Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Year End Reviewz

"Books," she cried, rising to her feet and speaking with an intensity of desolation which I shall never forget, "are for the most part unutterably bad."

--Virginia Woolf, "A Society"


Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov.  Braided narrative couched in quote-unquote commentary makes this novel a novelty. A hypertext version would probably be the best way to go about reading Pale Fire, especially for those keen on discovering all Nabokov's "plums," much preferable to Updike's yams, as anyone who's read Brazil will surely attest.

Trader, Robert Mazzoco.  Meh, it's okay, but nothing here leaps out & proclaims itself as must-read poetry. When did I buy this book anyway? Also, why? Probably I bought it as an undergraduate because I spent almost every dollar I had on poetry, at times indiscriminately, so that I could absorb it all, to make myself the best poet I could be. Despite the lack of the success I so richly deserve, I still work toward joining the immortals someday. That, at minimum, requires writing one great poem (e.g., William Cullen Bryant, Joyce Kilmer, Wilfred Owen, et al.) which I certainly am capable of doing.  As far as I know, maybe I already have. 

Native Son, Richard Wright.  Although Wright spends too much time initially establishing characters & setting--the overabundance of foreshadowing serves almost as a spoiler--& although the final section drags with didactic exposition, the message of this novel about oppression, both of class & race, remains poignant.  The bombastic bigotry of Buckley, the state prosecutor,  sadly still serves as a fair representation of the fear-mongering, race-baiting diatribes of many of today's (so-called) political pundits.

Selected Poems: 1940-1982, Norman Nicholson.  The person who gave me this book said that Nicholson reminded her of me.  I thought she meant we both have alliterative names, but apparently she was referring to certain aspects of his background.  If you're unfamiliar with Nicholson, a mostly overlooked poet--or even if you're not--you may enjoy this link to a cool site.


Spells for Not Dying Again, Diana O’Hehir.  Anyone remember Bucky O'Hare?  Well, when I first started reading this book, I thought I'd really like it.  As I continued, however, I found it rather tedious. "Recovery Spells: The Ordinary Run of Things" & "Waking" come to mind, since I read them last, as poems I like. While O'Hehir has obvious poetic skills, she would get more from her lines if she broke them differently.  Long story short, she's not Bucky O'Hare

You Never Know, Ron Padgett.  I'll admit that I want more complexity than "Nuts" or "Amy," for instance, have to offer, but the overall simplicity, however much Padgett's surrealistic flourishes may mask it, of such poems as "The Austrian Maid," "Mountains Are a Feeling" & "Bluebird" make this collection a pleasure to read.
The Probable World, Lawrence Raab.  This collection starts strong with "Why the Truth Is Hidden," "Love" & "Respect," but these superb poems fizzle into subpar pieces as mediocre as the schools in Pittsfield ("High School Days") with prosaic lines dull as anyone who'd say, "I thought Henry Mancini was a great composer" ("My Life Before I Knew It").   Many of the poems serve as a microcosm of the book as a whole, for they too start strong & peter out. 

New Math, Cole Swensen.  I appreciate the bizarre imagery that courses through this volume like "The forest on its long walk / into landscape" ("Grays and Greens"). Indeed, I prefer odd images such as "holding your eyes / in your hands like addresses" ("No Worry") that border on nonsensical to the borderline cliche of "a fine dust is falling / over everything" ("Face") or the near triteness of such lines as "love is not a transitive verb" ("Re"). Or vicey-versey. Too often awkward phrasing impairs the enjoyment of these poems; however, in their favor, they're short.

Orlando, Virginia Woolf.  It's not her best novel (To the Lighthouse) or my favorite (Mrs. Dalloway), but even if Woolf wearied of hearing her work depicted as such, each time I read Orlando (I've lost count of the times), I'm convinced it may be her most lyrical. 

