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

Balancing Act

The public clamoring for community poet laureates is on the rise. Almost at an unbelievable clip. Kind of like the Dow Jones average climbing higher and higher on a graph. This has of course given poets and poetry a much higher public profile in recent years. Not only do we have a U.S. poet laureate, but many states, cities and even smaller municipalities are crowning their own as well.

This of course affords these entities someone in an official capacity to represent the community at significant community and or public events and these individuals are often called upon to recite a poem that relates to the community or the occasion that is being acknowledged. Often the poet may write something specific for the occasion.

But poets are a rare breed. And to ask a poet to speak at a public gathering and use their talent to express imagery and emotion can be like striking a match to a stick of dynamite. That is because poets tend to pull from the deepest pool of their inner-self. Therein lies a rich honesty that not all may like.

Last week, the poet Nikki Giovanni was asked to recite at a dedication in Cincinnati and her poem I am Cincinnati was emotionally and politically charged. Her poem struck out at some politicians and was laced with language that raised a lot of eyebrows. I suspect it would have been impossible for Giovanni to have addressed the crowd on this occasion with, shall we say etiquette and social grace; and at the same time remain true to herself. Given this choice to balance, I believe more times than not, a poet is going to remain true to themselves.

There are many instances of poets whose words have fallen on disfavor of certain segments of the public. The poet Amiri Baraka, for example , who was fired as poet laureate of New Jersey after his words in a poem on 9-11 were upsetting to some.

The juxtaposition created by the growing desire for very public and "official" poetry on one hand and the sometimes resulting unhappiness with content of publicly read poems creates an interesting dilemma for the poets and the community at large.


If this sounds Confusing...

One headline: Staying the course no more - Bush changes policy in wake of pressure as election nears (source) and another, WHITE HOUSE WON'T SHIFT IRAQ STRATEGY- Bush Officials: No Plan for Big Iraq Strategy Shift or Ultimatum to Iraqi Leaders (source). If this sounds confusing to you, then you are not alone. This is a president that has lying and deception down to an art. And my question to you is why, in the weeks before the mid-term elections should we believe ANYTHING that this man or those representing him say?


Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thoughts on Bly's Archives

Robert Bly is an acclaimed American poet. He is also still very much alive. When we from time to time learn the Nachlass of some poet or writer has come into the hands of a public institution and that always seems to elicit some degree of enthusiasm. Perhaps it is the fact that the The University of Minnesota Libraries have acquired the archives of such a noteworthy living poet that I find his news all the more intriguing.

The reported cost of this acquisition was $775,000, came from private gifts as well as university support. For this sum they will get more than 80,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts, Bly's journal spanning nearly 50 years, notebooks of Bly's "morning poems" As well as countless drafts of translations, and his extensive correspondence with writers James Wright, Donald Hall, James Dickey along with other items.

To me, it is fitting that these literary documents remain at an institution in his home state. But I am especially pleased to see that the plans include having the material digitized and made available for research and study by the university community but also a global audience who by online access. At 79, no one knows how much more material Bly is likely to produce but the acquisition agreement also provide extended opportunity to acquire all of Bly's future creative output.

If I sound excited by all this, it's because I am. For whatever reason I have found it hard to pass over opportunities to look into the goodies of various literary estates. In this case I would be especially interested in Bly's correspondence with James Wright and Donald Hall. I have already seen some of the Wright correspondence that was published in his collection of letters done not too long ago. I read the Plath's journals, Sexton's letters, and now I am reading Journals and early poems of Allen Ginsberg. I guess I am a sucker for this stuff.

I really don't think you can discount the value that knowing more about a poet and his or her life can add to the critical understanding of their work.

Speaking of Ginsberg, if you consider that Stanford University paid $1 million 12 years ago for the Ginsberg archives, the Bly deal almost seems like a steal.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vancouver wants own poet laureate

Vancouver wants own poet laureate like several other Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Victoria and Saskatoon) . This seems to be a growing trend among municipalities. Even in the U.S.

Rogue Exposure

I'm very pleased with the initial traffic on Rogue Poetry Review. On the day the first issue went up (Tuesday) 324 hits. Yesterday another 211 hits for a total of 535 in the first two days. I have no complaints whatsoever about the exposure it has gotten.

A few thank you notes are in order here. The following have posted links. If I am missing anyone, and I probably am, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The Wednesday Poet Series will not appear here today. Instead, I encourage you go to the inaugural edition of Rogue Poetry Review and read the voices represented there. Wednesday Poet will be back next week.

Thanks for your understanding - Michael

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rogue Poetry Review

The first Issue is up... I hope everyone will check it out. There are some outstanding poems in this issue.

Michael A. Wells - Editor

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dylan Thomas in the News

Dylan Thomas is widely considered one of the greatest 20th Century poets writing in English. The Welsh poet certainly made a mark in the literary would during his short lifetime (dying at age 39).

This week starts off with news that Actor Neil Morrissey is selling a pub that was a hangout of the late Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in Brown's Hotel in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. The site is near where Dylan and his wife Caitlin raised their family in a boat house.

And speaking of Caitlin... Actress Lindsay Lohan will play the wife of the Welsh poet in a movie with Keira Knightley. Knightely will play the role of childhood friend Vera Phillips. The two women are sexually attracted to one another.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th ~

On the heels of my Wednesday Poet feature on Peter Conners comes this item: Poetry: "A Urinal I Invite You To Hang On Your Wall."


