Saturday, April 30, 2005

Final Three Poetry Month Quotes Under The Wire

April 28:

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

April 29:

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

April 30:

Most editors are failed writers - but so are most writers. ~T.S. Eliot

Interview Questions for Michael

Cindy at Quotidian Light posed the following questions to me -
So, Michael,

1. How did you "discover" poetry? At what age did the lightbulb come on for you, and what poem/poet flipped the switch?

This is indeed an interesting thing for me to contemplate because the discovery of poetry to me has been more an evolutionary process then flip of the switch. As a youngster - I'm thinking I must have been in the 8 to ten year-old range, I recall an awareness of the poet Robert Frost. What I remember most about this, is Frost did two things for me. He broke the "dead poet" barrier. I realized at this point that Frost was a "real man" and that he was living. That he spoke a language that did not seem foreign and so I now felt that it was not all about dusty dead people that were rotting somewhere beneath the earth.

The other significant factor to me in Frost was that I knew that he read a poem at Presidnet Kennedy's inauguration. By association, I thought he must have earned the right to be cool. Oh, the things we think in youth. I suppose I most remember Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I have always carried this burden about time and growing old. Perhaps it is the lines in this poem that even as a youngster impressed upon me that there is so much To do...

I did toy a bit with writing poems as a youngster, but the real nature of this calling would remain dormant for many years. It has only been within say the past ten years that it resurfaced and then the real passion and drive have actually developed perhaps over I would say the past four to five years.

2. Which poet and/or poem (or collection of poems) most accurately (or accutely) hits you where you live now and why?

This is not easy... I think it fluctuates greatly within short periods of time. Most frequently I suppose it would be Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath. It often returns to Plath. So many of these works embody a genuine voice of passion. That passion is one of great range. Love on one end and a passionate discourse of raw edgy emotion at other times. In some instances these two seem to twist and tumble together. Above all, her work is perhaps among the most genuine links between the mind and the ink that flows to the page that I have seen. Plath writes seemingly free of any fear of recrimination. I admire the ability to do that.

3. What is your biggest struggle with your writing?

Hard to focus on one thing. There are several and they seem to equally challenge me.
Consistency would be one. Fighting self doubt another. I think self-censorship is maybe the third. Of these, I suppose consistency is major struggle.

4. What is your favorite factor about the same?

I'm not sure about what you are asking here. If it is my favorite thing about my writing, then I would say of course the satisfaction with a finished product. Sadly, many get worked over and rewritten even after a so called final draft. I can be a pretty tough self-critic.

5. If you could have a conversation with any poet living or dead, who would it be, list three questions you'd ask them, and then tell us why that poet and those questions.

I've been asked this question before in the context of what dead poet would you most like to meet for lunch. At the time I was not even thinking about living poets. But for the sake of not dwelling on this question for days, I'd be inclined to stick with my original answer... Sylvia Plath.

My questions.... Gosh, I would stay away from all the tempting ones about her death...
Sylvia Plath embodied such tremendous artistic talent in her short life that I think the tragedy of her death often overshadows what she did achieve. And she seemed to be well ahead of the curve in many areas for her time. Three questions for Sylvia, here we go:

1. What did Robert Lowell posses that had such a profound impact on the poetics of students like yourself, Anne Sexton and George Starbuck?

2. What clicked with you that made the difference between the quality of your juvenile work and that which followed?

3. The Ariel series seemed to pour like ink from a bottle. With the completion of each poem in this series, was there some kind of rush or adrenalin apart from anything else that you've ever experienced to carried you on to the next and then the next building you higher each time?

Many thanks for volunteering! I very much look forward to reading your answers. - [her original post is here ]

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Dumb As Road Kill Department

For those who's missed the last couple of daily poetry month quote postings - I apologize. I have been sick and off work. For me, there are two stages of illness. Sick and at work is one... sick and off work is severe. I will round out a post tomorrow with quotes to make up for the two missed days.

There were some quality poetry events going on tonight in Kansas City over at The Writers Place. Last night, Cornelius Eddy appeared at Rockhurst University campus - an event I had planned to attend and review. Suffice to say, I did not make the Eddy reading. There are a couple of additional events tomorrow worthy of mention in the KC area:

Poets-at-Large is The Writers Place's annual tribute to National Poetry Month, which is celebrating it's 10th year this year. The Writers Place is part of the American Academy of Poets 10 Year, 10 Cities project this year and our event is receiving some national attention.

