Wednesday, March 31, 2010

120 hours of non-stop poetry!

The Pit at Prospero's [photo credit Prospero's]

The poetry filibuster, 120 hours of non-stop poetry is coming to Kansas City starting Friday April 2nd at 10:00 a.m. The longest poetry reading ever is planned for the Pit at Prospero's Books. The event is sponsored by Prospero’s, Write the Future and Spartan Press.

In celebration of National Poetry month, over 200 regional and national poets will gather in Kansas City to establish a world’s record for the longest poetry reading. The previously established record in 1978 as reported by the Associated Press and NPR’s All Things Considered, was in Cincinnati, Ohio where 50 poets performed 56 hours and 25 minutes of poetry.

The Kansas City event will be vidio taped and a live internet feed of the event is planned.

Some highlighted participants


  • Ron Jaffe: world renowned jazz-poet 
  • Connie Dover: winner of the Loft’s Speakeasy prize for poetry
  • Denise Low: imediate past Poet Laureate of Kansas
  • Jo McDougall: Pulitzer nominated poet and memoirist
  • William Trowbridge: former editor of The Laurel Review, author of 5 books of poetry including the The Book of Kong and the Complete Book of Kong. 
  •  Maryfrances Wagner: past President of Kansas City’s The Writers Place and author of 5 books of poetry.  
  •  Wayne Miller: award-winning poet of 2 collections of poetry and editor of Pleiades: A   Journal of New Writing.  
  •  Jason Ryberg 
  •  Jeanette Powers 
  •  Marion S. Taylor 
  • David Morrissey
  • Patrick Lamb
  • Annie Rasmussen
  • James Kneece Joseph Davis
  •  Valorie Engholm
  •  Eve Brackenbury
  • Oshome
  • Trudie Homan
  • Trish Reeves  
  • Steven Proski
  • Tony Plocido
  • Greg Field


  •  Marc Smith: host of the Green Mill poetry series in Chicago, Ill.. PBS identified Marc as the founder of slam poetry in America. Smith will come off sabbatical to perform for the longest poetry reading record attempt.
  • Mark Tom Hennessy: former front man for the Lawrence, KS grunge and PAW.
  • Marc Zorn
  • Mike Bannen + 7year old
  • Carl Bettis
  • Noon Jan Kroll
  • Stan Banks
  • Janet Banks
  • Alarie Tennille
  • John Peterson
  • Stacey Donovan
  • Lindsey Martin Bowen
  • Carl Rowden
  • Robert Stewart
  • Michelle Boisseau
  • Jeanie Wilson
  • Pat Danneman
  • Phyllis Becker
  • Pat Lawson
  • William Peck
  • TJ Jude
  • Marc Smith
  • Ed Tato
  • Mark Hennessy
  • Jason Ryberg
  • Margueritte Rappold
  • Iris Appelquist
  • Aaron Fuhr
  • Thad Havercamp
  • Ron Worley
  • Jason Harding
  • Vic Swan
  • Joshua Upsha
  • Creed Shepherd
  • Michelle Nimmo
  • Tommy Mason
  • Jacob Johansen
  • Steve Goldberg
  • John Dorsey
  • Brent Kinder
  • Holly Stewart

  • The Recipe: founding members of the Black Poets Collective, Pries and 337 define the word “LIVE” in poetry performance.
  • David Smith: author of White Time joins us from Las Angeles, CA.
  • Dennis Weiser
  • Kale Baldock
  • Kathy Hughes
  • Gary Lechtliter
  • Sean Erixon
  • Dean Fessenden
  • Thomas Fessenden
  • Kevin Rabas
  • Josh Barker
  • Jeff Tigchelaar
  • Aaron Froelich
  • Alyson Fuller
  • Saira Jehangir Khan
  • Faith Bemiss
  • Britt Whitehead
  • Blair Johnson
  • Mickey Cesar
  • Laura Kitzmiller
  • Katie Longofono
  • Jas Abromowitz
  • Jeremy O'eal
  • Lance & Rachel Asbury
  • David Smith
  • John Dorsey
  • Abigail Beaudell
  • Jacob Johansen
  • Katie Kaboom
  • Steve Goldberg (Jacob)
  • Gretta Wilkinson
  • Becky Barrera
  • Lola Nation
  • Duke Smith
  • Diane Mora
  • TJ Jude
  • Janie Harris
  • Evanne Miller
  • James Canty
  • Chris Beard
  • Steve Bridgens


