Monday, December 31, 2007

Final 12 month review of the year

Statistics totals reflect last 12 months from this date: 12-31-07

Pending responses: 18
Submissions sent last 12 months: 43
Submissions sent this month: 10
Acceptance ratio: 15.38 %

Happy New Year Everyone!
May 2008 be filled with much inspiration ~ writing ~ and publication to you all!
"The Present is a Point just passed." ~ David Russell

In one way or another, time seems to find a way into a good deal of poetry. I suppose, because it often becomes another "place" and in so many ways poetry relies upon place. A place in the past... a birthday, a death, a walk in the park on one certain day in May, or it's about where someone is this very moment in their life. Still, it can present itself in the fears, dreams, hopes of the future.

There are periods when I write a lot about time myself, in one way or the other. It is an easy place to go for a poet because it can be anywhere s/he wants it to be and it can help distance the writing from the moment we are in and, it seems easier to write in another time than another persona.

Why am I blogging on time today? I suppose because New Years Eve is one of those dividers of time, just as time zones are or the International date line (not a reference to a singles phone service). We catalogue things by points of time and so one of those great separators of then and now, or past and future seems as good as any to think about the relativity of time.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

12 days left to Vote on Poetry & Academia

Mobile post sent by stickpoet using Utterz. Replies. mp3

7 Things You Should Know About Writing Poetry:

Deborah Ager posted a list of 7 things you should know about writing poetry. She challenged others to make their own list. I saw Kelli's list & below you will find mine.

7 Things You Should Know About Writing Poetry:

  1. Writing poetry can be solitary even amongst other people.
  2. There will be days you question what you are doing and swear you’ll never write again. This will pass. Often later the same day.
  3. People will think you are moody because you are a poet. This is not so. Even people who cannot write a single line of poetry can be moody anytime prior to their death.
  4. You will add years to your life if you can learn to resist trying to explain the meaning of your poetry when people ask.
  5. It is not mandatory that you be narcissistic to be a poet, but on the other hand it won’t hurt.
  6. Not everything we write has happened to us. If so, we would all be a little too weird.
  7. It’s not that our parent(s) didn’t teach us to share; we just tend to get fussy about our writing instruments, journals, and the table at Starbucks we sit at, etc.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fools Gold?

Wine anyone? At left is a snapshot of a portion of an art piece that was done the the top raps of wine bottles the cover the corks. A gripping piece of art work my daughter and I saw yesterday. When I first saw it from a distance I had no idea what the medium was but it locked on me like a heat seeking missile and we were inseparable at that point. I had to see it up close.
The brilliance reminded me of fools gold. Sort of chunky and multi layered in texture. I wanted to bring it home though it would have taken a massive wall to display it on.
We saw a number of exhibits - many old black and white photos - lot of them civil war era. I am continually impressed with what a talented photo artist can do with black and white.
There were some civil war battle photos. I was remarking to my wife how gory they were when Meghan (daughter) took issue with the gore description. And she was right. They were certainly not gory by cinema or even news standards today, but they were disturbing none the less in a very real way.
While there was not the blood and or mutilation we often equate with gore, many were battlefield shots taken the day after a battle. The stiff and sometimes bloated bodies would have configurations of limbs that suggested that many were left dying - scattered about the landscape perhaps for hours in pain, or one reaching for another nearby in life and frozen in that reach to their final ounce of remaining life was gone. It was perhaps more properly a morbidity than gore.
Today we took Meghan to Christopher Elbows Chocolate to celebrate her birthday. You want decadence? Try it. There is supposed to be one opening in San Francisco for you out west.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Few Thoughts this Thursday Night

After a very intense day at work I came home, had dinner, watched a bit of TV and had a glass of wine and now have sit down to collect my thoughts.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is heavy on my mind. I suppose in part, because I always find political assassination to be particularly distasteful. It is so contrary to the order of society and political discourse. Another reason I think it hits home with me is that I have been thinking a lot lately about the role of arts in society the past few days and how democratic nations where free speech is tolerated is a place where arts should by all rights flourish and those nations that are controlled by a strong government of censorship and repression of ideas should be free of such artistic expression.

I look at China and Burma for example and am amazed at the courage it takes to be an artist outside the control of the government in these places. Still, we see evidence of courageous individuals who risk much under harsh conditions. Then I think how in our own country so many of us sit back and watch quietly as so many elements of our freedom are challenged from within.

The Pakistani people are truly at a critical juncture and it seems obvious there is a very fine line between the existence of a presumed democratic state and a military controlled one and just how tenuous democracy has become there.

It’s funny that political discourse and artistic expression can both provoke strong reactions from people. So here I am tonight, not listening to any music that I can share with you, but instead considering just how much alike the arts and political discourse are. How both need a positive nurturing environment to remain healthy.

The people of Pakistan tonight must surely recognize how delicate the order to their society is.
The rest of us wait, and watch to see how it responds to the challenges it is presented with. What kind of order and society will survive.

Meanwhile, I think about poetry, music, and other fine arts and realize they aren’t just art, but expressions and reflections of who we are. We need to stop treating them as “just” arts, like in the educational process they are less than. Less than science or math or history. They are after all, who we are as a people. When art is restricted, our expressions are muffled. When that happens, freedom and democracy are on the line.

Political assassinations not only kill people, but the expression of ideas. Suppression of the arts
will kill them too.

Looking into the future...

You may not have cracked open your 2008 planner yet, but take note that Oct. 23, 2008 - Charles Simic, current poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner, reads from his work at the Midwest Poets Series on the Rockhurst University Campus. Simic is one of several poets whose work I like to read and reread - especially when I find myself in a writing funk. His work is like a jump start to the creative processes inside my brain.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone this holiday season joy ~ peace ~ and safe travel.

Michael Wells

Monday, December 24, 2007

Latest 12 month Update

Pending responses: 16
Submissions sent last 12 months: 46
Submissions sent this month: 8
Acceptance ratio: 15.38 %

Saturday, December 22, 2007

This morning from my bedroom I heard rain beating against the windows. Considering the temperature I knew this was not a good thing. Tonight the ball field across the street looks larger then life in massive white.

In the picture above, my bud Barry, maintains a stern view of things.

Started reading Pushkin's Eugene Onegin which my daughter brought home with her from school for the Christmas break. Considering her distaste of poetry I am intrigued that she enjoyed the book so much.

Haven't shared any journal bits for a few days so I'll throw some in this post...

