Digging Seamus Heaney

What's the opposite of a perfect storm? How about an imperfect sunny day? Certainly not the weather in Massachusetts yesterday, which was cloudy start to finish. But it was an accent-on-good Friday nonetheless. I wrote a poem tangentially about Henry David Thoreau to start the it off. Then I visited the library and picked up a …

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Random Thoughts on the Eve of Easter

The front page of newspapers is bad for writing poetry, especially these days. So is watching 60 Minutes, where the forecast is mostly Stormy. It all clouds the brain. Anger "trumps" creativity every time. Turn off your TV, writers! If you're bringing your muse in for a check-up by telling friends you just don't get …

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Quiet Poems. Desperate Poems.

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Thoreau. And the epigraph to my first book of poetry. I will forever associate Thoreau's quote with Sherwood Anderson's collection of short stories, Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson called his characters "grotesques," but I thought that a little strong. To me they were just "people," because, frankly, by …

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When Poets Make Cameos in Your Poems

It stands to reason, if you read poetry as much as poets do, that sooner or later famous poets will enter your poems. The cameos are not restricted to poets, however. Prose writers rise to the occasion as well. It's a reimagining of their imagined worlds in your own imagination, if you will. In my …

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The Art of Writing a Poem’s First Lines

In his book The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Ted Kooser writes, "The titles and first few lines of your poem represent the hand you extend in friendship toward your reader. They're the first exposure he or she has, and you want to make a good impression. You also want to swiftly and gracefully draw your …

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Unimpeachable? Why Writers Cannot Count on the Constitution

Reading the New York Times' Sunday Book Review, I dwelled longer than recommended on Andrew Sullivan's review of two Trump-centric books: Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide by Cass R. Sunstein, and Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America, a collection of essays edited by the same man. First things first: authoritarianism is bad news for everyone, save the …

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