Friday, December 11, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Here's one from Waccamaw
by David Kirby
These Arms of MineSometimes interviewers want to know what
dead people I’d like to have dinner with,
but my answer to that is nobody;
I mean, I wouldn’t mind following Dante around
and see who he talks to and where he shops and what
his writing schedule is, but can you imagine
trying to have a conversation with Dante?
Yeah, he wrote the greatest poem ever,
but his world view would be totally different from mine,
plus his temper was supposed to have been terrible.
Shakespeare wouldn’t say anything, probably;
he’d be storing up bits for his next play. Whitman
would probably talk your head off, and then
you’d be bored and not like his work as much as you
used to. No, I don’t want to have dinner with anybody.
But if you’re serious about time travel, I’d like
to go to Jamaica in 1967 and be sitting at a table
and drinking a Red Stripe in the after-hours club
where Bob Marley is playing, and Otis Redding,
who is touring the island, comes in “like a god,”
according to eyewitness accounts, and Bob Marley
looks up and begins to sing “These Arms of Mine.”
Wow. I tell you, I wouldn’t be myself.
I’d be Troilus or Tristan or Lancelot,
crying my eyes out for Cressida or Isolde
or Guinevere. She’d be on the battlements
of a castle in Troy or Wales or England,
all beautiful and sad-eyed, and I’d be clanking
up a storm as I drop my lance and brush
my visor back and pound the table with my mailed fist
while all the rastas look at me and say “I and I a-go
cool out wit’ a spliff, mon!” But my arms
are burning, burning from wanting you
and wanting, wanting to hold you because
I need me somebody, somebody to treat me right,
oh, I need your woman’s loving arms to hold me tight.
And I . . . I . . . I need . . . I need your . . . I need
your tender lips, and if you would let these arms,
if you would let these arms of mine, oh, if you would
just let them hold you, oh, how grateful I would be.
Posted by Chet at 11:35 AM
Friday, February 27, 2009
Here's a list of links to poetry journals that have some kind of easy submission program or accept email submissions. This is mainly for me (so I can be lazy) but you all can look too.
After Hours (email)
American Poetry Journal (email)
The Baltimore Review
Barn Owl Review (email)
Bat City Review
Black Clock (email)
Blue Earth Review
Born Magazine (email)
Buffalo Carp (email)
Columbia: A Journal
Copper Nickel (email)
Hawk and Handsaw (email)
The Hollins Critic
The Literary Review
The Lumberyard (email)
The MacGuffin (email)
Many Mountains Moving
Massachusetts Review (fee)
Missouri Review (Fee)
National Poetry Review (email)
Naugatuck River Review (email)
New Orleans Review
Pebble Lake Review (email)
Post Road Magazine (email)
A Public Space
Puerto Del Sol
The Raintown Review (email)
Spinning Jenny (email)
Valparaiso Poetry Review (email)
Virginia Quarterly Review
Whiskey Island Magazine (email)
Windfall Pacific Northwest (email)
Posted by Chet at 3:41 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Wouldn't it be nice if all food was brought to us like this? Is there any possible way to end the mass production of foodstuff and at the same time feed everyone?
At Marlow & Daughters, all of the butchering is done in plain sight. “We do this out on the floor because we want you to see the difference,” Mr. Mylan said. “We can tell you it’s all local, and it’s all pastured, and buzzword, buzzword, buzzword, but until you take out a whole animal and put it on the table people have no idea what it means to bring really good meat into the city and break it down.”
Brooklyn's New Culinary Movement
Posted by Chet at 9:26 AM
Friday, February 13, 2009
"You know, the last thing that I think we're looking for at this juncture is advice on fiscal integrity or ethics from Karl Rove. I've never seen anything really like it . . . [former White House chief of staff] Andy Card saying that we were somehow denigrating the presidency because people were wearing short sleeves in the Oval Office. We're wearing short sleeves because we have to roll up our sleeves and clean up the mess that we inherited," - David Axelrod.
Posted by Chet at 1:16 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I've been working on this woodpecker poem for years now and it is all I can seem to work on. I tell myself I need to write and all I can do is write in some way toward this poem. It started in a class called Collage and Collaboration. We would do cut-ups and well, all kinds of things. I'm not really a fan of collage or collaboration in general, but it was fun to get out of my normal way of writing. So for my final project in this class I found many different quotes and bits of other poems that had something to do with extinction and interwove them with stuff I had written. I had a few poems already, but I mostly wrote from the quotes.
About this time there were reports of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas so much of the poem was geared toward the IBWO. I had always been intrigued with the IBWO and hearing that it might be back excited me. But that was about it. The class ended. I titled the poem "Notes On Extinction" and went about my business.
But then I got a call from a friend, a world class birder, who had taken a trip down the Choctawhatchee River and had seen an IBWO. Now, if it had been anyone else I would have laughed in their face, but instead I started planning a trip to the Florida panhandle. So I get down there, camp, kayak, listen, watch, camp, kayak, so on and on and out of nowhere I hear a double knock, and then another and that's it (A double-knock should be distinct to IBWO). I drove home to Chicago and have had that double-knock knocking in my skull ever since. So now I have about a thousand different thoughts for this poem and I can't seem to make it work.
I keep thinking that maybe I need to go back, that I need to see the place again to gain some kind of perspective. I think that where I want to go with this poem is where I want to go with my poetry. I feel like if I can break through all of these ideas into something bigger I will have done something, but the chances are actually pretty slim for that happening. Which is ok with me. I enjoy writing this so it isn't like it is all for nothing.
