Wednesday, December 31, 2003

No Excuses - find a Poetry Book to Start the New Year Off With

Check out these offerings - or simply click to search for a specific title.

Happy Reading in 2004

Passing Of the Year

It seems like I should have something profound to say here as the year 2003 passes away...

I'm still thinking...


Yet another week of Subliminals

  1. Seeker:: Searching
  2. Mirror:: vanity
  3. Fire:: hell
  4. Goblet:: wine
  5. Empty:: zilch
  6. Secrets:: desires
  7. Defense:: football
  8. Hatchet:: Lizzie Borden
  9. Vapour:: gas
  10. Ministry:: foreign

Saturday, December 27, 2003


  1. Exchange:: money
  2. Parental Advisory:: movie
  3. Blowout:: tire
  4. Spider:: web
  5. Happy:: face
  6. Intense:: heat
  7. Corrupt:: Bush
  8. Got:: Milk
  9. Crude:: oil
  10. Three::dog night

Thanks to Katey for turning me on to this.

Cerebral Cobwebs

I know I put it somewhere,
somewhere I’d recall.
I just really can’t remember
where somewhere is at all.

I was gonna tell you something,
just the other day.
It slipped my mind
and bugs me;
that’s all that I can say.

It seems my mind gets weary.
I often times forget.
What’s going on inside my head,
no room for thoughts to fit?

Is it like a big hard drive
with limits to the bytes?
How much memory have I left?
Do these questions to you seem trite?

Has my mind become fragmented…
Is my memory obsolete?
Are there cobwebs in this mind of mine?
What was I thinking?

[Poem I wrote some time back that was published in the new Poetry Section of the Independence Examiner today - 12-27-03]

Stop 5 Blogs of the Week

Stick Poet's top 5 weekly blog reads took a break for the holiday's yesterday. It will return next Friday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Twas the day before Christmas -

Robert Creeley & modern poetry - Philip Marchand writes on this here

Poet Passes on Mets - see Laurable here.

Happy Birthday to You... Happy Birthday to You! Lime Tree is a year old - or young (smile)

Merry Christmas & peace to all...

Monday, December 22, 2003

My Weekend

Lots of writing this weekend. Saturday I enjoyed a Christmas party with some writing friends from the northland. Good food... readings, gift exchange. It was the perfect anchor to a weekend of writing. Very positive one.

Ted Hughes - In the News

James Parker - writer with the Boston Globe explores The Wild Poet

Ted Hughes may have been most famous for his doomed marriage to Sylvia Plath. But in his fierce, elemental verse he worshipped another goddess.

Robert Bly - Poet With a Busy January Schedule

Robert Bly's 2004 Appearances

Jan 8 San Jose, CA
Poetry reading at San Jose State, Thursday 7 p.m .
Contact: Nils Peterson, 408-378-7536

Jan 9-11 Asilomar Conference Center near Carmel, CA
Annual Conference on Poetry. Robert Bly and guest teacher Danny Deardorff. Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday morning.
Contact: Wendy Martyna, 831-457-9340

Jan 11 San Jose, CA
Reading of spiritual poems - at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, 7 p.m.
Contact: Illana Berger, 408-283-0221, ext. 28

Jan 29 St. Paul, MN
Poetry reading for Otter Tail Review, 870 Grand Ave., 7 p.m.
Contact: 218-998-6466

Friday, December 19, 2003

Quote of the Day

"The writer isn't made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century."

- E. L. Doctorow

It's Friday... Time for the Stick Poet's Top 5 Blogs of the Week

Drum roll please....

No. 5. The Jetty (debut this week)

No. 4 Mikarrhea (last week No. 2)

No. 3 Love During War (debut)

No. 2 The Blue Kangaroo (last week No. 5)

No. 1 Chewing on Pencils (repeating at No. 1 - two weeks in a row)

There you have it... Congratulations to All! Sorry there is no monetary reward... Remember, we are talking poetry **Grin**

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Development of Poems Part II

I was pleased at the two responses yesterday's post has sparked. They provide some meat and potatoes to continue this topic a bit longer and add fresh insight.

The comment by Katey yesterday hit home with me. She said, "I once heard that the moment you decide to scratch something out and start over is the moment you should've kept going. It's the moment of diving into the unknown...the fear, that causes us to stop." This really paralleled with what I was feeling at the time I mentioned the forward by Ted Hughes to Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems. After all, It was this realization that Plath did not scrap her stuff, but work it and craft it into something she was satisfied with; even if it was not what she intended.

In Katey's post Writing Is Scary she expounds on some very good related points and provides some excellent sources. I especially liked what Natalie Goldberg said: If you go deep enough in writing, it will take you every place." The idea of giving yourself permission to write the "worst junk" is not new to me and I have often used it to get out of a rut. That said, I still at times experience a fear associated with my writing. When Katey talks about the fear of empty pages... mine is more the fear of what is on those pages. I know, it's ok to write junk... but you want to know that this isn't happening all the time.

I guess I need more work on staying with the emotions and energy... letting them take me where I need to go. The really emotional stuff - I do that fine. T can write through tears as well as the next. The concept of writing for therapy is not at all new to me.

When Stephen Dunn talks about your poem beginning at the first moment you've "surprised or startled yourself" and "throwing away" what proceeds that moment... that is I suppose where I most often get off track. Wanting to force that "revelation" to work within the framework of what I started isn't always easy. That's where I often lose it. Realizing that, gives even more significance to what Robert Frost meant when he said, "Anyone can get into a poem, it takes a poet to get out of one."

In James' remarks following my post yesterday, he pointed us to his own blog post: Island of Lost Poems He too has had a lot of poem leftovers but he explains how he has dealt with this quite well making use of a poetry e-mail list to get feed back and post them on his blog... look for more feed-back and then sometimes tweak them a bit more based on that feed-back.

He spoke of setting a goal of writing a poem a day. Getting an image and letting a few words flow from there. Putting less into planning and letting the energy be more directed to the creative process.

I have appreciated hearing from these two peers sharing their insights and the collective sum of their exploring how this all relates to their own work. It has added to my original thoughts on the creative prowess of Sylvia Plath.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Development Of Poems

What becomes of all those poems we start? Ideas that seem great at one point and then the bottom sort of drops out of everything and we turn the page and move on. I have many of those. Some I've scribbled over as if to add my insult to the effort or mark them for death.

In the forward to Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes writes, "By the time of her death on 11 February 1963, Sylvia Plath had written a large bulk of poetry. To my knowledge, she never scrapped any of her poetic efforts. With one or two exceptions, she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her, rejecting at most the odd verse, or a false head or a false tail. Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn't get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity."

Considering Hughes' words against the backdrop of the book he wrote the forward for, it is worth noting that Collected Poems is the total sum of Plath's 224 poetic works between 1956 and her death in 1963. Plus some fifty poems selected from her pre-1956 writings. It is also significant to note that this book was a Pulitizer Prize winner.

If the assessment by Ted Hughes is correct, that Sylvia Plath did not waste away her work, but endeavored to craft each piece into something she was satisfied with, she did so quite well by literary standards of her time.

I wonder how many like myself have pages, or perhaps volumes of scraped work. Speaking for myself, I often subscribe to the parctice of not wanting to force something to work. I'm not suggesting that is a bad attitude to take, but I wonder how many times I really bail out on something without truly exhausting possibilities. I think I may be hearing muffled voices of some of those old ideas calling from the pages of writing journals I've put aside.

Monday, December 15, 2003


I arise with one hand on chest
proclaiming the satisfaction of one who has lived
a full, decent life; but has little power over my own dominion.
As if my place is now to lie down and succumb to the divestiture
of whatever my interest in future plans is brought
by the goddess of extended lost memories.
I knew her, but I didn't.
Anyway, there was nothing to remember.
I close my eyes and pass into another realm
that I didn't know of, but fell through
once before while asleep.

I'm Reading...

I started reading Letters Home by Sylvia Plath - edited by Aurelia S. Plath.

I am struck by the magnitude of Sylvia's expressive abilities at age 14.

Friday, December 12, 2003

If You're Happy and You Know It....

Thanks Michaela for sharing the link to Bad Attitudes and the snappy little ditty It cracked me up and of course the damn tune is stuck in my head and likely will be all day long.

Stick Poet's Top Five Blogs of the Week List

Here's the Blogs that caught my attention most this week among the many I've read. There is one totally new to the list.

