DAD My day-to-day work, see, is reading manuscripts, so you can see what put me on to publishing--my day job. By night I read Ted Hughes, my favorite poet, particularly his crow poems. The conjunction of bright idea (day) and Ted's crows (night) put me on to this novella in verse...kinda, sorta verse. BOYS We … Continue reading Review: Grief Is the Thing With Feathers
Not being of scientific or mathematical mind, I've never thought of humans in terms of a formula. Imagine my surprise, then, when I poked around Lin Yutang's tome, The Importance of Living, and discovered this quixotic mix: Reality - Dreams = Animal Being Reality + Dreams = A Heart-Ache (usually called Idealism) Reality + Humor … Continue reading If Humans Were Formulas…
Ancient times, when I was a kid running through Greek forests, brought us nine (a magical number, like three and seven) muses with nine ungodly names: Calliope (the muse of epic poetry and eloquence) Clio (the muse of history) Erato (the muse of love poetry and mimicry) Euterpe (the muse of music) Melpomene (the muse … Continue reading The New Muses of Poetry
One of the most enjoyable aspects of publishing a first book of poetry is--what else?--readers, but less obviously, it's readers' reactions to poems. Here's irony. Reading a lot about poetry, I often come across comments from experts, critics, and even other poets, spreading rumors like, "When writing poetry, you should never write about nature because … Continue reading What? I Can’t Write About This?
Sometimes poems do the jobs of planes, trains, and automobiles by taking us places we've never been, then giving us a taste (a sight, a smell, a sound, a touch) of what that location is like. This is what happened for me in one of the poems included in Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows. It's called … Continue reading Planes, Trains, and Poems
In education, lectures are vilified with good reason. They are boring. They are so much bombast. They are inflicted by vainglorious pontificators on passive victims who must endure or find ways to daydream through it all. What happens, though, when a speaker is so knowledgeable, silver-tongued, and interesting that the restless audience (or reader) begins … Continue reading Jane Hirshfield as Scheherazade
Once upon a time addictions were so innocent, no one thought to call them addictions. Yes, children. We would sit down for a leisurely hour or so and write long letters to friends and family, tri-fold the lined paper into a business envelope, affix a first-class (styling!) stamp, and away she went. The reward for … Continue reading One Box, Two Box, Mailbox, Inbox
Two cheers for the pronoun "I" in poetry! OK. One cheer, maybe? The upstanding pronoun has been under attack in some quarters because it seems to make poetry less universal to the reader... more of a diary delight exercise. But is it, really? First off, let's clear the air about "I" and all its cousins. … Continue reading The Pronoun “I” and Poetry
For many decades, I was a plainclothes reader of poetry. I took a course at university, like people do, but wasn't terribly impressed. Still, impressions were made. A few poems, for reasons quirky to me, stuck. That is, I remembered certain lines and, like stubborn lint that's taken up residence in wool, they refused to … Continue reading Poems That Stick
While the sale of poetry books continues to languish and the number of readers who love reading (asterisk: only not poetry books) continues to skyrocket, there's still a healthy cottage industry in writing not poetry but ABOUT poetry. Specifically its death. Or long-term prognosis. Or philosophical place in the world (hint: look low). Among that … Continue reading Why Poetry? Better Still: Why Not?