Wednesday, August 31, 2005

KC Metro Verse meeting At WriterHouse

Originally uploaded by stickpoet.
KC Metro Verse met last night at the new WriterHouse in Kansas City.

WriterHouse was opened by Pat Berge, a creative writing instructor at Maple Woods Community College, Kansas City, Missouri. Pat has taught fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago.
She also conducts writing workshops.

Seated left to right is Missi Rasmussen - Metro Verse President, Amy Davis and Pat Berge.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The struggle isn’t quite so perilous
A sort of foreplay choreographed
To uninhibited pandemonium.

Your heavy sighs a concerto.
It is like you always want to lose
And only play along for the sport.

I wonder myself what it would be like to
Succumb to subjugation under your coercion
And watch how you deal with conquest.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Deep in the Heart of Crawford - A Must Read

Let me recommend Deep In The Heart Of Crawford over at Love During Wartime. Thanks James, for pointing us to the Wallace piece. His message is definitely thought provoking especially being of the Vietnam generation.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Special Delivery

Congratulations are in order to Deborah Ager of 32 poems on the arrival of Olive Cameron Ager Beverly!

What is the point of worry...

"For Christ sake write and don't worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece or what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit."
~ Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Of ripe
Pear and toasted

Blended to
Rich textured finish

Self Death

Brick and mortar of life
Sometimes held strong
Other times weak
And crumbling before
Our eyes – sometimes blurred
And not grounded in soil
of reality. Sometimes floating
On the waters of aqua-culture,
A modernists vision of farming
Where crops may not have
Traditional stability and the whole
Outcome is called into question
By the skeptics who never
Look beyond the box for
Anything for fear the
Confrontation of a new idea
Could lead to questions
They are not prepared to answer;
Leaving them striped- naked of
Security by their transparency
To become a product
Of their own obsolescence.

A Primer of Iraqi Liberation

O the nights of lightening bursts
Over the skies of Baghdad fade
But the percussion sounds still
Rattle the streets- the shelf life
For ordinary folks smudged out
With an eraser. Water runs

Or not, the only consistent power
Has no switch for control.
Life And death seem so closely tied;
A knot that one moment can be
Pulled too tight and snaps.
People strain to remember who

Asked for liberation, their mind draws
Blank, the birth pain of democracy
All the more unbearable when some
Resist the contractions and want
Only to abort and are willing to take
Vengeance upon their own to squelch

The unwanted. Still, mercenaries
Prosecute a bold faced lie to the world
With the levy of working men and women
At home who have no choice, while others
Are sacrificial lambs for the sake of
A dignified way out of one man's perjury.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Today is Women's Equality Day

August 26 in 1920 - the right to vote was extended to women. Just a small step in the equality process.

On another note - I wanted to share this quote from Horace Mann -

"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Library Challenges FBI Request

Library Challenges FBI Request

This Washington Post article is recommended reading with respect to the current debate over infringement of civil liberties vis-a-vis Patriot Act.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Famous Poet: by Ted Hughes

I believe the first book of poems by Ted Hughes to be published was a small book titled The Hawk in the Rain. I picked up a copy of this at a book store a few weeks back and was reading through it this week and came upon a poem that I believe has to be one of my favorite Ted Hughes poems. It is titled Famous Poet.

I especially am fond of the third stanza:

First scrutinize those eyes / For the spark, the effulgence: nothing. Nothing there / But the haggard stony exhaustion of a near- / Finished variety artist. He slumps in his chair / Like a badly hurt man, half life-size. //

This poet, though famous it appears has seen better days. Effulgence is such great word here. We know a bit of what perhaps has been, but is now lost in this man who has sunken to something less by half of life-size.

The final stanza too is a powerful image:

And monstrous, so / As a Stegosaurus, a lumbering obsolete / Arsenal of gigantic horn and plate / From a time when half the world still burned, set / To blink behind bars at the zoo. //

So in the earlier verse Hughes uses the half life-size man - Shrinking the Famous poet down to something less then his once perceived stature. In the end, this same poet is the monstrous Stegosaurus - albeit beyond his better days - for public viewing behind the bars at the zoo. Both images work equally well.

The Hawk in the Rain was fist published by Faber and Faber in 1957. It won the New York Poetry Centre First Publication Award. The judges were W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Marianne Moore.

