Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kibble (the stuff that's not quite up to "Bits" standards)

Wouldn't it make more sense for Mothers' Day to be coincident with the end of the (grammar) school year? As much as I think of myself as an involved and enlightened father, it seems sensible to celebrate mothers at the same time the day-to-day schlepping of the a school year hits a little bit of a lull.

Of course, "camp" starts soon enough...


At YDP, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer has been celebrating fathers this week. As always, her selections span from contemporary to classic, and the idea that we have been exploring our relationships with our fathers for hundreds of years is somehow comforting to me.

Jayne posted this week one of my favorite father-themed poems by I writer I am getting to know better this year. Go read Gregory Orr's "Father's Song" and, if you've been around these parts for long, you'll quickly see that it's the kind of poem I frequently aspire to write.

Today's poem, by the way, is by Jerseyan and literarymama columnist Ona Gritz; her work is always worth a visit.


I hereby concede to the spammenters. Comment moderation is now turned on here. I get so few comments, it's not a big deal, but it is ridiculous.

And yes, I will continue to prevent anything I find offensive from appearing in the comments section (though now proactively instead of through deletion. My mother visits here, after all.


Ron Silliman was in Poetry in June. He was last in that august periodical in 1969. I think that says something, but I'm not sure exactly what.

The issue in which he appears has letters on both sides of a "controversy" regarding the value, or maybe the appropriateness, of having poets explain their work. This may be particularly meaningful in an issue in which Silliman appears, given his ongoing position that most poets put so little effort into the craft that there is no "other layer" to the work - that most things people call "poems" today are at best interrupted prose in consideration of sitcom-quality topics (all of that is in my words, by the way, not his...). And I know that even I, whose work is not nearly as many-layered or allusive as that of the great poets I follow, grow weary of people stopping in the middle of a poem to ask "what does it mean?" However, I find the vehemency of some poets' opposition to explanation just as wearying. If we want to grow poetry's audience, we need to provide some opportunity for people to latch onto it. And once latched on, the explanations are irrelevant. Explanations are like the instructions to a great board game like History of the World. We cling to the directions when we're learning, but once we are proficient we leave them in the box and just play.

Why is this such a problem for some poets?


Quote today on iGoogle: "Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be religious people." (it's attributed to Doris Egan, but I don't know if it's her or one of her characters speaking). Now, as a daily practitioner both of my Roman Catholic faith and my technology career, I think this is selling people of faith a bit short, but that's for another forum. What's interesting to me is that you could substitute just about any subject about which people feel passionately for the religious connotation in this statement. For example, could you imagine hearing "Rational arguments about poetry don't usually work on poets. Otherwise, there wouldn't be poets."? Or soccer fans? Are annoyed with sportscasters feeling obliged to tell us how they don't like soccer everyday during the World Cup? I don't care if you like soccer (I'm not a fan, really, either), but don't disparage people who do. Likewise poetry.

BTW, doesn't this link clearly to the explanation argument? If the fervent are dismissive of the explanations, and the uninitiated are dismissive of the explanations, is there anywhere for the two to connect?


Today is one of six days every year (well, 11 days back in 2000). I root against the Yankees. Forgive me, please!


And in case I don't get back to you, Happy Father's Day!

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