Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Governor Kulongoski Appoints Lawson Inada Poet Laureate Of Oregon - (Ashland Article)

Governor Kulongoski Appoints Lawson Inada Poet Laureate Of Oregon - (Ashland Article)

Note: The first to serve since William Stafford served as Poet Laureate until his death in 1983. It has taken them over 22 years to find a replacement?


American Chronicle: The Commander in Chief Has Lost the Troops

American Chronicle: The Commander in Chief Has Lost the Troops

The President has lost the support of those charged with executing his policy in Iraq.

According to the poll - 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year. Among Reserves 90% favor withdrawal compared to 83% of the National Guard, 70% of the Army, and 58% of the Marines. Moreover, about three-quarters of National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within 6 months.


AP Wire | 02/27/2006 | Critic and poet Leonard Unger dead at 89

AP Wire 02/27/2006 Critic and poet Leonard Unger dead at 89


Monday, February 27, 2006

Poetry Foundation Announces Partnership with The NewsHour

U.S. Newswire : Releases : "Poetry Foundation Announces Partnership with The NewsHour..."


Speaking of Olympics

In conjunction with an earlier post where I indicated that I found Curling to be interesting, I found a few interesting quotes related to the subject. Hope you will enjoy them along with me.

  • We'll explain the appeal of curling to you if you explain the appeal of the National Rifle Association to us. ~Andy Barrie, Canadians to Americans
  • It's not just a rock. It's forty-two pounds of polished granite, with a beveled underbelly and a handle a human being can hold. Okay, so in and of itself it looks like it has no practical purpose, but it's a repository of possibility. And, when it's handled just right, it exacts a kind of poetry - as close to poetry as I ever want to get. The way it moves.... Not once, in everything I've done, have I ever felt the same wonder and humanity as when I'm playing the game of curling. ~Paul Gross, John Krizanc, and Paul Quarrington, Men with Brooms
  • Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now. ~Charles Barkley
  • If curling were easy, they'd call it hockey. ~Author Unknown
  • I get my rocks off curling. ~Saying of the sport
  • I'm a curling addict - I need a hit, and I want to get stoned! ~Author Unknown

A couple of other fund quotes in honor of the Winter Games:

  • I think my favorite sport in the Olympics is the one in which you make your way through the snow, you stop, you shoot a gun, and then you continue on. In most of the world, it is known as the biathlon, except in New York City, where it is known as winter. ~Michael Ventre, L.A. Daily News
  • Stretch pants - the garment that made skiing a spectator sport. ~Author Unknown
  • Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country. ~Steven Wright


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Overlord by Jorie Graham - reviewed

Jorie Graham teaches us about the nature of being human with her poetic reflection on war, Overlord, says Fiona Sampson - [review here]

As Promised - My Education Budget

When I originally posted a blog with a request for people to allocate a $100 education budget among a number of subjects I did so with an intent in mind. The intent was to gauge the placement of emphasis individuals placed on poetry. While there were several comments posted, I never really was able to achieve some idea of where poetry fit into the importance of a curriculum model. One person gave 100% of the budget to poetry. The rest lumped things together making it impossible to assess it as an individual item. While in my heart, I too want to give poetry 100% I know that is not realistic.

So alas, here is my effort at placing priorities on the education curriculum pie.

  • English - $15
  • Math - $15
  • Science - $15
  • Social Sciences - $16
  • Poetry - $07
  • Physical Ed - $06
  • Music -$07
  • Art - $07
  • Shop/Home ecc -$06
  • Team Sports -$06

In defense of my budget let me say that I believe that English is of critical importance. While it may look like I am treating it the same as Math and Science, by separating poetry funding outside of the English Department, it really is in essence getting more than the rest. I view language skills, reading and communication critical educational elements. Without which, further education including self-education later in life is hindered.

Math and Science are core subjects of importance - in the long run, they are enhanced by laying a good foundation of reading and communication.

Social Sciences (history, social studies, civics, government) actually receive a dollar more that the other core subjects. This is because I believe we don't place enough emphasis on understanding where we as people fit into a vast pool of world cultures and different governments. It is hard for people with ignorance to the outside world to be expected to achieve any kind of reasonable understanding of others and what their needs, motivations, and cultural experiences are about. If we are to achieve greater world harmony, we need to better understand the rest of the world and not become so entrenched in the, "It's all about me" mentality.

