Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nic Sebastian has an audio recording of my WCW mash-up poem "Fugue" posted up at Whale Sound.

It's very different from how I hear the poem in my head, but I like it! Check it out.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

There's a Moon in the Sky Called the Moon

Apparently there is a HUGE full moon tonight, to welcome in Autumn. (I love how the "Au" in Autumn echoes the "Au" of the atomic symbol for Gold). Unfortunately, Seattle is socked in with the worst late summer weather in the last million years, so we won't see it. Alas.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I've been reading the new Best American Poetry, edited by Amy Gerstler. I actually pre-ordered it this year as a Kindle download, which made sense to me, because I usually don't keep these anthologies very long, and they don't usually resell for much. And so I decided to go with the e-version, and it arrived on my iPad the day it was released. Not bad.

It took a little bit of adjusting to read on the iPad, though, and I think some of the formatting was messed up, but there were several advantages to the e-BAP, in that some people had hyperlinks in their bios to their blogs, or websites, and you could go there with one click (see Dennis Cooper, for instance). I just wish the poems each had a hyperlink to the poet's bio/statement (I always love reading those, and it would be great to be able to toggle back and forth between them.)

I skipped Lehman's intro, and went straight to Gerstler's. She has some good insights, and admits that BAP isn't so much about "best" as it is about the particular editor's "taste." But I wish she would have kept it a little shorter. (I kept hearing Tim Gunn screaming, "Edit! Edit!").

My favorite poems so far are Catherine Wing's lovely "er" poem, "The Darker Sooner," and David Trindad's "The Black Telephone." But why no Rebecca Loudon? After Gerstler had so admiringly blurbed Rebecca's last book, I thought for sure she would be in this year's BAP. Ah well. . . .

Happy reading!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I LOVE Lady Gaga. Listen to her tell it like it is about Don't Ask Don't Tell.


Also check out what is likely one of the new songs on her next album, "Out of Control."


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

And speaking of words, it looks like Abby Hagler at Hugo House is doing her own version of "Word a Day" at the Hugo House Blog, by choosing interesting words from the books she is reading. This week she is featuring words from Mary Jo Bang's "Louise in Love."

Last week she chose these five words from my book of poems, What's Written on the Body:







Thanks Abby. Hope you enjoyed the book, and these "unusual" words.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Looks like Palin can add one more thing to her resume: Neologist

from World Wide Words: "On Wednesday, the US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster announced its "Word of the Summer", the word that had been searched for more often than any other in its online dictionary. The one that came top by a big margin wasn't there, or indeed in any other dictionary - it was Sarah Palin's confused blending of "refute" and "repudiate" in a news show and a Twitter message back in July: REFUDIATE. Merriam-Webster says they think searchers had worked out what Sarah Palin was groping for, since "refute" and "repudiate" were also looked up a lot."


Friday, September 03, 2010

Had a great time being part of the reading extravaganza at Elliott Bay last night, for the New Poets of the American West anthology, edited by Lowell Jaeger. What a fun night! It was sort of like a homecoming or reunion of sorts, having so many Washington poets in one room. Each person read one poem, so it was also sort of a greatest hits parade. We had poems about Mt St Helen's, 9/11, fishing, Hanford, palouse fires, Native American museum artifacts (or are they holocaust reminders?). Great fun all around. Thank you again to Lowell for editing this huge anthology. And to Kathleen Flenniken for hosting the bash.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

An interesting essay by Tony Hoagland up on the Poetry Foundations site:

What do we, as readers, want from a poem? On the one hand, plenty of poetry readers are alive and well who want to experience a kind of clarification; to feel and see deeply into the world that they inhabit, to make or read poetry that “helps you to live,” that characterizes and clarifies human nature. To scoff at this motivation for poetry because it is “unsophisticated” or because it seems sentimental—well, you might as well scoff at oxygen.

Similarly, to dismiss the poetry of “dis-arrangement,” the poetry that aims to disrupt or rearrange consciousness—to dismiss poems that attract (and abstract) by their resistance, thus drawing the reader into a condition of not-entirely-understanding—such a dismissal also seems to foreclose some powerful dimensions of poetry as an alternate language, a language expressive of certain things otherwise unreachable. Perhaps language as a study of itself has ends which are otherwise unforeseeable.

In our time, this bifurcation of motives among poets has become so pronounced as to be tribal.

And from later in the essay:

"One might extrapolate from these several examples the features of a period style. Here are the characteristics I observe:

1. A heavy reliance on authoritative declaration.
2. A love of the fragmentary, the interrupted, the choppy rhythm.
3. An overall preference for the conceptual over the corporeal, the sensual, the emotional, the narrative, or the discursive.
4. A talent for aphorism.
5. Asides which articulate the poem’s own aesthetic procedures, premises, and ideas.

Surely I am over-generalizing and omitting some things. But it is curious how much contemporary poetry bears some combination of these stylistic features . . . ."

Hmmmm . . . I might add "a heavy reliance on irony as the predominant tone." Or "a marked lack of interest in human emotional connection, almost to the point of being autistic."


Oh, yeah. And in case you missed it, there was a war that ended. In commemoration, I'd like to play this song, "War is Over: Merry Christmas":

War is over. If you want it.