Friday, February 27, 2004

I owe this link to Katey

You're The Sound and the Fury!

by William Faulkner

Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips
with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue,
but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard
time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant
anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

file folder

It crept across my desk
during the day
flopped on the floor
defied my hands once
then in contumacy
and drew blood
for that I filed it away
in the dark file cabnet
under "S" for stay

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Inside The Times

Michaela Cooper takes a slice out of our world and dishes up this really ostentatious piece. I especially like the way she has multi-layered throughout it.

You should be doing this stuff more often! [stepping off my soap box]

Katey Nicosia - Up and Coming Poet

If you have been a reader of Stick Poet Super Hero for any length of time, Katey Nicosia likely needs no introduction to you. She has been the winner of the Stick Poet Top Five Weekly Blogs more often than any other poetry blogger. In fact her blog One Good Bumblebee (formerly Chewing On Pencils) reigned at the Number One spot for five straight weeks.

Katey is a Texan. A young energetic woman who hardly shows any restraint of her high energy level when it comes to writing.

One of the reasons Katey's blog has continually ranked so high on my list is the excellent mixture of personal poetic works, serious discussion of poetics and a number of entertaining links that just allow for plain old enjoyment.

She is refreshingly honest and open. This made my task of interviewing her very easy.

It is my hope to bring you a series of interviews over the next few months. No all will necessarily be bloggers. They will all have some connection to poetry or writing in general. It seemed to me selecting Katey for the first interview was a no brainer. I hope you find it as interesting to read as I did to put together.

Interview of February 2004 with Katey Nicosia:

SP: First off, I'd like to ask you what initially sparked your interest and love of poetry? I assume you love it, it would seem like it has become a major force in your life.

KATEY: I've always enjoyed creating things, and I've always been in love with words, but the actual writing of poetry never occurred to me until college when I enrolled in a creative writing class and was forced to write it. Immediately, I fell in love with the medium of words and being able to shape something with language. The tangible, yet simultaneously intangible aspect of poetry fascinated me.

SP: Any particular individuals really push or direct you in this regard?

KATEY: My father is a photographer, and there's a very strange connection between photography and poetry...the quick capture of a moment, an image, and so, I think that relationship also pushed me into the mysterious realm of poetry. I ended up taking an advanced creative writing class which was formatted much the same way as a workshop, and all we did was write poems. At the end of the semester my professor asked me if I was planning on applying to graduate schools, and he encouraged me to do so. That's when I started taking writing more seriously. He is the one person that really pressed me and urged me to pursue poetry, and I have ever since.

SP: And how long have you been seriously writing?

KATEY: I've been writing seriously for about 2 1/2 years. I'm still a newborn!

SP: I'd like to know a little about the process you go through to get a poem from your head to a piece of paper. That would include rewrites. Do you tend to stick with one piece through the various drafts till complete, or do you keep coming back over a period of time? Try and walk me through your normal writing process. What do you think is the longest you spent on a single piece of poetry?

KATEY:'s how it goes: First of all, I never "plan" to write, because the second I tell myself, "I'm going to sit down and write a poem right now," I lock up and can't write at all. There's too much pressure in that for me. I usually just sit at my computer and write. Most of the time I write in paragraphs and then craft them into lines...into a poem, because when I write, I don’t like to think about anything but moving my fingers. There are really three parts of creating a poem. The first is what I usually call "the explosion," where I just type whatever is in my head. The second part is the crafting of the explosion...this is the part that requires the most focus, it requires that zone, that frame of mind in which I forget where I am and all I know is the poem. There's a type of tunnel vision involved, it seems. This is the part where I figure out what the poem is trying to do, and where it wants to go. Then when I'm finished with the second part I usually get the poem critiqued by one of my poet-friends, which is a very important part of the process for me. Then comes the third part, which is revision...where I fix things. I change words or clean up line breaks. I switch up the perspective or change the title. I fine-tune the poem. Then, I send it off to publishers. But a poem is never finished for me...there are too many choices and too many paths in creating a poem to say that a poem is finished. However, I usually consider a poem finished if someone I admire says it's perfect (but that’s never happened so…) or if it gets published, but not always. I have about 40 poems that I'm working on right now. There's no way I could focus on one poem at a time. I'm always re-writing. I think I re-write more than I write. Some days I'll just sit down and go through a few of my poems and rework them one after the other.

