Monday, March 31, 2008

For Poetry Month - Why not take A Daily Dose of Poetry

Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie. ~Jean Cocteau

Baseball's Back

Today.... the World is All About Baseball!
Opening day for most teams.... My team of choice, The San Francisco Giants open on the road in LA against their nemeses the Dodgers. Some see baseball as a seven month diversion from life. I see it the same way I do poetry, a great reflection of life. Play Ball!!! Go Giants!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Good day for writing....

It's been cold, damp and overcast to the point of boredom with the outside so it's a good day to write. So far so good. Reserving judgement on what I've produced thus far but I'm happy to report that I have not had trouble starting or to keep going.

Yesterday, wife and I ran around doing some shopping and ate BBQ. Last night I watched the first Indy race of the season and worked on a word list in preparation for today. I'm going to take a bit of a break from the writing though to catch up on some chores, then come back to it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Poetry Month Is Nearly Here!

Yes, I realize most of us who are poetry aficionados have a circle of friends and family who simply do not share the same sensual pleasures we derive from the act of writing and or reading of poetry. To those poor souls, poetry month seems like an eternity in hell. But isn't that the point of it all? Was poetry month not created with their discomfort in mind?

If poetry month is all about us... the ones for whom a line from Dickinson will bring a twinkle to their eyes, who do not cringe at metaphor or run from personification, and actually get an uplifted feeling reading Plath; then what pray tell is the point? Is that not preaching to the choir?

No, Poetry Month is for the unenlightened. Therefore, it is our responsibility to make the most of the 30 days of April to bring poetry to the masses. Look at it like you have some communicable decease you are just dying to share with the world. You must expose everyone!

Ideas for poetry month!

  1. Insert short poems in note cards and stick them in your child's lunch box/bag before sending them off to school.
  2. Change your voicemail greeting to a short poem.
  3. Write a love poem to your spouse on the bathroom mirror with lipstick.... of if you are not that bold, tape it there on a sheet of paper.
  4. Keep a number of short poems on cards in your pocket and hand them to friends you run into throughout the day.
  5. Leave a poetry book in some public place to be read.
  6. Get drunk and call old friends at 3:00 a.m. and read them poems. ( Just kidding, I couldn't resist adding this)
  7. Insert poems on note cards with your bills before mailing them off.
  8. In the memo on your check suggest a good poem to read. ( example: Read "If You Forget Me" by Pablo Neruda.
  9. Add a short poem to your tag line or signature on your e-mail so everyone you communicate with gets that poem all month long.
  10. Write a poem on your sidewalk with chalk.
  11. Leave poems on note cards in books you return to the library.
  12. Read a poem aloud at dinner time.
  13. Post a favorite poem on the office bulletin board.
  14. Send a poem on a postcard to someone you owe a letter to. (remember snail mail?)

Once poetry month is over, it is just possible that you may have started a pandemic. Probably not, but at least you tried.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poet Laureate of the Blogisphere and other things...

Thanks to Jilly, I caught this note on the 2008 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. Click on the link to see details about nominations, etc. Last year I didn't catch it until nominations were over, but I did make it in time to vote. Previous winners:

Amy King, Ron Silliman, and Jilly Dybka.

On another note..... China Resists Human Rights Link to Olympics

By Sam Beattie Beijing - 27 March 2008

China hosts its first-ever Olympic Games, in just five months. In Beijing, people are working hard to clean up the city and to get ready to host the world's most prestigious sporting event. The city has undergone enormous changes in the seven-year build-up to the event, but human rights activists say the government has failed to live up to some Olympic promises. Sam Beattie reports. Full Story

Good, Bad and Ugly

Is it that time again? NaPoWriMo or National Poetry Writing Month is but days away. A time when those who participate in this ritual will pen a poem every day. When engaged in such practice, I can assure you that there will be some really bad material written. But just as practice makes perfect, the odds are that if you write thirty poems, there will be some keepers. At at the very least, some bits and pieces of verse that can be recycled into something more meaningful.

It's been my experience in the past tho find this practice a bit intimidating because you write for three or four days and look at what you have and it can be pretty unsettling if you are one who pushes yourself for perfection or as I tend to do, become that ugly critic of my own work. In spit of knowing at the onset that in most instances, for me to achieve a single poem I am happy with, I will besides the first draft, rewrite the thing many times over the course of weeks or months when I say I am writing a poem every day, I still want to feel that I've in fact written a poem that has some value.

