Monday, October 31, 2005

Come On Wordsmiths...

"The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love." ~Margaret Atwood

Can we come up with fifty-two substitute words for love?

I'll get us started with a couple.

1. Adoration
2. Union
3. Passion

The comment box is open.

The World Can't Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime! : SF Bay Area Indymedia

The World Can't Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime! : SF Bay Area Indymedia

World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime has called for nationwide protests and student walkouts on Nov. 2, the first anniversary of Bush's "re-election." At last count people in 67 cities, at 43 colleges and universities, and 90 high schools (at last count) will leave work and school and gather in the city centers to declare No!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Daylight Savings Time

I'll admit I have never liked Daylight Savings Time. When I stumbled across this item written by the Canadian writer Robertson Davies, I just had to blog it.

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." ~Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday

Poets catch ear of iPod generation

Is verse becoming fashionable among America’s iPod generation?

In this article:

Pam Promer, audio buyer for the Borders bookshop chain, said: “It’s a niche, like folk music, but the arrival of more lively poetry performances has meant that we are reaching people seeking an alternative to music on their way to work. And that is change.”

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Coming Out

One of my entries into the Senior Poet Laureate contest this year was the second place finisher in Missouri. I have just seen the online version of Golden Words with the National winner and the regional or state winners.

Coming Out, One of my three entries this year was the Silver Laureate or second place in Missouri. Last year, my poem Channeling Sylvia was an honorable mention.

Actually, Coming Out was written during a post card poetry exchange with Ivy Alvarez last October.

All of this years winning entries including Coming Out can be seen in the online version of the book Golden words. Simply fallow the clicks to the regional and state listings and it is under Silver Poet Laureate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Another View

1000 Black Lines mentioned the Poets and Writers article titled That Glittering Possibility in a recent post. This is the same P& W piece I blogged on back on the 20th.

Black Lines was disturbed because almost all the 18 debut poets who had been published were teachers. He lamented that he was not one and that perhaps what his 60+ page manuscript needed was not a cover letter but a resume and a list of name dropping connections.

I thought about the article. It was the same one I read and while I didn't count the number of teachers by profession, I did note that most all of them spent years and countless contests to finally achieve publication. Leslie Bumstead for example - 3 years. Victoria Chang between 30 and 45 contests. K.E. Duffin spent 6 years in pursuit of a publisher... more then half the 11 years he spent writing the book. Sarah Gridley 4 years - two years shorter than it took to write the book. Laura Sims entered 20 contests. Mark Sullivan between 75 and 100 contests.

If teaching and connections played a role in getting the manuscripts of these people into print, it certainly did not save them from years pursuit and enormous numbers of entries.

I just thought since the two of us read the same article and saw two different things, it was worth another perspective.

Food Chain Lesson 101

Ok, lets get this straight.

Someone in the administration outed Velarie Plume a classified agent of the CIA to the press. Velarie is the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wislon had been dispatched to Niger to check out a claim that Iraq was buying "yellow care" (material necessary to construct nuclear weapons - not a dessert)from them. Wilson had countered the notion by the Bush Administration that Iraq was amassing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)- a claim that Bush and Cheney used to make their justification for going to war with Iraq. The outing was believed to be in retaliation to Wilson's challenge of misinformation.

So Libby, Carl Rove and others within the administration were the focus of an attempt to learn who breached her classified identity. Libby is indicted for lying and obstruction of justice (hum... remember Watergate?) So, who was Libby lying to protect?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sylvia's Birthday

I have been reminded that today is Sylvia's birthday.

How could I let this pass?

In her honor - Birthday

May all your mood swings be bright!

Vice President for Torture

Vice President for Torture

I felt this editorial by the Washington Post was meritorious of recommending to everyone. It amazes how embolden the Bush administration has become. I urge you to read this editorial and pass it along to your friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Rise and Fall

Still, as a heart between beats
One side of the fullest measure
The other side of the empty pit

I count the number of empty
Mock reason till I cry
Tears soaked in dysphoria

Pensive head in hand
Neuropathy rattles inside
The disconnect pulls

Chicken plucked from the bone
Gray matter- real, proven
According to Einstein

But dead like the soon to be night
Dying embers
Huff- they glow

But alone they show no will
No gasping- no desire
Numb, black tarnishing gray

A shadow circles overhead
Am I keeping him up
Or is this my wake

Night becomes the insulation
It is all there is to swallow
It claws at the insides

The night belongs to no one
But me- a poison apple
Polished black hematite

Even the circling shadow
Has lost faith
Surrendering me to dystopia

The desire for another-
Treasonous to the night
A verdict read in silence

Bailiff touches my shoulder
Reminding me the night is long
It may never comply

And end at all-
But provide eternal company
Through this solitary screaming purgatory

Empty to touch
Empty to warmth
Empty to breath
Empty to the rise and fall of love

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cheney cited as source in CIA leak investigation

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cheney cited as source in CIA leak investigation

Now see, this comes as no surprise to me at all. In fact - I'd be shocked if Bush and Cheney had not discussed this originally.