SP: Categorize for me what school or style of poetry you would hope others view your work as. Much of your work that I have seen has a fun side to it.

KATEY: I'm not sure if there's a particular style that I'd hope others would view my work as, but there are poets who I'd like to be compared to. I like invention and wit in poetry. I like a poem that can make me laugh. I also admire poets who use everyday language and simple words that create potent poems. A perfect example is Richard Brautigan or even Billy Collins. I guess I'd have to say I happen to lean towards a surreal style. I think this is a result of my approach to poetry. I try not to hold back and control too much of what the next line will say. This usually creates odd, bizarre poems, but somehow they work, I think. I also happen to be a huge fan of surreal art. Magritte, mostly. In a strange way, I feel that Magritte has influenced my writing, or at least the way I view things, so that I can find poetry in ordinary objects. A perfect example of surreal poetry, to me, would be Russell Edson or James Tate, both of who are poets that I can't get enough of. I've noticed that I'm a true sponge, in that whatever I read, I tend to soak up drops of the poet’s voice, and I think my writing shows this.

SP: Do you find it hard to write in a confessional style?

KATEY: Yes, I find it extremely difficult to write confessional poetry, and there are reasons for that. I find confessional poetry rather boring, much like listening to someone complain. People always seem to think that poetry should be dark and depressing, but that's not true. Some of the best poems are about ordinary life, and that’s what I like to write about. Not about death or my terrified soul or my broken heart. Poetry lurks everywhere, so I’ll let everybody else write confessional poetry while I write about a gravel driveway or something. I just think confessional poetry is a bit antiquated if you know what I mean. It's almost become cliché. I have a feeling some people are going to hate me for saying that. Oh phooey.

SP: What form is most challenging to you?

Katey: What form is most challenging for me?

Sonnets are difficult, but I think they’re fun to write. I like flipping through my rhyming dictionary and counting the iambs on my fingers, which I’m sure is entertaining for anyone who’s willing to watch me write one.

SP: What role do you see for poets and poetry in terms of social issues or concerns? Are you turned off by any particular subject matter in poetry? Religion? Politics? Erotica? Anything?

KATEY: I'll read poetry about anything. But I think the most successful poems are those that don't try to make a huge statement about an issue or about religion, politics, etc, but that just are. I like poems that stay close to home, poems that are windows into someone's house. I'd like to read one that shows a bedroom, or a messy closet, a woman pouring a glass of orange juice. I like poetry that celebrates the mundane objects or aspects of life.

SP: As an individual, do you consider yourself to be more settled in or energetic and changing?

KATEY: Right now, I am definitely energetic and changing just because I'm still learning so much. I am perhaps overly passionate about poetry. I eat it. I get overwhelmingly giddy when the newest issue of The Paris Review comes out or when I read a great poem by a poet I'd never heard of before.

SP: How would you say this relates to the nature of your work?

KATEY: All of that adds up to an energetic me!

SP: You have indicated that you are afflicted with ADHD. You may not feel comfortable discussing this and I would understand. However, if you don't mind, I'd be interested to know if this poses any extra special challenges for you in writing? Are there any therapeutic benefits?

KATEY: This is very complicated and confusing. I don't mind talking about it at all; I just have a hard time figuring it all out for myself. But, here's my situation: I am ADHD and I take adderall. (I know some people don’t “believe in ADHD” but whatever. I have it.) Without the adderall, I have no inhibitions and I usually write my best poems this way. This is going to sound strange but without Adderall, I feel almost like I’m drunk. I am very silly and creative without it, but there's another side to this. Without adderall, I have a hard time sitting down. I find writing to be quite scary, as well, and it's very difficult for me to write without adderall because my emotions flow and I tend to avoid writing all together. However, when I do take my adderall, I have overwhelming urges to write, and I do. But for some reason the medicine hinders my creativity with language a little. I become more linear and left-brained. But at the same time I have such a drive to write, that something worthwhile is usually created. All in all, I find it best to write on adderall and force myself to let go and not worry about "the rules" of poetry. It's a little more complicated than all of what I just told you but that's the gist.

SP: Your recent post related to Donald Murray's book Crafting a Life you discuss the danger of reaching for "rhyme" and ending up with words that dilute or distort I believe you said, the meaning. What do you feel are the advantages, if any of the more traditional rhyme in poetry?

