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New Review of Redneck Poems

Redneck Poems Reviewed

Redneck Poems reviewed by Rene Schwiesow at Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene:
Edge. Rusty Barnes work will walk you out to the edge, ask you to look over, and consider whether you feel your stomach drop or your eyes water as you read. This is the real thing. Barnes grew up in rural Appalachia and his words are shot through with those Appalachian roots. Barnes creates an image that arouses all the senses in the opening of “When the Wrong Words Get Said:"More:

Poem Draft

I can't remember whether I posted this one or not. I generally hate dislike intensely poems that are so obvious. This one has something at the end that needs more exploration, I think, but it's tough to find energy to work on it because it's so obvious. It'll disappear in a few days.



*poof

More on my Paul Blackburn Obsession

Paul Blackburn and Lee Byrd
I'm officially and permanently obsessed.  Now I want to know where the criticism is. Shouldn't a poet of Blackburn's status and lifework have more written about him? If you, any of you reading, can give me links or info about articles of books, I'd really appreciate it.



Blackburn at Wikipedia
EPC/Blackburn
Jacket 12/Blackburn
Modern American Poetry
Poets Path/Blackburn
Burt Kimmelman on The Journals
Blackburn papers UC San Diego
Blackburn reading The Old Days
Blackburn reading at Bard
Google Books Poem of the Cid
PennSound Blackburn Readings
Joe Hall discusses The Journals

Essay on Paul Blackburn by Clayton Eshleman

I found this on Facebook where Don Share linked to it. The author is Clayton Eshleman, the blogger is A.M.Bramhall.

The essay goes to some trouble countering the established view that Blackburn is sexist in a way that immediately draws attention to itself, and overcomplicates reading the poems. I assumed Blackburn had been assigned minor figure status in the strange way that the canon adjusts itself to new or different criticism. I see from this essay that Blackburn seems to always have been minor status, and that's too bad. The defense (Eshleman) doesn't work hard enough to change that, but I stand here saying it needs changing.

Eshleman brings out Freud in Blackburn's defense, with over-significant broken masts and purse-seine vaginas and what have you, and discusses what he calls the three modes of sexuality in the poems, a dirty joke variety which has become the standard text of discussion and includes the few poems anthologized, along with a 'turgid sexual despair…

Mather Schneider's Drought Resistant Strain

I don't recall reading Mather Schneider's work before this year, but that's apparently because I don't read widely enough, as he's published something like five hundred poems. I took him first for yet another Bukowski imitator (I suppose I could ask him straight out if he thinks he's influenced by the dirty old man but I don't really care all that much, and I suspect, neither does he)but found when I read a bit more discovered he had more going for him than the Buk, namely, some humility and compassion that leavens the (often tired) attitudes toward licker and wimmen and durgs, as well as a way with phrasing that renders his work a pleasure to read. More than mere narrative, these poems at their best evince a practiced and polished lyric and an attitude toward life that looks forward to better times instead of wallowing in the past. You can find plenty of evidence of his gifts on the 'nets, but my examples come from his most recent book, Drought Resista…

Appeal to Poetry Editors

from Poetic Asides and Robert Lee Brewer:

Dear Poetry Editors,*For years, poets have grown accustomed to rejection in several forms (as in rejection forms) and the occasional nice note. However, there are some editorial practices that need to be done away with for the good mental health of poets, who already have their mental health called into question for working tirelessly at their craft for little or no money (myself included).No NoteFirst, there's the case of editors who don't include any sort of note--even a form letter--with rejected poems. I totally understand if you can't afford to print up form rejection letters, but surely you at least have a pen that can write something on the poems. The word NO would probably convey your meaning.No note gives poets a false sense of hope. For instance, they may think, "Hey, there was no rejection included, so maybe...maybe they liked what I sent?"Don't laugh. Poets are a hopeful people.Empty Envelope**This is even …

Another November Draft

*poof*

New Poem Draft

It'll disappear in a few days, but it's the first one in a while, so I thought I'd post it. I'll slowly be working on poems every day this month.



