Thursday, December 30, 2004
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
NPR's piece Marking the Legacies of Writers Lost in 2004 is a fitting pause and reflection of another year gone and the writers lost as well. Alan Cheuse remembers those writers who died this year, with help from poet George Garrett, who reads his poem "Anthologies."
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Margalet Fox writes of the life and accomplishments of Susan Sontag who passed away.
Monday, December 27, 2004
This caught my eye - largely due to the Sam Hamill poem that was quoted.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Morning Poems by Robert Bly is a small book. I read it the first time in an afternoon on a bus trip with my youngest daughter. Reading aloud many of the poems that struck me as the most interesting. My daughter, who is not particularly into poetry, seemed to enjoy many of these gems. A book of poems that can penetrate the minds that are normally closed to poetry must have something going for them.
What Bly's book did most for me was to reinforce the idea that poetry that is not static. Most of these works were about what seemed like common folks -- in common situations in life that were often told in a most uncommon context. I liked that. I liked the freedom that seemed to radiate from the pages. The freedom to know it was alright to let go with my own writing and be more bold about the images. It is very liberating to come to that point where I can accept that I don't have to explain away everything... like the poem must have a set of instructions to understand it.
Bly also reinforces that notion that writing about common things is quite all-right. I do recognize Bly as a poet with a history of activism. An outspoken critic of the war in Vietnam and the present war in Iraq. He can be quite serious about some of his messages. This is alright by me because I certainly believe that when possible, poets should play a role in the defense of humanity. But alas, it is his "down home" subject matter I like and the fact that he can challenge you so well with his imagery of everyday life.
I'd like to know some of your favorite poetry books - ones that greatly impacted you any why.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Last couple of nights I have been able to work on some previous writing "bits and pieces" and some ideas. Not quite as much has come together as I'd like, but the process is there and I think I have some things that are on the verge of working. I just need to press on with it.
As we come to the end of this year, I have been giving some thought to what poet and/or perhaps poetry book has perhaps meant the most to me this year... and of course the obligatory answer to the question, "Why?" I figure this is a worthy topic for an end of the year blog. I'm going to think about this further... and post my answer by the end of the week. So stay tuned if you are interested. It might be fun to pose the question around the poetry/poetics blogland as well, so if you are inclined to take a shot at this as well, let me know and I'll link your blog posts on the same.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Saturday night, wife and I attended a Christmas Party with a number of my local writing friends. Enjoyable... shared readings - food and drink. Exchanged gifts. My 2005 word power should be increasing thanks to Missi's gift.
All I have time for at this moment... but I will acknowledge the following response by Eileen to my last post. You see, I knew I could count on her to respond and I knew she would say more about the whole economic theory of Cultural Capital. (Hee-he in a deeply sinister voice)
Such is the expanse of moi talents I'm even an energizer-Bunny. Preen.
Thank you for the shamble, Michael. And as regards your query on how to increase one's "cultural capital"? The key, Sweetie, is always to give it away.
Poetry is quite transparently karmic that way.
And I do mean give it away -- not give it away hoping for something in return.
Okay: one more tip. Sweetie -- wink all you want, but never blink. Lucidity poetics, and all that.
Hmmm. Well, of course, there's another alternative interpretation to my vast Peepdom. I may have many Peeps for the same reason that cars slow down on the highway to look at a humongous, fire-blazing crash. Moi blather can burn so prettily, moithinks.
But what is the "it" -- this it one gives away, pipes up another peep listening into this fascinating conversation. Ah, the Chatelaine thinks, Is that you, Peep #403, the one always so concerned about your poetic career? She lifts a wing and from her armpit shoots out the arrow of compassion. Then the Chatelaine turns her lovely head to look straight into Peep #403's beady eyes, and with loving detachment snorts forth her very helpful reply: You want me to define the IT of Poetry? Peep -- do Moi get paid financial capital to do this blog?
Incidentially - her peep count is up to 20,000,022 but who's counting right?
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Me thinks they are reproducing when the PC is off. Really, I'm sure it's all that cultural capital she is accumulating. Unlike Bush (who threatens to use or "spend"his political capital) Eileen is quietly saving and maybe even hoarding hers. I think she collects all these peeps via the accumulation of the cultural capital. Each peep represents a culture token. The girl is loaded!
Okay, I'm starting to sound envious. Maybe jealous. I admit it... I'm a tad bit jealous. I see all this energy and all these peeps and I just can't help it.
Seriously, Eileen seems most of the time wound-up tighter than a clock. I don't mean "up tight" so don't flood my comment box with accusations that I think Eileen is anal retentive. It has occurred to me that (and this is strictly from following her exploits via her blog and seeing some of the material she had produced) Eileen is a very busy poet who I never hear complain that she just can't seem to do one more thing. So, what am I getting at? She has to be totally loving her work and can't get enough of it, the energizer poet-bunny, or a damn good actress. I'm leaning toward the first two. Maybe even a combination of both.
So, like how do we poor peep-deprived, cultural-capital-drained folks move from the ranks of the lesser-haves to the Eileen level? I've rubbed the cover of Menage A Trois With the 21st Century and I didn't notice anything happen. Reading it on the other hand did enrich me, but that has only inspired me to hunger and thirst more for developing a stronger poetic voice.
