“We Are Small as Moth Wing Fall”

Yesterday our family blog lost its license by posting a 5-line poem that exploded four f-bombs, Mary Ruefle's "Red." As we no longer have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (I ran out of fish), I might as well go for it and share another f-balmy poem from Poetry, which was on an f'in run …

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The Physics of Aging

When you market your poems, you're often as surprised by the ones editors don't select as the ones they do. "Really?" you say, when they select "A" from the bundle of five you submitted instead of, say, "C" or "D," which you liked better. Then, when a publisher accepts your collection, the clock starts ticking …

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Stream-of-Thanksgivingness Reprise

Here's a reprise of the oft-mentioned and frequently reread 2017 Thanksgiving column with a few additions and minor changes to suit the dying days of 2019. What's amazing is how many changes were NOT needed. That is, it's reassuring to know how strong our thankfulness remains in these consistently challenging times. Some random thoughts, then, …

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The Hidden Thoreau in Anton Chekhov

If you come to an Anton Chekhov short story looking for a plot, you've come to the wrong place. If you read Chekhov and fret that nothing happens, you'd best reconsider your definition of "nothing." These thoughts reoccurred to me as I finished the Richard Pevear / Larissa Volokhonsky translation, Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov. …

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Mining the Synergy of Opposites

Contrast. Nothing tells a story quite like it. Consider the juxtaposition of junk car parked next to new Porsche, of grandmother in her wheelchair posing with her 5-year-old granddaughter for pictures, of homeless man sleeping under cardboard against the smooth base of a financial-district skyscraper. In poetry, contrast can work its magic, too. Past and …

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200 Candles for Ivan Turgenev!

It's hard to keep up with family birthdays, much less venerated writers' birthdays. You stumble across them by accident on the Internet, however. How else would I know that Ivan Turgenev just turned 200 on Nov. 9th? Like many bibliophiles, I have fond memories of my Russian phase. In fact, if my literary leanings were to …

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Choosing Poems for a Poetry Reading

When you first begin the task of choosing poems for a poetry reading, it's like walking into a grocery store's cereal aisle where the choices are so vast they overwhelm the shopper. In the case of poetry, do you choose funny poems or contemplative poems, fancy poems or simple poems, poems with sound devices or …

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Work in Progress — A Better Way

We all know the joke by now--the sign on the road reading MEN WORKING. It's how we learned the word "oxymoron" as the car sped past workers in hardhats leaning on shovels, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffees, chatting each other up. "Work in Progress" is another matter, one with greater meaning and impact. As my third …

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What Does “National Poetry Month” Actually Mean? I Found the Answers.

I almost forgot, but it's National Poetry Month. How I ever went a full week without realizing it is beyond me, but here we are and here I am, apparently unscathed. What the heck does National Poetry Month mean, anyway? Is it more inept political meddling on the part of our Do-Nothing Congress led by …

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