Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Charles Simic

A Life of Fragments

Like a box of old photographs

Some of them already ripped in pieces

You found on the dump

And helped yourself to a few

While the wind swept the rest.

It was a cold blue autumn evening

As you laid them out on the table

In the kitchen and found a face

That reminded you of a girl

You once followed from school.

She never turned to look at you

Until now, that is, all smiles

With her eyes tightly closed

Because the sun was in them,

Or she was about to make a wish.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cna yuo raed tihs?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Or rather...

According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

Actually according to Matt Davis at The Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge:

"This text circulated on the internet in September 2003. I first became aware of it when a journalist contacted a my colleague Sian Miller on 16th September, trying to track down the original source. It's been passed on many times, and in the way of most internet memes has mutated along the way. It struck me as interesting - especially when I received a version that mentioned Cambridge University! I work at Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in Cambridge, UK, a Medical Research Council unit that includes a large group investigating how the brain processes language. If there's a new piece of research on reading that's been conducted in Cambridge, I thought I should have heard of it before...

I've written this page, to try to explain the science behind this meme. There are elements of truth in this, but also some things which scientists studying the psychology of language (psycholinguists) know to be incorrect. I'm going to break down the meme, one line at a time to illustrate these points, pointing out what I think is the relevant research on the role of letter order on reading. Again, this is only my view of the current state of reading research, as it relates to this meme. If you think I've missed something important, let me know."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pat Lowther


Before the wreckers come,
Uproot the lily
From the hard angle of earth
By the house.
Crouch by the latticed understairs
Rubbish and neglect
(The sudden lightning
Of sun
On your back
Between the opening
And shutting
Of the March-blown clothesline,
Rise and fall of the swift light
Like blows.)
Here a lifetime's
Slimy soapsuds
Curdle the earth,
In this corner
Under the stairs,
But have not killed
The woodbugs
Nor the moths' pupae
Which brush your fingers
As you dig
For the round, rich root,
The lily root
Which has somehow, senselessly,
Not been killed either
But has grown every year
An astonished babyhood,
An eye-struck Easter.
Pack it among the photographs,
The silver polish,
And the last laundry
Which will not again
Lift and shutter
For the shattering sun.
Mark its container: X
Two intersecting lines,
A lattice point
Of time
And the years' seasons.

Before the wreckers come,
Carry away
The lightning-bulb of sun.
From: Time Capsule, Polestar 1996, p.201.


1, the fear
the fear is of everything
staying the way it is
and only i changing

the fear is
of everything changing
and i staying the same

the world expanding
branch tunnel cell
more and more
precious and terrible

while i grow only more
fragile and confused

the fear is my own
hands beating
like moths

my eyelids stuttering
light breaking into
meaningless phrases

the fear is of you
patiently elsewhere growing
a blood shape
of all my wishes

2, i am tired

i am tired of pain
i am tired of my own pain
i am tired of
the pain of others

i am tired of lives
unwinding like a roll
of bloody bandage
i shall roll up
the sky, pinch the sun

i go out to the cliff pours
of stars, the tall
volumes of stars

i go down
to the grains of soil
to bacteria
to viruses
to the neat mechanics of molecules

to escape the pain
to escape the pain

3, what i want

what i want is to be blessed
what i want is a cloak of air

the light entering my lungs
my love entering my body
the blessing descending
like the sky
sliding down the spectrum

what i want is to be
aware of the spaces between stars, to breathe
continuously the sources of sky,
a veined sail moving,
my love never setting
foot to the dark
anvil of earth

