Monday, December 26, 2011

Shooting at Penguins

So, apparently the new Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, selected and edited by Rita Dove-- former US Poet Laureate, not to mention Akron home-town girl--has been attracting some vicious reviews over her choice of which poets, and which poems, represent the 20th century, centered on Helen Vendler's slam review in The New York Review of Books, asking “Why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?"
Enough fire has been drawn to attract the attention of the Chronicle of Higher Education: ("Bloodletting Over an Anthology").

John Olsen, in the Tillalia Chronicles, calls the anthology flightless, and says "The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry is such a travesty, why bother to say anything about it at all?" He goes on to comment "in view of what a hideous and psychotic landscape the United States has become, should it be that surprising that an anthology of American poetry would exclude, oh, I don’t know, Howl?"

In the Kenyon Review’s blog, poet Amit Majmudar suggests that the problem is that "its title is at odds with its nature." He suggests that the volume might have been fine if it were just Dove's selections of poems she liked, but for an anthology with pretense to some scholarly value as an overview of the century, “the volume comes to seem biased to the point of scholarly unreliability.”

Inclusivity, exclusivity... is it really a "dubious and incoherent selection from the country’s last century of verse."?

Whoa. So much attention! Everybody loves it when poets fight.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (50)

In winter darkness
Christmas lights in red and blue
glitter in the rain.

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hoping for a Happy Christmas, Cleveland!

Peace on Earth, good will to men

... and hoping that, whichever holiday you may choose to celebrate, all your wishes come true.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (49)

Half-frozen mud
crunchy under my feet;
footprints fill with snow.

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Smile, it's a Simile

"John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met."

Check out the 56 best/worst similes evah.

These were identified "as having been written by high schoolers", although in fact they actually originate from the Washington Post's Style International Analogy contest. Still, how can you argue with this:

"It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall."

"The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

52 Cleveland Haiku (48)

Raindeer skeletons
draped with wire and tiny lights
slowly turn their heads

--Geoffrey A. Landis

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to become famous

"We're here to conquer American Poetry and suck it dry of all glory and juice."

Jim Behrele explains "Poetry And Ruthless Careerism: How To Become The Most Famous Poet In America Overnight."

"Now, you might think that because there are more poets than ever, there might be more opportunities for poets than ever. And you'd be correct. If your fondest wish is to become the next totally obscure minor poet on the block, well, you're probably already successful at that. This literary landscape has proven itself infinitely capable of absorbing countless interchangeable artists, all doing roughly the same thing in relative anonymity: just happily plucking away until death at the grindstone, making no great cultural headway, bouncing poems off their friends and an audience of about 40 people. A totally fine little life for an artist, to be sure. No grand expectations from the world to sit up and listen. One can live out one's days quite satisfied to create something enjoyed by a genial cult. But that's not why any of us are here tonight."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bilgare meets Keillor

According to the Cleveland Scene,
"Like “jumbo shrimp,” “famous poet” is pretty much an oxymoron. Still, if any contemporary Cleveland wordsmith is poised to make that leap, it's George Bilgere."

Bilgere will read live on A Prairie Home Companion at 6 p.m. this Saturday, December 10; catch it live on NPR stations WCPN 90.3 or WKSU 89.7.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


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