Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: 1963 - William Carlos Williams

Spring and All
William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tagged by Sam Rasnake

Since I always put my money where my mouth is ... what was

the last book I purchased:

Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition by Walt Whitman (Thrift Edition) Dover Publications (February 27, 2007)

the last film / network series I purchased:

Stranger Than Paradise: Jim Jarmusch, 1984, ( Criterion Collection, DVD, 2 disc set )

the last music or spoken word recording I purchased:

The Wallflowers, Bringing Down the Horse 1996, MCA, CD

If you're reading this consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jorge Carrera Andrade


In bookstores there are no books,
in books no words,
in words no essence:
there are only husks.

In museums and waiting rooms
are painted canvases and fetishes.
In the Academy there are only recordings
of the wildest dances.

In mouths there is only smoke,
in the eyes only distance.
There is a drum in each ear.
A Sahara yawns in the mind.

Nothing frees us from the desert.
Nothing saves us from the drum.
Painted books shed their pages,
becoming husks of Nothing.

excerpt from: Century Of The Death Of The Rose: Selected Poems, 1926-1976

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Highlights From the Just For Laughs Festival

My wife and I, along with some friends, caught a gala night in the 2008 Just For Laughs Festival at le Theatre St.Denis on Saturday night. The master of ceremonies was no other than Jimmy Fallon - the heir apparent to Conan O'Brien. He did a bit where there was a retrospective of all the better known comics who have appeared over the years. It was arguably the highlight of the evening. Fallon did dead-on impressions of everybody from Bill Cosby to Robin Williams.

But Joan Rivers was apparently the best of the gala hosts with classic quips such as these:

"It's not only breasts that drop. Vaginas drop too. I woke up eight years ago and asked myself why I was wearing a bunny slipper. And why it was grey."

"Remember the good old days, when all women had to do was fake orgasm? As long as you could see the TV, you were home free."

Other Gags That Cracked us Up:

"We have two boys. we named them Jackson & Grant. We figured, "What the heck, they're going to fight anyway."

------------------------------------------------------------------Henry Cho

I hate bullshit. I hate the president (G.W Bush). ... Do you know that every 20 years a president is assassinated, or there's an attempted assassination? Where are my bipolar white people? What happened? ... He walks around carrying that briefcase. Ain't nothing in there but a colouring book and a sippy cup."

-------------------------------------------------------------------Thea Vidale

"Growing up, you could always tell the Italian kids at school by their projects. Beth came in with a gingerbread house, but Tony turned up with a 3,000-square-foot bungalow with a finished basement."

-------------------------------------------------------------------Frank Spadone

"My mother told me: 'Watch out for women these days. They are like olive oil. They say they are virgin, but you know that they've been pressed a couple of times."

--------------------------------------------------------------------Frank Spadaone

"Menopause. It's a lot like adolescence without all that life ahead of you."

--------------------------------------------------------------------Cathy Ladman

"My husband said, 'If I'm ever in a coma, I want you to pull the plug.' I said, 'Then you're going to have to start taking more, because I can't tell the difference now.' "

----------------------------------------------------------------------Cathy Ladman

"You know how when you meet the right person, you know instantly? Why does it take a year and a half when it's the wrong one.?"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Phil Hanley

"I'm half Caucasian and half Asian. I guess that makes me...Caucasian."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Steven Byrne

"I always looked young for my age, which was a bit creepy at birth."

------------------------------------------------------------------------Matt Kirshen

"I have an 8-year old child, and he's a bit deranged because he's been living with me for eight years."

------------------------------------------------------------------------Jason Byrne

"Receiving oral sex from an ugly person is like rock climbing: You should never look down."

------------------------------------------------------------------------Stewart Francis

"They say all the oil is in Alberta. What a shame all the dipsticks are in Ottawa."

------------------------------------------------------------------------Bowser and Blue

"My girlfriend got me this book on feng shui, but I didn't know where in my home to put it."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Irwin Barker

"I recently finished the internet. A picture of Bill Gates showed up."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------David O'Doherty

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: 1988 - William Meredith


Go, little book. If anybody asks
Why I add poems to a time like this,
Tell how the comeliness I can't take in
Of ships and other figures of content
Compels me still until I give them names;
And how I give them names impatiently,
As who should pull up roses by the roots
That keep him turning on his empty bed,
The smell intolerable and thick with loss.

from "Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems" by William Meredith,
published by Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 1997

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Only in Quebec!!! --- Are Quebec Separatists Living in a Separate Reality?

