************

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Lesser Forms, Part Two

Gettouda Pointillism: Though thought by many to merely be a reaction to the fervor surrounding the breath-taking rise (and subsequent fall) of the Deterministica, this view fails to address the intriguing and dramatic back-story of the form. Largely in response to Willary Prederick’s stubborn squandrance of the family fortune defending Whaley-Horseman’s poetic endeavors, Gettouda Prederick (great-granddaughter of Willary), writing from exile in France, constructed a devastating new form which completely removed all determiners from its aesthetic, eventually laying a genocidal eye upon prepositions and helping verbs:

excerpts from Sir Sire

You do shoe
I live foot

I kill you
die gray toe

it pour green blue
I pray recover you

I never tell you
your foot your root
I never talk you
tongue stuck jaw

it barb wire snare
I thought you
language obscene

engine, engine
me off

snow clear beer Vienna
not pure true
I scared you
your your your your
O you——

not God no sky squeak
woman boot face brute
heart brute you

bit heart two
I ten buried you
twenty I tried die

get back, back, back you
I bones do

they pulled sack
they me glue
I knew what do
I made model you

I do do
telephone root
voice worm through

I kill man, I kill two
vampire said he you
you lie now

stake your heart
dancing stamping you

they knew it you
you bastard, I

Though the flame of the form which became synonymous with her name flared but briefly, Gettouda Prederick’s poetry burns all the more fiercely, especially in consideration of her influence on the later form of Conjunctionalism, which hardly needs mentioning here.

Next: Conjunctionalism....


Friday, January 30, 2009

IndieFeed - food for your ears


Below is a press release from the Indiefeed Performance Poetry Channel - you may find links to their podcasts over in our right sidebar.

*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

The IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel Celebrates 500 Shows
Releases Original Recording of “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg


(South Royalton, VT)

The IndieFeed Performance Poetry Podcast, a member of the IndieFeed Podcast Network (http://indiefeed.com), is proud to announce its milestone 500th Episode. To mark the occasion, a special anniversary podcast will begin airing on Friday, January 30th 2009, showcasing the earliest full recording of “Howl (for Carl Solomon)” by Allen Ginsberg.

IndieFeed worked closely with the estate of the late poet in order to bring this historic recording to its podcast audience. As founder and host Wess “Mongo” Jolley says during the show, “What is really critical to understand about Ginsberg is how his work signaled a cultural shift, a moment in time when suddenly poetry in performance became something totally new, and would never be the same again. I contend that without Ginsberg, and specifically without Howl, the poetry slam would be unrecognizable. In fact, we would probably never have had anything even remotely resembling today’s modern performance poetry movement. This poet, and indeed this poem, is that important.”

The IndieFeed Poetry Performance Podcast series was founded in 2006 to celebrate the diverse artists of the spoken word community. The independently produced show is consistently one of the top three poetry podcasts on iTunes, drawing 100,000 downloads every month, and over two million downloads overall.

Since its founding, the podcast has exposed its audience to works by over 200 diverse poets, including poetry slam powerhouses such as Patricia Smith, Beau Sia, Taylor Mali, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz; cowboy poets such as Linda Hasselstrom, John Dofflemyer and Paul Zarzyski; contemporary greats such as Mark Doty and Kim Addonizio; and even historical recordings of legendary icons such Sylvia Plath, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac.

The series typically releases three new tracks every week featuring one poem per show, followed by commentary and resources to learn more about the poet. All the works featured on the show are written and performed by the poets themselves, and are available for download free of charge at the IndieFeed site (http://performancepoetry.indiefeed.com) and on iTunes.

The 500th episode, showcasing Ginsberg reading his legendary epic poem, "Howl," has special meaning for host Mongo, who also founded “Ginzy.com,” an extensive Ginsberg website, in 1995. The site, which was the first comprehensive directory of Ginsberg information on the web, became a major resource for news organizations at Ginsberg’s death in 1997. The “Clearinghouse for all things Ginsberg” continued for several more years, until search engines such as Google made the site obsolete, and Mongo closed it in 2002. It was his relationship with the Ginsberg Estate that allowed him to use Ginsberg’s recording of his poem “America” in 2006, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original 1956 recording. Mongo is thrilled to be able broadcast another Ginsberg work, from that same amazing evening of poetry over a half century ago, to celebrate the show’s 500th episode.

“IndieFeed provides a unique opportunity for poetry lovers to look both backwards, to the greats like Allen Ginsberg, as well as forward, to the amazing young talent that continues to step onto stages for the first time, every day,” Mongo says. “We look forward to producing our next 500 shows, and continuing to bring great poetry to our audience.”

Beginning at 3:00 am on Friday, January 30, the 500th show can be downloaded directly at:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/poetry/indiefeed_allenginsberg_howlforcarlsolomon.mp3

New listeners are invited to explore to the complete archive of shows as well as subscribe to all new releases, at the main IndieFeed Performance Poetry website:

http://performancepoetry.indiefeed.com

Or by finding the podcast in the listings at the iTunes music store.

If you have any questions, or need any additional information, please feel free to reach out to Mongo directly at mongo@indiefeed.com


Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.


This weeks submission comes from a Clevelandpoetics - The Blog reader.

On to my Chamber
for Dana


My attention is at a deficit.

Memories of the rapture from affliction
spent in loveless isolation last Christmas
are slowly beginning to fade
and allow me solace.

Memories of a brief snowflake in time.
A time when my foolish belief in love
deceptively descended from above,
proving to be a false Messiah,
delivering to me only
the cancerous pain
of its own repossession.

Since then,
the seasons and I have continued on together,
maturing from the opaque coma white of winter
to the second chance shades of spring green, lavender and pink,
that cultivated a promising chance of atonement and hope
to the most magnificent and brilliant sheens of summer memories
coming only to rest again in the fall
akin to progressing to the end of a life
as hauntingly resonant and artistic in expression
as a Tadashi Asoma print.

Love arrived again this fall,
she selected me from amongst the caffeinated crowd
as the misanthropist I, sat reticent, and unknowing
in the same still fog
that lingered outside
in the fresh October night air
and in recollected childhood memories
of her favorite cartoon.

The planets were aligned
and the paths of two shooting stars
crossed at the intersection of fate
that two destined souls
always collide at.

She blew like fall leaves into my life
like the silent, narcoleptic assassin
who visits me when I am on the brink of unconsciousness,
ready to retire on to my chamber
and let go fully of this world,
but then
the light wispy air touch of her lips
disarms distention from my diaphragm like carbon monoxide
leaving me in a dizzy, breathless, and dreamlike state.

Shortly thereafter,
my eyes open uneasily to the familiar dirty grey sky
that ascends from the ground like phoenix ashes
over the tips of a pine tree lined horizon
of a bedroom window pane
that perfectly frames the new memory
in the photo album of my mind.