Did you expect me to answer that question? I'm still thinking. You'll have to stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
They latest copy of their Lit publication was out with one of my poems in it. Very nice publication I might add.
The reading tonight was only about fifteen people but some very nice material. Several Northland writing group members present. Scot, Sheila, Chris, Terry, Pat, Missi and myself. Did I miss anyone?
I read seven pieces - most of which were smaller. Two brand new.
I got my Poets & Writers mag in the mail today. Looks like a really good issue. Rediscovering John Gardner looks good. A piece on "Chick-Lit." The feature article on John Haskell and I don't know what it is... but Richard Wilbur seems to be everywhere these past few weeks and there is a piece on him. I am also interested to read yet another piece on the Patriot Act and it's impact on writing. I have skimmed this one already and am anxious to sink my teeth into it.
Completely off the subject of my reading tonight, I wanted to share this quotation from Ursula K. Le Guin.
"It is a terrible thing, this kindness that human beings do not lose. Terrible because when we are finally naked in the dark and cold, it is all we have. We who are so rich, so full of strength, wind up with that small change. We have nothing else to give."
I wonder is it really so terrible? Perhaps we value kindness too little.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I see an individual
fade in and out
of the collective
I see the past;
against harsh disappointments.
I see a man
in a face.
I see history
and I see inevitable.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Yesterday, I heard that one poem was accepted by a publication associate with local University's English department and a second one they would like to hold for consideration in a future issue. So I guess a mixed bag of goods is better then nothing.
Monday, December 06, 2004
I see IVY made it safely down under. I especially enjoyed her interview at MiPO.
I wrote a poem this weekend that I was quite happy wit. A rather short, minimalist verse - Harsh Brushstrokes. Also worked on my non-fiction work on Candlestick Park.
Yesterday - had writers group at Maple Woods campus and then watched a video (The Terminal) with my family.
Thought Tom Hanks was very effective in the lead role. Movie seemed a bit slow at times, but in all honesty, I think that was necessary to establish the appreciation of Victor's plight. I enjoyed the movie.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
But now, having flown from Wales for the occasion, Hughes sat calmly for more than two hours Tuesday evening as six authors read Ariel: The Restored Edition. It was the first time that the restored manuscript had ever been publicly read in its entirety.
The 40 ferocious poems were written around the time of the disintegration of Plath's marriage to British poet Ted Hughes, and not long before her suicide in London on Feb. 11, 1963.
Poets Frank Bidart, Jorie Graham, Kimiko Hahn, Richard Howard and Katha Pollitt, and literary critic Helen Vendler took turns reading the poems at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Hughes read the first and last poems, and Plath, restored to life in a recording, read the title poem.
The clipped consonants and drawn-out vowels of Plath's Massachusetts accent perfectly suited the stringent verse: "And I/Am the arrow,/The dew that flies/Suicidal, at one with the drive/Into the red/Eye, the cauldron of morning."
The cumulative thrust of her crystalline vision was overwhelming and hypnotic. Hughes occasionally swallowed hard or pressed a finger beneath her eyes during the reading. The more than 400 audience members in the sold-out Proshansky Auditorium sat with eyes closed, or followed along in their books; by intermission, organizers had sold out all 200 volumes.
The marathon and historic reading celebrated the new collection, which reinstates Plath's original selection and arrangement of the poems. In editing the book for the 1965 British and 1966 U.S. versions, Ted Hughes had removed more than 10 of Plath's poems and replaced them with some of the last poems Plath wrote before her death.
As Frieda Hughes explains in the introduction, her father did this both to shield neighbours and family from some of the more venomous works, and because he believed the later poems made for a stronger collection. Though he included the poems in Plath's The Collected Poems, in 1981, many vilified Hughes for his initial omissions.
"His choice was made with one kind of purpose in mind, but also to make it the best book he could, and my mother's was made with another purpose in mind, but also to make it the best book she could," Frieda Hughes told The Associated Press earlier on Tuesday.
Hughes said she was hesitant when asked to write the foreword by publisher HarperCollins. Though she had read her father's Birthday Letters at his request, shortly before he died in 1998, and later read his posthumous Collected Poems, Hughes had only skimmed a dozen of her mother's poems to satisfy herself that her own poetry was not like Plath's.
"Going anywhere near my mother's poetry just reminded me of the fact that she wasn't there," Hughes said, "and the fact that she wasn't there was constantly being brought up by the media, and it made it very emotionally difficult.
"I feel very acutely the loss of her. ... It was almost as if I was never allowed to grow out of it, because of this perpetual rehashing of her actual suicide. I had begun to feel that that was the only thing she was famous for - when in fact, although she lived a short life, she made her life count."
Despite any initial misgivings, Hughes's thoughts on her mother's life and writing offer a calm, tender account of a life that has too often been fodder for sensationalist coverage. The new book also contains such historical treasures as a facsimile of Plath's typed manuscript, her handwritten and typed versions of the title poem and the author's wonderfully dry introductions to poems she read for a BBC broadcast.
