Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Year in Words

I was thinking for words or phrases that seemed to define the year we are ending. I thought I'd compile a list of say 25 with the idea in mind of say in a week or two coming back to the list and using it as the basis of creating a poem to represent the positive and negative energies that made up 2006. However, I thought that I truly want the selections to represent universality So I though for the next week, in addition to my own list, I wold tally up those anyone else cared to suggest and then settle on the 25 most mentioned. So, this is audience participation time. Between now and the 7th of January, give me your list in the comments. Please, no proper names. Just words and short two or three word phrases. Here is mine for starters:

  1. global economy
  2. global warming
  3. emigrant
  4. illegal alien
  5. withdrawal
  6. stem cell research
  7. stay-the-course
  8. body count
  9. health care costs
  10. stock market
  11. bilateral talks
  12. nuclear tests
  13. nuclear proliferation
  14. liquid on the moon
  15. red states / blue states
  16. jihad
  17. religious extremists
  18. neocon
  19. spreading democracy
  20. truthiness
  21. need a plan
  22. terrorists
  23. crude oil
  24. redeploy
  25. civil union

Perhap.. ok definately my last Meme of 2006

Mini-meme I got From Ivy's blog.

  • Find the nearest book.
  • Turn to page 123.
  • Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
  • Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
  • Name the book and the author,
  • and tag three more folks.

"This was Lyonnesse. /Inaccessible clouds, submarine trees / The labyrinth / Of brambly burrow lanes. Bundled women- / Stump-warts, you called them- / Sniffling at your strangeness in wet shops. /

Book: Birthday Letters - Author: Ted Hughes

hum... [drumming fingers and thinking] I guess I will tag:

  1. Christine - because she has so much extra time on her hands ;)
  2. James - because I haven't picked on him lately
  3. Robert - Because he takes it so well when I pick on him

Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking at a new copy of Poets & Writers (Jan/Feb 2007) I noted that it is their 20th Anniversary Issue. They have a really neat time capsule that runs through the magazine for each year since inception with A picture of a cover for the perspective year, the current Poet Laureate, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Notable events, names of those in covers, News and trends, and a quote. I am a bug fan of this magazine, so I naturally found these annual composits to be entertaining to read.

I saw where congratulations are in order for Ivy Alvarez as she is already slated for inclusion in a 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets. And some of us haven't even started on 2007 yet. Actually, I think she get kudos for both being anthologized as well as still being able to be considered a young poet.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Taxing my mind a bit

"You must always work not just within but below your means If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve." --Pablo Picasso

This came to me as such an engrossing point of view. It seems so contradictory to what advise people are usually given. And while it seems contrary to the norm, it also appears in some respects to be sound advise.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sorry No Wednesday Poet

There will be no Wednesday Poet today as I just returned home from hospital. I was bound up in cords yesterday and today for some cardiac tests which all proved to be negative- which is not to say they could not find evidence of a heart (I'm sure of great disappointment to those who think me heartless), just not any heart related problems.

I did get to read a few poems last night and this morning before my stress test.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Reminder Call For Submissions

Perhaps some of the holiday madness will settle down now. Dust off those poems you've been meaning to send out because ROGUE POETRY REVIEW is still accepting submissions for the next issue. Submission instructions are on the site.

Christmas day and all is quiet.

Enjoyed Christmas Eve with our immediate family. My wife and I, as well as all but our oldest daughter (who lives is out of the area [sigh] gathered at my son's house. Had a very enjoyable evening - dinner was great. Among Cath's many creative skills, bread making is an art form for her.

My library grew by two books last night. One a book from my want list - The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath and the other was one I was not aware of but looks to be equally as enticing.... Sylvia Plath - The Wound and the Cure of Words by Steven Gould Axelrod. These look to be especially insightful. I've read so many POVs on Plath it is hard to imagine there are still things to glean from others but that man never end.

Right now everyone is away but me and the house is so quiet. Even the dogs are off to the park. It's just me and the cats. I'm sure these moments of tranquility are extra special to them.

I am so not ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Friday, December 22, 2006

May you find your own peace..

This morning I see the solar radiance beaming through the dinning room window and casting itself upon me clear into the Great room where I sit at a laptop. My thoughts turn to all those traveling with timetables that are imposable or at least improbable to meet due to the storm that came through Denver this week. What frustration they must feel and at a time of year that begs for peace and tranquility.

We start each new year on a path that we have no idea what it will take us through. We know there will be opportunities and we can be sure there will be obstacles. Often we will have to make our own opportunities out of the landscape around us.

I can look back on 2006 and there are ups and downs to be sure. This new year no doubt will offer more of the same. It is in these last few days of the year that I think all of us, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, or nothing at all, can benefit from the pause in the season to take a deep breath, reach for an inner peace, recharge ourselves for the continued journey on your path of life.

It seems especially challenging to imagine a world at peace if we cannot be at peace ourselves. To expect our nation, or city, our own communities to be at peace if we cannot have an atmosphere of peace within our own home.

I am reminded of the words of Albert Canus ~ "We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives...inside ourselves."

May you all find yourselves at peace this holiday season...

Found this link from Ivy / From now on, I shall be known as....

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Eminence the Very Lord Michael the Lackadaisical of Chipping Sodbury
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Fear and Ignorance

Not pretry related but I must get this off my chest...

Sometimes in a democracy we get lucky and select men and women with the intellect and humility to provide good and thoughtful leadership. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and I am reminded of this by the words of Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. - 5th Congressional Dist. of Virginia.

In a letter to his constituents, Congressman Goode said, "When I raise my hand to take the oath on swearing-in day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way." He adds, "The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." He is of course referring to Congressman elect Keith Ellison. Ellison is the first Muslin elected to Congress.

Goode's letter to his constituents is interesting because it appears to serve only one purpose. To propagate contempt for those of other faiths and nationalities. Such contempt is not surprisingly based upon ignorance. Perhaps both fear and ignorance. They seem to walk hand-in-hand these days.

For starters, Congress is sworn in as a group and no book of religious significance is required. Many will later pose for photo-ops with a book in their hand. Yes a Bible has been used, as well as the Old Testament by some of Jewish faith and The book of Mormon by those of the Mormon faith. I seems rather silly to make such a deal over a prop for a photo-op because that is basically what it amounts to.

