Wednesday, November 29, 2006

John Pass: Winner of the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for "Stumbling in the Bloom"

House Posts

One world, here and beyond us
so that reaching for it, into it

hog-ties the shaman blind in his blanket
face-down on the floor, seals out every sliver
of light from the windows to sound the rattles

from everywhere, the muffled voices, sparks
and crescendos erratic in the air. Whether spirits

or apparatus who can say with the fine threads
of the four directions stretched among the supplicants
miraculously intact next morning, and by morning

we're boating, skeptical, talking metaphor, joking.
There's our parallel universe: the bluffs

of arbutus and shore pine slipping past,
the island we're approaching friends call

"going to Greece" when we go there
for its shimmering slopes in high summer
of dry moss and gold, flattened grasses,
its hollows here and there as welcoming

as a wife's body, as sharply aromatic.
Wet rock, yarrow, manzanita.

I've no vows, no chanting but this
to hold these shocking constancies, expanses, open

spaces between the trees complete
and sadder than made places...

------the trees-------just where
------house posts----would be.

Stepping amidst them, within, I'm over-
hearing my own voice disown me, "yes,

--------you belong here
--------but cannot stay."

John Pass's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Ireland. In 1988 Mr. Pass won the Canada Poetry Prize, an international competition sponsored by Canada/India Village Aid. He was Visiting Poet at Utah's Brigham Young University in 1990. His book The Hour's Acropolis (Harbour, 1991) was short-listed for The Dorothy Livesay Prize (BC Book Award), while "Reprieve for the Body," from his most recent book, Radical Innocence (Harbour, 1994), won second prize in The League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest 1994. In 1996 he received a British Columbia Cultural Services Award to work on Water Stair , to be published by Oolichan Books this year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What If...

From left to right and top to bottom:
1. Renoir's Nicholson
2. Picasso's Rendition of Carlos Santana
3. Winona a la Renoir
4. Toulouse Lautrec's: "Nicole Kidman Leaving the Moulin Rouge"
5. Monet's Painting of Kelly Osbourne
6. Dali's Angelina Jolie
7. Charlize Theron vs. Salvador Dali
8. Renoir's Bootsy
9. Cezanne's Dick Cheney
10. Degas. Natalie Portman
11. Klimt's Hepburn
12. Cezanne's: "Connery with Soft Hat"
13. Fo'shizzle
14. Bruce Van Willis
These photoshop renditions were entered into a contest that was entitled: If modern celebrities were the subjects of (slightly less) modern art.
In this contest your task is to depict a modern celebrity as the model in a piece of fine art, but there is a catch: you must choose a work of art that is not done in the classical photorealist style. You must choose a piece with a distinctive style (i.e. brush strokes, specific textures, exaggerated features, etc.). You can choose from impressionism, pointilism, cubism, charcoal sketches, or anything so long as it's not photorealistic. The celebrity can be anyone famous....You are to photoshop a modern celebrity into a piece of art that has a distinctive, nonrealistic style, and make your new addition match the technique and texture of the painting.
See the other entries at

Monday, November 27, 2006

2006 Pushcart Nominations for Blue Fifth Review:

Johnson Cheu, "My Father Speaks of Poetry" (Spring 2006)

Robert Klein Engler, "From Old Books Someone Waves" (Spring 2006)

Vicki Hudspith, "Coyote" (Broadside #3, Summer 2006)

Lynne Knight, "The Cunt Compendium" (Winter 2006)

Dorianne Laux, "Birthroom" (Winter 2006)

Robert Lietz, "After Hours at the Glad Light Diner" (Fall 2006)

Kudos to Sam Rasnake for making some great choices!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Ilya Kaminsky


If I speak for the dead, I must
leave this animal of my body,

I must write the same poem over and over
for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender.

If I speak of them, I must walk
on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind man

who runs through the rooms without
touching the furniture.

Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking "What year is it?"
I can dance in my sleep and laugh

in front of the mirror.
Even sleep is a prayer, Lord,

I will praise your madness, and
in a language not mine, speak

of music that wakes us, music
in which we move. For whatever I say

is a kind of petition and the darkest days
must I praise.

