Saturday, June 30, 2007
Our blissfully ignorant president obviously failed to read or understand the major antiwar poems found in almost every high school and college literature anthology.
Stephen Crane's "War is Kind" (1893) is one such poem. . . .
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
-- from LA Times book review
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Here are some "angles of approach" that I like to use to describe various kinds of pleasure I get from poetry.
Could the poem have been written by anyone, someone else? Does it have a distinctive accent or is it more "generic"? Is its distinctiveness such that it is a self-parody? Are there obvious "mannerisms"?
"The tune of a cold trunk is thin
mute cate behind glass
that I write at all is bannered
in the close grains of sight outlasted" (CC)
Does the poem have a definable shape to it? Is it the right length for what it is? Does it go on too long? Is it a poem or is it "passages" of poetry? How is it at beginning, at carrying on, at ending?
(I have a hard time writing poems with this quality. I don't know how to end a poem, or make it go on for very long, though I am very good at begining.)
Is it suggestive? (It shouldn't tell or show, but suggest something beyond what the words say.) Does something "catch" on the mind. Or does it use explicit "statement" in an interesting way?
Is it cantabile? Does it sing? Does it sing too much?
Does it break its own rules? Does it make all the rules irrelevant? Is it "disobedient"? (Bernadette Mayer is a good one for this quality.)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Your Score: Tough guy
You scored 55% masculine, 76% athletic, 36% exotic, and 43% refined!
You love men, you love testosterone and you know it. You like a bad-ass man who knows what he wants. He isn't what you might bring home to mom but I don't think it really matters - he's hot! Someone like.....Vin Diesel. But let's face it, the whole point of this was to look at a bunch of hot guys. If you liked what you saw, please rate my test!
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Layers of green shag smothered oak hardwoods,
rolls of 1950’s newspapers insulated
a basement stairway closet, aluminum-framed
windows with broken seals grew a greenish algae.
But how else could we look back now upon
romantic weekends scraping layers of paint,
lovers quarrelling over colors for siding, then
hanging new double-hungs.
Re-roofing, re-plumbing , re-wiring,
removing a false lowered ceiling:
not so much a revision
as a retelling,
adding to what had gone before,
working up the sweet sweat
that makes a relationship hum,
makes a place indelibly, undeniably yours.
It’s how we come to inhabit where we are:
tearing down a wall, planting a tree,
brushing another coat of paint onto plaster,
lowering a hedge to reclaim a view.
Like when we wrote our names
onto the closet wall of the first apartment
we shared, before re-paneling it with cedar —
we’re still there, beneath the surface, built in.
-- from What's Written on the Body
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Happy Gay Pride!
Dean and I are going to the Men's Chorus concert tonight. The title is "Scared Faithless," and the theme is the whole gay/religious contradiction thing. Songs of protest against the homophobes, but also songs written by the many many many gays who are clergy. I mean, seriously, I have known a lot of priests in my life (behave!) and almost every single one was queer. So I have never understood where the church gets the right to be so anti-gay. And why so many gay clergy go along with it. I mean, who do they think designs all their beautiful vestments, writes their heavenly hymns, and builds their sturdy temples? Us.
We had our new oak doors installed a few days ago. Front and back. They are gorgeous! But unfinished. Now they have to be sanded and stained and varnished. So Dean and I will be busy with that while all the disco music is playing for the parade Sunday.
This is too funny:
Friday, June 22, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 22) - A teenage girl's legs were severed above the ankle while on a thrill ride at a popular amusement park on Thursday, park officials said.
The accident happened around 4:45 p.m. on the Superman Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, said Six Flags spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg.
It is unclear at what point during the ride the girl, 13, was injured, Goldberg said. The girl was taken to University Hospital. There was no immediate word on her condition.
This is from the website for the ride:
"Zoom through a 23-story plunge at speeds over 60 mph. . . .
Sit in ski-lift-style chairs that face outward -- your feet dangle in the air."
It might be the "your feet dangle in the air" part that got them in trouble. Ya think?
Rebecca: Yet another one for your series? This kind of stuff just freaks me out. Call me a chicken, but I will never get on one of these "amusement park" rides.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
"You become the students of the greatest teacher you never had in David Wagoner's one-man show based on fellow Northwest poet and legend Theodore Roethke. John Aylward (a veteran of the Seattle stage, as well as The West Wing and ER) gives a bravura performance as the famously gifted and famously hell-raising Roethke in this voyage into the passionate heart — and art — of a genius."
I read this play in Georgia Review a few months ago, and it was terrific. Looking forward to seeing the live performance.
