Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
than I love olive.
But violet, I love it
more than I love
O evil! O
springs from love ‘n’ ice,
from nice love,
a lone vice.
But how does complaint
Oh my — such
imitably ends in
Eternity’s an entirety.
A word’s a sword.
And I’ve forgot
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Dust always blowing about the town,
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.
All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like gold in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.
Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold'.
You're rather innocent, and every cloud has a silver lining for you. Even if things are going really badly right now, they'll get better. Believe it in your heart, and it'll come true! (Q: Who writes this stuff?)
What Robert Frost poem are you?
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by the story that was written about you.
Then your face gleaming from the window
of the car stopped next to mine at the light.
How I smiled and you followed me home,
stayed after to watch Our Beautiful Launderette.
Stopped by the light on our front picture
window, to watch your face next to mine.
Gleaming then from the story about how you
and I stayed after at that launderette,
the day your beautiful car smiled me home.
Every page that followed was written of you.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
"Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press are pleased to announce the winners of the 2005 Prairie Schooner Book Prizes. The winners will each receive a $3,000 prize and publication of their books through the University of Nebraska Press.
POETRY: Kathleen Flenniken
Kathleen Flenniken's poems appear in Southern Review, Mid-American Review, the Iowa Review, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner. She is the recepient of fellowships from the NEA and Artist Trust and her poems have been included in the King County Poetry on Buses Project. She holds BS and MS degrees in civil engineering and was a practicing engineer for eight years. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Kathleen Flenniken's winning collection, Famous, will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2006."
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Yesterday's lecture by Kim Addonizio was a hoot. Because most of the students were at the participant open mic until quite late, and her lecture was at 8:30 the next morning, she told everybody she would be serving Bloody Marys; and sure enough, there was all the fixings for Bloody Marys, as well as mimosas (orange juice, champagne), lined up on the stage at the front of the lecture hall. And EVERYBODY fixed themselves a little drinky before Kim started speaking. A great lecture about success, and failure, and the life of a writer, and a little about her mother (who was a four-time US Open Tennis champion, but still on some level felt a failure).
For my last class, one of the things the students will be doing is reciting the poem they chose to memorize. As I also usually do the exercises I give (it's only fair), I will be reading a little poem that I memorized as well. It's from Antonio Machado:
"Last Night, As I Was Sleeping"
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt — marvelous error!
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
It's a lovely poem. I think it captures the essential metaphor-making ability of poetry. Those "marvelous errors" that we make when we apprehend the world in disordered and accidental and magical ways.
Friday, July 22, 2005
For my workshop, we varied this by making it a group exercise. The six of us each chose a poem of about 15 to 20 lines, cut it into strips of lines (including the title), then put all the lines into one bag and shook them up (hence the name "Shake & Bake"). Then we each drew 15 lines, and constructed a poem from them. It took about 15 - 20 minutes to do, and the resulting poems where actually pretty amazing.
Here are are a couple of them (the odd caps, and punctuation, and etc. left as is):
Televison is a great help.
I have a new way to exercise.
sitting on a log,
Where watchful cannons stood
waiting for the waitress
her gangly arms
gray eyes turning an unblinking yellow green,
with sand and shells at my feet.
Gulls and fog horns,
sounding for the sun.
When I get weary I prefer the outdoor programs
as I tackle, block, run, pass and kick.
too much touching
is their afterlife, a final gathering
(composed by LE)
I call it the Professor
bequeathing a fountain of feathers
My mind dances between
a going away, as a return.
The Harold Hill "Think" method.
of a unifying vision.
to avoid a blow to the jaw.
I go across town to the station, where
in my head,
beside scrap wood and old plumbing pipe.
out to the horizon,
chisels and creativity.
unlike sparrows in Kansas.