From "Born Magazine"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Altman (1925-2006)

Gosford Park (2001)
Short Cuts (1993)
The Real McTeague (1993) (TV)
Black and Blue (1993) (TV)
The Player (1992)
McTeague (1992) (TV)
Vincent & Theo (1990)
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988) (TV)
"Tanner '88" (1988) (mini) TV Series
Aria (1987)
"Saturday Night Live" (1 episode, 1977)
- Episode #2.16 (1977) TV Episode (segment "Sissy's Roles")
Nashville (1975)
California Split (1974) ... aka Jackpot!
Thieves Like Us (1974)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Images (1972)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Brewster McCloud (1970)
MASH (1970)
That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
"Premiere" (1 episode, 1968)
- Walk in the Sky (1968) TV Episode
Countdown (1968)
The Katherine Reed Story (1965)
Pot au feu (1965)
"The Long, Hot Summer" (1 episode, 1965)
- The Long Hot Summer (1965) TV Episode
Nightmare in Chicago (1964) (TV) ... aka Once Upon a Savage Night
"Kraft Suspense Theatre" (3 episodes, 1963-1964)
- Once Upon a Savage Knight (1964) TV Episode
- The Hunt (1963) TV Episode
- The Long, Lost Life of Edward Smalley (1963) TV Episode
"Combat!" (10 episodes, 1962-1963)
- Survival (1963) TV Episode
- Off Limits (1963) TV Episode
- The Volunteer (1963) TV Episode
- The Prisoner (1962) TV Episode
- I Swear by Apollo (1962) TV Episode

"The Gallant Men" (1 episode, 1962)
- Pilot (1962) TV Episode
"Kraft Mystery Theater" (1 episode, 1962)
- In Close Pursuit (1962) TV Episode
"Bus Stop" (8 episodes, 1961-1962)
- County General (1962) TV Episode
- Door Without a Key (1962) TV Episode
- Summer Lightning (1962) TV Episode
- ...And the Pursuit of Evil (1961) TV Episode
- A Lion Walks Among Us (1961) TV Episode

"Route 66" (1 episode, 1961)
- Some of the People, Some of the Time (1961) TV Episode
"Bonanza" (8 episodes, 1960-1961)... aka Ponderosa (USA: rerun title)
- The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch (1961) TV Episode
- Sam Hill (1961) TV Episode
- The Dream Riders (1961) TV Episode
- The Secret (1961) TV Episode
- The Rival (1961) TV Episode

"The Roaring 20's" (9 episodes, 1960-1961)
- Standing Room Only (1961) TV Episode
- Royal Tour (1961) TV Episode
- Right Off the Boat: Part 2 (1961) TV Episode
- Right Off the Boat: Part 1 (1961) TV Episode
- Two a Day (1961) TV Episode

"Surfside 6" (1 episode, 1961)
- Thieves Among Honor (1961) TV Episode
"Lawman" (1 episode, 1961)... aka The Lawman (USA: alternative title)
- The Robbery (1961) TV Episode
"Maverick" (1 episode, 1960)
- Bolt from the Blue (1960) TV Episode
"The Gale Storm Show" (1 episode, 1960)... aka Oh! Susanna
- It's Magic (1960) TV Episode
"Sugarfoot" (2 episodes, 1959-1960)... aka Tenderfoot (UK)
- The Highbinder (1960) TV Episode
- Apollo with a Gun (1959) TV Episode
"U.S. Marshal" (2 episodes, 1959-1960)
- The Triple Cross (1960) TV Episode
- R.I.P. (1959) TV Episode
"Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" (1 episode, 1960)... aka Desilu Playhouse
- The Sound of Murder (1960) TV Episode
"The Millionaire" (5 episodes, 1958-1959)... aka If You Had a Million
- Millionaire Jackson Greene (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Lorraine Daggett (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Henry Banning (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Alicia Osante (1959) TV Episode
- The Pete Hopper Story (1958) TV Episode
"Hawaiian Eye" (1 episode, 1959)
- Three Tickets to Lani (1959) TV Episode
"Whirlybirds" (12 episodes, 1959)... aka Copter Patrol (USA: syndication title)
- The Big Lie (1959) TV Episode
- The Challenge (1959) TV Episode -
Experiment X-74 (1959) TV Episode
- Guilty of Old Age (1959) TV Episode
- A Matter of Trust (1959) TV Episode

"Troubleshooters" (1959) TV Series
"Bronco" (1958) TV Series
"Peter Gunn" (1958) TV Series
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2 episodes, 1957-1958)
- Together (1958) TV Episode
source: IMDb

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Request of an Itinerant Poet

Poet's Walk

by Henri Silberman

Taking a page out of Steve Mueske's book (and with Steve's talent just about any page will do!) - I'd like to ask whoever reads this blog (and may God have mercy on your soul if you do!) whether or not they'd be interested in trading manuscripts with me for the purpose of editing, reading, scrutinizing and just plain critiquing. I assure you that you must be stout of heart to read my manuscript all in one sitting. This is not an undertaking for the lily-livered. But if you wield a critic's pen with the impudence of a - well ... critic; then this job is for you.