Different voices brought various aspects of Plath to Tuesday's reading, from Bidart's animated but conversational delivery to Pollitt's quiet humour to Graham's theatricality.
Afterward, Hahn and Howard spoke of being depleted, but also awed and enriched by the evening.
"It was a revelation," Howard said. "I just was astonished and loved being in it."
The reading was presented by the Academy of American Poets, HarperCollins and the Poetry Society of America.
Frieda Hughes was interviewed on NPR's Morning Addition. The interview can be heard here.
It includes a recording of both Sylvia herself reading as well as her daughter in a rare reading of her mother's work.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
If a person reads something into a poem that I have not intended to convey, who is the wiser? It seems to me more and more that static poetry might as well be prose. Not to say anything is wrong with prose, only that there is a reason for the differing literary art forms.
If twenty people read a poem I have written and and nineteen see and feel something close to what I was saying, then hooray for the one who saw something different. We've evidently had different life experiences. They see something I don't.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
I'm reading The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath by Ronald Hayman. Finding it quite interesting. Previously having read Rough Magic with I believe was a very balanced biographical book. In the early chapters of Hayman's book I am struck buy some of the material on Aurelia Schober, Sylvia's mother. So much is made of the relationship between Sylvia and her father and then the relationship between her and Ted Hughes, but there is no denying that Aurelia Plath had a significant impact on the formation of both positive and negative attributes where Sylvia was concerned.
In reading Letters Home (edited by Aurelia and published after Sylvia's death) there is a continual picture of an upbeat young woman who all but worshiped the ground that her mother walked upon. But there is some indication that several of Sylvia's poems were about feelings that reflected a different view of Aurelia. Hayman selects two "simplistic and misleading" ways in which this mother daughter relationship can be summed up:
"A virtuously unselfish mother has an ungrateful and vindictive daughter who not only commits suicide but leaves behind her poems and fiction which portray the mother in an unfavorable light and go on plaguing her for the rest of her life." Or, Sylvia can be seen as, "the helpless victim of a woman who makes important demands not only on herself but on everyone involved with her." But Hayman suggests that "[both] were victims, but neither was a helpless victim, and it's easy to understand why Sylvia had so much difficulty in holding a balance between positive and negative emotions towards Aurelia."
I will likely visit the Plath topic again. I am anxious to get my hands on a copy of Ariel: The Restored Edition.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Monday, November 22, 2004
Eileen Tabios - the talented one know as "Moi" is correct when she noted I was speculating on her in Blogshares. But just to be fair - I have hoarded lots ofshares for poetry blog sites. I mean when you amass several billion on blogshares, what else you gonna do with your change? Besides... Just think if her Meritage Press had landed Britney Spears' poetry. We'd all be setting pretty. Ok, at least in a fantasy world.
Tonight I'll be at the WRITERS PLACE - 3607 Pennsylvania Kansas City MO 64111 for Open Mic at 8:00pm.
Forced myself to write a sonnet this weekend. Ok, it's not like I tied my hands behind my back or anything. After all, I usually have to wave them around in the air when doing something in a structured template. Sort of like wailing in anguish. It wasn't that bad. The experience anyway. I'm not discussing the poem itself.
There... I was about due for a post.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
In the fall, the days grow shorter and the season comes to an end. The baseball season that is. Two truths that every fan knows. Some relate seasonal affective disorder or SAD to the fewer hours of sunlight. Perhaps, but every fan has to feel that emotional tug that comes with the close of the season. That feeling that is best summarized in A. Bartlett Giamatti’s "The Green Fields of the Mind." I think it is no coincidence that this period overlaps the SAD time of year.
It is during that bleak period between the final out of the season and opening day for the next one that fans like me look for any chance to feed our poor ravenous baseball souls. I found such an opportunity in Fair Territory, where poet and baseball enthusiast Jilly Dybka has fashioned her collection of baseball sonnets into a splendid winter diversion.
Fair Territory is a chapbook of 22 delicious takes on the game of baseball with some history, a dash of trivia, as well as a view of the poets own memories related to baseball.
I’m not one who must have my poetry delivered to me in strict form but I am open to such writing if it holds my attention and speaks to me. Dybka succeeded on both accounts.
My personal favorites from the book are Mudball (with it’s analogy between dirty little baseball lore and roughing up the balls before every game with ball prepping goo) and New Haircut, looking back through a child’s eyes. Plus Opening Day has a brilliant politically humorous twist that I also loved.
Fair Territory is chapbook that will pack a therapeutic punch each off-season. I plan to keep it handy on those nights that I long for the smells of grass and beer and hotdogs under the lights.
OMG Katey - you didn't know? Ok, you've been busy writing lots and lots of poems. Right?
BTW, I keep meaning to say how cool it is that Ivy got a Didi Menendez portrait! Of course I have absolutely no idea how good a resemblance it might be, but it is cool just the same.
I read at the Barnes & Noble - Zona Rosa Open Mic last night. Light crowd 15 or 16. I truly need to create some more new material. Had a few new pieces to share, but when you are reading a couple times a month in the in the same two venues it puts pressure on you to produce. Hard to argue that there is anything wrong with something that reinforces that kind of work ethic, but it can make you sweat.
