Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What to do?

What do you do when enjambments cease to tease?/ When diction & syntax cease to suggest style & voice? What to do when line & half-meaning no longer give you pause?/ When trope & thought no longer edify?/ When rhetoric & speech will not persuade? What to do when the turn of the phrase has lost its rhythm for you?

As of late I cannot seem to enjoy poetry with the same intensity that I come to expect of myself. The poetry I read seems to lack the lustre that it needs to engage this reader. I start a poem only to have my mind wander off after the first line - as though it sees something more appealing in another queue.

What author('s)/ poetry or perhaps single poem is the constant source of your renewed love affair with ars poetica? What poem(s)/poet(s) do you go back to time and again to rekindle your vow(s) to poetry?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Two For Tuesday

Vintage Linda Ronstadt

Monday, June 25, 2007

What's in a Name

20 of the Best Album Titles I Know:

  1. Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon
  2. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  3. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
  4. Alice Cooper - Welcome to my Nightmare
  5. The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
  6. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention -We're Only in it for the Money
  7. Joe Walsh - You Bought It, You Name It
  8. Van Halen - For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
  9. Traveling Wilburys - Missing, Presumed Having a Good Time
  10. Van Halen - 0u812
  11. The Who - Who's Next?
  12. Lep Zepplin - In Through The Outdoor
  13. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
  14. Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
  15. AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  16. Jimi Hendrix Experience -Are You Experienced?
  17. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Lehnerd Skenered
  18. The Jefferson Airplane -Surrealistic Pillow
  19. Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
  20. Ian Hunter - You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Poem Adrift: Peter Ciccariello

Peter Ciccariello is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, and photographer, whose current interests are in experimenting with the fusion of text and images in 3-D computer graphics environments, and exploring the possibilities of poetry as landscape.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dana Gioia: On American Culture Becoming one Vast Infomercial

"I have a reccurring nightmare. I am in Rome visiting the Sistine Chapel. I look up at Michelangelo's incomparable fresco of the "Creation of Man." I see God stretching out his arm to touch the reclining Adam's finger. And then I notice in the other hand Adam is holding a Diet Pepsi. "

*excerpt from: Stanford News

When I Paint My Masterpiece

"Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody

When I paint my masterpiece."

Monday, June 18, 2007

When Dorothy Said, “There’s no place like home!” She Lied

I’ve been away trying to recapture a bit of something that I’ve left behind. I tried to go back to a place I once called a home of sorts. I found it to be full of people, but no one was there. That is no one that understood what this place had meant to me once. How it had kept me in a safe place when I had the most need of a haven. There had been some hard lessons learnt there, but in the end they put me on the right road.

I had been someone there once. A reader of sorts that did not pass judgment but relayed what little he knew on what little he understood of the written word. Some listened. Others ignored. But my presence was acknowledged. I was a recognized part of a whole.

Now my words fell – brittle leaves – to the floor. Trod on by callous feet that had heard about this sanctuary for the poet and wanted to see for themselves why it had achieved a certain reputation. They say, “Pshaw!” – Who are you & what have you done lately? There is no response I can give. I offer my poetry in sacrifice and it does not bleed for them. I offer them my counsel on poetics it will not slake their thirsts. I offer them my back and they take it willingly.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

--------------------------------------------------------------------Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

"TIME" Bomb?

Excerpts From : "Poems for the People"
By LEV GROSSMAN (Time Magazine)

On Poetry's Popularity

Chances are, you don't read much poetry, at least not the new stuff. Don't feel bad, hardly anybody does. To hit the best-seller list for verse, a book has to sell only around 30 copies. Poetry is the spinach in America's media diet: good for you, occasionally baked into other, tastier dishes (like the cameo that W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues made in Four Weddings and a Funeral) but rarely consumed on its own. In the hierarchy of cultural pursuits it sits somewhere just below classical music and just above clogging.

On Poetry's Slow Demise

But the 20th century saw the rise of Modernism and brilliant but difficult and allusive writers like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. ... Poems became less like high-end pop songs and more like math problems to be solved. They turned into the property of snobs and professors.

On "Poetry Magazine's" John Barr

A small, sun-baked man, Barr is unusually smiley and energetic for a poet, and he set about his job with a distinctly unpoetic efficiency.