By the way people who do not want to trade manuscripts but simply want the chance to tear into mine are also welcome. Back-channel me at

Monday, November 20, 2006

On The Abundancy of Poets & Poetics

Excerpt From: "Poets aplenty, but who's reading the verse?"
---------------------------------------------------------By JAMES ADAMS

[Brian Fawcett]. ... stopped publishing his poetry in the early 1980s in part because of the lack of an audience, and in part because he had grown weary of the "self-drama" of "the private soul against the public world" that poetry entails.

A former Vancouverite now living in Toronto, Fawcett, 62, continues to write poems, usually once every two or three weeks, sometimes for four hours late at night. By the end of each year, "I've added five or six to the oeuvre," he said this week. But now "it's not about making aesthetic objects; it's like a pitcher practising a curve ball." Some works he's been revising for 15 years.

"I can't see any reason to publish because there's more people out there writing it than reading it. . . . We have so much information that we don't want and don't need in this world and writers have to take a measure of that, I think. If you don't have anything new to say, don't say it."

Still, it's unlikely any cessation of the poetic impulse will occur, he said. Just the opposite, in fact. "Poets appear in numbers according to exactly how confusing the world is. It's sourced in crisis. After the serenity of the post-Second World War world, with Vietnam everyone was writing poetry." A similar trauma has happened as a result of Sept. 11. "Suddenly, the poets are out again."

source: The Globe & Mail
November 20, 2006

Came by a link to this article over at C. Dale's

Brian Fawcett's recent books are: The Secret Journal of Alexander Mackenzie (1985) Capital Tales (1984) and My Career with the Leafs. (1982), all from Talonbooks in Vancouver. Cambodia: A Book For People Who Find Television Too Slow, was published in 1986 by Talon books, and by Grove Press & McMillan, U.S. and Penguin, G.B. Public Eye:An Investigation into the Disappearance of the World (1990) is from Grove Press (U.S.) and Harper Collins (Can), Unusual Circumstances/Interesting Times (1991) is from New Star inVancouver, The Compact Garden (1992) is from Camden House, Gender Wars: A Novel and Some Conversation About Sex and Gender (1994) is from Somerville House. The Disbeliever’s Dictionary, was published in October 1997 by Somerville. He is a past editor of Books in Canada, a former columnist for the Globe & Mail, chairman of the Writers Union of Canada Charter 94 Committee and has written articles and reviews formost of Canada’s major newspapers and magazines.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"Pier Ruins"

Cross Village, Michigan - 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This One is Worth Another Look

The Blue Willow Curse

-------------by Robert Thomas

You and your Pavarotti carols, your four-wheel drive,
heading through the snow to Aunt Marcella’s,
aren’t you ever satisfied? Do you need a retinue
of angels, hard-wired? You’re so preoccupied,
thinking of the imminent novena for Our Lady
of Kansas City, Our Lady of Baby Back Ribs,
planning your side dish. Isn’t there enough
hunger in your own backyard, wiping his boots
on the welcome mat, saddle-soaping his hands?
Yes, Ma’am, don’t mind if I do. You can’t get
enough, can you, of his knuckles bruised
on the hardware, of his manners of rust.

May a twisted wind blow every saucer and bowl
of blue willowware from its shelf on your hutch
until you eat from an iron pan. May the pan melt
on a forgotten burner and the smell fill your house
while you dream of black rain and your house burns
so that every photograph of your mother and father,
all evidence of their dire existence and the existence
of the elm that overhung their porch and every moth
that fluttered on their screen at dusk, every postcard
every thank-you note from a niece every love letter
from a soldier or hack or taxidermist or perfect fool
is ash and every particle of ash is alone,
in a shimmering hush you’ll never know.

First published in Field.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


(oil - 30" x 20" - 2006)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bush Vs Pelosi

President George W. Bush broke bread with Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after her party's triumphant sweep of Congress, saying he's open to "any idea or suggestion" on winning in Iraq. ...

"Pelosi's expected appointment as the first woman speaker in the House of Representatives is 'historic for our country'," said Bush.

