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Showing posts from 2011

Curse of the Cat Woman--Edward Field

Edward Field is a new discovery of mine, and here's a representative poem, both funny and odd, like most of his work that I've read. Curse of the Cat Woman by  Edward Field It sometimes happens that the woman you meet and fall in love with is of that strange Transylvanian people with an affinity for cats. You take her to a restaurant, say, or a show, on an ordinary date, being attracted by the glitter in her slitty eyes and her catlike walk, and afterward of course you take her in your arms, and she turns into a black panther and bites you to death. Or perhaps you are saved in the nick of time, and she is tormented by the knowledge of her tendency: that she daren't hug a man unless she wants to risk clawing him up. This puts you both in a difficult position, panting lovers who are prevented from touching not by bars but by circumstance: you have terrible fights and say cruel things, for having the hots does not give you a sweet temper. One night you are walk

We Who Have Sold Out, by Bruce Embree

          We who have sold out are working on dreams of sheetrock and vasoline Don't tell us we are shallow We were denied your lonesome road and guitar music cursed with our own choices which were to go to work           Your smoky nights and poverty they all at least pretended to care when you took a notion to go out and lose your mind We put on our nigger jokes and coveralls laughed as we hated everything, ourselves especially and had no tears           The pretty words, carved rocks and canvas you decorated? We buy tigers or big eyed kids on black velvet           Our curses are not for your freedom or songs of protest They are for the dues we paid They are for turning around one morning and finding we were nobody           Yes we are working on dreams We who have sold out.

John Berryman Still Loves Us When We Wish We Were Dead

High, West, and Crooked

cross-posted from Fried Chicken and Coffee That's how I feel right now after trying to manage my time in the last few days since I found out my chapbook  Broke  was going to be published (and quickly) by Didi Menendez and MiPoesias, the same folks that brought you  Redneck Poems.  That great news, combined with the home situation in which my wife is working ever more hours as the B&N gears up for Christmas, and the kids needing what kids need, like, uh, food, homework, interesting things to play with, and not so much TV, has given me a pain I'm just now wending my way out of. Having two books to promote at the same time is not ideal, but I'm not bitching, either. I am capital G grateful to Didi Menendez for seeing fit to pub this chapbook. And in keeping with this, here are all the links for purchase and/or download. Here's how you can order or download Broke: To get a print edition of  Broke , please see

Appalachian Prison Book Project

The Appalachian Prison Book Project , a program that aims to rehabilitate inmates by giving them free books to read, has lost their funding and is looking for book donations.  The West Virginia University Department of English  is accepting donation on the program’s behalf. The most sought after books from the program are dictionaries, auto repair manuals, psychology textbooks and fiction. And for security purposes, all donations must be paperback. Please give to this good cause . Thanks to Kerrie Kemperman for bringing it to my attention.

Salem Literary Festival: Poetry Crush

Here's a pic, stolen from January O'Neil's blog, Poet Mom  (thanks!). I'm the hairy guy at the back, along with the much-less-hairy  January, Colleen, Walnut and Jennifer , beginning from the rear. I had a great time with this, even including the 45 steps to the third floor of the Phillips House  in Salem MA, where the event was held. In the heat we all talked about our favorite poets, even admitting to some schoolboy/schoolgirl like crushes like mine for Frank Stanford . I'm an awfully fickle reader and lover of poetry as a rule. I simply dump shit I don't enjoy reading and wait for my next pass of donations to get rid of it. But somehow my fickleness has never evidenced itself with Frank Stanford. I read and read and I never get tired. If you haven't read him, I feel badly for you. Circle of Lorca BY FRANK STANFORD When you take the lost road You come to the snow And when you find the snow You get down on your hands and knees Like a sick d

Another Blazevox Post

If you're a small press, you've likely heard of this tempest in a teapot already and formed an opinion. In case you haven't, Sandra Beasley makes a great deal of sense here . If the epicenter of your annual sales model is the AWP conference, you gotta shake it up. That's right, even if you plan to have really cool swag (shot glasses!) at your table, and an offsite reading at the grubbiest hipster bar in town. We have got to stop thinking that credibility in our own community is enough (emphasis mine). You need to bust your ass, whether you can or not, getting out there personally among the potential readers. It's not enough to be great poetry, you have to make your poems known by reading them at events and publishing them where non-writing friends and other people can see them (online, if you ask me). It doesn't take a salesperson to sell them, it takes simply your presence along with a desire to discuss what you already love.

Prosody and Other Fun Things

If you've ever struggled with meter, this place can help you out. I'm still here, just distanced for the moment from poetry. I'm writing two new stories for someone who solicited me, and banging away on my old novel trying to make it better for public presentation. What are you all up to?

John Wieners - Hyannisport, MA - 2.21.02 - Last Public Reading

Found at Silliman's blog , but worth reposting.