(composed by JG)
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
My reading is tonight. I am sharing the bill with that hottie Irishman Michael Collins (who is sunbathing on the lawn outside his cottage as I write this). Ah . . . the visual on that, I will leave to your imagination.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
Where I come from, men worked all day, then came home
and worked some more. Retirement just meant mornings
in the basement or garage. And more than one of my neighbors
dropped dead there, slumped by a whining band saw.
These men walk beside me into my workshop where someone
has already moved the chairs into a circle. They stand there
and smoke or look down at their callused hands. The naked
emotion embarrasses them, not to mention the girls' short
skirts or boys with earrings.
So they look at the window that won't close, eye the chair
with one uneven leg, the desk that needs refinishing. Boy, if
they could just get their hands on a hammer, a couple of shims,
and some sandpaper they'd fix everything in no time flat.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Doctor: I have some bad news, and some very bad news.
Patient: OK. Give me the bad news first.
Doctor: Your lab tests are back, and you have only 24 hours to live.
Patient: That's terrible! What could possibly be worse?
Doctor: I've been trying to reach you since yesterday.
But, seriously, I think they enjoyed the ideas about poetry, medicine, and narrative competence. The idea of using poetry to express as well as to contain intense emotions and experiences. And I got to sneak in reading more than a few poems. (During the Q & A I even got a request to read "the C-section poem.")
My students are great. I'm really enjoying working with them. And it's been fun to hang out a little with some of the other presenters: Paisley Rekdal, Lesley Hazelton, Rebecca Brown are all just a hoot.
And there has been some incredible readings: particularly Debra Magpie Earling's reading of this devastating scene from her new book, about the ambush of a medicine woman by three men from another tribe. Brutal and beautfil and poetic. The image of them cutting her heart in two still haunts me.
Friday, July 15, 2005
more later . . .
PS: Alberto R. says hi to Charles and Eduardo. What a small world!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
1. the field is less Montana and more Wyoming
2. all of the color seems drained from the sky
3. the mountain is a cloud
4. the person is a dot in the landscape
5. and no longer the center of attention
6. the moon is larger, and less ironic
1. either the man’s forehead is larger
2. or his hair is smaller
3. he is either shorter or fatter, it’s hard to say
4. there is an extra hole in the belt
5. time has not so much passed
6. as taken a him for (a beating) (a ride) (a holiday) (granted)
1. the tree’s twisted branches are the woman’s hair
2. the lawn seems more reluctant
3. the clump of daffodils is a doorway
4. the book she’s reading is a sandwich
5. the curlicue in the grass is the lost ring found
6. the lacquer on the lunchbox has begun to blister
1. the boat is sinking . . . no — the boat has sunk
2. the plume of steam on the ship is smaller, meaning farther
3. the island has more sand than trees
4. the elephant’s wrinkled eye is open
5. the bottle has a message in it
6. the e in breathe is silent
Bye for now . . . not sure how much internet access there'll be at Centrum.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Here's who will be there:
OPEN ENROLLMENT WORKSHOPS
FictionDebra Magpie Earling
(Will give readings and participate on panels, no workshops)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I don't mind being The Hippie, but my alter ego is The Bitch-Slap.
You are 28% Rational, 57% Extroverted, 14% Brutal, and 28% Arrogant.
To put it less negatively:
1. You are more INTUITIVE than rational.
2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.
3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.
4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.
Your exact opposite is the Sociopath.
The other personality types:
The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.
The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.
The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.
The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.
The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.
The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.
The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.
The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.
The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.
The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.
The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.
The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.
The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.
The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.
The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.
The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
— for Frank O'Hara
Stop cellphoning while you drive!
I was toddling along and suddenly
at the corner of Denny and MLK a white
SUV pulled out right in front of me.
You said she stopped first but she
didn’t I was watching or if she did
it was a California and anyway
what a screech as I hit the brakes
hard. Who could she be meeting
in such a hurry that the laws
of traffic were like the sky?
I lower my window to give her
my best New Jersey salute and suddenly
I see the reason she has nearly killed us.
STOP CELLPHONING WHILE YOU DRIVE!
