Monday, February 28, 2005

Woodbine Writing

Interesting experiences this weekend at the writing workshop. Some good. Some not.

I did experience converting and existing work to a play format. It was actually a poem that I used, and worked very well. I picked up some really good material on shifting points of view.

In addition to that, I found myself trying to force poetry, which is never a good thing and it only resulted in creating frustration. Since frustration is not my idea of creative success, I announced to all at one point, "I'm going home." Of course I didn't.

More on the workshop as I have time. Too much to do to report more now.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Headed for the land of golden corn...

Stick Poet will likely be silent the rest of today, tomorrow and Sunday as I am off to a writing workshop in Iowa. I suppose there is an outside chance I may do an audible post from my cell phone, but otherwise I don't anticipate having PC access to post. Nor likely the time.

With this, I'll close withsome words about words by David Lehman:

"Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they
can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one
owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used."
Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I have the "Brick"

Yes, all 504 pages of it! Wait... actually it is a never ending book.

I'm referring to I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved by Eileen R. Tabios and published by March Hawk Press.

I am hardly qualified to tell you much about it yet as I have only skimmed through it. But I can tell you that Tabios in this book appears to remain the every consummate poet. Resourcefully creating pliant work intending the reader to participate in the experience. She is so straight forward about that. That I find refreshing.

I will pack this for night time reading this weekend while at an Iowa writing retreat. I think it will make an excellent bedside companion.

When I feel I am able to discuss the book in more detail, you may expect much more in depth commentary on it.

Lois Ames, Friend and Confidant of Anne Sexton to Host a Wilderness House Literary Lunch

Lois Ames, Friend and Confidant of Anne Sexton to Host a Wilderness House Literary Lunch

Ames is a poet, biographer and psychotherapist who graduated from Smith College. She has published biographical essays on Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. She has received numerous awards and citations, including a gold medal from The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Alumni Association, "For Outstanding Achievements in Education & Human Welfare" and has been a Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I have been reading some of Diane Ackerman's work from her book Origami Bridges. Diane has captured a lot of very strong images and introspective feelings in this book. Her poems were written during a period in which she underwent intense psychotherapy. Of course one cannot be certain but the presumption is that the therapy added a dimension to her personal reflections that are exposed in her poetry.

A couple of the individual poems that I belief were really vivid and enjoyable to me, were Weathering Depression, Omens of Winter and Holding Radium.

I would recommend this book to others who have perhaps not had an opportunity to see her work for themselves.

Diane Ackerman's web site

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Chapbook Manuscript

I have successfully pulled together my first chapbook manuscript. I worked extensively on pulling together material yesterday from my archive of work. Making some modifications. Adding some items I previously had intended to leave out after meeting and discussing some of the material with a fellow poet. It encompasses forty pages of writing.

I am not quite ready to submit it for publication yet. Some of the work has been published already individually. Since I am attending a workshop in Iowa this weekend, I e-mailed a manuscript file to the two presenters. I will have an opportunity for a one-on-one secession with one of them during the workshop. This will give me yet another opportunity to perhaps refine it and make necessary adjustments.

The manuscript is titled (working title) Now In Color & Hysteria. So much of my poetry moves between strong social comment and humor. It is that combination that I preface this way: "Now In Color & Hysteria crosses the line between the grave issues of our day and the ridiculous. Changes in life and life altering experiences. Relationships and the relationship between man and his world."

This has been a slow process in coming together. I don't mean so much the writing of the poems, but the decision to create a multi-poem manuscript. Then deciding what goes in and what stays out. Sometimes we get so close to something it is hard to be objective. In all aspects of art, I think the creator is often his or her harshest critic. Writing is no exception to this, at least from my own experience. Even when you feel good about a piece, I find a week, six months down the road I often second guess. I suppose the non-static nature of poetry lends itself well to this sort of internal questioning.

At any rate, it was a happy occasion when I hit the send button to transfer the manuscript file via e-mail. Still, I don't get as I though I might that feeling of conclusion. Quite the contrary, I feel like this is a beginning.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

List of Readings & Book Signings for Under The Tellingtree - Anthology of Verse and Voice

Calandar of Remaining Book Readings & Signings scheduled locally ( Kansas City Area)

February 28 - Writers Place 8-9:30pm

March 4 - Barnes & Noble at Zona Rosa Shopping Center in northland 7-9:00pm

March 6 - Boarders at Boardwalk in northland 2:30-4:30pm

March 29 - Prosperos Books - 39th and Bell in Kansas City 7-9:00pm

I have two poems and a piece of prose in this anthology.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Rejection strikes again! Friday I got a rejection paper wad from a Journal that shall remain nameless. When I say paper wad, this was a strip of uneven cut paper barely 3/4 inch wide and containing only one line. With that, three more poems bite the dust.

Last night I did a reading and book signing at the Perfect Cup in northland. This was just one of several book signings that are set up over the next few weeks for Under The Tellingtree Anthology which I have two poems and a short prose piece in.