Ship of Fools, William Trowbridge.  If I were to compare Trowbridge to another poet, I'd say he reminds me of Paul Zimmer.  Like Zimmer, Trowbridge skillfully writes accessible verse about everyday experiences from an often humorous perspective. Also, like Zimmer, whose poems many times, much to my chagrin, employ a recurring persona named Zimmer, Trowbridge in the majority of the poems in Ship of Fools uses as protagonist a character identified simply as Fool, whom the reader may tend to think of as the poet. Well, not exactly . . . I mean . . . that is to say . . . Ok, this is entirely subjective, but I don't care for the Fool persona. I much prefer those poems without mention of the Fool that comprise the slim mid-section, the meaty filling of a book sandwiched between thick slices of Fool's bread, but ultimately, I guess, it's a matter of taste.

Sound & Form in Modern Poetry, Harvey Gross.  In this extensive study of prosody, Gross discusses, down to minute details, varying techniques that poets use to create rhythm. It's an highly informative read, especially if you want "elucidation of technical problems . . . that go beyond technique: to the sources of aesthetic effect."   His acute knowledge of the arcane lends his opinions on the numerous poets he discusses the distinct air of objectivity. If I have a criticism--which, in fact, I do--I'd complain that he devotes too many pages lauding Eliot's celebrated ear, too few regarding content (not only with Eliot, but with other poets as well), if I thought anyone would listen.

Story Under Full Sail, Andrei Voznesensky.  Based on a story lifted from the pages of history, it's a smallish book, so if you've nothing better to do, reading it probably won't cause major upheavals in your life, but unlike a couple of unfortunate Russian sailors, you probably won't drown in your own tears either. 

Irish Musicians American Friends, Terence Winch.  That its cover claims this book won the American Book Award shouldn't surprise me, but that the Washington Post (where I always go for my poetry news) compares Winch to James Joyce (no doubt because of his Irish ancestry, though Winch himself is from New Jersey) strikes me as incredibly silly.   The poems relate interesting vignettes, depending upon the definition of "interesting," written in a very plain style, not at all like Joyce’s experimental prose or his traditional verse.   In fact, these poems don't really seem like poems so much as ideas that Winch needs to develop into poems.   I read Winch's The Great Indoors beforehand, which, although I don't remember it now, I must have liked somewhat, since I bought this book afterward, so if you're going to read Winch, yeah, try the other book instead.

Strike Anywhere, Dean Young.  Long time readers of this blog may recall I'm a big fan of Young's poetry.  This, First Course in Turbulence or Skid may be my favorite of his books.  In fact, I'm such a fan, that I wrote "Aspects of Dagwood" as an ode to the comic strip Blondie, which apparently Young draws on the side, hyuck.  If you're unfamiliar with Young, I'll assume you haven't read much poetry in the past couple decades.  That's on you.


The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse, Geoffrey Bownas & Anthony Thwaite, trans.  Finding this book while scrounging around dusty, sprawling stacks at a used book store last summer, I balked initially at paying, if memory serves, five bucks second-hand for a book with an original cover price clearly marked at $1.65, but sweet baby Jesus, I really, really wanted it, so I convinced myself that the book, a paperback from 1966, was probably out of print to justify shelling out the cash. Though I later learned that a more recent edition of the book's available wherever poetry is sold, which, of course, isn't very many places at all, I don't regret my purchase. It's a great little book, chock full of poetry from the Nara Period & before all the way to modern poetry. Bownas & Thwaite present a wide selection of poems beyond the usual cherry-blossoms-in-spring, Mt.Fuji-capped-with-snow variety usually provided for American readers. (See, for example, my interpretation of Otomo Tabito's "Thirteen Tanka in Praise of Saki," based primarly on Bownas & Thwaite's translation.) While I don't read Japanese, I wish the book included the poems' original Japanese characters, which hold a certain appeal from a calligraphic perspective alone.

