Showing posts from September, 2011
An interview I did with Gadfly's Marissa Fox can be found here:
A Word on Verbs, an Interview
I was asked to read in Aspen over the weekend. The audience, sprawled on couches and leaned against one another at all levels of a pyramid-like staircase, was generous, intelligent. receptive, interactive, and prone to the belly laugh. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, there is the dark spark, the clear bead, the spontaneous, and the sense that one has just been to the church of poetry. Very often at these kinds of events, the organizer over-plans, over-thinks, over-moderates. Not so, Kim Nuzzo, who runs the show in Aspen, and never even so much as told me how long I was expected to read. A marvelous young guitarist opened the show. There was also burgeoning talent in evidence during the Open Mic, particularly the works of Tony Alcontara, Lynda La Rocca, and others whose names I'm afraid I do not recall. Saw some old friends from the festivals, and many new faces. We also heard from Lorca, Jack Gilbert, Plath, Kipling, Kerouac, and Dante.
'Is there not still magi…

Iambic Hemptameter

Just roll me up and smoke me when I die.
- Willie Nelson
Two poets have been awarded the MacArthur Genius Prize this year: Kay Ryan and AE Stallings. I can't help but mention that the latter wrote the introduction to my book.
Reason is as guilty as passion.
JH Newman
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
Nelson Henderson
My work appears in the October issue of Think Journal. They do not reproduce the content of their issues online, but information on the journal is here:
Think Journal
I was asked to guest- teach at Western State College in Gunnison this week. The organizers put us up at a large ranch, with many critters, giant sky, a kitchen full of s'mores, and a library to die for.

Well, I thought, what can I possibly say to these senior English majors that they haven't heard a thousand times before...

Shall I speak of sonics, rhythm, prosody, process, concision, revision, publishing, influence, assonance, consonance, confluence, flatulence...

Shall I mention that poetry, like any other sacred science, is a wisdom tool.

Well, of course I did all that.
Blah blah blah.
But I also gave them this small ars poetica, and told them, rather emphatically, they'd do well to study it for a year.

Give thanks for all things On the plucked lute, and likewise The harp of ten strings.
Have the lifted horn Greatly blare, and pronounce it Good to have been born.
Lend the breath of life To the stops of the sweet flute Or capering fife,
And tell the deep drum To make, at the right…
My brain is a fatty cyst.
- Jack Mueller
In defense of the modern sonnet, (and in promotion of an anthology in which my work appears):
Best American Poetry, David Lehman

In Memoriam


"Nevertheless" reviewed in Gadfly

My publisher has directed me to a review of my book, which appears in Gadfly:

At the Writers Conference
Henri Coulette, 1927-1988
And now the questions come. Why do you write?Using the present tense, I speak of love,Serif and seraphim, feeling and thought.They buy it as the body buys the grave.
But I am wrong. This perfect asterisk,This classic hush, is shattered by a yawn,And what they really want to know they ask.They want to publish, for they perish soon.
So where? So how? They are like Herrick’s roses,This caution who has heard the shadows sing,This blade who carves up any form he chooses:Petal and thorn, they yearn for gathering.
To be like this, bereft of title page,Vanity without signature or spine --Is that so bad? To rage a silent rage,And never point a finger and say mine?
There is a burden, but it’s no refrain.The question looks the answer in the eyes,And looks away, and does not look again.I nod and exit to their sweet applause.