Barr also ruffled some feathers. A zealous and unembarrassed populist, he declared his determination to make poetry less morose and more entertaining.

Barr also published several essays criticizing the state of American poetry. He accused it of "intellectual and spiritual stagnation." He called out poets for being addicted to lyric poetry (as opposed to, say, epic or satirical poetry) and for being obsessed with formal experimentation.

He dissed M.F.A. programs for churning out careerist, cookie-cutter poets who were "sustained by a system of fellowships, grants, and other subsidies that absolve recipients of the responsibility to write books that a reader who is not a specialist might enjoy, might even buy."

Barr & Controversy

Barr plays down the controversy. "We're definitely not trying to dumb down poetry," he says. "We're not trying to introduce the notion that we would judge quality by book sales or even accessibility. But if poetry has somehow lost touch with a broader readership, there's an opportunity to reverse that. People are going to love poetry when they get back to it."

Even if you don't agree with Barr's solutions, he has at least admitted a fundamental and painful cultural fact: that something has changed, that the great voices of our time no longer speak in verse.


What poetry really needs is a writer who can do for it what Andy Warhol did for avant-garde visual art: make it sexy and cool and accessible without making it stupid or patronizing.

* via Reb Livingston's Post

Lev Grossman (born 1969-06-26) is an American writer, notably the author of the novels Codex [1] and Warp. He also contributes regularly to Time, primarily as a book reviewer. He has written for The New York Times, Salon, Lingua Franca, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, and The Village Voice.

I'm not sure as to whether one, as a poet, should be more chagrined by the now ludicrously redundant description that has been accredited to the state of poetry as a socio-literary entity that is languishing in its death throes or by Mr. Grossman's (reverse-stereotypical) description of John Barr as "unusually smiley and energetic" for a poet & "distinctly unpoetic efficiency" - which of course implies that poets are usually morose, sluggish & inefficient.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Thinking Blogger Award - Who Me?

My thanks go out to Clifford Garstang who has awarded The Thinking Blogger Award to yours truly. It was either me or "The Poetry of Making Fishing Tackle" Blog. Let me tell you it was a close race. Anyway who would have thunk it?

Apparently in order to fulfill my obligation I must notify the recipients to whom I bestow this honor to, of the following conditions:

  1. Acknowledge the origin of the meme/award

  2. If you are tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think

  3. Optional: Display the “Thinking Blogger Award” with a link to the post that you wrote using either the gold or silver versions of the award.)

This was a hard choice and I might have chosen 5 different blogs at some other point in time. But without further ado I nominate:

sonnets at 4 a.m. - Greg Rappleye's blog that is a treasure trove of insights and information on ars poetica.

this is all your fault - Christine Hamm - who consistently posts her poetry - which can kick ass any day of the week.

Robert Peake: Code Poet - Whose namesake writes some of the most refreshing posts on the craft that I have had the pleasure to read.

Chicks Dig Poetry - Sandra Beasley who wrote through NaPoWriMo like there was no tomorrow - each and every poem a well-crafted piece.

One Poet's Notes - Edward Byrne's blog that presents ongoing personal commentary about notable recent books of poetry.


Guess Who's Coming to the Montreal Jazz Festival


Wednesday, July 04, 2007 at 7:30 PM

Opening act: Jimmie Vaughan

Legend… icon… voice of his generation – and beyond. He is one of those rare artists for whom conventional accolades will not suffice. Almost 50 years into a career, with a higher profile than he’s had in decades, the man, the writing and the voice are timeless… and timely. Bob Dylan’s latest, Modern Times, went to #1. A habitual Nobel Prize nominee for literature, he is studied in university curricula and from the orchestra seats at his concerts. Here is an unforeseen opportunity to share an evening with the man whose vision changed the face and voice of American music!