I've been thinking that maybe I need to try to whip up something to send to Tom at Unprotected Texts. He wants poems... ok, here is his own words on the subject:
Unprotected Texts wants you to submit an original,
poem about being the opposite sex for a day or
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
You see, Delana Davies' children go to school in Spurger Elementary (150 miles northeast of Houston) and the schools have for years had a "TWIRP" day in conjunction with Homecoming week. 'TWIRP" stands for "The Woman Is Requested to Pay" and it gave boys and girls a chance to reverse social roles and let older girls invite boys on dates, hold open doors and pay for sodas. During the week, students would cross-dress on one day as part of this tradition.
A concerned Ms. Davies - fearful that such "cross-dressing" was more than a silly Homecoming Week activity and felt it had something to do with homosexuality. With the help of the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute, she took on this tradition and it has been replaced with something much more wholesome.... "Camo Day". Now Ms. Davies little darlings can dress in black boots and Army camouflage. Thanks to Delana Davies, "Cross-Dressing Day" is gone and with it all those homosexual overtones. No telling how many gay and lesbian Texan people it was responsible for over the years - perhaps generations that it has been going on.
Excuse me, I feel a poem coming on...
Monday, November 15, 2004
Ivy, you impress me with your attitude! And where do you find those great quotes? Like...
"Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders." —Walter Bagehot
Enjoyed James' Moral Christian.
Yesterday was Katey's birthday. She got a new digital camera - I feel a lot of photos coming on! Happy birthday - a day late.
Check out Catherine Meng's Duct Tape. I love it!
Great link from Stephanie's Blog... By the way, I'm so impressed. She is doing The Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Victoria's decision was hers to make and I cannot fault her for it. I posted a comment on her blog as did many others indicating we wished she would reconsider, but alas, I can understand her decision. I noted yesterday that Victoria's blog is gone completely. This is a loss.
Blogs come and blogs go. Life moves on. Still, Victoria Chang is a bright young poet who I am sure will continue her passionate writing. It is however disappointing that those of us who read her blog on a regular basis will not have the benefit of her intellectual contributions that were often a part of her frequent posts.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
It was not long ago that I did a minimalist poem that I was rather pleased with upon completion. Completion being such a final word and I so often have the problem of accepting that a poem, any poem I write, is finished. On occasion I'll read the work of someone else and think of modifications. I don't do that often. It is far easier to see someone's work in print and accept that as final. My own is another story.
It is the fact that I could sit back with some sense of satisfaction that allowed me to see this particular work as in completion. I posted the poem to a form I participate in and no one commented on it for days. When someone did, there were two back to back. One loved it and offered no changes, questions or suggestions whatsoever. The other commented one a line break they felt was rather cleaver and offered a couple of other ideas they had.
In reading these posts, I went back to the poem and found that I saw it in a different light. I had no desire to change it. I just felt it was saying something else to me. I have come to accept the possibilities that poetry opens up even to the poet him/herself.
Isn't she great? I'm proud of her work!
I'll post some additional angles maybe later today, yet another piece of her work.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
You're experiencing a bit of an existential crisis, aren't you? Here's a poem to help you through your long dark night of the soul.
No matter what I say,
All that I really love Is the rain that flattens on the bay,
And the eel-grass in the cove;
The jingle-shells that lie on the beach
At the tide-line, and the trace
Of higher tides along the beach:
Nothing in this place.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950)
Friday, November 05, 2004
2. Some people would consider me opinionated.
3. I believe Baseball is the closest thing to life.
4. I believe Barry Bonds IS the greatest baseball player.
6. The San Francisco Giants are my favorite Baseball team.
7. I would outlaw the DH.
8. I once had a car stuck in reverse and drove it backwards to a transmission repair shop.
9. I was elected Democratic committeeman seven times to two year terms.
10. I was Democratic County Chairman in a major urban city.
11. When the voting age was lowered, I became the youngest person to file for office in Missouri.
12. I never ate pizza until was a teenager.
13. I have lived my whole life in the same area code.
14. I attended the birth of all four of my children. Hey, it was the least I could do.
15. I would build a wall separating northern California from the southern part of the state.
16. I believe life begins on opening day.
17. I always cry at the end of Field of Dreams. I have to watch it at least once a year. It's like a pilgrimage.
18. I smoked a pipe in High School. (Ok, not literally in the building)
19. I have missed every single one of my High School Reunions.
20. I used to frost my hair. Sometime in my thirties it was no longer necessary as the silver set in.
21. I had my left ear pierced in San Francisco.
22. Starbucks rules. I want one on my block.
23. I do not understand the concept of decaf.
24. I don't do mustard.
25. I don't do cream & sugar in my coffee, but I will drink a latte.
26. If I could do anything for a day, it would be to pitch a major league game for the Giants.
27. I loved Candlestick Park!
28. My first public poetry reading was at Barnes & Noble.
29. I was in the boys room at E.F. Sweeney Elementary School when I learned JFK was assassinated.
30. I fail to understand why people eat mushrooms. They are a form of fungi.
31. If I could talk to any poet who has passed that I wanted, it would likely be Sylvia Plath.
32. I once drove the like the fifth vehicle in a Clinton motorcade.
33. I don't do mayonnaise.
34. Love Cheese Cake - hold the raspberry sauce - Yuck!
35. BBQ rocks!
36. I married my High School Sweetheart.
37. I love to score baseball games on scorecards - even the ones on TV.
38. Chardonnay is my favorite kind of wine. Preferably from northern California.
39. I accurately picked the day the Giants would clench the NL West Division championship in 2000, bought plane tickets and got game tickets and flew out to San Francisco with my youngest daughter to see it happen. Cool huh?
