poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)

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I want this book …

Austin Allen’s review of George Green’s Lord Byron’s Foot  is fabulous. Allen has the guts to write that “Literary gossip is the final, whispered retort to New Criticism!,”  and the quoted passages from Green’s book damn near prove it.

And here’s what else I want: some of Allen’s own poetry. Unfortunately all I can find is his Big Think blog.

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April 27, 2014   No Comments

The Wall Street Journal, Poetry, and Pig Tails

I’m not kidding: look here.

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April 25, 2014   No Comments

Happy birthday, Lee!

Hope you’re well and happy and doing good work.

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April 17, 2014   No Comments

This makes me absurdly happy …

We were looking for beer to accompany our Indian takeout tonight, and were disappointed that the liquor store we visited, run by Indian immigrants, had no Indian beers in stock. But they assured us that they would have some very soon, and they did have chocolate peanut butter porter from DuClaw, named Sweet Baby Jesus. We bought it, though we’ll probably find some other place to get some Kingfisher or Taj Mahal for tonight’s meal.

Sweet Baby Jesus!

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March 22, 2014   No Comments

Maxine Kumin, 6/6/1925—2/6/2014

I was very lucky, back in the 1970’s, to be able to work with Ms Kumin in workshops arranged by Sena Jeter Naslund at the University of Louisville. She had a tremendous influence on me at the time, and I’ve never stopped reading her work.

I’ve always particularly loved her book The Retrieval System. When I learned of her death I immediately thought of that book’s title poem and, especially, “The Excrement Poem,” which ends 

 

I think of what drops from us and must then
be moved to make way for the next and the next.
However much we stain the world, spatter

it with out leavings, make stenches, defile
the great formal oceans with what leaks down
trundling off today’s last barrow-full
I honor shit for saying: We go on.

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February 8, 2014   No Comments

True Colors Revealed

Higgledy-piggledy

Speaker John Boehner now

Bows to his masters, his

Pants at his knees—

 

Tea Party hooligans,

Corporate money men,

Bankers and plutocrats

Do as they please.

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September 28, 2013   No Comments

My Sonnet and a Danish Science Fiction Club

SFC, a Danish science fiction club and independent publisher which also hosts Stig Jørgensen’s sci-fi blog Ekkorummet (Echo Chamber), is publishing a book of the same name, consisting of selected entries from that blog.

I’m extremely pleased that the book contains an essay, “Teaching Breakfast How to Love You,” the title of which comes from a line in my poem “This Morning’s Man”, and that my poem is quoted in full in that essay.

If you read Danish, or if you’d just like to see the poem, the book is available here. Below is the English translation of the book’s blurb:

“Atoms in love

We humans are a fleeting substance, an ever-changing configuration of atoms that we absorb from cucumbers and pork chops. And this arrangement of matter can feel great affection – and a deep sense of wonder at the universe. This is a mystery. How do we connect the scientific description of the nature of time, matter, and our brains, with our experience of the world as conscious beings feeling hunger and ambition and grief and infatuation? – from the essay ‘Teaching Breakfast How to Love You’

The starting point for this book is the meeting of science and aesthetics and the ‘softer’ aspects of human existence. This meeting unfolds in science fiction – a branch of literature that ideally deals with the significance of technology and the scientific picture of the world to human life – but also in many other places: in the visual arts, poetry and music, in philosophy and scientific thought experiments. Consequently, the essays and articles in the book cover a wide range of topics from the theory of evolution to the Danish painter Otto Frello, from mathematical logic to erotic fantasy, from the philosophy of language to the mutual references between the comic-book writer Neil Gaiman and the singer/songwriter Tori Amos, from artificial intelligence to the poetry of Henrik Nordbrandt – for the inspiration of the intellectually curious reader.”

The book is based on pieces from the blog Ekkorummet [Echo Chamber/ Echo Space], which Stig W. Jørgensen, a science-fiction expert, translator and linguist, wrote until 2012. Jørgensen’s echo chamber is “an open space, a place characterized by resonance where various scientific and cultural topics are given room to resound and reverberate.”

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June 23, 2013   No Comments

What else have I been missing?

via the always thought-provoking and entertaining Arts & Letters Daily, I just read “‘An Imp with brains’: The forgotten genius of Charlotte Mew”, written by Julia Copus, at The New Statesman.

I’d forgotten Charlotte Mew myself, though after reading a bit I did recall some of her work, and before finishing the article I was off to Amazon to buy a used library edition of her Collected Poetry and Prose. I got the only one, so there’s no useful link, but there are available copies (including a Kindle edition) of her Selected Poems and print only editions of her Collected Poems and Selected Prose. But it wasn’t just the generous quotes from Mew’s poetry that brought out my debit card—Ms Copus writes wonderful, insightful prose, so I looked her up as well, and after finding this poem and discovering she’s been short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize, I ordered the Kindle edition of The World’s Two Smallest Humans, her latest book.

Maybe I should stop reading Arts & Letters Daily before I go broke.

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June 14, 2013   No Comments

My Mother’s Very Ill

Not quite as bad as earlier reports, but still serious and I’ll still be on the road for a few days.

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June 5, 2013   No Comments

Slippery Burke

In an interesting article at The Financial Times, John McDermott reviews two new biographies of Edmund Burke. He begins by noting that both Wordsworth and Yeats wrote poetry in praise of Burke, and then writes “It is difficult to imagine Karl Marx, Jeremy Bentham or John Rawls inspiring such poetic effervescence. Notions of the superstructure, utilitarianism and the difference principle would pose issues for cadence. Burke wrote gorgeous prose. But his attraction for poets hints at another aspect of his legacy: his slipperiness.”

Whether Burke is slippery or not—it’s been decades since I read him—I am not at all surprised to see poets, as a class, described as being drawn to slipperiness. But I do think that’s wrong.

More later, maybe …

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June 3, 2013   No Comments