I procrastinate the process,
not wanting to leave the warmth and invite
of the bed sheet and blanket womb
and labor to awaken at my own slow pace,
decorated like a general
in a sprinkling hail of silver fairy dust
recently sprinkled upon my head, hands and shoulders
in either my dream or in my death.

I realize then
that perhaps I had temporarily left this plane
and this vision of love
stole the cold vapor breath from my lungs
and placed my heavy frail arm in her hand
after becoming hypnotized by the astral white light of the comets tail
before being forever thrown into an eternal vacuum of nothingness
that I make no thought nor attempt any action to abandon.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great Lakes Novel Contest and Prize

Rob Smith of Drinian Press,
LCC, and I of Bottom Dog Press have made a major effort here to encourage novel writing from our area. Clearly the folks back East and West have their publishing agents and publishers. We want to publish a novel set in the Great Lakes Region by a writer living in that area...our heartlands.

And so we're kicking off this: Great Lakes Novel Contest & Prize

Believing in the value of life and writing in the Great Lakes Region, Bottom Dog Press, Inc. and Drinian Press, LLC announce the Great Lakes Novel Prize. The winning entry in this contest receives a prize of $350 (USD), publication, and a royalty contract. Additionally, a second finalist may be named to receive publication and a royalty contract. The writer must live in the Great Lakes Region and the novel must be set there. Send hard copy of unpublished novel (40,000 -80,000 wds.) along with $20 handling fee to Great Lakes Novel Prize, Drinian Press, PO Box 63, Huron, OH 44839 between Sept. 1 and October 31, 2009. Include one cover sheet with title, name and address, and second cover with only book title. Name should not appear in the manuscript. Final judging will be by established novelist. For full guidelines visit: Bottom Dog Press, Inc. (smithdocs.net) and/or Drinian Press, LLC (DrinianPress.com)

Guidelines:
• Writing must be set in the Great Lakes Region by an author presently living in the Great Lakes Region. We are defining that region as including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Western New York State, and Western Pennsylvania as well as the Province of Ontario.
• Submission must be an unpublished work of fiction, written in English, either a novel or composite novel (collection of interrelated short stories). Length: 40,000 - 80,000 words (150 to 300 pages)
• The contest is open to all writers in English, published or unpublished, who live within the defined region. No one directly connected with Drinian or Bottom Dog Presses may enter the contest.
• Entries must be postmarked during the months of September and October 2009. Entries postmarked after October 31, 2009 will not be accepted.
Send to: Great Lakes Novel Prize, Drinian Press, PO Box 63, Huron, OH 44839
• Manuscripts must be typed. Clear photocopies of typed manuscripts are also acceptable. Do not send your only copy. *Manuscripts cannot be returned.
• Final judging is by an established novelist and will be conducted anonymously. Your name and other identifying material may only appear on the cover page and nowhere else in the manuscript. Your submission should include a cover sheet with name, street and email addresses, and phone numbers and a separate title page which ONLY lists title and approx. word count.
• Please include a nonrefundable handling fee of $20.00 (U.S. dollars) for each manuscript (US check or money order payable to Drinian Press, LLC). You may include a stamped, self-addressed postcard to confirm receipt of your manuscript, and a stamped, self-addressed business-sized envelope if you wish to be notified concerning the results. Bottom Dog and Drinian Presses assume no responsibility for lost or damaged manuscripts. Manuscripts will not be returned.
• The winner will be announced on February 15, 2010; book published that spring.
• All authors who enter will receive a copy of the published book.
• Endorsed by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.


A new voice

I was invited
by a dear and sweet friend of mines: Salinger to keep you the people updated on what is going on with me in the city as well as around town...Kisha Nicole Foster...i am currently on a mission to spread more love out here to more people...as if that can happen.. i just held a poetry show down at Cleveland State University as i do every third Friday of the month...I also had the chance of going to the Individual World Poetry Slam which was held in Charlotte, North Carolina...I had the chance of meeting Wonder Dave who will be in Cleveland at the Underground (75 Public Square) on February 11th...Buddy Wakefield who is amazing, Queen Sheba from Atlanta, Justice from Detroit and many many more...i will be in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in March in Detroit, Michigan competing against 59 other women in the world!!!

ahhhh...breathe...spit...lol

what else...i am on my break and i have to clock back in after i get off i will continue...i pray you all stay in contact with me on this...

peace loveand poetry to all

sending blessings always,
kisha nicole foster


Guest Review - Lix and Kix @ the 806

Guest Reviewer
Christina Brooks aka Rune Warrior

Lix and Kix at the 806

I had the fun opportunity
of attending the “Lix and Kix” Poetry Reading on January 20th, 2009. The event is hosted by Poets Dianne Borsenik and her partner John “Jesus Crisis” Burroughs. It’s held every third Tuesday evening at the 806 Wine and Martini Bar in Tremont.

This was the fourth monthly installment of the Lix and Kix program, the first trial run occurred in October of last year, followed happily by a regular booking of the event into a regular poetry venue. They now have upcoming features scheduled thru June of 2009.

This was my second time to the Lix & Kix venue in Tremont. And I can say honestly it was a blast.

The 806 is not a large venue but it makes up for that in style and attitude. The art deco furnishings give the spot a very upscale feel and the wonderful selection of beverages keep the poets lubricated and content. John and Dianne’s hosting give it some amp and spunk. They run a very relaxed venue that is welcoming to the “virgin” poet, the savvy street poet and academic. My first visit in December and the second one this past week, were both very enjoyable.

The two featured readers this month were Elise Bonza Geither and C. Allen Rearick. Elise read several short poems, a short story selection titled “Through the Wood of the Door”, and also an excerpt of dialogue from an as yet untitled play. C. Allen Rearick shared several pieces from his poetry book, “Through These Eyes”. His piece,”Sizing up the Situation”, which I’ve heard him read before, brought gales of laughter, loosening up the crowd. I liked the contrast in the featured readers chosen and the material they presented. Elise’s material being touching and dramatic; C. Allen’s being both funny and personally poignant. Their performances were a yin-yang of one another as was Dianne and John’s hosting, a pleasant contrast and interplay of material. After the featured readers there was a rousing and sometimes wild open mic with more than ten participants from Cleveland and beyond which included a piece by a singer, Jodi Dobos, who shared a Joni Mitchell song.

The evening’s festivities were punctuated with offerings of music and poetry by John and Dianne. John singing three songs, one originally written by himself for a play that was performed at the Marion Correction Facility, and some poetry both original and by others. Dianne sharing a few pieces including a “colorful and bawdy” new villanelle she’d written.