  • Connie Dover: winner of the Loft’s coveted Speakeasy Prize for Poetry.
  • Nairba Sirrah: Book II of Paradise Lost: Satan Breaks Out Of Hell – 9 characters; 1005 lines; 59 minutes word for word memorized recital.
  • Eric Gandara
  • Megan Louise
  • Larry Welling
  • Mel Neet
  • Paul Goldman
  • Eve Brackenburry
  • Lee Eliot
  • Ken Buch
  • Maggie Ammerman
  • Dennis Weiser
  • Dez
  • Marion Dean McIrvin
  • Kevin Hiatt
  • Patrick Sumner
  • Norma Marshall
  • Jeremey Colson
  • Patrick Dobson
  • Stephen Karuska
  • Connie dover
  • Brian Harris
  • Silvia Kofler
  • Jose Faus
  • Maria Vasquez Boyd
  • Brandon Whitehead
  • Steve Wolfe
  • Megan Louise
  • Mikal Shapiro
  • Tracy Rockwell
  • Jon Bidwell
  • Arrika Brazil
  • Duke Smith
  • Rhiannon Ross
  • Abigail Henderson
  • Kara Werner
  • Robert Moore
  • Janie Harris
  • Jon Bidwell
  • Bob Chrisman
  • Brent Kinder
  • Lon Swearingen

  • Philip Miller: the godfather of Kansas City poetry, founder of the Riverfront Readings series and author of 6 books of verse, joins us from Mount Union, PA.
  •  Dr. Patricia Cleary Miller: Rockhurst University Humanities Chair, four-term poet laureate of the Harvard Alumni Association.
  • John Mark Eberhart
  • Paul Goldman 
  • Susan Peters
  • Jim Fox
  • Maril Crabtree
  • Jan Duncan-O'Neal
  • Karin Frank
  • Anne Baber
  • Bob Chrisman
  • Joseph Davis
  • Missi Rassmussen
  • Michael Wells
  • David Morrissey
  • Shawn Pavey
  • Timothy Pettet
  • Tom Wayne
  • Philip Miller
  • Patricia Miller
  • David Arnold Hughes
  • Jason Vaughn
  • Steve Brisindine
  • Sara glass
  • Duke Smith
  • Rhiannon Ross
  • Tom Wayne
  • Will Leathem
  • Jason Ryberg


  •  Victor Smith Memorial Reading: One of KC’s great ‘street’ voices, a poet’s poet, Smith published 5 chapbooks of poetry. A selection of poets  will read Victor’s poems in honor of his untimely passing.
  •  7-9pm VICTORY PARTY at The Conspiracy (at the Uptown Theatre). Live Music and much back slapping. $3 cover for the Kansas City literary arts nonprofit: Write the Future

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poetry Reviews: What's The Point?


Publishers Weekly:

But in almost any conversation on the topic of poetry reviews, one question comes up: what's the point? This question isn't always asked with the flippant air that actually means "who cares?" Often, people really want to know: what is accomplished by poetry reviews? Do they help sell books? Do they keep the art form in line? Do they spur writers into creating better poetry or kick bad writers out of the halls of Parnassus? Do poetry reviews help readers?

Read the whole story: Publishers Weekly

Poetry Reviews: What's The Point?



Confession Tuesday

Tuesday again. I’m like a kid out of breath, only mostly out of thought. My mind is gasping for contemplation and I don’t even realize the weight on my knees against the kneeler. It’s been a week without much clarity.

What to I have to confess this week? [Long pause]

My mind is in a cloud. I confess that there are many times this week that this has occurred. They usually are times when I’m feeling like I’m in a vacuum. No, not the Hoover, but more like when you have an experiment and you put something in a sealed jar and then you suck the air out of it. Only my mind is the jar and my thoughts have been suffocated. So here I am trying to assess my week in review and my mind is blank.

Oh, there is my self doubt. Yes, I recall having self doubt that creped into my writing during this past week... It was there like a lead weight in my wrist when I lifted my pen. In my fingers as I typed. It was the weight of the low pressure zone preventing the clouds in my head from moving on eastward. Do you ever have these irrational periods of doubt? They didn’t seem irrational at the time, but I know they are because there was something external that triggered a clearing of the doubts from my head. ~0~

I had a number of objectives going into last weekend and I confess I perhaps put too much emphasis on what I hoped to achieve. So much so, that I felt early on that I was not going to have a good weekend. In the end, I confess that I turned that around and used it too my advantage. Deciding not to throw in the towel, but try to salvage as much as I could. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I planned, but surprisingly more than I feared I would, and I still was able to take in a movie with my family. I confess that sometimes I surprise myself and things turn out better. ~0~

