thoughts.

For my own part, I have been hanging on to my own work longer lately. I think there is value in revisiting work after a bit of a break from it. I read where the Roman poet Horace believed one should wait nine years. I'm not sure you can call any specific period of time extreme in the context of a single piece of work, but I'm not planning any such length as a matter of personal procedure. I do believe that we create a distance from the work when we put it away and bring it back out later. That distance can improve our perception of what we are saying.

In an article written by Nina Shengold, titled Perennial Voyager - John Ashbery at Home, Ashbery speaks of endless revisions in his younger days. Today, he days, " If I'm not pleased with something, I tend to discard it rather than reworking it to death." I'm a huge Ashbery fan, but I don't see myself trashing a lot of stuff... or do I?

If one looks though my journals, there are quite a few instances where I have something with a squiggly sort of strike through the text. I suppose these are throw-aways, though I haven't thought much about them in that context. There are certainly many other things I've started that are not completed poems yet, I have not given them the disapproving strike through. These I will on occasion go back to and rework. I did one this weekend, which I started last May. There are however, times when I will indeed abandon a piece of writing that I believe has failed the very basic level of having viability. Then I have tons of material that are like little unborns already on life support... while I've thinking of a cure.

I would of course like to believe that I could create successfully without revision. I won't however kid myself on this point. Few of us are John Ashbery's. Still, in a way, what he is doing is revision by elimination. With the number of successfully completed books he has, I'm sure he is not concerned with the quantity of work he is producing, even at his age.

Write, patience, reading, rewriting, patience, writing, reading..... it is all a part of the process.