KATEY: Sound. Pure sound. Poetry is about sound as much as it is about images. Although I don’t write poems with regular rhyme schemes, I’m constantly striving to create sounds including all types of rhymes, alliteration, consonance, assonance, etc.

SP: Where do you fall in your thoughts about surrealism in poetry?

KATEY: I think I already answered this, but I love surrealism in poetry. I have an interest in poetry that on the surface doesn’t make “sense,” but for some reason the poem works deep down below somewhere. Again, Russell Edson and James Tate are perfect examples.

SP: Off the cuff, who do you consider the five individuals to most significantly influence American Poetry in the past fifty years?

1. William Carlos Williams
2. Charles Bukowski
3. Elizabeth Bishop
4. Ezra Pound
5. T.S. Eliot

SP: Who do you like the most of new, up and coming writers that have not already made a name for themselves?

KATEY: Will Roby. He was born to be a poet. He has a rare talent with language that tingles off the page. He reminds me of a combination between Rita Dove, Tate, and Brautigan. He’ll be huge someday. Guaranteed.

Rick Lupert. He’s the owner/editor of The Poetry Superhighway so he’s sort of made a name for himself, but I think he should be bigger. He makes me laugh a little too loud sometimes. He writes poems that make me want to hang out with him. He writes poems about things that people think about but never mention out loud. He’s the Jerry Seinfeld of young poets.

SP: I believe I saw where you indicated that you felt Louise Glück was difficult to understand. I don't want to put words in your mouth, assuming this is true, how well do you believe a poet of this nature can adequately promote the cause of poetry as poet laureate?

KATEY: No, I don’t think she’s difficult to understand. I just don’t particularly enjoy the type of poetry she writes: confessional. I know she’s a good poet, but there are so many types of poetry, and she falls into a category that I don’t attend to much. I think she’ll do a fine job as poet laureate, but I think I remember reading somewhere that she’s not planning on actually doing anything. Whereas Billy Collins did the Poetry 180 project and the airline poetry. So, I don’t know. I guess it’s good that we have a range of poetic talents as laureate.

SP: "How important do you believe formal education is to successfully writing poetry?"

I think about this a lot as I am preparing to apply for an MFA soon. I think it all depends on the person. Some people feel that school can get in the way of creativity and so on. I feel differently. Right now, I want to go back to school not just to get a degree in poetry but because I want to know more about it. I want a community where I can write and be forced to write. I'm comfortable in a formal setting of education. I remember when I'd go to my creative writing classes as an undergrad, there was never a time that I left class without a new, inspired motivation to write. Every time I left the classroom, I fell in love with poetry all over again. I think the sustained reinforcement that the poetry classroom lends would be very beneficial in my success as a poet. I crave the classroom. I crave that group of people who sit around and do nothing but talk about poetry. I don't see how that could get in the way of creativity. Laundry and grocery lists gets in the way of my creativity, not discussions on the subject of poetry. But, still, it depends on the writer.

SP: I see you have some responsibilities associated with some online literary sites. Can you tell me about those and what those experiences lend to your overall growth as a writer?

I co-edit Word Riot ( with Will Roby. He asked me to be his “assistant” (ha ha) and of course I said yes. I think the best part of editing Word Riot is being able to see the other side of publishing. It makes rejections easier for me because I know what editors go through to find the poems they want to publish. I’ve probably rejected heaps of poems that were actually quite great, but for strange reasons, I didn’t feel they fit the magazine or they didn’t hit me the right way. I’ve learned that rejection doesn’t mean I suck as a poet, it means I submitted to the wrong place or at the wrong time.

I’m also an administrator at Enter the Muse ( which is a critical forum for writers. It has been amazingly significant in my growth as a writer. I’ve learned so much from receiving critiques and from communicating with a tight knot of people that share my interests in writing. I don’t think I’d be writing today if it weren’t for the critiques and advice I receive from the members.

SP: Katey, where would you like to see yourself five year from now in terms of writing?

All I know is I better have a book or at least a chapbook within the next five years. (I just laughed out loud after writing that.)

SP: Fifteen?

KATEY: In fifteen years I’d like to see myself married with children and with an MFA in poetry. Oh and a few books of poetry. I’d also like to see myself signing autographs on the streets of some big city. I’d like to have a dog and a cappuccino maker. Maybe a fish tank too.