No. 5 - Blue Kangaroo (last week No. 4)

No. 4 - The Humbug Journal (debut on list)

No. 3 - the Ingredient (last week No. 1)

No. 2 - Mikarrhea (last week No. 3)

No. 1 - Chewing on Pencils (last week No. 2)

Congratulations to one and all for holding my attention (grin)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I'm in a bit of a quandary....

"Never write a poem about anything that ought to have a poem written about it."
- Richard Hugo (1923-1982)

This narrows the possibilities down to just about anything that I can't imagine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Submission to Alli

Right here!

Ok, Ok... there were a whole lot of others submitting to her too! (grin)

Katey on Lola and Louise

This is riotous! I love her work. You have to check it out here.

Katey's blog is such a great read. Her poetic voice resonates with a real enthusiastic quality that is simply magnetic. Her blog is really coming along nicely. She posts regularly and has collected a number of excellent resource links on her site. Last week she was # 2 on my top five reading list and she hasn't hurt her position any this week.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Plum Ruby Review

I have to give a lot of kudos to Crystal King and G.S. McCormick for the first release of Plum Ruby Review.

The site is so well put together. Especially for a first issue.

In the poetry, Killing a Frog by James Keane was among my favorites. I liked that he pitted childhood against adulthood and churned feelings and memories in a tangled web. It was Harding Stedler's That Will Teach Him that was my favorite. I could almost visualize it having been a Billy Collins poem. Hobgoblin by Gordon Moyer was great. I love such frank displays with language. Congeries of Autumn also by Moyer was enjoyable. A pleasing flow, and vivid picture. Michelle Martinez's Cory Wright had an appealing brutalism to it. Well done. I didn't so much care for her other piece. Nor did I find the other poems so much to my taste. I can be picky.

The poetry impressed me much more than the fiction. I won't even go into the fiction selections.

The non-fiction piece, Poet for Troubled Times a work by Burton Watson, translator - and reviewed by G.S. McCormick was top-notch!

Plum Ruby Review overall gets a favorable assessment on my part. Since poetry itself is such a subjectively personal preference I am sure others may feel different about various poems in this issue. There is quality work here and the review is worth taking in if you haven't. I will be anxious to see future issues.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Culture Clash of the Taste Buds

I about spit up my gande skinny cafe latte with extra froth when I heard the news. "What news?" you ask... The news!

Yes, McDonalds is taking on Starbucks in an attempt to capture a portion of the upscale coffee marker. Now I'm no marketing genius, but when I think of McDonalds and Coffee, I want to run. Quickly! (gag!)

Anyway, the new establishments will be called McCafe. My understanding is that there are now two of these puppies in California on a trial basis. They may be fine, but they have a real stigma to overcome with me. If they can succeed, maybe they can sell manure to farmers.

Stick Poet's Top Five Blog's Of the Week List

Here's the Blogs that caught my attention most this week among the many I've read:

No. 5 - Crystallyn

No. 4 - Blue Kangaroo

No. 3 - Mikarrhea

No. 2 - Chewing on Pencils

No. 1 - the Ingredient

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Poet David Baker - Midwest Poet Series

David Baker appeared at the Midwest Poet Series for a reading last night. The event was held in Mabee Theater, Sedgwick Hall on the campus of Rockhust College in Kansas City.

Baker's works have been published in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Yorker, New Letters and the Yale Review. While he grew up in Missouri he now resides in Ohio and teaches creative writing at Denison University. He has written six poetry books and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

His reading was well attended and was an enjoyable happening on a cold snowy Kansas City night. Bakers Missouri roots showed strongly in two of his poems, one to his Missouri grandmother and another unique piece that put himself and his family into one of Thomas Hart Benton's paintings. A very creative task to say the least considering the static nature of paintings.

There was an intense piece he wrote that referenced Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf. Then to change the pace a bit, The Truth About Small Towns which was like everyone in this little Ohio village had a voice in the poem.

He read a touching love piece he wrote about hands - which was based on a hand condition that was quite debilitating for his wife over a period of I believe a couple years.

My favorite was written about his "nearly twelve" year old daughter (nearly is important to her) who is ADHD. The poem is titled Hyper and it was so dramatic in it's ability to let you feel the turbulence associated with ADHD.

Not only is David Baker a gifted language artist, his reading style was most pleasing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The Demise Of Blogshares

Silent Lucidity has solved the mystery of why I could not get on blogshares earlier this week. (sigh) disappointed as I am I suppose I should consider this an opportunity to spend more time writing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Hooray For Alli

2 N Shampoo

On Aging

"Old age is far more than white hair, wrinkles, the feeling that it is too late and the game finished, that the stage belongs to the rising generations. The true evil is not the weakening of the body, but the indifference of the soul." -André Maurois

Monday, December 01, 2003

Plum Ruby Review

The first issues of Plum Ruby Review is out and it looks to be a worthwhile read. I'll spend the next few days exploring it and have more to say about it by the weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2003


Can you hear the silence
in the chilled winds
after the feast and fat bellies
brought us to a crawl

The moist eyes lubricate the memory
the heart weakens a bit in pain
loss can take from you like that

You are not forgotten
nor have you been replaced
the roots of such love run deep
and cannot simply be replenished

I choose to remember you in life...
the click of your happy feet upon the floor
the perpetual tail motion
the beauty of your long red hair that anyone could envy
but I cannot forget how you left
in my arms a year ago
our eyes silently saying goodbye
knowing neither had the power to stop your departure
though both our frail hearts so desperately desired to

[On this evening - 1 year ago, Barron - our beautiful long haired, red dachshund died in my arms. The last year and a half of his life, he was being treated for heart problems. He is missed daily.]

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Poetics of Space

This Thanksgiving holiday - many will be entertaining extended family in their homes, or perhaps traveling to another's home for the holiday. We'll each experience various levels of comfort or uneasiness depending upon the environment in which we find ourselves. The Poetics of Space is an intriguing attempted to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams. From an office cubicle to our own home - creating feelings that impact our levels of personal comfort provided French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard the subject matter of a book on this topic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Michaela Tease

It appears Michaela is doing another road show. She pretends she won't leave her faithful readers lamenting her quieted blog while she is away. Ha! Another lap dance!

Mommy Dearest

Carol didn't want to be my mother.
Those were her words, I heard them
quite often in fact. I believed her.
The scowl on her face added sincerity.

Carol bids me to turn the entry light off on our way out.
I had it covered. I opened the car door for her first than
seated myself in the drivers seat, we pulled away.

I turned the radio station to NPR. Are we listening to that?
The question mark was missing from her voice. I changed
the dial as I turned onto Elm street. You were going through town? I smiled, oh the expressway would be best I guess. Why would I need a mother?


Well Kasey caught my attention this morning. Pointed me to Chris Sullivan's Slight. It's worth the trip over to see what it's all about.

Monday, November 24, 2003

This Woman Needs Help!

I just read a wonderfully insane poem and am convinced that the writer needs help. And I hope she gets it!

The help she needs is the fulfillment of her desire to get into the MFA program at the University of Houston. I adore her poem titled This is Not the First Time You can get both the poem and her blog about the style in which she aims her writing at the link.

Katey... I wish you every success in achieving your aspiration.

Friday, November 21, 2003


arthur, my arthur,
why and by whom?
your table split asunder in one afternoon
your blood splattered upon your queen
did so clash with pink.
grown men like babies bewailed;
moaning and weeping spread
beyond the grassy knoll
a tear touched my cheek
and froze in time

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Thursday - This and That

My thanks to Michaela Cooper for sharing the link to which has a wonderful Lexicon of blog related words you likely have never heard of. I found looking at some of the terms very entertaining.

Silent Lucidity has moved sites. I've updated the link in the sidebar too.

Annie Sexton tribute this Sunday in Boston.

Exposing Injustice Through Poetry -- New poetry compilation seeks to highlight brutality of society

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

and the saddest, but hopeful thing of all...

Aimee's - What the Cabbies Said to Me Is so not bad... Unless perhaps you are using my teenage daughter's vernacular.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Bad Art

When I am finishing a picture I hold some God-made object up to it-a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand-as a kind of final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it is bad art. -- Marc Chagall

His work was that curious mixture of bad painting and good intentions that always entitles a man to be called a representative British artist. -- Oscar Wild

Baculine Poet

Relegated to the corner stool
I contemplate my crime
Maybe it was meter, No
I bet it was my rhyme.