There is no cell phone in my car.
There is not even a CD player.
I have been on-call for weeks at a time
and needed to return plenty of pages
but I have never actually
cellphoned while I drive.
Dear caller we love you please hang up.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
through my reading and writing in bed,
the half-whispered lines,
manuscripts piled between us,
but in the deep part of the night
when her beeper sounds
she bolts awake to return the page
of a patient afraid he’ll kill himself.
She sits in her robe in the kitchen,
listening to the anguished voice
on the phone. She becomes
the vessel that contains his fear,
someone he can trust to tell
things I would tell to a poem.
— Richard Jones, from 48 Questions
(also reprinted in The Blessing: New and Selected Poems)
Friday, July 08, 2005
Deborah Ager on 32 Poems asked for pics of our writing studios. This is my basement writing area/home office (Dean has a similar space on the other side of the basement). I actually do a lot of my writing on a laptop, out in coffee shops around town. But this is where I come to read, revise things on the desktop computer, and such.
You are pure, moral, and adaptable.
You tend to blend into your surroundings.
Shy on the outside, you're outspoken to your friends.
You believe that you live a virtuous life...
And you tend to judge others with a harsh eye.
As a result, people tend to crave your approval.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
— love of trouble
Pleasure, ease, contentment: a bore.
Where’s the rub? The snafu? The glorious glitch?
Tiff. Tizzy. Tumult. To-do. Remember:
no itch, no fuss: no pearls to string.
Feud, fit, flap, flurry.
Hoopla. Imbroglio. Rhubarb. Pickle.
What good’s a shampoo without lather?
Soup unstirred? Wedding without a row?
I want spasm, spat, squabble, stink.
Brouhaha. Boondoggle. Conniption. Clash.
Calm’s as good as dead: a plum-pit.
Give me ruckus, rowdydow, ruffle, snit.
originally appeared in Poetry, September 2003
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
For me it was a three-way tie between Catherine Barnett's Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced, Richard Siken's Crush, and Kathleen Flenniken's "Famous" which is still in manuscript. Barnett's book came out in 2004, I believe, but I didn't read it till 2005.
I like to read before bed, and every few months the stack gets so tall I have to go through and weed out. Here's the list of what's in the picture:
Elizabeth Bishop: Complete Poems (thanks Em)
Kuntiz: The Wild Braid
Idries Shah: Tales of the Dervishes
Gettysburg Review: Summer 2005
Praise: Robert Hass
BH Fairchild Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
Poetry: June 2005
New England Review: 25:4
Radi Os: Ronald Johnson
Jack Straw Writers Vol 9
VQR: Walt Whitman Issue
Gardening in the Dark: Kashiske
The Midnight Disease: Flaherty
The Wounded Surgeon
Bloom: spring 2005
Hard Night: Wiman
Killing Me Softly: Ibanez-Carrasco
Crush: Richard Siken
The Incentive of the Maggot: Ron Slate
William Carlos Williams & the American Scene 1920-1940
The Wisdom Well (tarot cards)
Break Blow Burn: Paglia
How I Became Stupid: Martin Page
Puerto Del SolPoetry May 2005
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
OK, now: out with the old; in with the new!
Monday, July 04, 2005
JAMA: "Tremor" (due out in August)
Seattle Review: "Aesop's Dog"
Contemporary Northwest Poets Anthology: "Anagrammer," "The Devil's Dictionary of Medical Terms"
Still waiting to hear from Bloom and Bellevue Review. It has been almost 6 months, what is up with that? I am spending some of this 4th of July Holiday looking at what I've got, and sending it out.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Corpse Flower
— Amorphophallus titanium
Like the carrion beetles needed to fertilize it,
we’ve traveled for miles not merely to see
but to smell this colossally fetid flower.
No wonder the Sumatrans named it Devil’s Tongue.
The marooned-tinged spathe has unwrapped,
dropped its skirt around the five-foot long spadix
with its erection of small blooms. Opened, the tomb
tempts us. Like children wanting a scare at Halloween,
or lovers at a horror flick, we hold our breath.
