Friday, March 30, 2007

More Hoyt

Monhegan Light


Oil on Canvas

Rural Rhapsody


Oil on Board

Esquire Theatre


Oil on Linen

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Mike Hoyt

12x16" Oil on linen

@ 2003

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rene Magritte

"The Blank Check"


oil on canvas

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stephen Dobyns

How to Like It

These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let's go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let's tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let's pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let's dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn't been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let's go down to the diner and sniff
people's legs. Let's stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man's mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let's go to sleep. Let's lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he'll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he'll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let's just go back inside.
Let's not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing? The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let's go make a sandwich.
Let's make the tallest sandwich anyone's ever seen.
And that's what they do and that's where the man's
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept—
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.

*source - Issue 26The Cortland Review

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Lady of Shalott

John William Waterhouse


Oil on canvas
60 1/8 x 78 5/8 inches
(153 x 200 cm)
Tate Gallery, London, England

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Birds do it; Bees do it; Even Wannabe Poets do it...

The Competition for Best New Poets 2007 will open on April 15, 2007.

BNP Blurb: From April 15 to June 15 of each year, any poet meeting our eligibility requirements may nominate their own work by sending us up to two poems. These nominations will require an entry fee of $8, which will go toward paying readers and offsetting some of the publishing costs for the anthology. All entries for the Open Competition must use our online system. We judge all entries blindly, so Open Competition entries are mixed in with nominations from literary magazines and writing programs. Our readers have no real way of knowing which source an entry comes from, and the significant number of Open Competition selections reflects that: we do our best to judge each poem on its own terms.

Thanks to those of you who responded to my request.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If You Missed it The First Time Around: Pronouncements on Poets & Poetry (Abridged)

'The prospect of one's child becoming a poet is a parent's nightmare, conjuring up, as Michael Dirda put it so well... "a life of little magazines no one reads, temporary appointments at junior colleges, servile groveling for National Endowment for the Arts grants and Guggenheims, joyless affairs with students that wreck marriages and, at the end, the long look down into the river or the last glance around the kitchen before turning on the gas." And all that botheration never, somehow, furnishes material for poetry or even acts as a wellspring of language.'

Katherine A Powers, The Boston Globe, 23 March 2003

'Most literary reputation is fragile and fleeting, and the reputation of poets especially so. Their stock is traded on a Nasdaq of singular cruelty and volatility.'

Charles McGrath, New York Times, 15 June 2003

'To devote a life to poetry looks to most people like a decision to ignore the benefits of modern life, in particular the power of money to effect any meaningful progress. It looks suspiciously like sulking.'

Hugo Williams, Times Literary Supplement, 18 April 2003

'Poetry has always attracted more than its fair share of the seriously unhinged.'

Christina Patterson, The Independent, 10 May 2003

'Poetry, like all art, is a manifestation of other, deeper things. It can be too highly prized by the poet. It can never be too highly prized at the moment of a poet's or reader's engagement with it, but it can be crucially overestimated in a larger context.'

Marvin Bell, American Poetry Review, January/February 2003

'One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally we are ignored by everybody else.'

Billy Collins, New York Times, 23 February 2003

'We have never lived in a time when poetry was treated with such reverence by those who do not really enjoy it.'

AN Wilson, The Daily Telegraph, 10 March 2003

'Trying to compare the blurbs on a book of poetry to the contents is like trying to compare a description of angel wings to actual angel wings. The blurbs employ extravagantly unverifiable descriptions of the contents...'

Joan Houlihan, The Boston Comment VI, 2003

'Too often, the focus on literal truth presents us not with the essence or core of the poet's being, but with the patio furniture of his or her life.'

David Alpaugh, Poets & Writers, March/April 2003

'One reason poetry lasts is because there is no single way to read a poem. A poem is irreducible.'

Michael Wiegers, This Art, Copper Canyon 2003

'A poet cannot refuse language, choose another medium. But the poet can re-fuse the language given to him or her, bend and torque it into an instrument for connection instead of dominance and apartheid.'

Adrienne Rich, The Guardian, 26 April 2003

'Of course poetry is irrelevant to the "real" world of power and politics, but so is philosophy, painting, music and any other human activity where something genuine can be found.'

Charles Simic, The Age, 9 March 2003

'Perhaps the ultimate role of poets is to be hidden but ready like firefighters to come forth in emergency.'

Martin Arnold, New York Times, 6 February 2003

'Writing poetry is the best way I know of untying the knot of obsession. It's cheaper than therapy and better for you than getting drunk.'

Gwyneth Lewis, PBS Bulletin, Summer 2003

'I like reading poetry at night — a doctor I know claims that this is because "poetry is the only thing you can read when you're drunk".'

John Lanchester, The Sunday Times, 1 June 2003

'Memory is each man's poet-in-residence.'

Stanley Kunitz, quoted in Kansas City Star, 16 February 2003

'What's extraordinary about ballet, and I think the same is true of poetry, is that you have to learn the steps... You do the exercises over and over again until your body screams with pain and then you have to infuse it with some other element to make it look effortless and lighter than air.'

Adam Thorpe, The Independent, 17 May 2003

'A great poem can be spotted in a crowd and... the writers who most successfully shake off the mannerisms of the day are the ones most likely to produce work that survives it.'

Eric McHenry, Parnassus, Vol. 26 No. 2

'Poetry teaches us that it is possible to have two opposing thoughts at once, which our master cultural narratives seem to deny.'

Edward Hirsch, Five Points, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2003

'Writing poetry is like finding your way home and you didn't know you were lost.'

Diane Lockward, The Star-Ledger, 26 April 2003

'The making of poems is mysteriously tied up with not-knowing, with willing ignorance and an openness to mutation.'

Tony Hoagland, American Poetry Review, July 1 August 2003

'Poetry is a concise way of participating in others' experience.'

Jay Rogoff, The Saratogian, 3 June 2003

'Poetry is born out of the superfluity of language's own resources and energy. It's a kind of overdoing it. Enough is not enough when it comes to poetry.'

Seamus Heaney, Giving Their Word, 2002

'Lyric poetry speaks out of a solitude to a solitude. It begins and ends in silence. It crystallizes our inwardness and makes space for our subjectivity, naming our inner life.'

Edward Hirsch, Five Points, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2003

'Lyrics can lift one's heart, prose can make one think, and speeches can move one to action. Poetry can do all three.'

Robyn Hammer-Clarey, Post-Gazette, 25 May 2003

'The prose poem is the result of two contradictory impulses, prose and poetry, and therefore cannot exist, but it does. This is the sole instance we have of squaring the circle.'

Charles Simic, quoted in American Poetry Review, March/April 2003

'Poetry is closer to speech than prose... Speech involves strategies that are inappropriate to prose but are essential to poetry. Hesitations, repetitions, hints, refrains.'

Germaine Greer, The Guardian, 1 March 2003

'Much of our mainstream poetry is confined by an ethic of sincerity and the unstated wish to be admired (if not admired, liked; if not liked, sympathized with). American poetry still largely believes... that a poem is straightforward autobiographical testimony to, among other things, the decency of the speaker.'

Tony Hoagland, American Poetry Review, March/April 2003

'The poem that refuses to risk sentimentality, that refuses to risk making a statement, is probably a poem that is going to feel lukewarm. So I'm in favor of work that if it fails, fails on the side of boldness, passion, intensity.'

Mark Doty, The Charlotte Observer, 14 March 2003

'Poems still get written, naturally, but the flames, one suspects, don't burn quite so hot these days. Poets behave better, live longer and probably settle for less.'

Charles McGrath, New York Times, 15 June 2003

'The ground is currently thick with poets dropping obliquities like phone numbers on napkins, in part because of the ease with which this method can be adopted.'

David Orr, Poetry Magazine, June 2003

'If you have doubts about the poem you have written, the kind of doubts that make you want to ask a friend what he or she thinks, don't bother. Trust the doubts.'

Wesley McNair, Mapping the Heart, Carnegie Mellon, 2003

'There is only one real reason to read a poem, and that is to find your way to a larger life than would otherwise be yours to live. This is also the only reason to write a poem.'

Jane Hirshfield, The Writer's Chronicle, March/ April 2003

'There's one subject in lyric poetry, and that is that you have this existence and at the end of it you're going to experience non-existence.'

Billy Collins, The Independent, 31 May 2003

'Poets are like aerialists: the wire they walk. stretches from history to eternity, fact to dream, language to silence. When they get across we feel rapture. They've taken us with them.'

Margo Jefferson, New York Times, 11 May 2003

'Trying to write a good poem is like running off a cliff to see if you can fly. Most of the time you can't, but every once in a while something happens.'

Marvin Bell, American Poetry Review, January/February 2003

* source - Dennis O'Driscoll - Poetry Ireland Review - reprinted on Poetry Daily

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Poems in Vitro - Vol. 2, No. 5

Disclaimer: Taking William Stafford's advice via - Robert Peake's response to my post "On Intent, Occasion & Poetic Handicaps " :

"Writing blocks? I don't believe in them ... I've never experienced anything like that. I believe the so-called "writing block" is a product of some kind of disproportion between your standards and your performance. I can imagine a person beginning to feel that he's not able to write up to the standard he imagines the world has set for him. But to me that's surrealistic. The only standard I can rationally have is the standard I'm meeting right now. Of course I can write. Anybody can write. People might think that their product is not worthy of the person they assume they are. But it is ... you should be more willing to forgive yourself. It really doesn't make any difference if you're good or bad today. The assessment of the product is something that happens after you've done it. You should simply go ahead and do it. And do it, I might add, without being critical."

I sat down in front of my keyboard; lowered my standards and wrote this:

Musical Interlude

If you'll hum a few bars maybe....


This is an idea for a poem comprised of varied sections with song titles that are associated by the speaker with anecdotal recollections. More of this crap to come....

Paul Violi

Appeal to the Grammarians

We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we're capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time. we're ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn't bounce back,
The flat tire at journey's outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it—here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, "See, that's why
I don't like to eat outside."

Paul Violi : "Overnight "
Hanging Loose Press

Paul Violi: Overnight is Paul Violi's eleventh book of poems. On receiving the Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was cited for "bringing the sharpness and surprise of the avant-garde to a poetry that continually impresses by its honesty, its sincerity, and its clarity. One is taken through the solidest and strongest emotional landscapes on a remarkable new road." Recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry as well as grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, The Fund for Poetry, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts and many other awards, he currently teaches in the New School's graduate writing program and at Columbia University.

* source - Poetry Daily

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dolce Far Niente

John William Waterhouse - 1880

Oil on Canvas - 95cm X 50cm

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jessica Smith

The Callow Heart

Inside of anyone you see
There is s heart of candle-wax
and a slender string
That is lighted
by trivial fires
of orange...
So that when
A heartbreaking incident
The wick burns crimson
and after a time
Your heart
Callow and soft
Is melted hard
and nothing, now,
will light it
Because it is wiser
than it once was
when faint orange glows
set it afire.

from : "Juvenilia: Poems 1992-1998" -
2006 - Jessica Smith - LuLu publishing

Bio - Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Jessica Smith received her B.A. summa cum laude in English and Comparative Literature and her M.A. in Comparative Literature from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program and started the poetry magazine name. She is now a Ph.D. student in English at UVA, where she devotes her free time to outside voices and the D.C. poetry scene. Jessica's most recent work can be found in Drill, Ferrum Wheel, OEI, American Weddings, and Filling Station. Recent and forthcoming chapbooks include bird-book (House Press), The Plasticity of Poetry and Telling Time (No Press), and Shifting Landscapes (above/ground press). Her first book, Organic Furniture Cellar, will be released in April (see for updates).