The Jury Is Out

I had to report for jury duty this morning but I have been released. We were told it was a criminal trial and at the last minute there was an accepted plea change. I doubt that I would have actually been seated - there are just too many reasons for me to be stricken.

I write up a storm last night. Wrote and read way into the night. Anyone read any of Elizabeth Elliott's poems? I was into "Burn All Night" last night and it is a wonderful mixture of sublime and intensely powerful imagery. I highly recommend it.

Among my favorite:
Superiority of A Fly - Small Forks In The Wrong Drawer - Six Miles Nearer Heaven - Resist Me Death - and of course the title poem Burn All Night.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Monday Thoughts To Munch On

Yes folks - (Supermodel) KATE MOSS is writing poetry to help her through her rehab for cocaine abuse. Then, we are told she reads the lines over the phone to her lover Pete Doherty. Her family is pleased she has had something to focus on while she recovers. A friend told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: 'She's found writing her thoughts down in verse very calming' - and I'm thinking she might have found poetry a better diversion than cocaine to start with.

See, I'm thinking that Carl Rove and Scooter Libby may want to keep the poetry thing in mind. I'm sure they are feeling just a little up tight this week as Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site. [click here]
I'd say that the odds are good that one or both may well find themselves under indictment this week in the Valarie Plame matter.

I would think poetry might well help them through the long and very public legal battle to save their hides. Then of course when they are finally found guilty - perhaps it will ease the days in prison. At least till the president pardons them.

And just in case you are one of those who thinks that the Patriots Act needs to be renewed as is... read this and think again.

Oh... and Judith Miller - NY Times poster child is in deep do-do. Yes, even among her own this reporter is about as popular as a hometown prophet. Now I don't know that I'd go so far to say fire her- I think they could move her to another department and let her write obits.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

How Much Is the Bloggy in the Server?

My blog is worth $10,726.26.
How much is your blog worth?

Saw this on Christine Hamm's blogsite so of course I had to see what Stick Poet looked like when put to the test.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wear sunglasses to the post office...


Quiet Saturday morning- sometimes quiet is good. Sometimes the silence echoes reverberate empty.

I generally never want the weekends to end, but sometimes I wish they would hurry along into another phase. It's a contradiction I know.

The picture with this post was taken a few weeks back - it is a courtyard behind a bank in downtown Kansas City. I took it on a lunch stroll. I think of it as water art.

Finished reading a novel last night. I've produced some small written pieces this week that I am happy with and they really did for the most part come without feeling like I had to squeeze them from a near empty tube of words.

Best quote I saw this week was advice from Dana Goodyear - one of the 18 debut poets of 2005 that were featured in Poets & Writers.

"Wear sunglasses to the post office. In other words, try to protect yourself from other people's disbelief."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Washing Your Back

I squeezed water
To a fine trickle
That splashed
And breathed
Of your
And carried a touch of your fragrance to the ocean

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Can Just Anyone Be One?

Should there be a test? Would it have both an oral and written portion?
Could there be a learners permit? Would we have to re-test every so often?
What would the punishment be for poeting without a license? Should bad poets have to register with the state and be prohibited from living a certain distance from academia?

The Payoff of Hard Work

New Poets & Writers magazine arrived yesterday... I saw where Victoria Chang (who formerly had a blog I would read frequently) made a list of 18 debut poets who made their mark in 2005. Very nice piece on her and her work.

Interesting factoids from the writeup on her:

She spent 10 years writing the book CIRCLE.
She entered some 30 to 45 contests.
She won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award.

Influences were listed at Rainer Maria Rilkem, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Larry Levis and Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

One thing that really struck me was the amount of time each of these poets spent in writing their respective books. The longest being 11 years - but the average seemed to be just under six and a half years.