I confess that I surprise myself sometimes that in spite of liking language, I can be a pretty visual person. I enjoy seeing and taking pictures. Maybe that is why poetry in particular is the way I like my language; because of the emphasis of imagery. The relational connection between one thing and another and how that all fits together. Yes, when you peel back the layers of me, I confess that image and emotion comprise a good deal of what I am about. ~0~

When people call me and leave me a message to call them back, I confess I do not understand why they think I want to listen to 2 to 3 minutes of music on their voice mail.  I’m not with a record company; I’m not going to discover them or anyone they are featuring. It is ALMOST always the most hideous (and I use the term loosely) music. ~0~

Wow-  I can't believe I flushed all that out.   :) 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pit Live on the Internet - from Kansas City

"William PeckMarch 28, 2010 at 3:40pm
Subject: The Pit live on the Internet
We are now broadcasting live. Check out Kansas City's poets here:

Journal Bits March 22 – March 28


March 22 -  read Barefoot by Anne Sexton…  this poem is on the erotic side, pretty interesting given the period in which it was written.

March 24 - “the front never advances / no land changes hands / no prisoners are captured / death keeps percolating / hot black death.”

March 25 – “Corduroy slacks don’t hold / creases well, in fact they turn / cheap quickly— warn down / like a smooth bald head.”

March 28 - “A Sunday afternoon cocoon / the time held tightly / a pattern of jealous squeaks in the hallway floor / my hunger to be refreshed / warm within the pit / I hear the ticking of the clock not / in the present latitude / not in the passage from light into dark / or even back again.”

“Molten sweet sonnet / sings my eyes into shadows / of the present.”

Quote by Elizabeth Jennings….”For me, poetry is always a search for order.” I so agree!

Unconscious Mutterings Week 374

You Say, I think....

  • Bow out :: withdraw
  • Relationships :: personal
  • Facebook :: slow
  • Items :: sundry
  • Ours :: communal
  • Sting :: bee
  • Hangover :: wasted
  • Contacts :: eyes
  • Lonely :: forlorn
  • Seven days :: week

Get you own list here

Saturday, March 27, 2010

~ Book of Kells: NaPoWriMo: 30 New Poetry Prompts for National Poetry Month

~ Book of Kells: NaPoWriMo: 30 New Poetry Prompts for National Poetry Month

Getting ready for NaPoWriMo????

Or if you are just looking for a poetry prompt or two to get you started on a new poem here is a great list.

Kelli constantly has helpful insights to writing and publishing poetry so her blog is an excellent read anyway. Check it out.

You Go Chester Stranczek!

There are so many funny signs to choose from, but you've got to love this one.  I for one am always opposed to villages making excetions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Under Construction

Please excuse my construction zone, I'm toying with changes to my template...  I'm not likely finished yet... still trying things and mulling them over.

Will your grandchildren be asking what a library is?

It would appear that libraries are a ripe target for municipalities that are trimming their budgets. Boston is often thought of as a literary city, but it is just one of several cities where libraries are feeling the pinch. In fact Boston may be closing some locations all-together. In Los Angeles, staffing cuts are said to be shortening the weekday hours of operation and shutting down completely on Sunday.

How many of us take libraries for granted? Honestly, I think a good deal of the time they are not occupying a significant front and center portion of my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped to consider what would happen if they were not there.

Students of course are highly dependent upon them. And I saw a figure that suggests that one third of Americans go online at libraries. Is that their only internet access? I suppose for many it is. Again, I probably take for granted that most have easy access in their own homes.

Could we see the day of privatized libraries with memberships? Or a time when the library we used had no walls, no visible librarians in the dark framed glasses? We entered our membership numbers online and uploaded reading and research material. That kind of change is probably not lurking just around the corner yet, but like many of the services that we’ve come to take for granted, the access we have to libraries is at risk of some change due to the monetary constraints of municipalities. A nation that at times seams loath to read if it isn’t required of them, stands much to lose from loss of public library access. How queer it seems that with all the modern marvels taking place around the world, keeping a library door open for the public may just too challenging for cities.

Friday Stuff

It’s Friday and if you want something to do tonight without leaving your home, Suzanne Frischkorn is having a Book Party for her new release, Girl on a Bridge. It’s virtual so the vine and cheese won’t be a problem if you are dieting. To attend, click here and be teleported to the site.     ~0~

ABBA fans (of which I’m one) could take some joy in their induction into the Rock’s Hall of Fame recently but as to rumors the group might reunite for a one show performance, well it seems highly unlikely. Off the cuff remarks by former band member Benny Andersson have been dismissed by the bands manager. The band when their separate ways in 1982 and in 2000 turned down a $1 billion offer to do a 100 concert world tour.