I can say that the evening started on time and flowed smoothly even though things were very relaxed. Everyone felt comfortable getting up and sharing their offerings, and appeared to be having an awful fun time listening to poetry and making new friends.

I think the only thing I can honestly criticize is there is not enough seating in the 806 to accommodate everyone that was there or would want to be there. The place was packed with people seated even on the floor. Considering this is only the fourth month since their inception this will be a continuing problem. Many Cleveland poets haven’t even been to the 806 yet. I can imagine once they discover it, it will become a fixture in the poetry community just like the Lit Café, and Mac’s Backs, etc. Things can only get better as John and Dianne groove their niche there at the 806. So I recommend you go down any third Tuesday, check it out, and maybe bring a chair, because, between the drinks and the crowd you will need one. Things can only get better and better at Lix & Kix.

The Lix and Kix events postings can be found at:

CrisiChronicles Blog: https://www.crisischronicles.com/

And their Lix & Kix MySpace page

The 806 Wine and Martine bar is at 806 Literary Rd., Tremont. The program starts at 7:00 pm.

Christina Brooks

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Lesser Forms

With all the discussion
on these boards lately about poetic forms, I thought it would be interesting to take a few moments to contemplate some of poetry’s lesser-known structures. While some of these strategies have fallen by the wayside over the years—some for obvious reasons, others, like the dodo, waylaid by cruel and unfortunate circumstance—it is of the utmost importance that we remember that at one time these poetic expressions all had their adherents and champions.




The Deterministica: Originally appearing in eighteenth century England, the Deterministica’s arrival coincides with the conclusion of the Great Parachute Wars of the early 1780’s. In fact, the form’s progenitor, Philip Whaley-Horseman, had been serving out the conclusion of his indentured servitude (a twenty year term) when he noticed a preponderance of determiners in the standard parachute assembly directions, specifically the articles a, an, and the. Whaley-Horseman’s first endeavors focused primarily on these initial three, but later went on to include not only determiners but nearly every preposition extant at the time.

Love

a with each
the across
an both
the within
a the, a an, an a

Unfortunately, the above poem—one of the first daring experiments in language conducted by Whaley-Horseman, who established the memorable and moving hinge of the a/the/an/the/a pattern—proved to be the form’s greatest poetic expression. Later efforts, such as Sir Edmund Roque’s preposition-laden “Beneath But By, Beyond Like Near” (famous if only for its insipid lines “behind among behind/between behind, into behind/inside, inside, inside behind”) and Willary Prederick’s epic, “Next,” so-named for the fact that the title word repeats for 700 lines in the middle), fell far short of the form’s initial brilliance, and Whaley-Horseman spent the remainder of his life attempting to prove that his genius was indeed more than dumb luck. He died in his 21st year, after reciting his masterpiece and then leaping from mid-way up a rather large tree with an improperly assembled parachute.

Next: Gettouda Pointillism...



Monday, January 26, 2009

Those who can do...

Not too long ago
I was having dinner with a recent graduate from the NEOMFA creative writing program. This is the one that is awarded from a syndicate of Northeast Ohio universities including Cleveland State.

Over our bowls of soup this person told me of some issues he was having in a composition class that he was teaching at a local community college, basic classroom management stuff. ‘Cause what else is one going to do with a MFA? I mean what do folks tell you when they are in such a program, “I can always teach.” So I asked this guy how many education classes had he taken as part of the program. He replied, “None.”

I have to wonder, is this typical? How many of these programs are out there that foist people into professions with absolutely no training for the profession. Was this idiosyncratic to this one person? A cursory look over the courses required shows no education classes. Do you want your gall bladder taken out by someone who understands the theory of its function but couldn’t tell a scalpel from vibrating saw on the stainless steel tray of surgical tools? Who’s to blame?

Too often it seems, when the arts are concerned, the craft of teaching is chucked aside especially by “teaching artists”. No wonder creativity in the classroom is so marginalized. So we successfully completed a series of experimental villanelle examining man’s inability to come to terms with his mortality. What are we going to do about the four inner city youth, high school grads, in our Comp 101 class who obviously are not reading above a sixth grade level? What responsibility do these programs owe to their candidates to provide even the barest modicum of preparation for the main opportunity for use of the terminal degree they are bestowing?

Similarly, artists who go into the classroom without taking the time to learn at least the basics of teaching are liable to, with all good intentions, actually do harm. The best teaching artists I know continue to educate themselves not only in their art form, but in pedagogy and the latest educational theory taking dozens of workshops a year.

See, 99.99% of those in Comp 101 are not going to become professional poets. What is our obligation to them?



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Food for Thought

Here's a site I stumbled upon
that will steal your time away. At least it's for a good cause. I take no responsibility for lack of productivity because of this link:






Book Review: Night Ship To Never

More than 250 poems
by Kendall Evans have appeared in numerous sf, fantasy and horror publications. He is the author of two chapbook-length poems, "In Deepspace Shadows" and "I Feel So Schizophrenic, The Starship's Aft-Brain Said." He is now at work on his own ring cycle of 4 connected chapbooks. In 2006 he and David C. Kopaska-Merkel shared a Rhysling Award for the best sf poem of the year (long poem category) for their collaborative poem, "The Tin Men".

David C. Kopaska-Merkel is the editor and publisher of Dreams and Nightmares magazine, and was for six years the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Fourteen previous chapbooks and hundreds of poems and short stories have been published in dozens of venues since the early 1980s. David lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with 2 artists, 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 bunnies, and thousands of books.

These two poets recently published a collaborative collection, Night Ship To Never, from Diminuendo Press, an imprint of Cyberwizard Productions. This collection is a mixed bag of genres, primarily science fiction, but occasionally teetering into folklore and horror. There are eighteen poems in this collection, all illustrated by Richard Svensson.

At their best, these poems can be seen as cautionary, working with themes of science fiction or fantasy to ask and answer questions of humanity. For example, "I Am He As You Are They And We Are All Together" uses the metaphor of interspecies relationships and colonization to discuss and question the human need to belong, exploring what can be lost in pursuing this needs.