40. Billy Collins rocks!
41. Most of my poetry tends to run either along the humorous line, confessional or serious social comment.
42. I saw the last Giants game even played at Candlestick park.
43. I have a long haired daschund for a pet.
44. I have been known to read poetry aloud to my dog. He's never objected.
45. I would be lost without a Franklin Covey planner.
46. Yes, I admit I believe Kenny G music IS really cool.
47. As a youngster, Mickey Mantle was my favorite baseball player.
48. An a child, my mother would take me to get a crew cut and I hated it.
49. Sometimes we would go to visit my grandpa (a barber) and he'd pay me to let him cut my hair.
50. I don't have any use for Reality TV.
51. I am addicted to NPR.
52. Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya know?" cracks me up.
53. I was a true fan of "Friends" and I do enjoy "Will & Grace."
54. I believe the biggest flaw Americans have is arrogance.
55. I truly enjoy flying.
56. I have an obsession with organization - yet in reality I am often disorganized.
57. I am more comfortable as a driver than a passenger.
58. I only wear white ankle high socks.
59. I feel Sean Hannity suffers from low self-esteem - that is why he conducts himself unprofessional as a "bully" on his show.
60. I enjoy spaghetti - without "toad stools" of course.
61. Two of my favorite Billy Collins poems are, "Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house " and "Rival Poet."
62. I am convinced poets have a responsibility to the human condition.
63. Soccer seems like such a tremendous waste of energy. I've never seen so many people run around in such disorganization. The very act of scoring a goal seems like a random molecular event. It is boring.
64. Love the texture and taste of honeycomb on toast.
65. Peanut butter and chocolate together are ok... but Peanut Butter alone is best.
66. I prefer white chocolate Reeses peanut butter cups.
67. I enjoy unwinding to Jon Stewart's Daily Show.
68. I've never been impressed with Jay Leno.
69. As a teenager I though Nancy Sinatra rocked.
70. Rolling up a double-play is poetry in motion.
71. I've only read two Stephen King books.
72. I find Anne Sexton's success in spite of having no academic background for literature fascinating.
73. To me, the group Chicago is the Beethoven of this last century in music - they are a classic among the modern groups.
74. I believe Folgers coffee should have stayed in the mountains.
75. I love the smell of a leather baseball glove.
76. The smell of fresh cut grass is heavenly.
77. I loved Fizzies as a kid.
78. I wish I could read books as fast as my wife.
79. Favorite colors - orange, black and green. At election time, my color is blue.
80. Humor is critical to our existence. I've been laughing at myself since birth.
81. I'm always amused by the following... One in four people suffer from mental illness, if you can think of three close friends who are ok, then you are the crazy.
82. Something I'll always remember my grandmother saying... "I'm not anti-depressed."
83. I used to be able to exist on three to four hours sleep a night. I viewed sleep as a waste of life.
84. I still view sleep as a waste of life, it has just become a necessary evil.
85. Favorite actors... Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Richard Chamberlain.
86. Favorite actresses... Ashley Judd, Helen Hunt, Julia Stiles, Julie Andrews, Renee Zillweger, Susan Sarandon, Debra Messing
83. Yes, I have worn bell-bottoms.
84. I've never put my tongue on a frozen pole. I've made mistakes, but that is not one of them.
85. I have been know to slurp my drinks at the bottom. Ok, I almost always do.
86. Always paper at the grocery store - never plastic.
87. My favorite Cartoons as a kid were Rough & Ready and Heckle and Jeckle .
88. Pet peeves - TV Remotes. They are called Remotes - not "losts" We have two lost on a daily basis for the same TV. If I can't see them in the open, I'm not looking for them. What is the point... I can change the stations with the button.
89. While I will sing in the car, I do not sing in public.
90. Though I dislike needles, I do donate blood.
91. I prefer showers to baths.
92. My Best Feature? - I have one?
93. I am an innie.
94. I am not a fan of Oreos.
95. Skim milk. Took a long time, but I am used to it now.
96. I like my stake medium-rare.
97. I hate licking stamps... envelopes even more.
98. My youngest daughter has my sense on humor. I wish she'd give it back! ( just kidding)
99. I'd prefer cold to hot.
100. Favorite slacks - khaki.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I note that Eileen Tabios blogged some on the election, and need to try digest what she is saying. I will have a postmortem but not today. For those of you that may not be aware, I have spent a good portion of my life immersed in politics. I served for 14 years (7 terms) on the as Democratic Committeeman in Jackson County, Missouri. I was also Democratic Party Chairman in Jackson County between 1988-1990. Enough on this for now, I just wanted to let my readers know that I will not let this pass without comment.