I would have been shocked to see this happen. I think half of the group would welcome the idea but the other two I don’t see coming around to the idea.  ~0~   

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Protesting in verse: A Saudi woman criticizes Muslim clerics' in a TV poetry contest -


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It was a startling voice of protest at a startling venue. Covered head-to-toe in black, a Saudi woman lashed out at hard-line Muslim clerics' harsh religious edicts in verse on live TV at a popular Arabic version of "American Idol."

Well, not quite "American Idol": Contestants compete not in singing but in traditional Arabic poetry. Over the past episodes, poets sitting on an elaborate stage before a live audience have recited odes to the beauty of Bedouin life and the glories of their rulers or mourning the gap between rich and poor.

Then last week, Hissa Hilal, only her eyes visible through her black veil, delivered a blistering poem against Muslim preachers "who sit in the position of power" but are "frightening" people with their fatwas, or religious edicts, and "preying like a wolf" on those seeking peace.
Her poem got loud cheers from the audience and won her a place in the competition's finals, to be aired on Wednesday.
It also brought her death threats, posted on several Islamic militant Web sites

Full Story: Protesting in verse: A Saudi woman criticizes Muslim clerics' in a TV poetry contest -

American Patriots And Civic Minded People? I think not! These are Criminal Acts of Low Lifes.

The slashed gas line leading to a propane tank at the home of Bo Perriello was found Tuesday, one day after Tea Party activists * posted the address online and suggested that opponents of the reform bill should "express their thanks" to Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.

The FBI is working with local officials to investigate the incident.

Conservative activists* in Virginia posted the home address of Perriello's older brother — believing it to be the congressman's address — when suggesting in Web postings that those who disagreed with the Democratic lawmaker's vote should "drop by" to make their opposition clear.

The kind of people who would do this are criminal. Those who encourage this are accessories and just as bad. Grow up people. You seriously risk the life of other people and you show the rest of the world what a buffoon you are. What a way to shape American opinion.  *Replace activists above with anarchists and it pretty much explains who these people are.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Confession Tuesday

It seems like only yesterday I was here on my knees confessing, but alas it has been another whole week so let’s get started.

I confess dear reader that this confession may not be so revealing. I’m actually coming to confession this morning without any deeply reflective items to unearth and this is going to be a little more spontaneous then usual.

I confess that I didn’t get around to celebrating Valentines Day till last night. Yes, that is right. Least you think that I am a totally callous unromantic sort of person; this delay was by mutual consent. Cathy was out of town until late in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day and then having been on the road, we agreed to celebrate it at a later date. We got tickets for the first game of the Missouri Maverick’s Playoffs. They are our new hockey team. We had tried to get tickets earlier but they were sold out. When they made the playoffs, I was able to nab some tickets on the day they went on sell. If this sounds totally like a guy thing, the hockey game was actually Cath’s suggestion. We went out to dinner beforehand. Years ago, we had enjoyed going to hockey games when we had a team locally. This area has been without a team for a while.

I’m tired of snow. We’ve had one of the heaviest total snowfalls this winter – I heard 4th largest on record. This last one came and went fast, which I confess was kind of nice. We had one day of some awesome sights of snow covered tree branches but that was sufficient. I’m ready for baseball.

Dancing with the Stars has started again. I've watched this in the past but it has become less and less appealing to me. I confess that I am so tired of there ALWAYS being an NFL player on it. Why does this bother me? I confess I don’t know.

I confess that the older I get the more fragile the earth seems to me. I suppose it stands to reason given we are aging together. I suspect I’m more deeply into my life timeline, though sometimes the earth doesn’t seem quite as invincible as it did when I was an eight or ten year-old.

The climate changes, earthquakes, tsunamis all seem to encourage this feeling of frailty. That and of course the shrinking universe as we explore deeper into the far reaches of our galaxy. I know these things don’t necessarily point to doomsday but they do shape our view of earth. I confess this seem to make for good poetry.