The bravest unplug their nose and take a whiff.
Rotten fish composted with toe cheese and bean farts.
Nature’s smelliest plant oils and various sulfur-y
pitches. Peonies, honeysuckle and jasmine
grace the air with pleasant scents. And for this
we love them. The corpse flower knows
we come from what has decomposed —
and like gawkers drawn to a car crash
can’t keep ourselves away.
published in Literary Salt, April 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Yours is Erato, the Lovely, the muse of Love
Poetry. She is the female counterpart to Eros.
Her symbol is the lyre. You are most likely a
true-born romantic, and are looking for a
prince to ride off into the sunset with...
Which of the Nine Muses is your muse?
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blogging is kinky
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blogging is here to stay
blogging is not a contact sport
blogging is not a fad
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blogging is such hard work
blogging is bad thursday 13 june 2002
blogging is not journalism
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Friday, July 01, 2005
It was fascinating for me to see the cancer care system from the "inside." There is so much high tech stuff: the chemo suite with its posh chairs and artwork and flat screen TV's in each room, the IV's and the tubing and the medications in their shiny plastic bags. But the work flow was absolutely archaic, and not patient-centered at all. She had her appointment for chemo at 2pm. We waited until 3pm to be taken back (an hour late). She needed a blood test to document that her white blood cell count was OK before starting chemo, and it took until 3:30pm for someone to draw her blood, and until 4:30pm to get the result (another hour). Her doctor didn't come in to see her until about 5:15pm (over 3 hours after her original appointment time). And she finally got her fist dose of medicine (the anti-nausea drug Zofran) at about 5:30. She wasn't done with the chemo until 7pm! A five hour doctor visit for a routine scheduled treatment. The staff and nurses were all very nice, but no one seemed to be the least bit fazed at what a lot of waiting she was having to do. (I NEVER let patients wait that long for care). It wasn't busy: we were one of the only patients there. So I don't understand what the hold-up was. Fortunately my sister is still feeling very well; imagine if she had been feeling poorly, and had to sit around and wait this long?
We made the most of it: spent our time chatting, telling jokes and stories, reading some in Hilda Raz's wonderful anthology of stories and poems about breast cancer, Living on the Margins, watching TV (Judge Judy, Just Shoot Me, Dharma & Greg, the Venus Williams vs. Maria Sharapova semifinal Wimbeldon rerun), and eating pudding from the treatment room refrigerator (she had butterscotch, I had chocolate). Hopefully the treatment is effective (I have a good feeling that she will be cured). But I think this cancer care center needs to learn to be a little more patient-centered. Anyway: enough of my rant.
Jerboa on a triple: I was in for it,
my zither on a double looking feeble
as a "promising" first book. Oedipal & reckless,
my scheme would fail: keep him a couple drinks
ahead, & perhaps the muse would smile
upon me with some ses or some blanks.
January, Vermont: snowflakes teased the windows
of the Burlington airport bar. The waitress
tallied tips & channel-surfed above the amber
stutter of the snowplow's light: it couldn't
keep up, either. Visibility to zero, nothing taking off
& his dulcimer before me (50 bonus points
for "bingos") like a cautionary tale. The night
before I'd been his warm up act,
the audience of expensive preppies
doubling to twenty when he shambled
to the podium to give them Martial
& his then-new poems. "Why do you write
something nobody reads anymore?" queried one
little trust fund in a blazer. "Because
I'm willing to be honestly confused
& honestly fearful." Il miglior fabbro,
a.k.a. Prez: sweet & fitting honorifics he has left
upon the living's lips. Sweet & fitting too
that I could know the poems much better than
the man, flawed as I am told he was. Connoisseur
of word-root & amphibrach, of Coltrane
solo & of California reds, of box score & Horatian loss,
his garrulousness formidable & masking
a shyness I could never penetrate, meeting him
would always find me tongue-tied,
minding my ps & qs, the latter of which
I could not play, failing three times to draw a u.
