Friday, March 31, 2006

Poetry Month

Last year Stickpoet offered a poetry-quote-day via e-mail during Poetry Month. This year, I am not doing the e-mail quote, however I will be posting a quote from a poet each day. If fact, due to my weekend schedule I will be posting April 1st Quote early.

Wishing you all a great poetry month.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tread softly...

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." ~ William Butler Yeats

Yeats was truly masterful at transforming words to mood. His writing so lyrical. He is one of those few people who I believe can make you fall in love with the words themselves.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Night Wishes

So quiet this house,
the night.

The two entwined,

I, on the other hand,
sit, like an extra.

An uninvited witness
to their cozy bond,
wishing she were home,
and I the night.

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement - The Boston Globe

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement - The Boston Globe

Bush shows the utmost arrogance - placing himself above the law and accountability to the American People. While not the first time he has done so, this is perhaps the boldest example yet.

She's the "Real Deal"

My wife was out shopping yesterday with my daughter while I was at home changing out the insides of a toilet tank. When she came home, she had bought me a magazine with some terrific stuff on poetry in. What a sweetie!!!

The New Criterion - What Auden believed

The New Criterion - What Auden believed

I'll give credit to Jilly for finding this interesting piece on W. H. Auden.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Back to the Hughes Quote

I've thought about this. I've even posed the question to my wife and one of my daughters. The question being that of my personalities- assuming I have more than one, what are they? The consensus from the family was that yes I have more than one. It was pointed out to me that I would likely act one way around say "x" but another if I was not in there presence. I certainly see their point, and I suspect we all have similar situations we could point to, but is that a different personality altogether or simply make up a part of our overall personality? I don't have the answer to that question as of yet.

This morning, it occurred to me that personality testing could give me some outside quantitative basis for examining my specific personality. So I went back to the last time I took such a test That would be July of last year. I blogged briefly on it here.

So accordingly, I find myself based upon this too be a EIFP. That designation would make me am extroverted Intuition person with Introverted Feelings. So perhaps this is a clue to what I am exploring. I present extroverted, but deep down inside I am really an emotionally introverted kind of guy? This, I suppose could account for two different personality types.

Hughes talks about writers of verse ideally finding a style that is inclusive of all our personalities.
I'm thinking that unless we are trying to force into words what we are writing, this would seem a natural occurrence of the act of writing itself. Am I mistaken? I would really be interested in the thoughts of others on this topic.

Friday, March 24, 2006

My Several Personalities

"Most writers of verse have several different personalities. The ideal is to find a style or a method that includes them all." ~Ted Hughes

I'm going to have to think about this "several personalizes" thing a bit. Yes, I've written from a variety of personas, but that is not what Hughes is saying here. This may require outside counsel in order to arrive at objectivity. Hence, I need a day or two or three on this one. But I will be back!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

the substratum of our beings...

Todays quote from the mouth of a poet comes from T. S. Eliot ~

"Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves. "

Yesterday's mailbag ~ My 2006 National Poetry Month Poster arrived. You can see it pictured here to the right - really cool this year!

Contest - Eileen Tabios plugs Marsh Hawk Press contest [here]


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"This is what a poet does..."

It strikes me humorously how radical Allen Ginsberg was thought, by many people back when he was alive and writing poetry. The times themselves, or the churning and turning that was taking place in the American culture at that time I suppose seemed radical to most. Ginsberg I suppose only embodied a part of what was happening behind the everyday America that was sort of like in this giant vat being slowly mixed and turned into something that would one day resemble a quite different America. But Ginsberg verbalized what was happening slowly.

For a long time, we had been moving away from a stricter model of poetry subject matter. The romanticism that so often we equate with poetry was not the only relevant voice and in fact, to many, its relevance even seemed questionable. Perhaps it is the awakening of America that was truly more radical then the singular notion. There are things that quietly occupied the minds of people that turned into reality were quite radical, but they stayed there, quietly, kept to themselves.

Ginsberg was not alone. He was not a sole practitioner in radical thought. Indeed, it was a transformation that preceded him altogether. I think he simply realized what a powerful vehicle we each had at our disposal if we simply unleashed it. And the timing was right. There were others- people who were transforming the world with words. Ginsberg became a very powerful public personification of the thought process of a whole generation of Americans.
He said,

"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."