  • portions of the night are tattered/comfort estranged/rest could only be a figment of active imagination
  • I looked at my left hand/traced the lines deep/into the country side/until I could not recall /how I got there
  • strung together, we are popcorn/and cranberries- differences/flashing red lights do not exclude
  • night is lax on standards/makes no effort to screen/leaving the door ajar
  • there is one non sequitur/that echoes in your head/and loosens the bindings/of Webster's unabridged/joins the others as the new word for the year/the binding restitched all tidy

Friday, December 21, 2007

With the good comes a dilemma

As the year draws to a close, I find myself looking back on my work this year with both a satisfaction and a quandary about the future.

My success rate with getting material published has been the best ever this year. I think in part due to more aggressive submission efforts than past. Still, I do feel that I have managed some outstanding pieces of work over the year and this is a result for growth in my work.

I've placed a greater emphasis upon revision of my poems and keep them back longer in many instances then in the past. The dilemma I am facing is the feeling that the method I have relied upon for workshoping work is broken. There is not sufficient consistency available among my existing sources to be able to simply be satisfied with how this is working.

I have met in the past with another group at a local library for this purpose but there were only a couple of us writing poetry and the rest were fiction writers. It was not a good match and I discontinued my participation.

Our local poetry chapter has at times been a source of input, but we do not meet solely for the purpose of workshoping and while it proves helpful at times, it is not a situation where there are other who regularly use it for this purpose and as such I do not want abuse the meeting time.

There are others with whom I have in the past exchanged work by email for the purpose of workshoping and that has worked well at times, but more recently it seems again, a one way street. It is not a good thing when I am more regularly working on stuff and others have little or nothing to send. I am a firm believer that everyone needs to feel the benefit of such a process. Lately, (and perhaps it is due to the holiday season) everyone else seems to be at a standstill. At any rate, as I look ahead to the new year, I must figure out how to deal with this challenging issue.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself." ~ Henry Miller

Monday, December 17, 2007

Inevitable (draft)

Inevitable (draft)

The prodigal son is just one of many
though he knows expectations run high.
There is always this red velvet carpet
that divides his thought process.

The future is some worm baited taunt,
and awkward as being caught with a cousin
at the Perkins family reunion.
It takes the swim of salmon upstream

to break a biblical cycle
that darkens the sky and
chokes off free will.
Times like these you swear
You’re an orphan.

Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007

Dan Fogleberg, singer and songwriter whose hits "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne" helped define the soft-rock era of the late 1970's died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.

Leader of the Band Run For The Roses

It's Monday already? :::sigh:::

Christine Klocek-Lim announces Autumn Sky Poetry 8 is on line. I haven't read it yet, but I intend to today. Christine's selections are worthy reads.

My youngest daughter came home for the holidays. It's so refreshing to hear her laughter in the house.

Went to Boarders yesterday looking for a certain book and came up empty. Sometimes I think I should own a bookstore so that there was on which stocked a broad inventory of poetry material and not just a token section. Of course I'd likely go broke doing it. Wait a minute! I am broke.

Wow - Sandra Beasley has a poem on Slate : The World War Speaks

Reminder: regular readers may want to subscribe to Stick Poet & receive it in the mail box. See the subscribe box by Feed Burner in the left sidebar.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Robert Hass Interviewed

Poet Robert Hass interview by Wall Street Journal online [click]

Diane Middlebrook - Poet & biographer dies of cancer

Diane Middlebrook - perhaps best known for her book, Anne Sexton- a biography, died this weekend of cancer. Middlebrook was 68 and had taught in the English department at Stanford. She is also the author of Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage a 2003 best selling biography.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The challenge to become something else...

Texture is an awakening call. It says, "I'm not ordinary. Feel me, see me, become me on a page."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journal smatterings

  • perception grows elongated/hangs around crowds/making the kinds of impressions/teenagers do to one another/looking to make points/with the opposite sex
  • Intonation offered up for what?/ears- or simply a regurgitation
  • nights of elastic boredom/ripple with salty waves/of complacency we suck on/there is a satisfying feeling /like a dog gets licking your face
  • you showered the long day away/I gave you a bath robe/the belt hung limp

Gamers will 'w00t' over word of the year - Internet-

Gamers will 'w00t' over word of the year - Internet- " Expect cheers among hardcore online game enthusiasts when they learn Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year. Or, more accurately, expect them to 'w00t.' 'W00t,' a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness, topped all other terms in the Springfield dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Duende & the Bag We Drag Around

Getting back to duende, The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux has a chapter in it called The Shadow. In it they relate what the psychologist Carl Jung describes as our pleasant self with which we identify and our hidden self which we try to deny or reject altogether.

They go on to correlate this to what the poet Robert Bly refers to as the shadow. Our shadow is presumably a long beg we drag behind us throughout life. As we learn what others / society doesn’t like, we start “bag stuffing” or discarding into the bag what we do not wish others to see. By the time we are adults there is just this thin slice of us visible and the rest we’ve stashed in the bag we drag around.

Addonizio and Laux have pieced this altogether with Lorca’s duende (see yesterday’s post) and it is certainly easy to see where this other part of us comes from. Without committing anything to a page, one can see how our lives alone reflect this conflict. If we can dip into this bag as we write, our writing can reveal a part of us that offers a genuine picture of humanity that we do not normally identify with, yet, is very real.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to get away from self censorship. If we subconsciously withhold a grater part of ourselves in day to day life, how easy can it be to peel back the cover and let light expose that which we work so hard to deny.

My challenge is to go to that bag when I write and try my best to reach into it like I were drawing a letter while playing scrabble and just accept what comes out to incorporate it into my poetry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finding duende

I've been reading some material from several sources on the subject of duende. I find myself transfixed the concept of this sort of anti-muse. It's amusing that so much time and energy is focused on us finding the inspiration of our muse and yet there is beneath the surface this vast iceberg of subconsciousness that we as poets so often abnegate.

I've spoken here in the past about how so often the really striking poetry rises out of conflict. This is something Donald Hall has written about in essay. In Edward Hirsch's the demon and the angel - Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration he talks about the emergence of the duende philosophy I believe first introduced by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca in a 1930 lecture. There are a variety of other poets and philosophers who speak of this same mysterious force deep within human nature. I am finding the shared view of numerous poets on this subject to be a significant part of my learning curve as it relates to poetics.

In both my own writing and in the works of other poets that I especially enjoy reading, I like to see and feel dissonance. That contrasting conflict that arises when we write from inspiration on one hand, and allow ourselves the uncensored deep rooted mysterious part of our self to come out and play in our work. It is when these two forces - internal and external are present that I believe the best writing often occurs.