From: Time Capsule, Polestar :1996, p. 242

Pat Lowther, born in 1935 in British Columbia, was once described by fellow poet Anne Marriott as “a poet with an unusual power of perceiving and interpreting small things.” By the age of ten, Lowther was a published poet, her work having appeared in the Vancouver Sun. Her first collection, This Difficult Flowring, was published in 1968, and four more collections followed in the next nine years. In 1974, Lowther became the first chairwoman of the League of Canadian Poets. Lowther disappeared in 1975, and in 1977, her husband, Roy Lowther, was charged with her murder. Many of her fellow poets wrote tributes to Lowther on her death, including Elizabeth Brewster's “For Pat Lowther.” In 1980, the Pat Lowther Award was established by the League of Canadian Poets; this prize is awarded annually to a Canadian woman poet for a best new collection.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eeeny, Meeny, Miney...MEME

Give us at least 10 quotations pertaining to poetry - from 10 different writers &/or poets which best coincide with your philosophy vis a vis ars poetica. They can be posthumous or otherwise. The order is not important - unless it is to you.

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”
---------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Gray.

“There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.”
----------------------------------------------------------- John Cage

"What a poet keeps out of a poem is as necessary to its success as what the poet lets into it."
----------------------------------------------------------- Mary Kinzie

"If we care about readers at all (and not just those in the academy), we have to give them a way into the poem. And I think that we need to remember that clarity does not preclude depth."
------------------------------------------------------------ Claudia Emerson

“Poetry is the power of defining the indefinable in terms of the unforgettable.”
----------------------------------------------------------- - Louis Untermeyer.

“To define what a poem is would require defining human existence. It would require answering why is there something, rather than nothing.”
------------------------------------------------------------- Charles Simic

“Poetry is a language pared down to its essentials.”
-------------------------------------------------------------- Ezra Pound.

"Times change and forms and their meanings alter. Thus new poems are necessary. Their forms must be discovered in the living language of their day, or old forms, embodying exploded concepts, will tyrannize over the imagination."
------------------------------------------------------------– William Carlos Williams.

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
--------------------------------------------------------------- Robert Frost.

"You never ask a poet what he means, you tell him!"
----------------------------------------------------------------Howard Nemerov

I tag, Suzanne, Sam, Collin, Robert & Rachel.

By Any Other Name - Deuxieme Partie

Poetry isn't written from the idea down. It's written from the phrase, line and stanza up, which is different from what your teacher taught you to do in school.
----------------------------------------------------------------Margaret Atwood

But the lover's power is the poet's power. He can make love from all the common strings with which this world is strung.
---------------------------------------------------------------- Amelia Barr

I think Whitman more than any other poet possessed the gift of revealing to others the beauty of everything around us, the beauty of nature, the beauty of human beings.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Ella R. Bloor

Poetry; our way back to the most private of rooms.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Marianne Boruch

Poetry is life distilled.
----------------------------------------------------------------~Gwendolyn Brooks

Be yourself. Don't imitate other poets. You are as important as they are.
------------------------------------------------------------------Gwendolyn Brooks

The art which uses words as both speech and song to reveal the realities that the senses record, the feelings salute, the mind perceives, and the shaping imagination orders.
------------------------------------------------------------------Babettes Deutsch

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
-----------------------------------------------------------------~Emily Dickinson

Being Poet Laureate made me realize I was capable of a larger voice. There is a more public utterance I can make as a poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Rita Dove

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful -
---------------------------------------------------------------------Rita Dove

I'm a poet and I've read a lot of Russian poetry and can hear It's sounds. Russian poetry is so important to an understanding of the culture.
----------------------------------------------------------------Helen Dunmore

Poetry is not always words.
----------------------------------------------------------------~Audrey Foris

They think I'm going to be a schoolteacher but I'm going to be a poet.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Janet Frame

None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Edith Hamilton

Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Helen Hayes

I write first drafts with only the good angel on my shoulder, the voice that approves of everything I write. This voice does'nt ask questions like, "Is this good? Is this a poem? Are you a poet?" I keep this voice at a distance, letting only the good angel whisper to me: Trust yourself. You can't worry a poem into existence.
------------------------------------------------------------------Georgia Heard

Poetic language honors polarities. We use the language of poetry to provide the many levels of feeling, facets of knowing, simultaneously, so we can examine them and move forward.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Peggy Osna Heller