Park University Scribe

Just learned that I have four poems in the Park University Literary publication. Haven't seen them yet and it was quite a while ago that I submitted them - I'm stretching to remember which ones they were. If I was at home, I have it on my manuscript tracking system, but for now I'm too shocked. Actually this is the second time they have published my work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Originally uploaded by stickpoet.
In the deep night waters/
Sleek silent watercraft / Self-reliant incessant predator / Swift to carve circles / Stalking in his own circuit

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson Got that Right

Republican, Christian Evangelist and 700 Club icon Pat Robertson has lamented on his website the direction society is going. "Life has become more and more cheap in the society we live in. But God says you shall not murder." I would agree with Pat. There is plenty of evidence that supports the contention that many simply do not hold the value of life in particular high esteem. Palestinians blowing up Israelis. Terrorists beheading Americans. Israelis killing Palestinians. Iraqis killing other Iraqi citizens. Students shooting other students and teachers. You get the picture.

So imagine my dismay this morning when I learned that Pat Robertson called for a hit on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This was not some sort of vague reference to Chavez simply turning up missing. It wasn't some off the cuff comment that we'd all be better off without him. Yesterday, on the 700 Club broadcast, Robertson said, "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." "We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Such incendiary remarks are hardly helpful to U.S. interest in South and Central America. Oil rich Venezuela is certainly a country that has felt itself a stepchild of American Imperialism in the past. Hugo Chaves is after all a democratically elected head of state. While his leftist views may not be popular with many in the U.S. government, such statements by someone as widely known as Pat Robertson only increase the tensions that exist between the Unites States, Chavez and his many allies throughout South and Central America.

One has to wonder what ever was even going through Pat Robertson's mind? His fascist remarks have no doubt hurt Robertson as a future spokesperson for the Christian community. It has increased Chaves's value and standing among anti-Americans. Put Robertson on the same page as a terrorist and made the Bush Administration which normally has enough trouble staying out of this kind of trouble on the defensive with Venezuela. It seems the only party that has gained here is Chaves and his allies. Remembering the phrase, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" - well Chaves just made a whole lot of friends.

Something Clicked

Over the weekend I was able to put a few words on the page that seemed to actually morph into something reasonably connected. I didn't sweat it... just plugged along.

Last night I ran out to the library to retrieve some books for my wife. Picked up something for myself as well, came home and read some pretty opinionated critical reviews of some of Robert Lowell's work. It was at this point I was thankful that my writing was not subjected to such clinical dissection in view of the world. For a moment anyway. Then of course I thought what the hell. When you reach the level that Lowell had achieved, you don't much care what some academic thinks thirty to forty years later.

Of course the reality is, I'm not a Robert Lowell. But putting down what I was reading, I again set in to write for a bit last night. First, just journaling. I was however able to begin a poetic response to another poet's work. Something I had been kicking around in my mind for a while but had not been able to synthesize. Well, alas, it was beginning to work. And I have a new level of excitement about what it is and the possibilities it presents once it is refined and rewritten (however many times it takes).

So this morning, I set here with the knowledge that I will one day, again in the future, hit that brick wall. But I am fresh with the feeling that one gets when they have just powered through one of those walls. These are the moments in writing that you live for.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Peer Group Reception

Yesterday afternoon I met with a group of other writers for the peer group reception at the Writers Place. The experience was interesting. There were about 15 people who showed and they had varying interests that could fit tidy into three genres. Poetry being one.

I would say from the introduction each gave, almost everyone had a clue and seemed to be in the mindset for something that could enrich there writing experience if they just knew what the right vehicle was. E-mail exchanges, face to face discussions, workshopping material in group or meeting individually or combinations of these. It was decided that we would meet in September as a group and brake into three smaller groups and see what people felt was the best fit for there own situation. It was a good start.

Experience level of those in attendance seemed to vary a bit but for the most part I'd say it was a group with real credibility to draw from.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Taking Some Family Time

Tuesday night after work, I had a KC Metro Verse meeting. We read a lot of Charles Bukowski material.