In the beginning the word was, I’m told,
We all wanted to be a part of something bigger
We sacrificed mobility but gained collective strength,
Our numbers covering a great deal of territory
In inner and outer space.
We colonized new worlds, made the aliens
A part of us, indivisible--
We were close.
Things began to get a little confusing
Admittedly, at times,
But it was worth it.
Why, communication is so much faster
Now that “we” have become “I”
High-speed analog connections
To everyone, everywhere
(sorry about the riffraff)
Shared libraries and data-collection ports―
But, you know, that “I go where you go” thing
It’s just not working, it’s getting a bit old,
I’m sick of the “you” part of “me”,
I want to be
Myself again
Alone and insufficient



However, in the same way that the genres of these poems are mixed, so too is the tone of the pieces. At times, it was difficult to balance the serious or exploratory poems with the playful and silly. It is hard to transition, in such a short space, from the introspective questions of poems like "Princess P, In A Spin" to the haunting darkness of "In Wicked Hollows, On Darkling Plains" to the silliness of "Robo-Cat®," which reads like an advertisement, including lines like:

At no additional charge, Robo-Cat® comes complete
With a framed pedigree certificate;
And no more need to “let the cat out” late at night
Your mechanical pet does not defecate.
But let it out of the house if you want to; Robo-Cat® won’t rust

Other Robo-Cat® products you will want to order immediately:
Decorative cat box with festively colorful kitty litter
(For ornamental purposes only; not recommended for living pets)
Cat bed fully wired for remote Internet access
Sturdy Mouse Cage, with metal bars and cat-proof lock
Protect your computer mouse from Robo-Cat® (strongly recommended)


While I have never been a fan of light verse, my issue is not with the tone of this individual piece, or any of the other poems. However, in such a short collection of only eighteen poems, the leaps between seem too great. Every poem is rendered well, but this collection doesn't hold together as well as I'd like.

Taken on their individual merit, these poems are solid. It is always difficult to critique collaborations, because usually one poet dominates the other, but it is extremely difficult to tell, in this collection, where Evans stops and Kopaska-Merkel begins or vice versa. This, for me, seems like a good thing; the two voices mesh seamlessly, and the pieces, as individuals, work well. Other highlights include the folkloric exploration of genetic manipulation in "Dragon's Teeth" and the discussion of questions concerning artificial intelligence in "Death and Life on Enceladus".


Friday, January 23, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.


This weeks submission comes from a Clevelandpoetics - The Blog reader.

My father was a dairy farmer
Who worked as a young boy
With a horse plough in the meadowed twilight
Of Co. Limerick, Ireland.

He said it was the worst job
You could ever do
Unless of course
You were the horse pulling the wet
Muck and mud
on that field.

The job depended on
the force of elements
And could be thwarted either way
Anyway
My dad wanted out.
He dreamed of America
And a thing called “the weekend.”

Such an idea was foreign
To dairy farmers
tied to the teats
Of too many waiting heifers,
Chewing cuds, bored
By the presumption
of the farmer’s calloused hands;
My father’s hands
at the age of 12
Tired already from milking
6 a.m. and 6 p.m
their standing date
at the milking house
which came before maths or poetry
or the like
The so-called language of the land
That my father knew not of,
Save for songs sang
drunk around the fire.

He longed for an American weekend
And a real holiday
From work tied to the land,
And to the bottom of his feet.

He set out, a ruck sack on his back,
To go where he knew
He’d be hard-pressed
To find any cow,
Blocking his way.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Poets Must Now Do

Accepting oneself as a poet
is much like accepting religious vows. One takes on a mantle of poverty and obedience to an unknown, stares every day in the face of the ignorance and cruelty of the human race, and yet persists in writing because one believes in the power of poetry, because one believes that, eventually, people will read their work and listen to the message--that they can, in some way, change the world for the better with this tool.

In his inaugural adderss, President Obama called for "unity of purpose over conflict and discord" and demanded that we "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." Near the end of his speech, Obama insisted that "it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies." With this speech, every citizen of the United States was called to be present and aware, and was called into action. Whether or not they respond to those calls has yet to be determined; however, it is important to realize what that call means for poets.

Assuming that poetry, in some way, has a close relationship to faith or religion, it follows that we must look to religious ideals for guidance. For example, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops recognizes seven themes of Social Teaching. Examining these themes, poets can find something to latch onto, something to write for or against, something that moves beyond simply what they had to drink the night before or the contents of their sock drawer:

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our societyin economics and politics, in law and policy directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Rights and Responsibilities

The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

Solidarity

We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.”1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Care for God’s Creation

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

This list provides poets with seven different tracks of obedience to that which is poetry. If we are to help in the remaking and reshaping of America, if we are to accept the responsibility of our call to poetry and the vows we have taken to that aim, then this is what our poetry must affect.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

shame on u Elizabeth Alexander i want the briefcase

Elizabeth, you spoke in a godawful drone,

a quite patronizing, over-enunciated tone. you bored! you disappointed how many million people? and this, perhaps the coolest opportunity for performing poetry live that anyone in the history of this country has ever had. (ever!)

i cld not listen to you, Elizabeth. i laughed with my husband about things having to do with work. mundane things, Elizabeth. i recall i asked him if i shld throw a load in, of laundry, while you droned on, vague and unsewn trite image, by vague and unsewn trite image,

saying nothing, Elizabeth. you said nothing, as if to no one special. perhaps you can write good poetry. perhaps Ted Turner wrote this poem for you, and you, against your best ethics chose to read it, since he is such a powerful man, and you hesitate to make waves.

maybe Rupert Murdoch wrote this poem for you, and threatened to take away your tenure if you chose to read a good poem, one that you wrote with the whole country in mind. i bet you would have preferred to read one of your best poems, a poem which would have spoken to people, to cause them to pause, to breathe deep. to smile or sigh and shake their heads saying yes! yes! aloud, to one another.

maybe you grew nervous about how you would come off. or maybe, and i truly hope this is the case, maybe you left the great poem you wrote for the great occasion at home, in your briefcase. and of course, we would all understand. i mean, in the traffic like that it would have been impossible to go and retrieve that good poem you wrote to wow the people.

or perhaps you are a whitebread plain jane simpleminded fearful person, who does not feel what a poet feels, and this is why, on this greatest occasion you did not deliver a poem with feeling, containing even the most basic elements of what people in their basic receipt feel inside to be a good poem. i hope Elizabeth, that poem waiting in the briefcase will be heard and repeated ten thousand times by true admirers.

in fact, i will buy that whole briefcase from you. i will pay whatever you ask, up to 1000 dollars, since i do have 1000 dollars to trifle with, if it does mean being blown down after Obama's grand lifting,,, we poets in America, Elizabeth want to be blown down! immediately!

send the case or its contents to Green Panda Press 3174 Berkshire Road
Cleveland Heights OH 44118


((also, if you are not Elizabeth and want to Blow America, you can send yr own poems to the same address. i am interested to print poems by poets who know how to say great things regarding this great occasion))


Inaugural Poem by Elizabeth Alexander




Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Review: The Journey to Kailash

Mike Allen has been, for nine years the editor of the biannual poetry journal Mythic Delirium. He's also edited or co-edited several books, including The Alchemy of Stars (the anthology of all the poems which have won the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award) and the MYTHIC anthologies of fantasy poetry and fiction. He's published four books of poetry, and his latest, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, was a Philadelphia Inquirer Editor's Choice selection. He's a former president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and a three-time winner of the Rhysling Award.