The things we value most in life (besides monetary riches) the things that honestly are of the utmost value are those things we risk losing. Why does it a rose take our breath away? Its beauty is found in the fact that it doesn’t last forever. The same reason our love of another can be almost unfathomable. Some day, your lifeline or theirs will reach it’s conclusion on earth. Such is the world we are born into and we have no say in the matter otherwise. I confess like relationships all the power and savageness of nature makes a good basis for poetry. As we near National Poetry Month, I’ll try to keep this in focus as I write.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Journal Bits March 15 -21

March 16 - The morning is like an intersection with everything coming together at me all at once.

March 16 - There could be an IED / somewhere on this desk / who would know / till it were too late / till the florescent crackled / overhead the air crisp / with carbon / ashen paper particles

March 17 - and there among all other / was a single green rose / the bud still grasping itself
March 20 - where would we be without the moon / the moon that placates vampires / that romances our literature / that hangs in the trees / night after night until gone / its presence then in the conspicuous absence / until reappearing as a sliver resting against the night
March 20 - noted that late night I read "For the Year of  the Insane" by Anne Sexton
March 21 - Time to kill / on a messy morning / Sunday, graystone sky Sunday / silent cold / the air having scraped her teeth on snow that fell  / these past two days / crispy chattering

Unconscious Mutterings Week 373

You say.... I think:

  • 1.Burrito :: bandito
  • 2.Spike ::  railroad
  • 3.Tougher :: love
  • 4.Mock :: trial
  • 5.Slurp :: drink
  • 6.Knock :: out
  • 7.Conference :: call
  • 8.Madness :: March
  • 9.Minds :: inquiring
  • 10.Connection :: internet
Get you own list here!

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Not All Academic in Tehran

Among the many debates the occur frequently around poetry, there is the well worn question of what can poetry do… what is it good for anyway? Academics are not the only ones with a view in this question. Evidently Iranian authorities have one too and apparently are fearful of the power of the poetic word. Last week they stopped Simin Behbahani, an 82 year old woman who is nearly blind, from boarding a flight to Paris. Behbahani, is a poet, and known to some as the Lioness of Iran. She was taken away from the airport, interrogated throughout the night, then sent home without her passport.

Behbahani has written poetry in Iran for decades…through the reign of Iran’s Shah, during the Islamic Revolution, and the reign of the ayatollahs. She has been twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature. She’s been outspoken for women’s rights. It has not however been easy for her to publish work in the past few years. The government has become more repressive in years towards writers in general. Her last work of poetry published required the removal of 40 poems or fragments thereof once the government censors finished with it.

After the disputed presidential election last summer and hundreds of thousands hit the streets in protest, prompting government crackdown and violence, Behbahani wrote a poem, “Stop Throwing My Country to the Wind.” People who have followed her for many years now have considered her as untouchable. There will be a lot of eyes on Tehran watching how she is treated from here on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update on Mary Oliver Visit to KU

Unfortunately the Mary Oliver event for next week at KU has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for March 23-24, it has been scratched due to illness. The Hall Center will make every effort to reschedule this event at some point in the future. I'll keep readers updated as soon as I know something further.

Happy St Patricks Day

As you slide down the banister of life
May the splinters never point the wrong way...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Tuesday has arrived a little faster this week due to daylight savings time, so lets move to the confessional.

I must confess that I do not appreciate the alleged finer points of daylight savings time. I never have. It messes up my internal clock which in turn makes me grouchy about not only the subject but other things as well. If someone wanted to be my hero, they could lead a campaign to repeal it.

I confess that I’m not the greatest house husband. My wife works long hours and I’m not the greatest at picking up slack at home. I can find any number of reasons why things are frustrating in relation to the chores around the house, but I need to stop focusing on reasons. They are like running an obstacle course, the fact that they are there may make the journey a little harder, but they are not a reason not to reach the other end of the course. I can do better.

Having been in a leadership role in the Democratic Party at one time, I have a critical view of how my party is governing presently. I confess there are people I’d like to shake. I know you should never shake children. Is it a bad thing to shake you Congressman or Senator?

Right now, I confess I’m a frustrated writer. There are days I even think of stopping, but I realize I’ve been there before and I would be frustrated in another way altogether were I to stop writing. I confess I’m not especially excited about Poetry Month this year. I’m sort of forcing myself to do the daily poem challenge and not especially looking forward to it. I confess when things are not really going right with my writing I take a harsh view of my own efforts. I can have a hard time with self-esteem. The negative spiral that follows only makes for more stress. Realizing this, I have decided to put more emphasis on reading these next few days and hope that the upside will be a better frame of mind when I set down to write.

I confess I had to laugh this morning when I read if you fiddle with all the letters in Jennifer Aniston's name you can come up with ‘Fine in Torn Jeans.’