Here are some quotes I have interspersed throughout the poem-thing.
"The sense impressions of one-celled animals are not edited for the brain. This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way, since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is." --Annie Dillard from Pilgrim
Eastward and over the cypress swamp, the dawn,
Redder than meat, break;
And the large bird,
Long neck outthrust, wings crooked to scull air, moved
In a slow calligraphy, crank, flat, and black against
The color of God’s blood spilt . .
--Robert Penn Warren
". . . men came to Funk Island to kill auks solely for their feathers.
The crews built stone corrals into which they herded hapless Great Auks. Each summer, men boiled vats of water and threw the live birds in to loosen the feathers for plucking; that accomplished, the corpses were either thrown to the wayside or used as oily fuel for the fires. . ." from Hope is a Thing with Feathers
Behind the nothing & number of what
We are, the billboards’ blank amnesias,
That wake of all we were still trembles:
First nakedness & summer & that hush,
Its hymen no more than a cuticle
Of cattails bordering a marsh,
And beyond it, the hem of the darkest wood.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” -- Yahweh
and so on and on
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I usually write using the language of the natural world. I think I am often prematurely labeled as a "nature poet," but I don't care because I probably am too quick to label other poets as well. I will continue to write using the images and language that excite me, but what writers use the language and imagery found in the natural world and have transcended that dreaded "Nature Writer" tag?
I have had some amazing examples to learn from; Roethke's "North American Sequence", Keats' "Ode To Autumn" (and others), many James Wright poems, James Dickey's Drowning With Others, Larry Levis' The Widening Spell of the Leaves, Robert Penn Warren's Audubon: A Vision, Robert Olmstead's Stay Here With Me: A Memoir, and many sections of Cormac McCarthy's novels, especially the first part of The Crossing. Their work seems to rise organically and bridge the gap between human and other. That connection or that investigation into that connection is what I feel most great writing contains. But each of these writers evoke in me a visceral response that comes from something else. Is it just the writer saying something true for me? Is it me connecting with another? Is it the music? I want to believe it is something spiritual, magical, what have you, and I think I do. It seems corny to say it like that, but I think going to the edge of corny, sentimental, whatever, is something every writer must do and if you are too afraid to do that you are probably too afraid of what readers think of your writing (like we all are at times).
Recently I've added a new poet, Robert Wrigley, to my list, specifically a sequence in Reign of Snakes called "Earthly Meditations." I just saw that the first section of this work is at the Poetry Foundation's website. This poem is alive with crazy music. It truly is a meditation on the earth. I think if this poem were to accidentally show up in a workshop it would be torn apart. Someone would say, "cut every other word." It is adrift and if it were an essay in my Writing & Rhetoric class I would say it needs to be grounded (Well, really I would be blown away and say you get an A). This poem dares to be torn apart! That is the trouble with how we learn in MFA programs! OK, I won't go there.
I am very happy I found this poem.
to smoke, the lawn lumpish with goldfinches,
hunched in their fluffs, fattened by seed,
alight in the wind-bared peduncular forest.
Little bells, they loop and dive, bend
the delicate birch branches down.
I would enter the sky through the soil
myself, sing up the snail bowers
and go on the lam with the roots.
Licked by filaments, I would lie,
a billion love-mouths to suckle and feed.
a puddle two trout go savagely dying in.
Notice the bland, Darwinian sand: bone wrack
and tree skin, the ground down moon bowls
of mussels, viral stones dividing like mold.
At twelve, I buried the frog because it was dead
and dug it up because I'd been dreaming—
a fish belly light, a lowly chirruped chorus
of amens. I thought my nights might smell of hell.
if I've killed one frog, I've killed two.
Saint Rot and the sacraments of maggots:
knowing is humus and sustenance is sex.
It accrues and accrues, it stews
tumorous with delight. Tomorrow's
a shovelful, the spit of the cosmos, one day
the baby's breath is no longer a rose.
Posted by Chet at 9:53 PM
Friday, January 09, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Miller Williams (Lucinda's pa)
The Old Professor Deals with Death and Dying
Talking around the block with no one near
but me, my sometime friend,
I think of events that punctuate our lives
and how, as a kindness deep in the nature of things,
death brings the sentence to an end.
How many of us, though,
when vessels break and minds misconstrue,
will say inside ourselves that we'd rather be dead
except that we're scared to die?
More than a few,
hardly disturbing the bedsheets, have said—
telling not quite the truth, not quite a lie—
"Lord, I don't want to die. I just want to be dead."
They'd leave living behind and go back to what
they were before they were born. Who can recall
a lot of discomfort in that? Like as not,
we're all of us going to no place at all,
a nowhere with nothing to pay, nothing to do,
no one to do it with and no one to care.
What a crock to have to suffer through
a damned initiation to get only there.
Still we stand at the beds of those who leave us
and cherish the seconds. Still our best dramas
depend on the death scenes, which all the religious
tell us are not periods but commas.
Posted by Chet at 10:52 AM
Monday, January 05, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
So what has Mr. Salinger been doing for the last 40 years? The question obsesses Salingerologists, of whom there are still a great many, and there are all kinds of theories. He hasn’t written a word. Or he writes all the time and, like Gogol at the end of his life, burns the manuscripts. Or he has volumes and volumes just waiting to be published posthumously.
Joyce Maynard, who lived with Mr. Salinger in the early ’70s, wrote in a 1998 memoir that she had seen shelves of notebooks devoted to the Glass family and believed there were at least two new novels locked away in a safe.
Posted by Chet at 12:26 PM