His newest book, The Journey to Kailash, was published by Norilana Books as part of their Curiosities series. It is a three section book, each section about 30-40 pages. These three sections create a vivid journey for the reader through fantastic, often dark, stories.

The first section, "misfortune when he leaves: his shadows grow to meet her," seems very fantasy oriented. For example, the primary and eponymous poem of the collection begins


When Ganesh marries my mother,
I am 18, my own man
in the eyes of the law; but barely a zygote
in his eyes. He calls me spermling
the first time we speak in private;

the poem continues through a step-father/son relationship, and journeys into the territory of what it might mean, in this day and age, to marry a god.

Perhaps my favorite poem of the section is "Giving Back to the Muse," which is a lesson in sacrifice, or love, or something else, perhaps... It begins:


She wears a necklace of knives and eyes,
a sash sewn from flags and faces,
boots welded from bomb fragments,
a belt of hangman’s rope.

and gets even more juicy as the poem rolls forward.


The second section of The Journey to Kailash is "as the stars die, sad whispers warm the breeze," which seems very science fiction oriented. In "Manifest Density," we colonize the universe, bringing "Slurpee cups and no U-turns" to the brink of extinction. In "Black Holes Hold Their Breath," the speaker responds to a comment made by Stephen Hawking concerning black holes and time travel. "retrovirus" takes iconic figures and creates a nightmarish world of 1950's imagery. However, the uninitiated reader should not be afraid. Even though these poems are scientific in nature, and even though Allen drops a few S-bombs (science words that need googling), he keeps the poems extremely accessible, and any reader will be able to connect with the characters and smile or shudder along with the stories told.

The third section of the book is "staring down the sun: the end he never sees," is a more surrealistic series, the majority of which is focused on artists, the worlds they created in their art and the events that inspired them, from "Escher's Bed" to "Klee's Garden" to "O'Keefe's Bones." This is one of the more difficult sections of the book, not in terms of accessibility, but in terms of tone and heaviness. This is a very resonant section, and readers should absorb Allen's words slowly if they are to survive.

The Journey to Kailash is not the book for every reader, certainly. There are elements of the fantastic, elements of science fiction, even elements of surrealism all rubbing against each other. There are times when the disparity seems too great, and this becomes a collection of three chapbooks, but Allen manages to tie it all together, whether through a recurring image or the evocative mood of the poems. In this bitter season of negative degree weather, Mike Allen's The Journey to Kailash is a wonderful book to accompany a pot of tea before of a smoldering fire.


NEO Poet Field Guide

Full name:
AMY BRACKEN SPARKS

Age:
OLD ENOUGH

Habitat:
SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE ERIE; NEXT TO FRESH WATER

Range:
BOOKSTORES; ART MUSEUMS; MY OWN FRONT PORCH

Diet:
POETRY SINCE 2000; THE NEW YORKER; THE BLOGOSPHERE; TRUE BLUE FRIENDS

Distinguishing Markings:
2 BOOKS (SERIOUS RED & QUEEN OF CUPS); RECENT POEMS IN JOURNALS (HARPUR PALATE, BARN OWL REVIEW, GARGOYLE) AND ONLINE (DMQ REVIEW, HOBBLE CREEK REVIEW, WICKED ALICE). OLDER POEMS IN OTHER JOURNALS…

Predators:
THE GAS CO.; BREATHLESSNESS; GRAVITY; OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES; CARBOHYDRATES; LACK OF LIGHT

Prey:
COWBOY COFFEE; SASHIMI FEASTS; HONEY AND OAT BARS; OPEN SEATS ON THE 39 BUS; TYPOS; PEOPLE WHO MANGLE ENGLISH; POWER ABUSERS;

Call:

FROM THE POEM “THEN WE NAME YOU”:

Carry your eggs before you.
Clot them in the crotch of the tree.
The grass that roofs your world
goes to seed. See?
Be the blind creature
who is all claws.

Ready? Or raw?


Contact info:
zincamy@gmail.com


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cleveland poetry as an educational experience

Although it has been
in the development stage for awhile, The Cleveland Poetry Archive is at a point where everyone can look at it, see what it is, and help us get it to where it needs to be. The Cleveland Poetry Archive is an educational and historical web site. This project was initiated and is coordinated by Nina Freedlander Gibans, with help from me, Dr, Larry Smith (and the Cleveland Poetry Scenes book), Kathy Smith, Marcus Bales and others, in cooperation with Shaker Heights Public Schools, John Hay High School, The Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, SUNY Buffalo, and other people and institutions. It is first and foremost a teaching tool unlike anything you've ever seen.

No other city has a site like this to celebrate its poetic heritage and encourage the study of it. If you don't see your name listed among the poet profiles, eventually you will. This is a part of the site that will develop over time -- with your help. If you don't see your books listed in the comprehensive list, you will, if you help us out by sending us your information. Take some time to look it over. High School students all over the city are already using it, and in the process, learning early and often, that Cleveland has a distinct poetic heritage to be proud of. Your comments are appreciated.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.


This weeks submission comes from a Clevelandpoetics - The Blog reader.

between classes

do they ponder the nature of the question “if A squared + B squared = C squared, then what is the relationship of x to y?”

bookbags burdened with filtered knowledge slung from shoulders too tired to care, lag in the daze of confusion

do they worry about the upcoming midterm in Geography of the United States? What is the relationship between Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

soles walk for miles in circles rimmed by buildings constructed of the eternity of truths unwhispered

do they contemplate the image of pine trees and work through lines of poetry in their minds as they mis-confidently stride to the lecture on the relationship of America to politics?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

...And They'll Take Care Of You?

Growing up,
I was ingrained with an idea of familial responsibility. Every party, every wedding, every funeral, every sports event, every bat mitsvah, every bar mitsvah, every graduation required the attendance of at least one member of, if not my entire, immediate family. The reason was simple--"We're family." This attendance was returned in kind, and so the lesson became truth. When my great uncle died, I was righteously angry that none of my cousins were there, partially because I was taken out of a poetry class to make sure that I made it to the two gate, one runway Westchester Airport with plenty of time to spare, but partially because so few branches of the "northern contingent" of my family were represented. I felt that we, in some way, were not just letting my aunt and my cousins down, but letting down entire generations of our family.

What does this have to do with poetry? Recently, I nominated a poem of mine for a Preditors and Editors Award, a fairly democratic contest in which anybody with an e-mail is allowed one vote per category. I sent e-mails to all of my friends and family, asking for their support and then, when I realized I actually had a chance of winning, sent out a second round of e-mails, begging anyone who hadn't voted to take the three minutes to vote.