SATURDAY, April 30, 11AM at The Writers Place
H. L. Hix, Christian Wiman (editor of Poetry Magazine), Michelle Boisseau, and Robert Stewart will hold a conversation titled "The 21st Century: A Golden Age of Poetry?". These consummate poets and writers will delve into questions of the relevance and ubiquity of poetry today. Books will be available. Pre-registration is highly recommended by calling 816-753-1090 - leave a message if you get the machine.

SATURDAY, April 30, 7pm at Main Branch of the KC Library - downtown KC - Helzberg Auditorium on top floor
Hix and Wiman will read from their work. Books will be available. After the reading we will have a meet-and-greet reception. This space is fabulous and you won't want to miss the opportunity to mingle with the poetic cognoscenti of KC and the many people whose generous contributions allow The Writers Place to function. Pre-registration is needed by calling 816-753-1090 - leave a message if you get the machine. This event is free. Donation opportunities will be available.

Last Tuesday, The Kansas City Metro Verse held a special pot-luck dinner at Pat Berge's to celebrate the last weekly meeting of Poetry Month. It was well attended, we had several first time guests and lots of readings - a good mixture of personal work and that of mainsteam poets were read.

Saint Eyebeat seems to have a thing for Jorie Graham. He's had a bit of a thing for Alan Cordal, but this may be cooling. He seems to think Alan's comments to me on his site were "personal and downright stupid." On the other hand, I am somewhere below Alan in the pecking order because Saint Eyebeat views me as "dumb as roadkill."

I have to credit Jilly with this a link to the Entries in Blogging Poet Laureate contest. A novel idea... OK, Poetic, Bite me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 25

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings,
and making music with them.
~Dennis Gabor

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 24

Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement. ~Christopher Fry

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Alan's $64,000 question

Alan Cordle is saddened. He is lamenting the number of people who are coming to the site that last week he quit, but like a smoker with deeply stained nicotine hands he simply could not so easily walk away from it. He asks, "Why didn't you care enough to be a part of this during the past year when you could have joined? What's the attraction of coming here now? Am I the car wreck on the side of the interstate?

Is Alan really wanting us to answer that question? I think he know the answer. He is in fact very much a part of a wreckage that is scattered across the poetry landscape and there remain many bodies yet to be covered.

Poetry Month Quote - April 23

"To see the Summer Sky Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -True Poems flee." ~Emily Dickinson

Friday, April 22, 2005

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Alan Cordle - Foetry & The NY TIMES

NY Times said he's through - done - finished (for now) but look here it's the guest that won't go home. Alan Cordle apparently has had a change of heart. Though I gather there are those who question if he has one, or what exactly it is that run through those ice-cold veins of his.

Anyway, this saga (Foetry) has not gone away.

Poetry Month Quote - April 21

[P]oets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science. ~Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 20

Poets aren't very useful because they aren't consumeful or very produceful.~Ogden Nash

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

In the Square

A kite tail of smoke,
Color not insignificant,
Tugged the emotional strings
And reached deep down to pull
Cheers by the boot straps
From tens of thousands
Who stood watching
With larynx seated on edge.

Poetry Month Quote April 19

The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man on his death bed. ~W.B. Yeats

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Pope - Readings & Being Outed

If you are doing the Papal watch - Jilly has a favorite pick - Cardinal Claudio Hummes.

Wow... I saw that Stephanie Young was quoted in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers talking about the monthly reading series she holds in her Oakland home. So, I'm guessing she now has a line backed up to about Boulder, Colorado of people wanting to come and read....

I know it is not exactly NEW news... but I have not mentioned it here. If any of you have not already seen this, here it is - Foetry has been outed.

Happy Birthday Cathy

Wishing my wife happy birthday!
She just turned one year more special ~

Poetry Month Quote April 18

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. ~Pablo Neruda, quoted in Wall Street Journal - 14 November 1985

Brittan Elementary School / Principal Earnie Graham get Dubious Honor

Stick Poet reported on Mr. Graham's lapse of better judgment earlier this year - I see that he and the school have been selected the winner from 5 nominees (you have to wonder what he beat out) for the "most invasive proposal or project," from a London-based human-rights group.

