Saturday, April 30, 2011


It has occurred to me that I have a growing number of early drafts in journal and saved in various places that I need to get organized better so that I can actually go to them to work on them.

For a while I was really good about organizing these but it's gotten out of hand.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Anne Sexton from Beyond - Part Two in my Dead Poet Mentor Series

This week I've continued to be in communication with my dead poet mentor. Our communication has taken on several forms. The most common has been to speak to me through her poems. Let me explain what this has looked like. As I've read through various of Sexton's works this week some have been worthwhile reads but have not  elicited any remarkable internal reactions. On other occasions however, I've been prompted to consider fresh ideas on which to draw from in writing. I'm not talking about writing on the same subject as the poem in question, but rather drawing upon an image I'm finding within her words or seeing something that has taken me back to some experience of my own from the past that I'm seeing - unfold in some freshly developing language that I believe will carry over at some point into my writing.
Another way that Anne has been communicating with me is through her letters. Anne Sexton, like many poets of this same period was a prolific letter writer.  It's pretty easy to get inside Anne's head in these writings. I say this because these letters leave her quite vulnerable to anyone who would read them.  I've spent a good deal of time and energy studying Sylvia Plath and there is a stark difference between Sexton's letters and those in Plath's published, "Letters Home."

If one compares Sylvia's "Letters Home" and her Journals side-by-side, it becomes clear that what Sylvia was saying to her mother and what she was journaling  were often quite different. If one did not know any better you might even conclude these were not written by the same person.  Plath were out of her way to paint a picture for her mother's benefit that was about controlling the message. Her journals seem on the contrary to be a much more honest assessment of the authentic Plath.  This too is how Anne appears in her letters, authentic to a fault.  I'll have more to say about Anne's letters at a later time, but the point I am making now is they are quite revealing.

The last aspect of Anne's communication is through biographical material.  While Biographers may sometimes extrapolate on certain facts to reach differing conclusions, we can come to learns some things about a person that seem to be indisputable. When we learn some important truths about a person's life - it can help us to understand how these thing come to inform that person's writing.

So you have a bit of the "how" part of of my mentoring under a dead poet. Later in this series I'll talk more in depth about what Anne has actually been conveying to me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Many Making Their Own Reality - Donald Trump Only Encourages This

If I may deviate from poetry for a moment... my apology to readers but it seems we in this country have deviated from very pressing matters to engage in at a minimum silliness and arguably a very blatant hate bating. 

Birtrhers have for half of a presidency continued to question the legitimacy of Obama's Presidency on the basis of his nationality. They have done so in spite of the existence of birth records. This craziness has continued and many prominent Republicans have encouraged it with half backed responses when questioned. "Well, I take him at his word," is only an encouragement for others to continue to question

Enter Donald Trump... his nearly daily questioning and insistence on the president producing a long form certificate brought this story into the mainstream media. His circus atmosphere came with sweeping accusations that he has had people on the ground to flush out the truth, that truth he insinuates is that the president is a fake, a fraud!

Of course Trump - who threatens that he (Trump) is the last person Obama wants to run against, has provided no evidence contrary. He has not produced these people "on the ground." Words, all words. And words don not truth make. 

Now that Obama has released the long form certificate, Trump says he is glad he got the president to do something no one else could. And he adds he hopes it is authentic, but says it's too early to say. Meanwhile Trump has started another question to Obama's integrity. He now says that he has talked to many people who have informed him that Obama was not a very good student. And Trump has many friends who should have been able to get into Harvard but didn't... so, how is it that Obama got in? This is where Trump plays the race card. After all, how could Obama possibly have been qualified for Harvard Law School? 

Lies! Trump is a blatant liar! He throws out this stuff as if fact, knowing full well that an unbelievable large segment of the population is gullible enough to believe it without any foundation of truth offered simply because they want to believe it.

Will Trump really run for president? Maybe... but I'm not counting on it. I think he has two objectives in mind. First, to boost his ego and ratings on his TV series and second, to play the bad guy... to be the hammer that pounds away at Obama to try and bring his numbers down in the poll. He never has to run, in fact will be accountable for much less if he never actually enters the race. 

He's the tough talking guy that fires people on a TV reality show. Reality show? Trumps view of reality is whatever he wants it to be. Much the same as every other birther.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Confession Tuesday

It's Tuesday again and I find myself at the virtual confessional.

