poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)
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Posts from — October 2009

Richard Wilbur Interview

Arlo Haskell, Media Director for the Key West Literary Seminar, was kind enough to send me a link to his wonderful interview with Richard Wilbur. I blogged a couple of months ago about three new poems from Wilbur in The New Yorker, and I am delighted to learn from the interview that they will appear next year in a new collection, along with 37 riddles from Symposius and a translation of Mallarmé’s “For the Tomb of Edgar Poe.”

In addition to bearing good news, the interview is delightful, full of talk about literary life in Key West – no Bass Ale before two rounds of Anagrams were done, played with the likes of John Ciardi and “Jimmy” Merrill – of of Wilbur’s relationships with Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and Wallace Stevens, and of the forms of poetry – he’s not interested in them per se, though he’s “only written and published one free verse poem.”

My thanks to Mr Haskell, and you’ll thank yourself for reading the interview.

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October 26, 2009   4 Comments

Weekly Online Slam

Echidne of the Snakes hosts a weekly poetry slam, I’ve learned from bluegal, whom I follow on Twitter. I posted a wintry villanelle on this week’s thread, which is rather sparse so far — but there is a pretty fabulous piece on our war-criminal former Vice President.

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October 17, 2009   No Comments

Just Saw the Pleiades …

for the first time this fall.

My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Stella Baird — “star singer” — and she used to rock me to sleep reciting Whitman, Longfellow, Lanier, Tennyson, and Scott. I tried to write a sci-fi epic featuring her as the lost sister. This is all that has survivied:

Stella’s Song

There rise the rain-bringing Sisters,
And there follows the Black Bull
Whose horns hold black nothing, and light
So old and heavy it seems full
Of nothing, and nothing in me
Answers with its own night,
Answers with my own dying fall.

Willow, wake and weep
Earth, my body keep

Too long since I dreamed of flying,
That wide ringing, that clear burst
That carried me, and carried—how
Was it lost? How was I cursed,
And once cursed, did I live, content
Beneath the willow bough,
Between the willow and the earth?

Willow, wake and weep
Earth, my body keep

I know no willow ever wept,
And stars shape only black space,
I know the earth keeps maggots best—
There’s no love in its embrace.
My dreams are nothing in this world
But by this world possessed,
But for this earth I sing this last—

Willow, wake and weep
Earth, my body keep

Published long ago in The Louisville Review.

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October 13, 2009   1 Comment

A New Sonnet!

Thanks to Tad Richards, Lyn Stachyra, and Lea Cox for responding to my Facebook call for suggestions. You can hear it here, and here’s the text:

Some Reasons Why

Two shots, a beer, six packs of post-it notes,
And I was set to set our lives to rights—
Blue notes, my faults, and red, my stupid fights
With her, and green for notes for anecdotes
To make her laugh, and white for thoughtful quotes
From poets so she’d know I’d scaled the heights
Of culture, and bright pink for those delights
We’d teach each other while we made like goats—
I somehow didn’t see her leave her booth
When all at once her unfamiliar voice—
“Looks complicated, what you’re working on.
What’s it all about?” She didn’t want the truth,
I told myself, and I gave her no choice.
I never asked her name, and she was gone.

If you’ve got ideas, use the “Tell Me Something” link on the left under “Me and Mine” to send me an email – and thanks.

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October 6, 2009   1 Comment