Felt ashamed and isolated till I realized
There are four corners and others too
Who are plagues against humanity
War mongers, ax murders and a slum lord I once knew.

Still, deviating from form at times
On others I did inflict
Malfeasance, but not without passion
Bad poems are my crimes.

Monday, November 17, 2003

2004 Poetry Market - - It's Here!!!!

2003 War Poetry Contest - Winners

Winning Writers, founded in 2001 has announced this years winners of their War Poetry Contest. A total of 734 entries were received from around the world and the winning entry received a $1,000 cash award.

A Texan, Robert Randolph won first prize and $1,000 for his poem, "Floating Girl." Mr. Randolph entry was praised by Janet retire, contest judge for being, "delicately beautiful and strange imagery, its musical cadence that never falters."

Second place winner, Joel Long of Utah, received $500 for his poem, "Broken Windows at reins." The third place winner was Patricia Monaghan of Illinois, received $250 for her poem, "Soldier's Heart." In addition there were five other honorable mention poets receiving $50 each.

The poems are published online and can be seen at this site.

Friday, November 14, 2003


I've not yet seen the recent release movie Sylvia, but I have it on my growing list of things to do. In the meantime I note a negative assessment of the movie in a recent Slate piece by Meghan O'Rourke - Poetry's Lioness: Defending Sylvia Plath from her detractors.

There seems a resurgence of material being done on Plath on the 40th anniversary of her death. I have in fact milled through quite an array of material recently and still have more reading to do. I'd like to devote some more time on the subject of her life and her work - though I am not prepared to do so just yet. If anyone else has seen the movie and has comments, I'd like to hear from them.

Friday Brief

This is classic - "The the impotence of proofreading" - I actually thought it a hoot! Evidently Poetry is not setting well with others as reported here - Islamic Clerics Ban Poetry for Women

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Humpdays Are Our Friends....

Alli's caught my attention again.

"A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future." - Sydney Harris

I fear we have become too disappointed in that which has not yet arrived.
Do we all posses such clairvoyance or are we just too damned cynical in our belief that the future holds any hope?

Monday, November 10, 2003

Perspective On The World...

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again." - Sylvia Plath

Plath expresses a view of subjectivity that causes me to wonder within the context of today's happenings just how many Americans are going about daily with closed eyes. And I always thought the problem was closed minds.


Friday, November 07, 2003


"An English poet, Philip Larkin, said that poetry doesn't start with an idea; it starts with a poem... You have t be open to mystery. If you are open to it, mystery will come. If you're not, why should it, actually?" - Lucille Clifton (b. 1936)

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Is the week half empty or half full?

Looking for an interesting read and haven't seen it yet.... then check out K. Silem post on meter. A very worthwhile read on the subject of writing metrically, it's relative ease or difficulty and the degree to which the competence of such writing can be ascribed.

Today's thought:

"I've never had a schedule. I go simply by impulse, whim. What I do try to do is to keep my life uncluttered when I am not teaching, and therefore be able to harden to the first whisper of any idea." - Richard Wilber

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


i don’t pretend often.
where do you find these women who are
primitive creatures of habit? a different altogether
variety. and would that be silk flowers in the ming?
it’s not a real sport,
i seldom watch.
war i suppose. but the sweaty linebacker is
setting out the third quarter reading
sonnets and eating hot cheetos.
orange smudges frame the page corners. some
funky nickel play won the game. god,
football really has gotten cheap.

The Long Awaited - Overdue - Blog Sweeps Reviews

Yesterday was a very busy and frustrating day. I won't go into details other than to say that I lost it all when I lost my post as I was adding the links. No, with crossed fingers, toes, and eyes... I start the process over once again.

I will give you my overall ranking in descending order. Then My reviews/comments.

6. Super Deluxe Good Poems (No posts during this period and I will therefore not attempt to pass judgment on it's normal content. It is likely a very fine blog - but I had not posts to judge it by)

5. The Bloggedy Blog Blog - limited posts, but there was activity.

4. The well-nourished moon


2. Mikarrhea

1. Love During Wartime

The Bloggedy Blog Blog is obviously a poetry blog that has developed a reputation which has warranted a following. Numerous others have quoted or made reference to Katie's Poet's Job Survey. During this past week, her postings were very limited. There was little to go on in comparison to the others. Three posts to be exact. One acknowledging that she won the Monkey Award for blog post of the year. I'm sure this blog is worthy of reading - and I plan add it to my reading list for a while anyway. There is nothing extraordinary about the blogs layout... a pee green background with very basic layout.

Stephanie Young's well-nourished moon is a combination of groupie updates, poetry and poetics. I enjoyed reading it. Like the graphics across the top - Stephanie's writing can be a little off the wall. This is not a criticism, simply an observation. I liked her sweeps blog with the run-in or stalking of the Parliament Light. The Gender Genie post was fun though not a first generation post.

I find value in reading Stephanie's blog though I am sure that it must have more meaning to those close poetry friends that make up a part of her social life.

Alli Warren's the INGREDIENT was delightful. Her poetry has depth, but I don't feel I need to excavate it to enjoy it. It's more like it's just below the surface. Under the skin.

"The Ingredient is ridiculous for countless reasons, of course, but the main source of its absurdity being a consistent lack of context?" Those are Alli's words not mine. Ridiculous? Not at all. She adds a "?" to the above sentence I suppose suggesting this is rhetorical. I found Alli's writing extremely pleasing to read and I liked her color scheme and the photo in the upper left just below the heading. She will occasionally change the photo, but it has always been something slightly off center, up close, out of perfect focus, etc. It has what I like to think must be a clearly "Alli" element to it. I think it says something about her.

I loved her post: "For sweeps do I pose nude - assuming even I "occupy" a nude to portray?" An undercurrent of sensual exposure while postulating societal implications.

Appearance wise, I believe this was my favorite blog. It is earthy and comforting to read even as the commentary may be deeper than the comfort level might suggest.

Michaela Cooper's Mikarrhea has been on my reading list for a while. I mean where else am I to get my "Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff?"

Michaela is deep into social/political commentary as well as poetry and poetics. She can be hard, bitchy, direct, sarcastic and humorous. She can also be fun and flirtacious. She is well read and it shows in her blog. Her command of language is so obvious in her work. My favorite post of this past week was alarum. Of course her graphic in the upper right is her trademark.... the layout otherwise is pretty basic. Her content is clearly her strength.

Love During Wartime impressed me the most. The Poetic Powerpoint really caught my attention. Clearly James has taken it upon himself to accentuate poetry and poetics during Blog Sweeps week. That's fine, he got there. Still there are strong political under tones in his work. I found the GBII Poet to be enjoyable.

Mixing Warren Zevon, George Wallace (not the former governor), L.C., and Cassie Lewis's material with his own provided well rounded reading. Aesthetically the site is pretty hum-ho, but he made up for that with his content. Again I feel the Poetic Powerpoint stole the show.

There you have it. I hope no one is crushed, and no one's head is too swelled. It's only my impression not that of anyone important. I enjoyed the experience, and I think I will likely convert this to my list of top five blogs that I am reading in future weeks.

Monday, November 03, 2003


When finishing up the links in my final review.... I lost the material. I will have to repost to publish. I will try to get this done later tonight. I simply don't have time to start over this afternoon. Sorry.

Blog Sweeps Week - Posting Reviews Today

Yes, the Blog Sweeps week reviews are due today & they will be posted before the day is out. I am putting my final touch on the post, so check back later. Have a great day! Oh, yeah... sorry. Forgot it's Monday.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween To All

In the Spirit of the Day

Blog Sweeps Week - Update

I have been enjoying immensely the postings this week - and will be working this weekend to write my final reviews on the sites that have been a part of this week.

I hope others have had as much fun as I have. Aside from the sun, these is some good stuff out there. Seriously! Keep up the work, the weeks not over yet... (wink)

With that, I've work to do.... Wishing you all much vanity and a great Friday!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Are You So Vain?

powerful poetic powerpoint...

Love During Wartime scored big with powerpoint! Wow! You must see it.

and then Michaela posts this piece alarum I assume it to be her own creation and one I love at that! I always enjoy Michaela's exploits in language... many of which are more in the line of diatribes and so well written; but this displays yet another side of her talent. WTG Michaela.

Just as a side note... Stick Poet had the highest number of daily hits yesterday since it started.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Afternoon Hit & Run....

Just time for a quickie....