To me, poetry is a marriage of craft and imagination. The making of apoem requires attention to form, sound, revision, and precision. But imagination lifts you from a lawn chair to the clouds. And this is the mystery of poetry.
------------------------------------------------------------------Christine E. Hemp

...the art of saying everything and reducing it to nothing...
------------------------------------------------------------------Barbara Hyett

It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in [the] soul.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Sofia Kovalevskaya

Poetry allows one to speak with a power that is not granted by our culture.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Linda McCarriston

Poetry; Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Marianne Moore

Writing poems can be a way of pinning down a dream (almost); capturing amoment, a memory, a happening; and, at the same time, it's a way of sorting out your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the words tell you what you didn't know you knew.
------------------------------------------------------------------Lillian Morrison

Every poet I know - although there may be some I don't know who lead very different lives, who maybe live in the country and don't teach - tends to be just like the rest of us: just really busy, really overcommitted.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Sharon Olds

Breathe-in experience,
breathe-out poetry.
-----------------------------------------------------------------~Muriel Rukeyser

A lot of people think they can write poetry, and many do, because they can figure out how to line up the words or make certain sounds rhyme or just imitate the other poets they've read. ...
-------------------------------------------------------------------Cynthia Rylant

One can't write for all readers. A poet cannot write for people who don't like poetry.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Nathalie Sarraute

The joy of poetry is that it will wait for you. Novels don't wait for you. Characters change. But poetry will wait.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Sonia Sanchez

With this pen I take in hand my selves and with these dead disciples I will grapple. Though rain curses the window let the poem be made.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Anne Sexton

The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Edith Sitwell

Poetry is the deification of reality.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Edith Sitwell

I don't create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me.
-------------------------------------------------------------------~Edith Södergran

I think a poet, like a painter, should be a craftsperson.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Anne Stevenson

The poet produces the beautiful by fixing his attention on something real.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Simone Veil

American poetry, like American painting, is always personal with an emphasis on the individuality of the poet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Diane Wakoski

I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet's language at that point in history, ....
---------------------------------------------------------------------Diane Wakoski

A rich poet from Harvard has no sense in his mind, except the aesthetic.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Beatrice Wood

The poet gives us his essence, ...
---------------------------------------------------------------------Virginia Woolf

Who shall measure the hat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?
----------------------------------------------------------------------Virginia Woolf

One good way to start writing poetry is to read all kinds of poetry: not just in order to imitate but to fill up your head with it, to absorb it, to make poetry an essential part of how you view the world.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Valerie Worth

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By Any Other Name

No great poetry, of whatever kind, is conceivable unless the subject has become integrated with the poet's mind and mood.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Lascelles Abercrombie

Poetry is a succession of questions which the poet constantly poses.
------------------------------------------------------------------Vicente Aleixandre

As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree,' probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.
------------------------------------------------------------------Woody Allen

It's a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
------------------------------------------------------------------W. H. Auden

Always be a poet, even in prose.
------------------------------------------------------------------Charles Baudelaire

There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create.
-------------------------------------------------------------------Charles Baudelaire

I have never believed that the critic is the rival of the poet, but I do believe that criticism is a genre of literature or it does not exist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Harold Bloom

In the hands of a great poet, words have ways of affecting us in ways we don't understand.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Kenneth Branagh

For the poet the credo or doctrine is not the point of arrival but is, on the contrary, the point of departure for the metaphysical journey.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Joseph Brodsky

Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Joseph Brodsky

God is the perfect poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Browning

You don't have to suffer to be a poet; adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.
--------------------------------------------------------------------John Ciardi

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

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Jean Cocteau

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

If a poet is anybody, he is somebody to whom things made matter very little - somebody who is obsessed by Making.
--------------------------------------------------------------------e. e. cummings

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.
--------------------------------------------------------------------James Dickey

Great men are rare, poets are rarer, but the great man who is a poet, transfiguring his greatness, is the rarest of all events.
--------------------------------------------------------------------John Drinkwater