SP: Katey has been a great sport about this, though I am not surprised. As I said at the beginning, I find her to be very open and engaging in her work, it should not surprise me for her to be no different under questions. I want to express my sincere thanks for being my first victim here and hope it was relatively painless for her.

Interview by Michael Wells / Stick Poet Super Hero

Friday, February 20, 2004

No One Listening (v.2)

I want to dance
though my feet have no special steps.

I want to shout
though I have nothing distinguished to say
only a desire to be heard.

I can taste the grape exalted
to its supreme perfection
dry and with a hint of oak.

It is the water passing swiftly in the narrow stream that
travels so far with so little, and
I look inward and see in myself a raindrop that wishes
beyond all hope to travel half as far in my quest. Sometimes
the desire is far greater than purpose.

I wonder is something missing?
Is this why no one is listening?

I build a fire out of doubts and questions and douse it with
the enthusiasm that seems misplaced. I have no need for it.
At least I will be warm.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Stick Poet Invetview Coming Saturday

Katey Nicosia Poet, Student and Blogger on One Good Bumblebee is the subject of my interview which will appear as a Saturday post. Katey has been featured too many times to count on the Stick Poet's Top Five Weekly Bloggers List, including a stretch of 5 straight weeks at number one.

I greatly enjoyed learning a little more about Katey and hope you will too when you read the interview.


  1. Dragon:: Tower
  2. Molecule:: Atom
  3. Tire:: Rubber
  4. Mighty:: Mouse
  5. Octane:: High
  6. Troll:: Little
  7. Atmosphere:: Air
  8. Guide:: TV
  9. Leash:: Dog
  10. Dustmite:: Pillow

Interview Coming......

Stay Tuned.... Stick Poet will post an Interview with a previous Stick Poet Top Five winner this weekend.

I know you are all dying to know.

Even Being At the Top Can Be Tough For A Writer

"I thought I should do something to celebrate, have a glass of wine or something. But all I could find in that house, a friend's, were some cookies from America, some awful chocolate cookies- Oreos, I think- so I ended up eating two of those. And that's how I celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize." -- Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

Ever thought how you would celebrate if you learned tonight that you won the Pulitzer Prize? Come on... tell us in the comments below.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Robert Bly Reading - Plymouth State College - NH

March 7 Plymouth, NH
Poetry reading, Plymouth State College, Sunday 3 p.m., admission free
Contact: 603/535-ARTS

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Busy week

Let me whine just a bit. I've had a busy last few days. Writers workshop and Thursday and again on Sunday. Last night a meeting of one of my writers groups. And Snow... yes snow again, though it was not in the forecast this time.

I am working on a interview that I will get pulled together and posted this week come hell or high water. I'm not putting out any details just yet, but I think it will be an interesting piece. Maybe I'll break the news tomorrow... Or, maybe I won't. Ha! You'll have to come visit the site to see.

In the meantime, if you haven't signed up for my newsletter - do so in the yellow box at the upper left. Also, check out the "Stick Poet Super Hero" Gear:

Post cards, Greeting cards, Shirts, Cups, Journals, Boxers, etc.

Ok.... Yes, the official "Classic Stick Poet Super Hero Thong" can be seen here!

Glad we cleared that up!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

No Top 5 Tomorrow

The Stick Poet Top Five is taking a vacation tomorrow. In Fact, I am taking a three week vacation from it while I work on catching up some writing projects of my own.

I know you can all survive. Drink lots of coffee or caffeinated Coke and you'll do just fine.

I actually have a series of Interviews I am planning on featuring here starting with the first one sometime next week. I think you will enjoy them and they will give us lots more to explore.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Paying For The Gas That Killed Sylvia

Elizabeth Sigmund, confidante and perhaps one of Sylvia Plath's closest friends recounts her memories of Sylvia and Ted and their tragic lives. "The academic research will go on because Sylvia Plath was a very important poet. But I think it would be far better if the personal details of Ted's and Sylvia's life were let be, because what good can it do, bringing it up again?"

The Call

Looney tunes
Everyone looks about
Chattering birds oblivious
On an invisible telephone line

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Thanks to Jilly... for the link.

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Monday, February 09, 2004

There is a Poem Somewhere Here

Just give me a little time... **grin**

Thank You George W.

Meet the Press on Sunday cleared up one thing for certain. My previously held assumptions about the President are right on the mark.


