Thursday, November 29, 2007

What I keep forgetting

"A poet's pleasure is to withhold a little of his meaning, to intensify by mystification. He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it."(E. B. White)

This was a recent Poetry Calendar page, and it comes at a good time, reminding me of an important variable to consider in the final selection of poems for the chapbook contest (deadline Saturday!) that I've finally decided to enter. Fewer qualms about this submission than past ones, as it's a contest that gives me a better "in" than most contests, but I've set expectations to - 0 - as usual.

This is an interesting challenge for the writer who has technical writing among their other disciplines (eg: as their day job) - to be able to move seamlessly from the necessarily complete to the delibertely incomplete. Jeff and Jeannine have credentials that suggest it is possible, so I have hope.

Anyway, check back in Monday and see if I made it to the post office!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Twas Brillig... Good Grief!

How have I never noticed Lewis Carroll and Charles Schulz share a birthday? Surely this means something. I have always loved and recited Jabberwocky, and I've quoted Peanuts almost constantly since grade school (don't tell anyone, though, lest my apparent wisdom be diminished).

Nah, you're right probably means nothing at all.

Friday, November 23, 2007

In Which I Admit I'm a Turkey But Move On Past Thanksgiving Regardless...

Geez, another month off for me. I sense a new year's resolution coming on. Anyway. Things of note?

My kids have been getting a long introduction to the fine art of storytelling listening to two of the best: Joseph Bruchac and Dovie Thomason. I've heard both at the Dodge and find them to be outstanding at their craft. It's really quite remarkable to see the impact good storytelling can have with a creative child.

The kids have also been working on what may be the best project ever at school. Every two months, they (essentially) have to "scrapbook" two pages of poetry. It can be original or researched, and the only rule is it can't all come from "The Internet". The one rule is, I guess, encouragement not be lazy in research; there wasn't any risk of that in this house. We're having a great time with it. I'm late in joining in, but I think starting in December, I'll join them and use this space as my scrapbook.

Me, well, busy with new stuff on the day job and recently completed a couple of family projects of some importance, so the usual comment of "many good excuses" applies. However, I've also found time to weed the manuscript down for chapbook contest submission with a December 1 deadline in mind. It's in the "settling stage", where I leave it in the briefcase for a couple days undisturbed and hope it still feels done when I look at it again Sunday. I'll let you know then.

Oh, and you should definitely read Matthew Baldwon's consiedarion of the point of giving thanks.

Condifential to the radical left: Permit yourself to remember the joys while others ritualize the sorrows. This is the gift you are best poised to bring.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Gastroanomintime for Christmas!

Hurray! James Lileks' new book, Gastroanomalies, is being released in time for Christmas, and can be preordered now for early December deliveries. If you haven't read The Gallery of Regrettable Food, Interior Desecrations, or Mommy Knows Worst, you are the poorer for it. There are some online samples of those first two books - revivals of bad 50's cookbooks and the best (by which I mean the worst) of 70's living rooms - on Lileks' website - go read them, then go order the books!

Not convinced? Here's the intro from Interior Desecrations' online adjunct ("Horrible Homes from the Brass Age of American Design")

Sweet smokin’ Judas, what were they thinking? Welcome back to Interior Desecrations, a brutal examination of the unlovely, unattractive, unlivable and unforgivable homes of the 1970s. All eras have some bad taste, of course – but it took the 70s to make bad taste triumphant and universal. It took the 70s to convince everyone to stick foil wallpaper on the wall, paint the bathtub purple, smother the floors in shag so deep it tickled the tops of your ankles, and hang art that managed to clash with everything, including itself. I mean, look at this picture – what is that? A dissected Rubiks’s Cube attempts to threaten a potted plant and his child, I guess. Love the rug, too. They didn’t even make AMC cars in those color combinations. They didn’t dare.

Don't tell me you don't want to see the photo that inspired this. You know you do.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Where Does The Time Go When It's Not Around Here?

(apologies to the great Barenaked Ladies for appropriating one of their myriad brilliant lines)

Oh, good gracious, My posting habits have led me deep into Jets Country now: well beyond the point of excuses. What's been going on:

The Spoken Word Series continues. If you're near Hoboken this Sunday, please join me at Symposia Bookstore at 3PM to hear from the prolific and talented Kate Greenstreet. This will be my first live hosting appearance of the season; my gracious co-host Siobhan Barry-Bratcher has handled the first two installments. The February reading will mark year seven for us. I hear that's an accomplishment; regardless of others' opinions, I know I'm proud to have gotten this far.

Would love to say I've been voraciously reading and spewing poems by the ream, but that would be complete salmon. I have been working on a project that combines several sides of my pu-pu-platter of a personality, but I shan't discuss that here yet for fear of releasing its energy.

And finally, I happened across an online copy of one of my favorite poems, Meg Kearney's "Creed". This poem, which according to Meg was inspired by a similar idea from Jack Wiler, was one of the key bits of kindling in the ultimate revival of my college writing hobby. Read this poem and then spend a few quite minutes letting it settle over you. I hope it does for you what it did for me, and does again every time I read it.