A poem is a naked person... Some people say that I am a poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Bob Dylan

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Bob Dylan

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug's game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------T. S. Eliot

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Frost

A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Frost

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Allen Ginsberg

A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.
---------------------------------------------------------------Edmond de Goncourt

There's not a good poet I know who has not at the beck and call of his memory a vast quantity of poetry that composes his mental library.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Anthony Hecht

The poet's expression of joy conceals his despair at not having found the reality of joy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- Max Jacob

A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Randall Jarrell

My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------John Lennon

For sure I once thought of myself as the poet who would save the ordinary from oblivion.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Philip Levine

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.
------------------------------------------------------------------Thomas B. Macaulay

The poet does not know - often he will never know - whom he really writes for.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Eugenio Montale

The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Christopher Morley

I've never read a political poem that's accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Howard Nemerov

A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Friedrich Nietzsche

All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the truest poets must be truthful.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Wilfred Owen

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Salvatore Quasimodo

Poetry is also the physical self of the poet, and it is impossible to separate the poet from his poetry.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Salvatore Quasimodo

A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Salman Rushdie

The degree in which a poet's imagination dominates reality is, in the end, the exact measure of his importance and dignity.
----------------------------------------------------------------------George Santayana

Every good poet includes a critic, but the reverse is not true.
---------------------------------------------------------------------William Shenstone

The poet is a brother speaking to a brother of "a moment of their other lives"-a moment that had been buried beneath the dust of the busy world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Edith Sitwell

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Wallace Stevens

The poet is the priest of the invisible.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Wallace Stevens

The poet may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Lionel Trilling

The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Lionel Trilling

A man is a poet if difficulties inherent in his art provide him with ideas; he is not a poet if they deprive him of ideas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Paul Valery

The poet is a madman lost in adventure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Paul Verlaine

The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, "Oh, just let me enjoy the poem."
-------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Penn Warren

A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------E. B. White

It is true that the poet does not directly address his neighbors; but he does address a great congress of persons who dwell at the back of his mind, a congress of all those who have taught him and whom he has admired; they constitute his ideal audience and his better self.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Richard Wilbur

A poet can survive everything but a misprint.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Oscar Wilde

A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Don Hong-Oai - Circa 2001

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Want, Want, Want...Want Ad

Slightly worn & out of practice poet-slash-critic looking for workshop (online or realtime) or other like minded poets to hone craft. [Has been known to actually give useful critique.]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Look Who Turned up in the May 2007 Issue of Boxcar Poetry Review

This is not my testament
------------------------by Sam Rasnake

cough, moo, the ticking clock – wrenched
inventions of the real – a rolling pin’s rub,
drifts of pipe smoke, doors open then close.

Neutrality is blind. Either I am Jesus,
or I am not. And the dead woman will,
in fact, have a successful birthing –

the child will nurse her breast, will have
fat hands and shoulders, his feet will be soft,
always, even though the land is hard

and the field’s in need of a certain bruising.
Wind over this field has a simple theology:
grasses move this way or they do not move.

I watch from my window, but I prefer standing
in the middle of the field so the world becomes
a great bird, flying into its perfect bird-life.

Sam Rasnake's poetry, widely published, has appeared in journals such as MiPOesias, Pebble Lake Review, Literal Latté, Snow Monkey, Siren, The Dead Mule, nycBigCityLit, and Three Candles. The author of Religions of the Blood (Pudding House) and Necessary Motions (Sow’s Ear Press), he also edits Blue Fifth Review, an online poetry journal (website)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Our Postman Only Rings Once - But It's Usually Worth Rushing to the Door

*Given half the chance I'll be posting some commentary. Let me enjoy the read first.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Day in the Life

"I heard the news today, oh boy,

four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire,

and though the holes were rather small,

they had to count them all, "

--------------------------------------John Lennon

Maggie Taylor - "Life Goes On" - 2002

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bob Hicok: (I Can Relate)

