Try Non-GMO, Organic, Locavore Poetry!

Recently I read a sad statistic. The average print-on-demand book (the typical publishing model for poets who do not self-publish and who do not have the name recognition of the big boppers) sells only 35-40 copies. Why? Because that number happens to match the average number of friends and family members in the POD poet's … Continue reading Try Non-GMO, Organic, Locavore Poetry!

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The Poetry of Prepared Nonchalance

What will you have for lunch? The filling and beautifully-messy pastrami and rye? The "who-am-I-kidding?" rabbit-food special of salad and soup? The send-me-back-to-the-60s special of three martinis? For Frank O'Hara, I'm seeing on my reread of Lunch Poems, it's a deceiving mix of prepared nonchalance with a dash of oxymoronic condiment. Seemingly off-the-cuff, many of … Continue reading The Poetry of Prepared Nonchalance

Mean Poems

Poetry, often something we uphold for its beauty and its dalliances with love and nature, sometimes has a reputation to downhold as well. In poetry, Tony Hoagland tells us, meanness can work. That's right, vinegar instead of honey for your readers. As any misbehaving child will tell you, negative attention can be as good as … Continue reading Mean Poems

Jane Hirshfield’s Handout on Revision

In their book, The Poet's Companion, Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux share a worksheet Jane Hirshfield created for a Napa Valley Writers' Conference she taught. Can you imagine? Being surrounded by both the poet Jane Hirshfield and┬áhundreds of wineries? Sounds inspiring to me (and rated 90-plus by the Poetry Advocate), but I have yet to … Continue reading Jane Hirshfield’s Handout on Revision

Make It Strange

In Chapter 4 of his thought-invoking book, Why Poetry, Matthew Zapruder quotes a Russian literary scholar, essayist, novelist, and memoirist no one's heard of: Viktor Shklovsky. Viktor's eureka moment? He claimed that the language of artistic texts is no different than the language of texts used to convey information. Asterisk. Make that BIG asterisk. In … Continue reading Make It Strange