Van Morrison

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 at 7:30 PM

Brown-Eyed Girl, T.B. Sheets, And It Stoned Me, Moondance, Into the Mystic, Domino, Tupelo Honey, Have I Told You Lately… is there a pop fan who hasn't soared along to the elemental songs and singular voice of the Belfast Cowboy? Van Morrison stands among the true giants of pop music, a visionary, fiercely independent singer-songwriter who has blazed his own path through no fewer than 35 albums — some of the recent ones on the Verve or Blue Note labels. A true innovator, a prolific song-poet who journeys through soul, R&B, blues, rock and folk, Morrison has indelibly marked the generations of artists who've followed. A rare appearance from a legend who isn't done surprising us with his talent and vision.

Bad news is that they are all sold out.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Friday

It was twenty years ago today,

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play

They've been going in and out of style

But they're guaranteed to raise a smile

So may I introduce to you

The act you've known for all these years

For more info on album: Internet Beatles Album

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Greatest Hard Rock Songs?

Jimi Hendrix, Purple Haze 1967: Hendrix showcased some of the most serious rock guitar chops of all time, etching his place as one of the greatest in rock history and Purple Haze is his most recognizable piece of work, carried by a dissonance heretofore unheard of, coupled with ambiguous lyrical content that may or may not refer to a hallucinogenic experience. Hendrix said it was about love and inspired by a dream but he was probably on drugs when he said that. (credit: CP)

The Beatles, Helter Skelter 1968: Inspired by a desire to out heavy The Who's "I Can See For Miles", at the time of its release Helter Skelter was a stunning experiment in heaviosity. You can practically hear the blisters growing on Ringo's fingers as he smashes the skins. Totally raucous. Many believe this was the absolute beginning of metal. (credit: CP)

Black Sabbath, Paranoid 1970: The bassline is practically hypnotic and Ozzy's quintessential metallic vocal timbre set the standard for a slew of singers to come but they never really get it quite right do they? Plus, it's about being insane and hard rock is as much about craziness as it is about darkness, sex and mystic lands. (credit: CP)

Led Zeppelin, Black Dog 1971: Where would the rock world be without the Black Dog riff?? This is a complex piece of work, the start and stop a capella verses, the crazy time changes – just try dancing to it. Definitive and, unlike a fair chunk of Zeppelin's work, not overrated and overplayed. (credit: CP)

Heart, Barracuda 1977: There is virtually no better example of the metal gallop than Barracuda. This is a satisfyingly crunchy number and Ann Wilson's vocals positively soar. The Wilson sisters had the chops to rival any man in the rock world and were pretty much the only women doing it, which makes them extra awesome. (credit: SonyBMG)

AC/DC, Highway to Hell 1979: It's almost impossible to choose the definitive AC/DC track but Highway makes this list due to the references to Hell and the road leading to it, the exact one Bon Scott travelled just six months after the album of the same name became AC/DC's first million seller. Scott was found dead of acute alcohol poisoning in the back of a friend's car. Without Hell there would be no metal. (credit: CP)

Guns N' Roses, Sweet Child O' Mine 1987: Unarguably one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time, sung by one of the most charismatic front men of the era. This ode to the eyes of Erin Everly combined the poetry of the power ballad with the genius of Slash and a driving, singalong bridge to become an instant classic. Just add a kilt and some of Axl's signature dance moves. (credit: CP)

Metallica, Enter Sandman 1991: Hardcore speed metal fans, who believe this is exactly where Metallica went wrong, will disagree and think we are totally insane for including this but Sandman is one catchy tune man. A simplification of the Metallica sound, this is headbangin' hard, ominous AND infectious, which is basically the trifecta right there. (credit: CP)

Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit 1991: The song that changed the face of hard rock forever. Lo-fi verses alternated with crashing hard choruses. It was fuzzy, distorted, spacey, hauntingly melodic and totally punk rock. You couldn’t understand most of what Kurt was saying but you knew he was mad about something and that was good enough. Here we are NOW! ENTERTAIN US! YESSSSS! (credit: CP)

White Stripes, Seven Nation Army 2003: Another one of those memorable guitar lines, though this one is cleverly disguised as a bass. Those tricky White Stripes, always fooling us with kinship claims and acoustic guitars. Following in the lo-fi footsteps of the original grunge artists, this new breed of rock manages to be minimalist and hard as rock at the same time. No small feat. (credit: CP)

  1. What order would you put them in? (As is they are in chronological order.)
  2. Which choices (if any) do you disagree with?
  3. What would you substitute those with?