Anyway it was a really nice article and I would imagine she must be quite honored by making this list in addition to the previous honors bestowed upon her for the book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Potpourri Wednesday Again

Hello to Bergen, Norway!


Magnetic Poetry Sparks Creativity - and Smiles - with Gifts for Everyone on Your List.


Ivy spills the goods on the BLURB. Thinking I need a Miss Blinda Blurb to pose on my chapbook.


This is where I am tapping my foot waiting for a slightly overdue response to a submission. I say slightly overdue because they have had this group of poems longer than usual. Can't you just feel the impatience?


The Maine Arts Commission is accepting nominations for Maine's next Poet Laureate.


In David Citino's poem "And So" he wrote "And so you called, weeping, to tell me this because you know of the compulsion we share to write." Citino, an English professor and Ohio State University's poet laureate, had died from complications related to multiple sclerosis. Citino was 58.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hello Quincy!

Just saying hello to Quincy, Massachusetts - a random place from stick poets hits stats. Evidently someone in Quincy visited stick poet this week.

Outside the continental U.S. was a hit from Richmond Hill in Ontario - Canada.


You all com back now... (I know... a Yankee just can't do that right)

The prompt: And his tongue was...

So I'm thinking- and thinking- and W came to my mind.


And his tongue was forked
His pronouncements
Always mired in
Slick black sleaze;
You knew immediately
He was fucking with you.

Monday, October 17, 2005

In the News...

Poets and suicide are making the news again. This time - BBC news is reporting about a project by an arts organization for the Highlands and Islands, HI-Arts, which is running a program of workshops and readings in schools in which young men are encouraged to talk about their emotions. This to offset a suicide level in the Highlands and Islands that has been above the national average.

But not everyone is happy. Mary Scanlon, MPS - Scottish Conservatives thinks the idea of someone writing about suicide is insensitive to the many families who are fighting to cope with their grief. She thinks it romanticises suicide - thus making it more of an option. "The more suicide is talked about the more likely people are to consider it as course of action."

No so says suicidal behavior expert Rory O'Connor who thinks anything that encouraged people to talk should be applauded.


The monthly OPEN MICROPHONE hosted by Sharon Eiker (local poet, story writer, artist, performance artist, and sculptor) will be held Monday, October 24, 2005 starting at 8pm.

This is one of Kansas City's longest running open mic venues. Writers of short prose and poetry, as well as musicians and performance artists, are welcome. You can share your work, or simply listen to others share theirs.

Writers Place is located at 3607 Pennsylvania - Kansas City, MO 64011.



On Friday, October 21, 2005, at 7:00pm

Chance of a Ghost: An Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems will be hosted by Gloria Vando and Phil Miller and celebrate the publication of Helicon Nine's most recent offering edited by Gloria and Phil. A collection of works from 181 poets across the United States and around the world.

You will hear readings from various poets represented in the book, have the chance to meet and greet the literati of Kansas City, and obtain your own signed copy of the book at $14.95 each (a bargain)!

On Sunday, October 23, 2005 at 1:00pm

Phil Miller will host a Small Presses Reading honoring numerous local small presses and featuring the writers whose works have appeared in them. Come and share in this unique venue.

Recommended donations at the door are: $2 for members, $3 for non-members, and $1 for students.

Ok the weekend is over-

I'm not sure if that is good or bad. It was not the most exciting of weekends and I'm not especially crazy about Mondays.

I made an appearance at Northland Writers dispelling any rumors of my demise. You should have seen the looks on their faces.

Got some writing done. Started. More like somewhere in between.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Melancholy Weekend

Yesterday I did some writing & reading. Good ways into the novel I started. It is not disappointing me. Went to a poetry workshop at the Library yesterday. It was the second one they did this month. This one was more on poetry as a spoken word. From that vantage point it appealed to me less, but the presentation good none the less. It was poorly attended though.

It is mid-day and today pretty much sucks. Worked on a piece I started last night and got further along with it but now I am only so-so with it. I think it has possibility but we'll have to see what becomes of it.

I do see that we have hit the 17,000 unique visits stat and are starting the assent to the 20,000 mark. I should try and think of something fun for when we hit 20,000.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke - Poet and novilist is coming to Kansas City soon to read at the The Writers Place and I thought I read some of her work before she got here. I've had difficulty gettig one of her poem books at the library but I was able to get one of her novels - "white bird on a blizzard." Started reading it last night and I can tell you from her visual language in the book - I think I am going to really like her as a poet.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cracks me up!

