Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Reflections

Have you been on Eileen Tabios' mind lately? Click here, you might be surprised.

Seems the town of Somerville, Mass. is poetry friendly. Anyone can get a poem published there. Click here.

There simply are no good guys in the Israeli /Hezbollah war, only victims and a very sad example of foreign diplomacy by the Bush administration. Click here and here.

Bits from my Journal:

the ancestral grip of your ankle / holding you back / only to circle like a compass / gyrating upon one foot / sweatshop perspiration held back by a defiant brow


Friday, July 28, 2006


FROM THE NOT THIS TIME DEPT. ~ I received a rejection letter yesterday. I'll just recycle the submission this weekend.

Actually, I have been identifying some virgin venues to try. I need to venture into some uncharted waters. I'm thinking it could very well be immensely more satisfying to find my work in some different journals than what I have had thus far.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yes, it is Thursday and I Am feeling Put Out

Top 10 new words we learnt from spam poetry this week... [here]. Maybe it is just the oppressive heat but I am kind of partial to mushraking.

I remain put out by all the pictures of Condoleezza Rice snapped in cheesy poses with the Miss America hand wave and captions that suggest "No Results in the foreseeable Future." It seems totally naive for anyone to suggest that a group of leaders meeting without any of the key players has any remote chance of resolving the conflict through diplomatic means. Meanwhile, civilians become the victims of continued hostilities. The Bush administration's foreign policies have contribute to this and other serious international problems that are building against a backdrop of their ineptness. Thinking about this makes me want to puke.

A LOOK AT WARTIME BEIRUT Bombs, Rubble and Poets [here] This all seems a bit surreal but then I have to ask myself just how war is supposed to seem where it coexists with a civilian population in a city?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rogue Poetry Review

As I mentioned recently in a post, I would have an announcement soon concerning a new online poetry venue. Well, soon is here. In October I will publish the first electronic edition Rogue Poetry Review. You may feel free to publicize this Call for Submissions by linking or reprinting it if you so choose. I am excited and look forward to reading some outstanding material.
Call for Submissions
Between now and September 10, I will be accepting submissions for reading in advance of the October premiere edition of Rogue Poetry Review online.
I am looking for is poetry that embraces the notion of art painted with words. What I am not looking for is flowery rhyme. The poems should be unique in nature as opposed to laden with cliques or well worn themes that have been done a thousand times. If it has been done, it needs to be all the more unique.
Please submit unpublished
material only. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please advise if you are doing so. I will also accept critical reviews of material already in print. Reviews are of lesser priority. That is to say that I will consider them, even desire them, but they will comprise a lesser percentage of the issue. I recommend you query first on reviews.

Submit material as an attachment to a word file and e-mail to:
The online site is at

I Write Poetry in the Loo...

Well, not me, but model-turned-actress Sushma Reddy likes to because it relieves stress. It is just one of her many stress relievers... "I write poetry just for my heart's content and satisfy my urge. I don't write to recite them in some function, I prefer writing something offbeat. Writing is something like a stress buster for me. I can write anywhere. I write on air tickets, napkins, and even on tissue papers in loo." Truthfully, I have written poetry in the bathroom, I just haven't resorted to using toilet paper as of yet. Her other stress relievers here.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Getting By With A Little Help From His Friends

Perhaps the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova is a perfect example of the power that resides within words. At a time when the work of poets was considered a threat to the Soviet state, Akmatova was a profound voice - especially for women and the oppressed.

The Ships Pass Quietly is a play set in the 1950's in Leningrad. Two women are in their sixties, Anna and Lydia work in their kitchen... Anna writing and Lydia mentally recording AnnaÂ’s poetry with care that the some nosyneighborr might overhear them and report them to the authorities. Read an account of this play here.


The Hussein Trial Resumes, Again Without Hussein - Saddam Hussein has been on a hunger strike. Meanwhile, the onlydefendantt to show was Barzan al-Tikriti, Mr. HusseinÂ’s half-brother. Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman admonished Barzan al-Tikriti for reciting poetry and challenging the American-led invasion of Iraq.