Enough on this subject tonight... but I will take it up again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Little Poetry News to Chew On

Wendy Cope is not amused to find her work spread about the Internet... The British poet is a strict advocate of copyright protection. [ story]

In Janet's World the poetry is contemporary issues and extremely accessible - though not likely to win any awards. [ story ]

Tiny chapbooks that combine art, literature and design [ story ]

The story of on of Philip Larkin's (1922-85) greatest narrative poems, "The Explosion"which offers thoughts on the process of poetry.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Looking For The Right Poet

Search for First Missouri Poet Laureate Continues- Laura Spencer [ click here ]

If you are looking for a real treat this Friday...

I recommend going to qarrtsiluni online literary magazine for the poem by Dana Guthrie Martin - titled: And the Crickets Outside the Window. Click here

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A poet & his companion...

It's cold here tonight. Snow came to the Kansas City area today. Driving home tonight was treacherous.

To the left you see my little tuckered out buddy that was banished to the room with the poet at work for tormenting one of the cats. Sort of like sending him to Siberia I guess.

He's a good boy most of the time... but he has his weak moments. But don't we all?

Worked on some rewrites tonight and also sent off three poems in search of homes. I feel compelled to find these orphans homes for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Check out Picture Poetry

Piclit from Poetry Picture
See the full Piclit at Poetry Picture

Poets and Evolution of Language

For me, poetry, more than any other form of literature has brought to the forefront a greater awareness of the dependence of language upon external factors. This underscores a dynamic of human communications that surprisingly make language subservient to both pictorial and emotional whims, and adds a layer of complexity that amazingly is evolutionary in nature.

Since poetry is generally regarded as the best words in the best order, such focus on word economy greater exposes each word to scrutiny, thus providing greater focus upon meaning. Individual words stand out far more in poetry than say fiction or essay or any other written communication endeavor.

It is amazing to me how the centenaries of language evolution must have progressed as man sought to find common quotients in expression. The transference from cryptic drawings to word sounds and the vastness of vocabulary expansion seems to me nothing short of phenomenal. There can be no mistaking this was an evolutionary process and it seems to me somewhat odd to think that even today this evolution is still in process right under our noses.

Is not the very articulation of metaphorical usage pushing the envelope of language? It seems to me the answer is yes, and in that context poets have a significant role to play in moving and shaking the language of our culture. The question I have, is which side of the curve are poets more often on? Are we ahead of the curve pulling language, or are we behind the curve pushing the cultural change of language as the read them in society today?

Monday, December 03, 2007

The past twelve months....

Three rejections today... Que Sera, Sera.
On that note, a survey of my past 12 month activity....
  • Pending responses: 11
  • Submissions sent last 12 months: 40
  • Submissions sent this month: 2
  • Acceptance ratio: 15.79 %

Affirmation: I will do more over the next 12 months!

Monday Rat Race Starts

Saw this on Ivy's blog.... cool huh? Poetry Library

Quote for today....

I will show you fear in a handful of dust. ~ T.S. Eliot

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Poetry in the News - Sunday Night

A few stories of interest -

  • Letters of Ted Hughes reveals a fascinatingly honest man (click)
  • Poetry of Protest - a story from Iran (click)
  • John Ashbery & Robert Lowell - Two great American poets but very different (click)
  • Robert Pinsky has perfected a kind of multicultural poetic shorthand (click)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dinner with Kim

Those who savor the verse of poets had some tasty morsels served up last night at the Midwest Poets Series at Rockhurst University. Our hostess was Kim Addonizio from Oakland, California. She presented her reading as though it was a meal starting with cocktails moving to appetizers and a three course entrée topped off with a cordial.

Addonizio is a talented writer that has carved out successes in both poetry and fiction but admittedly prefers poetry. So you see, she already has me like putty in her hands; but honestly there is something about the edginess in her writing that is real. As she reads you seem to lose yourself in the words and find at the end you’ve awaken in your bed in cold sweats with the whole scenario next to you.

The crowd in the theater last night was attentive hanging to her words. There is no doubt in my mind that others too found themselves lost in her poetry. It is rich, it is real and if we were counting calories it is over the top.

She finished all this off… the poetry, a few pages from her latest novel, with a sign that her talents do not end with a pen. She treated us to a song on her harmonica. It was as song! It had distinguishable notes- not that wha-wha- whaa- wha you traditionally think of with a harmonica.

You won’t get the music if you buy the book, but her poetry is still very much worth the read. There are a few individual poems of hers out there on the Internet to discover, but her poetry is worth having in your library. And if you ever get lucky enough to hear her live, don’t pass it up!

Some audio of Kim:

What Do Women Want?


Lush Life

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life before my father’s murder - Times Online

Life before my father’s murder - Times Online:

"Life before my father’s murder Any hope of life to come is removed; this place is born of the loss of her father and her mother's betrayal" -Frieda Hughes commentary

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kim Addonizio Interview

Kim Addonizio is in Kansas City tomorrow night to read at the Midwest Poets Series on Rockhurst Campus.

The local newspaper has an interview with Kim By John Mark Eberhart of The Kansas City Star:

'If Kim Addonizio ever experiences artistic fear, she doesn’t wear it on her sleeve.
She’s not intimidated by form; she has written fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She’s not intimidated by subject matter; she has confronted sex, violence, mortality. She’s not even afraid to face that big heartbreaker of a subject — love.

Addonizio’s books include the verse collections Tell Me and What Is This Thing Called Love? as well as her novel from earlier this year, My Dreams Out in the Street. The author, who lives in Oakland, Calif., will read from her works Thursday night at Rockhurst University; see accompanying box for details. Recently she answered a few questions about her writing.' - John Mark Eberhart


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Osmond Flop in freestyle

There was no poetry last night in the Dancing With the Stars competition from Marie Osmond. You got to give her credit for having no shame. There have been meager performances by her in earlier weeks but last night was embarrassing and she had the audacity to scold judges for there critique. She should have exited weeks ago but the only thing more embarrassing then her performance last night would be if her fan base continued to put her and the viewers though such torment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The difference between...

"Public toilets have a duty to be accessible, poetry does not." ~ Geoffrey Hill

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who is art for?

Question? Should art be only for the elite or financially comfortable in society? Before you answer that question, read this article.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A pitiful bird

Thanksgiving day is over, but there are leftovers and plenty of things to remain thankful for. My oldest daughter living in Phoenix informed of of her 8 lb turkey. Eight pounds? I thought, ok, they bought a bird indigenous to Arizona. I mean what could it find in to eat there? Besides in the heat it would sweat off any fat it was otherwise unlikely to accumulate. So youngest daughter (like her father) especially enjoys turkey wings. Youngest daughter is also having Thanksgiving Day meal with oldest daughter. No one else is interested in fighting over wings. Which is a good thing. Poor bird probably had inch and a half wings. :: add inappropriate chuckle here:: I think I've seen larger Cornish hens.