Previews July 27 - August 1st
Opens August 2nd
700 Union Street
Seattle, Washington 98101
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
"One of the things about poetry is that you are more suggestive, I think," he said. "You don't say 100 percent. You say 70 percent, or something like that, so that the reader also participates in the story. Now, in the poem, the minute you say too much, it dies. So reader and writer are in a simultaneous location making the final poem.
"I want to bring that into fiction. When I turned from poetry to fiction I thought, 'Well, I wonder if you can do that, too.'
"So you are being more suggestive, you are being very tight with words, very precise with words as opposed to poetic, which sometimes people think is too romantic. . . . And I think the forms of poetry, as the forms of modern art, are more radical perhaps than some of the forms of the novel.
Dean and I went to a multiplex in Bellevue (a suburb of Seattle) to see Away From Her yesterday (it was the only place the movie was showing).
The movie was fantastic. I just loved it. It's based on an Alice Munro short story (don't you just love it when an entire movie can be made from a little short story?). Julie Christie, who is stunning, plays Fiona, a woman who is becoming senile from Alzheimer's and decides to check herself into a nursing home. Gordon Pinset (ruggedly handsome old chap) plays Grant, her husband, who continues to visit her each day, even though it becomes obvious she doesn't remember who he is, and has perhaps fallen in love with another resident. It takes place in Canada, where it seems to be always winter. There are lots of scenes of frozen lakes, and snow, and cross-country skiing. It's all very emotional and heart-wrenching, but wonderful.
The huge suburban 11-theater multiplex was just about empty, though. And so it had a really creepy feel, walking through these deserted hallways to find the theater where our movie was playing. It was so quiet you could hear the neon lights humming. The popcorn was stale (left over from yesterday?). Very different from the theaters in our part of town, that are usually jam-packed. Oh well, at least the parking was free.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Hannah had scratches on her face and body and thick dirt under her nails. She had poison ivy rashes on her legs and couldn't walk because splinters and thorns cut her feet.
"I was scared last night when everybody was gone," she said. "I went searching all over the world to look for the cottage (where her grandparents live)."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Tonight Dean and I are going to West Side Story. I am not much of a show queen at all. But Dean can hum a tune from practically every show: South Pacific, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, etc etc. He really has a soft spot for this show. Dinner first at Tulio's. Wheee!
Our basil is dying. One squash is dying. Something is eating the roots. Dean thinks it is ants. Weird. I have never seen this before.
But the tomatoes are growing like gang-busters. Some of them are already to the tops of their cages.
Yesterday I ate our first raspberry.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill for about 20 minutes, then did upper body weights. Then came home and worked in the yard for a little while before going to Vivace to read/write.
I read in the new paperback edition of James Schuyler's Selected Poems. It is wonderful so far. Also got some significant work done on a few new poems. (yay!)
Why does starting the day at the gym always make it feel like a more productive day, no matter what you do after?
Monday, June 11, 2007
Your name: Peter P
A Country: Pakistan
Song Title: Pissing in the River (Patti Smith)
An Artist (painter, photographer, etc): Pier Paolo Passolini(like those initials!)
A Reason to Stay Home from Work or School: Poetry Writing
Something you'd see at a Zoo: Penguins eating Peanuts
A Snack: Pizza
A Character in a Book: Pinochio
Something Icky: Piles
A Six-letter Word: Purity
Something Breakable: Pollyannaisms
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Pilsner NA
Something you Whisper: Plush
Went to a wonderful poetry reading at Hugo House last night. James Hoch was in town to read from his new book Miscreants. I'm not sure I had ever heard of him before, but Rick B invited me, and when I googled the book came up with the following and had to go:
"At the heart of this collection is an intense rendering of a young boy's murder and the lives of those who endured it. Reminiscent of the work of B. H. Fairchild and Larry Levis, Miscreants investigates memory, family, violence, and the transition from boyhood to adolescence in the decaying, working-class towns of New Jersey and Pennsylvania."
James read very well. He talked a bit about the title, and how it means, roughly, "mis-belief," and how it refers to the mis-behaving kids and teens in the book, the "mis-made" children who are born with some kind of deformity (who are then in glass jars at the Mutter Museum), as well as to the sadistic killer in our midst. The book is really good, and the long poem for Bobby Almand is devastating and beautiful. Here is a taste:
from Bobby Almand
When the neighbor kid found him
covered with sycamore
his jeans were unbuttoned
his underwear disarranged
pulled just below his hips
pulled, they said, back up.