Alli Warren, "--I'll try an' be better." Ok Alli, But just don't change the consistent lack of context. Please?!!

Oh - this just in from an associated press wire as reported by The Washington Post:

"As violence has spiraled in Iraq, top U.S. officials have debated pulling intelligence officers off the so-far unsuccessful hunt for weapons of mass destruction and reassigning them to counterinsurgency efforts, officials said Wednesday."

don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters....

Blog Sweeps Hump Day

Michaela's blood pressure is on the rise. The girl can really get herself up can't she?

Love During Wartime has really gotten into this Sweeps thing. Check out GBII and note the definitely "manly" posts - by the way, I believe this is now 3 degrees of separation.

Bloggedy enacts Oscar night at the Monkey Awards.

Meanwhile, Super Deluxe Poems remains idle. Perhaps Chickee is off stalking a rooster or something.

I took the Stephanie challenge...

Stephanie was having trouble finding a blog that scans as female on the gender genie. She asks if to let her know if anyone has found one. I took her up on the challenge and submitted my blog post of Friday titled The Ghazal thinking it was close to 500 words.

Well, the gender genie put the words through the test and the results:

Words: 401

(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)

Female Score: 483
Male Score: 460

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

[Admittedly, there were not quite 500 words. Oh well! I suppose I was getting in touch with my feminine side. Hey Sister!]

In brutal honesty Stephanie admits to stalking ONE Parliament Light. Well Stephanie.... to be brutally honest in reply, "Only one is very impressive! Sweeps Week or not!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Shifting Sands....

The collaborative effort between Alli Warren and myself is getting a little jumbled here. At issue is III. First it was there. Then it wasn't. Now it's back. What's a reader to do?

Alli says, "...but that's not saying I'll take it across the chin every damn day." To which I reply from behind the bushes, "No one's looking at your chin dear."

I hear fighting FASCISTS can be a very tiring thing.

Good news, weird news, nudity, love that really don't count

Was Alli Warren up early this morning.... or did she simply have a sleepless night thinking about Blog Sweeps? the INGREDIENT shifts from power words to a the sublime nudity with total disregard for the massive internet audience.... Nada shuts down till further notice and Patrick quietly puts Sorter to rest. Permanently. THIS MACHINE [that] KILLS FASCISTS shares a toast to another peer... Sweeps Blogger, Michaela Cooper who with Mikarrhea displays quite a range, from "wind breaking" toy dogs to paintballing a cheerleader and - yes, we do get to some poetry... "When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall," - and the answer would be: Dear heart, how like you this? Stephanie Young is trying desperately to convince herself and others that The verses written by a poet in love don't count. Me thinks she protests to much!

Hats off the James at Love During Wartime. He reports with excitement [and well he should] that one of his works it being published! WTG Personal success is something Stick Poet loves to hear about.

That's it this morning. The other two blogs I'm tracking are idle this morning.

Monday, October 27, 2003

As I Read It....

Just a few observations from some of our Sweeps Bloggers....

the well-nourished moon and Super deluxe Good Poems have been idle thus far, while Mikarrhea, the INGREDIENT, The Bloggedy Blog Bolg and Love During Wartime all kicked into gear.

Well, the Bloggedy featured a hysterical ride on the F and indicated her survey on poets working was being updated. This survey itself was widely acknowledged among many other bloggers earlier... but this work really predates Sweeps Week.

Mikarrhea is interesting as always. Michaela Cooper was of course the subject of Jimmy's Crush List two weeks back. She fell from grace this week - after defending a fellow blogger who shall remain anonymous (cough). She attempts an apology in today's blog, though I'm not certain how sincere her effort is. Perhaps this is in direct correlation to the myopic sincerity that "Mr. Asshole" (as he wishes to be addressed) shows in the whole matter. Is Michaela sincere? Is she looking to regain Jimmy's Crush List status? Stay tuned.

Alli Warren in the INGREDIENT shares three favorite words. Staccato and Imperfection and Declaration. These are strong, stocky words. Sort of meat and potato language. I'm not sure if this is why she likes them, but it is interesting none the less.

And last but not least.... Love During Wartime quotes a little William Carlos Williams and engages in a little shameless self promotion of Blog Sweeps. Hey, who says kissing up won't help?

The Final List For Stick Poet's Blog Sweeps Week

Here they are folks. The Blogs I'll be reading and reviewing and rating after a week 's reading.

The nominated sites are:

Super deluxe Good Poems

The Bloggedy Blog Blog



the well-nourished moon

Love During Wartime

I looking forward to an interesting week of reading news posts. I'll likely feature some commentary about things of interest throughout the week, but I'll do my reviews and ratings once the week is over. Happy Blogging!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Sweeps Sign Up Extended to Midnight Tonight (Saturday)

I've had a couple more nominations - but I have decided to extend sign ups through midnight tonight. E-mail me with your nominations - again self nominations are fine.

I will begin retroactive any postings from today's date. Even if you sign up at 11:59 tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Blog Sweeps Week Update..........

The following blogs have been nominated and will be a part of Stock Poet's week of reading and rating:

1. the well-nourished moon

2. Mikarrhea


4. Love During Wartime

Come on folks.... there is plenty room for more nominations. To contact me: E-mail Michael Wells and put Blog sweeps Week in the subject line and a your poetry blog nomination. Self nominations are acceptable. Deadline is tonight (Friday) at midnight PST.

The Ghazal

As I previously mentioned in blog, I recently had some personal exposure to poet Robert Bly. On back to back days I caught him in a poetry panel at Western Missouri State College and then at a reading. Having read some of Bly’s works published in 1997, I was delighted to get the up close and personal contact with him.

It seems to me that Bly’s work has progressed through numerous stages over the years. While I am in no way an expert on Bly, It seems to me that in more recent times he gas perhaps gravitated back into form.

During the Panel discussion at WMSC, Bly made reference to the ghazal. This is a poetic form with an Islamic origin dating back I believe to the 12th century in Persia or what is now Iran. I had only recently read some information on the ghazal, so I was familiar with it in only a vague way. It always amazes me how we go through life without hearing about something, then when we do, it seems to come up again almost instantly and you wonder why without previous references to it, you are now bombarded with it.

On the night of Bly’s reading, he treated us to some examples of this form. They were modified to account for some differences between the English and Arabic languages.

Ghazals were originally written as couplets bound by repeating sound patterns. Most commonly brief. Usually ten or so stanzas, sometimes less. They often begin with a love theme. A unique aspect is that each stanza could stand on it’s own rather than the subject matter being threaded together throughout the poem. The final stanza would address something about the poet’s personal life.

Writing in Arabic, the ghazal would look something like two lines sixteen to eighteen syllables per couplet (stanza) for a total of about thirty-six syllables. This allows for plenty of language to complete a thought. While this works well with the Arabic language, it becomes somewhat unruly in English. Bly modifies his ghazals to usually three lines of eleven or twelve syllables – again achieving something close to thirty thirty-six syllables in all. Otherwise he keeps the concept in line with the origional concept.

I found this form fascinating and something I would like to experiment with in the near future. I’d like to hear from anyone else who has done so.

It All Starts Tomorrow - BLOG SWEEPS WEEK

Today is your last opportunity to nominate a blog (yours or someone else's) for Stick Poet's BLOG SWEEP WEEK. You have until midnight tonight PST -
  • E-mail Michael Wells

  • please put Blog Sweeps Week in the subject line. Then give me the name and site address of the blog you are nominating, It MUST be a blog that has some major poetry or poetics connection.

    I received a few nominees yesterday afternoon and last night.... I will post a list of those nominated so far about mid day. Again, you have only until tonight at midnight PST to make your requests. Then get busy sprucing up your blogs. Hey, if nothing else... you are guaranteed a captive reader for one week!

    Thursday, October 23, 2003

    Blog Sweeps Week

    Starting This weekend and running through next Thursday - I will be reading blogs for review and ranking. I will accept nominations, (self or otherwise) of poetry related blogs. Simply e-mail me with your site or that of someone else's site for consideration. You must e-mail me with your sites by midnight PST Friday to be included. Do a little shameless self promotion and spruce up your blog site. I will consider content, aesthetic appeal, unique artistic approach.

    Let me hear from you. Hey, if nothing else, this is at least a lame way to get me to read your blog.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    Hump Day Blog

    I have to take a moment to again comment on Crystal Lyn King's work.