In the meantime. I arrived home yesterday to a pleasant surprise. In the mail I had a CD with 20 poems - recorded live from the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. The CD came from The Poetry Trust. Since two poets I adore are Billy Collins and Sharon Olds, imagine how excited I was to see they each had a poem in this collection. It could not have come at a better time.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Her dilemma of course is how to respond. I am not trying to make this an advise column. Keeping my own life in a reasonable state of order is well enough work. But I think we have all had individuals ask about a piece of work and wonder. I've seen that look like, come on, you aren't fooling anyone... this is you.
For Ivy, I suspect the question is a bit more surprising coming from a publisher whom we would assume has dealt with many manuscripts and you would think would be beyond asking such a question. If I were in her shoes, I suppose I'd say as little as possible in reply. Exactly what... I'm not sure. Then again, I am not trying to play Dear Abby here.
What I am wondering is exactly what our overall roll should be in terms of educating the general public on such matters. I'd like to believe the interest in poetry, even casual interest is growing. This of course would mean there exists a constant need to educate the consumers on the matter of poetic content in work. How do we as practitioners of poetry deal with this? Or do we? Should we just buck up and smile politely when others read our work and ask, "Is this about you?"
The concepts of "truth" and "fact" are not always easy for people to discern. Perhaps this in part is because by definition truth can be related to fact. But truth can also be about sincerity in action, character, and utterance. It can be about a moment. A speck of time. A feeling. In the broadest sense we all write from "truth" but what we write is not always factual. We bring our life experiences, feelings, perceptions, into the mix and these become the tools we use to paint a picture story on a canvas of paper with brushstrokes of words. Then comes the whole issue of the consumer of our work. How many of our readers have lives that are totally parallel to our own? Few if any. The results are, the picture painted by our words may likely appear different to a reader.
So what do we do? What is our responsibility to educate the consumers? Or do we just roll on through life grinning and bare it?
Friday, October 29, 2004
I did note that Eileen was able to access the net and post on her blog from France. I'll have to go back and read it tomorrow. I had expected silence from her until after the first of November.
Ivy had an interesting post about a publisher wanting to know more about the background for some of her work. The whole issue of it's relationship to personal experience. This has caught her somewhat off guard and not surprisingly so. It seems odd coming from a publisher.
I guess that is it for now. God I'm glad it's Friday!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Of the many notables - The Orlando Sentinel which has backed every Republican Presidential Candidate since Richard M. Nixon in 1968. At least until now. "This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations," according to the Florida paper.
But the Sentinel is just one of 36 newspapers that endorsed President Bush in the 2000 campaign that have since ditched the President in favor of John Kerry. Newspapers like the LA Daily news, Chicago-Sun-Times and Memphis Commercial Appeal. To tally up the endorsements Kerry leads Bush 142 to 123 in endorsements.
Bush has won over only six papers that backed Al Gore last election. One, the Denver Post, which received 700 letters -- all of them protesting the move according to Howard Hurtz. Nine newspapers, that backed Bush last election simply decided to back no candidate.
How much any of these impact the election process is certainly debatable. They are kind of like yard signs. Newspapers don't vote, but you'd rather have more endorsements than not.
36 Papers Abandon Bush for Kerry (washingtonpost.com)
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
This experience (writing a post card poem and exchanging it with another poet on a weekly basis) has been a good one for several reasons. It provides a incentive to set down on a specific day and create a new work under a bit of pressure. By mailing it that day, you don't have the ability to tinker with it a lot. I certainly believe in rewrites. And rewrites and rewrites... (you get the point) but there is something to be said as well for letting your creativity work in this sententious period of time and become what it will and nothing more. Sometimes you can overthink something and that can actually kill the creative process.
There is not illusion here. I don't believe I am writing a defining opus on these postcards, but I was quite pleased for example with the second Tuesday's work. In fact it was the center of a lot of attention when I shared it at one of my writing groups after the fact.
It is also exciting to see the work in the poets own script. Admittedly Ivy can write quite small and it at times has taken on an experience not unlike translation. [chuckle] I have had on one occasion to actually rewrite one of Ivy's in my own longhand and work a bit to finally determine two words. I suspect my own writing is perhaps just as challenging to read. At any rate, we are each getting a poem in the poet's own handwriting. Which is kind of cool.
This is the fourth and final Tuesday of the month... which is kind of sad I guess. I am hoping as I put my mind to work on this later today that I will indeed come up with something I am satisfied with as it falls into the mail box out of my reach. For when that happens, there are no take-backs.
There is this international factor as well. Of course two people in the same city could be exchanging poems but in this instance, the exchange is truly international.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Friday, another poetry postcard from Ivy. I'm so confused. We are doing Tuesday's and this was the third such poem this month from her. She's ahead of me! She evidently is writing in the future and sending them back in time. I do well enough to do them on time. Yikes! More on the postcard poetry later this week.