Of greater significance to Congressman Goode is the fact that Keith Ellison is Muslin. This is the force driving his fear and hate. He warns that if America is not awaken, more immigrants will come to America and more Muslims will be elected to Congress. The immigrants point here is misrepresented in that Keith Ellison was not an immigrant to the U.S. but a good old American citizen. Imagine that!

It was John F. Kennedy who said, "Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." By our tolerance to others, we honor America's commitment to those principals on which this nation was founded. How easy it has become, under the guise of a "War on Terror" to allow ourselves to waver from so many of our basic beliefs as a nation.

I would like to believe that Congressman Goode was simply trying to pander to his constituents. That of course would not excuse his actions, but it is so hard to accept that people will twist Christian principals of tolerance and our own Constitutional principals of equality and religious freedom to fit such a narrow and hateful view.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nothing to Embrace

Nothing to Embrace

A tin can that rattles of air
A limp sting with no kite
A battle with no one
The war is over
They’ve all gone home.

I’d wring my hands
Of this blank space in time
But how, and where
Would I hang my head?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No 9

Connie Wanek is the author of two books of poems:
  • Bonfire, (New Rivers Press in 1997)
  • Hartley Field, (Holy Cow! Press in 2002)

She was anthologized in Poets Against The War. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, and a number of other venues.

She she was born in 1952 in Madison, Wisconsin and has received fellowships and support from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and The Jerome Foundation. She's been a finalist for both the Minnesota Book Award and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award and won the 1998 Willow Poetry Prize.

In the early 1060's her family relocated from Wisconsin farming to Las Cruces, New Mexico. In 1990, she took residence in Duluth, Minnesota she lives with her husband and two children.

The first poem of Waneck's I read was Coloring Book . The paper is cheap, easily torn. / A coloring book's authority is derived / from its heavy black lines / as unalterable as the ten commandments / within which minor decisions are possible: / the dog black and white, / the kitten gray. I loved the authority of the black lines she ascribed to the page.

In Butter she denotes a commonality between butter and love. And I love the line: Will the rope never strike her ankle, / love's bite? from Jump Rope so much to decide... Whom will she marry? Whom will she love?

More of Wanek's Poetry: After Us Two Poems: Children Near The Water & Daisies


Monday, December 18, 2006

22 Lines

Busy weekend with family gathering on Saturday and Sunday I spent most of the day at my wife's office helping rearrange things. I did carve out a little bit of time to read some poetry over the weekend and did write a bit, even if it wasn't a great deal.

The sky was a beautiful filtered pink glow when I left for work this morning. Looks like it could turn out to be a nice day outside even though the morning started out a bit chilly.

Found a deliciously interesting article on Donald Hall I wanted to share. There were several things I found fascinating but among them was reference to a poem of Hall's that appeared in the Nov. 13th New Yorker under what now seems a somewhat ambiguous title, Maples. Mike Pride reports in this article that the poem condenses Hall's nearly entire 78 year lifespan into these 22 lines and at the same time providing an insight to the themes of his life's work in poetry: decline & loss, place, nature, mankind's addiction to wanton destruction. Read the piece here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Multi-form success

Was reading this on Margaret Atwood that I found on Jilly's blog and got quite a kick out of the following line... "I think I'm this way because I never went to creative writing school and nobody told me not to. Nobody said, 'You have to specialize,' or 'For heaven's sake, control yourself.' " She was talking about the fact that she has been published in so many forms...poetry, short stories, children's literature, thrillers, a romance, criticism, even science fiction. I've only read Atwood poetry, but I admire the versatility as a writer. Especially since I find her poetry to be very agreeable to my taste, I don't get the feeling that she is simply a half-assed writer in a variety of areas. Am I envious? Not especially. I am myself content to better myself in poetry, but I am none the less impressed with her success outside of the form.


Voices behind bars... Poetry in Prison. [story]

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New Blog Project

I've started a new blog project to list the poets I am reading periodically and note observations about the work. You'll find the link on the side bar as well as here.
Yesterday, I caught this really interesting podcast on NPR that deals with the question of Creativity, Learned or Innate?
[photo: a shot I took of one of the Seven views of Grand Canyon - sculptures]

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ahh ~ Friday at last...

The week is coming to an end like a locomotive pulling into a small town station... the brakes stalling the wheels and the metal to metal glide amid all the steam and noise, the motion continues a bit longer but at a declining speed. Then the jolt and there you are. It has stopped.

I definitely feel the holiday upon us. Two Christmas parties yesterday. One for the office and one an evening at the Writer House. I read a couple of poems. I'll have Christmas shopping to do this weekend.
There is a mixture of a sort of manic world and this inner calling for peace and tranquility. They do not mix well together. I suppose that is would support James Hillman's assessment when he said, "Slowness is basic to the notion of melancholy from the very beginning. Mania is often described in psychiatry by the absence of sadness." When the world is in chaos it tends to overlook the sadness of war and famine and sickness, and so on. It is at these very moments that I believe mankind needs poetry the most. But no, we somehow find it easier to be numb to the horror and immune from humor as well. We are just to busy to let silly emotions get in the way of anything.
Bits from my journal this week:
  • A fog of silence settles in the gully sunken between us.
  • The reeds of hope / sprouting runners / travel across the anticipatory terrain
  • I am transparent, here but out of sight.
  • Nights of curview / days strung between roads / boardered by odds / not quite palatable / survival will apply to travelers / moving between strife // What are the options? / a sigh of indigestion /rather resignation of lost causes / St Anthony Pray for us. //


The President is not going to make "rash decisions" on Iraq. He has moved back the time for his anouncement to after the first of the year. Some military people are now calling for more troops. {sigh} The President has rejected major parts of the ISG. He talks about changing stratagy. I'm thinking that chage is going to look a lot more like "stay the course."

Question for Iraqi citizens. Are you better off now than you were four years ago?