Dear Reader-

It's been one mowed lawn and lots of rain since my last confession. I confess I'm fearful how high it will be by the time it is dry enough to mow.

This week I am dog sitting so it is later then normal by the time I settle in for the night.  Looking after these two dogs, it is still much quieter then at home.  I had expectations of getting a lot of writing done in the evenings this week but so far I've brought office work home with me every night. I confess that I'm conflicted by this. On one hand I want to walk way from the office clean and not have to think about it till the next day.  At the same time, getting a bit of work done in the evening makes the next day not quite so overwhelming.

While driving an listening to  NPR this week I heard a story about the two remaining (long running) soap operas coming to an end soon.  I confess I felt a bit sad and I'm not a consumer of their programing.  The thing is that recalling the women in my life, most if  not all at one time or another were dedicated watchers.  I realize this is the end of an era. Grandmothers to daughters to granddaughters passed down this practice and in many cases obsession.  In a way, soap operas were sort of the social media of yester-year. You couldn't text but many people probably spent more time then they should have watching them and then everywhere women gathered they talked about the characters like real people in their lives.

I confess that I've been living on the edge these past couple of days.  Sunday we had a flat and I put the donut (spare) on and have been driving with it since.  That of course means I'm now driving with no spare. And another confession...the other three tires are at the end of  their life as well. I've replaced all four this afternoon and I confess I will feel better driving tonight.

Lately I have been more focused while working on a manuscript.  I'm starting to see threads that pull a number of poems together and this is both scary and exciting at the same time.  I just hope this is not a case of the Monkey House as Kelli puts it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I give you the images I know...

“I cannot promise very much.
I give you the images I know.
Lie still with me and watch.
We laugh and we touch.
I promise you love. Time will not take that away.”
~Anne Sexton
The images I know tonight...
  • A sofa of zig-zagged pillows.
  • An asphalt road that curves right - forever. 
  • A bird nest driven into a tree by tornadic winds.
  • The river running rampant outside its banks.
  • A starless sky adrift upon ceiling.
  • Tired brown eyes - like no other,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Magpie Tales - 62 - Poem: Gemini Sunrise

A Gemini sunrise
medium, split open—
the morning
bread was broken
the day began

2011 © Michael A. Wells
Magpie Tales 62

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cats & Writers

A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys. ~Barbara Holland

Photo: Evie -  whiteboard

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Thought - Charles Simic

"Here in the United States, we speak with reverence of authentic experience. We write poems about our daddies taking us fishing and breaking our hearts by making us throw the little fish back into the river. We even tell the reader the kind of car we were driving, the year and the model, to give the impression that it’s all true. It’s because we think of ourselves as journalists of a kind. Like them, we’ll go anywhere for a story. Don’t believe a word of it. As any poet can tell you, one often sees better with eyes closed than with eyes wide open."    — Charles Simic

In the darkness of my mind
it's cobwebbed cold
strings flap in the current
that blows       grease are frozen
in flight        and still against the hope
that dawn brings a thaw
and wisps of interest that is lacking
as the stars are silent

© 2011 - Michael A. Wells

Closing your eyes... what do you see?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dead Poem Mentor Series - Part One: My Selection

As I have mentioned before, while mentoring under another poet it was recommended to me that I select a dead poet mentor; a concept that seemed a bit odd at first but grew on me as I came to visualize the possible benefit. With so many dead poets (you know how most people think they all are dead) I had quite a field to choose from.

I’ve read (and own) an extensive collection of biographical martial, poetry and letters on Sylvia Plath a as well as Ted Hughes. I know Plath well enough already that I will sometimes read little things that I instantly know to be at odds with most biographical material and I therefore passed on Plath for the simple reason I have already become well acquainted with her and I want my dead poet mentor to be able to reveal new things to me. 

In the end, it would be Anne Sexton that I would choose for a couple of reasons but the priority in this selection was placed upon the fact that Anne was not schooled in poetry in the traditional manner. No MFA or anything close to the academic equivalent for those times. Yes she took some classes and workshops from the likes of Lowell and other well known poets but her formal education was limited. She came to poetry initially as a form of therapy but in the end her work progressed to the point that she was able to carve out an acceptance among the academics of her time. Her reputation would ultimately earn her teaching positions at several universities. In a way I view Anne Sexton as the patron saint of the “self made” poets. She was able to elicit help from others, but she found her own way to the success she achieved as an enormously significant voice among 20th century poets.