*poof*

A Quick Poem For You and News of Some Upcoming Posts

Hi everybody. Long time no see. I had visitors for a week, I got behind on Night Train, the kids got sick all at once, and here I am, with no posts for a while except my self-puffery, which I'm trying to avoid (but no one else will do it; see my dilemma?).


I've been trying to restart my poetry engine by going back and forth between new-to-me poets and standbys. I'll have a short review or commentary on Drought Resistant Strain, poetry by Mather Schneider and possibly another, on an anthology called New European Poets, up on the blog soon. The latter will be a little slower in coming because I have to rethink my approach to 'criticizing' poetry, not just because of this book, but mostly. See, I'm ignorant of a lot of contemporary European poetry (among many other things), and it's so different in some ways from American poetry it's as if the two barely communicate--or have communicated--at all. And I want to communicate, in my own work, which is not the g…

Redneck Poems is Released

Hey--some biggish news today. My free e-book/chapbook is available now. It's called Redneck Poems and it's part of the MiPOesias Chapbook Series. It's available for free via Issuu and Scribd, and in print (free on iPad) for a small fee via Magcloud. It's even on Goodreads if you should find it in your heart to rate or review it: Goodreads. It's my first poetry chapbook and I hope you like it. If you do, lemme know. If not, don't harsh my buzz. Just kidding. If you tell me it sucks, though, I'll probably ball up for 15 or 16 hours and then kill something cute like a bunny. Just an FYI.

New E-Chap from Kyle Hemmings: Avenue C

I've known Kyle's writing for some time now--and was lucky enough to publish a couple stories--and he never fails to impress me. His e-chapbook from Scars Publishing, called Avenue Cfits more than neatly into the subject matter I like to read about. I'm somewhat jealous of these poems, to be honest, and that doesn't happen often. Here's the first poem in the book, the title poem.

Avenue C


1.

She gets high on diesel dust
& mute reruns of Jack Benny.
This slinky white boot Barbarella
has got a rubber soul
that stretches into angel octave,
levitates in the nightly limbo
of bong & free trade
called Avenue C.

Claiming to be owned
by 3 bipolar Kings of Funk,
she breaks glass beer bottles
in the backseat of my old Cougar
& gives herself up
at least once a month.
She doesn’t even wipe
the rivulets of blood
spelling my name
with a missing vowel.

I drive my car
on methamphetamine rage
fill everything up
on zeroes.

At the club tonight,
the D.J. looking like
some…

New E-Chap from Kyle Hemmings: Avenue C

I've known Kyle's writing for some time now--and was lucky enough to publish a couple stories--and he never fails to impress me. His e-chapbook from Scars Publishing, called Avenue Cfits more than neatly into the subject matter I like to read about. I'm somewhat jealous of these poems, to be honest, and that doesn't happen often. Here's the first poem in the book, the title poem.

Avenue C


1.

She gets high on diesel dust
& mute reruns of Jack Benny.
This slinky white boot Barbarella
has got a rubber soul
that stretches into angel octave,
levitates in the nightly limbo
of bong & free trade
called Avenue C.

Claiming to be owned
by 3 bipolar Kings of Funk,
she breaks glass beer bottles
in the backseat of my old Cougar
& gives herself up
at least once a month.
She doesn’t even wipe
the rivulets of blood
spelling my name
with a missing vowel.

I drive my car
on methamphetamine rage
fill everything up
on zeroes.

At the club tonight,
the D.J. looking like
some…

David Huddle and Brian Brodeur

Brian Brodeur's How a Poem Happens recently had an enlightening Q&A with poet David Huddle, a part of which I'll paste below. This entry, and the whole blog is worth a long look.
Do you have any particular audience in mind when you write, an ideal reader? Tough question. I used to claim I thought about audience only after I had finished the piece of writing and had begun to wonder where I should send it. In recent years, however, I’ve been writing with my students, and in that case I’m writing for the immediate audience of the writing class where I will present my poem alongside the other poets presenting theirs. I do still like to think that I don’t write “to” any particular audience. This is sort of like confessing that one is somewhat promiscuous but one is not a complete slut.I'm not familiar with Huddle's poetry, but I will be pretty soon, you can bet, based on the quoted poem in that entry.