Poetry- had as it might be, it gets only $7. And equal amount to the other arts, but it truly in my book is a valuable educational experience. It is not only a fine are, but it helped develop excellent thought process, enhance communication skills and open even more doors to other cultures. I know not every appreciates poetry to the extent that some of us do, but I believe this is their loss. It is so much about life and personal knowledge that is is far more than just memorizing poems for a class. It has real therapeutic value and opens the door to relieving stress and anxiety.

Music and Art are each getting the same allotment amount. While both of these share some of the same benefits as poetry, they deserve their owns separate funding. They add to our over all appreciation and enjoyment of life, but without nearly as much emphasis on the communication components.

Physical education is important and for may years has been perhaps hit hard in education budgets just as the arts have. It gets $6 out of my budget, but that is the daytime school program and not included is after school sports. That receives a separate $6 budget allotment.

Shop and Home Economics receive a $6 budget allocation as well. These are elective programs that have some importance but I believe I am be especially generous to them at six bucks out of the total budget.

So there you have it, and I'm sure some of you will want to pick it apart, but what I am trying to say is that poetry is in my opinion a critical part of any educational program for youngsters. I wish I had had more exposure to it in school. I believe at the time I was in school, there was not near the emphasis that I believe in hindsight it should have had.

Some of you may look at my $7 figure and think that it fails to reflect the level of importance that I verbalize. I agree that in some respects, for example saying that it gets only 7% of the total budget seems paltry. I think on the other hand that when you consider that the core subjects get 15 to 16 dollars each, this is about 47% of a core subject.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

No Soccer Socks Here

I must be easily amused. I noticed today that someone actually found their way to this blog by googling "orange/black bumblebee soccer socks". Now the reason this strikes me with such hilarity is that soccer is way down on my list of interests. Yes, I have played it as a youngster and I found it to be something akin to a disorganized fire drill. It seemed so totally pointless to spend so much time running on this big field with so little contact with the ball. Anyway, I trust the person looking for soccer socks was not too disillusioned.

My daughter is off today to Lawrence for a bicycle race. I am sorry to say I'll miss it. I am staying home as another daughter is recuperating from surgery this week. At any rate, I'm wishing good thoughts for Meghan. Of course yesterday's weather was much warmer and Sunday it is supposed to be back in the upper 60's again, so it only stands to reason she get stuck in between two nice days and have to ride in the cold and the wind.

My book Break, Blow, Burn, Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems has come in so I'll likely go pick it up after while.

Last night, in an effort to find that groove, I spent time writing some small bits of imagery stuff. I felt there were several really nice things that came out of this exercise and one or two of them I believe I can cull for use down the road.

I have enjoyed both the athleticism and artistry of several things in the Winter Olympics. The figure skating and ice dancing especially lend itself to both. I always enjoy the Nordic events. The downhill, slaloms, the ski jumping. On the other end if the spectrum, my wife and I have both found the curling events to be interesting. I have found that there is a local curling organizations that gives lessons. Hum....

Well, I need to check and see if my daughter needs anything so I suppose that is it for now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Camille Paglia on Art / Poetry

Last night I heard Camille Paglia speak here in Kansas City. She was promoting her new book, Break, Blow, Burn, Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems. I'll share a few thoughts on here presentation & viewpoint.

To start with, she has not trouble speaking her mind. Given her notoriety as a feminist, I thought this would likely shine through, however it didn't. I found her to be thought provoking and I tended to be in agreement with her more often than not in terms of substance.

An example: I agree with her that great art (poetry included) never remains the same. She urged people to go back and review art that they have found strikingly significant in the past and consider what it is saying to them today. Five, ten, or fifteen years later we see it different via our life experiences. I totally agree with this, and while this is not revolutionary or new to me, I appreciated her way of expressing it.

Her view of what makes a good poem centers on the quality usage of language and words of vitality. She prefers the personal read on the page to reading poetry aloud. And I tend to agree that how the poem hangs on the page, its visual presentation is important.

She was highly critical of existing established academic programs these days and maintains that Art belongs to all of humanity, not simply to an elite coterie.

She used "the term"accessible which of course is not the most positive word in my vocabulary and I would not specifically find it necessary to define poetry that for my buck, would stand the test of time.

I glanced at the book, though they were sold out. Mine is expected in on Friday. I was guessing the Plath poem she selected would be Daddy or Lady Lazaruss. It was Daddy.

