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

I don’t have much to say, but I think that’s because I’ve been silent. Not writing is not the way to get writing done.

Poetry, of course, goes on its merry way with or without me—via Arts & Letter Daily comes a piece which The Chronicle of Higher Education deigns to let non-academics read (have I mentioned just how despicable I find the access policies of JSTOR and Project MUSE?), “The New Math of Poetry”, which estimates that 100,000 poems will be published this year in English-language literary journals alone. Hey, if The Writer counts as a “literary journal”, 0.001% of them are mine already!

But even though very few people will read any significant portion of those 100,000 poems, people do still talk about poetry, often in surprising contexts. Scientific American, for instance, in an article on the enteric nervous system, has this:

“The second brain doesn’t help with the great thought processes…religion, philosophy and poetry is left to the brain in the head,” says Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, an expert in the nascent field of neurogastroenterology and author of the 1998 book The Second Brain (HarperCollins).

See? Poetry gets some respect. And even the technical stuff shows up in odd places: here is Joshua David Stein reporting on the Winter Olympics in Salon (you’ll need to click on “Continue Reading” at the bottom):

If the Ski Jump is the haiku of the games, the compulsory ice dance is a villanelle, a sport corseted so tightly with rules and regulations that the gasps of creativity are remanded to grow through the cracks.

I personally find villanelles rather useful machines for forcing me out of my mannerisms, and I think I’ll write one this week.

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1 MAS { 02.24.10 at 8:00 pm }

villanelles are nice
[see also: Making Light]

2 Judyclem { 03.04.10 at 1:32 pm }

Utne Cafe and the Speakeasy were powerful motivators. I miss them both.All the contests and exercises really stimulated the writing process for me. now everyone seems to be on a solo blog.

3 Mike { 03.05.10 at 8:26 pm }

Judy, they were powerful. You might want to check out the Poetry Free for All (http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/)or Eratosphere (http://www.ablemuse.com/erato/). The latter is especially useful if you want to work on formal matters. I was going to suggest the Gazebo (http://www.alsopreview.com/cgi-bin/gazebo/discus.cgi?pg=topics) at the Alsop Review, but the server doesn’t seem to be responding. I hope it’s temporary.

And I’m still in touch with Judy Thompson, from the Speakeasy. She has a blog (http://mittens-stonesoup.blogspot.com/), and she uses a site called Wild Poetry (http://www.wildpoetryforum.com/).

4 Mittens { 03.05.10 at 11:12 pm }

I loved the speakeasy, it was where I started writing again, and what they have turned it into is criminal. Utne was part of the process, far more than Gazebo ever was, and there was some amazing stuff come out of those exercises. But everything has a shelf life, and then you have to find a new shelf, I guess.

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