I'll post a schedule of the remaining readings tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friday Gibberish

Some serious ad money paid for a blog - $25,000 a month... that would trump a lot of writing grants.

Yes, for what it is worth, it is true. If you google "slut"- Christine Hamm's name will come up. But so will a lot of others. You need to work harder to get you name further up the list Christine. Write!!! You do it so well.

I hope you all have been reading about Ivy's triple-loop rollercoaster ride. It has been worth the read!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Earnie Graham's Surveillance Project Cut Short

InCom Corp, the Sutter, California based technology company that co-oped with Earnie Graham and the Brittan Elementary School in Sutter has pulled out of it's experimental "student tracking" project with the school.

The project widely reported in the media and here at Stick Poet has come under heavy criticism from parents and civil libertarians who felt the use of electronic equipment to monitor students movements was a bad precedence to start in a public school.

InCom cited the intense media attention its experiment generated attracted as a reason for the termination of the program in Brittan. According to an AP wire story, Paul Nicholas Boylan, lawyer for the school district said, "They can go someplace where they wouldn't have any risk of vandalism. Here, they have to worry about a community where at least a few are dead-set against anybody being able to benefit from this." I'm not sure what school district that would be, I think he as much are Earnie Graham has greatly misjudged public sentiment on this issue.
As for InCom, I think they have the wrong approach to their market for surveillance.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I'm Thinking I Need A Want List

I see Denise Duhamel has a new book out. I am anxious to read it. Problem is I have an ever growing list of poetry books to read and presumably acquire since the libraries limit greatly the poetry books they acquire. I mean there is Eileen's brick I still have to get. Sharon Olds has a book out I want. You get the picture.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Backing Up To Sunday

Sunday was a mixed bag of goods.

A number of us gathered at a private launch party for Under the TellingTree: An Anthology of Voice and Verse. Well attended party and book signing. I'll post some pictures in a day or so.

The downside of the day was an e-mail rejection letter of three poems I had sent off. Not like that has never happened before. | 02/13/2005 | 'How do I love thee?' With lovely poems, of course 02/13/2005 'How do I love thee?' With lovely poems, of course

I was trying to think what I could blog about that fit the Valentines theme when as luck would have it, I came upon this piece in the Miami Herald.

There are a few notable examples of poetic couples and since poetry so often goes to the core of emotional feeling, it seems Valentines Day is an appropriate time to mentions some of these noteworthy couples.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Robert Browning.

Jane Kenyon & Donald Hall

Tess Gallagher & Raymond Carver

Brenda Hillman & Robert Hass

Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

MARGARIA FICHTNER in this Miami Herald piece takes a look at a contemporary couple, Denise Duhamel and Nick Carbo. I've been a fan of Duhamel's and only more recently discovered Carbo and realized their husband wife connection. Fichtner is able to do the subject of a poetic married love far more justice then I could in today's blog, so I will simply recommend you fallow the link and enjoy the read.

And on that I close wishing all you poets and non-poets a happy Valentines Day.

Including The love of my life - who is not a poet of words but one of beaded artistry.
Happy Valentines Day Sweetie!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Yesterday I was able to pick up a number of poetry books at a discount store going out of business. They were dirt cheap! I think I got like 12 books. The were $1 each.

Robert Pinsky's The Want Bone

Nikki Giovanni's The Women and the Men

Ted Hughes' Wolf Watching

Diane Ackerman's Origami Bridges

Louise Gluck's The Seven Ages

A really interesting hard back book Anne Sexton - The Last Summer
(This is a photo shoot book by photographer Arthur Furst with some copies of letters and manuscripts. It also has an introduction by Linda Gray Sexton - a daughter)

There were some other items... non poetry and an interesting book A Company of Readers - uncollected writings of W.H. Auden, Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling.

It feels a wee bit like Christmas. :)

Friday, February 11, 2005


Sent out a packet of six submissions last night. It always feels good when I have just sent work out. Suppose it is like completing a circle or something. It's like letting them go and moving on. To be honest, they are not all new poems. Of the six only half have never been submitted anyplace before.

I'm very glad that it's Friday. I really need for the weekend to be here. Like yesterday.

It is starting to sink in that baseball is nearing. Most pitchers and catchers will report to camps the first of the week. Opening days is always such an exhilarating experience. I love the resurgent rush of adrenalin that comes with the beginning of each season. It's a high that is perfectly legal and won't harm you. Unless of course you are a Cubs fan, and then the quick downward spiral could be lethal. ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Update On Brittan School Story

This information from Boston Harold. com

The InCom Corp. is a company co-founded by the parent of a former Brittan School student and some parents are suspicious about the financial relationship between the school and the company. InCom plans to promote it at a national convention of school administrators next month.

InCom has apparently paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experimental use of it's product and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off, said the company's co-founder, Michael Dobson, who works as a technology specialist in the town's high school. Brittan's technology aide also works part-time for InCom.