Clare Pollard, Poet

Clare Pollard is a English poet, and new to me. I read her book Changeling , from Bloodaxe Books in England recently, and was struck immediately by some refashioning of myth that so many people do badly, but not her, thank God, as well as some stark confessional poetry that hit me even more. It's Sextonish, yes, but with a contemporary and more cynical feel. Well worth the time to track it down, this book. Go forth and do what you must: consume. Adventures in Capitalism Nothing is real and I want it to stop. I cut my wrists, but the blood looks like make up. I slump in toilets snorting cocaine but it doesn't seem true, just a grimy dream. I wanted to feel , so had a tattoo done. I chose a sea-blue anchor near the bone, then saw it in a tabloid and felt a fake. Crashed a car dad bought me. Nothing broke. I went to see Othello swallow a lie and cried at the end, but it was only a play. Read some Rimbaud, bought a black polo-neck and

From Bill Knott's Latest Collection Murder/Suicide

which is available for free , as all of his books are, or you can pay a few bucks for a print copy via Lulu. This is the first poem from this edition. I had not read it before, but now I can't stop thinking about it. 1946 The year Noir was born; the year Nazis hid In monasteries to restore their force; Peace, but peace that made some things even worse Than they were pre-war: I was just a kid, Hard at play, cap pistols, hooky, apples Filched through a farm fence: then my mother dies, Killed illegal abortion style by guys Quoting God, his badboy lies, his bibles. Pope Vandal burnt the last Complete Sappho Publicly, my mother was butchered in A secret site; their results much the same, So I blame him and him and him and him, All of them from Adam onwards are men, Meaning me, meaning the worst thing I know. Note: In 1073, Pope Gregory VII ordered the public  burning of all books containing the poetry of Sappho

from Three Variations, All About Love, by Philip Whalen

I love this poem so much I typed it in. I. So much to tell you Not just that I love There is so much more You must hear and see If I came to explain It would do no good Wordlessly nibbling your ear Burying my face in your belly All I would tell is you And love; I must tell Me, that I am a world Containing more than love Holding you and all your other Lovers wherein you And I are free from each other A world that anyone can walk alone Music, coathangers, the sea Mountains,ink, trashy novels Trees, pancakes, The Tokaido Road The desert--it is yours Refuse to see me! Don't answer the door or the telephone Fly off in a dragon-chariot Forget you ever knew me But wherever you are Is a corner of me, San Juan Letran Or Montreal,Brooklyn, Or the Lion Gate Under my skin at the Potala Behind my eyes at Benares Far in my shoulder at Port-au-Prince Lifted in my palm Anywhere you must be you Drugged, drunk or mad As old,as young, whatever you are Livin

44 Joy Street Boston MA--John Wieners

I guess I have a project now. Take pictures of places where my favorite poets lived. It's fun, and gets me places I wouldn't normally go. Any suggestions?

Charles Olson, 28 Fort Square Gloucester MA

The family took a drive today, and this is where we went: Charles Olson's Gloucester home. The remainder of these pics are mostly the view from the house, or the house itself. You'll see the plaque on the wall in a few of the shots. It was a fun trip. If you want more Olson photos and ephemera, go here .

Try Some Hayden Carruth on for Size

I know I've posted this before, but it's so damned good it deserves more web-time. Emergency Haying by Hayden Carruth Coming home with the last load I ride standing on the wagon tongue, behind the tractor in hot exhaust, lank with sweat, my arms strung awkwardly along the hayrack, cruciform. Almost 500 bales we've put up this afternoon, Marshall and I. And of course I think of another who hung like this on another cross. My hands are torn by baling twine, not nails, and my side is pierced by my ulcer, not a lance. The acid in my throat is only hayseed. Yet exhaustion and the way my body hangs from twisted shoulders, suspended on two points of pain in the rising monoxide, recall that greater suffering. Well, I change grip and the image fades. It's been an unlucky summer. Heavy rains brought on the grass tremendously, a monster crop, but wet, always wet. Haying was long delayed. Now is our last chance to bring in the winter's feed, and Marshall needs hel

Paul Blackburn's Statement of Poetics

What do you think? From Modern American Poetry: My poetry may not be typically American, or at least in matter, not solely so: but I think it does make  use  of certain techniques which, even when not invented by American poets, find their particular exponents there in contemporary letters, from Pound & Doctor Williams, to younger writers like Paul Carroll or Duncan or Creeley.          Techniques of juxtaposition.          Techniques of speech rhythms,                                                 sometimes very intense,                                                  sometimes developed slowly, as                                                  one would have                          conversation with a friend. Personally, I affirm two things:                                                            the possibility of warmth & contact                                                                        in the human relationship : as juxtaposed ag

New Review of Redneck Poems

Sorry I haven't had much to say on poetry lately. I'm writing another novel, so don't be surprised if the lull lasts for the three-four months it'll take me to put together a draft. In the meantime, Sheldon Compton reviewed Redneck Poems and has some smart things to say about it, for a guy who says he doesn't talk about poetry much. I'm not a poet. Wouldn't know a couplet from a coupling. It's why I rarely talk about books of poetry and even more rarely write poetry, but I felt a stout and strong urge to talk a bit about Rusty Barnes' REDNECK POEMS. In this collection of fourteen poems, there is much to appreciated in as far as poetic device is concerned. I can recognize that much, but I'll go no further on that topic. Rusty moves as easily from poetry to short short fiction to longer works to editing the writing of others with equal ease and skill. MORE . If you're still missing this tiny book of mine, why? It's free .

