Friday, March 24, 2006

Returning a Draft

I poked at drafts from Steve and Jeannine this week. Only seemed fair to offer them a shot at a brandy new one of my own.

{Sorry, this poem has been deleted}

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Haven't had much time for this little space recently - and still don't - but here are some thoughts for very late on a weeknight, removed from my brain that I might make room for sleep.

(1) Very interesting looking event this Sunday in Cranford, NJ: Deborah LaVeglia, Joe Weil, John McDermott & the CHS Madrigal Singers from 1-4 PM at the Cranford Public Library. This is the kind of ambitious event I aspire to design for my own poetry series. Excellent poets, music. This event also includes visual art - we've linked to the visual arts (and will again on May 6), but the verbal presentation of poetry really does best, I think, when another aural medium complements it. Things to think about for future seasons.

Jilly linkes to an article on the latest posthumous Bukowski that contains the following thought:

He knew that life was in the doing, not the laurels, which he said he didn’t care about. Good thing, because he wasn’t going to get any from the American literary elite who also have no use for e.e. cummings, Edward Arlington Robinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay and several other poets who are an ongoing source of inspiration for those of us who do not look to the critics for permission to be moved.

OK, not in it for the attaboys. That's great. But am I the only person who detects a great deal more poetic effort (craft, word choice, form or conscious anarchy, etc.) in those other poets than in Bukowski? I think Bukowski is a much better and more enjoyable read than cummings, but I think cummings took more care in the selection and placement of words on the page. That article then goes on:

The list of poets I recommend to aspirants starts with William Carlos Williams. Then come the other untouchables. But Bukowski is not far down on the list. I can think of no writer a young poet should more often read to see writing as risk, as consent to following one’s leadings regardless of caliber.

Oh, no. That doesn't really suggest write what you feel no matter how good it is, does it? Please, PLEASE someone correct what simply MUST be a misinterpretation on my part. I also hate the word "untouchables" to discuss great poets, but that's picky, and for another time.

(3) Maureen has posted a review of Debra Galant's book Rattled. Ms. Galant is a bit famous in the crowded suburban stripe that stretches west from Newark, NJ for the local news and commentary site The Barista of Bloomfield Avenue. The Newark mayoral race promises to be quite entertaining this year; if you're interested in the local politics version of Jon Stewart, go bookmark the Barista.

(4) And finally,
Writer's Digest had an article on ordering a poetry manuscript this month that contains quotes from many excellent poets (I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the great ladies of NJ poetry therein: Maria Mazziotti Gillan), yet still managed to be completely without a non-obvious suggestion. I'm beginning to think compiling a book is like hitting a baseball - either you can or you can't. And coaches can only help those who have proven they can.

My big dilemma now is deciding whether I'm a can or a can't.

Ahh, nothing like a good spleen venting. (That's right, this was nothing like a good spleen venting). But now to sleep....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I believe that no one is spared
the darkness,
and no one gets all of it.

from "What I Believe" by Michael Blumenthal
in Poems to Live By In Uncertain Times, edited by Joan Murray.

You could hypnotize yourself with this stanza, no?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Upcoming Readings

If you're in the northeast US, please take note of three places I'll be visible in the next few months:

Tomorrow night, I'll be at Saint Catherine's in Ringwood, NJ. I was one of the judges of their annual poetry contest, and will be participating in the poetry reading to celebrate that contest. It's part of a large community arts festival; well worth stopping by.

Later this month (March 22 to be precise) I'll be reading in the Wednesday Night Poetry Series in Bethel, CT.

And in May, I'll be representing the Edison Literary Review at the annual Celebration of New Jersey Literary Journals in West Caldwell on May 21 (details forthcoming).

For reminders of these and other NJ and DV events, sign up for my emailing list.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Aphorisms for Caregivers

Somewhat at random:
  • The patient who has lost all language still speaks her own pain fluently.
  • In the doorway to the hospital, you are just the second domino.
  • Confidence is trust in things promised. It is not the absence of questions.

Be back soon.