Sunday, January 30, 2005

Weekend Writing

Yesterday I stumbled along working on two poems. By evening I had my fill of both. Put them away, my mind away.... Today is another day. One poem has taken shape nicely. The other remains on the back burner- warm in my thoughts but no real action on it yet.

Perhaps I will take it out and play with it a while later. Perhaps not.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Marilyn Kallet

Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters introduced Marilyn Kallet Thursday night as a writer who's poems "wake you up" a quality that he stresses all poems should do.

Kallet, who has been the director of the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, is also the author of a dozen or so poetry books. She was in Kansas City as one of the featured readers at this years Midwest Poet series.

Marilyn Kallet was a lot of things I did not expect, but she was not disappointing. I expected what I suppose was a southern lady. She was born in Montgomery, Alabama. While there was evidence of southern roots, Ms. Kallet is indeed a well traveled woman who's poetic work is not limited by her southern experience.

Her readings were much more akin to performance. Working without text, but not overtly dramatic. There was a comfortable level to her recitations. She is soft spoken, pleasurably so and fortunately the sound system and acoustics were good.

I was not particularly aware of Kallet's Jewish heritage prior to the event and somewhat surprised by the influence it has on her work. She presented a number of holocaust related works which were quite appropriate with the date (anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz)
but what I found most enjoyable about her was the ability she possesses to mix extremely serious poetic commentary with wit and humor. I too often write to those extremes and I like that quality in other poets.

Her reading was really quite unlike others I have experienced. She was so good with her delivery I did indeed feel a disconnect from the poetry itself. Not really from her or her presentation but certainly from the written word.

I intend to review here her book, How To Get Heat Without Fire after I have finished reading it three times. Perhaps then I will feel the total connection with her word.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tonight, I will be the poet consumer....

I'm going to hear Marilyn Kallet tonight at Rockhurst College. I'm pretty excited about it. There was a really nice piece in the Kansas City Star - art/literary section this past Sunday about her. Plus, I have it on good authority from a friend of Jilly's that she is worth hearing.

Information on Marilyn Kallet

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Poem As A Private Event

Today, I read an essay by David Groff on The Peril of the Poetry Reading. He tackles the issue of the value of such readings to poetry itself and raises some interesting points.

Ironically it was just last night that I explained to another poet how reading her work in print adds a dimension that hearing it read in a group setting cannot provide. As I said that, I had to think about my views on poetry readings. I am in fact a fan of readings. I have found them positive experiences both as a poet and as a consumer of poetic works. There is a very important place in the literary world for public readings. At least that is the view I have held and I am not swaying from that position.

Groff suggests that "even if a poem takes on a fresh life when it's delivered in the voice of its maker, it loses more than it gains." He quotes the poet Richard Howard from a keynote address at the 1996 PEN Literary Awards where he said, "We have make poetry known; we have merely made it public. If we are to save poetry, which means if we are to savor it, we must restore poetry to that status of seclusion and even secrecy that characterizes our authentic pleasures and identifies only our intimately valued actions." Groff adds, (Howard sees) "... a poem as an intimate act of communication and not an occasion for a group grope."

I'm not sure that I agree with Groff that it loses more than it gains, but there is a difference and I think it is valid to question if the trade off is beneficial in the end. I do like Richard Howard's view that a poem is an very intimate communication. I believe the fact that each of us bring our own life prospectives to a printed page of poetry and therein some transformation occurs. That transformation is very personal. It has the readers soul imprinted upon it. Two readers are not necessarily going to see or get the same value from the same poem.

There is the physical aspect of poetry on a page. The line breaks. The way the poem fills out the white void that is a page before the poem is created. Much of poetry, though not all is about form. And I will remind you that though literary in construction, poetry is very much about images. Expressing place. It is also in some respects a visual art. David Groff's essay has indeed called into question the loss of a poem's form when read in public. It is an undeniable fact that in some poems this is of significant value. The eyes and mind are able to do something that the ears and mind cannot replicate.

I personally enjoy hearing poets read their own work. I enjoy poets reading other people's work. But I have heard poems and later read them to find I saw them in a quite different view. I will still do public readings. I will continue to attend public readings. What this essay has caused me to consider however, is just how important it is for each of us to stress reading poems personally. David Groff considers this the "ultimate act of poetic integrity... to take the poem home."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Few inquisitive Contemplations

How and what others do to elicit the optimum success with writing always interests me. I suppose we all probably have a bit of that child quality that makes us wonder about others and if we are like most people of if we are some sort of oddity in the writing kingdom.