Donald Hall got a little help having the word "funky" defined for him. [story here]

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dodge Poetry Festival

I heard this morning while listening to NPR that the biannual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in coming up. I don't know why it took me by surprise since it happens every other year. I suppose I expected to hear it publicized earlier since it starts September 28th.

A few notables listed for this year's program...

  • Tony Hoagland
  • Gerald Stern
  • Jorie Graham
  • Andrew Motion
  • Lucille Clifton
  • Billy Collins

For Information [click here]


I always feel so much better after submitting poetry. I've been well overdue to get some material out, but I did tonight and I do feel better.

I was also excited that my favorite baseball team, The SF Giants moved into first place last night. I listened to their game this evening as they tried to sweep the San Diego series but lost in extra innings. Was a good game none the less - but they are now a half game back in the standings. Baseball and poetry are so much alike.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


A quiet day, and thankfully somewhat cooler than it has been of recent. Everyone away today leaving me with just the animals.

I've divided my time between some cleaning and reading. Occasionally I update myself on the world events on msnbc. As I have watched the mess in the Middle East get messier over the past week. I look at America with amazement of how totally impotent we have become as a result of our foreign policy. Could anyone five years ago thought we would be were we are today?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Found A New Voice You Like Lately?

It was only one poem, but I liked it and the was is slowly turns 180 degrees. Diana Park was featured as a new voice in Tin House (vol. 7 no. 4) with her poem We're Not Farmers. Little bit of an edge to it also got my attention. Diana is an MFC candidate at Arizona State University. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her stuff.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Poetry in Commotion

Last night on TV, Keith Olbermann reported on an airline that was going to start selling ad space on those "puke bags" they have on airplanes. First I about cracked up over it in disbelief. Then of course I came to my senses and realized what an excellent opportunity this provided the poetry and the literary arts. I mean we could use a grant to buy exclusive ad rights and place poems on the bags and call the project. "Poetry in Commotion".

Interesting factoid - Donald Hall has neither typewriter (you remember them?) or computer in his writing room at Eagle Pond Farm.

Another writer friend of mine told me Tuesday night at a meeting that he had been reading Anne Sexton recently and realized that a lot of my poetry reminded him of hers. I don't know if I should feel flattered or dead?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

KC Metro Verse met last night and the topic of discussion was good and bad poetry. For all the subjectivity required of such a discussion, it was in fact enjoyable and there were some agreements.

We did not set out to define poetry, though I was prepared with my minimal definition. We extended our discussion into the area of Garrison Keillor’s two anthologies, due to the claim to “good poetry” as part of their title.

I believe it is difficult to place a definition on what constitutes good poetry and bad poetry. Like beauty, it sort of comes down to who is the beholder. In the case of bad poetry, it seemed a lot easier to agree on what was bad. I suppose like often quoted remark about what constitutes pornography, I may not know how to explain it, but when I see it, I recognize it.

I think it is perhaps easier to say what a good poem isn’t than what it is. It isn’t rhyme at any cost. It isn’t more words than needed. It isn’t void of any literary devise. It isn’t cliché. Those elements tend to add up to a bad poem.

But what is good anyway. If I had a good day, that’s ok. Isn’t a great day superior to a good day? So while good isn’t bad, it could certainly be construed as say, just average or acceptable.

Keillor’s anthologies were written more in mind with a casual or non-poetry reader. His selections in both books (which I have read in but not through) seem to be decent. In that context, I suppose the title is quite appropriate. There are, as I recall even some exceptional poems among his selections. For Keillor to tag the title in such a way to suggest something more substantial, he might well have run the risk of scaring off many readers that are not poetry fanatics.

There is almost a whole cottage industry now of bad poetry. There very likely is an anthology out there titled The Worst of Bad Poetry.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

In Quiet Irony

It looks every bit like the start of a hot July day- bright light and contrasting shadows in the back yard. The heat has been quite mugging these past few days and if not that, then the gas prices will take you down.