Ms. Paglia speaks at a 90 mile an hour clip (I kid you not) and it taxes an ADD mind, but I found the experienced to be worthwhile.

I am anxious to get into her specifics in the book and when I do, I'll likely have more to say about it.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

To Be Sure Is A Good Thing...

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." ~A.A. Milne

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Saturday - all is quiet

Bitter cold descended upon us overnight. Gone are the 60 degree January days we knew were too good to be true. Last night it was single digits. We had a touch of snow, but even that was scant and chased away by the cold.

Last night I managed to get three more poems off bringing my total submissions for the year to date at 13.

The mail has come, no rejections - only a utility bill, the latest Poets & Writers and a slew of junk mail, catalogues and material mostly for my daughters. My wife lamented no mail. I reminded her no mail can be a good thing.

My daughter picked up a couple of books for me last night as some discount book store. The Night Abraham Called To The Stars by Robert Bly, and Augusten Burroughs book, Running with Scissors. I've been wanting to read this book for some time. It will have to wait however for me to finish my current read.

That is it for now, I'm off to clean in my office.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Site visitors

Just wanted to mention that some of the readers of stickpoet this week have visited the site from these places:

  • 13 from Van Texas
  • 3 from San Joes
  • 2 from Calgary, Canada
  • 2 from Stirling, Scotland
  • 2 from Blue Springs, Missouri (almost my backyard)
  • 1 from Erode, India
  • 1 from Toronto, Canada
  • 1 from Sarasota, Florida (spring training is coming soon!)
  • 1 from White Plains, New York
  • 1 from Detroit, Michigan
  • 1 from San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 1 from Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 1 from Schenectady, New York

Just to name a few. Thanks to everyone for dropping in.

A summary of this years publication activity


Submissions to publishers / journals - 8 poems
Submissions accepted - none
Submissions rejected - none


Submissions To Publishers / journals - 2 poems
Submissions accepted - none
Submissions rejected - none

Totals for year

Submissions - 10
Accepted - none
Rejected - none

Note: I should have 3-4 more going out over the weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Civil liberties fear as US terror suspect list rises to 325,000

Guardian Unlimited Special reports Civil liberties fear as US terror suspect list rises to 325,000

With the list numbers growing swiftly, Timothy Sparapani, a privacy rights expert at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ACLU's response was one of incredulity, and alarm that many people are likely to be on the list by mistake, with serious impact on their lives and few, if any, means of getting themselves off it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Poetry Rules Valentine's Day Online

Poetry Rules Valentine's Day Online

In the week ending February 11 - leading up to Valentines Day - the search term, "love poems" grew 83 percent. This outpaced searches for Chocolates, flowers and other gifts normally associated with Valentine's day during the same time period.

This news is a positive indication on the general publics view of poetry, at least in a broad context.

Other interesting demographics information can be seen at the story linked.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In Defense of the Vice President

Vise President Dick Cheney is taking a lot of heat over the weekend hunting accident in Texas in which he shot a fellow hunter in the face. I realize that this is a bit uncommon. The last Vice President to shoot a man was on July 11, 1804, when Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey. So it is not like it has never happened before.

Cheney, an experienced hunter had a $125 nonresident hunting license in Texas. But after investigating the incident, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues a warning to the Vice President because while he had a license, he did not purchase a required $7 special stamp. Officials at the White House said the Vice President was not aware he needed the stamp. Honestly, I would not have thought you needed to buy a $7 stamp to shot someone either.


The Poet Robert Browning on Love

"Take away love and our earth is a tomb."
~Robert Browning

Chalk Lines

Chalk Lines
for Cathy

The gravity of it,
Newton’s hour
When force of physics
Establish its dominance
Pulling you down-
The blue chill of
Mare Moscoviense
On the darkside,
Freeze dries all hope.
I sprinkle what's left
A fine pool cue pumice
To outline your sleep.
If hope is all that I have,
It must be close to you-
A reminder when you awake,
You have all there is of me.

Monday, February 13, 2006


No, that is not a headline from the Onion - check out Time or CNN. Just think of the options open to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.

Poetry notes....

  1. Check out the John Freeman's review of Love in the Extreme, a poetry book by Richard Siken and published by Grand Rapids Press.
  2. Reading: Victor Smith - Friday February 17th at 7:30 pm - The Writers Place- Kansas City native who's poems have appeared in a number of publications, including The Kansas City Star and the Alternative American.
  3. OPEN MIC - The Writers Place - Monday - February 27th - 8-10PM

Today's Poetry Quote: "Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young." ~Sainte-Beuve, Portraits litteaires, 1862

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday Stuff

Thanks to Jilly, I found this piece about Billy Collins and his feelings of being less than a laureate interesting.