One that I often think about is the time of day that most people find conducive to best results. How may can simply set aside any time morning of afternoon or night and find little difference in results? I suspect few. I think most seem to have an internal clock that tells us the best time from our own personal experiences. I'm interested in hearing from others that have identified a best time, or persons that have found relatively little difference altogether.

The other thing I'm curious about is what approach people take to writing. How do you kick start yourself when writing a new poem? Start with a concrete idea? Let something drift into being? What external stimuli best helps facilitate this process? Music? Quiet? The woods? A coffee shop? Busy city street? Come one folks... talk to me here! Help feed my curiosity.

MSNBC - Jan. 24 called worst day of the year

MSNBC - Jan. 24 called worst day of the year: "- Is the midwinter weather wearing you down? Are you sinking in debt after the holidays? Angry with yourself for already breaking your New Year's resolutions? Wish you could crawl back under the covers and not have to face another day of rain, sleet, snow and paperwork? Probably. After all, it's Jan. 24, the �most depressing day of the year,� according to a U.K. psychologist."

Very interesting piece in which Dr. Cliff Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples' lowest point.

The model is: [W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA

The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

According to his calculations that misery peaks today.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Chill would have frozen the air
were it still and not the haughty
bitch that blasts with repeated
thrashing against all things vertical.

The sun sits there deceptive
giving daylight, no warmth-
No consolation, not even a ray of hope
this frore day will offer any infinitesimal
relief from the bitterness.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Cooking Oil - January and the Sounds of Silence

January is moving along slick as canola. It's the 21st already and I'm thinking what's happening?

I have written several new pieces. Since the first of the month, perhaps eight maybe ten. I've done two readings. One on the first at the Writers Place and one Wednesday night at Barnes & Noble @ Zona Rosa. I was one of three that read that night.

I've got some stuff floating out there (you know that place where submissions go to languish) I'll call poets purgatory, but I've sent noting new out yet this month. That's the rub. It's twenty-one freek'n days into the year and no new submissions.

I was listening to some old Simon and Garfunkel songs this week. So much of their lyrics are majorly poetic. I do find that even some of their sad stuff as an uplifting artistic effect. If nothing else, it generates a mental state that is conducive to writing.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Turn Your Back On Bush

James at Love During Wartime quotes the philosopher Emile Chartier, "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only one you have." This saying, strikes me as most appropriate and befitting the day of Inauguration of George W. Bush for his second term. You may read from that what you will.

Eileen Tabios is offering her new book, I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved
as part of a special fund raising event for Tsunami victims relief. Details here.

Protests Planned Too in Washington and throughout the United States:

Washington DC Events Protesters Turn Backs!

My hat is off to Senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry for voting in committee against confirming Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. While Rice is sure to be confirmed by the full Senate, like many in the Bush administration, they must be asked to account for the past four years.

Rebecca Harding Davis:

Our young people have come to look upon war as a kind of beneficent deity, which not only adds to the national honor but uplifts a nation and develops patriotism and courage. That is all true. But it is only fair, too, to let them know that the garments of the deity are filthy and that some of her influences debase and befoul a people.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Who Cares?

"It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others." - Virginia Woolf

Sunday, January 16, 2005

what's wrong

Nothing! Now that I have my copy. Yesterday, I got my copy of what's wrong by ivy alvarez.

what's wrong is a small chapbook - only ten poems, but enough to wet your whistle and want to read more of Ivy's work. It's good stuff! Right down to the "dogs swallowing echos of their barks."

Thanks Ivy! Enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bringing Poetry Home

Last night, eight people in love with poetry met to organize a new chapter of the Missouri Poetry Society in the greater Kansas City area. The organizer, Missi Rasmussen, a poetess colleague, provided a very well themed outline for the chapter. I already belong to a state chapter from a Kansas City suburb, but I believe it is important for a community the size of Kansas City to have a chapter identified with it specifically.

Missi is all about bringing poetry to the community as much as enriching the poetry experience of each of it's members. I find this refreshing.

When I started writing this blog and selected the name Stick Poet Superhero, I wanted to be a voice in defense of the value of poetry to us all. Yes, the name is perhaps corny, but I was and am serious about defending the role and value of poetry in society today.

As a poet, it is always my hope that when I write a new poem, the voice of that poem speaks to someone out there in such a way as to give validation to what they feel. I believe this is one very important thing that poetry can do for us.

I am less concerned about which school of poetry is best. I have my preferences, but I'll allow that debate to happen elsewhere. I may wade into the water once and a while to talk about the values of one or the other, but we all come from different perspectives in life and whatever style speaks to us is less important than the fact that something actually happens when that one particular verse connects and we touch all-the-bases!