Contemporary Political Flow Chart of American / British power

Bush's Chat With Troops Draws Flak - Los Angeles Times

Bush's Chat With Troops Draws Flak - Los Angeles Times

War critics and some military leaders disapprove of the president's carefully staged videoconference with soldiers in Iraq.

Voters said to hunt for polling sites in west Iraq - Yahoo! News

Voters said to hunt for polling sites in west Iraq - Yahoo! News


Thair al-Hadeethi, a human rights activist from Haditha suggests that no votes are being marginalized in Sunni regions as voting gets underway on the Iraqi Draft Constitution. "The Americans intended to isolate the cities in western Iraq to prevent the huge Sunni population from voting," maintained Thair al-Hadeethi.

Learning from the arts

"I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers. You ask how this is done? It would take a day of explaining. I should think what one learns from composers and from the study of harmony and counterpoint would be obvious." - Ernest Hemingway

This quote reminds me of the importance of listening to a poet. Of seeing for that matter. In each instance it is a keen awareness as to the patterns and layers of art or life.

With attention deficit disorder - listening is especially challenging. I have found that this is not all bad. I can for example often pick up a wide range of audio feedback... the difficulty is in not allowing one tiny speck of it to become larger than the rest. From a purely artistic point of view this is helpful.. I may discern something that the majority of the people listening to do not deem important or are not even tuned into. So from an artistic standpoint - this can be really positive. In practical adult - one on one communication, it might become problematic and frustrating to both parties.

In poetry as well as music, harmonizing your work or making it multi dimensional can greatly enhance it. The ability to nicely layer one's writing takes great effort and maturity of craft. I can certainly agree with Hemingway that we can learn a great deal that will improve our writing by experiencing with great openness the other arts.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Herald Sun: Anti-war playwright awarded Nobel [14oct05]

Herald Sun: Anti-war playwright awarded Nobel [14oct05]

To some he is one of Britain's greatest living playwrights. To others, he is an outspoken critic of the Iraq war... and no fan of Bush or Blair.

So now that he has won the Nobel prize for literature, 75 year old Harold Pinter is thinking less about plays these days. "I think the world has had enough of my plays by now. But I think I shall certainly be writing more poetry and certainly remain deeply engaged in the question of political structures in this world."

An Otherwise Normal Day

Paranoia sprinkles
Like the Sand Man's dust
Upon me ~

The metamorphosis begins-

All I can say....

Honestly I am speechless...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's potpourri Wednesday....

I've had a habit of blogging about a variety of things on Wednesdays in the past. Nothing set in stone, but for some reason... middle of the week or whatever, I often talk about little tid-bits here and there on this day. So I have decided that Wednesday should be potpourri day. So I'll throw a mixture of fragrance out into the blogisphere.

According to the Voice of America - (isn't that kind of like our version of Pravda?)
Shiite and Kurdish leaders hope an 11th hour breakthrough will lead to Sunni support
at the polls for the Iraqi draft constitution. I'm trying to picture us here in America going to the polls in two days to vote on a document that people are still changing. Would that be like the ultimate example of blind faith?


So reporter Juddith Miller makes a second appearance before a Grand Jury [according to Reuters] to testify about her conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. Her notes taken of the conversation reference Joseph Wilson, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's diplomat husband. My guess is they have broken out the Church fans at the White House.


Last night - KC Metro Verse met at the WriterHouse - Eight local poets - a lot of poems - Apple Crisp - coffee - did I mention Apple Crisp? We had a newbie show up - that is always nice.


My wife is like this marvelous bead artist - I've had pictures of her work here before. Oh hell, it is worth another look:

Bead Artistry -CJ Wells

That is one I especially like.

Anyway I told her yesterday that I had a dream the night before that we collaborated on a poem. She smiles and said that was not a dream that was a nightmare. Badaboom!


Stick Poet's most recent stats suggest we have a very nice international following.

57.45% United States
14.94% Norway
11.49% Canada
3.45% United Kingdom
3.45% India
2.30% Australia
2.30% Poland
2.30% Unknown *
1.15% Germany
1.15% Georgia **

* someone is flying under the radar
** I am guessing this is the Georgia that was formerly a part of the Soviet Union.