    "It flooded through me.
    An invisible deluge. Soundless."

    Those words from her poem Adrenaline are a tiny part of a swift but quiet overtaking of my soul with a powerful stimulant. Flooded, rushing, creating exuberance and power within. This poem recalls those times I was filled with such energy bursts. I think back in particular on some elections campaigns where the last 48 hours were fueled largely by adrenaline. Thanks Crystal for recreating this. I especially like the final stanza... but I won't give it away. Go to her site and check it out yourself. Experience the entire piece.


    You you haven't responded to yesterdays poll, please do. Thanks!


    Crag Hill - paints an interesting poetic forecast. I found it amusing. Crag, I'll be looking for those periods of imagery and metaphor this weekend.

    Monday, October 20, 2003

    In Fairness To All

    With Jim's "Monkey Award Voting" underway, I hereby pledge not to divulge the outcome early from our exit polling. Besides, knowing Jim, he'd just throw out the results and pick whoever he wanted.

    I also will not leak the names of any CIA agents to members of the press or eat tofu.

    Saturday, October 18, 2003

    Modern American Poetics: Where Are We? MWSC Campus

    Yesterday's Panel Discussion With: Robert Bly, Poet who has published more than 40 books of poetry. essays and translations. Also known for co-founding American Writers Against the Vietnam War; Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters UMKC's international literary magazine and author of several poetry books; Michelle Boisseau, Author of No Private Life, Trembling Air, and Understory, which won the Samuel French Morse Prize; Ian Roberts, who earned his masters degree in creative writing and his doctorate in literature and literary theory from the University of Nebraska; and John Gilgun, who taught from 1972 -1999 at Western Missouri State College and author of numerous poetry books.

    The panel discussed the impact of today's electronic age on poetry. John Gilgun noted that some 6 million poems are written and posted in online venues every day. Some, like John himself, will send poems daily to email lists. He has been sending to a list of about 30 people for some time now. He asks "How many poets really know their readership?" John likes the idea of community in poetry and writing. Knowing who your audience is and the internet provides a better way to facilitate this than the print media.

    While John's view is interesting, I am inclined to wonder if in writing poetry it is as good to know your audience as it is selling a novel? Will knowing my audience cause an artificial barrier which I create to filter my message so as to be "politically correct?" If so, then my poetic message is tainted and less than pure.

    Robert Bly did not seem impressed the with electronic venue as it related to poetry. After all, because 6 million poems are produced says nothing about their quality. I bemoaned that language in poetry has already gone downhill. We still produce pretty good poetry in America overall, he contends. Much better than contemporary British poetry. It believes the Russian, before the break up of the Soviet Union perhaps produced the best.

    What is needed in our poetry today? According to blew, content that will shake you up. "Extraordinary poetry uses words that will wake you up," says Bly. He said we have too much "white bread" poetry produced in the country today. He believes part of this is due to the fact that the spoken word is declining. What to do about it? Bly urges people to read good works over and over as opposed to writing bad ones. He also was critical of a good many writer's workshops and academia for centering too much inward on their own material.

    Michelle Boisseau echoed much of what blew said. The world is too much with us and we've lost something in the process. We've given our hearts away. As poets, she said our job was to "sharpen the language." She also emphasized reading. Learn a good poem that you can memorize and keep with you. That is a place to start.

    I thought it interesting that there was such emotion on the panel for older established poets. Of course with all the discussion today's internet and it's function in the dissemination of poetry, I wondered the value of even a really great poem that is sent out in an e-mail list and what happens to those words three months from now or a year or two from now? Is any of this remembered?

    The panel agreed that novels have taken a preeminent role over poetry in today's literature. They disagreed on the value of the electronic medium for changing that. Gilgus thought it was a positive force as exhibited by the number of people writing poetry online. Ian Roberts however, didn't seem to think it was driving people to read and experience poetry outside their own personal sphere of influence. I agree.

    Bly was asked why there was not more encouragement from established poets today to upstart poets and people starting new literary magazines. He attributed it to the failure of most established poets to read outside their own venue. They simply don't look at new work near enough.

    I liked three points Robert Stewart made about the art of poetry:

    1. it exists to be authentic
    2. it is about individuals
    3. a poets role is to confront

    The panel was overall a good one. If there was a weakness it was in the moderation. The moderator however was largely responsible for bringing these five insightful people together, so I have to give him credit.

    I have some other things I'll likely share about Robert Bly... but that will be another blog.

    Friday, October 17, 2003

    Michaela is IN the Cubs and Red Sox are OUT

    Michaela Cooper makes her debut on Jim's Crush list

    The "Curse" is definitely IN this year. Cubs and Red Sox are Out.

    Monkey Awards 2003 - Last day to nominate... check out nominations thus far.

    This afternoon I will be on campus at Missouri Western State College for a poetry panel - featuring Poet Robert Bly; poet and novelist John Gilgun; Robert Stewart, poet and editor of New Letters at the University Of Missouri-Kansas City; Michelle Boisseau, poet; and MWSC professor Ian Roberts. The subject: "Modern American Poetics: Where are we?" They will consider issues related to publishing poetry in America today, the effect of electronic media on dissemination of verse; and historical issues. It should prove to be an interesting afternoon.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003

    Dear Mr. President

    A rejection letter for "W"

    Don't Monkey Around.... Friday is coming!

    The 2003 Monkey Award Nominations are underway. But don't delay, Friday is just around the corner and there is no time to monkey around. Get your nominations in and we'll let Jim be the Monkey.

    "Poetry is an act of peace..." Check out Silent Lucidity.

    HAIKU Anyone? Check out the USA today contest.

    What a game at Wrigley last night! - The Goat is alive!

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    Playing Baseball, hey that's better.....

    It is wonderful to see so much baseball interwoven between the poetry blogs. I often feel the game is so poetic in itself. Amanda's comments about the Boston- NY incident and violence in general as it relates to baseball is of interest to me. As a historical student of the game, I can attest that this is nothing new. Yet at the same time, I think baseball displays a degree of civility that is not as common in many other sports. Certainly football and hockey are examples of a much more physical aggressive side.

    There has been over the years even kind of a silly game that often occurs in baseball at the brink of these physical confrontations. Most center around throwing in on batters, which is of course a part of the game itself. A batter who believes he has been thrown at will occasionally feel the need to take a stand that he is not going to take this. Once a batter has committed to going to the mound, it is the job of the catcher to protect his pitcher from this batter. The game begins...

    Batter heads to the mound - eyes and body motions reflect anger sending the signal, "I'm not taking any more of this crap... You don't throw at me..." all this time the batter is thinking, "where is the fucking catcher - come on, you are not supposed to let me touch your pitcher."

    Of course the pitcher is supposed to look innocent and play the role of the victim here. "I'm just playing the game, minding my own business" of course he, like the batter, is wondering when his catcher is going to tackle the batter and stop this whole thing. This is how the little game should work, and often will. It allows the angered batter to vent, take a stand, not look like a woss, and no one gets hurt.
    The DH has not helped to problem of throwing at players, because a team can't throw in on the offending pitcher if he never bats. Just one more reason I prefer NL ball.

    I agree with Amanda, I want to see the game and not fighting. However, I don't believe that we are seeing more violence in baseball. At least between the players. I am more concerned about the growing issue of fan violence and I believe this is on the rise.

    Sadly, my team is out (San Francisco Giants) after a fantastic season. Still, I live for baseball and there has been plenty of good ball played so far.

    Monday, October 13, 2003

    easy does it

    a taco or two,
    some friends
    spilled poetic guts
    on chipolte table

    dreams laced with reality,
    plans tempered,

    westward sunset of pinks and orange
    poetically smiles at me
    return the favor, turn east
    eager to return home

    [wrote this in response to Northland Writing group that met Sunday]

    Sunday, October 12, 2003

    Science of Poetry

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge..." Albert Einstein

    Pausing to consider Einstein's somewhat surprising remark I realize that in fact it is knowledge that is limited by lack of imagination. Imagination is in fact the forerunner of knowledge. It is the egg and knowledge is the chicken. Oops, is that how it goes? The debate I suppose rages as to which comes first in the age old question. My point however, is to illustrate that maybe the imagination, which so defines art itself, is more scientific than what we might want to admit.

    Poetry stretches us to new frontiers. It is westward ho! Sailing the seas and traversing the stars all rolled into one. It is microscopic, telescopic, telepathic and God knows what else.