This is what Allen Ginsberg showed us, and I believe it has dramatically changed us as people.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Out of a poets mouth ~ Today's quote

Bitterness is like cancer.
It eats upon the host.
But anger is like fire.
It burns it all clean.
~Maya Angelou

WebWatch : World Poetry Day - News, Sport, Information and Entertainment

Believed to have its origins in the 1930s, World Poetry Day honours poets and their craft. It was specifically declared as such by UNESCO in 1999, in order to "give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements". The aim is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

Missouri & the Arts

Snowed overnight, but the results were not that bad. For the most part roads were good this morning about town. At least the ones I drove on.


I saw an article from the K.C. Star on Sunday in the arts section that painted a really dismal picture of Missouri and support for the arts. It seems that the Missouri Arts Council is the second oldest state arts council in the nation. In the 1990's the state legislature routinely budgeted between $4.5 million and $5.6 million annually. Now, the state gives it less than $500,000 a year.

I was appalled to see that the state now ranks 49th for spending in the nation for arts. A paltry 8 cents per person. Even the territory of Guam spends more on art. This is a big turnaround from being a state that at the outset was an innovative driving force in support of the arts.

I am well aware that the state has faced major cuts in critical programs but it seems to me less than a half a million a year is appalling. If the legislature cannot budget more from state funds, they could lend their efforts to working for funds from the private sector. There is a lot Missouri has to offer the arts. Our history is rich with poets and writers. Paint artists, musicians, and so on.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Four Seasons in Verse

Yes, it is the first day of spring. Tell that to the weather man. Meghan can be seen here pre-race Saturday getting her gear on. The cold came to visit again and it seems to be handing around. Fortunately last night it stayed just above freezing as rain and sleet moved into the area. We are told a motherload of snow is in store for us next. So much for spring fever.

So there are four seasons to a year - admittedly some geography seems to ignite this fact, but that is another whole blog topic and I am not going there.

What I am pondering is which season has been the subject of more poems?
Of course I don't have the answer, but it is an interesting thought to ponder on a day that could turn ugly chasing us inside to begin the process of "winter cabin-fever" even if it is spring.

Redlands Daily Facts - Living

Redlands Daily Facts - Living

Poet Sholeh Wolpe has work included in the forthcoming anthology "The Other Side of Sorrow," to be published by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Patricia Frisella, editor, says the idea for the book began when Sam Hamill called on like-minded poets to host community readings to address the impending war against Iraq.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Clearest Voice

She holds on to something
In defiance of form

It isn't easy to keep a firm grip
On something you can't distinguish:

Still, she must.
The clearest words
From deep within
Her nuclear core
Tell her

She must.

Can I pause the weekend?

"The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them. " --Raymond Chandler

Interesting statement. I find room of agreement and disagreement with it. With poetry, I think it is most applicable to first drafts.

Yesterday was another cycling event for my daughter in Lawrence, Kansas. Cold, and the wind was outrageous. Weather forecasts are talking about all kinds of scary amounts of snow for us in the Kansas City area yet this weekend and tomorrow. While the sky looks bad out, I am having trouble being a believer. Perhaps it is simply I am in denial.
I need to be sending some stuff today or tomorrow. <---- note to self.
I really don't want the weekend to end. Of course I never do anymore but I really don't want Monday to arrive this week. I need more time. ::sigh::

Friday, March 17, 2006

Feeling Green....


Social & Political Commentary Moving To New Blog

I have decided to post social / political commentary for the most part away from this blog. My reasons are really pretty simple, it is more a housekeeping matter than anything else. You can read more on this in the first post at Social Commentary by Stickpoet

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Editorial: Fighting terrorism by cheating justice

Editorial: Fighting terrorism by cheating justice

I recommend reading this editorial.


A Sorry Example of Sociology

A blister, given rise
Plump with anticipation
And between events.
A beginning and an end
That really is not,
But explanation reeks.

We copy to paper
With no thought given
But a man’s DNA,

That's another splinter
Inflamed in redness,
Taut, and mimicking
An ear on a cold day.