Earnie Graham ~ your fame just keeps growing!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 17

I would as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down. ~Robert Frost, 1935

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 16

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. ~Paul Engle, New York Times, 17 February 1957

Friday, April 15, 2005

Kansas City Area Poetry Events

Friday April 15 - Riverfront Series - Reading at The Writers Place 3607 Pennsylvania - K.C., MO starts at 8:00pm - participants in TWP Winter Poetry Workshop will read poems work shopped in seminar as well as other works.

Readers - Phillis Becker, Susan Carman, Joe Cecil, Ben Chapman, Meg Huber, David Hughes, Judith Bader Jones, Joan Langmack, and Kathleen Laverick.

Saturday - April 162:00pm - Westport Library - 118 Westport Rd. K.C. MO

Branching Out - The K C Public Library - Writers Place and KC Metro Verse team for a multi- event afternoon.

Poet Martin Espada speaks on the late poet Pablo Neruda starting at 2:00pm

Following this event Writers Places hosts a reception.

Then at 4:00pm - to 5:30pm KC Metro Verse hosts a Favorite Poem Project

Monday - April 25th regular monthly Open Mic at The Writers Place starts at 8:00pm

Thursday April 28th - Midwest Poets Series hosts poet Cornelius Eady at the Rockhurst University - Mabee Theater - 5225 Troost - K.C., MO. Enevt starts at 7:30pm.

Poetry Month Quote - April 15

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 14

Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive instincts. ~Robinson Jeffers

Name Droppings

Here is a link to a really cool idea for "Poetry in the street" which had it's roots in Toronto, Canada. I like this idea. Actually I am hoping to do some in pastels on a sidewalk this month. Not exactly permanent, but the same general principal.

Have to do a plug. Christine Hamm has a new book- Safe Word which I have not seen yet, but I adore her work. I got a peek of one of the poems in it. Check it out - and/or buy it here. Check read her blog, this is all your fault here.

I read an interesting critical eye on poetry from Camille Paglia - link.

My new Poets & Writers came this week. Haven't had a chance to read but a just a bit of it last night.

Tom Beckett interviews Eileen R. Tabios - link.

Ok, I'm through dropping names for now...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Poetry Month Quote April 13

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." ~T.S. Eliot, Dante, 1920

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 12

"The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim. It is the sublimest activity of the human mind. It is the achievement of beauty and delicacy. The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes." ~W. Somerset Maugham

Monday, April 11, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 11

"Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beacon Journal | 04/10/2005 | Poet laureate lacks rhyme and reason

Interesting piece from the Akron Beacon Journal.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Two Time Ted

Ok, Kooser gets a second term. Congratulations Ted.

I have been reading his book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual [it's worth reading, by-the-way] and I wanted to comment on his effort as Poet Laureate.

Kooser's support of poetry is laudable, of course that should be a minimal requirement of a Poet Laureate. I believe he is succeeding in bringing new people to poetry, and that is part of what I see as the responsibility that comes with the position.

Kooser has carved out a niche for accessible poetry. Though not the first by any means, [former Laureate Billy Collins promoted accessibility in poetry as well] Kooser I fear, is often times cheering on the sidelines for others to write the kind of poetry he likes (and writes) while leaving an impression that the vast sea of alternative poetry is the dirty stepchild that he'd rather not talk about in public.

I reality, I don't believe Ted Kooser is judgmentally putting down the rest of poetry. If I did, I would not be as kind in my choice of words. Sincerely, I believe he is trying to do what he believe is best for the art of poetry by opening a whole new frontier of readers. People who will embrace and love poetry. To that I raise my wine glass.

Perception however can be dangerous. It is here that I offer these concerns for brother Ted. As fellow poets, I believe it is important that in the broadest possible way, we should be lifting up and supporting the art of poetry as a whole.

There are poets out there who thumb their noses at accessible poetry. They are just wrong.

Do I think everyone has to like everyone's poetry? Of course not. But as practitioners of the art, I think we need to be open the encouragement of a rich diversity within the art form.

