Saturday, July 30, 2005

And the pulse was weak...

Stale lines seem to be the order of the morning. Several ideas - execution that sucks. The good news is there is room for improvement. God, I'm becoming an optimist!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Damn It Anyhow

The dusty chalk board
has only white residue
of the words I want so badly.
They were, but are no longer.
Out of my reach.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Writers Place Open Mic

David A. Hughes was among the readers last night at the Writers Place open Mic. David read Fire Eaters and Stained Glass Women which is to be featured in Thorny Locust this year. David is also working on a chap book to be released soon.

I read two poems last night... The Dove and My Dachshund Trumps Your Honor Student.

There were 12 who turned out for the readings. The summer months have been tough on turnout.

Currently on the walls at The Writers Place are an exhibit titled Portraits and Poems: A Photographic Testimony. The photographs were taken by Dennis Lowden and accompanying the photos are poems written by Vietnamese poets. The photos and poems tell the story of lives in transition as tens of thousands of Vietnamese citizens pass through Wake Island processing center as they flea their homeland at the end of a tragic war.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Meaningful Escapes Me

I'm hot - sweaty and nearly speechless. Just got off the tread mill - did 30 minutes and I had hoped to blog a bit about some thoughts on something I read earlier today but I haven't the capacity to pull my thoughts together in some meaningful fashion.

Still reading in the Sari Solden book on Adult ADD and trying to process a lot of that... but it was actually thoughts off some material I read by Amy Lowell that had me thinking and I wanted to discuss. I suppose it will have to wait till later.

I did write this weekend. Have a poem that I need to rewrite and maybe workshop with a couple of my writing friends. It is a little different. Doing stuff that is different or I suppose "experimental" always seems to be difficult to reach that level of gut feeling about on your own.

Anyway, it's 10pm and I'm calling it a night.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Boxed In Amy Gets Linked

Ah... see what you get for commenting on one of my posts! I'm adding Living Poetry to my sidebar links. Not because Amy commented, but because she commented and has an interesting blog herself. Check it out!

Last Monday she had a post about Knowing When It Works. Boy could I identify with that post having worked last night on something that seemed to be working and after I shut everything down and came up stairs looking at it again, reading it out loud, I thought not. Now it has some possibility but clearly needs to go through the rewrite process. Likely repeatedly. But it is interesting, the question Amy asks. How do you know when it is right? How does truth hit you? I can't say... but it is funny that we seem to come to realize it. More often than not. Thank God!


The Writers Place in Kansas City will host the July Open Mic on Monday July 25th at 8pm.

Writers Place
is located at
3607 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111
Local writers will find this venue a pleasing experience. Sometimes the crowd is large and other times it becomes a little more intimate. There is always some quality work presented and the readers vary from quite experienced to first timers. Even if you are not into reading, it is an excellent place because of the exposure to quality work and just to get to know more about the center. It provides a variety of other excellent activities from readings to workshops and exhibits.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Stick Poet Superhero Coffee Mug

Have You had your morning coffee in your Stick Poet Superhero mug?

Latent Inhibition & Creativity

In my post on Tuesday - I promised to blog on the creative thought process later in the week. I had been reading of a study published in September of 2003 by Psychologists at the University of Toronto and Harvard University, so this is of course not new material... simply new to me.

According to the published report, the researchers evidently identified at least one of the biological bases of creativity. It finds that the brains of creative people seem to be more open to incoming stimuli from surrounding environment while other people might shut out this same information by what is called "latent inhibition." That process was defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown to be irrelevant to its needs. Through testing, it was found that creative people seemed to have low levels of latent inhabitation and left them in contact with extra information constantly streaming from their environment. Jordan Peterson a professor at the University of Toronto explained, "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though the object is much more complex and interesting the he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities."

Tests administered to Harvard undergraduate students classified as eminent creative achievers with a single area of creative achievement were found to be seven times more likely to have low latent inhabitation scores.

So low levels of latent inhabitation are a good thing? The report suggests that with high intellectual functioning and good working memory it may be a positive thing. The capacity to think about many things at once is good if it can be achieved - but negative otherwise. Professor Patterson put it this way- "If you are open to new information, new ideas, you better be able to intelligently and carefully edit and choose. If you have 50 ideas, only two or three are likely to be good. You have to discriminate or you'll get swamped."