Go ahead, Cry foul.
Cry wolf.
Cry at the drop
Of a Stetson.
Cry in vain.
Cry out
With no remorse.

Tears beat a path to your door
And you let them in. Why?
A sorry example of sociology

At best. Another way
To pound the dent out
Of love wrecked
On the corner of indifference.

A time when I called
And the voice of reply was mine,
The explanation reeks too
And we won't talk about it.
Just like the DNA
We fear the complexity
Reaches beyond linear travel
Or comfort.

Thursday Briefs

  • Kudos to Eileen Tabios, Editor and the other contributors to the first issue of Galatea Resurrects! [click here]
  • Happy Birthday to Ivy !

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Point of View

An article by Henry Stimpson in P&W Magazine (March / April - 2006) gives us a glimpse of the poet Franz Wright which I was intrigued by for several reasons, but most importantly because Franz has achieved success outside the realm of academia.

Franz wrote in the shadow of his father's success, although his contact with his father while growing up was limited. In the article, Franz relates writing a poem at the age of 15 and mailing it off to his father. His father reportedly wrote back something like, "I'll be damned, you're a poet. Welcome to hell."

Genetics aside, both achieved a Pulitzer for poetry - I believe the only father and son combination to do so, but the paths both too to such success differ. James Wright was educated at Kenyon College where literary arts were the order of the Day. Franz however achieved his success working outside the academic structure. It is perhaps this facet that I find most interesting. While I am not a critic of academia for the sake if itself, I find refreshing hope in the fact that one can achieve such a respected level of success in the art of poetry outside of its realm.

Both father and son battled mental health issues. Franz has spent a great deal of energy in his later life focusing on poetry as a way to help those isolated and alone in their illness as he once was. In the P&W article he spoke frankly about the path he took. "Let's face it, somebody has to write from outside academia. I got my ass kicked in this world, but I got something out of it. I think I have a sense of the way people live on the outside that I wouldn't trade." This reflects a point of view that I can identify with both as a writer and a consumer of poetry.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Safe from harms way...

The weekend brought with it another trip to Lawrence, Kansas where my daughter rode in two cycling events. A prolog (a time trial) and then later a Crit. The weather was windy but not rainy as it had been the week before. Meghan did much better. I was impressed that she seemed to keep her laps on the Crit pretty consistent as I timed her.

My wife put in long hours volunteering at the event. We were all tired by the time we got home.
Little did we know how fortunate we were for Saturdays weather and not Sundays as severe weather pounded parts of Kansas and Missouri Sunday. The KU campus is closed today with major parts of the campus having some damage to the structures.

Sunday, we rounded up all the pets and headed for the basement as tornado warnings sounded near our home. We were all safe, suffered no damage, but it put a bit of a crimp in some of the chores I had planned. None the less, I still got a lot done, though little work on poetry. I did journal extensively.

Saturdays mail brought with it a rejection letter on two of the poems I had out. They are both strong pieces of work and I am not too dismayed, they will go right back out. I'll find the right venue for them yet.

With that I'll close with a couple of quotes on critics of writing....

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done,they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves. - Brendan Francis Behan

Asking a working writer what he feels about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs. - John Osborne


The start of something small The start of something small

Susan Salter Reynolds, LA Times staff writer reviews a new book Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments.

According the Reynolds, this book is best suited for true fans of the poet Elizabeth Bishop. People already quite familiar with her work.


Friday, March 10, 2006


George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four. You are the
classic warning against the threat of
totalitarianism. To you, politics and
philosophy are inseparable, auchtorities suck
and the reality might not exist outside our

Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday Quote

"Is getting well ever an art / Or art a way to get well"
~Robert Lowell

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


A face awash in white
Veins drained of the fervent red
Trunk drawn into fetal form

Mock, mock, it is written in the air
Its taste, dingy rock salt
And perfume, essence
of nothing-

Consideration, not withstanding
The evident, apart from a picture window
Saturated in transparent misdirection,

Hard as granite, a place to rest your laurels
A baton with which to bruise
A trophy to hold

*note / original title The Air

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Full Weekend

Saturday, My wife and I and "race-cycling crazy" daughter, Meghan, drove to Lawrence, Kansas for a race. Meghan "The Beast" is seen here in pre-race warm-up (I use the term warm loosely). She placed - which made her very happy. She'll be back at it again next weekend.