The reaction I received was, in some ways, inspiring, but in others, depressing. Many, many people voted for my poem. Friends, family members, even people--editors and fellow poets--with whom I've only had contact via e-mail. Some very generous people even sent out mass e-mails in my support, asking all of THEIR friends to support me. However, there were some reactions that puzzled and deeply hurt me. A few people wrote back, angry that I promoted my poems in such a way. One friend accused me of spamming, while another refused to vote because they felt the contest was rigged in some way.

I think my gut reaction returns to the idea that, somehow, if you take care of and support your family, they'll take care of you. I realize we're all financially strapped right now (or at least I am...), so I feel it falls upon us to support each other more creatively. In what ways can one support another poet? In what ways can one support the poetry community? One obvious answer is presence--attend readings, host readings, support readings, promote readings, etc. I would have no problem reading to a group of 20-30 people, even if none of them purchased my book that evening. At least I would know that 20-30 people took the time out of their evening to sit and listen to my work for a while. This is especially true in this weather. I recently did a reading in Brunswick where fellow poets battled some fairly nasty weather, job hours, and other heinous conditions to listen and support me. I didn't sell one book at that reading, but the huge hug that I received from those poets who came out to listen made it worth it.

However, I feel that presence cannot be the only answer. There has to be something more, some greater support that one can give. Perhaps it's through contests like P&E, where a community rallies around their writers. Instead of seeing it as a poet desperately trying to beat the bushes for every available vote possible, perhaps we should see it as a way to say that this poet is OURS, this poet is a member of our family and deserves our alliegence. Perhaps it's through organizations like The-Lit. Perhaps it's through an even greater sacrifice, financial or otherwise. In many religions, there is an idea of setting aside a certain percentage of one's income and life for the Divine. Often called tithing or tything, one should set aside 10% of everything for God. Why not do the same for poetry? Or even half of that--5%? At $7/hour, 40 hours/week, 50 weeks a year, one makes $14,000. 5% of that is $700--a LOT of chapbooks, poetry books, etc. Adding up every book sold at a Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour in the past year, I think one could spend between $200-250, which isn't even half of that 5%. If ten people did this each week, or even every other week--2.5% of their income for poetry, many poets would have the financial support they need, and possibly have money to spend on OTHER poets, who in turn would spend THEIR money on poets, etc. What if that 2.5-5% were translated into time? Many record labels have "street teams"--volunteers that go around, promoting concerts, distributing flyers, mailing postcards, etc. to support the bands coming to their town. What if presses had teams like that, promoting readings and events?

What responsibility do you have to the NEOH poetry scene?

What does that responsibility translate into?


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Etymology recapitulates phylogeny

Guest blogger Terry Provost says:

The proverbial “they”
call it the “etymological fallacy”, casting the truth as a falsehood before it even gets out of the starting-gate.

The idea is simple enough: the original meaning (temporally original) of a word is its correct meaning.

Taken to an extreme and deprived of pluralistic context, the “fallacy” is indeed a prescription for “mind forged manacles”, a prescription for prescriptive linguistics itself: but the world is always already the sum of all its meanings; we grasp a “meta-meaning” by including the historical process of its evolution in our understanding of its use, and this deepens and enriches our deployment of, and participation in the language.

All this by way of an introduction to an etymology that has intrigued, guided, and directed me for some time now: the idea that the word “poetry” comes from a Greek word meaning “to make”.

Arthur C. Danto, the historian and philosopher of art, has made much of how Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Box” collapsed the question of “what is art” into a single art-transcending instantiation.

I know of no equivalent poem, but certainly the question “but is it poetry” has never been far from the modern poet (“tennis without the net”.)

You will perhaps begin to sense my enchantment when you reflect that the Latin equivalent to the Greek “poem, is “fact”. That is, the legacy of the Roman word for “to make” is, in English, a “fact”. A Greek poem is a Roman fact.

Very… poetic.

The remnants of this legacy are palpable. “Manufacture”. “Factory.” The etymology of the word “manufacture” preserving as it does the Latin root for “hand”; to manufacture being “to make by hand.”

My how things change.

As a digression I can’t help but note how the words “manacles” (mind-forged or otherwise), “emancipation”, and “manumission” are allied.

If you share my fascination, perhaps you will wonder at how a “factory” would correspond with a Greek poem. As a first approximation, consider an MFA program in poetry.

Although I am skipping around quite a bit, and concentrating on the word “poetry”, I would like to make clear that the methodology I am using, the “etymological fallacy”, is quite general. It is also authoritative. Beyond this, it is scientific, both evolutionary, and ecological.

Without dwelling on it, recall the old evolutionary tongue-twister “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, the answer as to why, according to whichever evolutionary authority you choose, Charles Darwin to Sarah Palin, people have gills as embryos? At the end of the day, any evolutionary process will select genes that preserve pre-existing ecological functions, since it is relative to these “functions” that competition will be defined. Now observe that that evolutionary origin of language (in the sense of natural history) had to preserve whatever ecological function predated it. Not only this, but every subsequent linguistic “improvement” has therefore been a successful evolutionary adaptation.

OK, so even I can barely understand what I’m saying. It’s just that the idea of a poem as a fact, and a fact as a poem just kind of hits me over the head and sends black tarantulas down my spine.

The bigger picture is that language has an evolutionary and ecological function, and by studying language, we are studying natural history.

Thus, poetry is an act of making, and anything made is a poem.

In this context it is worth recalling that there is both an orthographic and semantic echo of this sense of poetry as making, in the words “hemopoiesis” (the making of blood), and “onomatopoeia” (the making of words from related sounds.) “Off-shore, by islands hidden in the blood/ jewels and miracles…”

It is possible to debate whether this or that is a “good” poem, but that will depend on the etymology of good (it is useful in this regard to meditate on the etymology of the word “etymology”), but it is not possible to debate whether anything “made” is a poem. In this sense, we possess an objective measure of whether or not something is a poem.

In a post-logical reality however, it is possible for something both to be, and not be a poem. What is or is not a poem to me may not be or be to you in the same way or others.

What then does a poem make?

Like the New York Times, it may make little more than a wonderful liner for collecting droppings in a bird cage.

Things are called poems most often when they make rhyme, when they make new language, or, and this is related, when they make, believe.

A poem is what makes, believe.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Review: Amaze:The Cinquain Journal, 2007 Annual

Much has been written
on this blog about haiku, what the definition of haiku is, the importance of haiku, the different interpretations of the form, etc. So much, in fact, that other short forms have been ignored, from the Japanese tanka to the Korean sijo to the oft ignored American cinquain. Adelaide Crapsey, inspired like many Imagists by Japanese poetry, came up with an American form that followed a specific syllable count. Her form, the American cinquain, a 22-syllable form, falls syllabically between a haiku (17) and a tanka (31). A few of Crapsey's cinquains, which were written between 1911 and 1913, are even considered tanka, albiet the more westernized version of the form sans syllabic count.