Franz Wright's Drafts

Just a quick note. I thought this presentation deserved wider audience. It contains discussions and drafts of one of our indispensable poets, to my ear. There's an interview linked within, which I've pulled out to the front, here. Reading his best poems make my internal organs contract, all at once. They're signs of witness, as well as signposts toward--and somehow working against--the sort of life that most of us have. They give us something to look up to and strive for.

What I'm Reading and More on Ted Berrigan

I am reading these books, in no particular order. I leave them at the bedside, by my laptop, in the library, in both bathrooms, and on the shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen, so's I always have something to read when I have time away from the kids. Yes, bathroom time is included in that.

Daddy's by Lindsay Hunter: This book will scalp you and make you like it. I just got it today and dipped in here and there. Go get it now.

Talking in Tranquility: Interviews with Ted Berrigan: Pretty much what it says it is. These interviews deal significantly with the Sonnets--even at the end of his life the first thing interviews talk about are the Sonnets--and I can't imagine that was pleasing for him, though he handles the questions every time without showing how many times he's been asked about them. That's a good skill to have.

Paterson, by William Carlos Williams: I got tired of not knowing Paterson, so I'm reading it. Jury's still out on quality assessment, though I hav…

Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters by Ted Berrigan

I mentioned this book a couple weeks back and just now saw this interview with Berrigan's close friend Ron Padgett on Harriet, originally published in PW.
Poet Ted Berrigan's close friend Ron Padgett co-edited Dear Sandy, a collection of letters the young Ted wrote his wife when she was institutionalized by her parents for marrying him.
What was your relationship with Ted while he was writing these letters?We were both living in New York on the Upper West Side, but I was keeping my distance from him. Although we saw each other and there was no overt hostility, I was feeling a bit cool toward him during that period.How do you think all Ted's interests in writers and artists come together in these letters?They combined in several ways. First, in a general way, that is, as an affirmation that art and literature really do matter in one's life. Ted was encouraged by all the great art he was seeing in New York and all the books he was reading. In a more literary sense, he was …

Ever Wondered About Poetry Bestsellers?

Jim Behrle lays it out for you.

Weekly, the good folks at Harriet put up a post that links back to a list of poetry bestsellers. Where does this list come from? Is this a Publishers' Weekly bestseller list? Does the Poetry Foundation create a list? The word "bestseller" is a dicey supposition to begin with, across any genre. The New York Times bestseller list does ask many bookstores to report their own bestseller lists to contribute to the numbers. But a New York Times bestseller doesn't usually mean more customers bought #1 than #2. When a warehouse at a distributor replenishes another warehouse at a chain, that could count as bestseller numbers. And it's up to the individual reporting store to decide how to report to the New York Times. If a reporting store had events that particular week with Carl Hiaasen and Sloane Crosley, guess who will be at the top of their Bestseller List? Neilsen's Bookscan does not take into account sales at Walmart or Sam's C…

Why Can't I Leave You, by Ai

Speaking of great poems this time, from Poetry 365--


You stand behind the old black mare,
dressed as always in that red shirt,
stained from sweat, the crying of the armpits,
that will not stop for anything,
stroking her rump, while the barley goes unplanted.
I pick up my suitcase and set it down,
as I try to leave you again.
I smooth the hair back from your forehead.
I think with your laziness and the drought too,
you’ll be needing my help more than ever.
You take my hands, I nod
and go to the house to unpack,
having found another reason to stay.

I undress, then put on my white lace slip
for you to take off, because you like that
and when you come in, you pull down the straps
and I unbutton your shirt.
I know we can’t give each other any more
or any less than what we have.
There is a safety in that, so much
that I can never get past the packing,
the begging you to please, if I can’t make you happy,
come close between my thighs
and let me laugh for you from my second mouth.