Quote for the Day

"I write to understand as much as to be understood. Literature is an act of conscience. It is up to us to rebuild with memories, with ruins, and with moments of grace." - Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This I Believe

I believe everyone should believe in something, which is why I believe in myself.
I believe war is a byproduct of people who give up too easy.
I believe barbecue is all that!
I believe everyone should be educated – even if that requires teaching yourself.
I believe people should always be able to buy a book they want.
I believe poetry and baseball are both religious experiences.
I believe the best armies are ones with no weapons.
I believe a woman should be president someday - soon.
I believe resisting war is a higher calling than fighting one.
I believe football should be played by refrigerators.
I believe all vegetarians secretly dream of growing up to be meat eaters.
I believe children of Democrats play with Tinker Toys, while children of Republicans play with Lincoln Logs.
I believe no one should have to whisper in a library.
I believe the designated hitter should be outlawed.
I believe if you are good, you go to Starbucks when you die.
I believe no one should be indifferent to indifference.
I believe they should let Charlie Brown pitch for Christ's sake – just for the other team.
I believe women should wear high heels with dresses if they want to… and they should all want to.
I believe the fact that my coffee cup is secure is proof enough the earth is flat.
I believe self indulgence is very self-indulging.
I believe coffee is a food group.
I believe kisses should be long… really long.
I believe Diet Coke is the Real Thing.
I believe everyone should be able to take three mental wellness days from work or school each month.
I believe anyone who fails to use all three mental wellness days in a month should have them roll over into sick days and be taken immediately, for they must be sick.
I believe that love not only makes the world go round but also keeps us from crashing into other planets.
I believe we all should be afraid of Virginia Woolf – Really afraid!
I believe Chardonnay is another food group.
I believe somewhere there is an unpublished Robert Frost poem, “Freezing Your Ass off On A Snowy New England Evening.”
I believe in God and I believe I am a testament to his sense of humor.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Poetry god - with a small g

I was reading this weekend and something jumped off the page at me. A translation by Mlymori Asataro of the Japanese poet Ochi-Naobumi 1861-1903:

"When I wake up alone
at dead of night
and muse on verse-making,
Even I am god"

At the risk of sounding both sacrilegious or egocentric, (neither a condition I feel at home with) I do indeed feel that I have experienced this myself and can totally understand how other poets including the author, could grasp this concept. Yes, I have at times waken up in the dead of night with some creative birth pains crying to be released onto a page. I think most of us have all learned it best at these times to at least make some note of the thoughts least they be lost forever in the tangles of life the next morning.

Occasionally I have set about flushing out the thoughts into form on a page in the night. I may not be physically alone... Cathy asleep next to me in the bed, but I will ever so quietly (as you do not dare wake the Mrs.) pick up my journal an pen
(usually on the floor or stand next to the bed) and write by the dimmest of light from the nightstand. It is at these times I am that poet alone with creation. It is at these times even I (the poet)am/is god.


This poem is lacking
No matter how much effort
Something is missing
Beyond reach
This poem wanted
Something unattainable

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Alone With No Shadow


I took a shadow for a walk
A dark reflection of myself
Sometimes long
Sometimes short
Sometimes nowhere to be found
It is then I am most alone

That was neutering

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Will to Tinker

Wednesday night I was at a workshop that was sponsored by the KC Public Library & Branching Out. The two poets conducting the workshop were Glenn North and Stacey Tolbert.

The workshop was worthwhile. I especially enjoyed North's poetry that was shared at the event. However, what I really wanted to focus on here was something that Stacey Tolbert recommended to me in an one-on-one break-out session.

We were looking at a poem of mine that had been written some time back. I had several with me and the one I chose for this purpose was a poem that won second place in a statewide contest earlier this year. As it turned out, I think this was an especially good selection. I suspect we all have pieces that we get so strongly attached to that we have a hard time messing with them any further. For the purpose of this post I'll call it a poem we are married to. It has that special attachment that you just don't want to think about rewriting anymore. Anyway... This was clearly a poem that I was married to. We all have them. Probably several. The fact that it did well in a contest even adds to the dilemma. You already have reached a point that you have stopped rewriting it. You sent it off. If was published or recognized in contest or both. This has now compounded the matter. You thought it was finally what you wanted. Then, someone else validates your feeling that this is really great. Then someone in a workshop says, "What if..."

Well, this is two days later and I am exploring the notion that it might not really be so sacrilegious to take her advise. So starting tomorrow, I'm going to look at this same poem from a different perspective. Each day for the next week, I am going to look at trying to say the same thing differently.