The opening ceremony of the Olympics was moving. I always enjoy seeing the attire that each country chooses to wear. Thank God the U.S. ditched the cowboy hats. The lighting of the torch was spectacular. Watched some of the women's hockey today. Excellent games. Looking forward to alpine sking tonight and figure skating.

Worked some this morning on a new poem... still much more to do on it just to finish the first draft.

I'm off to run some errands...

Friday, February 10, 2006


  • This interesting piece is making the news today: Libby Testifies "Superiors" Ordered Leak of Classified Information.
  • A guide to the Winter Olympics which start today (here)
  • My wife and I were talking during the drive into work this morning... she was highly suspicious of Bush's details on failed LA terrorist plot. I am too. It is not that I don't think that it could have or could become a target. I just find it interesting that he is only now talking about it publicly. It just runs contrary to his normal personality. This man likes to take "bragging rights" so the news of it over three years later seems a bit contrived. Besides, what basis do we have to believe him?
  • Jack Abramoff on Bush's brush-off of their relationship, "The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows." (here)
  • "I feel somewhat abandoned..." The words of Michael Brown testifying before Congress on the government's response to Katrina. Wow, those are words I bet the people of the Gulf Coast area can identify with. (here)
  • "Poetry is an act of peace" wrote Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. "Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread." (here)
  • And this on Moon Poetry.
  • If you haven't already joined this discussion on the $ value of poetry do so [see yesterday's post]

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Here and There

Just to note a few geographical locations represented by Stickpoet visitors lately.....

  • Sydney, Australia
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Burgas, Bulgaria
  • Joliet, Illinois
  • Chula Vista, California
  • Brighton, United Kingdom
  • Wadesboro, North Carolina
  • Silver Springs, Maryland
  • Bonn, Germany
  • Vadodara, India
  • Shawnee Mission, Kansas
  • Screwsbury, United Kingdom
  • Mansfield, Missouri
  • San Francisco, California
  • Wichita, Kansas

Nice broad mix of people. Stickpoet thanks you all for stopping by and the many other locations I did not name. We truly have an international group of readers dropping in.

Thursday ramblings

February is being less kind to us than January was. It got down into the teens last night. Just a week ago I noticed we had Tulip bulbs coming up already - this can't be good.

I suppose all the warm weather we have been having has only intensified my lust for baseball season. I have actually paid far less attention to off-season deals this year than normal. I'm not sure why, it isn't for any loss of interest in the game.

Baseball and poetry have a lot in common. There is this saying in baseball that the season is too long to let the win get you too high or the loses take you too low. I think the same advise is good for writers, especially poets. You can easily ride the crest of a wave with a success one day and find yourself swallowed by the surf the next. As a result, it's best to try to stay on a more even keel with you emotions as they relate to your work. Besides, what didn't work last week can become the cornerstone for something different this week. That is just the way it seems to work.

Turning colder should put me in the mood for the Winter Olympics. The winter games are far more interesting to me than the summer games. The sking and figure skating are my favorites. I love the alpine jumps. It just looks so utterly awesome when they are mid-air and leaning way forward. I remember many years ago at one of the Winter Games, perhaps Lake Placid, there was a guy who represented England that they dubbed "Eddie the Eagle" that came to the Olympics as a novice. It was such a trip to watch him. I think I and a million other men must have been living vicariously through him on every attempt.

I was thinking this morning about the relationship between poetry and other things in terms of a scale of importance. I'm guessing most put it pretty low. I'm not speaking specifically in terms of education, but let's take that as an example. You are going to budget for your overall curriculum. I'm going to give you $100 to represent that portion that is the total education budget. (I know it is low, but play along with me. Remember Bush is president and we are spending $8 billion a month on Iraq so we don't have much to spend.)

So we have to fund the following with our $100:

  • Math department
  • English Department (reading, grammar, language usage)
  • Social Studies - History / Civics / Contemporary Issues, etc.
  • Physical Education (non- sports team)
  • Poetry
  • Music
  • Art ( painting, Photography, Sculpture, etc)
  • High School Sports (team and individual sports program / after school. Football, baseball, basketball, track, tennis, golf, swimming, etc)
  • Foreign Language
  • Shop / Home making, etc.