I was able to craft a couple of decent poem drafts Saturday and Sunday. I've got several pieces now that are in Multiple draft stages.

My wife and I started to watch a movie Saturday night - Weatherman staring Nicholas Cage. The movie is presented as a comedy but it is one of the most depressing things I've watched. I can do dark comedy, even enjoy it. There was nothing amusing about this movie. We could not finish it. It sucked! Normally I really like Cage in movies and Gone in Sixty Seconds is one of Cathy's favorites.

I am guessing that Stickpoet will hit the 20,000 unique visitor mark sometime today (Monday) and I'm excited about that. It has also been fun taking note of some of the far away places some of the readers have some from. Besides a healthy dose of local (Kansas City area) readers, they have been coming from California to New York and places between. There are often Canadian readers, several that check in from Great Britain, Australia, China, India, Germany, Poland, Italy, the list goes on. Thanks to all of you, the near are the far. It is always great the get comments from readers as well.

I'll close today's post with a poetry quote from Marianne Moore -

"I am governed by the pull of a sentence as the pull of a fabric is governed by gravity. I like the end-stopped line and dislike the reversed order of words, like symmetry."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Life Distilled: Four Decades of U.S. Poet Laureates

Life Distilled: Four Decades of U.S. Poet Laureates

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Many casual fans of poetry do not know who the U.S. poet laureate is or, for that matter, what the poet laureate does. Who appoints the poet laureate? What are his or her official duties? More importantly, why should you care? New Letters on the Air, a nationally syndicated literary arts program, answers those questions and more with the series Life Distilled: Four Decades of U.S. Poet Laureates.

This special five-episode series of one hour programs features readings and conversations with 16 of the U.S. poet laureates, using archive interviews from one of the longest-running literary shows in public radio, thanks to a reversioning grant from the Public Radio Exchange ( The series spans over four decades of poet laureates, from the late Howard Nemerov, who held the position in 1963, to the current laureate, Ted Kooser.

Many poets laureate have used the position to expose new audiences to poetry. Billy Collins discusses his Poetry 180 program for American high schools. He says, “I picked 180 poems that I think are clear and interesting and smart and contemporary, and I encouraged high schools to have the poem read as part of public announcements every day. So you don’t have to respond to the poem at all. You just have to listen to it.”

Life Distilled: Four Decades of U.S. Poet Laureates also includes former laureates Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky, and Maxine Kumin, who read some of their most famous work and give insight into the creative process that drives them to write. James Whittemore, William Stafford and Stanley Kunitz talk about the political power of poetry, while Joseph Brodsky explains how poetry helped keep his mind active while serving time in a Soviet prison. Gwendolyn Brooks recalls meeting Langston Hughes as a young girl and recollects his encouraging words that inspired her to continue writing. In a rather cantankerous interview, Howard Nemerov reads “On the Occasion of National Mourning,” a poem about the space shuttle Challenger disaster, as well as some humorous poems about his dog.

Even if listeners don’t think they’re into poetry, this series has something to offer. “Most people have a creative streak, whether they’re interested in writing or not,” says Angela Elam, host of New Letters on the Air. “I hope by exploring the writer’s process and hearing work that captures the essence of life, this series will inspire listeners to do something creative in their own way,”

The shows will be available for preview at beginning in March. Individuals interested in hearing the series should contact the program director of their local public radio station, and ask if the series is airing for National Poetry Month in April. For more information about the series, visit the New Letters homepage at or call toll-free (888) 548-2477.


Poetry Workshop - Kansas City

The Poetry Workshop Series
Conducted by
Missi Rasmussen

March 8th, 15th, and 22nd Wednesdays
6:30p.m. - 8:30p.m. $45.00 (includes all 3 workshops)

The Poetry Workshop Series is a series of three 2-hour workshops where poets of all levels will get together to compose poems, enhance poems, and give and receive feedback from other poets.

Workshop 1 - During this workshop poets will do a series of mini-exercises designed to get the poetic words on the page. Poets will leave this workshop with approximately 10 new poems on their pages. Poets will also be asked during this workshop to bring up to ten pages of poems to exchange with other members for feedback.

