Friday, November 30, 2012

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi?

"Fallen Statue of Ramses" © Jim Henderson

In "Rocket and Lightship," Adam Kirsch points out that our words will certainly be transitory. Some of the great poets praised by the Greeks and Romans are now know only for the discussion by others of their works, or by one or two poems, or even fragments of poems, that survived only by the most outlandish coincidence.

Does pure chance determine what survives?  From this it follows, he says, that eventually "every work will lose its gamble and be forgotten."  Or, he asks, is every worthy work "registered in the eye of God the way books are registered for copyright"?  And, if so, then isn't its material fate irrelevant?  Does it matter if it's even published?  If it's even written at all?

He continues:

Literature claims to be a record of human existence through time; it is the only way we have to understand what people used to be like. But this is a basic mistake, if not a fraud, since in fact it only reflects the experience of writers—and writers are innately unrepresentative, precisely because they see life through and for writing. Literature tells us nothing really about what most people’s lives are like or have ever been like. If it has a memorial purpose, it is more like that of an altar at which priests continue to light a fire, generation after generation, even though it gives no heat and very little light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poetry in the Woods Thursday December 13, 2012

Yesterday there was Abbott and Costello, George and Gracie, Martin and Lewis, Heckyll and Jeckyll, and those great philosophers/entertainers Donnie and Marie.
Today there's Toner and Rourke. Let Joe Toner and Dan Rourke tickle your funny bone with their eclectic poems stories, bon mots and wry observations.
Thursday, December 13th 7pm
Bertram Woods Branch of the Shaker Library
20600 Fayette Rd, Shaker Heights 44122
Poetry in the Woods
Thursday December 13, 2012
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Bertram Woods Branch
Enjoy poetry read by regional poets, Dan Rourke and Joe Toner.
Personals Haiku
Shlock poet seeks fawning fan
Reply with applause

- Dan Rourke
photo of poetDan Rourke is a former high school English teacher (Laurel School and Saint Ignatius) and a former editor at Northern Ohio LIVE Magazine. He is now a writer awaiting publication of his novel, Fine Spines and Dead Dollys. His muse is boredom and his prime motivators are decaf, black coffee and this month’s rent check.
photo of poetJoe Toner is an English teacher at Rocky River High School. Toner taught at St. Ignatius High School for 15 years. He was a stay-at-home Dad for 15 months before returning to the classroom. He also writes for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Sun Newspapers. Toner’s poetry includes wry and witty observations on contemporary life.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Fortune Cookie by Dianne Borsenik

Fortune Cookie
by Dianne Borsenik
(Kattywompus Press, Cleveland Heights, Ohio. 2012)

The City and The Soul

“Cities have souls” and in Dianne Borsenik’s two-part “Fortune Cookie” she explores “The City,” “The Soul” and the myriad ways in which they interact. Although universal in appeal, several of Borsenik’s poems are centered in Cleveland, its past and its present, good and bad. Consider these lines from “Cleveland Spelled Backwards Is:”

Level C
at last
. . .revealing a ceiling

Borsenik also deals effectively with self and soul, when to be cool, when to “Howl” with a capital “H” and what to do “When It Doesn’t Add Up,” that perfect storm “when the world of even / meets the world of odd” and “the earth shifts / uneasily.”

Borsenik’s syntax has a rhythm all its own, fueled by a judicious use of repetition and internal rhyme. It sweeps the reader irresistibly from line to line, starting with “Got Soul?” a brilliant, metaphor-driven catalog of cities ending in her own city and then progressing through a cathartic journey from “Doubts and Redoubts” to “Thaumaturgy.”

This highly recommended collection surges with a poetic form of kinetic energy, but if you find yourself too intoxicated from “a sip or two / of the strong stuff,” don’t worry. Just “fasten your seatbelts” and enjoy the ride.

Reviewed by J.E. Stanley

Available from Amazon
and NightBallet Press  (Scroll down.In the left-hand column)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Clevelander in Issa's Untidy Hut!

Every Wednesday, Issa's Untidy Hut posts a few new haiku. Today, one of the featured poets is Cleveland's (and Cleveland Poetics's) own Geoffrey Landis.

Past issues have included Cleveland poets Dianne Borsenik and Dan Smith.

With all the great potential for haiku in Cleveland, the only question that remains is where are YOUR haiku?

Monday, November 12, 2012

When poetry pays the bills... or not

An old question, but still an important one.  In a blog post When Poetry Pays the Bills, poet and editor Mary Biddinger asks
Anyway, dear readers, those who pay the rent with poetry-related activity, or non-poetry-related activity, how do you keep going? What makes you channel energy into writing poems, rather than into vacuuming cat hair off the basement stairs?

So, how do you do it?  What keeps you going?  


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