Poetry can capture the moment and freeze it for the future. It can record the ugly so that mankind will not forget where it has come from. It can recreate the exhilarating joys and triumphs of life and can speak to us about the most mundane day-to-day experiences. Poetry is relevant. It is more real then any reality TV show. It is good stuff, and it offers something for everyone.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Thanks for the Birthday wishes....

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes.

I had BBQ Ribs last night in celebration. My Son called. That was cool.

Tonight I'm meeting with some other poets to form a new chapter of the Missouri State Poetry Society in the Kansas City area.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My Birthday

Today is my birthday... a year closer to perfection!

I got a copy of Ariel Restored, a Burkowski book, another book on Plath and a couple pairs of new slacks! Yeah!

My daughter in Phoenix just called to wish me Happy Birthday... so nice to hear her voice this morning. She said as soon as all the football stuff is gone and the spring baseball stuff is out I can look for some San Francisco Giants apparel or something. (warm smile)

Saturday night I went to a reading and book signing at the Writers Place for Drew Dorsey who just released Breaking Bones With Pencil Tips. It was very well attended. It had been billed as work that Burkowski, Plath, and Ginsberg fans would find inspiration in. I guess I'd have to say that while it was enjoyable, I think comparison with those three poets is a bit of a stretch.

Sunday afternoon - Northland writers met. My awesome wife was nice enough to provide an ice cream cake to celebrate my birthday a day early with these writing friends. I read a couple new drafts of some work. There were like thirteen of us so it was well attended.

Ivy had a quote from Ginsberg over on her blog that I have to repeat here. It really struck me because birthdays always remind me of mortality and to me writing is often about trying to beat mortality. I love this quote and today was the first time I had ever seen it....

"A poem is like a radio that can broadcast continuously for thousands of years." -Allen Ginsberg

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Poetry of Place

My only planned post today I made over on my other blog site: Against The Flow where I wrote on the poetry of "place". It is in the "poetics" catagory.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Around Poetry Blogland

Few things happening on other poetry blogs....

Check out the TSUNAMI RELIEF information on Eileen's blog.

what's wrong is the title of a new chapbook by Ivy.

Christine Hamm has a new chapbook too! Discount Heaven.

And yes... I passed 10,000 hits! Yeah!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hitting the 10,000 mark...

Drum-roll please...
Stickpoet is about to roll over the historic 10,000 hits mark- likely sometime tonight. An insignificant bit of trivia to some... Ok, I admit, it is exciting!


words unwrapped

Words Unwrapped

Monday, January 03, 2005

First Annual Kansas City New Years Day Read-a-thon


Gloria Vando - joined by her mother and daughter - rounded out three generations of talent at The Writers Place on New Years day for the first annual read-a-thon. More on Gloria here.


Gloria's mother, Anita Velez charmed the crowd.


Gloria's daughter, Anika Paris was sassey, brassy and classy as she read of New York exploits. More on Anika here.

The event ran from 1 p.m. till midnight. I was there from 1:00 till about 8:45 p.m. The talent was pretty consistent throughout my presence and the event stayed remarkably on target time-wise. I can't speak to how the late night crew was, but those of us there during the segment I was present offered an enjoyable event with a full range of poetry style and taste.


Here is moi - reading an epigram that I recently had published in the Park University Scribe. I did as I recall six or seven poems total.

I was joined by two other writer colleagues who belong to the Northland Writers group.


Scot Isom - one of the Northlanders took a break from a non-fiction book he is working on to join us.


Terry Weide another Northland member read from some of his "flash-fiction" and poetry.

There were far too many readers to mention all of them by name, but my hat is off to The Writers Place for putting this together. There were a steady stream of people in to hear us most of the day.

Sharon Eiker who organizes the monthly open-mic at The Writers Place patterned this off an event that has been ongoing in New York for many years. Her two very talented daughters Deborah Sweeney and Sarah Eiker also participated in the event.


Deborah Sweeney Singing - what a voice!


Sarah Eiker - both read her poetry and contributed greatly to the overall success as she helped organize Phi Theta Kappa's participation. This was their first service project for 2005. Great Job!!!

Looking forward to next year.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Long Assed Day of Poetry

Kicking off the New Year at The Writers Place - I was there from 1:00p.m. till 7:45p.m. to participate in their New Years Day readings. Some kick-ass poetry - very enjoyable evening that was still running till midnight tonight when I left.

I have some pictures that will follow - likely tomorrow. I'm too tired to download them right now. It was a great start to the year to be able to share my own work with so many other inspiring writers as well. I'll do a recap tomorrow!

Happy New Years form Stick Poet!