Birds flutter about outside the window and land on the feeder- strategically placed close for the benefit of Abby's (the cat) entertainment. A new twist to the old adage killing two birds with one stone,we entertain the cat and feed the local birds in one act. The irony of it.

Perhaps on this Sunday morning, with the lazy summer backdrop, it should be hard to think about troubles and misfortunes of others halfway around the world, but I do.

Maybe it is the quiet that allows my mind to wander far off to the middle-east and families in Israel and Lebanon, what it must be like to sit in the quiet and wait for missile or bomb to interrupt it. All of this over what? How different would these two fathers be- (one Israeli the other Lebanese) in their basic wants, needs and wishes for their families? Then my thoughts return to the irony of the cat in the window and the birds at the feeder.

Friday, July 14, 2006

She Wore

She Wore

the light of day
a crinkled giftwrap
around her waist
that curved off into the sunset

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Worst Biking Hangover

My youngest daughter is visiting her sister and sent me this picture yesterday. Meghan as some readers will know from past blog posts is into road bike racing. She took her bike along on the trip and Tuesday road in the mountains with some other cyclists. This is Camelback Mountain which is where she rode.

Yesterday she called me late into the day... She had just got up (and sounded like it too). When she told me she had the "worst biking hangover" I just cracked up.

The grade was pretty steep but she said the ride back down was "pretty sweet".

Yesterday would have been the day from hell. Perhaps today will not be so taxing. My mood at this point is hopeful yet somewhat overwhelmed.

AROUND THE BLOGISPHERE: Yeah Jilly - who is doing a little self promotion (here)

Christine claimed to be on 25 peeps... Is that a good thing? - though I couldn't find her ::sigh:: Maybe I looked too late.

chuckling to self as I look at some of the search keywords used to get to this site recently.....

  • a muse super hero stamp
  • list of words posterious
  • pulitzer prize michael wells * (I'm sure they were disappointed)
  • write your own super hero story
  • poets workshop complaints
  • superhero badge making sites
  • god with a small 'g' book

Worth noting - a review of a review by Levi Asher of Where Literature Lives. Asher takes on Don Chiasson for his harsh assessment of Donald Hall's book WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stay Tuned

Last night I read some poems by Frieda Hughes. I wish she had a lot more stuff out there because I am especially enjoying the book of her work that I am currently reading. I read and re-read each poem a couple more times (which is what I always like to do with poetry) and I appreciate the intensity of her work. It is not really at all like her mother's but at the same time she has certainly the aptitude for intensity.

The morning ride into work - listened to "Air Supply" and then NPR.

My current feeling is something close to ambivalent.

All-Star game is tonight! My plan is to watch it and root for the NL.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to starting an online lit journal with a primary emphasis on poetry and critical review of poetry. Actually I've really gone beyond the "lot of thought" stage and I'll talk more about that in a couple of days. Stay tuned.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Global / Isolation

All the furor over immigration (not just in the U.S. but elsewhere as well) captivated my thoughts this morning as I dropped my wife off at work and continued on to my own job. The spark I suppose came from a piece on NPR about how other countries, France and Germany are struggling with what to make of their own immigration laws. It peeked my attention that we (Americans) were not the only ones struggling along with this issue.

First of all, I suppose I sometimes forget that there are actually other places than the United States that other people would find desirable to move to. A sort of cavalier sounding view now doubt. I really don't think on my part it is really anything more than lazy thinking. Of course there are people in other parts of the world wanting out of the country they were born into and finding sanctuary in a near by country is a dream than many would like to transform into reality. For those people, the U.S. may be simply too far away to reasonably look to, or cultural or family ties may make us seem less desirable than some other location.

Why is it that we, who were once so proud of our heritage as the "melting-pot" for so rich a diversity of immigrants not find ourselves fearful of what immigration means to the future of this country?

Some in this country look at this a simply a national security matter. Many speak of security as a basis for immigration reform, but it seems to me that for the vast majority, that is only a reason of convenience. It seems less selfish to say we are simply protecting our boarders than to say that we are fearful of losing jobs, or what our society will become through the assimilation of other cultures into our own. Yet, it seems to me that an assimilation is just exactly what we are!

