poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)
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Nothing’s Changed—Nothing’s New

Higgledy-piggledy
Speaker John Boehner must
Kneel 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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November 9, 2014   No Comments

Hoopla!

I’ve got two poems, an older sonnet and a brand-new sestina up at Halvard Johnson’s Truck. Be sure to check out some of the other poetry there. Anny Ballardini is guest curator for today’s work, and she’s done a great job, if I do say so myself.

Update: I didn’t notice until I saw the sestina posted, but there’s an extra foot in the first line of the last sestet. This fixes it: “Whoever’s there that day to kill the lights,”

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November 3, 2014   1 Comment

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

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

About Time

For the first time in nearly 2 years I sent out some poems today, and I’ll send more tomorrow to another market.
On another front, my friend Ming Diaz helped me get the humbucker on my Phoenix Jazz mandolin reinstalled today so I’ll be playing it this Friday at Big Larry’s Comic Book Shop in Leonardtown, MD. I want to particularly thank Kent Armstrong, the maker of the pickup, for his generous offer to fix it free of charge if it had failed and for his time re-soldering its connecting wire when the pickup itself checked out OK.

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May 28, 2013   No Comments

Linkedin—you’ve broken your presence on the iPad

First, your app sucks. It’s hard to find anything. Requests for connections don’t appear at all. And now you’ve broken the web site on the iPad also, since no matter how trivial an action I perform, the entire screen fills with an invitation to download the app. Used to be, that if I dismissed the invitation, things would continue as normal on the web site. Now it loses what I was trying to do. Which it also does when I accept the suggestion. If it’s not fixed, I’m leaving.

5/28/13: They fixed it. Hoorah.

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April 1, 2013   No Comments

Starting All Over

Well, not really.

I’ve just started violin lessons. I’ve owned a decent violin for years, but I never played it much, mostly because you actually have to read music to play the thing. It’s not like mandolin (which is tuned the same way), where it’s easy to find tablature which tells you just what fret to use, and in any case there are no frets on a violin so you have to be much more accurate with the left hand and you have to stretch your left hand fingers just a smidgen more than you do on a mandolin. I’m flat all the time except when I overcompensate and go sharp. It feels like starting over.

But when the band died a couple of months ago I found myself with some time and decided to take the plunge and learn to read music by learning to play fiddle. I’m terrible at it, and, without scheduled practices where other people are depending on me, I’m not so good at scheduling the time I thought I’d have for private practice.

I’m not sure it’s a good thing my teacher is patient. I think I could use a few raps on the knuckles with a ruler.

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March 14, 2013   2 Comments

Guilty

I’m feeling guilty because I have not been working very hard for months now—witness this near-barren blog—and doubly guilty becaus of my part in a Linked In discussion started by Anonymous, (not his/her real name) now closed and hidden because of some unkind words (mine weren’t especially kind), with this topic:

“Why do so many people write rhyming doggerel only fit for their mum’s fridge and consider themselves poets?”

I answered (slightly edited for punctuation, grammar, and spelling, and the italicized words added for clarity):

“For the same reasons even more people, by orders of magnitude, write sentimental, pretentious, self-absorbed crappy free verse—because they think poetry is ‘self-expression’ and that readers should be just as interested in their ‘feelings’ as they themselves are, or they think that poetry comes from inspiration (some dame in robes whispering sweet crap in their ears) so that they’re not really responsible for the crap they write—and both groups, the rhyming doggerel folks and the crappy free-versers, refuse to acknowledge that writing good poetry is damned hard work and requires reading—especially reading the poetry our culture has valued (and lots of it) and hard thinking about the minutia of every line, about its grammar (don’t get me started), about its sounds, and about just how they advance the structure of the poem—and then trying to write passable imitations of particular poems.

If you’ve worked hard enough to be able to write a few good sonnets and recognize why the 150 others you wrote aren’t good, then you can, with some more work, learn to write a few good short poems in any form, including free verse. The same is true for most forms, but not free verse, which teaches you nothing about how to work with serious formal constraints. And neither sonnets nor free verse do much to teach you how to tell a long story in verse of any kind—learning how to structure a long story, whether or not it’s in verse, requires quite a different skill set, which you learn by (surprise!) reading lots of long stories and trying to imitate what they do.

Nobody but beginning poets—not beginning lawyers, beginning baseball players, beginning gamblers, beginning carpenters, beginning plumbers, beginning teachers, beginning surgeons, beginning guitar players—nobody else, in any significant proportion, believes that good work will just come with their ‘flow.’ It’s an idiotic thing to believe.”

Cadging Hillel, if not now, when?

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January 22, 2013   4 Comments

Happy Birthday, Lee!

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I wish you all the best.

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April 19, 2012   2 Comments

New twiplet, for Lew’s new book

I tweeted a slightly different version of this earlier today:

Confused by my bedazzled look?
Lew Turco’s done just what it took
And put two twiplets in his book!

Buy The Book of Forms

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January 11, 2012   1 Comment