It's crazy.... As I sit here at 7:15 AM there are actually people all over this crazy city that got up and went to malls and stores that were opening (some as early as 4 AM) early with special deals. Those poor souls in some cases had to get there and stand in lines that formed like 2 hours before opening. So like about 5 hours ago. Crazy Crazy People. Amazon lets you be crazy shopping like a fool from your home for Black Friday deals on all kinds of things.

On the actual subject of poetry, I did manage some rewriting yesterday. With success, I might add. Still, at one point I felt a bit of writers burn out coming on. I don't know what triggered it. It happens from time to time. I think mostly it seems to be associated with some overwhelming anxiety - not necessarily even related to writing. At any rate, it appears past for the moment.

Read a fun piece from Poetry Foundation dot org titled 1,1,2,3,5,8, Fun - What's a Fib? Math plus poetry. Their basis is the Faonacci sequence. The number of syllables in each line of the poem is the sum of the previous two lines: 1,1,2,3,5,8. It becomes a six line twenty syllable poem. I though I'd play around with it a bit and seewhat I can create. It's not at all new, some of you may have already been writing them.

Wow... here is a surprise! The Amazon Kindle is out of stock already! They only went on sale Monday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Galatea Resurrects - Eighth Issue

Eileen Tabios - GR Editor & Animal Lover - Wine expert, poet, etc. asked that we spread the word:

GALATEA RESURRECTS (A POETRY ENGAGEMENT) is pleased to release its Eighth Issue with 64 new reviews/engagements!We are always looking for reviewers; next review deadline is March 5, 2008. For GR's submission and review copy information, please go to

Missouri Opus

A thousand leaves give their last all-
Their lives spent together
they reach a pinnacle in their journey.
They take to the air
to imitate birds of spring-
their colors singing out;
they land and cover the ground
that nourished their entire lives.
This final opus their one chance
to shine in all God's glory
before put to rest
buried under a white blanket that
will inter them to the ground
from which they came.

Glenn North & Pellom McDaniels Tonight

Former Chiefs player Pellom McDaniels pictured left

Glenn North career as a spoken word artist began in 1997 when he founded Verbal Attack, a monthly open mic poetry event. Glenn is the Director of the Urban Transcendence Poetry Project where his duties included facilitating poetry writing and performance workshops for youth in Wyandotte County as well as the adjudicated youth in Jackson County detention centers.

Currently Glenn is the Poet-in-Residence of the American Jazz Museum where he organizes and hosts the popular open mic poetry competition, Jazz Poetry Jams. He is also working toward the completion of his first volume of poetry entitled, Fortunate Ad-Verse-ity.

Known by many as a former defensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, Pellom McDaniels has moved beyond his athletic career to that of an accomplished academic and community activist. He has authored his own book, My Own Harlem, established the "Arts for Smarts" foundation, and currently serves as professor of American Studies at University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Both North and McDaniels are featured tonight
Tuesday November 20th, 2007
7:00pm to 11:00pm
1616 E 18th ST K.C., MO
in the Blue Room - Admission $5

Monday, November 19, 2007


Worked on some drafts & finished up one poem this weekend. Sent out three more into the world. Also did some brainstorming. So I would say it was a productive weekend. Also read a few poems.

I was interested to see several news items crop up on e-book readers. I had thought these items were like dead on arrival. Apparently some think not. Amazon is unveiling the new Kindle e-book reader Today in New York and Sony launched an upgraded version of its Sony Reader lat month. And The Wall Street Journal quoted an executive's estimated that e-book sales range between $15 million and $25 million annually. Still, in an industry that generated $25 billion in revenues last year that seems to me pretty small. I personally have downloaded e-books rarely, and I'm not sure that having a portable reader would change that much. I realize they do have some positive points including the environmental friendly nature but is there really that much potential for e-publishing?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

At the Same Time

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." ~ Thomas Merton

I am but a lost and found box
in which I am constantly
reappearing like the stray cat at your door.

Even I fail at times
the test of recognizing
the sad clown of suppressed laughter

or the Angry tiger barb in a bowl
with no other fish to dine on.
Who are these characters I ask...

and in the smoke that clears
is the pretext for lust of three car garages,
swimming pools, a wife and 2.3 children
by the proletariat.

Anger wrapped in swaddling clothes
and a Molotov cocktail in my hip pocket-
Jesus am I adequately confused yet?

You can see my self portrait
in black velvet paintings
for sale in a Love and Peace van
at the 66 station on 8th and Hamilton.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At the botton of a fishing hole - on a chain and cender block

Last night, our local poetry society chapter celebrated Missouri's rich poetic heritage by reading from poets with Missouri connections, both living and deceased.

Then, later I put a poem in its second draft out of misery. I may steal a line from it for something else, but otherwise it is in the bottom of some Missouri fishing hole.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war." ~ Albert Einstine


This time of the year always seems ripe for gratitude. Maybe it's the coming of Thanksgiving, but I suspect it is a deeper rooted internal thing that perhaps comes with the end of summer and seeing changes occur. A passage from the green of summer to the multiplicity of fall colors remind us that things can and do change. Could it be that the abundance of change around us reminds us that those things which we appreciate can be delicate in their very existence?

At any event, I felt an overwhelming desire to make note of a few things that I feel a true gratitude for. Some are small things, some are much more significant and as such the order of their mention here has nothing to do with the level of significance from one to another.

  • an occasional glass of Chardonnay
  • a good nights rest
  • the clasp of my wife's hand when walking together
  • the Fire Red Oaks in our back yard in fall
  • a bite of dark chocolate
  • a call or text message from the kids during the day
  • my wife's voice on the phone in the middle of a busy day
  • white - sweet bread
  • a book of poetry within reach
  • Clairton - D when needed
  • a taste of honey
  • the smell of Brazilian Nut Butter
  • NPR radio
  • every single day of the baseball season
  • a/c in the car
  • a fountain pen
  • paper to write on
  • a furry four legged friend
  • hair on my head

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Giving Up - a memoir

I've finished reading Giving Up - The Last Days of Sylvia Plath by Jillian Becker. This small memoir now joins the dozens of biographical books and essays I have read about Sylvia and Ted.