Sir Paul McCartney has tried to defuse the row about his forthcoming gig in Quebec City by telling his critics to "smoke the pipes of peace".

Referring to his 1983 song of the same name, the former Beatle told Quebec nationalists opposing his appearance at a concert marking the 400th anniversary of the city that it was a "show of friendship" and that they should let history remain in the past.

The controversy has arisen because of a British invasion of Quebec in 1790, with nationalists arguing that a performance by a UK artist was not appropriate.

In an interview with Radio Canada, McCartney said that the protesters' attitude was comparable to him still refusing to play in Germany because of the world wars.

He said: "I think it's time to smoke the pipes of peace and to just, you know, put away your hatchet because I think it's a show of friendship.

"I'm very friendly with the French people that I know. I know people of all nationalities and, hey, I'm friendly with German people and, by that argument, I should never go to Germany or they should never come here."

The argument began with an open letter to McCartney, printed in a local Quebec newspaper, calling for him to learn some French songs before the gig.

The letter read: "The presence of your English-language music on the most majestic part of Battlefields Park, as beautiful as it might be, can't help but bring back painful memories of our Conquest." ...

source: NME

Editorial Response:

Separatists true colours come out.

This is what anglos and minorities have to put up with day in and day out in Quebec the petty disrespect and constant moanings of the French separatists. Canadian tax money funds their constant moanings btw. ... This time they have embarrassed themselves and Quebec tourism on the world stage in front of the world media. ... This is what they are like in Quebec all the time. Never happy and constantly wanting to make life uncomfortable for those not drinking their political ideology coolaid. ...Too bad our Canadian politicians don't have the same guts as Sir Paul did and tell these sad sack separatists to "smoke the pipes of peace already". No guts no glory. Sir Paul thank you for telling it like it is. All the decent and tolerant people of Quebec salute you and honour you excluding the bitter hate filled separatists of course!


It's Deja Vu All Over Again: Montcalm Versus Wolfe or is it Dion Versus McCartney? The Fight Over the Plains of Abraham:

A recount in the turf battle of the Plains of Abraham - set off when Céline Dion's husband-manager René Angélil objected that Paul McCartney would have 250,000 spectators for his free concert July 20 and Céline would only have 100,000 for her Aug. 22 performance - has resulted in a tie.

Each show now has room for about 200,000 spectators.

Daniel Gélinas, who heads the Société du 400é, which is managing festivities marking Quebec City's 400th birthday, told reporters yesterday that calculating three persons a square metre, and expanding the site, there will be room for 170,000 to 200,000 at the natural amphitheatre where the McCartney show was originally planned.

Using the same calculation, 350,000 could squeeze into the site planned for Dion's show. But he admitted not all those places have a good view.

So in addition to the 100,000 holders of free tickets, who will have reserved places, Gélinas said another 100,000 to 120,000 could see Dion's show.

Gélinas phoned Angélil in France yesterday and reported that Dion's manager is "very, very happy" with the the new arrangement.

Published: Wednesday, July 09

Monday, July 14, 2008


It's better to smoke dope than to multitask

Pay attention here for a minute. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, stop stirring the soup, and just read. This is about multi-tasking.

Hailed just a few short years ago as a breakthrough in efficiency, doing several things more or less simultaneously is now being compared to attention deficit disorder. The human brain, the latest research is showing, is just not capable of performing two or more tasks simultaneously with any degree of efficiency. It gets agitated and distracted. Multitasking doesn't help learning; it hinders it.

The business world once embraced multitasking as a solution to increasingly demanding schedules. But the bloom is off that rose: A British study published in 2005 found that workers who were "distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers." How big a drop? Ten IQ points. Let's not even think about multi-tasking dope smokers.

The study's author, University of London psychologist Glenn Wilson, was also quoted as saying that constantly breaking away from tasks to respond to email or text messages has essentially the same effect on alertness as missing a night's sleep.

Recently, a U.S. analyst estimated that the yearly cost to the U.S. economy of the inefficiencies and errors generated by multitasking at $650 billion. Meanwhile, some 28 per cent of workers surveyed said they believed their time was wasted in multitasking interruptions.

There's more: Experts believe that children might be at risk of underachievement because of out-of-control multitasking. In an interview in the Atlantic magazine, Jordan Grafman of the U.S. Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said this: "Children (who) are instant messaging while doing homework, playing games online and watching TV are not going to do well in the long run."