Second Sight, Jonathan Aaron.  The most remarkable thing about Second Sight is the list of prominent authors who wrote blurbs for a first book.  Joseph Brodsky calls it "post-modernist poetry at its best." To Harold Bloom, Aaron is a "craftsman & a visionary," a rarity among today's poets. Richard Wilbur says the poems "express . . . the radical unease of Everyman's psyche in a preposterous world." Marvin Bell says "we are absorbed & live nowhere else & speak no other language" than those of these poems, which "both ask & demonstrate," writes William Matthews, "How do we live?" If you're not yet sufficiently impressed, then what if I told you that Anthony Hecht selected Second Sight as the winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition in 1981?Call me a jaded cynic--speaking of Harold Bloom, ha!--but even before reading a single poem, I had difficulty accepting the sincerity of such--even for blurbs--effusive praise. For me, these poems don't rank among the finest examples of post-modernist poetry (they're not especially post-modernist) nor do I see Aaron as a rare visionary craftsman, but what strikes me as particularly ludicrous is the notion that Aaron writes from the perspective of Everyman. Teaching at Harvard, as Aaron does (or at least did--I haven't a whit of what he's up to these days) has its advantages, to be sure; for instance, it apparently allows one to rub elbows, among other things, with those with names worthy of dropping, but with this exclusive membership, one loses claim to the Everyman designation. That's my opinion. If I sound bitter, fuck you, I am. This collection isn't horrible, but it doesn't live up to the hype either. To be fair, few books could.  It's certainly adequate, I'll say that much for it, which admittedly wouldn't make for much of a blurb. 

Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt, Richard Brautigan.  I bought this book as a high school student not because of Brautigan's reputation as poet, which, frankly, wasn't very good, nor because of its provocative cover photo of an attractive young woman, wearing a '60-ish San Francisco free-love smile, leather jacket & boots, spawled in a sandbox, which, admittedly grabbed my attention, but because I found it on the used rack for a dime. Today the same book would cost hundreds of dollars once you factor in inflation. Advantage: me, a few decades later, again drawn to this book because my brain hurts & I want something easy to digest on Saturday afternoon. Brautigan writes his share of interesting lines, such as "a little car with blue headlights / passing forever in a dream" or "It is a white sadness that rises / . . . / to sit here beside me like a snowy 1943 map of my childhood." However, I wish he wouldn't settle for his usual minimalist expression, but expand upon his ideas. At times, Brautigan takes minimalism to an absurd level: three poems are merely titles, each followed by a blank page. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Brautigan again, if for no other reason, I briefly returned to my teenage years, days filled with so many dreams yet like pimples to pop.

Blessing the Boats, New & Selected Poems, 1988-2000, Lucille Clifton.  You'll probably not read many poets as conversational as Clifton.  Coupled with minimalism, this conversational tone makes her poetry excessively easy to understand.  In the big picture, Clifton's seemingly breezy approach produces a a hit or they miss effect, but either way, they're short, which makes the misses more forgivable than if the poems sprawled interminably page after page, migraine upon migraine.  True to her aesthetic, Clifton delves into complex, tragic, and important issues with the same beguiling simplicity & candor that she uses to discuss lighter subjects.  I'm disappointed this collection doesn't include "cruelty," one of my favorite poems, but I'll close with "note, passed to superman":

          sweet jesus, superman,
          if i had seen you
          dressed in your blue suit
          i would have known you.
          maybe that choirboy clark
          can stand around
          listening to stories
          but not you, not with
          metropolis to save
          and every crook  in town
          filthy with kryptonite.
          lord, man of steel,
          i understand the cape,
          the leggings, the whole
          ball of wax.
          you can trust me, 
          there is no planet stranger
          than the one i'm from.