  1. Identity:: stolen
  2. Reveal:: expose
  3. Live:: moving
  4. Attitude:: stubborn
  5. Night:: nocturnal
  6. Nevada:: gambling
  7. Weekend:: fun
  8. Write:: poetry
  9. Friend:: companion
  10. Seventeen:: youth

Saturday, February 07, 2004


The young boys face
stung with the bite of the icy wind
but he said noting.
His mother's flesh was no different
than his. They waited for the bus
knee deep in the road waste piled
at the bus stop by plows.

Friday, February 06, 2004


For those would like a taste of Stick Poet in the mail boxes from time to time, you are free to sign up in the yellow box at the upper left of the blog (just below the masthead). I promise you will not be subjected to massive amounts of e-mails.

Stick Poet Top 5 Blogs of the Week

It's Friday and I am on time - hooray!

No. 5 Ivy Is Here [First time on the list]

No. 4 One Good Bumblebee [Also No. 4 last week]

No. 3 The Poetry Hut [Also No. 3 last week]

No. 2The Chatelaine's Poetics [Last week's No. 1 on the list]

No. 1 Awake At Dawn on Someone's Couch [First time even on the list]

Thursday, February 05, 2004

No One Listening

The glum will surely fade
and I, I can taste the grape exalted
to its supreme perfection
dry and with a hint of oak.

I want to dance
though my feet have no special steps
I want to shout though I have nothing distinguished to say
but only a desire to be heard.

And you, like so many others look at me and wonder.
It is the water passing swiftly in the narrow stream that
travels so far with so little,

And I look inward and see in myself a raindrop that wishes
beyond all hope to travel half as far in my quest. Sometimes
the desire is far greater than purpose. Then I too wonder
is there something missing? Is that why no one is listening?

I build a fire out of doubts and questions and douse it with
the enthusiasm that seems misplaced. I have no need for it.
At least I will be warm.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"Free The People"

"Free the people." he said
and took a walk along the shore.

Too many black clouds
and the hatchet men.

Oh you say we must provide affordable health care
by eliminating lawsuits that hurt good doctors...
but good medicine is the best remedy for eliminating lawsuits.

"Free the people." he said as he drove the truck into town.

Too much at stake
too many out of work.

You say we are at war with terrorism.
Why do you terrorize us?

"Free the people." He said to the teacher
as he left his daughter at the school playground.

You read to a class and tell us to leave no child behind.
Then pile a debt to leave behind for the children.

"Free the people" He said to his neighbor
standing in line at the polls.
The neighbor nodded.

Minute Memo

EILEEN TABIOS, one of this past week's Stick Poet Top Five will not blog for the rest of the week as she is leaving for New York where as she puts it, "I'll be creating mischief."

Actually I believe that mischief will come in the form of poetry readings. Best wishes to her in the Big Apple!

Jilly why NASA hasn't got at least 512MB. Good question!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

No Women Need Apply

"Keep Women Out" I heard him say
and then he went off to play.
What's Gregory fear of the little dears...
That they may actually play up to par?

Monday, February 02, 2004

Monday Madness

Weather sucks here in river city... but not bad enough to shut down work.

I mentioned this weekend that Love During Wartime has a new look. Let me go a step further and say that it agrees with me. I think it is a real improvement.

The second issue of Plum Ruby Review is posted. I have not had a chance to read it yet... but hope to maybe later today.

Poetry in the air... Thanks to Laurable for this find.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Forecast Factors

Prognosticator's wiggle room
three to six inches
rain or freezing rain changing to snow

Radar tracking
information lacking
will it turn
we'll wait to learn

The sky looks bad
feeling stuck and sad


New Look for Love During Wartime

Stick Poet Gear Now Available

Top Five Poetry Blog List for the Past Week

Thank you all for your patience this week.
The winners are....

No. 5 The Blue Kangaroo (welcome back after falling off the list last week)

No. 4 One Good Bumblebee (Last week's No. 2)

No. 3 The Poetry Hut (Last week's No. 2)

No. 2 Love During Wartime (Last week's No. 3)

No. 1 The Chatelaine's Poetics (Moving up from No. 4 Last Week)

I enjoyed this weeks readings.... Everyone have a great week ahead!


Stick Poet Super Hero Gear - cards, journals T-shirts and more available here