So at least for the time being, Anne Sexton is my choice for a dead poet mentor. To learn as much as I can about her, about her work, to be able discern her particular voice. To turn to her at times for inspiration and to get past writing blocks and at moments of need, to ask the question, “What would Anne do?”

And the great thing is she can’t say no to me.

* Series continues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader-

It's been 6 says since my "late" non-confession confession. 

In the past week it has occurred to me that I've done very little for the sake of National Poetry Month this year.  Normally I do a very nicely printed - special edition - numbered broadside. I elected not to do it this year, or my budget sort of made that decision for me.  I decided not to do a-poem-a day either. I confess that I'm not especially disappointed on the latter but I do regret I don't have the broadsides to distribute.

I've never been a big fan of the hiaku.  I've written a few and occasionally I hear one that I like but I'm just not a big fan for the from. A poetry friend recently gave me a book entirely of baseball hiaku.  I confess that I've been enjoying these bits that seem to roll of the page like a seeing eye single that slips through the infield for a hit.  Golden little gems.

I had another rejection letter today and I confess I should be busy sending out more work tonight but I'm tired and maybe tomorrow night.  Definately tomorrow night.

That's it for this week. A little boring perhaps - but hey, I'm on time!

Have a graet week!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Disclaimer

I did a bit of a makeover on Stickpoet this weekend... I'm contemplating a few other changes but they should be minimal. I hope the background is agreeable to readers. While I liked my old color scheme some had indicated the background art made it difficult to read.

My "Dead Poet Mentor" series which was to have started over the weekend has been delayed in part to get the Terresa Wellborn Interview up and to make the aesthetic changes to the blog site. Look for the Series to start on Wednesday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Double Excitement

It's always exciting to have one of your pieces of work appear in a venue that you've never apeared in before.  It's double exciting if that Journal is Rose and Thorn! 

The Spring Issue is out and I have a poem titled House Arrest that is appearing in it.  Check out the Spring Issue by clicking here!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today I'm in two places at once...

A Thanks to Terresa Wellborn at The Chocolate Chip Waffle for featuring me today as her visiting poet.

Terresa will actually be featured here soon as we have been working on an interview. She is an incredible writer and a source of great creative inspiration.  I often go to her site whenever I stymied in front of a page just to recall how potent we can be with words when we open ourselves up and not self censor.


"Don't bite till you know if it's bread or stone." ~ Anne Sexton

What Would Anne Do?  -  Starting this weekend I will begin writing on my encounters with the dead poet Anne Sexton. I'm not having a seance, or toying with an Ouija board. It's nothing quite that dramatic.  But sometime back I was urged to select a dead poet mentor and Anne Sexton was the choice.  This weekend learn why I chose Anne and what I'm doing to figure out how she can help me with my poetry as I star a series of posts on What Would Anne Do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Confession Tuesday and spending time with my dead poet mentor

I was struck today by the realization that I missed Confession Tuesday.  Not struck by  the realization - like oh yeah... I meant to do that and forgot. No I realized very late today that on man it wasn't even on my my radar! As such, I'm not even going to stumble through a late one because I really haven't thought about the past week that much. In fact if I was going to confess anything it would be that I've been living in the present so much this week that I can't really think back or ahead that much. So I guess I just confessed and I wasn't going to.

I have spent some time the past few days with my dead poet mentor. I'll have more to say about this over the weekend. So stay tuned if you want to know more about my relationship with a dead poet.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Laps around the track and Internet - or What you might have missed

With Barry aboard, I set out for the track this morning.  The weather was springlike and forecasts for a high in the 90's today are certainly believable.

We did two miles around the quarter mile loop. For Barry's little legs it must have seemed like ten.  Over night showers left standing puddles amid the grassy areas.  The wooded area seemed alive with fowl. That I could identify - both male and female robins and a male cardinal. There were many others that I was uncertain about but it was soothing to hear the chirping and feel the wind on my face. I of course will likely pay later for sinus allergies.

No breakfast before I left.  Came home and made one lonely waffle and had sugar-free Log Cabin syrup atop it.