Monday, March 15, 2010

An Evening with Poet Mary Oliver March 23 -

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Lied Center of Kansas
Humanities Lecture Series  -  Kansas University

The author of 18 collections of poetry, most notably the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive (1983) and New and Selected Poems, Volume One (1992), which garnered a National Book Award, Mary Oliver will share her work and take questions from the audience. Her most recent collections are The Truro Bear and Other Adventures (2008), new poems and beloved classics about creatures of all sorts, and Evidence (2009). Red Bird (2008) was an immediate national bestseller. Oliver is a past recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship.

For additional information contact Hall Center for the Humanities 785/864-4798

Nathalie Handal - "Lost Poet Of Nightly Dreams"

The Neverfield is an energetically lyrical work by Nathalie Handal. She begins this book length poem, “Riding through the skies wearing different costumes.” An apparent parallel to her own life, for Nathalie Handal is a poet of the world who embraces her universal ties while still searching for the meaning of her roots.

In truth, The Neverfield could be any Palestinian or other person longing for meaning in their existence. There is such passion in these words.

“I felt you browsing through my mind… / and warned you that / the republic inside of you / might / tumble / down / your / chest… / warned you / not to go near the notebooks / piled up by the cup of tea / and the half-moon… / instead to go beside the clay sculpture / by the pinewood… / I heard the march of the patriots / you read the notebooks…/ stood in the middle / of dying and death”

Handal uses her craft well, spacing in the book accentuates her words, and she is a wordsmith of incredible gift or at minimum very learned ability.

Nathalie mimics the spirit of another Palestinian poet. The poet referred to as entering the world on the 13th day of March is Mahmoud Darwish. There is a real sense Darwish’s presence in her words which so beautifully seek to establish The Neverfield as both a place in one’s mind and a geographical place that can be found for real in a poet’s words.

This book is an easy read. It almost glides once started like a self propelled lawn mower pulling you along with little strain. This is a book I will return to often. A book I recommend.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unconscious Mutterings Week 372

You say, I think....

  • Children :: kids
  • Saddlebags :: horse
  • Restraint :: control
  • Awake :: alert
  • Blood :: sugar
  • Shutter ::  camera
  • Posted :: mailed
  • Corn cob :: roasting ear
  • Flagrant :: blatant
  • Fart :: gas

get your own list

Journal Bits March 8 - 14

  • March 8 - After assessing the potential of what I have so far towards my working manuscript, I'm about five off my time lines. Counld be worse.
  • I guess I'm going to do the 30 days- 30 poems challenge for April again. I'm an idiot. I like to think of them as 30 drafts. Last year I had about five keepers out of the work.
  • March 9 - After reading Susan Rich's poem What to Make of Such Beauty from her upcoming book The Alchemist's Kitchen my book want list just grew.
  • When you are young / before death has any real grip on you / leaving an empty no-deposit-no-return
  • March 11 - there is a phantom disorder / hiding within the order of us all...  there is a dark side to out toast / it is not what is buttered with sunshine
  • The shelf has bowed under the its weight / heavy in insignifance
  • March 12 - Is it time again for daylight savings? / A bouquet of bunk. Show me / the savings. Like all capatalism it's just shifting ledger columns / hocus pocus
  • March 13 - After the minute and hour hands collide at midnight / after the house listens to itself for groans and settlements in the walls

Wordle - Composit Thoughts #1

Wordle - Composit Thoughts #1: "Wordle: Composit Thoights #1"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Briefs

While I'm not an iPhone person, those who are might want to check out the app named Poem Flow where you can read or experience a poem per day.


Ran across this Margaret Atwood quote and thought how true...

"A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Giddy

I know it's Spring Traning and not regular season, but my San Francisco Giants are 7-1 with their 5 to 1 win over the Cubs. Kudos to Pablo Sandoval for his grand slam hommer!

Baseball is so poetic!

but fix the typos...

The poet Susan Rich will be wearing her editor’s hat as she guest editing for an upcoming issue of Crab Creek Review. In a blog post today she shared three easy to follow rules when submitting work to keep you ahead of the pack.

I actually found #2 humorous although I realize she is serious about the advice. Do people really tell the editor that they better not change a word, but they can fix typos as required? I suppose they do, but while her wisdom seems like common sense, I suppose these days common sense is kind of like an oxymoron.

Crab Creek Review Winter/Spring 1999

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Confession Tuesday

Well another Tuesday has arrived so it’s time to do the Confession thing again.