This is the sort of observation cranky grand-parents have been making for years now, but often it's hard for conventional wisdom to stand up to the latest theories from efficiency "experts."
U.S. psychology professor Russell Poldrack warned, in an interview in the New Atlantis magazine, that humans are "not built" to multitask.

"We're really built to focus," he said. "And when we sort of force ourselves to multitask, we're driving ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run even though it sometimes feels like we're being more efficient."

The moral is evident: One thing at a time.

source: The Montreal Gazette: Monday July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quotes & Quotables

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect."

------------------------------------------------------------------Anais Nin

Thursday, July 10, 2008


by C. K. Williams

In those days, those days which exist for me only as the
most elusive memory now,
when often the first sound you'd hear in the morning
would be a storm of birdsong,
then the soft clop of the hooves of the horse hauling a
milk wagon down your block,

and the last sound at night as likely as not would be
your father pulling up in his car,
having worked late again, always late, and going
heavily down to the cellar, to the furnace,
to shake out the ashes and damp the draft before he
came upstairs to fall into bed --

in those long-ago days, women, my mother, my
friends' mothers, our neighbors,
all the women I knew, wore, often much of the day,
what were called housedresses,
cheap, printed, pulpy, seemingly purposefully shapeless
light cotton shifts,

that you wore over your nightgown and, when you had
to go to look for a child,
hang wash on the line, or run down to the grocery store
on the corner, under a coat,
the twisted hem of the nightgown, always lank and
yellowed, dangling beneath.

More than the curlers some of the women seemed
constantly to have in their hair,
in preparation for a great event -- a ball, one would
think -- that never came to pass;
more than the way most women's faces not only were
never made up during the day,

but seemed scraped, bleached, and, with their plucked
eyebrows, scarily masklike;
more than all that it was those dresses that made
women so unknowable and forbidding,
adepts of enigmas to which men could have no access,
and boys no conception.

Only later would I see the dresses also as a
proclamation: that in your dim kitchen,
your cellar, your bleak concrete yard, what you
revealed of yourself was a fabulation;
your real sensual nature, veiled in those sexless
vestments, was utterly your dominion.

In those days, one hid much else as well: grown men
didn't embrace one another,
unless someone had died, and not always then; you
shook hands or, at a ball game,
thumped your friend¹s back and exchanged blows meant
to be codes for affection;

once out of childhood you'd never again know the shock
of your father's whiskers
on your cheek, not until mores at last had evolved, and
you could hug another man,
then hold on for a moment, then even kiss (your father's
bristles white and stiff now).

What release finally, the embrace: though we were wary
-- it seemed so audacious --
how much unspoken joy there was in that affirmation
of equality and communion,
no matter how much misunderstanding and pain had
passed between you by then.

We knew so little in those days, as little as now, I
suppose, about healing those hurts:
even the women, in their best dresses, with beads
and sequins sewn on the bodice,
even in lipstick and mascara, their hair aflow, could
only stand wringing their hands,

begging for peace, while father and son, like thugs,
like thieves, like Romans,
simmered and hissed and hated, inflicting sorrows
that endured, the worst anyway,
through the kiss and embrace, bleeding from brother
to brother into the generations.

In those days there was still countryside close to the
city, farms, cornfields, cows;
even not far from our building with its blurred brick and
long shadowy hallway
you could find tracts with hills and trees you could
pretend were mountains and forests.

Or you could go out by yourself even to a half-block-
long empty lot, into the bushes:
like a creature of leaves you'd lurk, crouched, crawling,
simplified, savage, alone;
already there was wanting to be simpler, wanting, when
they called you, never to go back.


Post With No Name

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard
Charles Wright

East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
--------------------------------------------looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
--------------------------------------------I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
--------------------------------------------Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
--------------------------------------------up from the damp grass.
Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008


The Journey

Anghiari is medieval, a sleeve sloping down
A steep hill, suddenly sweeping out
To the edge of a cliff, and dwindling.
But far up the mountain, behind the town,
We too were swept out, out by the wind,
Alone with the Tuscan grass.

Wind had been blowing across the hills
For days, and everything now was graying gold
With dust, everything we saw, even
Some small children scampering along a road,
Twittering Italian to a small caged bird.

We sat beside them to rest in some brushwood,
And I leaned down to rinse the dust from my face.