That swamped description that Patterson described is something that I can associate with. I'm sure everyone feels swamped at times. I believe doing so is specifically a denotation of ADD or AD/HD. However, it seems that many of the times that I feel "swamped" there seem to be an abundance of external stimuli. So, from a very personal perspective, I can identify with the aspects of this study.

At the moment I am not on any medication for ADD treatment - though I have previously had limited experience with two medications and I am reassessing medication options. While creativity as it relates to my writing is only a portion of my life, I do think about the impact of medication on my creative thought process. I also have to think about the impact of medication or non-medication on the other aspects of my life, such as family, work, etc.

creativity mental health writing

Biological basis for creativity linked to mental illness.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hello ~ Black Hole... I'm Alive!

I've had two incredibly busy days at the office and I am going to go do some reading shortly, but I have not posted since Saturday and because I have not fallen off the face of the earth, I thought I should at least acknowledge my existence. Of course, having read Eileen's post about conversation with hubby, I have to wonder if my blog is a black hole? Thankfully, my stats suggest people are still coming. I just hope that that they aren't sucked along with the blog into a black hole. Eileen dear... Tell Tom (that is his name isn't it?) "If you blog it, they will come!"

So Saturday, I go to the library to check out some books on Adult ADD. The one I am currently reading is Journeys Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden, M.S., LMFT. It has been thought provoking thus far. I do have to admit I am humored by the part where she recomrnds embracing your differences. Wow, I'm supposed to embrace disorganization?

I've also been reading some interesting research material on creative thought processes. I really don't have time to do it justice tonight but will perhaps post on it tomorrow or Thursday.

I'm not sure how long Ivy is supposed to be at Hawthornden Castle but it is strange with her blog being quiet for days now. Especially since the blog title is Ivy Is Here and everyone knows damn well she isn't. I trust she is writing wonderfully exciting things. I'm trying to imagine... it must be all musty and simply dreadful to be sentenced there to write. :)

I love what Katey Nicosia did with here piece Tallest Tree. The bird & the nest is cool. Well, I'm tired and need to settle in and read. See if the Giants game is on. Relax a wee bit and see how my wife is doing. Tomorrow I need to schedule some writing time. But tonight I read.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

July Pantoum

The cat stretched across the floor
The heat seemed unbearable
Overhead the ceiling fan whined
Hot air moved about freely

The heat seemed unbearable
It was only the 6th of July
Hot air moved about freely
I envied the cat’s relaxation

It was only the 6th of July
According to the flower calendar
I envied the cat’s relaxation
Summer seems so long

It hope it rains soon
According to the flower calendar
Summer seems so long
The ground is parched

Company is coming
The ceiling fan whined
I heard the car door
The cat stretched across the floor

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Clash of American Culture and Religious-Right

Unites States Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is third-ranking Republican in that body. A 47 year old, attractive fellow that one might otherwise see as an up-and-coming person within his party. Unquestionably conservative, but more poignantly an example of the extreme nature of the religious right in this country. He scored 100 in the 2004 Christian Coalition scorecard and has been courted by the religious-right and visa-versa. It is no secret that he is interested in the GOP nomination for President in 2008.

If the two - extreme religious fundamentalists and Santorum are a cozy fit for each other, and they certainly appear to be, then many of Santorum's recent public statements clearly spell out what is wrong with the mentality of the of these religious zealots.

Tuesday, Santorum refused back off on his earlier claims connecting Boston's ''liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's ''sexual license" and ''sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur. ''The basic liberal attitude in that area (Boston) . . . has an impact on people's behavior," Santorum maintained. Three years ago on a website called Catholic Online, Santorum said, ''It is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Santorum seems particularly blind to the fact that the "pedophile scandal" is not a "Boston" thing and for that matter is not a "Catholic thing". Just two days ago there were two separate local (Kansas City area) church leaders that were not of Catholic denomination that were embroiled in current "sex sandals" with young people.

Santorum has a book coming out later this month titled ''It Takes a Family." I suppose in response to Hillary Clinton's book many moons ago titled "It Take a Village." Santorum in this book will continue to beat the drum with conservative "buzz word issues" to satisfy his hungry political base. Those themes that he will blast, two-income families, divorce, cohabitation before marriage, all things that he considers liberal ills. For example, he blames ''radical feminism" for encouraging women to work outside the home. ''In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them don't really need to or at least may not need to work as much as they do," Santorum writes.