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    Friday Fragments

    Jim's Crush List is out. He has a newbie on the list.

    I will remind you that Jim's Crush List is second to Catherine's Stalking list - on my list of lists.

    While we are talking about Jim... I have to say that his decision to ban Kent and Dave is the most interesting action.

    Consider this.... the decision to ban them from posting is a form of censorship. (regressive) The fact that he sanctioned a poll on who he should ban smacked of good old fashioned Democracy. His decision to cast the poll aside and ban them both was a Dictatorial act - dismissing the Democratic approach. In the end, the blog is his, so he can damn well do what he wishes anyway. What a fascinating exercise in Schizophrenia!

    Ron Silliman is talking line breaks today.

    A big Thanks! toLaurable for feeding my passion for baseball and poetry at the same time.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said of language...

    "The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven, that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether there be any who understand it or not."

    Thursday, October 09, 2003

    Oooops She Opened Her Mouth....

    Speaking before a domestic violence prevention conference last week, Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Maryland's Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich got lost in the game when she told the audience, "Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would."

    Alas, Kendel Ehrlich, spokesperson for Maryland's first lady says the governor's wife made an "inadvertent figure of speech" - well, duh! I'd say it's a toss-up as to which was worse, the choice of words, or the choice of audiences to deliver such a remark to.

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    Did I just start a List of Lists?

    If I had a List of Lists.... I'd rank Catherine's "people/things I'd stalk if I was a crazy stalker" list ahead of Jimmy Behrle's famous This Week's Crush List I'm really into the stalker list idea - hee he.

    I want to acknowledge Alli Warren's - Ballot: "a truth cannot lose anything by being written down" is such a powerful affirmation. Come to think of it, writing is itself empowerment.

    Irving Layton once said, "If poetry is like an orgasm, an academic can be likened to someone who studies the passion-stains on the bedsheets." So, if I understand what Chris is saying... he wants to talk more about the orgasm and spend less time analytically looking at the bed stains. That's ok by me.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2003

    Tuesday's tinder vittles...

    Looks like Amiee has a new writing bud. I have to tell you I adore longhaired dachshunds. I had the greatest... Barron, who was the most beautiful red haired. He had an enlarged heart from a valve problem and passed away in my arms on this past thanksgiving. We had been treating him for about a year and a half for the problem.

    Now, I have a red longhaired puppy, also a male. His name is Barry and he is approaching five months. A stinker... but starting to mellow just a bit. We got Barron as an adult so I never got to experience the puppy stage till now.
    They are great companions.


    If you haven't already checked out Circulars- do so.


    Milky Way is munching on another galaxy

    NPR related link


    California to close to call

    Tuesday Vittles In Verse

    Amiee has a doggie
    needs a literary diminutive
    the galaxy is turning and
    to close
    way to close is Arnold
    California is voting
    to close
    latinos needed
    as much as 22 percent
    to close
    Arnold is groping
    groping the milky-way
    to close
    to close for comfort

    Monday, October 06, 2003

    I Won't Self Medicate Today...

    The above is the opening line from Vow to Poetry. I love it in connection with poetry. It seems to me that poetry is in fact a good deal like "self medicating" and in this instance, I don't think that is half bad.

    My profession in life, involves mental health issues. Self medication is a concept I am quite acquainted with, and it usually has negative implications. However, to actually "vow to poetry" is interesting in that to me, it conceptually commits one to self discovery and rediscovery.

    In a session at a writers conference this weekend I was blessed to hear a woman of color named Bonnie Lynn Tolson. Bonnie is the author of a poetry book entitled Naturally Nappy. Of her work in the book, Bonnie shared that "this is where I was then." This comment underscores a point I believe is valid in terms of any commitment or vow to (write) poetry. By dedicating oneself to writing poetry, you are putting yourself in a position (like it or not) to find out things. To discover... More importantly self discovery. It can be scary but it can also be a very cleansing action in life.

    I'll have a hot dog
    then go off to a cave...
    Is this what we do when we don't write? When we refuse to medicate ourselves with poetics... or get in touch with our deepest insights? Yes, just like blogging, I've had those days I just fluff it off. Take my non-functional self to the caves... Or is poetry the real life, and going to the cave is the real self-medication. Equal to all the negative stereotypes associated with normal self medication. Either way, in the end the fact remains... poetry feeds the soul.

    Sunday, October 05, 2003

    Weekend Wrap Up...

    The Weekend is nearly over. The focal point of it was the Maple Woods Writers Conference.

    I have to say that Friday and Saturday's writers conference was well worth the money and time invested. Presenters were for the most part excellent. Everyone was good... Most reached above the level of expectation I had.

    I was disappointed that we did not have more opportunity to here Gloria Vando - her presentation was cut short by another presenter running over. She is local and the opportunity to exposure to her again is good, so I have tried not to stress too much about this.

    My hats are off to the administration of Maple Woods - this is their 20th year and they did a bang up job.

    Friday night - there was a special event off campus where Naomi Shihab Nye, poet and essaiest spoke. She is a remarkable woman with a world of contacts in poetry.

    Saturday I met with an agent from NY and had a brief discussion of my Candlestick Park book project. More presenters Saturday and finally - (sigh) I was able to catch up on my San Francisco Giants, who were eliminated in divisional play after a wild ride in first place in the NL West from opening day to the last, winning 100 games and the NL West Division Championship.

    You must know that I live for these games. I often score the games - so I am into every detail. Being out of the loop Friday and Saturday was killing me, and their whole post season now seems surreal to me. It's almost like it never happened.

    I will have much more to say about Naomi Shihab Nye. Perhaps more about the conference too over the next few days. Plus I have some other blog reading to catch up on. Right now, I need to head to bed.

    Thursday, October 02, 2003

    Thursday Thoughts...

    Can one carry the weight of endless suffering of the world in it's entirety upon his or her shoulders... And then actually sleep? Thanks Alli Warren for a sleepless night.

    Michaela Cooper, had forsaken her fans for LA (good lord [spoken in my best San Francisco Giants fan voice] what of value exists in LA?) but alas has returned, along with some of her brain cells. This is evidenced by her role as promulgator of Blake on matters of "sexual love".

    For those who are wondering "what the hell men are thinking"? - try this site.

    I'll close with a poem I did maybe a month ago...


    two dogs at feet
    begging attention
    craving treat

    reward in had
    wants no part

    Wednesday, October 01, 2003

    The Wit and Lack of Wisdom of Donald H. Rumsfeld

    I've seen this book at B & N and chuckled a few times. Then it sunk in that this man is dead serious.

    Bly & Bly

    And so it came to pass, that I spent a good deal of yesterday on a bus with my youngest daughter and many of her classmates on a trip to Hutchinson, Kansas to visit the Cosmosphere. First of all, let me say that if the Cosmosphere was not in Hutchinson, there would be no real reason for Hutchinson to exist. Truly, it may not, because of course Kansas is only a theory at this point.

    The space museum was awesome. Unfortunately it took longer to make the trip there and back than we had time to spend in the museum itself. I spent a good portion of the trip commute reading from Robert Bly's Morning Poems. I didn't ignore my daughter. We actually read parts of it together. She particularly enjoyed (as did I) his poems, Bad People and The Old Woman Frying Perch. AKA - The Cat in the Kitchen.

    One of the things I am discovering that I like about Robert Bly is the vast usage of commonplace words to develop his poetry with topics that range from his childhood to thoughts on writing itself. He definitely stretches the imagination, but not completely out of the cerebral cavity, if you know what I mean.

    Ha! Who says you can't combine science and culture?

    Sunday, September 28, 2003

    Weekend ditty...

    Ah... Surely I must have something to say.

    This weekend has not been exactly what I hoped for so far. Aside from the San Francisco Giants posting their 100th win today, for which I am both elated and saddened, the times since I left work Friday has not exactly been productive or satisfying.

    Friday's poetry reading was canceled by the local B&N. (sigh) No warning.. No discussion, they simply shut down. I'll have more to say about this when I'm more rational about it. (that could be weeks - Ha!)

    Aside from the Friday night disappointment at B&N, it is not that the weekend has been bad, it just hasn't been anywhere close to the potentially productive and satisfying kind of weekend I enjoy. There is still tonight. (last ditch effort to taunt myself into a positive mood)

    The end of the regular baseball season is always a downer for me. My family and friends joke that I supper from a seasonal adjustment disorder between the end of baseball season and the beginning of the next one. I'm not certain it isn't true. Anyway, there is post season play and the Giants will again be in the picture!