Driving through Taco Bell - "Hold the green onions, hold the lettuce. Uh, come to think of it, just hold my order."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Latest Iraq War Deaths to date since U.S. Invasion in March 2003:
U.S.-LED COALITION FORCES = United States 2,941 / Britain 126 / Other nations 121
IRAQIS = Military Between 4,900 and 6,375 / Civilians Between 50,585 and 56,083

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poet's memorial riddle solved

Five years of secrecy over the location of a memorial to the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes have come to an end.
BBC Spotlight's environment correspondent Simon Hall has spent two years searching for the site on Dartmoor in Devon. He was helped by a guide, and used clues in Ted Hughes' will and his work.
[full story]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Daily Intrusions

Daily Intrusions

Drowning the sounds
That ring true of philus
I catch the ugly clatter
Rudely interrupting

Who we are
And treating common
This rare beaded mosaic
We have become

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A lover's parting shot Frieda Hughes: Poetry

From London Times Online:

A scorned lover imagines her partner in the drama of an abstract geometric painting in one last anguished message.

Congratulations Kelli

Monday, December 11, 2006

Under Construction....

You will note for example my links have shrunk... hang loose peeps, I'm just doing some home remodeling. Things will look normal soon. Ok, hopefully normal / better.

Persian poetry for dummies?

Yep... A U.S.-based Iranian foundation, Translation Project, plans to translate 100 top Iranian literary works into world’s mostly spoken languages. Seriously, they are also are partners to create a Persian poetry for dummies-style book that traces Persian poetry from its classical roots to today’s work and breaks it down for all a variety of audiences... second-generation Iranians, students, and poetry enthusiasts.

Small Wonder "Truthiness" is the New Word for 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Merriam-Webster OnLine, the leading source for English language reference on the Web, has revealed the results of its first Word of the Year online survey. For the past few years, the site has tallied the millions of anonymous hits to its free online dictionary and thesaurus to come up with the most frequently looked up words of the year. This year, however, Merriam-Webster decided to ask its visitors to send in their own nominations for the one word they think best sums up the past eleven months. By an overwhelming 5-to-1 majority vote, the company's online community has chosen the word "truthiness" to take top honors as Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2006.

When Comedy Central's The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert first used the word "truthiness" in October of 2005 in a comedy skit, he defined the word as "truth that comes from the gut, not books." And in January of this year, the American Dialect Society chose the word as their own 16th annual Word of the Year, defining it as "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true." So with it's 5-1 margin in the Merriam-Webster poll over a year after Colbert's original usage, it is clear the word has staying power. Yet, can it be any great surprise?

The past few years we have witnessed at our nation's highest levels the so many instances of something packaged, labeled and sold to the American people as truth in spite of contravening evidence. The war in Iraq being a prime example. Tensions in this country and far beyond our boarders for that matter, are strained by persons holding on to a truth they prefer as opposed to one based upon factual information.

The president of Iran is holding a two-day Holocaust conference in Tehran to discuss if the Holocaust in WWII actually existed. Along with so much of what we have witnessed over these past few years by our own president, it seems that there are plenty of examples of truthiness in the highest places. Can it be any wonder that these are times of extreme nationalist passions and great international strife? Truth has become not an objective, but a means to an end that is molded like play-dough to fit the occasion. We who buy into this are the play-dough that is manipulated.


Friday, December 08, 2006

A prisoner of the enemy - Times 2 - Times Online

A prisoner of the enemy - Times 2 - Times Online

Frieda Hughes has a weekly column on poetry in the London Times. Read the latest here

Just A Fun Draft

But Have You Considered?

Principal among the theatrics
Vivian postulated a retro design,
After all it was her kitchen--

She alone should have the say
For which I had no discomfort,
Only what I felt

Were innocuous questions
About how the laser cooker,
Robotic sweeper and hydrogenated

Gadgets were going to clash
With black and white checked décor
Accessorized with pink Flamingos.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


My apologies to readers who checked in yesterday expecting to see the Wednesday Poet Series. I simply was too busy this week to put it together. I am however working on some interviews that will be part of future WPS posts.

I added two new poetry books to my library last night -

  • The Painted Bed by Donald Hall
  • Forty-five by Frieda Hughes

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Republic of Poetry

What sort of place is "The Republic of Poetry"? As portrayed in the title poem of Martín Espada's dynamic eighth collection, it's a place where poets eat for free in restaurants, where "poets rent a helicopter/ to bombard the national palace/ with poems on bookmarks," and where "the guard at the airport/ will not allow you to leave the country/ until you declaim a poem for her/ and she says Ah! Beautiful." Review by Megan Harlan here

I met Martin Espada this past year at an event in Kansas City. Espada is an authority on Pablo Neruda as well as a widely published translator of Neruda's work. This looks to be another work inspired by Neruda's flair for language that has become such a strong influence on Espada. Should make for good reading.


The Chase

The Chase

Those meringue urges—
They lead you on like no other.
I’ve seen your eyes swell and shine
Moonbeams to light the night sky
As you rise in your helium trance
On the hope you have whipped up for yourself.


Monday, December 04, 2006

The award for originality in lies...

The woman told a writer that the manuscript had been aboard one of the planes hijacked in the September Eleventh attacks. That was just one of the excuses offered by a fifty-seven year old woman who bilked would-be authors with false promises to publish their books.

She'll have some time to read manuscripts now as she'll be doing five years in prison. She has also been ordered to pay 231 people more than $728,000 in restitution. [story here]


It now appears there will be two films rushing to bring the tempestuous relationship between Welch poet Dylan and his Irish wife Caitlin to the screen. Both promising to focus on the mythology of the poet and exposing his unorthodox love life and that of his wife Caitlin. [story]

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Thought from Albert Camus - Geezzz, He had so many good ones

"We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others." -- Albert Camus

Plath daughter puts her pain in poetry - Sunday Times - Times Online

Plath daaughter

Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

FRIEDA Hughes, the daughter of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, has written a frank autobiographical book of poetry about the tragedies in her life. The terse and painful style of her work is remarkably like that of her mother.
Published last week in America before it appears in Britain in the spring, Forty-Five has 45 poems about each of the years of her life. The most poignant cover the suicide in 1963 of her mother, her discovery in her teens that her mother had taken her own life, and her father’s death from cancer in 1998. ughter puts her pain in poetry - Sunday Times - Times Online


Friday, December 01, 2006

Tagged with a Poetry Meme

Imagine that!

