It's a sad feeling, watching a poet you like slowly transform into a poet you like a little less. Or into a poet that's a bit more mortal than believed. Or maybe into a poet that's cashing in on his own capital, cannibal-like, over time. The classic example nowadays is Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate … Continue reading When Famous Poets Get Lost…
Let's hear it for poems that end with a question. Reason? Questions are more fun than statements. Questions better reflect life, which is, after all, nothing but a big question mark. Good question makers are much more inspiring to be around and to talk to than big pronouncement types who hit us with their ego-driven … Continue reading Poems That End with a Question
Reading published poems--especially poems published in the heavyweight division, where you find periodicals like The New Yorker--can be both frustrating and edifying. Before I count the ways, let me share a poem published in the The New Yorker's Aug. 28th issue: SON by Craig Morgan Teicher I don't even know where my father lives. I … Continue reading Cold Comfort: Poems That Make the Big-Time
The following is my Goodreads review of H. L. Six's Wild and Whirling Words: A Poetic Conversation. As it is instructive and a cautionary tale, I thought I would share it with the WordPress community as well: Like writing workshop on steroids, this, as 33 poets critique each other's work and the result isn't always … Continue reading In Which I Critique a Book of Critiques
Recently I renewed a few inter-library loan books, expecting to see the usual--a two-week bump in reading time. Instead, it was like Christmas morning. My renewal gave me a whopping 7-week extension! Knowing technology and its sketchy reputation, I figured it was a ghost in the machine, a mistake sure to be caught and corrected … Continue reading A Rare Total Eclipse of the Library
My daughter, once a huge fan of J. Crew clothing, introduced me to the wonderfully-entertaining (if you like words) J. Crew catalogue. Heck with the clothes. There one would find color names that looked more at home in a biosphere than a coloring book. What would I do to be employed by J. Crew, my … Continue reading J. Crew Poetry Clues
According to the prophets, when someone asks you to review their book, you make like Donald and duck (the exception being a good friend). But what about a request that you critique a poem? Tougher, as it's such a small basket of kindness, the sort you might decline only if it's a stranger. But...but! If … Continue reading “Would You Critique My Poem?” (Gulp!)
What does it mean to be a man? In its way, as fascinating a topic as the age-old muse of many a poet: death. I was struck by this thought while reading Tony Hoagland's 1998 collection (for the first time!), Donkey Gospel. While in the book, wondering if the title had anything to do with … Continue reading Be a Man!
Sure, The New Yorker is eastern liberal elitist, but does that mean I can't read it any way I want? Pricey at $8.99 (is that the "liberal elitist" part or the "eastern" part?), the magazine came my way free thanks to my daughter who renewed with the option to gift someone a subscription (she wrote … Continue reading Reading ‘The New Yorker’ Backwards
If you're tired of empty phrases like "Build a Wall" and "Make America Great Again," you might consider Tony Hoagland's America for respite. At least you'd be a realist, and at most a decent judge of political poetry. Tony Hoagland's view of America is subtle, though. No in-your-face pronouncements. Just creative and philosophical riffs that … Continue reading Tony Hoagland’s America: Look Familiar?