I think for this purpose, I will establish another blog specifically for the NaPoWriMo poems. That way I can feel comfortable with the disclaimer that what is there, is both the good and the bad . Recognizing this is different from my normal writing process is important to me even if no one sees what I write. I will link the new site here for those who are brave enough to venture into these perhaps murky waters.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Poets Against The War Anthology

Last night was our bi-weekly meeting of K.C. Metro Verse - a local chapter of the Missouri State Poetry Society. I did not take much of my own to read, but chose to read three selections from Poets Against The War.

My selections were:
  1. Of a Forgetful Sea by Kelli Russell Agodon
  2. Freedom From Speech by Terry Tempest Williams
  3. On A Photograph of a Severed Hand by Jim Shugrue

I was taken by the number of poets my own age who were anthologized in this book. I recall seeing a seventeen year old, s few 20's and 30 somethings, but it is amazing the number that are my age. Men and women who were part of the Vietnam generation. There are a lot of profoundly committed voices that experienced the tragedy of our misadventure in southeast Asia and continue to be guided by the wisdom they acquired through that experience. Unfortunately we were lead into Iraq by those who failed to learn from the mistakes made in the 1960's.

Saturday, March 22, 2008



Light rains on stones
Moss hides in the northern shadows
A trickle of assembled wetness tears up
Rolling down the rocks of solitude
The air in our midst circulated
By Sunday morning church fans
We pause to applaud
And continue on

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

~Carl Jung
When the name Naomi Shihab Nye comes up at one of the meetings of our local chapter of the Missouri Poetry Society, eyes around the room generally light up. In fact there is quite possibly no other living poet who invokes such universal positive response. Oh we all have our favorites and what I like, another may not be so fond of. I think most of us have at one time or another seen Ney in person and the gentle qualities of this woman are remarkably contagious.
Ney is a person who is not only at peace with herself, she is at peace with the world. She describes herself as a wandering poet and she has traveled extensively. She has ties to Missouri but most recently has been living in Texas where she works with children in elementary schools. Her heritage is a mixture American and Middle Eastern ancestry, which brings a unique perspective to her view of the world and her writing as well.
Regis Behe writing in a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article relates how Nye sees her mission as allowing everyone to experience poetry and to counter the myth that it is elitist or the province of intellectuals. She wants others to awaken their own poetry and to remember language can be very sustaining even when you feel very alone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



The odometer of fallen, rolls onward
Over too familiar terrain.
A merry-go-round insanity
Propelled by stubborn indignity,
Capitulating nothing
While eating our young.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Recommended Reading

Dana Guthrie Martin is one of those people who's simply magical in her word choices. She has a poem in the latest Boxcar Poetry Review.

Another poet I have come to appreciate recently is Jayne Pupek and she's in Stirring this issue.

With that, I'll serve up a W. S. Merwin quote, since he is yet another poet I that elicits strong feelings:

Poetry is like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you've lost the whole thing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!

The rain falls steady this morning on the downtown Kansas City area and is forecast to for much of the day. The Irish community in this town hosts on of the three biggest St. Patrick's Day parades in the United States so obviously one must wonder what the wee-little green people did this year to upset the Mother Nature.
Still, it takes a lot more than rain to dampen the Irish on this day. Hell, after a few beers, many won't even know they are wet.

And with that, I close with a couple of thoughts for this great green day....

  • "Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat." -- Alex Levine
  • "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." -- Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another Journal Bites the Dust

Sunday evening and I am bemoaning the near end of the weekend. I think mostly because last week seemed like five Mondays in a row. I anticipate this week being pretty busy too It seems my caseload at work has risen with no consideration for my already significant commitments. There should be laws against such things.

Oh, before I forget... Happy Birthday to Ivy - She's 34 according to her own account. My God, I barely remember 34.

There are lots of sirens very nearby - I presume by both the sound and the numbers they are fire trucks. We don't hear them out here as often as back in the city. Certainly not a cluster of so many at once. Certainly makes one pause with some prayerful thoughts. The dogs too seem unnerved by the sound.

I am about to finish filling up yet another journal. This latest one was started on September 29th, 2007 and having only like two pages left, I'll likely finish this one off yet tonight. I was looking back at some of my work in the previous journal recently. It always seems to feel a bit peculiar looking at things you've written in the past. Since many of my drafts start in their crudest form in the journal before subsequent revisions make it to the computer it can be an eye opener sometimes reading these things. You just have to wonder where your mind was sometimes.