This book is quite small. It need not be extensive because Jillian's contact with Sylvia was indeed short and the book only relates to that short period of days prior to Sylvia's death, when she sought refuge for her children from her distressed state with Jillian and Gerry Becker.

Much of what I read is merely another historical account of those days. As far as new perspective, it provides little, but perhaps a tad closer look Sylvia from a first hand perspective.

The most interesting things are:

  • Jillian's assessment that Dido Merwin truly could not stand Sylvia but was quite fond of Ted and saw him as an equal in stature to his husband Bill. This is not surprising, as the tone of this is set in the Anne Stevenson book "Better Fame." I suppose it was nice hearing someone else say what I believed I has surly not mistaken in reading Stevenson's biographical account.
  • Jillian's view that Sylvia had perhaps lost her passion for poetry at the end. This based on the fact that she was critical of Sylvia's last poems and thought them to be doggerel rhythms that seemed to stamp on the grave of poetry. She may not have liked Sylvia's poems, but the ones on question are among Sylvia's most powerful and passionate works. Once she was finished with them, perhaps she might have been drained emotionally, but It is hard for me to consider them a sign of a loss of passion. They are full of it!
  • Jillian Becker expressions about her own emotional response to Sylvia's life and death are expressed in heartfelt terms. She truly was in a unique position those final days, and some have perhaps suggested that she and Gerry (as well as others) could have and should have done more to save her. Her response to these suggestions is very reasonable. They may have kept Sylvia alive a few extra days, but they did not have the power to change the many external issues that added to Sylvia's issues. Jillian herself describes herself as a poet (though a humble one by the company she kept) and one addicted to poetry. She says she grew out of that addiction due at least in part to the painful involvement in the lives of poets. (Ted, Sylvia, Assia & her husband - perhaps others with which she was acquainted with)
  • It was noted that Sylvia left no suicide note. Not new information, but she reminded readers that the final poems she left would have been painfully clear to Ted if no one else.
  • The issue Jillian took with Ted's poem Dreamers, which she calls sickeningly anti-Semitic and the explanation she offered.
  • The fact that while Jillian and Gerry were present at Sylvia's funeral, there is no mention of the mystery man (mentioned in other accounts) in her account of those in attendance.
  • Taking issue with Sylvia's iconic stature by the feminist movement.

These are what I found most notable among pages (roughly 75) of the short memoir which is now a part of extensive Plath biographical reads.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dark Rich Friday Nite

Got a jump on the extended holiday weekend when I we shut down about three. I finished the project I was into and was gone by 3:20 and surprised my wife at her office - we got an early start to the evening. A dinner date at the Bronx and followed with a visit to Christopher Elbow - artisanal Chocolate. [Click Here]

Cathy and I both enjoyed dark chocolate drinks - Mine was Dark Chocolate Citrus and and Cath had Dark Chocolate Hazelnut. Yum!!! It's such an awesome place! They have some of the coolest chocolate art designs . You West coast peeps.... they have one opening in San Francisco next month.

That's it for tonight.... except a word from T.S. Eliot - "The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible."

E-Commerce News: Privacy: AT&T Tech Paints Stark Picture of NSA Telecom Spying

Ask your Senator and Congressman Why AT&T and others should be granted Amnesty or Immunity from prosecution for violating your right to privacy without due process?

E-Commerce News: Privacy: AT&T Tech Paints Stark Picture of NSA Telecom Spying: "By Chris Maxcer E-Commerce Times 11/07/07 1:33 PM PT Mark Klein, a former employee of AT&T who has rallied against the telecom giant for its part in assisting the NSA in spying on Americans' communications, is visiting Washington to convince lawmakers not to let telecoms off the hook when it comes to lawsuits. Klein said he was privy to a secret NSA room in an AT&T facility which acted as a repository of secret data."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The short list

"Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers." -Mignon McLaughlin
Oh my God! How true is that?!!
Anyway, I've thought about the poet I'd pick to spend the day tagging along with (see my earlier post) and it's a tough call. I am narrowing it down... Ok, honestly I kept adding to the list as often as I whittled it. It was like two steps forward and one back. But this is where I am at now...
  • W.S. Merwin
  • Sharon Olds
  • Donald Hall
  • Cecilia Woloch
  • John Ashbery
  • Kim Addonizio
  • Denise Dehamel
There is a lot of variety between these poets, and there is something about each that makes them and or there work fascinating enough to believe that one could learn a lot from them if you had the opportunity to follow, observe, and ask questions of them through a day of watching them work. Now, the trick would be to decide upon just one of them. Oh, and not add any more to the list in the meantime.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Day With A Poet

So today I was thinking about this unrealistic possibility that if we could pick a poet, any living poet and spend a day with them, tagging along, picking there brain, watching them at work... who would I pick? Of course there is like no chance of this happening, but it raises the question of who I might like to experience such an encounter with, someone who I'd like to believe such an experience might influence in some small way my approach to poetry, poetic theory, maybe learn something more about their work habits, the way they rework their drafts, etc.

I suppose this is the point where I reveal who this poet might be. Still, after much thought I have a list of candidates in mind, but have not been able to decide one one single victim.

What is interesting however, is the fact that my list includes some rather famous poets, but it also includes some lesser knowns. It is not simply the celebrity aspect that is important here, but individuals whose work I greatly admire and respect. I think back at history and the associations that developed between some prominent poets that you know had to have some impact on one another. Robert Lowell to both Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery. Robert Bly and James Wright, just to name a few. These connections fascinate me. I've found reading the published selected letters of many writers to be both enjoyable and in some instances educational. But I digress.

So I have this list which I will not expose just yet. I want to whittle it down a bit. Maybe I'll share it when I shorten the list a bit, and let you get the feel of me agonizing over the final selection (albeit an exercise in pure fantasy).

Drivetime Thought

Before the day grows crusty, I must get something done.

Birds Eye View

"Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life,
every quality of his mind is written large in his works."
~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day;
wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit."
~Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, November 04, 2007

If only [prompt]

If only our better judgement played out
at the Metropolitan Opera House
to a spunky cheerleader packed crowd.

Fall Colors

Autumn poetry is a dime a dozen. It is prolific I suppose because there are such quick and sharp changes in the images right before our eyes. It's easy material, but that is what makes autumn so hard to do well.
KATHLEEN JOHNSON writes in The Kansas City Star about poetry in the fall season, Midwestern autumn makes poetry resonate.