ABC News: Parents Protest Student Computer ID Tags

ABC News: Parents Protest Student Computer ID Tags

Gee, this is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.

Jan. 18th, Brittan Elementary School (Sutter, California) superintendent Earnie Graham introduced a student identification tag complete with a radio frequency and scanner. The devise uses the same technology that companies use to track livestock and product inventory.

The associated press reports that the system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety.

Each student is issued an identification card that they are required to wear around their necks. The cards have their name, picture and grade on them. A wireless transmitter on the badges beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when they pass under an antenna posted above a door.

Not surprisingly, this little devise is not setting well with everyone. A Seattle Post-Intellegencer story dated today's date indicated that Grahan has acknowledged getting angry calls and notes from parents. His reply, "Sometimes when you are on the cutting edge, you get caught."

Cutting edge? The technology may be cutting edge, the concept of using the devise to monitor students is intrusive and reminiscent of McCarthyism.

Mr. Grahan was quoted as saying that it is within his power to set rules that promote a positive school environment and he thinks these badges will improve things.

It is hard to see how using a personal monitoring devise is supposed to promote a positive environment. It certainly is not going to send a message of trust and respect for the individual student.

This is such an outrageous attack on personal rights that I think an Earnie Graham award should be in order. An Award named for him for such creative efforts at Infringement of Personal Liberties.

Stick Poet will keep it's readers posted on any further developments in this story.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hump Day Notes

Wednesday is here.... Just finished working on Tiananmen Mother during my lunch hour. I have a new draft that I will try out tonight at a reading at Boarders Books. This is a fine tuning and I think I am happy with it now. Perhaps not totally finished. I'll see how I feel after the reading tonight.

This will be a whole new venue for me so I can bring out some older stuff too. Yeah!

I have decided that for longhand writing it is hard to beat a uni-ball Vision Elite. The words just seem to slide out of it like they are greased. *

*evidently the brain must also be engaged.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A breakthrough

I was back at it yesterday. Hammering away at this poem that has been in the making now for over a week. Almost to my amazement, I seemed to have a breakthrough. I worked on it in the morning and stopped just after noon. I had a 3 pm writers group ~ and shortly after lunch I decided to try to retool it a bit more and take it with me. I was glad I did.

Really good feedback from the group has given me both the feeling that I am near where I want to be on this and at the same time exactly where I need to work on it. I decided to do nothing more on it last night, rather to let it rest. I'll likely take it up again tonight with my notes from yesterday. I'd like to get this to a final draft by Wednesday night's reading at Boarders Books.

An excerpt of the poem Tiananmen Mother follows:
The Beijing breeze whispers/ mournful strophes./ Tears like the mountain rains/
follow slopes// to tributaries until they become one /with the rippling waters of the Yangtze.//

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Frustration Abounds

I have spent hours today on a poem that I started a week ago and it is just past 9pm and I'm calling it quits on this one for tonight. I'm shutting down the computer- going upstairs and I will read some poetry for a while. I have to get away from this piece.... It simply is not happening tonight.

Frustration sucks!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Are you aware the official "Stick Poet Writing Journal" is available at the Stick Poet Shop?

Stickpoet Writing Journal

This and many other Stick Poet items available here

Poets Crash - News at 10:00

There is a collision that has occurred and I am attempting to identify the casualties.
I don’t see a lot of blood… yet.

Early indications are that it was a head on crash. One vehicle was a hyped up model driven by a poet obviously in a hurry to get submissions out. The other was a family sedan, driven by a poet and companion that was setting on his shoulder distracting him with all kinds of criticism and urging him to take it easy. It appears all survived the wreck, even the critic.

The police were having a difficult enough time sorting out who was at fault. The party with the critic was overheard expressing that he didn’t know if he’d ever get behind the wheel again.

I wonder how this will all be resolved. Who will be cited? Anyone? Will they get lawyers and fight it out in court? Did the first poet miss a submission deadline? Will the second poet every get behind the wheel again?

Alas, my head is spinning.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Writing Retreat?

Looking for a place to get away to and write? Someplace with a touch of writing history? A site that inspired works of a poet laureate? Got 145,000 pounds burning your pockets? At current conversion rate, that would be only $272,904.28 in American dollars - (minimum bid)

Check out:

1 Aspinall Street, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

The property contains:
  • a large 3 bedroom stone-built home.
  • newly decorated throughout
  • central heating
  • excellent storage space
  • a master bedroom & suite bathroom
  • large bright loft with exposed beams
  • a courtyard to the rear and a village green to the front
  • shops, schools and a mainline railway station are about 0.2 miles away
  • birth home of Ted Hughes
  • seven of his poems were set in the house itself and at least 28 others in the immediate area
  • it is about three miles from Heptonstall - the village where Heghes' wife Sylvia Plath was buried

More information on the property - pictures, etc. here