Letters to Yesenin #3

Last night, in a reaction to some new meds, all my joints exploded with a pain I can only describe as burning from within. I felt like shit and knew I wouldn't sleep, so I picked up Letters to Yesenin by Jim Harrison, a book I reread every year or so to remind myself to stay alive. Last night was the time; I grabbed it and a bunch of John Wieners (check out the new EPC page on Wieners) for my dark night of the soul. It's a great life-affirming read though every poem is more or less about suicide. I think this poem is from 1972 or 1973, as it describes events from the 1972 Olympics.
Letters to Yesenin3 I wanted to feel exalted so I picked upDoctor Zhivago again. But the newspaper was therewith the horrors of the Olympics, those dead andperpetually martyred sons of David. I want to presentall Israelis with .357 magnums so that they arenever to be martyred again. I wanted to be exaltedso I picked up Doctor Zhivago again but the TV was onwith a movie about the sufferings of convicts…

Poetry Bomb

Here's a prosaic poem. I tried to do something with the repetition, as you can see, and I'm sure it doesn't work right now. I'll force myself to recast it at some point, but the sentiments are there so when my wife stumbles over my blog as she sometimes does she can read it. Like a poetry-bomb, except it'll disappear in a couple days.


*poof*

A Book to Look Forward To

I yanked this info from the Poetry Foundation blog, Harriet. It's a starred review, too, so I'm very much looking forward to reading it. I love poet's letters, but I wonder if any contemporary poets are archiving their emails for posterity. I doubt it, and that's too bad. The interwebs have shortened not only our attention span but our capacity for those long conversations letter-to-letter and closer to the heart than the short coldness of email.
Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan, Ted
 Berrigan, edited by Sandy Berrigan and Ron Padgett, Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $19.95 paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-56689-249-0

In 1962, poet Ted Berrigan (The Sonnets) was an unknown New York writer. While visiting New Orleans, he eloped with 19-year-old Sandy Alper. Suspecting Ted of drug use, Sandy’s parents “became frightened and irrational” and had her involuntarily committed to a mental ward, although after a few months, Sandy managed to flee with Ted. By 1969 the…

More on John Wieners

Just a quick note on John Wieners, via Silliman.


Between Visions:


I printed a few paragraphs from the essay below in My Year 2004 in a piece devoted to Marjorie Perloff, in whose course I first encountered the work of John Wieners. The essay was one of my first attempts to discuss contemporary poetry, and it reveals the graduate-student environment in which it was written. The essay was written at a time when postmodernism was just beginning to have an impact on literary texts and my own notions of postmodernism, moreover, were highly influenced by the course for which I wrote the essay, which would ultimately result in Marjorie Perloff’s important study, The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage.
Consequently, I had decided not to republish the piece until news came last week that Wieners had collapsed on a Boston Street and died a few days later, on March 1, in Massachusetts General Hospital. Without any identification upon him, he lay in the hospital for several days, hooked up to…

Ariana Reines

is someone whose poems I admire very much. Part of the attraction seems her complete willingness to try anything to make the work bold and memorable. The poems follow no discernable form, look like average-to-bad free verse on the page--random line breaks, simple language-- it seems to me, and on first read you might find it easier to chuck them than face them straight-on, but that would be a terrible mistake. As Gardner said of Robert Penn Warren, read it again. Her books include TheCow  and CoeurDeLion, and she also translates Baudelaire and Jean-Luc Hennig.



Here's one from Everyday Genius.


from THE PALACE OF JUSTICE

when my boyfriend called the cops on me
i waited in my room for them to come
i waited a half hour and then another half
hour
this naked whiteness i could contrive to cleanse me
officer i am in love and now my lover hate me
always having dreamed of being a monk in a cell
if i eat celery for ten days and with an ether commingle
i could sit in the seat of rocks and razors
standin…