I found the spider web there, whose hinges
Reeled heavily and crazily with the dust,
Whole mounds and cemeteries of it, sagging
And scattering shadows among shells and wings.
And then she stepped into the center of air
Slender and fastidious, the golden hair
Of daylight along her shoulders, she poised there,
While ruins crumbled on even, side of her.
Free of the dust, as though a moment before
She had stepped inside the earth, to bathe herself.

I gazed, close to her, till at last she stepped
Away in her own good time.

Many men
Have searched all over Tuscany and never found
What I found there, the heart of the light
Itself shelled and leaved, balancing
On filaments themselves falling. The secret
Of this journey is to let the wind
Blow its dust all over your body,
To let it go on blowing, to step lightly, lightly
All the way through your ruins, and not to lose
Any sleep over the dead, who surely
Will bury their own, don't worry.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Some Poet Jokes - Because Poets Are Hysterically Funny - Don't You Think?

Here are a few poetry jokes guaranteed to make you a sensation at the next
open mic. Some are original. All are stolen from Allan Wolf. A couple are even funny.

Po-Joke #10
Question: How does a poet sneeze?
Answer: Haiku!!!

Po-Joke #12
Question: What do baby poets play with?
Answer: Tanka trucks.

Po-Joke #13
Question: What did William Wordsworth mean by “a spontaneous
overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility”?
Answer: Puberty.

Po-Joke #15
Question: How is a book of poetry like O.J. Simpson’s testimony.
Answer: Nobody buys either one of them.

Po-Joke #20
Question: What do you get when you combine Robert Frost and James
Answer: The Road Not Shaken but Stirred.

Po-Joke #24
A nurse is giving a young medical intern a tour of the hospital.

The intern approaches one bedridden patient and asks, “Why are you here?” The
patient replies, “Wee sleket cowerin’ timrous beastie/O, what a panic is in thy breastie.”

The intern moves on to the next bed and asks the same question, “Why are you
here?” The patient answers, “O, my luv is like a red, red, rose that’s newly sprung in June.”

The intern moves on to a third bed and asks again, “Why are you here” to which
the third patient replies, “The best laid plans of mice and men, may often gang awry.”

At this the intern turns to the nurse and asks, “What ward is this anyway.” And
the nurse answers, “It’s the Burns Unit.”


For more poetic humor check out Allan Wolf's poetry site at

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Read this over at Seth Abramson's :

"At present, one group of writers--poets with no first book, no money, and no high-level connections--are being essentially kept out of the process altogether, even as gurus in the poetry community are assuring us that there are too many poets out there, too many publishers, too much access to full-manuscript publication for those as yet unprepared for it. I beg to differ, and always have, and think that someone, someone, needs to stand up for what undoubtedly is a huge demographic in the very midst of the American poetry community."

read the rest at: The Suburban Ecstasies - "2008 State of the Small Presses "

I Know...I Know It's Only Rock n' Roll But....

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Marya Zaturenska, - Pulitzer Prize Winner in 1938.

The White Dress
Marya Zaturenska (1902-1982)

Imperceptively the world became haunted by her white dress.
Walking in forest or garden, he would start to see,
Her flying form; sudden, swift, brief as a caress
The flash of her white dress against a darkening tree.

And with forced unconcern, withheld desire, and pain
He beheld her at night; and when sleepless in his bed,
Her light footfalls seemed loud as cymbals; deep as his disdain,
Her whiteness entered his heart, flowed through from feet to head.

Or it was her face at a window, her swift knock at the door,
Then she appeared in her white dress, her face white as her gown;
Like snow in midsummer she came and left the rich day poor;
And the sun chilled and grew higher, remote, and the moon slipped down.

So the years passed; more fierce in pursuit her image grew;
She became the dream abjured, the ill uncured, the deed undone,
The life one never lived, the answer one never knew,
Till the white shadow swayed the moon, stayed the expiring sun.

Until at his life's end, the shadow of the white face, the white dress
Became his inmost thought, his private wound, the word unspoken,
All that he cherished in failure, all that had failed his success;
She became the crystal orb, half-seen, untouched, unbroken.

There on his death bed, kneeling at the bed's foot, he trembling saw,
The image of the Mother-Goddess, enormous, archaic, cruel,
Overpowering the universe, creating her own inexorable law,
Molded of stone, but her fire and ice flooded the room like a pool.

And she was the shadow in the white dress, no longer slight and flying,
But solid as death. Her cold, firm, downward look,
Brought close to the dissolving mind the marvelous act of dying,
And on her lap, the clasped, closed, iron book.