Let me get comfortable here before I begin… or is it better to be uncomfortable while confessing. I’ll leave that to the theologians.

It really hasn’t been a that interesting of a week. I’ve been working on a manuscript that is part of one of my goals for the year. I confess that it I’m trying to be calm and focused about it, but it’s not always easy.  I know I still have a lot to do but I’ve taken inventory of my work and it is coming along. I confess that I get conflicted about how I feel  concerning the progress vs. what still needs to be done.

This week I’ve been working on a poem that is maybe up to about draft 15 or 16 and I confess that I believe in the poem but I think it may be needing to tell me what it wants to say and I’m just not listening. I confess that I can be stubborn that way.

I got a haircut during this past week and I admit I look pretty good for a change. I’ve stopped wearing the dog tags.

Last night I was sitting at the chiropractors awaiting my appointment and I confess I was looking in a reflection of myself in a glass. It wasn’t like a vanity sort of thing, but I was looking at my natural facial expression. I’m not a person who especially smiles a lot. When I was younger I didn’t like my smile and I pretty much kept a serious face. Maybe I’ve done this so long my face has frozen (like I was constantly warned) because I don’t feel I have a natural smile. I can smile, I’m not really hard to get to laugh, but I confess that I am not comfortable smiling and at the same time I am becoming uncomfortable at not smiling naturally. I confess this seems really screwed up to me.

I confess I’ve found another poet’s book I want. Surprise, surprise! 

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Video Poem – Trailer for “Girl on a Bridge”


There have been a number of nicely done video trailers bounced around lately for books that are soon to be released or have already come out. One video poem that grabs attention and sufficiently entices you to want to read the book from which it comes is titled “Indiscretion of an American Wife," 1954, a poem by Suzanne Frischkorn  from her book Girl on a Bridge – Main Street Rag Publishing due out this spring.

Don’t take my word for it… you can see for yourself here. 


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Journal Bits MARCH 1 - 7

Journal Bits for the past week

  • MARCH 1 -  Up from the deep blue / a slammed door / adolescent anger / against a quivering shore
  • MARCH 2 -  it wasn't transative / and long-suffering / or shrouded on metaphysics
  • MARCH 3 - Missouri has a new poet laureate, David Clewell of Webster Groves, Missouri.  He was not on my radar.
  • MARCH 4 - My earliest memories of death / aren't saddled with suffering / shrouded in metaphysics / or even human.
  • MARCH 7 - Quoted John Berger, "Mystifications protect power. Mysteries protect the sacred."

Wordle - On my mind this week

Wordle - On my mind this week: "Wordle: On my mind this week"

Unconscious Mutterings Week 371

You say, I think....

  • 1.Detective :: dick
  • 2.Bangs :: hair
  • 3.Consultant :: PR
  • 4.Puzzle :: mania
  • 5.Learn :: curious
  • 6.Necklace :: pendent
  • 7.184 ::  even numbers
  • 8.Stimulation :: sims
  • 9.Layered :: cakes
  • 10.Police :: department
Get your own starer list

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Scoring Daily

For several weeks now I’ve had a widget on my sidebar for a site called I suppose it’s kind of confusing when you look at it because at first glance one might say why are Joe’s goals on Michael’s blog? On further look, you will find my name on it too below the graph.

The point of this post is to talk about goals. The Capricorn in me is almost a widget addict. It’s all about trying (emphasis on trying) to stay organized and effective. I think this is what all Capricorns want but we have built-in traits that tend to sabotage us.

The Joe’s Goals widget has actually been helpful because I can be as narrow or broadly focused as I want to. In my case, there were several things that were important to me. Things that are writing related and things that are health related. I decided I wanted a balanced view of what my days / weeks are like. Plus I can print out a category list by week or month to see how well I’m doing in the more specific areas.

You can give weighted points to the items. For example, I expect myself to write daily and most of the time do. I give myself 1 point for doing this. Same for journaling, and reading. Submitting poetry has become a chore to me. It’s honestly worth twice as much as say a writing session. A rejection letter gets negative points as well, and is an incentive to right away get back on the bike again so to speak after the fall. And an Artist Date is another challenge for me to take the time and energy to plan out and follow through on, hence it’s worth three points. For health I’ve factored in both positive points and negative where I’ve fallen down. I like that it keeps me focusing on the present and the future.

This little system may not be for everyone, but it’s a good fit for this Capracorn.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Limitations Be Gone!