There you have what needs to be funded. I'd like to hear from some of you how you'd divide up your $100 budget and use your best argument to make your case - or none at all if you just want to do the math and let it stand on the merit of your priority itself.

Go to it - this should be interesting.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Poet Lineage

I was thinking the other night of sketching out a "family tree" of sorts of poets influence. Perhaps it would look more like a corporate flow chart. The idea would be to start connecting major poets by influence. I imagine this is not at all an original idea and I am sure somewhere, someone else has undertaken such a project. None the less, embarking on this could be quite educational.

I've read several biographical accounts of Sylvia Plath over the past few years and I am reading yet another one presently. It is interesting to see some of the long and deep lineage of close friendships and influences that even span generations. In the case of Plath, there is even a significant American-Euro connection of poets.

Certainly such connections bring with them at times some influence upon the individual work of a writer. Just as what we read (since for the most part, we read what we like) tends to give us some influence that creeps into our work at times.


What number are you?

The U.S. Department of Labor assigns a 9 digit code to identify most professions. The number131067042 is the number assigned to designate Poets.




Monday, February 06, 2006


"What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books." ~Sigmund Freud, 1933
This is almost funny. However, I don't suppose we've come much further since 1933.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Midwest Poet Series Review

On Thursday, I attended a reading at Rockhurst University by Laura Kasichke. This was one of the Midwest Poets Series readings that have over the years attracted the likes of Billy Collins, W.S. Merwin, C.D. Wright, Sharon Olds, Li-Young Lee, among others.

I read a short novel last fall written by Kasischke when I was unable to turn up one of her poetry books at the Library. The remarkable thing about the book was not so much the plot as it was the language she used. He writing was so vivid with imagery that I know that her poetry just had to be awesome. I was not disappointed.

Kasischke has published six books of poetry in addition to three novels. She is a Pushcart Prize winner as well as the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, the Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award, and has earned fellowships by the Ragdale Foundation, McDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Presently she teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

What draws me to her poetry is the manner in which she transforms the common everydayness of events and things into mystical imagery to tell a story. Her words, even in the throngs of commonality are strong enough to pry your attention away from your own everyday life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Last night...

Poetry Society meeting (KC Metro Verse) went well last night in spite of my last minute planning. I did some handouts and we discussed David Groff's essay The Peril of the Poetry Reading: The Page Versus the Performance which made for a lively discussion. Groff presents some excellent food for though both favorable and unfavorable to poetry readings.
We also did read-arounds. Some personal work as well as poems by others. When all was said and done, no one suggested impeaching me. Not openly anyway.

Speaking of impeachment, I caught the President's State of the Union address on the drive home last night. Amazing to say the least. At one point, he said:

"So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the
Constitution [I have yet to hear which specific article references this authority] and by statute [again, what statute?] -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance
program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al
Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.

Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority [Really? Because I really am only aware of Nixon using wiretaps that were illegal ]I have and federal courts [Which court? This is really funny because what he is doing is
circumventing the very court (FISA) which was established to deal with warrants
for the very activity he is undertaking without warrants]
have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress [Interesting in that many including members of his own party have expressed concern when this became public knowledge] have been kept informed.

The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist
attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people
inside our country who are talking with Al Qaida, we want to know about it,
because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again."

*red type and brackets are my comments

Ok, he keeps framing this issue like Al Qaida picks up the phone or types an e-mail to someone in the U.S. or vice versa and we know they are doing it, so we listen in or intercept their e-mail. He is suggesting no one else is impacted, no one else but the "bad guys" are being spied on. How damn stupid is the President thinking the American people are? You can't automatically know who's phone calls and e-mail to intercept - this is broader than that and THAT is the reason he isn't going to FISA is because FISA is not going to grant an open season of spying on the American people just to see what we can find.

Bush can travel from city to city and give this speech a million times. He may even be beginning to believe himself that he has the legal authority to do this, just as he convinced himself of the WMDs, but he is wrong on his executive authority and he is breaking the law.

I recommend reading Palace Revolt if you happen to think what I have just said is nothing but liberal bullshit because there are plenty of conservatives who understand what the President is doing is wrong and some of them worked for the President and tried to convince him otherwise.

Enough of that...

Any Adreienne Rich fans out there? I was reading some of her poems this week. She is an interesting read.