Nice to read of Ivy's exploits with her chapbooks. [here]


Check out Christine Hamm's - Transparent Dinner / Mayapple Press. [here]


Then chew in this morsel.............. The head of the British army has said that our troops in Iraq are merely exacerbating the problems there and leading to difficulties for British forces worldwide.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

And The Winner Is....

The announcement for the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature is out and Turkey's Orhan Pamuk has won for works bridging the east-west divide .

Not surprisingly, President Bush has rejected the findings of the Johns Hopkins Study on Iraqi deaths since the invasion. But the best arguments on the subject I have seen was made here and here. The study provides a significant point at which to judge the impact this decision has had and continues to have on the people of Iraq. Like some many other things, the president is simply in a state of denial.

A Canadian-born, Pulitzer Prize­winning poet survives the tests of time- Mark Strand. Read this article about his new book, Man and Camel.

Always amused by what brings people to this site. Two recent search engine keyword strings used...
  • how would I make a Super Hero out of phosphorous
  • killing a frog dream

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Chronicle: Daily News Blog: Verse Academics Dominate Poetry Finalists for National Book Awards

The Chronicle: Daily News Blog: Verse Academics Dominate Poetry Finalists for National Book Awards

Four poets with academic ties are finalists for the National Book Awards. Ther are: Louise Gl├╝ck , H.L. Hix, Nathaniel Mackey, and James McMichael

Bush predicts victory at polls next month

President Bush Continues in a State of Denial

654,000 deaths tied to Iraq war

Wednesday Poet Series - No. 4

This week's poet is Peter Conners. He is both a poet and fiction writer who's work has been featured in Mississippi Review, Salt Hill, Beloit Fiction Journal, Luna, Sentence, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Paragraph, and, Quick Fiction, among other publications. Books include, The Names of Winter, While In The World , and he edited PP/FF: An Anthology

What work of Conners I have read seems intricate as to detail. Bite The Pomegranate would be a great example as to his predisposal to catching all that is about and pulling it into his images as he writes.

The Poet Washes Dishes is a favorite of mine. Here he gets a lot of mileage out of his detail.

"The soft downturn of the ladle handle soared and fell like the epic point guard's final jump shot..."
" Water turned from periods to semi-colons and, finally, ellipses."
Here are a few other poems by Peter Conners:

Snowbirds Made of Clay Endurance Poets with alarm clocks in their foreheads

Peter Conners official website - click here


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Overdue for an appearance here

A few poets I have read over the past week....

  1. Susan Hutton in October Poetry Magazine
  2. Laura Kasischke in October Poetry Magazine*
  3. John Ashberry in The New Yorker - Oct. 9th
  4. Jorie Graham in Swarm
  5. Frank Higgins in Rockhurst Review of Five Arts - Spring 2006 19th Edition.

* I was really excited to see Kasischke in Poetry Magazine. Reading her book, Gardening In the Dark, I was so impressed with her talent for imagery. I did feel her piece in PM was a bit more abstract and I liked that very much.

A few bits from this weeks Journal

  • In the villa of fantasy / The dancers wait, /And the passage of time / Slips through the waist / Of a rose colored hourglass / While the mind elicits / Thoughts to choreograph / In Burberry expressions / Of lust and indulgence //
  • We could sit in the faint light forever, though we would be pained by spinal failure and in the end become two puddles of red emollient
  • Why the diversion? Why the sudden interest in the hue of other lives.

Managed to recycle a submission to another venue this weekend and I have worked on some draft revisions.

On another note, Rogue Poetry Review should be ready by the weekend. I am excited!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday Poet Will Not Appear Today

Stick Poet's regular Wednesday Poet Series will not appear today - but will resume next Wednesday.
Thank You for stopping by...
~ Michael

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


We lost one of our cats yesterday. OJ was 17 years old.

He had an Iconic status within our home. By far the senior cat - a wise old sage. Fiercely independent, he established his own boundaries where the other cats were concerned. The dogs even respected him.

Sometime back - I'm thinking about 7 years ago, he had one eye surgically removed. I recall really feeling sad for him when he lost it, but it was feared his bad eye would rupture so there really was not a choice. He actually seemed to feel much better afterwards and adjusted very well.

He was a strong cat. He had been quite large at one time, but over the past couple of years lost much weight and although he sometimes appeared quite frail, if you wanted to pick him up, he could dig his claws into the carpet and it was coming up too.

At one time he had been prone to seizures. We had to administer Phenobarbital. He grew out of this for the most part, but it was always a possibility that existed. So in many ways, I perceived OJ to be resolute, a tough dude who had endured a lot in his life, but at the same time saw him as fragile.

He is missed!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Poets I Have Read This Past Week

  1. Lisa Zaran
  2. Richard Wilbur
  3. Eileen Tabios
  4. Fenny Sterenborg
  5. Robert Pinsky
  6. Sharon Olds
  7. Naomi Shihab Nye
  8. Raymond A. Foss
  9. John Ashbery
  10. Jorie Graham
  11. Destiny Dorozan Kappa
  12. Cindy Tebo
  13. Missi Rasmussen
  14. Elizabeth Hykes
  15. Sharon Esther Lampert
  16. Judith Bader Jones