I don't think Rick Santorum is disingenuous when he says these things. I'm relatively certain he believes them. I don't think he is simply pandering to the conservative Christian movement. The problem with these positions and the problem with the movement itself, is that it this is divisive, highly judgmental and seeks to culturally shape everyone else into a singular role the has been predetermined as the perfect fit.

I am not anti-religious. I am not anti-Christian. In fact, believe there are two very good reasons here why the approach of Christian conservative activists here is wrong.

The first speaks to the role of church and state. Efforts to continually commingle the two of these spell problems for the future of this nation. It was religious freedom that brought this experiment in democracy into existence to start with. The founding fathers had suffered the tyranny of religious oppression on several fronts. The religious right seems to have forgotten this. We are a nation of rich diversity. Our strength is in the bonds of that diversity and not diffusion. Any attempts to shape this nation into a "church sanctioned state" will only divide the various religious and denominational entities.

The second reason the Christian conservatives are wrong is that if you believe in the fundamental teachings of the Church you must accept the premise that belief in Christian teachings is centered of the free will of people to accept these teachings of faith. To do otherwise is counter to biblical principal. It is one thing to witness. To lead a life of example. It is quite another to dictate who and how people will come to worship and structure your governmental and cultural infrastructures to support "one way" all else be damned!

Christian zealots spend too much time on the "soul" of government or the people as a whole and would better turn there efforts inward ministering to themselves and there own communities / congregations.

Similarly, as a part of government, if Senator Santorum is concerned about impacts of two income families on their children, then he should dedicate himself to working for policies that benefit the financial impact of today's economy on them. Health care issues, minimum-wage legislation, fair credit reform and not pro-business changes in the bankruptcy act.

We cannot unite as a nation if we are going to constantly judge one another on religious, cultural, and sexual, ethic and economic basis. Right now, the religious right is perhaps one of the biggest offenders of this. In response to some of Santorum's remarks, fellow Republican Senator John McCain quipped, ''I think he probably has written off Massachusetts." What Santorum needs to know is that Massachusetts is not an isolated island apart from the rest of the country. It is he and the religious-right that are isolated from reality.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pop Star Poetry

God, I really hate to put this in such syrupy words this but piece is a charming little read.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mindless Middle of the Week Musings

Mandy Muldoon bought a copy of the latest Harry Potter book last Thursday in advance of it's release date. The sale of the book was a mistake... and wouldn't you know it.. her son has admitted to reading the first two pages of it. Evidently a total of 14 books were accidentally sold. A Canadian judge has ordered the customers not to talk about the book, copy it, sell it or even read it before its official release. Now that is just going to make it that much harder! [source]

Jonathan Bate, Professor of Literature at the University of Warwick reviews Anna of All the Russias by Elaine Feinstein. The book is about soviet poet Anna Akhmatova and his review is best described as unflattering. I know Jilly is a big fan of Akhmatova - I wonder if she is familiar with this work?

On the Political front:
The White House has said that U.S. President George W. Bush continues to have confidence in Karl Rove, the presidential adviser at the centre of the investigation into the leak identifying a female CIA officer. What else are they going to say... Rove has been his brain.

Pandaemonium Reviewed by Alexa Moses. The movie is a story about the relationship between the 18th-century British poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

All-Star Game

If there is anything in baseball that I am sick of more then the AL wins in All-Star games, it would be Bud Selig. Well, there is always next year. But really, it is incredible how resilient the game is... he just keep trying to kill it with brain-farts and it just keeps going.

Still an ENFP

After seeing Laurel's post I decided to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. [online version]

I took this test maybe a year or more ago and though I'd do it again. Maybe I'd answer the questions different this time - maybe it was wrong before - whatever. Well, I'm still an ENFPer and I guess I really shouldn't be surprised. More on the history of the MBPT can be found here. A particularly good link on the site is this page: All Types are Equal.

Monday, July 11, 2005

"He's not scary in person"

I am amused at the number of times I have now seen these words by Tomas Alex Tizon of the Los Angeles Times repeated in newspaper after newspaper as his byline on Alan Cordle makes it around the country.