The Dark Old House, Tom Disch.  This chapbook concludes with a series of haiku entitled "Ephemera," alluding to the appropriate contents for chapbooks, traditionally speaking.   Not so many years ago, soon after Here's How, my first chapbook, was  published, I read on the internet somewhere that "chapbook" is an elision of "cheap book." Given the "quality" of most chapbooks, this etymology, albeit apocryphal, seems plausible. (I'm obviously excluding Pudding House which publishes chapbooks of only the finest quality--no ironic quotation marks needed here!) If you can look past the Xerox machine & paper cutter appearance of The Dark Old House (I'm kidding--it's really not that bad) you'll find a delightful read. I especially enjoy "A Sabbath Prayer," in spite of my aversion to even faux religious verse, as it breezes from workers' untied shoelaces to Hurricane Andrew with nary a transition or--thank the gods--a conversion.

Noose and Hook, Lynn Emanuel.  David St. John calls this "Lynn Emanuel's most exquisite and powerful book yet."  Once again, I find myself at odds with a blurb.  Noose and Hook is a good read--though I'm still unsure what to make of the Mongrelogue section of the book in which dogs perform poems as part of play--the term "doggerel" seems apt--but Emanuel's best book remains Then, Suddenly.

Pictures of the Gone World, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  This, the 1995 edition, includes 18 new poems, which, of course, in 2012, aren't new any more.  A division exists among Serengeti readers:  some like the 1995 edition better because it offers 18 additional poems, while others prefer the previous version for precisely the same reason.  I don't know anyone who actually feels the latter way, but saying so gave me a chuckle.  I hope it did you too, regardless of your feelings about Mr. Spaghetti.  Personally, I'm glad he added more poems.  By the way, Pictures is part of the City Lights Pocket Poets Series, which also published Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems, if I'm not mistaken, & for what it's worth, I'm not. 

The Smuggler's Handbook, Albert Goldbarth.  Anyone remember when Goldbarth was one of THE names in contemporary poetry?  Whatever happened to him, what made him famous--well, famous isn't a word to describe poets unless it's Maya Angelou--but among the qualities that brought Goldbarth critical attention were his wit, his intelligence, his creativity & his collaquial tone.  Certainly, he's a bright, engaging poet, but on the flipside lies his characteristic verbosity.  Well, fuck-it-all, I like Whitman, Melville & Tolstoy, so obviously I know about the napping sections that courteous writers provide while they babble incessantly about who gives a shit.  However, Goldbarth apparently feels you should catnap in the white space, what little of it exists, between stanzas & poems, never-you-mind I've been up since 4:30 with my nightly panic attack.  That's not to say his poems aren't enjoyable.  I compare reading Goldbarth to talking on the phone with someone who, as interesting as the conversation is, won't let you hang up, no matter how many times you say you have to go, regardless of the excuses you make, e.g., the kitchen's on fire; your dog pooped, threw up or died at your feet; the fucking FBI's banging at the door--again; or you've spontaneously exploded & the phoenix that rose from your ashes is flying, with you in the vice-like grip of its talons, directly into the sun, so your signal's breaking up.  With this in mind, I found myself unable, given my current state of mind--let's just say I'm under a tad bit of stress--to tackle the garrulous Goldbarth's

  • Popular Culture 
  • Heaven and Earth, A Cosmology 
  • The Gods
  • Marriage, and Other Science Fiction 

  • which also occupy space on my bookshelf.  Not the same space, of course.  That would tend to violate basic laws of physics.  So instead I read this Chowder Chapbook from 1980.  Highly recommended.

    Paper Boy, David Huddle.  When I was an undergraduate, this was one of my favorite books.  I've read it countless times.  I met David Huddle when he visited Marshall.  He liked the poem I'd submitted to the workshop & that meant a lot to me.  I thought he was a nice guy.  Years later, I met him at a writers' conference in Vermont.  Still seemed like a nice guy.  Here's one of the shorter poems:

              Mrs. Green

              At the screen door
              a pretty woman just
              married and in shorts
              on a Saturday in May,
              she was sweet to me
              when I came up to collect,
              offered me something cold
              to drink,
                           which I refused
              for the sake of dreaming
              the whole summer I was
              twelve about what it
              would be like some
              morning to walk
              softly into
              that lady's

    Inner Weather, Denis Johnson.  Speaking of books I liked as an undergraduate, I enjoyed Inner Weather so much in those hazy days that I eagerly awaited Johnson's follow-up book, The Incognito Lounge.  I doubt if I'd read either book in twenty years, & while I'm no longer enamored with Inner Weather, I can see why I'd once admired it.  Take these lines from "An Evening with the Evening":

                                          . . . going
               home to his wife and children,
               turning and trying to walk away from the darkness
               that precedes him, darkness of which he is the center.