I tell you in all honesty, I am far less fearful of poetry dying anytime soon then I am people stressing that poetry has to take on this shape or that form. Optimistically, I have a great deal of faith in people that are brought into the poetry fold to grow in their interest, and like water follow the paths of least resistance to suck up what they read and like. With this in mind, growing our ranks with accessible poetry is not a bad thing. Some will sip the nectar of that which they were exposed to and that will be enough to sustain them. This will be a good thing. Others will thrust for much more... and their taste will grow and change. This too will be a good thing if allowed to happen. That is why I applaud Kooser's efforts... I just want to make sure no one is building damns around the many other lakes, rivers and oceans that people may choose to drink from.

Poetry Month Quote - April 10

"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things." ~T.S. Eliot, Tradition and Individual Talent, 1919

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 9

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." ~ Dead Poet's Society

Friday, April 08, 2005


Nick Carbo proves rejection comes in many forms.

Now a month or so ago, I received a rejection letter from a west cost literary journal that I imagine you'd all recognize - it contained a scrap of paper no doubt torn (emphasis on torn) from an 8-1/2 by 11 size sheet of paper. The 8-1/2 was still there, but I got about one inch of the 11 portion.

For a brief moment I looked at the paper which spoke to me in words that said ...we get a fucking trunk load of submissions, we are way too busy for this... and, "sorry, it is not what we are presently looking for."

Now don't get me wrong, I am sure that the fact of the matter is they do receive a ton of material each month. But when you send a self-addressed-stamped envelope, you would think the least they could - no, make that want to do is to appear somewhat professional in their correspondence. I don't so much mind the "strip of paper" but hell, at least cut it so it looks like a strip of paper and not a scrap.

Yes, for a brief moment, I wanted to reply with a rejection letter myself saying, "I'm sorry, but your rejection letter what not what I was looking for and seems to contract with my present collection, therefore I will not be using it but I wish you well in your rejection endeavors and do try us again. Hee-he. Of course even the rejected can dream!

Poetry Month Quote for April 8th

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. ~Robert Frost

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Proetry Month Quote -April 7th

A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music... and then people crowd about the poet and say to him: "Sing for us soon again;" that is as much as to say, "May new sufferings torment your soul." ~Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

UCR News: Creative Writing Professor Reads from Book of Poetry

Christopher Buckley, a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, will read from and discuss his book of poetry “Sky” from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, in Special Collections on the fourth floor of the Tomás Rivera Library at UCR, 900 University Ave. The event will be web cast live and will be archived for later viewing. For more information call Special Collections at the UCR Libraries at (951) 827–3233

The Bards Celebrate

Last night - about 35 people attended an Open Mic presented by the Raytown Bards ( Raytown, MO - a Kansas City suburb) in celebration of National Poetry Month.

The event started with guest poets Don Queen, Kathy West, and Bob Savino then followed as one-by-one guests came to the microphone to add their own work or that of someone else they has chosen.

Hot topics of poems were "spring" & "Iraq war" - though there was a poem dedicated to Pope John Paul II, a poem about baseball dreams dying hard, first day home with a newborn, cowboy poems, domestic violence, childhood memories and so on. Very good mixture of light material and some heavier poems with very pointed statements.

Raytown Bards is just one of several chapters of the Missouri Poetry Society.

Poetry Month Quote - April 5

"Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know."
~ Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest

Monday, April 04, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 4

"Poetry comes with anger, hunger and dismay: it does not often visit groups of citizens sitting down to be literary together, and would appall them if it did." ~ Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Poetry Month Quote - April 3rd

"Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own." ~ Salvatore Quasimodo

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Raytown Bards - Celebrate Poetry Month

Monday, April 4th - the Raytown Bards will celebrate National Poetry Month with an event at the Mid-Continent Public Library branch in Raytown, Missouri.

The event runs from 7-8:30PM and will feature local poets:

Don Queen, Kathy West, and Bob Savino. There will be an open Mic following their presentations and the public is welcome.

Address: 6131 Raytown Road - Raytown, MO
Contact: 353-2052 for more information.

Poetry Month Quote - April 2nd

"He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize." ~ Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 01, 2005

April First - No Fooling - It's National Poetry Month - Quote of the Day

"Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful."

~ Rita Dove

Celebrate Poetry All Month Long - make it a habit - it will become a year round passion....

Subscribe to the Poetry Month - quote of the day by e-mailing me at with the word "subscribe" in the subject line of your e-mail. This is only a one month (April) project.