Workshop 2 - During this workshop members will experiment with different ways to enhance poems they may feel dissatisfied with. Poets are asked to bring at least three poems to be enhanced. Poets will then be able to read aloud their finished works for verbal feedback from other members. The workshop will begin with a mini-exercise session to get the poetic muses stirring.

Workshop 3 - During this workshop poets will create poems using more thorough exercises. A final read-around of finished works for feedback will conclude these workshops.

**Poets are expected to leave the workshops with approximately 15 new poems he or she has composed during the workshops, in addition to the several he or she has brought to enhance. Poets will also have written feedback on up to ten of their poems, in addition to the verbal feedback they’ve received.

Please call (816) 468-4766 to reserve your spot in the Workshops.

Coach's Bio: Missi Rasmussen is a poet and writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals and the anthology Under the TellingTree: An Anthology of Verse and Voice. She is a Production Editor for The Scribe literary journal and a state board representative of the Missouri Poetry Society as well as the president of the Kansas City Chapter of the Missouri Poetry Society. Her first collection of poems, Like a Madman is due out this summer.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Desperate people do stupid things

If you ever wondered what often drives men to do stupid things, we have a perfect example before us right now. A president of the most powerful nation on earth is faced with the following:

  • Slumping popularity in the polls
  • Scandal and ineptness all around him (Libby, Brown, Chertoff, et al)
  • A preemptive attack on a nation over WMDs it did not have
  • Unconstitutional eavesdropping against American citizens
  • Troops committed to a war that over 2/3 now believe we should withdraw from
  • A nuclear arms crisis brewing in Iran and North Korea
  • 8 billion dollars a month committed to the war effort
  • Impending Civil war in Iran
  • The recent controversy over the Arab company Dubai Ports

With not idea what to tackle or where to start, the President has run off to India to offer them a sweet nuclear deal in the name of making the world safer. That is right, if India will separate it's nuclear energy program from it's weapons program, we'll give them more nuclear material. The idea is that somehow, separating these two programs and giving us the option to inspect the weapons facility from time to time makes the world a safer place.

Keep in mind these three things:

  1. India never signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
  2. They already have nuclear weapons.
  3. They presently are finding it difficult to access additional nuclear material.

So the President, in the name of some great benefit to the security of the world, is going to reward a nation that has refused to be a partner over all these years to the nonproliferation treaty, by giving them privileged treatment and awarding them more nuclear material. What kind of precedence will this establish? How will you say no to other nations, and how is this going to stabilize nuclear powers and make us all safer?

This is the kind of stupid thing that desperate people do. Now we can make a reality TV show called Desperate Presidents.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's Wednesday, What do you want?

On this fine Wednesday morning, when the weather here in K.C. is beautiful, I'll take a stroll around the world at what is going on.

First, there is Frist. Senator Frist is busy trashing American civil liberties. Meanwhile, Bush has turned in the lowest rating of a two term President in the polls since Nixon prior to his resignation. Still, Bush isn't worried about the polls, he has "ample capital" according to an ABC interview. But capital or not, he now finds that his Iraq War effort is not even supported by the troops in the field.

Overnight, Bush made a surprise stop in Afghanistan on the way to India. While there, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked the $64,000 question, "Where's Osama bin Laden?"

In India, the president is busy with a plan to make the world safer.... "Both of us have to convince our respective people in the interest of having a civilian nuclear program that's separate from a military nuclear program," Bush said. [scratching my head, WTF? They already have the bomb!] And thousands turn out to protest. But then [click here] and now I get it!

In Baghdad it gets diecy. But Bush denied Iraq was sliding into civil war, despite the worst sectarian strife since a U.S. invasion. It's the denial thing all over again ::sigh:: - but perhaps he realizes we are close to one at home? No, I doubt it.

Back in the states, Imani Perry, a Law Professor seeks the meaning of Rap. It it, or is it not poetry? And North Carolina's poet laureate believes it's the best way to learn verse.

And last, this just in!!! HUSAYBAH, Iraq - News travels slowly to American troops deployed in the desert plains of western Iraq. Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine convulsed the country in religious violence, word hadn't reached U.S. Marines some 160 miles away. In fact, some are just now learning Bush was re-elected. Not!