Friday, August 31, 2007

Quotes & Quotables

"As the John Lennon song ["Working Class Hero"] my title alludes to points out, they hate you if you’re clever, and they despise a fool. But I will be heard from. I’m determined not to leave the field to those born with spoons of various precious metals in their mouths. .... The culture I’ve acquired with so much work may be their birthright, but I appreciate it in a way that those who take it for granted rarely do. It means something to me—it means everything to me. Sometimes I stand in the poetry section of Barnes and Noble and wonder how many authors there come from backgrounds like mine. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand."

------------------------------------------------------------------------Reginald Shepherd

This just blew me away - that someone else had my exact same thoughts.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Poetry in Vitro: Vol. 2 , No. 12

Under Statement

This one's been out in the sun too long.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Don't Let the Sun go Down on me!

Coming Home to Some Good News - One of my Poems is Slated to Appear in "fourW eighteen"

Sandra Treble of FourW Press: a Charles Sturt University publication from New South Wales will be publishing one of my poems in their yearly print anthology. One of the launch dates of fourW eighteen (the title of the anthology) will be in Sydney (Australia) at Gleebooks on Saturday 17th - November 2007 at 2.30 pm. Wish I could make it.

I'm Back....You Don't Have to Look so Disappointed!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Arrivederci Baby! - A Ben Presto.

"Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,
Ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seeing double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish stairs."
-------------------------------------------------------------Bob Dylan
We'll be taking off for Rome tomorrow. (Later on we'll be heading down to Calabria.) We've been looking forward to this trip to Italy. I'm leaving a couple of "literary pots" on the back burner. Hope that they simmer just right. Be good to each other while I'm gone. I'll try to check in time permitting. Might just post something too if I get the gumption. Otherwise I'll see you in a while. Ciao.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How Cool is This?

Valparaiso Poetry Review's editor Edward Byrne announced his nominees for “Best of the Net” anthology and I'm on the list along with: Anne Haines, Michelle Bitting, Diane Lockward, Jared Carter & Frannie Lindsay. Congrats to these nominees. My thanks to Edward Byrne for including me among these fine poets.

Friday, August 03, 2007

When Rome Awaits

by Heather McHugh

We were supposed to do a job in Italy
and, full of our feeling for
ourselves (our sense of being
Poets from America) we went
from Rome to Fano, met
the Mayor, mulled a couple
matters over. "What does mean this 'flat drink?' someone asked.
What is "cheap date?" (Nothing we said lessened
this one's mystery). Among Italian writers we

could recognize our counterparts: the academic,
the apologist, the arrogant, the amorous,
the brazen and the glib. And there was one
administrator (The Conservative), in suit
of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide
with measured pace and uninflected tone
narrated sights and histories
the hired van hauled us past.
Of all he was most politic--
and least poetic-- so
it seemed. Our last
few days in Rome
I found a book of poems this
unprepossessing one had written: it was there
in the pensione room (a room he'd recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by
the German visitor (was there a bus of them?) to whom
he had inscribed and dated it a month before. I couldn't
read Italian either, so I put the book
back in the wardrobe's dark. We last Americans

were due to leave
tomorrow. For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant,
and there we sat and chatted, sat and chewed, till,
sensible it was our last big chance to be Poetic, make
our mark, one of us asked

"What's poetry?
Is it the fruits and vegetables
and marketplace at Campo dei Fiori

or the statue there?" Because I was
the glib one, I identified the answer
instantly, I didn't have to think-- "The truth
is both, it's both!" I blurted out. But that
was easy. That was easiest
to say. What followed taught me something
about difficulty,

for our underestimated host spoke out
all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:

The statue represents
Giordano Bruno, brought
to be burned in the public square
because of his offence against authority, which was to say
the Church. His crime was his belief
the universe does not revolve around
the human being: God is no
fixed point or central government
but rather is poured in waves, through
all things: all things
move. "If God is not the soul itself,
he is the soul OF THE SOUL of the world." Such was
his heresy. The day they brought him forth to die

they feared he might incite the crowd (the man
was famous for his eloquence). And so his captors
placed upon his face
an iron mask
in which he could not speak.

That is how they burned him.
That is how he died,
without a word,
in front of everyone. And poetry--

(we'd all put down our forks by now, to listen to
the man in gray; he went on softly)-- poetry

is what he thought, but did not say.

"What He Thought" is the first poem in Heather McHugh's collection of new and selected poems Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968 - 1993, published by Wesleyan/UPNE, 1994.

More Simic


Where it says snow
read teeth-marks of a virgin
Where it says knife read
you passed through my bones
like a police-whistle
Where it says table read horse
Where it says horse read my migrant's bundle
Apples are to remain apples
Each time a hat appears
think of Isaac Newton
reading the Old Testament
Remove all periods
They are scars made by words
I couldn't bring myself to say
Put a finger over each sunrise
it will blind you otherwise
That damn ant is still stirring
Will there be time left to list
all errors to replace
all hands guns owls plates
all cigars ponds woods and reach
that beer-bottle my greatest mistake
the word I allowed to be written
when I should have shouted
her name

Hotel Insomnia

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
a crippled old man came to play
"My Blue Heaven."

Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat
Catching his fly with a web
Of cigarette smoke and revery.
So dark,
I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.

At 5 A.M. the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The "Gypsy" fortuneteller,
Whose storefront is on the corner,
Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought
For a moment, I was sobbing myself.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Charles Simic: to be Named the US's 15th Poet Laureate

I'm ecstatic to hear this propitious news. Simic has been and continues to be a poetic staple in these parts. His work continues to inspire and his poetic voice still resonates with this would-be poet.
Congrats, Mr. Simic.

The White Room
The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees.

They had a secret
Which they were about to
Make known to me--
And then didn't.

Summer came. Each tree
On my street had its own
Scheherazade. My nights
Were a part of their wild

Storytelling. We were
Entering dark houses,
Always more dark houses,
Hushed and abandoned.

There was someone with eyes closed
On the upper floors.
The fear of it, and the wonder,
Kept me sleepless.

The truth is bald and cold,
Said the woman
Who always wore white.
She didn't leave her room.

The sun pointed to one or two
Things that had survived
The long night intact.
The simplest things,

Difficult in their obviousness.
They made no noise.
It was the kind of day
People described as "perfect."

Gods disguising themselves
As black hairpins, a hand-mirror,
A comb with a tooth missing?
No! That wasn't it.

Just things as they are,
Unblinking, lying mute
In that bright light--
And the trees waiting for the night.
*source - Reuters

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Poetry in Vitro: Vol. 2 , No. 11

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