I’ve had recent publication happiness with two online journals, and want to share the poems with you.
The current issue of About Place Journal focuses on trees. My poem, “Forest Man,” is sort of playful and childlike, full of wonder and happiness at being with the forest.
The Quotable, another fine journal that I’ve been published in before, took on the theme of night and day for their current issue, and graciously accepted one of my ever present, ever elusive “Mom poems.” This poem, “Far Away,” took many years to shape until I got it into its (perhaps) final form that you see here. (Do you hear that, my wonderful students…..? It did not come whole and intact from that first, stream-of-consciousness writing.)
Happy first draft writing. Let whatever emerge that wants to. The revision process will always allow for a poem to “become.”
Posted in my poems
Shoe Art by Jethro Haynes
“Audio Saucepan: The Unsensible Shoes Episode” is electronic and African in nature. It’s world beats and classical chords, remixes and standards… and it’s three powerful poems — “A Red Box For” by Nina Simone-inspired poet Monica A. Hand (from Me and Nina, Alice James Books), “The Pool was Full” by linesmith Jonathan Galassi (from Left-handed, Alfred A. Knopf), and “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” by slam-master Patricia Smith (from Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, Coffee House Press). Continue reading
A case of metal type
Continuing on from Ron Padgett and clichés… Let’s start with derivation. The word cliché is French. It defined a printing plate cast from movable type (also called a “stereotype”). In those days, letters were individually placed, so it made sense to cast a much-used phrase as a single slug of metal. That would result in less work for the printer.
These days, though, clichés are so over, over-used that we have multiple words for them: platitudes, banalities, maxims, truisms, stock phrases, old chestnuts. I am often, gently, pulling them out of students’ writing. But I’m okay with that! I’d rather see a student write than be stopped by his assessing mind. Continue reading
Let me tell you an iota about Ron Padgett and why you might be interested in him, then give you a poem to consider.
Padgett was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but reared in Manhattan with the second generation of New York School poets. His teacher was Kenneth Koch, part of the start of a strangely open, stream-of-consciousness writing style. Continue reading
Portrait of Charles Mingus by Peter Schachter (using the Spray Can app on his iPhone)
Sometimes, knowledge comes from outside — from someone defining what you don’t know. The book Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (published by Cinco Puntos Press) has shown me, repeatedly, what I don’t know.
And so, this episode began knowing: with not knowing …
The episode starts with Handel and a strange experimental take on what might be classical music, then moves to the gloriously angry and blissful music of Charles Mingus. I’ll be reading an excerpt of an interview with Mingus about his long-time drummer Dannie Richmond (from Mingus Speaks, University of California Press). Continue reading
Where do you choose to go…and why? Even with a destination in mind, it doesn’t mean that’s where you truly end up, right?
Take a look at the poem below by Theodore Deppe (from his book Children of the Air, Alice James Books, 1990). My students had some wonderful discussions about this poem this week: analyzing his choice of linebreaks, wondering the timeline (one student said it was “fluid time” — with child to adult viewpoints), puzzling out Biblical references, and assessing the relationship between the father and son.
Deppe doesn’t give everything away, which means there is plenty of story left for you to whittle out of the words. Continue reading
I indulged in an afternoon of reading recently, flipping between books of poetry and interviews and inspiring essays — all of them surrounding the beauty of words, and their essence.
In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process by Robert D. Richardson (University of Iowa Press), I picked up several good Emerson-isms, including:
“The first rule of writing is not to omit the thing you meant to say.” Continue reading