    The Great genre debate continues to rage...

    I've given a great deal of thought to the arguments that are being presented on several sites. Ron Silliman's and Chris Murray's Text files among others.

    This has been a most interesting topic of discussion and I'm not sure I see any particular definitive answers yet myself. I see a lot of interesting energy generated on this topic. I'm hoping to see more give and take on it. I suppose for myself, I even vacillate on the value of the focus on genre at times. Right now, I see it as significant, sometimes though I catch myself feeling that it is burdensome and too distracting to consider it against the backdrop of the work itself. Sort of a schizophrenic view, no doubt.

    Off to write! I have to make something of this weekend yet!

    Friday, September 26, 2003

    Whyte In Review

    David Whyte's reading and lecture last night was an evening well spent.

    I found his overall presentation a positive plug for poetry as an intricate part of our lives. There was a soft sell of the spirituality of poetry. Not surprising in that he was brought in Unity Church. Still, his poetics is driven by a nourishment of the inner-self and that is hard to separate in at least some minute context from a spirituality of sorts.

    He set about as defining poetry as the art of hearing yourself say something you didn't know that you knew. In that conceptual model - poetry is a searching and discovery vehicle. To this, I whole heartedly agree. This has been my own observation, at least to the extent of my experience.

    Whyte's work emphasizes mans need to drop the shroud of protection we wrap ourselves in and push ourselves to the edge of who we are. Believing there is an important place for each of us the this universe, and it is only there that we have the courage and the qualities of engagement necessary to respond fully to life's call.

    As a reader, Whyte was pleasing to listen to even as his English accent required attentiveness. His voice both quietly tranquil and robust enough to be heard. I found myself not wanting to miss a single word.

    Most of his readings were completely from memory and his animation of hands were like an great conductor directing. He often repeated lines... with a slow precision to remind us what he just told us.

    His work was perhaps not as metaphorical as much of today's poetry. There was plenty of vision and feel. Some metaphor, but his work tends to lead or pull you in a direction.

    I plan to spend some time with more of his works. I'm hoping to order a book or two of this soon.

    I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has spent any time with his works or heard him read in the past.

    Thursday, September 25, 2003

    Busy Time

    Tonight I have and Evening with David Whyte. Tomorrow night - poetry reading at Barnes & Noble - Independence, MO.

    Coming up on the 3rd and 4th - Maple Woods Writing Confrence.

    Crystallyn is teasing us...

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003

    Tuesday Blues....

    I'm not talking music here...

    I suppose it's all because yesterday was a really busy day and I feel like the week should be more than half over (big sigh) but it isn't. It's ONLY t-u-e-s-d-a-y grrrr...

    Alas, there are I suppose things to look forward to. The President will address the UN today. Oh how I'd like to be a mouse setting on Kofi Annan desktop eating popcorn. You know (popcorn) it's "smartfood." When "W" is finished, if I had any left, I'd share some with him. Think it would help?

    If the day gets a wee bit slow, you can always check and see if you are a metrosexual. The link silly, not the mirror.

    I just adore Michaela's discourse on ABC Gum. It makes complete sense. Especially her remark:

    "I love his (Bakhtin) notion of language as this thing that lies "on the borderline between oneself and the other" and as something we don't take fresh from the dictionary but rather from others' usage..."

    Lime Tree gets two points for coming up with a "Stick Poet" graphic on their site. Damn, I've been trying to get one out of my kids for weeks now.

    Every poem is a genre in itself
    Ron Silliman gets two points deducted (anyone keeping score?) for keeping me awake last night thinking about his blog topic yesterday. My head hurts like a hangover.

    Sunday, September 21, 2003

    Power Up!

    In a strange twist of fate, I actually came off sleep mode this morning. Wow, Sunday is a day too!

    I made my own breakfast - proving self sufficiency of man.

    I read for about an hour. (there were no pictures)

    Made "strong" coffee and took the dogs (Klaus and Barry) out on the deck and did some writing. I experienced what I am sure must be a significant sign of the impending conclusion of summer... a wonderfully nice morning. It rained earlier, it was neither hot nor cold. The breeze gently kissed my cheeks (not those ones - gawd! I was outside...) with a soft pleasing sensation while the leaves sang in choirs perhaps one of their last few songs before they drop.

    My mind actually functions on Sunday...

    afterwards, I went inside and did some cleaning in my home office. Ah-ha! I do have a desk. The experience was about what I envision an archeological dig to be like.

    Did my own lunch, which around here on Sunday is called "snatch & grab" because only one formal meal is cooked on Sunday. Occasionally I will refer to this as "grab your snatch" - hey, it's revisionist!

    So by now you can tell my body has been functioning. What is more unique, my mind appears to be working in unison with the rest of me.

    I've actually considered a great many things today. Acknowledging the depth of my thought, I have considered several things. Not the least of which are:

    1. Why Catherine expects a stadium like the old Oakland coliseum to be worthy of anything but a terrible name. It was never a great ballpark and once retrofitted for football, they had to move home plate further out from the vortex because people up high behind home could not even see a batter bat. You want a "real ballpark" - go to Pacific Bell Ballpark! As for the restoration of faith in the east bay, do the A's really do that. East bay is gorgeous (south of Oakland) and the A's have nothing to do with that. I love the San Ramon area - at the foot of Mt. Diablo.

    2. And why, Emily Dickinson became such a prominent American poetic figure of the 19th century. Or more adeptly I suppose, how she came to such prominence. She was such an introvert and while her poetic style powerful, especially in the reflection of personal feelings, she was barely published in her time. True, she wrote ferociously; penning by some accounts 1,800+ poems in her lifetime. She did not have the exposure of say Walt Whitman. Of course this causes me to wonder additionally how many prolific writers today, with limited publication, would be viewed as having the impact on the 21st century that she represents to her time.

    3. And once again Michaela causes me to stop and think. How is it that I can lose my keys in the house and yet scientists can find the genitals -- belonging to 400 million-year-old insects -- in ancient rocks in Scotland?

    Friday, September 19, 2003

    Thoughts on closure

    Crag Hill's poetry scorecard takes a look at the end of poems. When I saw this, I was immediately drawn into it, because I once had a poem critiqued by someone who told me that poems should end in single syllable words. Of course there may be legitimate reasons for this, but the rebellious person inside directing my life really isn't found of being told things in absolutes. Particularly when it comes to art and other expressive things. That is so limiting.

    In Crag Hill's blog, he expresses a liking to ends of poems that assert. This certainly has it's place and I'm with Crag totally when he talks about an ending that leaves him with "one chunk of thought or image." This can be quite effective, but not always desirable.

    I've written poems that contrastingly end abruptly. Intentionally so. One such poem was Cerebral Cobwebs. The final stanza of this poem I wrote sometime back reads...

    Has my mind become fragmented...
    Is my memory obsolete?
    Are there cobwebs in this mind of mine...
    What was I thinking?

    The poem ends as if I totally lost my train of thought. Crag Hill supports this idea too.

    Hill points out that our lives are absent of closure and so it is befitting that our poetry should often reflect this. I'm all for flexibility in how we end our poems. Meaty thoughts are at time warranted. Something we can sink our teeth into and feel or see. Sometimes that one syllable work is perfect. Sometimes not. The expressive nature this art dictates that we flow with the message and not rigidly adhere to some stock ending.

    Thursday, September 18, 2003

    Choose your weapon... but write

    On occasion
    so moved by the spirit within
    poetry becomes my devise
    and complexities
    are rendered simple
    while the simple become at times
    more burdensome than ought.

    Much the same
    a pen and journal page is fine at times
    but the pc seems a vehicle preferred
    at others.

    So much alike
    are the life within
    and the life of this world that
    poetry so fittingly defines.

    Lunar forces
    and sweeping tides connect
    to pull our senses in vast
    mood swings that defy even a modern day

    strangely it seems all folly.
    What difference matters the blood type
    of the penned poem

    anyway. Equally is the ink of pens and
    printers that gives flight to the ideas
    of it's originator. Otherwise,
    no one knows and the poet
    may not recall tomorrow
    the simplest
    or the most complex. Lost,

    and to others
    never was.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003


    Expectations abound in life... yours, mine.

    All kinds of expectations based on things ranging from taking the garbage out to never letting someone down. I toyed with this. The word seems such an absolute. There is really no wiggle room, which I suppose gives rise to the difficulty that can be posed by keeping one's promise.