What appears even more fascinating to me is how fast we are becoming a global community and at the same time how quickly we seem to want and to seek isolation. Confusing you? I'll confess it confuses me.

I have a hunch that most of the people who are drawn to this blog by the nature of the poetry connection are less likely than the majority of Americans to be concerned by immigration. We are probably the people for whom "closing the boarders" is not likely the political buzz word that will get our attention in November. My hunch is that people who are into poetry are generally more open to cultural differences and do not fear the threat of assimilation.
(And you wondered how I was going to tie poetry to all this....)

Honestly, like so many of the arts, poetry goes a long way towards breaking down such barriers. It is, I believe, the openness to such artistic expression that programs us for a broad mindedness that simply will not allow room for much of the "fear" associated with other people. Is poetry then the answer to multi-national understanding? Maybe not, but it sure wouldn't hurt.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday... He actually bloggs

I've managed some really rough drafts the past few days- but I haven't spent any time refining any of this or previous material. Picked up a new book yesterday. My wife has this radar for books that would interest me. We were walking through a bookstore in Topeka, Kansas - she in the mark downs and I looking at the poetry section. When I caught up with her she has Ariel's Gift by Erica Wagner. "Do you have this one?" [I have enough Plath and Hughes material she would have to ask] Of course she had come through once again. I could not pass it up and just under $2. Cathy (wife) bought a new crossword puzzle book this weekend and I have to agree with her - a lot of the clue and word associations are pretty lame. Example "brisk" - their answer was crisp. No way do I stretch my imagination far enough to consider crisp and brisk synonyms. "Gee, the lettuce in this salad is really brisk." I DON'T THINK SO.

Bits from my Journal:

Peeling onion skin off layer at a time,
wrinkles and worry lines sparked by tiny
two feet responsibilities, fell to the floor-
shavings of curled tongues
that will not soon lash out again.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Check out [here] if you are into books. You can see what others are reading and you can easily catalogue your own library easily. It is easy to join and unless you are serious enough to add more than 200 of your own books, it is free. Beyond that, the costs are nominal.

You can catch up with Sam Hamill this Saturday in Seattle - Tanabata Star Festival
SAT Celebration of poetry and romance features music, haiku, reading by poet Sam Hamill, 2 p.m.; docent-guided garden tours, 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.; and tea and floral demonstrations, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (garden is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m.), Seattle Japanese Garden, Washington Park Arboretum, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E., Seattle; entertainment free with admission, $3-$5 (206-684-4725).


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Mosaic glitter pounded the sky
Stealing breath-
Sulfur coating my mouth,
As frosting drizzled
Across the night

Monday, July 03, 2006

So it is...

Pictured to the left is a piece of artwork in downtown St. Louis. What I like about it is the urgency and the starkness of a black medium. Sort of reminds me of a windup for a pitch frozen in mid sequence.

Here is a crumb from my journal today:

So it is, standing here I've become a part
of the timberline, mired in translucent absurdity.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

In another life...

I chuckled at Mark Strand's poem Two Horses in the July 3, 2006 edition of The New Yorker. The horses must have sensed I was holding back. / They moved slightly away. Then I thought they might have known me / in another life - the one in which I was a poet. /

Yes, back in the day. Strand's words take me back to six or seven years ago. No, last month, hell maybe it was yesterday. He captures in the next few lines that feeling we all have in the beginning of eagerness. Then the style changes. Trying to find ourselves.

They might have even read my poems back then, / in that shadowy time when our energies new no bounds, / we changes styles almost as often as there were days of the year. //

This poem was a fun read and it did something interesting. It took me back to the beginning and plugged me into where I was with all that excitement. Then the experimentation with forms and subject matter. With looking everywhere, including under the kitchen sink for a voice. My Voice! The funny thing is the more I think about it, I find myself returning to that mode again and again. Reliving the past I guess.