Tuesday was also the end of my work week. I've taken three vacation days and it has been wonderful. My wife has been off this week as well. Thursday we did a family trip to Omaha to visit the zoo. That coupled with taking my daughter fishing the day before, has given me a real taste of nature this week. It has opened up my senses to the whole view of cohabitation of man and nature on this planet. Something we (mankind) are not fairing very well at.

I can envision some impact on my future writing by this realization. It's not that I have been oblivious to this whole thing, but sometimes you see things which deepened your passion or resolve to certain things. An "Ah-ha!" experience.

I may post some pictures from the zoo visit over the weekend if I get them upload into flicker.

My wife and I were both amazed at the Armadillo. They had this tiny one that just ran around all over the place. I had to wonder what sort of food intake was necessary to sustain that amount of energy exertion. The Aardvark was another of my favorites.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Robert Lowell letters on hold

I was able to get a copy of The Letters of Robert Lowell on hold at the library. They only had one copy in the Mid-Continent system and it was out. I also looked for the newer release, Wild Perfection: Selected Letters of James Wright. I believe this has only been out about a month and they don't as of yet have it. I am anxious to read both of these books in hopes of gaining some greater insight into their individual poetic theory. I know that Robert Bly has had a great deal of influence on Wright - particularly in his latter years.

I worked on two poems yesterday. One was completely new, the other was something I first wrote earlier this year at a Woodbine, Iowa writing weekend workshop. I'm not 100% satisfied with either of them, but overall I believe yesterdays work was successful. It is important to remember that such progress is often incremental and to keep this fact in focus so as not to become discouraged. Lately, discouragement has been battle I fight.

One thing I need to do is broaden my subject matter. So a real brainstorm is in order or I need to look for some writing idea prompts. At times I have exchanged such prompts with other writers from time to time but I haven't done this for a while.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

String Quartet

Steps into the wind
Strung across a bridge
Lively on a wire
An archetype
Plucked out of veneer


Support Cindy Sheehan!

MoveOn is taking out an ad in President Bush's local newspaper in support of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is camped outside Bush's ranch in Texas asking for a meeting with the president.

They'll publish the number of signers and the best comments in a full two-page spread in the newspaper nearest to Crawford (The Waco Tribune Herald) while Cindy holds her vigil.

Sign and spread the word before the 3:00 PM Friday print deadline?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Airing Out The Language

Leaves me uncomfortable
Holding tidy verse in my hands.

You will gawk at me-
Out of place. I want

To twist the words
On the page
Wrap some around me
Pull the syllables apart
And hide between them.
Shock you a little bit
So you don't see me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Across the Poetry Blogisphere

The Beached Fiance by Christine Hamm is so typically fantastic! If you like her work you'll love it. If you don't... it's a pity.

IVY is back! With Notes from the Castle.

Eileen is having a Summer Pleasure contest. Why I'm telling everyone about it, I don't know. That only increases my competition.

James gives us Nagasaki - thanks for giving us pause.

Gila Monster's big announcement.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A thought

"Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is." ~James Branch Cabell

And what would that be, that man is, which causes such rebellious discourse? I agree with Cabell in principal that poetry wants to rebell. It wants desperately NOT to conform because that is too mundane. Is it that man has the capacity to always be unsettled no matter what his plight? The hungry want food, the King wants more territory.

Is poetry simply a more refined version of an animal instinct?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Angry Sky

Angry Sky
Originally uploaded by stickpoet.
I looked out last night and saw the sky as an angry poet swelling up with disdain.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

untitled draft

Moist insignificance
Swells collecting droplets
Elongated by weight
To the breaking point
Raining upon the spirit
Quietly I withdraw
From the wetness
Wondering if this will shrink
My stature as a person

Monday, August 01, 2005


The Writers Place in Kansas City will host a series of writers├é’ reception where writers can meet each other and identify writing support partners. I think this is amarvelouss idea. Evidently the concept was advanced by David & Judy Ray when they visited The Writers Place last month. The Rays are former Kansas Citians with longstanding ties to the Writers Place.

There is so much emphasiss upon mentoring these days and developing support communities in various fields. Writing among them. But there is little out there that provides a formal intro to such support. I am glad to see the Writers Place involved in this capacity. I plan to to attend.

For those in the Kansas City area that might want to get involved, the first meeting is SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2005 at 2pm. The continuation of these receptions will depend on interest. Please call 816-753-1090 if you plan to attend and let them know.