Before I settle in for a bit of Saturday writing, I have a few items from around the Internet this week worth mentioning.  It seems to have been an especially good week in terms of blog content for many of the blogs I read routinely.  A few items I'd like to direct readers to in the event you've overlooked or otherwise missed:

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A poem showcases itself

A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else.  A poem points to nothing but itself. - E. M. Forster

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader: It’s been one 90 degree day, one fabulous First Friday Art exhibit, one front lawn mowed (already) and gas over three and a half bucks since my last confession.

The weather has been typical Missouri. Cold one day and hot the next and you guessed it, cold again. Mark Twain used to say if you don’t like the weather in Missouri then stick around, it will change. I confess I like the concept of changing of seasons but I really like weather that is between upper sixties to mid-seventies. This schizophrenic a/c one day and heat the next is not my favorite thing.


I confess that I was surprised how many of my friends came out to see the Jennifer Rivera Synesthesia Exhibition at the Apex Art Space on Friday. I confess that I was completely overwhelmed that my son purchased one of the two paintings that Jennifer did in response to poetry I had written. I really enjoyed seeing the art work and could easily become a First Friday Addict.


My Giants have dropped three games of a four game series to the Dodgers – winning only one game – 10 to 0 and I confess that I am disappointed but not freaking out. The beauty of baseball is that it’s a long season and you can’t let successes get you too high or losses too low. A new series starts tonight! 


My fantasy baseball team is at that stage that I am obsessing about it. I readily confess that I am aware of this – and it usually starts out that way until things shake out a bit and then I can just let it ride and do my best to manage it well.


It seems like I had something else on my mind earlier for I confess it has escaped me for the time being so I guess this confession has sputtered to its conclusion. Till next week, be safe – be happy!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Picture Perfect Night

When I left work on Friday I was greeted by a picture perfect spring afternoon. The clouds were large and surreal in the blight blue sky - against the backdrop of the the downtown skyline they looked as though they were from a Norman Rockwell painting.

I met up with other family members and headed to the Crossroads Arts District for First Friday. For those outside the metropolitan area, in Kansas City on First Friday people sort of caravan through the various different gallery showings throughout the area.

While I would love to have spent the night checking out other places as well, I was glued to the Apex Art Space where abstract artist Jennifer Rivera had 37 pieces of art that were created in response to various poems chosen by her to work with.  Two poems I had written were among those that were used to prompt her work.

The crowd was especially pulled into to Jennifer's work.  At almost any moment and any direction you could find multiple groupings of onlookers engaged in conversation over the canvasses and poems before them.  Jennifer reports that over 1200 people came through the Gallery and I have no doubt. The stream of traffic was constant.

I'm very indebted to the many of my own friends and family who came to see the work and spending time chatting with each was important to me. I do plan to make a more leisurely look at the exhibit  soon as I want to give each the same kind of attention I would normally afford a new poem I am reading.

The two that were connected to my own poems both indulged my mind in ways that was particularly drawn to.  The smaller of the two was titled titled Anchored and the texture and tone created a very earthy atmosphere that was easy to get lost in.  A central portion of the picture almost had a hologram feel to it.  In the larger painting  I was drawn to the feeling of dissonance that seemed to emulate from it. I like this because in spite of a very peaceful aspect of the poem, there really is an unresolved aspect of it and I feel this captured within this painting.

There were many pictures I really loved from their visual appeal but like I said, I really want to walk through and take in each one with the poems as well.

To the left - Dangling  which was painted in response to my poem Dangling Thoughts.

Below -  Anchored  - in response to my poem titled Dream - Part Two.                     Jennifer and I below right.

I hope to get some better shots to post, but these are what I have for now.

Oh, and least I forget - great music by Karim Memi & Beau Bledsoe!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Synesthesia - Poetry and Painting Exhibit Tonight

Abstract artist JENNIFER RIVERA will be showing work starting at tonight's opening at the Apex Art Space 1819 Wyandotte - Kansas City, Missouri.   The exhibition will feature poetry inspired painting  - some 30 works will be on display along with the poetry.

An artist reception from 6-9 pm and you are welcome to view the works and enjoy the music of Karim Memi & Beau Bledsoe from 6:30-8:30.

Two of my own poetry works will be among the selected works that Jennifer used to inspire her paintings.

Hope to see you there!