Someone must've gone to the trouble
must've taken time, as if
after entering and leaving him
shirtless, facedown in a ditch,
it would've been indecent.
Only eleven lines, and the whole horrific episode is indelible in my mind. I think it is the wonderful details, the calm simple everyday language (including all the contractions). It conjures a child's or teen's voice, but through the lens of adulthood.
Everyone has a soul, our nun tells us,
which upon death leaves the body.
Exspirito, she tells us, and when we
don't get it . . . as in exhale. The one
who floats possumed in the pool,
Possum Boy, lifts his head, smirking.
. . .
There is much more to the book than the Bobby Almand poem: other deaths and traumas, some light-hearted poems about Native American kids playing basketball, mini-mart sausage rolls, dogs with shock-collars, and more. It's a good read. Highly recommended.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
1. In music drama, a marked melodic phrase or short passage which always accompanies the reappearance of a certain person, situation, abstract idea, or allusion in the course of the play; a sort of musical label.
2. A dominant and recurring theme.
I know this term is usually used in music. But think of it in your poetry. Do you have an unconscious leitmotif? A recurring theme or image? Perhaps a recurring rhythm or way of saying things?
Went to my friend Lynn's graduation BBQ yesterday. Congrats Lynn! You're gonna be a wonderful NP.
I want to see this movie.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Birdsong from My Patio
I've never heard this much song,
trills pure as crystal bells,
but not like bells: alive, small rushes
of air from the tiny plush lungs
of birds tucked in among the stiff
leaves of the olive and almond,
the lemon with its hard green studs.
As the sun slides down newborn
from thick muscled clouds
their glittering voices catch the light
like bits of twirling aluminum.
I picture their wrinkled feet
curled around thin branches,
I see them preening, tainted
feathers sliding through their glossy
beaks, over their leathery tongues.
They're feeding on contaminated insects,
wild seeds glistening with acid rain.
And their porous, thin-shelled eggs,
bluish or milky or speckled,
lying doomed in each
intricate nest. Everything
is drenched with loss:
the wood thrush and starling,
the unripe fruit of the lemon tree.
With all that's been ruined
these songs impale the air
with their sharp, insistent needles.
Copyright © 2007 Ellen Bass All rights reserved
from The Human Line
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Later we went to Macy's to get a new waffle iron as our old one finally died. I think Dean had it from the 60's and it was terrific. But all things die sometime I guess. Anyway, I saw some placemats on the sale table that looked really nice: a kind of woven straw fiber with a thin black edge. They did not have a price marked so I took eight of them up to the cash register to ask how much. He said $36. I said $36 for the set? He said, no $36 each. And that is the sale price I asked? Yes he said. I just about crapped in the aisle. Who besides Paris Hilton would pay $36 for a placemat?
We also looked at some Denby Stoneware plates. They are gorgeous. But who can afford this stuff (interrobang here).
Just got a poem accepted for JAMA. Me happy now.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Dean and I helped one of my sisters move for a few hours Saturday morning. She and her husband have 6 (that's right: six!) kids, and they were basically moving to a bigger house about three blocks away from where they were. We moved several loads of beds and sofas and boxes, shared a crispy creme donut, and then went off to City People's Nursery to pick up some stuff for the yard. The tomatoes are growing like gang-busters. The roses are carrying on like nobody's business. We got a little trellis for the climber in the south side yard. It looks fine!
Today we went to the newly remodeled Seattle Art Museum (also known as "SAM"). I did not care for the flying exploding cars that "grace" the entry. If I want car chases and car explosions, I'll go to a movie. What were they thinking? It is not even good art. (IMHO).
The exhibits were pretty good, though there was not much that we had not already seen. My faves:
Do-Hi Suh's "Some/One" which is a huge emperor's kimono made entirely of dead soldier's dog tags. It's incredible.
The room devoted all to Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Guy Anderson and other NW Mystics.
The giant creature made entirely of thrift store sweaters sewn together: it was near the African Tribal art, and it looked completely tribal in its own way.
The Japanese screen of crows. I have wanted this for my very own for years.
We had lunch in their new cafe which is called "Taste" (How *dumb.* And the gift shop is called "Shop." What do they think we are? Morons?). But the food was not bad: we shared a chicken salad sandwich, Dean had a pea-sorrel puree soup and I had a sweet French onion soup. A yummy glass of Sauvignon blanc (a half-pour "taste" is only $3).
Spending a bit of time watching French Open on TV. I am all about Serena winning it all. I think she is due for a complete Slam this year. I also want Nadal to deny Federer. But please, Rafael: enough with the Capri pants!