Ultimately, a cinquain is a five line poem which follows a syllabic count of 2/4/6/8/2. Crapsey herself deviated from the form at times, but for the most part, western poets follow this syllabic count quite strictly. In addition, many cinquains, despite being based on Japanese untitled forms, are titled like other western poems.

Since 2002, Deborah P. Kolodji has been editing Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, an on-line poetry jouranl. For two years, she has been collecting the poems and essays from each year into a large printed publication to help promote the form and the magazine.

This years publication is a great display of the potential of the form. Many poets have been gathered together, all exploring what can be done with such a deceptively simple form.

A few echo the sensibilities of tanka, with two sections juxtaposed and resonating against each other:


Desert Orbs

full moon
rising above
the silhouetted hills:
a pie pan flung by the roadside,
shining
--Billie Dee

Campus Coffee Shop

He raves
on Kant's ideals--
intrepid robins peck
the crumbs of conversation strewn
their way.
--Anya Corke


Long ago

Warriors
clash in the sun,
their silver blades flashing--
on the ground, the fallen cherry
blossoms.
--Terra Martin

Others are lighter, even humorous, scenes and funny observations:

When The Sun Goes Down

Trolling
the local bars
she flirts with every man--
it's just another tequila
sunrise.
--John Daleiden

At the Ready

Whistling
a tune, his face
contorts with cheer: the notes
from puckered lips prepared to blow ...
a kiss.
--Mary E. Moore

Astronomy Puppy

I watch
the moon; he barks.
I note craters; he digs.
I pack my telescope; he sits
tangled
--Lee A. Spain

Some are poignant metaphors:

Apprenticed

Our earth,
frail boat, drifts on
a vast ocean of sky
while we hold tight and try to learn
to row.
--Ross Plovnick

Farewell at Dusk

droplets
flow in circles
that blossom on my skin;
I am the moon, trapped in your
orbit
--Trish Shields

Also included are various longer forms based on the cinquain, mirror pieces as well as cinquain crowns and series:

Goddess of Beauty
Tonight
I saw her pluck
a copper coin from clouds
of pink above a purple sea,
drop it
gently
in a slot between two islands.
Trails of silver handprints
were waving dusk
goodbye.
--Susan Constable

Flying the Jolly Roger

Swaying,
wooden boards creak,
steel drawn, cannons blazing --
boarding pikes and grappling irons
ready.

Matchlocks
fire, lead balls tear,
sailors a'twitch, dying --
sabres reap a fleshy harvest
of blood.

Awash
with sticky red,
gore-soaked decks slick with death --
ripping evil overwhelming,
swarming.

Crewmen
become corpses,
passengers become slaves --
life measured in gold and silver
plunder.

Treasure
secured and stowed,
merchant ship smokes and burns --
in the breeze, the skull and crossbones
flutter.
--Paul Ingrassia

Poet Without Borders
(a crown cinquain)

After
the final shot
silence lies within words -
you reach through it, a bloody mute
stillness.

The words,
half-dead, fractured
lie - blackened or bloated
or buried alive in snow's deep
whiteness.

On the
empty pages
of the lost words, you search
finding other tongues, lover tongues -
meanings.

Poet
without borders
you resurrect dead words,
breathe life into barely living
language.

In the
quest for language
we yearn for words of peace,
of love, and dancing, we hold hands,
singing.
--Hortensia Anderson

Also included are essays concerning the cinquain form, including the well researched "The Roots of the American Cinquain" by Judith Ecker Budreau.

This is an excellent collection which shows the potential for this oft ignored and misunderstood form. For any poet interested in short, non-narrative verse (especially those who enjoy counting syllables), this collection makes an important read.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.


This weeks submission comes from a Clevelandpoetics - The Blog reader.


Workshop Poem


Like other unpromising topics,
I was in a workshop
with a piece of good news.
The worst kind of subjectivity
turned another corner in my argument.
She argued not against it, but for it.
Our jaws dropped.

The best argument:
but I like it.

Been chewing on her words,
the story of how people learn to write.
Just like this, we write something
in a scandalized way. But, still

the same old story:
This is terrible.

But that’s not really what happens.
Next time we have the impulse to,
we’re going to learn to write better.
Damn it, I’m going to
write those unevaluated pieces
someday.

Then I will argue
for something
very different:
engagement.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A message from Russell Salamon

Former Clevelander
Russell Salamon, a magnificent poet and one of d.a. levy's friends, recently wrote and dispatched the below. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

POET, A GROUP OF ONE, ADDRESSES AUDIENCE, A GROUP OF ZERO

Poet speaks poetry to beings who have become scientists of matter, whose imaginations have been wiped out by past trillions of years of non-stop war against Sources of Life. We used to call ourselves immortal souls, but that hurt a lot.

We gave up residence in immortal life and staked out plots of death on Fifth Avenue,Miami Beach, and in oil fields of democracy. But never mind, we are not allowed to talk about evil--it upsets the nice people doing the work of believing in the excuses and rightness of war.

It is not possible to read a soul without a vibrant imagination. The words imagination and you are synonyms--the same thing. Missing imaginations give us "Audience, a Group of Zero." Our culture is a group of Zeros fired up on drugs, feudalism and rubble of repeating histories. (New things are thought of, but not allowed to become real unless they are better lies about you, such as materialist "medicine.")

The living edge of creation entertains itself with sex, drugs, rock and roll, war, and medical death. These are fun because you do not need responsibility for a living mind, nor a conscience which would see you coming back to the planet you left ruined.

Contact with poetry is contact with imagination--with another living being. Something he says excites your lost life and failed purposes. An early condition of freedom flashes on, an early quality, something original resonates. "Oh, my god, he is talking about me when I was a free being, when I had freedom of choice and freedom of universes. Those were my earliest friends!"

NEO Poet Field Guide

Full name: Kisha Nicole Foster

Age: 29

Habitat: I live on the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio with my two kittens, Mattie and Valerie

Range: The Lit Center, B-Sides, The Underground, The Humidor, Cleveland State University…I’m like 19…I’m EveryWhere!!!

Diet: James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Nikki Giovanni, Any movie by Quentin Tarentino, especially Death Proof!!! Whoooohooo…I read anything

Distinguishing Markings: Call and Post, Cleveland Poetry Scenes, Cool Cleveland, Top 25 Writers 2006; National Slam Team 2003; Individual World Poetry Slam 2008

Predators: Be cautious when approaching me, I look mild and calm…lo and behold that is just a look and looks can most definitely be deceiving.

Prey: I try to focus on those who are closed off to simplicity…the ones who fall into evil stereotypes with droopy eyes staring at the same bland colors and workings of life when it can all be simple…smile love and enjoy the good and the bad because that’s all we got…our faith does not put more on us than we can bear.