Thanks to Cindy I have been posed a series of questions. Hopefully the answers will not bore readers to death.

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was....hard for me to say with certainty but I am sure the first I recall was a nursery rhyme. Probably read by my mother or grandmother. I can recall a big thick nursery rhyme book that they would both read from. My grandmother had enormous influence on me in my early years.

I think I was most impressed by the images of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. I recall all these people being places and doing things, the King, the Queen, the Maid... counting money, eating bread and honey, hanging out clothes.... I liked how busy it seemed (perhaps a foreshadowing of ADD) but it would be a long time before I would view this a poetry.

Very likely the first poem to really speak to me as a poem was Frost's Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening. Whose woods these are I think I know/ seemed somber and formal and very strong. Still, I think it is these lines, The woods are lovely dark and deep / but I have promises to keep / and miles to go before I sleep / and miles to go before I sleep // that reached my deep and left an impression on me while yet still young. It became a mantra that to this day probably contributes to my uneasiness with aging and death because I feel the incredible drive to make a difference in this world. Which surely accounts for my involvement in politics much earlier in life than most people.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and... I really don't recall a lot about it. I remember thinking it was horrible at the time as did most all the students. I think we were given a choice between several but I have no idea what it was. What I do recall is that whatever it was the poem was about four or five stanzas and that when it came time to recite it I was very uneasy and could only recall about two-thirds of it. Others fell short but I remember several students that memorized very long poems and did them perfectly. I felt terribly inferior but that was not uncommon for me in those days.

To all those who point to such experiences and say being forced to memorize poems turned them against poetry at an early age, I can say in the end, the experience neither helped or hindered my love of poetry.

3. I read/don't read poetry because.... I read it because it speaks to me in a way that reading anything else fails to do. It often captures a spirit within me and causes it to stir. Poetry at times will awaken feelings and emotions to speak to things in my past that otherwise remain locked inside me. It is a freeing experience. Sometimes scary, often times quite enjoyable but always pushing me to think and feel.

4. A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is ....... Oh wow, there are so many, but one that often comes to my mind is going to sound really funny coming from a guy. It would be The Blue Dress by Sharon Olds. Olds is able to bubble to the surface very deep emotions as though she were pouring peroxide over what appears to be a superficial wound but bring out so much more than you thought was there.

5. I write/don't write poetry, but... I write poetry. Writing has been therapeutic to me, but it is like more than just taking medicine for something it is also like a vitamin and mineral supplement. Even when it is not emotionally healing, it is strengthening.

I seriously believe that it also helped me deal with my issues of mortality. It is the best, no, the only way I know to beat death. Create a part of you that death cannot have.

In more recent year I have come to embrace the artistic value of poetry. Something I did not recognize in my younger writing. In this way, what and how I write have evolved and continues to change in voice and content.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature.....for several reasons. I like that when I read poetry it speaks to me on a level different from anything else. But I also enjoy reading poetry because my eyes are not as good as they used to be and sometimes I tire easy of reading longer material, which frustrates me. Especially since I am also learning that I am not as broadly well read as I would like to be. I do think this hinders to some degree my own writing.

7. I find poetry...... (chuckling here) much to the dismay of my family, I find poetry in almost everything. They do not share passion for poetry. Don't get me wrong, they are very supportive of my writing.

I see poetry in a 6-4-3 double play. I see it in an empty baseball diamond. I see it in my backyard, the kitchen, in politics, in the silence of the night. This can be troubling to some. ( smile)

8. The last time I heard poetry.... I suppose it was myself reading out loud from a manuscript before I sent it off yesterday. Trying to reassure myself I suppose.

I used to go to readings fairly regularly. And last year I was reading every month someplace and sometimes two or three times in a month. It has been a while since I've done that. I do listen to poetry as well from various podcast sources.

9. I think poetry is like... life itself. I think it's like complexities reduced to simplest terms. It is an affirmation of magic. Evidence of a higher power. It is the closest thing to a universal language of the soul. It is where the heart and mind meet and a great fission occurs that produces the art of ourselves in language.

Ah... now who to tag with this.....? Deborah, Robert and Kelli.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Relief~ is seeing your manuscript to the Poets and Writers - Writers Exchange contest off at the post office.
You "proof" and have others do the same. You make sure all the rules have been followed. You count and recount... check the page order, recheck the address, secure the mailing and see it off like it were your son or daughter heading off to school the first day.
Our weather here turned nasty yesterday. Rain and sleet and finally ice. We wait now for the next wave that is supposed to be snow. They say we may get noting and we may get 6 to 8 inches.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No.9 Mbembe Milton Smith

The poet I've selected for this week was a local Kansas City area poet. He would have been 60 this month had he not taken his life at age 36.

He grew up on Kansas City's east side during the 1960's civil rights movement. His poetry resonates the struggles of black urban America in those times and to some extent is very relevant today.

Initially he was self-taught but he eventually became the first person to receive a double major in English and Creative Writing in the Master's program at UMKC.

In the 1970's Smith took the name Mbembe, Swahili for "smooth-tongued one."

Mbembe was more of a locally known poet, though he did move to New York and was in Chicago at the time of his death. He did publish a couple of books. He also went on to teach. His work left a major impact upon a number of people. Had he lived longer and had greater exposure, he quite possibly would have achieved more national recognition.

There was a lot of goomaterialal presented on our local NPR affiliate station KCUR and I am simply going to link to it.
You can hear the segment by Sylvia Marie Gross with Mbembe reading as well as interviews and other material on him. [ click here ]


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Have A Lot of Thought Police These Days....

I'm sure there are incidents many of us never hear of, but two situations of recent times have become high profile enough to make the news.

On a 3-2 vote, the town council in Pahrump, Nevada, (town of about 30,000 near Las Vegas) passed an ordinance that makes it illegal to display a foreign flag unless an American flag is flown above it. Those in violation face a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service.

Meanwhile, in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, the Loma Linda Homeowners Association decided Lisa Jensen could not keep her holiday wreath with a peace sign on her home. Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association sent her a letter that said the association "will not allow signs, flags etc.That can be considered divisive." He has threatened to fine her $25 a day until she removes it.

Have we not progressed any further than this? That people in roles of authority are still trying to mold everyone into the same shape, the same thought process and tell us what is and isn't "correct"? Can a great nation lacktolerancee? Isn't that what this nation was founded upon? People came here because they did not want to be told how to worship.

I expect this kind of rule in closed societies. Such coercive measures as censorship and forced subordination are trademarks of totalitarian rule. In thesesocietiess, free expression, the arts, the free exchange of ideas and knowledge arecontrolledd or restricted altogether. Yet, there are people who seem to feel this is the only way that they can protect this country. They feel the urge to "clean" and "purge" it of whatever they fear. Have we not learned lessons from the past? From the histories of Hitler and Stalin?


*[Note - picture above is a photo taken recently along the bank of the Missouri River]

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings week 199

  1. Rhyme:: Dime
  2. Substantial :: Raise
  3. Instant :: potatoes
  4. Greed :: land grab
  5. Brad :: Pitt
  6. Season :: Seasoning salt
  7. Accomplished :: musician
  8. Invite :: dinner party
  9. Sparkle :: cake decorations
  10. Rainbow :: somewhere over the rainbow

Get your own list here

Did I mention the rolls were awesome?

Four day holiday over. {sigh}

Wednesday night I took the family out to Longview Lake for the annual Christmas in the Park - sponsored by Jackson County. Great night.... Tremendous fireworks display that the lit up the sky and rained comets upon the lake. We all enjoyed it except for the long lines to leave.

Thursday - we had our traditional thanksgiving meal - only lighter this year. We cut backs on extras like stuffing and sweet potatoes, etc. Just Turkey, Mashed potatoes with gravy and home made rolls which were to die for. It was nice Not pigging out. Of course we were all waiting for Friday and what has become a Wells family tradition... turkey flautas. Later Thursday Meghan and I went to the movie to see Bobby. Friday we went to my son's house and my wife worked her flauta magic to everyone's satisfaction. Two wonderful relaxing days.

Saturday and Sunday however we turned the house upside down cleaning, rearranging, making messes and cleaning some of them up. I think we were all pretty whipped last night. I have mussels this morning hurting in places I didn't know existed. Above is a picture taken in my office. Should have done a before and after shot. On second thought... nah.


Any writers looking for a pad? The family of Stanley Kunitz, who received every possible prize and praise before his death in May at 100, is selling his co-of for $2.25 million. It’s located in Butterfield House, a graceful 1962 building by architects William Conklin and James Rossant. (Paul Goldberger has called it one of the best postwar buildings in the city.)

Here is a list of poetry for just about everyone on your gift list.Complementsss of Kelli Russell Agodon.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rogue Poetry Announcement

Wishing all of you a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving with friends and family.
Please take a moment over the holiday to stop by and see the exciting announcement at
Rogue Poetry Review.
Happy Holidays

Wednesday Poet Series No 8 - C.E. Chaffin

Another Wednesday has come. They seem swoop in so fast since I've been doing this series. Almost too fast at times. The selection for today was made really upon reading one poem. There are some topics that even exceptional poets must have nightmares about writing. They are so often attempted and seldom is justice done to the topics. One of them is war.

The first poem of C. E. Chaffin's I read was At the Vietnam War Memorial . Perhaps it was the opening lines: Black granite stretches its harsh, tapering wings / up to pedestrian-level grass / but sucks me down, here, at the intersection of names. I've seen the memorial and those lines brought me back to my own experience. Coming from the "Vietnam" generation I can appreciate the upheaval, the unreconciled in this poem. Towards the end, Chaffin profoundly writes, It's said you cannot write a good poem / until recollected in tranquility. / Let this then be a bad poem, bad as the war, / dividing author from reader and reader from page. I appreciate the fact that he did not wait for tranquility, this poem may never have been written.

Chaffin was born in Ventura, California, in 1954. A graduate of UCLA in 1976, While he won honors in English, he also received awards in medical school, in psychiatric residency, and later as a medical director. He went on to teach Family Medicine at UCI but retired at age 40 as a result of chronic spinal pain and manic-depression. It was in the early retirement that the literary pursuit took off.

He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in by Rose and Thorn. His only book, Elementary (Poems) from 1979 is out of print, as is The Best of Melic, 2003, which he edited. I was amused by his bio at Melic Review....

He has never been published in Poetry, Ploughshares or The Paris Review, has no personal website, and lives mainly in his head but resides in Long Beach, CA, presently on disability for manic-depression and intractable spinal pain. In other words, if he were a horse, he'd be shot. But he is a happy horse, with three young fillies from previous stud duties and a beautiful new mare.
Besides poetry Chafffin has written fiction and reviews. Ah yes, poetry reviews. He fears he may be remembered more for the reviews than his poetry.

A few of Chaffin's poems:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Did I mention the free wine?"

Felix Dennis - his list of experiences might look something like this:

  • former crack-cocaine
  • prosecuted for obscenity
  • sex
  • facing a life-threatening illness

So Dennis, who now has amassed a significant wealth has turned to what else? Poetry!

Intriguing story about a man who has turned to poems and buying up land under pseudonyms, and planting forests on it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Long Time Since....

It's been a long time since I resorted to Unconscious Mutterings or subliminal on here. But I will undertake Week 198 ~ with one hand tied behind my back. Here goes:

  1. Teacher :: teacher, teacher I declare
  2. Fifty :: fifty is nifty but forty is better
  3. Crossword :: The New Your Times Crossword
  4. Stuffed :: Cabbage not animal heads
  5. Family :: Family Affair
  6. Purr :: After the purr you are never in control
  7. Toad :: The Toad in the road got mowed (down)
  8. Cocktail :: Shrimp Cocktails are just little bitty ones, right?
  9. Insecurity :: Insecurity gripped her
  10. Magical :: The magical mystery tour

The words courtesy of Unconscious Mutterings.

And the Short Week Begins ~

Took number three daughter on a picture shoot this weekend. I shot some stuff myself with far less sophisticated equipment. Meghan really seems to enjoy not only shooting pictures but the process of manipulating images later.

We had a good time - went through some wooded area along a river, part of the Louis and Clark Trail. We had to do lots of climbing and balancing to get some of the shots, all in the name of art, we kept telling ourselves. Then we drove back a ways to another location and shot some railroad pictures. I'll have a few more pictures to grace the blog for a while.

Friday night, Cath (wife) and I went to the movies, browsed at Barnes & Noble then made a Cold Stone Creamery run. The movie was Stranger than Fiction... The Cold Stone flavor pumpkin pie.

I'm pulling together 10 pages of manuscript to submit to a Poets and Writers Exchange contest. Decisions, decisions. I need to be finished with this by the end of the week. Really like to be done with it by Thursday just to be safe. This would also be a good week to get more submissions off - hopefully on their way to new homes.

Now to Tackle the week....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Inventing One's Self

I was reading this quote by poet Philip Levine, "I have a sense that many Americans, especially those like me with European or foreign parents, feel they have to invent their families just as they have to invent themselves," when I realized how much I identify with this.

Growing up I had an overwhelming awareness, almost haunting, that there was a mammoth void in my life. That void was not only the absence of a father but perhaps more dramatically the absence of any knowledge of that whole paternal lineage. It is as though my father were a test tube as was his parents and theirs and so on. I think the fact that this whole genetic side was scrubbed from any existence was the most disturbing aspect. It in fact tended to support the feeling that I was significantly different from others. A difference that as a child was not framed in the context of something special, but rather something unusual, something defective, something amiss.

I have to admit as I grew older it was necessary to keep reinventing myself as I struggled to figure out who I was. To fill in the holes. This struggle to reinvent myself continues to a lesser degree today. I have to credit poetry to some degree for allowing me to explore attitudes, fears and expectations in ways I would not have before. It is through such creativity that the void is being filled. Mostly now, I am working on pot holes.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New Plath Poem

Saw the film trailer for Happy Feet this morning. What an enticing few moments of video to perk up my Friday morning.

  • Teacher Observation (here) on Crag Hill's poetry scorecard - I say ditto!
  • Thanks to for the plug!
  • What a coup for Blackbird -an online Journal of Literature and the Arts! Anna Journey, Contributing Editor of Blackbird made a remarkable discovery concerning a poem Sylia Plath wrote as an undergraduate. The poem had never been published. Blackbird was granted the first serial publication rights to the poem "Enuui" by estate of Sylvia Plath, Frieda Hughes, and Ros Edwards of the Edwards Fuglewicz Literary Agency. The poem and Anna Journey's insightful findings are here.
  • At 79, the poet W.S. Merwin shares his craft the elegance that has marked his poems for half a century.
  • Denise Low, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Arts at Haskell Indian Nations University to become the next Kansas Poet Laureate.
  • Thirteen are nominated for the State Poet Laureate position in Oklahoma.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No. 7

To be able marvel as the world passes before us is a good thing. Of course some things rise to a higher level of marvel then others. This morning I marveled at the $51.1 million price tag the Boston Red Sox agreed to pay the Seibu Lions of Japan for the rights to "talk" to their pitching ace Daisuke Matsuzaka. I repeat talk to. Then it could easily take another $30 million plus to sign him. If the Sox cannot sign him, they will get their $51.1 million back. What has this to do with poetry you ask? I believe it is critical for poets to always be open to the possibility of astonishment in whatever form it comes along. It is a process of exercising our perceptive instincts.

A few poets I have read this week: Cecilia Woloch, Kelli Russell Agodon, Gloria Vando, Edward Hirsch, Catherine Daly, John Ashbery, Janusz Szuber, and Donald Hall.

My selection for this weeks Wednesday Poet Series is: Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon is 37 and she hails from the Pacific Northwest. She was born in Seattle, Washington and was educated in the Northwest as well earning her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and an M.F.A. from the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

As I read through a number of her poems I was struck by the versatility of her subject matter. Every once and awhile I struggle to broaden my own subject matter so I always respect those who have been able to successfully do so.

Obviously others have noticed her work favorably. She has received The James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Lohmann Prize, the William Stafford Award, the Carlin Aden Award for formal verse and grants from the Washington State Artist Trust as well as the Puffin Foundation. Her book Small Knots, was a finalist for the 2004 Cherry Grove Poetry Prize and Geography, winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.

Her work has been featured on NPR's "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor, The Raven Chronicles, Literary Salt, Branches Quarterly, The Poet's Canvas, the Alsop Review, and The Adirondack Review (which nominated her for the Pushcart Prize 2002).

Kelli was anthologized in the book, Poets Against the War edited by Sam Hamill. A lot of her writing energies seem focused on peace and utilization of poetry as an instrument of peace. For example, she edited the Poetry Broadside Series: The Making of Peace, which was displayed international throughout National Poetry Month this year and she has served as the Regional Coordinator for Poets for Peace.

According to her own web site, she is involved in writing workshops and provides one-on-one consultation.

Here are a selection of some of the poetry of Kelli Russell Agodon:

Neruda's Hat <- I particularly enjoyed this one. A Mermaid Questions God

Of a Forgetful Sea

Three Poems <- Reading Poetry to Cure Insomnia, It is Easy to Wake Up in Someone Else's Poem, and Limbo

Two Poems <- Reality Cooking Show ( a favorite of mine), and Picking Cherries ( enjoyed the Catholic touch here)


Monday, November 13, 2006

An Interesting Consideration...

Had it been up to the poets,
perhaps peace between Syria and Israel
would have been established long ago.
I have often said that I firmly believe that through poetry we are able to create greater understanding and break down barriers. It seems only natural to me that it can serve as in instrument of peace.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Why Do You Write Poetry?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Emerging Voices

This months Poets & Writers magazine had a letter from a Massachusetts woman who was bemoaning the emphasis on young writers in the magazine. She wondered if there wasn't anyone over sixty that was an emerging voice? While I am not sixty, I am certainly aware of the difficulty associated with developing into an emerging writer after starting later than many.

Ironically, this same issue of P&W has their selection of 12 emerging voices this year. How nice it was to see an 80 year old among the group. Landis Everson - winner of the Poetry Foundation's Emily Dickinson First Book Award.



