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.