Johnson selects a few poets who have done autumn well. Marge Piercy, Sylvia Plath, Philip Miller (formerly from Kansas City), Clement Hoyt, and Ted Kooser. [click here]

Saturday, November 03, 2007

draft [Desolate Brand Name]

Desolate Brand Name

A deserted brand rested on the counter.
Alone, it could not move about.
There was no heart-to-heart, no clatter
Not even gossip to weight it down with guilt.

The brand became generic
Of its own accord.
A brand name, insignificant
With no one to call out to it.

The night grew into the severest ebony
It had ever know—
Failing to see beyond the room,
Beyond any hope—
It sought its own demise,
But remained helpless on the counter.

Friday, November 02, 2007

In passing

A day old thermos of thoughts;
lukewarm at best,
separated two intangibles.

Surprise! Yes, there is a correlation between publication and submission...

November sounds so unequivocally late in the year. Past the point of doing things over or differently. If you didn't join a Christmas club at your bank, it's too late for this year. And it you didn't apply yourself as diligently as you planned at writing, well it would likely take a stroke of magic to rectify that now. The same holds true for submissions of work.

I think this is the first year that I have truly satisfied myself with my submission efforts. That is not to say that I will slack off in November and December. No, I believe I can push my satisfaction level and perhaps my acceptances even higher.

I'm not really sure why or how it has come about that I have motivated myself as well as I have, but I think it has in fact had a bit of a habit forming aspect to it. While I don't have any idea how many pieces of work other poets shuffle off in search of new homes each year, I have come away with some concept of quantity with one poet / blogger and that is IVY. It follows that her successes with publishing have also seemed to be reflective of a very liberal amount of submission activity. It has been in fact quite inspiring to follow her exploits over the past three years or so that I have read her blog. I know there are other good examples out there of poets who are regularly achieving success with the exposure their work is getting. To all that have been enjoying good years, I say may 2008 be even better. To others who aren't quite there yet I say aim high next year and good luck!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Releasing poems from the bondage of the hard drive

Squeezed in 3 more poetry submissions before the end of the month. I now feel good enough to allow myself to go to bed.

Wednesday - breather

I always find Andrei Codrescu interesting if not amazing when featured on NPR. Last night I heard this piece of his: From Poetry to Web: Tools of Youthful Rebellion (click here).

Found this Joyce Oats quote today. Oh how very true... "A poem has a sort of fingerprint of a person on it, said Oates. People can write it to be about one thing, only to go back later and see that it pertains to something new. Simply, it follows a person's life stages."

Closing thought.... "Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles." - George Jean Nathan

Drivetime Thought

I was wondering (thank God not wandering) on the way in this morning, why Hallmark Cards has never exploited "the day of the dead?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guerrilla Ink Press / Call for submissions

Call for Submissions: Guerrilla Ink Press
Guerrilla Ink Press is currently accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction manuscripts, as well as photography and digital artwork for a new literary, arts, entertainment, news publication, GiP. This magazine allows Guerrilla Ink Press to continue providing dynamic publishing opportunities for new, emerging, and established writers in both electronic and print formats. Deadline is December 10, 2007.Send Submissions to:Attn: GiP MagazineGuerrilla Ink Press, LLC1956 E. Chestnut Exp.Springfield, MO 65802-2235

Passing this information along from Cindy

Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) - New York Times

Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) - New York Times:

"Lagrangeville Journal Cheney Goes on a Hunting Trip (Insert a Punch Line Here) "

Sorry, with the headline already there I just couldn't resist.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Homepage Site

My new homepage site can be found at (note you must use the middle initial "a")

A Dog's World

Deep in thought Barry rests upon my lap while I snap this picture. The thoughts... maybe when is he going to feed me, how long do I have to sit here and amuse him, or perhaps he was reworking the lines of a poem in his head. Yeah, I'm sure that must be it.

Worked on a new personal website this weekend. Hopefully it will be up before long.

Got some writing accomplished as well. Nothing sent off. Sill hope to get a few more poems off before the month ends need to sit down and see what I've still got available at the moment.

Watched the World Series games without much satisfaction. The post season over now it is truly into the saddest time of the year. Of course spring comes and with it perhaps a better season for my favorite team.

Spent some time contemplating Eliot's assertion that poets live " what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past" and what this means both to awareness and of course poems that we create. Maybe that's what Barry had going on in his head too. Hee-he.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Legacy of Sylvia

It was 75 years ago today (27 October 1932) that Sylvia Plath was born to Otto Emil Plath and Aurelia Schober Plath in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 75 year figure seem almost unreal to me considering how significant and fresh her poetry remains today. Perhaps it is the manner in which the feminist movement attached itself to her life, death and poetry itself that has made her seem yet a contemporary figure even 44 years after her early death.

Her legacy is often debated. Was her story and poetry hijacked by the feminist movement or did she intend her work to be an early voice for feminism? Would she have escaped her tragic death if not for her split with Ted? How would her poetry stand today on its own merit without the notorious suicide in her London flat?

So many questions, so much speculation, but the fact remains that her work is that of a powerful voice in American literature and I cannot but help believe had she lived a normal lifespan she would have produced more work and that even without the attention brought to her in death, her writing would have found its way to the surface and surely have been recognized for what it was.

Her poetry today has admirers and detractors and in both instances I think it is the same powerful and edgy voice that contributes to both positions. Isn't that the thing about good poetry... how it brings out the feeling that get you right in your gut? That passion, be it positive or negative? Unquestionably she is among the great writers of our time, male or female.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Her Ancestors Lived Deep Within the Crack of Vanity

Another poem of mine is up over at The Flask Review in their current issue.

The explosive possibility of mixing coffee with books

Iran is a country that is enormously literate. Iranians love for poetry spans centuries, but reading of all types of material is serious business in Iran and is evidenced by the vast numbers of book shops that are available to the public. In recent times, books and coffee shops have seen an increasing union in this country and that combination which allows for intellectual discussions between people milling around these shops have become a concern for an Iranian government that has a notable bent on suppression of the press and Internet traffic. So it probably should come as no surprise that the commingling coffee shops and book stores have been targeted by a new rule against the “mixing of trades.”

The possibility of people engaging in thought provoking discussion in groups where there is a presence of literature that could influence thought, evidently is a frightening thing to this otherwise repressive government. I guess you can just never be to careful of what might happen when thinking people put their heads together.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PBS did an interesting piece on Copper Canyon Press

Seattle Poetry Publisher Finds Method to Adapt to Changing Cultural Times ( click here for more)

Mail Box

From the mail box yesterday, came my latest issue of Poets & Writers. This is the issue where P&W features the 12 debut poets for the year. I always enjoy this issue because I like to see who's there. A notable gem was among the 2005 list - Dana Goodyear. Her book Honey and Junk was a very worthwhile read. It will be interesting to see who among the 2007 group will hit my radar down the road.