Was looking at my submission tracker the other day and one of my submissions was flagged for query. For some reason, I always hate to query on work I have already sent out, but I did. The response was "are you sure you sent it to us? We don't see it." So I dutifully resubmitted yesterday, and received this reply this morning, "Well, Michael... We like it! Very Much! We want to include it in our winter issue..." Sure beats the hell out of a rejection letter.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rogue Poetry Review

On a more personal note, my wife has created her own little political dynasty. She now controls a block of 20 votes for Dancing with the Stars. She exercises her control to deliver them all for Emmitt.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No. 6

One of the things that has impressed me about this weeks Wednesday Poet has been the gift of her art to others; teaching children, young people, professional writers, educators, senior citizens and inmates at a prison for the criminally insane. Cecilia Woloch is the author of at least three poetry books. They are Late, Tsigan, and Sacrifice.

The poet Maxine Kumin said about Woloch and her book Late, the newest of the three, "To write movingly about love in an era infused with hate requires a special gift: nostalgia hard-edged with realism. She has that gift."

Woloch's talent has not only been directed to the printed page, but has been transformed to instruction with others through her many teaching and workshop assignments.
Those include University of the Redlands, New England College MFA Program in Poetry, Emory University, The Cider Press Review, California State University at Northridge, and Western Connecticut State University. She is the founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and the Paris Poetry Workshop.

Her credits are extensive - Nimrod, New Letters, The Chattahoochee Review, Zyzzyva, Good Poems for Hard Times, edited by Garrison Keillor to name a few. Her poetry has been translated into at lest three other languages, German, French, and Polish.

Woloch has received numerous awards for her work including:
  • Pushcart Prize Nominations: 1999 (awarded Special Mention), 2000, 2002, 2003
  • California Arts Council, Artist-in-Residence Grants, 1987, '88,'89, '91, '92, '93
  • 2004 Georgia Author of the Year in Poetry, Georgia Writers Association for her book Late
  • 2001 Anhinga Prize for Poetry, Finalist
  • 2000 CEC/ArtsLink International Grant
  • 2000 Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers Fellowship
  • 1999 Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Prize, Kalliope Magazine, Finalist
  • 1995 Literal Latte Poetry Competition, First Prize
  • 1994 Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry, Finalist

Here are a few of Cecilia Woloch's poems:

You can find more on Cecilia Woloch at these sites:


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

No matter where you live in U.S. there is a House seat up for election and in many states there are important Senate races as well as other State and local measures. If you have not voted already, please get to the polls today and cast your votes.

A little election poetry here

Monday, November 06, 2006


"A poet must leave traces of his passage, not proof." ~ Rene Char
I cannot pretend to speak for this poet, but I find a commonality with these words in more than one way. First of course in verse itself. I am a firm believer in the magical mystery of poetry. To those who take the strong belief that poetry must be crystal clear I say hogwash! As children and then again as parents we often cheer the magical nature of children's literature, of movies that are presented as children or family oriented. The idea that as we grow old we should cast all which creates an atmosphere of wonderment to the wind and get totally serious about everything is crap. I like to see poetry that evolves into something that still clings to the notion that you or I can add our own finish or spin or derive something very personal from it that the author could not even possibly know about.
But I like to believe too that poets themselves in their work leave traces of who they are behind. Just a bit of themselves in written passages to contemplate in amazement. The very personal side of their work.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Put your ear down close to your soul...

Sent off three more submissions yesterday. I am hoping this gets way more habit forming during the next year.

The early afternoon is sweetly fall. Wife and I took the dogs for a walk earlier and while it was cool, it was most comfortable. The trees are looking elegant in the breeze. This is the kind of afternoon when the world around seems still. It brings to mind these words of Anne Sexton, "Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." This is the kind of day when the soul is much easier to hear. A day perfect for poets and lovers. I suppose lovers of poetry as well. ~0~

Jilly is forever finding interesting and worthwhile items. This one on literary wills is worth looking at. Complete with a PDF file of a sample will form.

I was delighted to learn that Poet Laureate Donald Hall will be coming to Kansas City the latter part of January.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reverse Psychology

Poet Nikki Giovanni toned it down a bit in her first public appearance since the ruckus she caused on October 14th at the dedication of Fountain Square. [here]

You knew it would happen... Poetry Reading Phone Line. [here]

Amanda Shipman: To read or not to read at poetry open mic. [here]

Eileen Tabios Wants you to ask her anything. [here]

Poetry Portal: Arteroids - Yes another fine job Cindy has done at finding procrastination tools for those in need. [here]


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No 5

The Wednesday Poet Series was due for a female poet this week. I do hope the female readers of Stick Poet will indulge me while I take the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Howl to feature poet Allen Ginsberg. I promise to do back to back women to even the series out.

Allen Ginsberg is perhaps the most noted of the beat generation poets. These would include Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs among others. They came into prominence in the late 1950's and early 1960's and represented a counter-culture that was given to spontaneity, open form composition, in their work and a rejection of what they believed was the psychological repression of their times. There were a number of other attachments suggestive of these writers and their friends and followers, many which were negative. Among them was a drug culture. But the writings and works of these people, and most assuredly Ginsberg would have a lasting effect, not only upon poetry and the arts, but significant impact on other areas of American culture.

I am presently reading:The Book of Martyrdom And Artifice - First Journals and Poems 1937-1952. The first thing that struck me about young Ginsberg is the degree to which he was exuberated with himself. Yes, I know there is a common belief that we poets are all about ourselves, but in all seriousness, the degree to which Ginsberg, as early as 1944 outwardly projected extreme confidence in himself was striking. He clearly was intellectually astute and very well read. He had an opinion on just about everything and was not timid in sharing it.

His best know work, Howl, a work that combined biographical references and abstractions. It was first publicly performed in San Francisco on October 7th 1955. Sometime thereafter, Lawrence Ferlinghetti published the work. He was part owner of City Lights Bookstore, a small press publishing house. In 1956, a reporter for the NY Times wrote a piece on the new poetry scene that helped bring Howl into national attention.

In 1957, copies of Howl entering the U.S. from a London printer were seized by customs officials. Obscenities charges were brought against Feringhetti for the publication. The trial only served to give Ginsberg and Feringhetti more exposure for the work. With the support of the ACLU, the publisher won the legal action. The judge deciding that even with the questionable language in the book, the poem was of "redeeming social importance."