My side bar so badly needs changes. For one thing, the blog listings is so outdated. There are several on there I used to read but don't any longer because... well, mostly because some of them haven't been updated since middle of last year. It's time for those to come down. Also, there are a few more worthwhile blogs that I try to catch on s somewhat routine basis. Also, if you have linked to Stickpoet and I've not reciprocated, drop me a note so you can be added.

I'll close tonight with these words from John Steinbeck... "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Looking for Genius?

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.
~ E. B. White

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pointless Query

through the layers

linen wrap

percolating pulp

reason or

till exposure
it answers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Household Diplomacy

Every night, whisper "peace" in your husband's ear. ~ Andrei A. Gromyko

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Savings Crime

So Saturday night an hour was stolen from me. Now I get up before the butt crack of dawn as opposed to at it. By the way, powers that be, ( you know who you are)- Check out the Indiana study that suggests this is both more costly and not a savings on energy consumption.

I've disliked this from the very early days when no one really talked much about energy consumption - but tauted it for such things as allowing more daylight hours for extra curricular activities in the evening and how this was safer. Never mind the fact that most of those events were well supervised by adults, while we stood on dark street corners waiting on the bus in the morning. Go figure.

Sunday, March 09, 2008



I saw the sand bottom out
in the egg timer. There were no eggs
or time involved. Just an end to something
arbitrary- or was that in fact time?

Did it end of its own accord, or
because I turned the hourglass
and started a process unknowingly?

How many unknowings can there be in one day?

Poetry News

A few poetry items:
  • John Ashbery Reads at Haverford (story)
  • Robert Frost's Dartmouth Lectures Published (story)
  • ‘Living In Storms. Contemporary Poetry and the Moods of Manic Depression’ (review)
  • Ezra Pound's birthplace in central Idaho draws poetry pilgrims (story)
  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet and Essayist W.S. Merwin to Lead All-Star Cast at 2008 The Kenan Writers' Encounters 'Earth: Writers and Artists Engage the Environment' April 12-22, 2008 (information)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thumbs Down

The end of the Bush Administration can hardly come fast enough. Even as it seem there is a light visible through this dark 8 year long tunnel, this one man continues to trash the reputation of this nation as a moral example to the rest of the world. His veto this weekend of the Congressional bill banning waterboarding as an interrogation method only continues erosion of U.S. credibility on human rights.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Check these out...

It's Friday, and while I like to take my Friday evenings a little on the lighter side, especially after a challenging week, I read a remarkably powerful poem by Jilly title Poem By an American. Needless to say, it's not on the lighter side. She acknowledges she may not be finished with it, but it is well worth reading. It's really quite different from anything of her's that I've read.

Also, Aleah Sato has poetry up at k a l e i d o w h i r l - winter 2008 edition. Her work is generally well worth a read.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Endorsement

Here we have George "W" Bush and the GOP Presidential nominee for 2008 John S. (W, II) McCain.
What McCain brings to the table is a slightly more effective version of the same disastrous Bush policies. There is not much more to say.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


"What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print." ~Isadora Duncan
I saw this quote and though what a curious thing to say. It may reveal much about my my own personal view of poetry.
There are two separate points to be made here. One is the untellable aspect that if you haven't lived my life - what I write will not mean the same to you as it means to me.
The other is that deeper aspect that sometimes what we write from the soul we don't even fully recognize ourselves. Sort of the duende that Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca spoke of. I firmly accept the premise that there are truths from deep within that we are occasionally able to unearth in our poetry or art that remain somewhat of a mystery us and therefore cannot easily be explained to others.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday night

It reached at least 72 today in Kansas City. The wicked wend of the North West is pounding us and storms moved in tonight. Alas, snow is in the forecast for drive time tomorrow morning.

A few journal bits from this past week:

  • unshaven legs, suctioned to a convex view /
  • repetitive days in a mirror judgement / till there is glitter in the Coral Sea /
  • a crooked scalp line parted the hairs / rising from the banks of regression /
  • cut stone, linear and stacked / forged four corners / below the surface
  • my son says my equilibrium /is off and that is why I can't stand / neocons-

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stats update

Time for me to take mental note of what I have and haven't achieved so far over the past 12 months.

Pending responses: 11
Submissions sent last 12 months: 47
Submissions sent this month: 2
Acceptance ratio: 10.71 %