Also noted a piece in this issue that looks interesting titled The Art of Reading John Ashbery.

Side note... 8 out of 10 people responding to the survey - If Spencer Tunick came to your community to do one of his photo shoots and needed volunteers, they would you talk it all off for art. There were two blushers who said no way. (OK, I added the blushing part)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A spoonful of medicine

"People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind." ~ William Butler Yeats
How true! Logic is the the language of limitations whereas creativity is the language of possibility. Not that logic isn't important, but it is best when balanced with a healthy spoonful of creativity.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Craziness last night

I can't believe I slept till 10:20 this morning. What is even more incredible is my wife was still asleep at that time.

I has a crazy assortment of dreams during the night. I've been thinking all day about them and contemplating the creation of a poem that pulls from what I recall of them. I've been tired much of the day. Cathy suggested it was the dreams... perhaps I was worn ragged by them. Could be.

Game seven (deciding game) of the ALCS is on tonight. I am so pulling for the Indians.

I've done no writing at all today. Something I would like to rectify, but unless it happen really later, it likely won't happen.

I picked up a CD today at Starbucks... Hail Britannia - the British invasion '64-'69. Lot of good stuff from back in the day. A few things that I'm not crazy about but for the most part it's good.
something different to listen to in the car.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I can't sit on this any longer...

I have secured the dot com name for Rogue Poetry Review and now have a new site to house it so it will be moving away from the old address location. Only the opening page is ready but I am putting together the third issue, so you will get to see more of it over the next few days. Do check it out! Rogue Poetry Review

Friday, October 19, 2007

Missing with my change up

It seems like I'm writing a lot of stuff these last few days that I am not at all happy with. Some with a few delectable lines, but overall I am not happy with the continuity of thought in the pieces. I feel a bit like a pitcher who's three best pitches are a breaking ball, a fast ball and a change up. I can throw one of them well, but the other two are off. Oh, I can still throw them, but location control is just not right. So, I can go through the motions of pitching, but I'm not winning. I know it just a matter of connecting mechanics and mind set. Still, being close is only effective if you are lobbing hand grenades, not throwing pitches, and certainly now writing poetry. Enough with the baseball analogy.

Are any of you familiar with Writing Poems by Robert Wallace, Jack Davis, and Michelle Boisseau? It's a text book I've been wanting and I ordered a used copy today. Michelle Boisseau is on the staff at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. I've heard her read, read some of her work and have a friend who in the program there with her. I've been impressed with her and heard good things from others about her.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am so glad it is Friday. The weather seems improved today. It had been rainy - dreary here for several days and that coupled with the normal time of the year has left me feeling down. It's the SAD time these days.

Taking an inventory of the last twelve months of my publication efforts, I've made 35 submissions. Nine are pending responses. I've made 6 submissions so far this month. Overall, for the past twelve months, my acceptance ratio: 19.35 % - for which I am not at all disappointed. I only wish I had more stuff out there. Ah yes, a goal for this weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Defining the inner life through poetry

Marvin Bell is gray haired and bearded. The 70 year old is Iowa's first Poet Laureate. In the mid 1960's Bell was an army officer so it is perhaps not at all surprising that he has written on the subject of war extensively. Of his 17 published books of poetry, many deal with war.

In a recent Des Moines Register interview I was particularly struck by his response to the question, "What is the role of art in war time?" Bell's response seems particularly relevant to writing in a broader prospective about any social concern, not just war. He said, "Poets talk about current events, just as everyone does, but some of us also embed it in our art. Poetry doesn't change minds. However, it becomes part of the consensus. It finds words for what it feels like during wartime. That said, there is no one way to write and no right way to write. A poet is perfectly within his or her right to graph the inner life without reference to outer events."

It seems that poets have long been charged with defining moments in the use of language. It is the utilization of individual words and phrases that bring "feeling" into better focus. This not only gives greater clarity to the feelings but the words themselves. I've had times and I am sure I am not alone, when I have felt some way that I was not able to adequately describe. That ability to graph the inner life is one measure of exceptionally good poetry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The brain lateralization test from October 10th prompted me to ask my immediate family if they would take it as well. My wife and two of my daughters have obliged. Interestingly the two daughters both scored 40% left - 60% right. Not far off my 35% - 65% split in favor of the right. My wife, not surprisingly split 85% -15% left favored. I will say, she has a strong aptitude for creativity so that 15% is well spent. Still, I am not otherwise surprised to see her more dramatically left brain orientated. She carries it quite well. ::smile:: ~0~

Let me take a moment to plug the e-mail syndication of stickpoet. If you find yourself reading these posts frequently, why not go to the left sidebar and sign up to get the posts in your e-mail? ~0~

This weekend I read a post on Kelli's blog in which she cited a poem by W.S. Merwin entitled Berryman (after John Berryman the poet).

I will tell you what he told me / in the years just after the war (it starts) and true to his word, the poem elicits advise. I was especially taken by the final stanzas of the poem.

...I asked how can you ever be sure /that what you write is really /any good at all and he said you can't //you can't you can never be sure /you die without knowing /whether anything you wrote was any good /if you have to be sure don't write

We write, proof, rewrite multiple times and finally conclude we are finished... yet worry endlessly. These are good words to remember. ~0~

Monday, October 15, 2007

The power of words against oppression.

It's always amazing to me the lengths many under oppression will go to by contrast to the relative apathetic nature of many in America. (see A war on words)

When Burmese officials use military force to crack down on pro-democracy advocates, it is the military against words. The opposition to oppression in Burma has little to offer but the burning desire to be free and the courage not to be silenced. Journalists and poets as well as the monks in rebellion against the government have been the target of officials who fear them to the point of imprisonment. These will be the historians of Burma. The officials do have cause to fear their words because they tell the story of oppression - a history the government can only change by changing itself.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


At different points in his life, Wolf has had episodes of hypergraphia, a compulsion to write that takes hold for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. Heartbreakingly Poetic Prose

Journal bits this past week...

  • no amount of social acupuncture / would ease the burden I carried /in a crinkle brown bag / with the sweet stench of rotting fruit
  • what have I to want but a portion of real estate 12x13 to call mine / plant my sovereign flag in its heart
  • your festive laugh disordered my thoughts / I skipped something critical on vinyl
  • silence poured out of a pause
  • some days I am the father of righteous indignation / searching for my child / lost among conformists.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The sky has been weeping all morning

As I look out my window this morning to the ball field across the way, water stand in the infield like a rice patty. Then emptiness of a rainy fall morning and the approaching end of baseball for the year are like a deep blue blanket that has been drooped overhead. It reminds me of how, when I was young and had a parakeet, we'd drape his cage at night.