Howl- in all three pasts can be read here. (here)

Here are a number of other Howl related resources you might find of interest:

Howl at Wikipedia


Howl at 50 - NPR

The following are some more examples of Ginsberg's writing.

A Supermarket In California America Five A.M. War Profit Litany

Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters Sunflower Sutra Nagasaki Days

I would be remiss if I did not make note that Allen Ginsberg's activism included vocal opposition to the war in Vietnam. This in addition to often targeting institutions in his writing as well as frequent mention of drugs and sex made him an easy target for authorities. Herbert Mitgang wrote a 1988 piece on the FBI and writers. It is interesting and focuses mostly on Ginsberg. (view here)

Ginsberg's poetry clearly has a dissonant style to it. He used his writing to speak pretty much what he felt at the moment.

I have selected a few very telling quotes from Ginsberg to close with. I believe these too will give greater insight to both the man and his writings.

"Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does."

"I have a new method of poetry. All you got to do is look over your notebooks... And think of anything that comes into your head, especially the miseries... Then arrange in lines of two, three or four words each, don't bother about sentences ..."

"Wherever I go I see myself in a mirror- it used to be my own selfblood, now it is god's."

"America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel."

"Fortunately art is a community effort - a small but select community living in a
spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh."


Monday, October 30, 2006

Blog Milestone (I think)

If my blogger dashboard is correct (and it may not be, it was frozen on the same number for a while) this is my 1200th post to Stick Poet. At minimum it is the 1200th and in fact I may have passed that mark already for the sake of capturing the moment... this is it!

It is hard to believe that October is nearly over. That the year practically gone for that matter. We've had a taste of a few very cold fall days, but yesterday was absolutely beautiful with temperatures in the high 70's. It was actually hot inside the house. My wife and I took the dogs for long walks twice during the day.

Started on a new journal insert the other day and toying with some drafts over the weekend, I wanted to burn it and get another new one. I did however resist the urge.

Wanted to pass along this story for positive human interest value. Always nice to hear stories from people who have poetry experiences that give affirmation to their daily lives.

And here is an insightfully written review of the poet Stephen Dunn. While I have not read a lot of his work, I recall reading several of his poems last fall and agree that he has extraordinary word skills.

Oh, I almost forgot... Condolences to Jilly on the Tigers loss. I was pulling for the Cards but I've been there before, I feel your pain.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Independent Online Edition > Features

Independent Online Edition > Features

Sharon Olds: Blood, sweat and fears -

The American poet Sharon Olds has won international acclaim for poetry of startling intensity. She talks to Christina Patterson about art and life / this is an interesting article that appeared in The Independent. As someone who greatly admires Sharon Old's work, I recommend it. | Poet laureate hopes for bit of daily verse Poet laureate hopes for bit of daily verse

As Utah's new poet laureate, Katharine Coles hopes to make poetry a part of every citizen's daily life. Coles is the state's first female poet laureate.

article by: Susan Whitney Deseret Morning News

Friday, October 27, 2006


"I wonder about all the roads not taken and I am moved to quote Frost... but I won't. It is sad to be able only to mouth other poets. I want someone to mouth me." - Sylvia Plath
On the occasion of the Birthday of Sylvia, I'm thinking about the irony of this quote.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

SurelyThere Is A Mistake Here

Another Item I suripticiously Extracted from Quotidian Light

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat
You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Poetry Notes: Poets raising funds for Darfur

A Pittsburgh poets organization will hold a program of poetry and music to raise funds for relief efforts in Darfur, western Sudan, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Carnegie Mellon University.

Judith Robinson, member of Poets for Humanity, said that a video appeal by Simon Deng, a refugee from the turmoil in his native Sudan, will also be shown. New York Daily News columnist Heather Robinson will introduce the video.

The scheduled poets are Richard St. John, whose work has appeared in the Post-Gazette, Anthony Butts, CMU writing professor, and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, a native of Liberia.
UMOJA African Arts Company provides the music.

Tickets are $10. The program will be in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall.
For details and reservations, call 412-681-3018.

Rogue PR visibility

After a week of exposure, I was pleased to see that Rogue PR has had 965 views in the first week since publication. Yeah!

I have enjoyed putting this together - And I will admit it is a chore (and not stress free) but a worthwhile experience none the less. Last week I was thinking that it seemed like a long way off till Vol 2 on mid-January. Now a week later I'm thinking, God, that will be hare fast! At any rate I will not be reading for it till Nov. 15 - so I have a bit of a breather.

Wednesday Poet Series - Break

I am taking a break from the Wednesday Poet series while I work on becoming more acquainted with a couple of poets I wish to feature here. I cannot say that I will be back with the series as early as next week, but that is a possibility. I want the presentations to be more in depth, and I simply cannot do justice to the next few presentations I want to do without more time. In the past, Stickpoet has undertaken some interviews and I am looking at incorporating interviews into this series from time to time, where the opportunity might be available.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday & Tootsie Rolls

Laurel Snyder's post of October 18th caught my attention. She said she has been busy, among other things thinking about people who have clean houses and how hard it is to trust people with super clean houses. But what really caught my attention was her thoughts on: how a century from now, people will look back and ask themselves why we allowed our government to kill people. They will ask themselves, as we ask ourselves about slavery and the holocaust, "Why didn't they know it was wrong?"

Anyway, I share her view on capital punishment and I would extend this to include how our government treats others it has in detention. Anyway, read her post. BTW - I would like to meet King Arthur too!

Then, the New Zoo Poet asks: What is the longest you've ever worked on one poem? Wow! I wish I could answer that.

Looking forward to tonight's World Series game. Hope Detroit's pitchers leave their Tootsie Rolls at home.

I found this item interesting. The Grand Rounds, is a weekly event at Dartmouth Medical School. It's an academic forum in which physicians and researchers make scientific presentations. Recently, U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall added a new dimension to the forum by reading works about illness, grief and living life fully. Hall is no stranger to these subjects, a cancer survivor himself and of course having lost his wife to that same illness. Dr. Ira Byock, director of Palliative Medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said that the union between medicine and poetry has great therapeutic potential