Tizon describes Cordle this way... "He's not scary in person. Alan Cordle is 36, pale and round with thick glasses and soft fleshy cheeks. He smiles often and speaks in a wispy voice, which suits his day job as a librarian at Portland Community College." He goes on to suggest that, "Cordle also happens to be the most despised -- some would say most feared -- man in American poetry."

Tizon's article, which has certainly gotten a lot of play in the press may well be behind the curve. At least in my circles, I don't find all that many poets even talking about him anymore. I for one have never considered him scary. Perhaps rude, arrogant and even obnoxious but not really scary.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Finally - after far too many frustrating days with little success, I put one together today that works!!! Took it to writers group this afternoon. Reaction positive.

Snoopy Dance!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

First Draft

Originally uploaded by stickpoet.
Sometimes it is a bitch just to get something down on paper... other times it flows like a river.

Last night I felt so vexed with my writing. I hate it when you just have to focre it out. I know everyone deals with this - but when it goes on for days it really exacerbates the whole issue, notching it up another level.

I think it is time I went through my journal and pull some old material out to work on and see if I can move forward that way.

Most Popular Poets et al.

I see that Garrison Keillor is at it again he's compiled another poetry anthology, "Good Poems for Hard Times." His earlier anthology was simply titled "Good Poems". I'm not sure how this fellow finds the time for all he undertakes. Ant any rate, the second anthology is due out this fall. I'm thinking he needs to hurry.... cause hard times are here!

Three Cheers for Emily Lloyd... She just had a poem accepted for Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel.

Interesting tid-bit from the American Acadamy of Poets - Top 10 Most Popular Poets on (Popularity based on user searches)

1. Langston Hughes
2. Emily Dickinson
3. Robert Frost
4. Walt Whitman
5. Dylan Thomas
6. Sylvia Plath
7. William Carlos Williams
8. Gwendolyn Brooks
9. E.E. Cummings
10. T.S. Eliott

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Urban Reflections

Originally uploaded by stickpoet.
Took a walk this afternoon - to crank up the old metabolism... was nice out. Warm, but not unpleasant. A bit of Urban Reflections along the way.

What is it like to live on $1 a day...

MSN Money - Extra: What it's like to live on $1 a day The Africa Plight - as G8 gets underway.

Expressive Aphasia

Touch it with select words
Succulent multi-syllable
Words that get right-to-the-point.
Not two hand phrases that engulf
Far more than we can hold
And dangle like participles
Incapable of modifying
A point-of-view.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tabios Gift of Poetry better than any Toaster

Well I didn't realize it.... But I guess Eileen Tabios had a bit of an anniversary on June 30th. It was the tenth anniversary of the day she quit her banking career for poetry. Now if that seems trivial to some, I think it is not. After all, what are the odds that I would be reading a blog on banking or any of those gazillion other peeps ( Stick has lost count ) out there. Happy belated Eileen.

Speaking of Eileen, I have been reading in I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved somewhat often lately. It seems ( to me anyway) this book is difficult to just pick up and read through unlike Menage A Trois With the 21st Century. Don't get me wrong, The Brick, as it is often referred to is inspiring on several levels. One, it seems to layer so much into one complete book. Life, culture, politics, relationships, language, art, sex - have I missed anything? Second, it approaches poetry with innovation.

But seriously, lately I have been reading parts of it - some for the first time, some for - Oh I don't know, but certainly the umpteenth time. I keep trying to process this and let it speak to me. I think I'd like to try writing from some portions of it for prompts - like epigraphs.

I really have not blogged much about this book, though I have had a copy of it since I think March. Actually, I really have a lot of questions about it I'd like to pose Eileen. And maybe I will at some point soon.

I guess to go full circle on this post, I should say that I am glad that Eileen traded in here banking career for poetry. I don't know what kind of a banker she was, but she has been electric as a poet. Her energy, thought process as well as expression are all simply amazing. Trust me - I'd take one of her books over a toaster any day!

Meanwhile, I need to get back to The Brick.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Thoughts on Patriotism

As we go into the 4th of July weekend, here is a link to a short essay that I wrote for USAToday. It appears in their online version and a portion was included in a print copy of the newspaper. You can find the whole essay here, along with others that the newspaper carried. Mine is the first one.