These are the days when the soul yearns for light and life. It is too early for the colors of fall that provide some solace from this dreariness and so it is a between time and it feel like we are stuck there.

Missouri to Appoint a Poet Laureate

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has announced that he will name an official Missouri Poet Laureate.

Blunt said, "Missouri has a rich cultural heritage of men and women in the arts, by naming a poet laureate, we will help continue this tradition for future generations of Missourians."

Jay Barnes of the governor's staff asked for your nominations by December first.
They are looking for a poet who is local, renowned, and wholly well-versed. The Missouri Poet Laureate will be responsible to help promote the arts in Missouri by making appearances at public libraries and schools across the state. The poet will also be called upon to compose an original poem in honor of Missouri and to perform the poem at an event commemorating the new position. Gov. Blunt will accept nominations through December 1, 2007. Nominees must be a current resident of the state. The governor encourages Missourians to think of poetry in its broadest sense when considering potential candidates for this new position.

The governor will work with the Missouri Center for the Book to select the Missouri Poet Laureate. He plans to announce the honoree in mid-December. Missourians interested in the position or who would like to nominate a candidate should visit the governor's Internet site at for more information. Submissions must include the poet's name, city of residence, contact information and writing samples.

San Diego Poetry Annual call for submissions!

Passing this along to those who are eligible to submit. Came in my e-mail from Cecilia Woloch

The San Diego Poetry Annual will be published in February, 2008. It will include poems written in 2007 by poets who live, study, work or who were born or raised in San Diego County.

If selected, your poems will be published alongside celebrated poets, including:
Anne Wilson, Sam Hamod, Brandon Cesmat, Megan Webster, Trish "The Dish" Dugger and Ellen Bass!

There is NO entry fee!!! Poets send up to two (2) poems of any length.Send poems in body of email to: by: November 1, 2007.Special Idyllwild section! We are pleased to include an Idyllwildsection in our upcoming edition. Poets that went to any of the Summer Poetry in Idyllwild 2007 events or were featured readers at these events, please submit up to 2 poems to with the word "Idyllwild" included in the subject line of the email. The deadline is November 1st, 2007.

We look forward to your submissions! For more info, visit

Friday, October 12, 2007

San Jose Mercury News - Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby

San Jose Mercury News - Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby:

"Beat poet Ferlinghetti's art gets yanked from S.F. building lobby"

Oh My God.... who complained... is John Ashcroft a tenant there? Shorenstein Properties LLC, must have some pretty lame tenants.

Friday Bits...

Oh my, here's what happens when a watchdog gets a little too close for comfort when investigating a spy agency. ~0~ An Oscar an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize for Guess Who?

5 Questions With Poet Margaret Gibson who has five Pulitzer Prize nominations, two Shortbread awards, and short-list consideration for the National Book Award. [story]

Remember Sam Hamill? - Poet remains unbowed against Iraq war [story] and Sam's latest book Measured By Stone

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poet Harassed by China Government

Reporters without boarders reports on the harassment by Chinese police of human rights poet Tao Jun after interview for US newspaper. China is increasing its repressive attitude to individuals and reporting of information. This is a sad commentary given the insistence that China is becoming more open and free, something they would have the west believe in advance of the 2008 Olympics.

This blog for example will not pass the scrutiny of the Chinese government censors. Will yours? Find out by using this test site: click

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bush Presses Congress on New Eavesdropping Law - New York Times

Bush Presses Congress on New Eavesdropping Law - New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 — President Bush prodded Congress on the issue of eavesdropping today, warning that he will not sign a new law unless it confers immunity on the telecommunications utilities that helped the National Security Agency eavesdrop without warrants."

Why should a telecommunication company that gave private information about millions of U.S. Citizens to the government without a court order be given immunity from civil action? I'm sorry Mr. President, but even YOU are not above the law!

Giving them immunity says to everyone that it's ok in the future to violate people's civil liberties because if the President wants it, he'll just cover your ass.

Big Surprise

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Humpday - Riding Gravity To The Weekend

Thumps Up:

  • Guy Holliday and his box of poetry - [story]
  • Gene Racz did it for the sake of art, beloved children, for the sake of art [story]
  • Members of the K.C. Metro Verse who showed up last night with poetry to read, listen and workshop.
  • Poetry to build a climate of hope and resistance [story]

Thumbs down:

  • Burma Police State - [story]
  • Supreme Court declines suit over U.S. rendition - [story]

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Second Language of Poetry

Reading Donald Hall's essay Goatfoot, Milktounge, Twinbird - infantile origins of poetic form is loaded with interesting insights that I feel are truisms and while I could not have articulated them as well, I believe in some strange way I've known these things all along. Perhaps they have simply been lost among too much other mind clutter and by reading this, it allowed me to skim some of it off the top of that murky pool.

Discovery & Recovery - That is what poetry is about. It is the poet pulling from within and getting it on paper which allows a reader to process it. Hall says it is one inside talking to another inside. For the reader, it is a process of recovery.

I have long held that poetry is really a collaborative between reader and writer. What Hall describes here confirms this. What the writer and the reader have is something in common, but different (usually). The writer relates something that the reader identifies with from their own life experiences. Since each of us has different life experiences their discovery and recall may be similar, but not identical. This constitutes the second language of poetry. Speaking through the second language of poetry, can be clearly different from a more obvious message or story line of a poem. When such a connection (second language) is made, this becomes the sensual body of the poem or where some connection between reader and writer occurs.

There is more to this essay, but I will tackle that another day.

Spencer Tunick and the Art of Nothing at all

Hundreds of people took their clothes off in the name of art in South Beach Florida yesterday. Monday. Spencer Tunick, a photographer and artist of the human form, last month let it be known he needed 600 volunteers to be part of his upcoming art installation at South Beach's Sagamore Hotel. Tunick has had no problem attracting participants and the 600 number for this event is actually rather small by his standards. Last year 18,000 took part in a Mexico shoot.

Tunick will unveil his work during Miami Beach's annual Art Basel festivities in December.

Here's my question. Tunick is coming to your community and need volunteers for his next photo shoot. Do you bare it all for art? See poll on sidebar to left.

The results were:

8 or 80% said you would take it off for art.
2 or 10% said No Way... Not in Public.

Thanks to all who voted.