No rejections.... no acceptance letters.
Tomorrow night is Open Mic @ Writers Place.
Kansas City MO 64111
Friday, October 22, 2004
So glad it is Friday. First half of the day went so quick and the rest seemed to drag on and on. Planned to watch Jag tonight with wife. It wasn't on. Instead, I watched First Night with my daughter. I've seen it before and Meg has too - but for her, it was only recently at school. I'm quite found of Arthurian literature and this movie is pretty decent for a updated version of Camelot. By the way... for those that might be interested there is an excellent Arthurian resource site on the net. [click here]
That's the extent of my functional dialogue for now... Hope everyone has a great weekend. I promise to do better tomorrow.
were harmed in this creation.
So, who are the victim here?
or the Yankees?
You think the Red Sox
are Team America?
The Cardinals may
to say about that.
who is hotter,
Hey, I did it for the hits! :)
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Anyway... just a little bragging on my bead artist wife. :) If I could be as masterful with words as she is with beads... *sigh
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Well, Tonight I put together a packet of five poems to submit to New Letters which takes me up to 7 submissions for the month.
Northland group met this afternoon. I read the Post Card Poem that I sent off to Ivy last Tuesday. It was well received.
That's about it for the weekend... Been keeping an eye on the playoff games tonight. Hated to see the Cards lose. I think although that series is tied at two games apiece... I think they will endure to play the World Series this post-season.
New York vs. Boston.... what can I say. The curse is the curse. Deal with it. Looking for a Cardinals Yankees series. Ah, baseball is so poetic!
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
Oh, I almost forgot! Aimee Nezhukumatathil has a poem translated to Italian. I'm so Impressed!!!
Thursday, October 14, 2004
TheBostonChannel.com - Sports - House Owned By The Babe Demolished
This is starting to click for me now. While not at all a new concept to me, I think she is giving it new meaning to me. Of course I would much prefer to be a mouse in the corner of the room when she gives this presentation or a poet in the audience would work quite nicely... but I at least believe I am now in the ballpark on what she is talking about.
It is with some degree of amusement that I recall another post of hers earlier in the week I believe when she spoke of how she kept screwing-up having a career in poetry. Hum, methinks she is not screwing-up too badly.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
The remarks on cultural capital sparked my interest. I would like for her to have been more specific. Perhaps if she ventures over and catches my post here, she will feel compelled to comment further. (Hey, one can hope!)
As I am typing this very post, my body is turning green. Green with envy of those who will be catching Eileen at the panel discussion she'll be giving on poetry publishing at SF State November 9th.
The Chatelaine's Poetics
On a totally unrelated note, I just realized that I missed the one year anniversary of Stick Poet Super Hero last month.
It's always all about you!
Why you,why not me?
Look at me. What do you see?
A stake? A milk shake? A belly
full of grass?
Fuck you! I am COW
and I can stand on my own
four stout legs. I flick
the flies off my own back
never lifting a finger for I am COW!
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
MSNBC - The Life He Left Behind
Monday, October 11, 2004
Wow... Ivy's Five Minute Call took me deep into the persona of a woman's soul.
Hosted the Northland Writers group at our home one Sunday, so I was mostly busy getting ready for that ( an a thank you to my family for the help) and I am happy to say it went well.
The only disappointment was that I was up and down quite a bit and as a result didn't get to hear everyone or at least all that they wrote.
My cousin Jon and my wife's step-mother joined us. They have been doing some writing. Jon poetry and Janet is taking a creative writing class. I hope we didn't scare them... Too much!
Scot entertained them with a couple of his "God series" poems. Theology will never be the same.
Chris shared something he created from Pat's workshop... taking liberties with her instructions and moving a bit further into the realm of creativity. It was interesting because it was a short piece and Chris is such a prolific writer... (he is just beginning to learn that you can do something complete in less than 75,000 words. Ok, I am stretching it a bit, but he is an excellent writer and he can get into some marathon writing stretches.
Sheila didn't read. She is still weeping from her Germany piece. She killed the baby and didn't see it coming. Emotional writing but wow!!! I truly expect her to do something with this piece. It needs to be published.
I missed most of Ann and Don's readings - heavy sigh. Jon and Janet were bold enough to read in front of us. Some first timers aren't... Jon did two poems... and Janet did a couple pieces which were along the lines of journal entries or life memories. I think she really could do a lot with them.
Missi arrived late as usual. (smile) She was, however not the latest. She beat Don! Missi brought some children's poetry that she had been working on. I think this may be a real strong genre for her. I've heard other things she did in the past that were inspired by her four year old son. She also cracked me up with a poem that was a take off on a Toy advertisement. Sometimes she can write stuff that reminds me so of Billy Collins.
I did just two readings.... Poems I have posted here this past week.
Next week we are back at the college for more formal writers workshop. Work without the food and social amenities.