Call:

Acrostic Poem #2

Kisha Nicole Foster

Knowing right from wrong is the worst
It becomes sickening when one knows and doesn’t act
Suppressing one’s voice keeping the
Healing words inside of a body
Anxiously awaiting arrivals of anguish

Forcing
Oneself into corners
Stirring thoughts against emotions
Terror sets in the crevices, the folds of skin
Entering the changes of life, growing, accepting
Responsibility; owning it.

Contact: Kisha_foster@hotmail.com
Myspace.com/kishanicole26


Monday, January 5, 2009

Review

GuestGuest blogger J.E. Stanley
weighs in on our very own Joshua Gage’s “breaths”.

“breaths”
by Joshua Gage
Cover Photo by Rosann Gage; Cover Design by Heidi Della Pesca
(vanZeno Press, www.vanzenopress.com)

In “breaths,”
Joshua Gage shows his respect for traditional haiku yet manages to transcend that tradition by infusing his work with a modern, urban sensibility. Nature and neon, snowfall and cigarette ash exist side by side in this unflinching look at present-day life.

Modern haiku writers strive to place their images and ideas into profound juxtapositions such that the poem implies more and, in fact, becomes more than the sum of its parts. Gage is one of only a very few with the ability to do this exceptionally well. Consider the following excerpt:

our son in Iraq
wasps build a nest
in the mailbox

The depth of the book is further enhanced by the inclusion of recurring themes and images viewed from differing perspectives. Love and sensuality, the moon, the lake (Erie in this case, although not specifically named), the uneasy merging of civilization and the wild are woven throughout and viewed from fresh angles in the same way filmmaker might add depth by shooting his scenes from alternate points of view.

“breaths” is filled with original images but also permeated with moments to which nearly everyone can relate. Consider “the sound of rush hour / a deer grazes / in my front yard” for example.

This is an essential book of keen insights that reveals additional layers with each rereading and it comes very highly recommended.

Reviewed by J.E. Stanley.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes" Mark Twain


The publishing world
is in scale down mode, near to lockdown. Editors and production people are loosing their jobs and major players are not accepting any manuscripts. I suspect this means manuscripts by lesser known authors than say Stephen King, which leaves 99% of authors in a funk.

It's important to remember that before there were big publishing houses with armies of skinny, young editors (all dressed in black mini skirts, black tights and black eyeliner), writers still got their words into the hands of readers. Mark Twain, among many others, sold his books in advance by subscription, eschewing the elite Eastern literati, who after snubbing him still are amazingly enough in control of the market today, almost two hundred years later. These gatekeepers are instructed with formulas for publishing success -- formulas that grant people like Sarah Palin $7Million advances. Any entity that publishes a book ghost written and published inside of six weeks by a guy called Joe the Plumber who is neither named Joe or a plumber doesn't really care about books or even trees for that matter and as far as I'm concerned, deserves to go out of business.

Hugh McQuire in his recent blog: What if the book business collapses points out that maybe the implosion the pubishing industry is experiencing is not all bad. I tend to agree with him. The whole trend toward mega publishers and mega bookstores that allot precious little space for experimental or quirky is scary. Not only does it make my teeth itch, it is bad business since us word consumers have spent the last decade getting all finicky about our entertainment tastes. It's hard to even remember those pre-remote control days when 90% of TV sets were tuned in on Monday nights to the same I Love Lucy episode -- we've diversified as consumers just as the burdens of big publishing sought to support itself on a narrowing field of blockbusters.

Facebook tells me what my relatives are up to and I care a whole lot more about them than celebrity news. Blogs keep me up-to-date on my friends' opinions, which are more important to me than ANYthing Andy Rooney ever focused a biased eye on. I read the news outlets I want to read blissfully ignoring what's on Fox. I download only the songs I want instead of buying an entire album and Amazon tells me what books I'll like based on what I've ordered in the past -- kind of like those old-fashioned, user friendly bookstore owners who found themselves displaced by Clay Akins and expresso machines in the nineties.

If I really like something -- I subscribe to it online, a system that kind of rhymes with Mark Twain.



Saturday, January 3, 2009

My work is not my work

I will be very interested
to get your opinions on this one. It was recently brought to my attention that one of "my poems" appeared in a new anthology called Issue 1, a 3,785-page magnum opus of versification put out by forgodot.com. I found that interesting, since I didn't submit to the project. So I looked online and found a downloadable pdf of the book. Sure enough, on page 3,011 (they buried me in the back, the bastards) there is a poem called "Of intoxication," a title I kind of like, since it seems to fit me. The poem is attributed to "mark s kuhar" (all lower-case, just like i like it.) The poem reads like this . . .


A late sun
The unheard spaces
A lark

problem is, it t'ain't my poem. I never wrote it. In doing some more digging, there are comments all over the internet from people complaining that this book contains poems they never wrote. I have not been able to digest the entire list of more than 3,000 poets, but there are famous names, such as Terry Southern, Emily Dickinson, Bob Dylan and Franz Kafka, and at least two other names I know: Jill Riga, who is local, and Andrew Lundwall, a poet from Wisconsin whom I have published on deep cleveland press.

Apparently, when asked, the anthology's editors are saying that it must be a different (insert name here) that we dealt with in putting together the anthology. I think you get the idea. The anthology is one part literary experiment, one part lark, all organized and executed on the backs and reputations of poets from all over the country and world. Having said that, some of the poems aren't bad. Much of it reads like randomly generated computer sentences, but it could be worse. So, what do you think. Is it cool? Is it unacceptable? Subversive? Criminal? Let me hear your thoughts.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to salinger@ameritech.net with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.


This weeks submission comes from a Clevelandpoetics - The Blog reader.


Our pile of poems is now depleted - please feel free to send in your piece.



Objurgation

"You just objurgated me."
"What? What gated you?"
"You ass, you objurgated me."
"And what on earth would that be?
My sweet lime from Watakavi
What you just uttered cant be purely true.
Because if its English, you never have had a clue.
And a word this long, and jumbled I am afraid
has come out wrong or was never rightly said.
It seems you tried calling me an alligator
Or some kind vicious hater (more on that later)"

"Or did you say I purged you?
Well again, my smirks should tell you that is not true.
You are the one who calls influenza flu
and addressing me as gullible, call me goo"

"Your knowledge of the tongue sure has increased
In love you read a lot, as if reading diseased
I saw Hamlet and Henry on you thighs juxtaposed
the night before when you slept naked
both poeted and prosed"

"O my tangy tea from Watakavi
go to the language in which you are free
for the kings' tongue, it appears for you is not
You call pigeons 'bards' and generally mess up a lot"

"Take this not to be my reprimand or objurgation
mere babbling of a husband
in high pride and heightened elation"

Cited...

The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau