Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

  • The old creative juices have not dried up - there never were any to begin with. I have been winging it all along. I have it on good authority.
  • I have not given up on the prospect of publishing my poetry in the form of chapbooks etcetera - not by a long shot...
  • If you're an editor & you have not received a submission from me...I just haven't gotten it out of the gate recently. Don't worry you'll have ample opportunity to tell me my poetry isn't quite right for your publication or any publication for that matter.
  • I still love poetry and read it extensively. I'm just not blogging about it as much. Mea culpa!
  • If you've stopped reading my blog...Then what the hell are you doing here!
  • If you're wondering why you don't see me anymore on poetry workshops online critiquing...It's not because there isn't a will, it's because there isn't a way. My work/personal life has taken a front and center stance recently.
  • If I haven't been posting comments on your blog as of late...count yourself lucky.
  • If you think my poetry sucks big-time --- tell me. Go ahead---It'll probably spur me on to write better.
  • If you consider my poetry as not being marketable and think that I'm gonna stop writing any time soon...think again!
  • I will not brown-nose in order to get my poetry published - I'm still idealistic enough to believe that it will get published on its own merit.
  • If you find me offensive, pedantic and boorish...you ought to know that those are my better qualities.
  • I don't have an M.F.A. - but that doesn't mean that I'm poetically illiterate.
  • If you have anything constructive to say - I'm all ears...

Who Could Forget Him in - " Cat on a Hot Tin Roof " ?

Paul Newman: 1925 - 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: 1928 & 1922 - Edwin Arlington Robinson

The House on the Hill
Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Poets That Sing

From: The Boxer

I have squandered my resistance,
For a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises.

From: America

Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together
I've got some real-estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America

Thursday, September 18, 2008

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: 1954 - Theodore Roethke

The Storm
Theodore Roethke


Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?
There is one light on the mountain.


Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
The waves not yet high, but even,
Coming closer and closer upon each other;
A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!--
And a child's dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
A cat runs from the wind as we do,
Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
Where the heavy door unlocks,
And our breath comes more easy,--
Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
The walls, the slatted windows, driving
The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer
To their cards, their anisette.


We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
The bulb goes on and off, weakly.
Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
Breathing heavily, hoping--
For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER:1981 – James Schuyler

Korean Mums

beside me in this garden
are huge and daisy-like
(why not? are not
oxeye daisies a chrysanthemum?),
shrubby and thick-stalked,
the leaves pointing up
the stems from which
the flowers burst in
sunbursts. I love
this garden in all its moods,
even under its winter coat
of salt hay, or now,
in October, more than
half gone over: here
a rose, there a clump
of aconite. This morning
one of the dogs killed
a barn owl. Bob saw
it happen, tried to
intervene. The airedale
snapped its neck and left
it lying. Now the bird
lies buried by an apple
tree. Last evening
from the table we saw
the owl, huge in the dusk,
circling the field
on owl-silent wings.
The first one ever seen
here: now it's gone,
a dream you just remember.

The dogs are barking. In
the studio music plays
and Bob and Darragh paint.
I sit scribbling in a little
notebook at a garden table,
too hot in a heavy shirt
in the mid-October sun
into which the Korean mums
all face. There is a
dull book with me,
an apple core, cigarettes,
an ashtray. Behind me
the rue I gave Bob
flourishes. Light on leaves,
so much to see, and
all I really see is that
owl, its bulk troubling
the twilight. I'll
soon forget it: what
is there I have not forgot?
Or one day will forget:
this garden, the breeze
in stillness, even
the words, Korean mums.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Got the Picture?

I took over 1500 holiday pics - here are a select few that caught my eye.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Elegy For A Dead Soldier
By Karl Shapiro

The time to mourn is short that best becomes
The military dead.
We lift and fold the flag,
Lay bare the coffin with its written tag,
And march away.
Behind, four others wait
To lift the box, the heaviest of loads.
The anesthetic afternoon benumbs,
Sickens our senses, forces back our talk.
We know that others on tomorrows roads
Will fall, ourselves perhaps, the man beside,
Over the world the threatened, all who walk:
And could we mark the grave of him who died
We could write this beneath his name and date:
Underneath this wooden cross there lies
A Christian killed in battle.
You who read,
Remember that this stranger died in pain;
And passing here, if you can lift your eyes
Upon a peace kept by human creed,
Know that one soldier has not died in vain.

To the Canadian soldiers who recently lost their lives in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting Around the Block

Robert Peake has a great post on getting Back On The Writing Wagon . He posits:

"For me, poetry is like this. Usually, when I find myself wanting to work very hard, it is because I have not been writing consistently. ...The art of not pushing, but rather focusing on consistency, is alien to our fast-food culture. And yet, writing something daily is actually a form of instant gratification as well — a true and lasting gratification of actually having written, good or bad. It is also, ironically, good for one’s career. That is because publication and awards are a numbers game. And writing consistently produces a greater volume of higher quality work than an approach of fits and starts. At least, that has been my experience so far."

My response: What if you can’t tell what is of high quality and what isn’t anymore?

Robert: "Doesn’t that just go with being a poet, Nick? I’m there right now myself, beetling away toward this MFA manuscript, hearing other poets I respect tell me they think it’s good, convinced they must be temporarily insane; ..."

This brought up the argument - that it appears much easier to work in an MFA environment with the support of colleagues and professors. But what if you're on your own working without a safety net?

What if you a poet or writer that plies this sullen craft all on your own? How do you cope with periods of creative "self-wallowing" when everything you write seems hollow?

Monday, September 01, 2008

"The Self-Identification of the Second Generation Italian Immigrant:"

This was one of the working titles of my Master's Thesis. It grew out of a socio-psychological need to rationalize the sense of marginality that the second generation immigrant experiences vis a vis both the host and mother culture. Here was an entity that was a hybrid of sorts neither fully Italian nor fully Canadian. Neither fully integrated nor accepted by either culture. How much of this sense of marginality is self-imposed is a good question?

Certainly, one of the best litmus tests of the validity of this hypothesis is the trek back to one's roots. Embrace one's mother culture and see if she reciprocates. There have been numerous ethnographic studies on the remigration of immigrants to their points of origin. Most have concluded that the immigrant finds their mother culture changed. That coupled with the changes in the form of assimilation and acculturation that the immigrant must perforce experience in living and surviving within the confines of the host culture - make any idea that the move back should be like putting a fish back in its element problematic.

(yearly procession of the patron saint in San Donato di Ninea)

You Can't go Back

Each time that I go back to Calabria I get that sense of "otherness". The cultural enigma that is Calabria (or Italy for that matter) is like some joke that I should be getting but am at a loss to explain why it's supposed to be so funny. After conducting numerous interviews of SGIs (second generation immigrants) I realized that this was a common perception.

Was this latest trip back to my roots any different? Sadly no. There is still much that escapes me when faced with certain social phenomena. The Italian media is a good example. The Boob Tube is a prime example of this. It is, (at least) from my perspective unfathomable. It is a vast wasteland of cultural opportunity devoid of almost any redeemable properties. But then Berlusconi who is a media magnate & owner of the Mediaset conglomerate is indicative of some of the problems endemic to the state of this form of media.

But the Food is so Good

There is one fixed variable in the cultural equation. The fervor for homemade ethnic cuisine hardly ever wanes. Arguably the southern-Italian culinary palette is one of the healthiest. Still - engorging oneself on homemade bread and pastas do take their toll. I came back with about five pounds of extra baggage. Furthermore, the food here in Montreal seems tasteless in comparison.

Ah Those Vistas!