O my pa-pa
by Bob Hicok

Our fathers have formed a poetry workshop.
They sit in a circle of disappointment over our fastballs
and wives. We thought they didn't read our stuff,
whole anthologies of poems that begin, My father never,
or those that end, and he was silent as a carp,
or those with middles which, if you think
of the right side as a sketch, look like a paunch
of beer and worry, but secretly, with flashlights
in the woods, they've read every word and noticed
that our nine happy poems have balloons and sex
and giraffes inside, but not one dad waving hello
from the top of a hill at dusk. Theirs
is the revenge school of poetry, with titles like
"My Yellow Sheet Lad" and "Given Your Mother's Taste
for Vodka, I'm Pretty Sure You're Not Mine."
They're not trying to make the poems better
so much as sharper or louder, more like a fishhook
or electrocution, as a group
they overcome their individual senilities,
their complete distaste for language, how cloying
it is, how like tears it can be, and remember
every mention of their long hours at the office
or how tired they were when they came home,
when they were dragged through the door
by their shadows. I don't know why it's so hard
to write a simple and kind poem to my father, who worked,
not like a dog, dogs sleep most of the day in a ball
of wanting to chase something, but like a man, a man
with seven kids and a house to feed, whose absence
was his presence, his present, the Cheerios,
the PF Flyers, who taught me things about trees,
that they're the most intricate version of standing up,
who built a grandfather clock with me so I would know
that time is a constructed thing, a passing, ticking fancy.
A bomb. A bomb that'll go off soon for him, for me,
and I notice in our fathers' poems a reciprocal dwelling
on absence, that they wonder why we disappeared
as soon as we got our licenses, why we wanted
the rocket cars, as if running away from them
to kiss girls who looked like mirrors of our mothers
wasn't fast enough, and it turns out they did
start to say something, to form the words hey
or stay, but we'd turned into a door full of sun,
into the burning leave, and were gone
before it came to them that it was all right
to shout, that they should have knocked us down
with a hand on our shoulders, that they too are mystified
by the distance men need in their love.

*from POETRY - May 2007

Bob Hicok's poetry has appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He is the author of
Animal Soul, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, He is also the author of The Legend of Light , which won the 1995 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was an ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year.


Question: When you meet people at parties who don't know you and they ask you what you do, do you say "I'm a poet"? Why or why not?

Bob Hicok: Usually not. Often I'll say, I'm the idiot standing in front of you who has nothing to say, or, nice shoes, which is the equivalent but shorter. Faces do a funny little dance when you say you're a poet, unless you're telling another poet. It's almost like saying, I have eczema. I see no reason to elicit discomfort.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Can PTV (Poet TV) be Far Behind?

Forgetfulness - Billy Collins Animated Poetry

Monday, May 07, 2007

I Think But Am Not

“They Shoot Poets – Don’t They?” - turns two in blog years this month. That’s 10 in muse years and about several hundred posts later. I guess that the fact that I lasted this long means that I must be doing something right or am just too dense to realize that I’m dead in the water. My money is on the second alternative.

What have I learned in the last two years? Well it’s been a bumpy ride and I wanted to throw in the towel a couple of times. This was compounded (in the past year) by my wife’s health problems, my dad’s passing, some legal hassles pertaining to our family business & my own health issues. This period also saw me mired in the longest drought of my short career. You can stop clapping now - I’m outta the slump in a big way!

The experience, however, has not completely lived up to my own expectations. There are some things that I might have done differently. I.E.:

1- This is not (admittedly) a “Thinking-Person’s” blog. The tenor of my blog has veered away from its initial intent. My original premise was to make it less frivolous & more focused on poetics and the poets & poems which give me pause. Whereas, I am no MFA graduate, I have been told that I am adept at critique and literary commentary. Therefore, in keeping with the spirit with which the blog was conceived (and what in essence got me here) – I will attempt to get off my laurels (mainly because I have perceived that I have none to sit on) and post more literary commentary and reviews. (Send me your work if you want to humor me.)