Stacey for example thought the two last lines of the poem were so powerful. But she wondered for example what would happen if instead of ending the poem with them, I chose to start with those two lines. Well, I don't know how I'll feel abut what I have five days from now, but I will look at each day creating one new version of this same poem.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Senate sets standards on detainees / Lawmakers defy Bush to overwhelmingly OK McCain bill in response to Abu Ghraib

Senate sets standards on detainees / Lawmakers defy Bush to overwhelmingly OK McCain bill in response to Abu Ghraib

In a very profound move yesterday - the U.S. Senate voted 90 - 9 to prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in US government custody, regardless of where they are held.

The nine dissenting votes were all Republicans.

They Are:
Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

This of course would require House action too and the President may well veto it, but it is none the less a tremendous victory for human decency none the less. Of course I am outraged that Senator Kit Bond of my home state was among those that are STILL clueless.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

So Many Super Heroes - So Little Time

People are forever coming to this blog in search of super heroes. If I had a dime... well you know the rest.

Another interesting google search brought someone to this site with the following search parameters: philippines super hero

So I'm wondering if they were looking for Gabriela. Hee he-
Eileen, Whatcha think?

I Be Schroeder

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was so thinking it would be Snoop Or Woodstock. Don't ask me why.

Poetry Day - Verse in Space - Blurbs - I'm so Confused & Haiku Problem

Yes, I know we have National Poetry Month and all the hoop-la that goes with it, but tomorrow those Brits are going to be All About Poetry. It makes a poet here in the U.S. just a wee bit jealous. Check out some of what is going on this week in England at the Poetry Society web site.

Amid a number of other activities there is the Poem of Space Poll. Actually - you can vote on this even if you aren't from the British Isles... Launch Poems

Back to the good old USA - If you haven't seen the things they are saying about Eileen.. You gotta go check out the BLURBS. ONE HUNDRED... and counting! I think I see a Guinness book of world Blurbs Records coming.

Reading Ivy's latest post, I am so confused about who she is. But wait- I'm confused about who I am too!

I feel like saying a whole lot more, but I'm at a loss - So I guess I'll finish off this thought:

The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then
~Roger McGough

Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | John Mullan asks What are our poets writing about?

Guardian Unlimited Books | Special Reports | John Mullan asks What are our poets writing about?

Nature, war - or washing up? As Britain's top poetry prize is awarded today, John Mullan examines what preoccupies our leading writers.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Iraq cedes to UN on referendum

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Iraq cedes to UN on referendum

Only After outside pressures...

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Family of Poems


Last week, I saw Caroline Kennedy when she was in town for her new book "A Family of Poems." She spoke to a packed house. People mostly my own age or older in the crowd.

I thought her both elegant and charming. Such a strong passion for words. Listening to her, it was obvious it was such a family trait. She spoke often of both their grandmother and mother.

It was almost uncanny how much I felt at ease listening to her. Then it hit me. She was that last link to that time when I really felt this country was blessed with a wealth of hope. I think the stark reality of the present day slapped me open handedly across the face as I walked out of the event.

The book itself is a wonderful collection of some of her and brother John's favorite poems growing up. The family had an scrapbook that they placed poems in for special events.. Birthdays and Christmas along with sketches they did to go with the poems they had copied. These poems and their memories have no doubt been a source of strength and happy thoughts that she treasures today. She recounted one of John's favorites: "Careless Willie" - Willie with a thirst for gore / Nailed his sister to the door / Mother said with humor quaint / "Careful, Willie, don't scratch the paint!" She was just certain he had her in mind when he proudly cam up with this poem.

Today, as a mother, she continues the tradition with her own three children. Rose, 17; Tatiana, 15, and John, 12, add their poems to the same scrapbook kept by her mother.

Caroline remains a very public person as well. She has dedicated so much energy to literacy programs and she has been a firm believer that poetry has such a positive impact on people. She has successfully helped raise millions of dollars for literacy programs.

As for the book itself... A wonderful collection - amazingly adaptable to both children and adults. The watercolor artwork by Jon J. Muth is delightful.
I was fortunate to be able to get my copy autographed by Caroline

Unique Plath sketch of Hughes goes on sale

A pen-and-ink sketch - The only known drawing of Ted Hughes by his wife Sylvia Plath is up for auction today.

Sylvia wrote her mother from Spain in August 1956:
"Went about with Ted doing detailed pen-and-ink sketches while he sat at my side and read, wrote and just meditated."