The dead care nothing for our eulogies:
he wrote this many times & well.
& yet I pray his rumpled daimonion
shall guide our letters forward
as they wend the snow-white notebook leaves,
the stanzas scrolling down the laptop screens.
Game after game & the snow labored on.
Phalanx, bourboned whiteout & the board aglow
as he'd best me again & again. Qintar
& prosody, the runway lights enshrouded
& the wind, endquote, shook the panes.
Check out this terrific new collaborative poetry project. It is so cool to log on to Google Earth, and zoom in on a location (currently WA ...
Gay Test Look at your fingernails. Did you make a fist or splay your fingers like a fan? Hold your arms out, palms up. Did your elbows tou...
Here is Dean, smiling beside our new compost bins, built by Johnny Guerrero. Nice job Johnny! If you want info for him to build some bins f...
The keys to this exercise are contemplation and brevity. 1) Think of someone or something you are obsessed with (3 min). 2) Write a six ...
A palindrome is word, phrase, or other text whose letters spell the same backward and forward. Some well-known examples are MADAM I’M ADAM, ...
The 20 Minute Villanelle 1) Think of something you are obsessed with. (2 min) 2) Write an interesting rhymed couplet about it. These will...
In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial, Who, squatting upon the ground, Held his heart in his hands, And ate of it. I said: "Is...
My mother gave me this fun little word game for Christmas. She said "maybe it will help you write your poems." Each of the eigh...
I've heard it said that it is "hard to be a poet living in an age of prose." But heck, let's face it, we're not livin...
After Jenni's post; one of my favorite old Ai poems, from her book Cruelty : Twenty-Year Marriage You keep me waiting in the truck w...
Some Poems Online
- "Magnolia Blossom"
- Body Talk
- Crossing the Pear
- "Wordsword" "Adagio"
- "Twenty Years After His Passing, My Father Appears . . ."
- "Think or Swim"
- "The Cruciverbalist"
- "Reconsidering the Seven"
- "October Journal"
- "Nursemaid's Elbow"
- "Lost in Translation"
- "Holy Shit"
- "Her Name is Rose"
- "Anagrammer" (video)
- "After the Pillow Book"
- ► 2012 (44)
- ► 2011 (96)
- ► 2010 (121)
- ► 2009 (147)
- ► 2008 (246)
- ► 2007 (340)
- ► 2006 (421)
- The Artichoke's Heart
- Crocosmia Lucifer in the side yard. Ah, summer . ...
- Dry Lightning
- Happy Birthday!
- My Centrum workshop group: Bob, Larry, Jerry, Virg...
- What Robert Frost Poem are You?
- More anagram fun
- I Have a Beehive Inside My Heart
- Shake & Bake
- Roving Day
- Being Ilya
- I've Been Trying to Reach You Since Yesterday
- Small World
- Hocus Focus
- The Hippie? Cool . . .
- My Myers Briggs
- Poem — for Frank O'Hara Stop ce...
- Why Do Poets Write?
- Home Writing Studio
- You are pure, moral, and adaptable. You tend to b...
- The New Sincerity
- My newest nephew, Joseph. (congrats CJ and Joe).
- . . . and his father, Joe Fesalbon.
- Eduardo Corral
- The Books on My Bedside Table
- Some recent acceptances: JAMA: "Tremor" (due out ...
- The Corpse Flower
- Which of the Nine Muses is Your Muse?
- Blogging is a Virus from Outer Space
- Chemo with My Sister
- Scrabble with Matthews
- ▼ July (37)
Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~ Plato
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. ~ Salman Rushdie
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. ~ Novalis
Poetry is what maintains our capacity for contemplation and difficulty. — Carolyn Forche
Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild. — Denis Diderot
Sometimes something wants to be said, sometimes a way of saying wants to be used. — Paul Valéry