Art does imitate life, it has to come from somewhere. To put boundaries and limitations on it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. ~ Christian Slater

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Missouri's New Poet Laureate

Missouri has it's second poet laureate and it's 55 year old David Clewell of Webster Groves, Missouri. The announcement came this morning when he was presented by the state’s First Lady Georganne Nixon. I’m not personally familure with Mr. Clewell, he was not someone on my radar as a possibility.

Clewell is director of the creative writing program at Webster University. His online bio at the University website indicates that he has published seven poetry books, his most recent, The Low End of Higher Things. His noted awards include Pollak Poetry Prize (for Now We're Getting Somewhere as well as the Lavan Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His Blessings in Disguise was a winner in the National Poetry Series.  He will replace the state's first poet laureate Walter Bargen.

Just to get a bit of a taste of Clewell's work, I found these links:

The Difference A Day Makes Part 1

Vegeterian Physics

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Arts - State and Local Government See Taxing Potential

With the economic downturn this past year individuals and families are not alone in their financial discomfort. Many state and local governments are suffering as well as tax revenues shrink. Workers in some instances have been laid off and positions consolidated in order to cut government expenses. There of course are limits as to how deeply government services can be cut. Because of this, I suppose it’s not surprising that local and state governments are looking for innovative sources of tax revenues.

The reason I bring this us is because there are so many not-for –profit organizations that provide vital funding for many art programs and grants for artists and in some instances these charitable organizations may be the target of legislators looking for new tax revenue sources. This concern is not just conjecture but actually happening in some instances. A few examples of this:

In Hawaii a bill would require charities to pay a 1 percent tax.Neighboring state of Kansas would subject charities to sales tax; would remove property tax exemptions from non-profits and Pennsylvania would remove property tax exemptions from non-profits.

Artists need to be alert to such possibilities in their own states and municipalities and not allow their state and local governments to move in this direction without expressing their concerns. Yes, these are difficult times. Charitable Foundations that support the arts/artists are feeling the pinch like everyone else.


Confession Tuesday

Dear reader-

It seems to be that time again, time to traipse into the confessional and unburden myself. This past week seems to be a series of highs and lows. I have lots to confess so let’s get started.

The winter Olympic Games are now over. This is both good and bad. I confess am a winter Olympic addict. I can tell you that the Olympics did not help my writing. This weekend was a particularly bad weekend for writing. Quantity and quality were both casualties. I could feel the withdrawal pains as the closing celebration began. It’s a sadness I get that is not at all unlike that of the end of baseball season.

I actually have mixed feelings about these Olympic Games. I’m not going to blame it on Canada that the weather was let’s say schizophrenic on the slopes. I’m sure if the country could have willed better cooperation from Mother Nature it would have been perfect. But for all the troubles they had, it seemed they were a gracious host nation. I confess I was disappointed with the coverage. It just isn’t what it used to be going back to Sarajevo in ‘84 (one of my favorite) the ’76 games in Innsbruck, Austria and the Lake Placid games in 1980. Coverage during those years was awesome.

I confess that Friday night when we went to the Sprint Center to see Elton John and Billy Joel in concert that I felt at lest 20 years younger. I confess my body wanted to dance and sway and do all kinds of things that I’m sure would have been painful come Saturday morning. I confess I did none of those things – and was moderately reserved though not comatose in my seat. Still, I don’t believe I embarrassed any of my family members in attendance.

I also confess that this past week I argued, debated, whatever you wish to call it, health care and politics at a public place with another family member. It was a heated or passionate exchange and I’m sure everyone felt uncomfortable about it. In the end, even I was. I’m not happy that it went to the level it did, but it was probably inevitable from the outset. I am indeed a product of the 1960’s. I am indelibly shaped by the events of those turbulent years. I am someone who feels a heavy burden to be a part of the fix of the screw-up of those who preceded us and those of my own generation that continue to repeat so many of those same mistakes. I accepted then and continue to believe in a calling to public service. It is that very reason that I spent so many years – often long hours involved in political campaigns and various issues. It informed how I spent a good portion of my life, including decisions that continue to shape my future. I suspect many who know me simply consider that I am obstinate. I may be guilty of such, but that will not suffice to explain my hardball approach to politics. I confess I am far more complex than to be defined in those terms. I also confess that none of this changes that I regret the conversation.

1968 with Tom Brokaw (History Channel)Large USA Peace Fingers Embroidered Patch 1960s Reproduction V Victory Sign Iron-On Anti-War SymbolThe Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of RageThe Greatest Hits 1960s Pure Gold Collection CD

Photo Credit: Concert Photo at top - Q (yes that's what we call her)