    This is how it played out....


    I will.
    I do.
    I did.

    Will I?
    Do I?
    Did I?

    Intent – indent
    Shifting a little
    gives a lot.

    Think life one victory
    after another?
    Don’t bet these odds.

    I'll try,
    I Promise.

    * i am not happy with the formatting here - the third stanza should indent with line two and even more with line three. (get the picture) The final product won't cooperarate with me. (I was just certain it promised to)

    Wednesday Wisdombits

    Ah-ha! Take that John Burbank! Like some NRA - gun nut I pound my chest and bellow... "you can tax my espresso when you can pry the cup from my cold dead hands!" Ok, I don't live in Seattle or anywhere near... but when you want to add a ten cent lug on a cup of espresso or latte you are hitting very close to home.

    Still I tip my caffeine loaded drink to those hearty souls who went to the polls yesterday in Seattle and resoundingly said "bite me - John Burbank!" Yeah! All 68% of ya!

    So John had a cause... better funding for early childhood education. Laudable, no doubt. However, I have a pet peeve and that is taxes for legitimate needs and services that target a narrow segment of society. If the need is there, stop being weenies and F'n fund it with traditional sources of funding that spreads the burden out.

    Where I come from (not literally) the state makes a big point about the money casinos bring in for education. They have come to totally rely on it. If the gaming laws were changes tomorrow - they would see the funds for education evaporate overnight. We used to fund it with general revenue. Now, much of those funds have gone elsewhere. I'm not opposed to gambling. But I think it is stupid. What is even more stupid is wagering the future education of our children on it.

    On another note... You must check out Michaela's piece on Mason Williams' Classical Gas. Reading her words arouses the same vibrant feeling that hearing the song did. Wow! Wow to both!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2003

    About time....

    The castaway is back....

    Flipping the pages of my calendar, I mumble out loud, "How long has it been?" (actually there were as I recall expletives in there someplace but I'm trying to keep this PG-13)

    What's a guy to do when his source for Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff dries up completely for eight days. I mean there are other interesting things to read and ponder... but after a while even the Jim Side begins to look like a motion picture.

    So... Michaela Cooper is going away for a few days. You figure you can tough it out. HA! Define few Ms. Cooper... pleasssse. (grin) Have you no regard for your blog reading public?

    Enough of the chastisement... Evidently the girl was suffering some serious posterious shock syndrome and thought she was just a couple of consonants away from Mika Boorem. Come to think of it, she is!

    I had hoped for a smashing review of How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art, by Kathleen Meyer - but would have settled for Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness, by John McPherson, Geri McPherson. I guess the story of the electrothermolysis was close enough.

    Next time, you must warn your fans that a few days is more like a flipping week!
    Whew... I'm winded! (smile)

    Monday, September 15, 2003

    Vando - News Shoes and an Old Flame

    The other day, I mentioned a local Kansas City poet Gloria Vando. There was a specific poem she did that I really find fun. I was mistaken when I said that it was no longer on her site... I simply missed it. (duh!)

    Anyway, here it is...

    New Shoes and an Old Fame

    It was tucked away on her poetry in motion page. Enjoy it, I do.

    Sunday, September 14, 2003

    Why We Write? - continued

    picking up where I left off last night/early morning...

    If it were fame or fortune, that caused (or inspired) me to write, someone please hit me with a brick! I suspect that the motivation of a great many are not dependent on either money or notoriety. Otherwise, a great many people remain quite optimistic about their future wealth or fame.

    Actually, a good many writers of fine poetry bask in a fair amount of obscurity. Really, far more then they deserve for their efforts. You see, I am convinced that poetry, while often rewarding on some level, is seldom providing monetary reward or acknowledgement compensatory to the work itself.

    In thinking about this question on a personal level, I suppose there are a couple things that I believe are driving forces for me. One is that issue of immortality. Create something that lives on, past your own mortal limits. This is a strong issue with me. I suspect it I am not alone in this regard.

    Another factor is simply having something to say. I believe many an individual is starving to say something that matters. To be heard. Writing offers that outlet and poetry is a wonderful vehicle. But writing is only a beginning. If we write will it really matter unless it is read? The cultural advent of blogs begs this be answered perhaps more than the poetic community at large. On some scale, being heard matters. It matters a lot. Still, I think in this day and age not being silenced is even the most basic important aspect. While saying and be heard is like having cake and eating it too... saying it period has value. So for me, I write first - for myself. Second, to and for the benefit of others.

    There is much cynicism in poetry today on every level. Many young people don't see much value in the poetry of past generations and some don't even find more modern poetry to offer them much relevance. But the cynic of the craft is even found in many publishing houses where consideration of poetry is often discarded in favor of the bottom line. Oscar Wilde, the Irish born writer, humorist and poet once remarked, a cynic is a "man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." Poetry knows many such people.

    Still, it survives. Poetry lives. Even in the raging battle between mainstream poetry and post-post modernism. It evolves and adapts. It is a "culture creature." That is, it lives on the very evolutionary model that thrives as people evolve. What is sad, at least from my own perspective, is that there is a good deal of poetry from each generation or period that has significance as though it were a DNA sample of that place and time. We should be delighted at the opportunity to read it, hear it, examine it. Experience it in a way that gives us back something as a part of that understanding. I'm not saying we have to take all poetry as "good" writing.... but I think each period of history must surly have something that adds value to our own life experience.

    So it is.... I have managed to drift afar from the initial question of why I, or anyone for that matter writes? However, if we can agree that poetry allows us to experience something of value... then writing, reading, sharing poetry contributes to the wholeness of ourselves and perhaps others as well. We can lament those who push it aside for what they miss but we must never let the cynicism that abounds for poetry deprive us or silence us.

    Who Do We Write For?

    I'm sure many if not most of you who currently are engaged in writing poetey have at some point thought about this question. Actually, it can be applied to any writing. Yes, including blogging.

    Perhaps the question as it applies to poetry and blogging are very similar. Unlike novels and other more extensive written works, the market for poetry is much more limited. I've heard it argued, poetry is the most pure literary work, because the author's motives are seldom driven by money and fame. I'm not sure that purity is the proper value here, but I can accept the concept of its special or unique place in literature. Of course this almost screams for an answer to the question at hand. "Who are we writing for?"

    Can we agree that poetry, like blogging is often written with no clear idea who if anyone is going to read the finished work? The cultural similarities are perhaps not totally parallel, still, they are a reasonably close match.

    Do we write these to satisfy ourselves? How much is ego a factor in our motivations? Do we need a stage in life to perform on... the printed page and the online blog providing that outlet?

    I'm not certain that I have totally satisfied my own responses to these questions... in fact I think this is more of a starting place for my own formulation. Something to sleep on... speaking of which it is now Sunday morning. Good Nite.

    Friday, September 12, 2003


    I toyed with blogging yesterday... but alas I didn't blog. Somehow being speechless seemed the most appropriate thing I could do.

    Basically I stayed clear of the various media recounts of 9/11. So much was lost on that day two years ago... and we are continuing to experience loss linked to it after all the time between.

    Today I thought I'd simply make a list of some of the losses.

    1. Innocent lives on 9-11-01
    2. Innocence
    3. Love
    4. Trust
    5. Lives in the Afghanistan conflict (and continuing)
    6. Individual personal civil liberties (continuing to erode)
    7. Lives in the Iraqi war (continuing daily)
    8. Diplomatic respect for American Policy in the international community
    9. Jobs

    This is simply a start.... Feel free to add others you can identify.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2003


    Sun would set,
    But not stay
    As another would come.
    An for it,
    Must go the light.

    Bridging Troubled Waters....

    Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel Reuniting This Fall

    Old Friends is what they will call their North American tour, which will start in Mid October. Simon and Garfunkel who's most notorious works include Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson, and The Sound Of Silence.

    The duo was last on tour in 1982-83. Clearly one of the best of "rock-folk" music. Their music resonated with a poetic quality and seemed to actually bridge generation. I suppose it seems odd to contemplate that these two will turn 62 during this tour, but then I think of my own age and it seems less shocking. This is good because I don't think I need to be dealing with too much shock. Espically after seeing the ticket prices.

    I have to say I'm glad to see them make the tour. Their music still holds a special place in my heart. They had a gift - I'm hoping they will still inspire audiences... maybe even some younger ones.