"As the father of young women, I think it's important. I really do."

Yeah - sure, George!

Hint : Pelosi means "hairy" in italian.

Translation - Things are liable to get hairy in the House, George!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hall on Formalism

"Formalism, with its dream of finite measurement, is a beautiful arrogance, a fantasy of materialism. When we find what's to measure and measure it, we should understand style-as-fingerprint, quantifying characteristic phonemic sequence ... or whatever. But it seems likely that we will continue to intuit qualities, like degrees of intensity, for which objective measure is impossible. Then hard-noses will claim that only the measurable exists—which is why hard-nose usually means soft-head. "

From "Poetry and Ambition" Kenyon Review, n.s., 5, no. 4 (1983), and was reprinted in Pushcart Prize IX: Best of the Small Presses, 1984-85, and the AWP Bulletin, Feb.-Mar., 1987. Published in 1988 in Poetry and Ambition: Essays 1982-88 by Donald Hall.

Robert Thomas

Quarter Past Blue

It’s just the sort of paper-thin night
to make me steal the clapper from the mission bell
and leave it on your doorstep like a stuttered prayer.
In your room I see a writing light,
soft and dirty as an oyster.
I know you can hear me
out here in the static,
scraping on your pane like a raccoon.
I’ve been to the pond.
It’s not as if the swans were your personal secret.
Come out and walk with me across the Sonoma
town square, on the edge of the green.
I’m wearing my papier-mâché wings,
and they’re not yet dry. The moon’s been released
on its own recognizance. This is serious traffic, gridlock
intergalactical, Friday-night lust and spleen. This is
the it they mean when they say this is it. You are so
caught up in your own devotions. You are so not
what you think you are. It’s late,
half past revelation, quarter past blue,
and you’re still counting the chits, waiting for something
better than love as cold and magical as dry ice
to come along and sideswipe you, hit and run,
without leaving a scratch.


First published in Field; also appears in 2004 Pushcart Prize anthology.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Poetry Workshop Conundrum - Deuxieme Partie

"It is from workshops that American poets learn to enjoy the embarrassment of publication—too soon, too soon—because making public is a condition of workshopping. This publication exposes oneself to one's fellow-poets only—a condition of which poets are perpetually accused and frequently guilty. We learn to write poems that will please not the Muse but our contemporaries, thus poems that resemble our contemporaries' poems—thus the recipe for the McPoem. . . . If we learn one thing else, we learn to publish promiscuously; these premature ejaculations count on number and frequency to counterbalance ineptitude. "

--------------------------------------------------------------------Donald Hall

Somebody get me a kleenex!


The Poetry Workshop Conundrum

"The poetry workshop resembles a garage to which we bring incomplete or malfunctioning homemade machines for diagnosis and repair. . . Whatever we bring to this place, we bring it too soon. The weekly meetings of the workshop serve the haste of our culture. When we bring a new poem to the workshop, anxious for praise, others' voices enter the poem's metabolism before it is mature, distorting its possible growth and change. "It's only when you get far enough away from your work to begin to be critical of it yourself"—Robert Frost said—"that anyone else's criticism can be tolerable. . . ." Bring to class only, he said, "old and cold things. . . ." Nothing is old and cold until it has gone through months of drafts. Therefore workshopping is intrinsically impossible. "

--------------------------------------------------------------------Donald Hall

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Clifford Geertz - August 23, 1926 - October 30, 2006

Clifford Geertz an icon of cultural anthropology and
author of "The Interpretation of Cultures".

"Clifford Geertz says it all in one crisp, succinct sentence: "I'm probably a closet rhetorician, although I'm coming out of the closet a bit." For over three decades, Geertz has been attempting to steer anthropological scholarship away from a rigidly scientific model and toward a humanistic, interpretive, hermeneutic model-apparently with great success. Perhaps it is Geertz's preoccupation with seeing science and scholarship as rhetorical, as socially constructed, that makes his work so eminently appealing to many of us in rhetoric and composition. Geertz sees rhetoric as central to his own life and work. From his college days as an English major at Antioch College and a copyboy at the New York Post to 1988 and his Works and Lives (where he "reads" the work of four major anthropologists as if he were a literary critic explicating canonical texts), Geertz has been consumed with questions of language, rhetoric, interpretation."

------------------------------------------------------------------GARY A. OLSON

Sylvia Plath's "Ennui"

Here in the latest issue of Blackbird - Fall 2006 - Vol. 5 No. 2
& an introduction here.