Alaska Poet John Haines Dead

He was a sane man . He left much of society behind in favor of homesteading in Alaska's interior, and he wrote great poems about nature. I say that to differentiate great nature poems from great poems about nature. There are writers who show the natural world in all its magnificence (Mary Oliver, sepia-toned) but I find Haines more, well, real. Oliver's poems seem to glorify while Haines tends more to describe, and let you draw your own conclusion. This quote is from a lengthy article in the Contemporary Poetry Review . John Haines  is well known as a writer who has communicated not only his rare experience of homesteading in Alaska, but also a view of modern society as seen from the perspective he gained there. Ever since I discovered Haines’s poetry in an anthology in the late 1980s, I have returned to it many times for its sane values and contemplative intensity. Recently I read for the first time his prose memoir  The Stars, the Snow, the Fire  (more memoir pieces are in

Modes of the Lyric Poem/Matthew Zapruder

Hanging 'round the internet poetry world as I do (usually without saying much) I love to find little trails of commentary that give me new ways to think, in this case, about the lyric poem. A little gift Sean Patrick Hill at Bookslut gives us before he reviews Matthew Zapruder 's Come On  All You Ghosts , this brief discussion frames Zapruder's work as a tension between two modes of the lyric poem. Since I'm not a critic nor interested much in poetics yet, I read this with great interest, since I see this essay more as the by now ages-old discussion between what gets discussed first in poetry (call it the main poetic mode) as opposed to discussion of what passes for experimentation. And curiously, it's an essay that doesn't seem to take sides (bravo!). In the 21st century, the lyric poem has found itself in quite the quandary. But much of this depends on who you ask: if one considers the general poetry readership to be represented as a typical subscriber to T

Live Nude Poem--New Draft


Beneath the Chickenshit Mormon Sun by Bruce Embree

I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links:

Paul Blackburn and Sexism

How does one respond to sexism in poets whose work seems to be filled with it, like Blackburn? The quick answer most people would give is: ignore it. Yet here I am, reading more and more, and yes, enjoying, the supposedly sexist work of Paul Blackburn and wondering why there isn't much if any criticism of his important work in the late 50s and 60s, when he served as gatekeeper and recorder of many readings which have helped establish the avant-garde presence and reading scene in New York as well as given us great historical insight into the poets associated at that time with the New York scene.  And of course I'm thinking about his poems, which kept him in the middle of things as a talent in his own right. It's not difficult, unfortunately to see why he's not read, and that makes me sad. His poetry is worth more than a few cursory footnotes to the era. I've come to the conclusion now, after dipping into the collected poems at length, but randomly, and reading fo

Any Reviews?

Anyone noticed any reviews of Redneck Poems out there, or have one planned? I sent out maybe 5-10 copies to various places and people,and would like to remind potential reviewers and other people that they can get the (FREE!) nicely formatted e-chapbook by visiting either of these two URLS: or get a cheap print copy ($5.50) by visiting Magcloud . If you like rural-based poems of sex, violence or shelling peas, or the visceral feel of mud in your toes, you might like this little chapbook. Here's part of what one reviewer liked-- from Rene Schwiesow at the  Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene blog: 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 Appala

Book-Counting Games

I don't read nearly as many books as this guy , who is the single most widely read person on the continent, probably, but I read more than my fair share, usually in bed from midnight to three am. I can get most or all of one book into my brain during that time, if it's fiction or non-fiction, but then I don't really enjoy it (reading fiction) the way I used to, pre-academia. I don't get what Steve (see aforementioned link) calls the 'element of submersion.' I'm always reading with one eye to craft. But the point of this post is to say that I'm going to list what I'm reading every week or so to keep track (and so I can add to Goodreads, which is still good fun for me). I may comment further, I may not. You can still count on periodic longer posts detailing or discussing what I'm reading on the 'nets in regards poetry. So, in 2011 so far, and via the blessings that are used bookstores online, I have read these books: Against the Silences ,

The Field Goal Dialectic by Daniel Pritchard

This is a sweet little nugget I ran into on Twitter. “Can’t you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?” — Lucy Van Pelt, A Charlie Brown Christmas Lucy puts the football down and then pulls it away at the last moment, leaving Charlie Brown sprawled across the lawn. Time after time, Charlie commits to the kick whole-heartedly, despite all evidence that the game is rigged. He’s going for the touchback. He throws himself into the task. Lucy cheats him. He tries again. Lucy pulls the ball away again. It’s downright sociopathic. Anyone who was a good, productive worker at the beginning of 2008, but finds themselves on unemployment today — that “pre-paid vacation for freeloaders,” as Ronald Reagan so quaintly put it — probably feels a great deal of sympathy for poor Charlie. Those who side with Reagan probably find it funny. This football scene is a sort of paradigm for capitalism: a system of fairness, merit, and opportunity that easily, often, and by its own rules, implodes. When po