2 - Except for the NaPoWriMo experience this past month – this blog has taken me away from my creative writing instead of contributing to it. I don’t quite understand the mechanics of this just yet – but somehow this is true. Instead of stimulating my creative drive it somehow derails my poetic impetus (believe me that can hurt). Reading and critiquing poetry are what got the old creative juices going in the past.

3 – I have become too caught up with the popularity of this blog. Somehow along the way this blog has become its own entity. It constantly hungers to be fed more and more outlandish posts. Instead of allowing me to receive pats on the back it has become more of a monkey on my back. You see I’m even referring to it in the third person – already!

4 – Ergo, the blog needs to undergo changes and this might well start with cosmetic surgery. I might change its proverbial skin so that I might feel better in my own.

Turn on, tune in or drop out!

Sam Javanrouh

* ink drops in water

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Best of Bill Knott?


Going to sleep, I cross my hands on my chest.
They will place my hands like this.
It will look as though I am flying into myself.

(POEM) (CHICAGO) (1967)

If you remember this poem after reading it
Please go to Lincoln Park the corner of Dickens Street and sit
On the bench there where M. and I kissed one night for a few minutes
It was wonderful even if you forget


People who get downon their knees to me
are the answer to my prayers.


I wish to be misunderstood;
that is,
to be understood from your perspective.


I examine
my skin

searching for
the pore

with EXIT
over it


The only response
to a child's grave is
to lie down before it and play dead


If you are still alive when you read this,
close your eyes. I am
under their lids, growing black.

* poems are reprinted from Bill Knott's site and posted as "READERS' FAVORITES: THE BEST POEMS OF BILL KNOTT". He also notes: " You have my thanks to please download, cutpaste and post, reprint whatever you like from this, or from any page on this blog."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Théodore Géricault, 1818–1819

The Raft of the Medusa
Oil on canvas
491 × 717 cm,
193.3 × 282.3 inches

One of the paintings that captured my attention during my first visit at the Loeuvre.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I Have Been Meaning to Post This:

"As for elitism, poetry is about the least "elitist" artistic pursuit around: it requires no special equipment, no great monetary investment, and no special training that one can't provide oneself if one is disciplined and determined. It just demands the ability and willingness to read and write seriously and intensively and to think about what one reads and what one writes."

-------------------------------------------------------------Reginald Sheppard

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Anna Journey

Walking Upright in a Field of Devils

Because billy goats rise to the height of a woman
and walk upright, I saw a field of devils

blue and vertical, horned in the moonlight, heat
lightning in their luminous beards. Because the static

of grackles crying from ball moss in mesquite
meant this could be Italy, though it was the black

fields caught between strip malls
flanking Houston.

It's true that Keats walked further and further
from England into Scotland, and the landscape grew

more grim with every step. Lakes shrunk to a slurp
in each cheek. It's also true

that ships from a distance bob as copper weather-cocks
over a thatch of cottages. True, the prickly pear

is a leper dropping its limbs in the field. What is untrue?
The shape of a lung filled like a trough

might press down on a man's stomach--
he'd write his lover: a bellyache

brief as a devil's beard.
In the field: goat-eyed and planetary,

something about to move, the half-bloomed moon,
a pecked-out tea rose. The sun still hours away

in another century -- morning stalling its laudanum
eyes over a field, a death bed. Bodiless.

Then the rise

* originally appeared in Shenandoah Vol 56, No. 3 , 2006

Anna Journey teaches creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she also serves as a contributing editor for the online journal Blackbird. She was the recipient of the 2005 Wabash Prize for Poetry as well as an Academy of American Poets' Prize, and her work as also been featured in FIELD, Gulf Coast and Best New Poets 2006.

Jiri Kolar, (1914-2002)

L'arc de triomphe - 1959

Collage on paper
20.8 x 27.2 cm