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pets & Disasters

I have been meaning to post this message all week - It kept getting pushed back... I told myself this morning I must get this on the blog so here it is.

Please ask your U.S. Representative to support the PETS Act,
H.R. 3858, which would require state and local authorities to
plan for evacuating people with pets the next time a disaster
like Hurricane Katrina strikes.

Click HERE to go to a site maintained by the Humane Society of the United States. It will make the process of contacting your Representatives very simple and take only a few minutes of your time.


Everyone is a Poet

It's true! Yes, some are better than others. Some want to be and perhaps are not as good as they'd like to be (present company included) Some, on the other hand reject the notion altogether.

My youngest daughter breathes a sigh of relief when she sees her English curriculum suggests only a "light" touch of poetry this year. Still, she will tell you that she once wrote a poem that was so "damn pimp!" This poem was basically a biographical account of a adult person from previous school days. I don't recall the verse itself, but I can tell you it was not flattering of the subject. Nor was it intended to be.

The events of 9-11 brought out hoards of poetry. People who rarely expressed themselves in ink did so with poems. The floodgates opened. I suppose this was good for the people themselves. A sort of therapeutic release. I do believe Poetry can be that at times. Sometimes it has filled such a role for me.

A good friend of mine sent me a 9-11 poem and asked for comment. I read it several times as I usually do before I will comment on a poem. It was not a "bad" poem. It had structural factors that seemed to work well. It had a sort of meter that was palatable. If it were not for the subject matter I suppose I would have given it high marks. I confessed however, that I was perhaps not the best person to judge such work. I told him I have seen and read so many 9-11 poems that I have in fact become almost numb to the genre itself. I tried of course to be tactful. He said that he understood and acknowledged that I have willingly responded to his work in the past and respected my honesty on the matter.

I myself have only written one 9-11 poem. I don't even recall what I did with it. I really didn't care for it and would likely disown it if someone found it and asked if it were mine.

Katrina too has brought forth a ton of written verse. I have a draft of one that is not finished. It simply has not been calling my name to rewrite. In thinking about all this, I have realized that both 9-11 and Katrina are not totally absent from my writing. Both have influenced my work to some degree and likely will continue to. They cause me to think about many abstractions in such a way as to fine tune what words such as hate or loss or love mean. To see poverty in a different light. To clarify in my mind what rich is. Or security. Or hope and despair. I think it is the deepening of feelings that often brings poetry to the surface in individuals. Even those who are the last to consider themselves poets.

The San Francisco Chronicle
yesterday had a piece written by staff writer Jim Doyle that called attention to hundreds of heartfelt poems carved into the walls by detainees at Angel Island. People who were kept at the Immigration Station during a time when the United States policy was to limit the number of Asian immigrants into this country.

Between 1910 and 1940 several hundred thousand immigrants were processed by immigration officials at Angel Island. Their processing however was not just a matter of verifying their credential and stamping some card as they passed through. Many of these people where detained behind bars. Sometimes the detentions were for up to two years.

In the 1970's the barracks that housed detainees were slated for demolition. The re-discovery of the poems written upon the walls stopped it. Today, there is a preservation effort underway to salvage this bit of history that contains the voices of immigrants who expressed a wide range of emotion from hope to fear and despair.

This restoration is the least that can be done to honor the passions of a people who wanted to come to America and their first experiences in the country must have challenged every notion they had about their future. Just like those displaced from Katrina - and trying to imagine the future now that they have lost everything. It is the poems written on their faces that say the most.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Trying not to sweat it...

Hot and sweaty at the keyboard. No, I haven't been working on the great American Novel. Not to worry Eileen, I'm not compiling a poetry book even larger then the brick (grin) but rather I just got off the tread mill.

This afternoon I read at the second annual Kansas City Library Poetry Slam. I ended up doing three poems: Channeling Sylvia, Coming Out, and Freedom Summer Redux.

There were a number of really good readings but I was dismayed by some of the more "rap-ish" readings. For example, the winner was very good at presentation, but I'm not sure that it was not extemporaneous. Basically his message (and I'll give him credit for having one) was that he hasn't finished yet. He's just warming up. He can't NOT do poetry, he just has to get it out. A pretty generic message, but it was there. If you want to award points on passion (and I think passion is tremendously important) he had it. As to literary content - it was void. Somewhere along the line I think there should be a vortex. The two should actually come together. But hey, no one asked me to judge.