Friday, October 08, 2004
with the burnt ends
of daily embellishments
minutes squandered in omission
over the tops of our noses
scornful of someone
to swell ourselves up
to make something aggrandized
and sell out humanity
for the price
of a quick upper
what would Jesus do
nose thumbing pride
slurping the cream
and leaving sour
rings on the bottom
what would Jesus do
with our silly weapons
while we restrain
or triturate anyone else
that poses a thought
what would Jesus do
with our self-righteousness
in the temple of the would
what would he do
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I have three pieces in the anthology which will be available very soon!
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I just sent off my first poem poet card to Ivy and I have to say, as it disappears at the post office and you turn and walk out the door it is a humbling experience.
Other people are going to read this.... A postman or two and of course another poet. Suddenly, you wish this were something you spent a week or more on, not a spontanious exercise in poetry. [Gulp!]
Monday, October 04, 2004
Yeah, you too Jilly for admonishing me to get off my butt! Just because it's the last quarter of the year, this is no time for a lassitude attitude! Geez!
So, after going through my stuff last night, I sent off two poems today and more forthcoming this week.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
What most struck me about the President in the debate Thursday night was the arrogance of his posturing when John Kerry responded to the moderator. In more instances than not, Bush's look (rolled eyes and all) was as if the say, Well here we go again...
Body language was what spoke strongest about him. It overshadowed everything. Including his nakedness.
Some will say Bush kept it simple and stayed on cue. That this was a good thing. I don't believe he had a choice. What really struck me during the debate was not a totally new revolution, but it was finally one that I believe was confirmed beyond the realm of theory. Bush may not be "stupid" but he lacks the complexity to deal with broader issues that are often not as simple as black and white.
When Kerry discussed the idea that a preemptive military strike was something so serious that there was a global test or standard that had to be meet, Bush simply did not get it. This is something I have felt strongly about from the beginning. Yet here is the Commander-In-Chief, the man who prides himself in telling us he has what it takes to do this job ( inferring that Kerry lacks it) and he simply was dumbfounded by Kerry's remark.
Many people argue that it is pointless to argue this issue after the barn door was left open and the cow escaped. However, such decisions impact the way the rest of the world views us. In spite of what some people feel, this can become critical. Bush's own simple view is, We'll go to war when we want to and not when someone says it is ok. That is well and good, but the world opinion on this war and the way we prosecute any future wars, may well impact the support we get at some important juncture when there really are WMDs or justification. Will other nations look back and take a pass on supporting us because we cried wolf and there was no wolf? The misrepresentations that occurred and the President's arrogant posturing to any who disagreed with him is of real concern.
There is something we can learn from the mistakes in Iraq. We need to grasp that.
There was something to learn from Vietnam and many still are in denial about that lesson. These are costly mistakes to repeat.
Friday, October 01, 2004
I'm going the a reading tonight of some friends at the Maple Woods College campus. Tomorrow, my youngest daughter has a karate tournament locally. Should be an all day event. I'll take note book and reading material.
I'd like to get a lot done this weekend. It has just hit me that we are down to the final quarter of the year and I don't have much material out floating around right now. I need to make a final push. I've got stuff that can be sent out, just need to do it!
The poet must get off his butt!
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Pray for Alli's laptop! Poor girl had to use a MAC. I'm sure I must have a prayer here someplace for inanimate objects.
Debate Tonight.... I think they are in Florida. Is that a safe place to be these days?
A Federal Court had problems with a section of the US Patriot Act allowing authorities to demand financial records from companies in terrorism investigations is unconstitutional. The court concluded that the section bars any effective judicial challenge because the government does not need to show a compelling need for the information, and the act does not provide process for challenges to police action. Gee, Imagine that... the Patriot Act violating Constitutional protections.
Mount St. Helens is rumbling
and now, my news in brief....
They Debate tonight
And War will be a topic
Say a prayer
A prayer for peace
A prayer for the troops
That they soon come home
Speaking of home
Bush to Crawford
Pray for Alli's puter
And Constitutional Rights
And speaking of Rights
From the Religious Right
That are not Religious
Through the intercession
Of St Helen
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The MacArthur Fellows Program is designed to underscore the importance of the creative individual in society. Criteria for the Fellows focuses on their originality, creativity, and the potential to do more in the future. It is not possible to apply for the awards, you must be nominated. The selection involves a rigorous and confidential process. And since no candidates are interviewed directly the selection, the recipient first learns of being named a MacArthur Fellow by way of a phone call from the Foundation. "The call can be life-changing, coming as it does out of the blue and offering highly creative women and men the gift of time and the unfettered opportunity to explore, create, and contribute," said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The turnout was.... average. I suppose there were maybe 15 of us. I had some new material. Actually both Scot and Missi had stuff I had not hear before.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Since it was a new venue for me I was able to do some stuff I’ve read before. Four repeaters and one new piece.
1. Channeling Sylvia
2. File Folder
3. Rewrapping the Flag (new)
4. Sweet Revenge
The PR person at this B & N is great!
Terry did some short story stuff that was very different from what I have normally seen him do. Missi had a Sharon Olds quality about her last night.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
At any rate, I'm sure Eileen must be feeling quite full of herself, being a banned poet and all. [no jealousy here] I'm just hoping that her Filipino twist to "Yadda, yadda, yadda.." is not going to earn her a spot on the "No Fly List" too...