    The Art of the Possible, Kenneth Koch. Subtitled "Comics Mainly Without Pictures," this book falls somewhere short of poetry or comics.  In his introduction, David Lehman discusses Koch's lifelong affection for comic strips, as well as his childhood dream of one day becoming a comic strip artist.  Reading this reminded me of 1) when I was a teenager, I wanted to draw cartoons like Gahan Wilson; 2) how I spent hours as a kid drawing free-hand the comic strip characters from the daily papers for practice; 3) my ordering a book from a magazine on how to draw cartoons for money.  Given the lack of drawings in this makeshift homage to comic strips, I assume Koch wanted to write comic books, not draw them, though I should point out that not being able to draw didn't stop James Thurber or Matt Groening from pursuing successful careers as cartoonists.  Thankfully, Koch decided to write poetry instead.  If you like Koch, you'll probably enjoy this book.  I know I did.

    Hotel Imperium, Rachel Loden.  Damn fun read.  Given that smiling Tricky Dick's on the cover--that's how I judge books--it would've been dumber than a plumber not to expect a fun book with fun poems such as "We Are Sorry to Say":

              that the decision has gone against
              these poems.  It just up and went

              against them, like an enormous rearing
              horse, a careening locomotive, and we

              tried to get out of the way.  We still
              wake up screaming.  Frankly

              the decision scares us
              more than a little.  We think it wears

              a muscle shirt and is named Bluto . . .

    complete with fun facts in the back such as:  "Performance poet Sparrow picketed the offices of the New Yorker with a placard reading 'My poetry is as bad as yours.'  His work subsequently appeared in the magazine."   Sure, that sounds crazy & even crazier to say it's not, but if you don't have a connection who can put in a good word for you, most elite literary magazines remain out of the reach of mere mortals or bird-man hybrids.  Much of Hotel Imperium centers around political & pop cult figures like Nixon, Reagan, Elvis, Bebe Rebozo & that lot, which makes "My Night with Philip Larkin" stand out.  Hey, did you know I attended a Philip Larkin reading in London?  I remember being so impressed that I gave up writing absurdist, dadaist, off-the-wall, experimental poetry given something he said that evening.  He said that poetry should make sense & used a personal anecdote as support.  True story--then he died.

    The Need to Hold Still, Lisel Mueller.   Winner of the American Book Award for Poetry in 1981, according to the cover, but not according to Wikipedia, so make your own decision re: who to trust, The Need to Hold Still is certainly worthy of an award for its simple elegance.  Those who think poetry too abstruse apparently haven't read Mueller.  (Call me a skeptic, but I wonder what poets these whiners have actually read.)  Easy to read, yes, but I don't mean to imply that the poems lack depth.  They have that too.  Mueller makes her points  explicit, but not in an "adult material" way--nobody got laid in the pages of these poems, which is a shame, if you ask me, but if you do, don't mumble because I have difficulty hearing as a result of youth extravagances including but not limited to rock music, to which Mueller, for the sake of full disclosure, makes no reference.  However, there's a really cool poem about Mary Shelley. 

    Still Another Day, Pablo Neruda, trans. William O'Daly.  The Spanish title is Aún, which means "And yet," so I'm not sure why "the only authorized English translation" is titled Still Another Day.  Neruda's swan song is not so much a poem or group of poems (though it certainly is poetry) as it is a farewell, written hastily during the last two days of the poet's life.  So I guess it's unfair to ask for a revision?  It's not Neruda's best (for me, a lifelong monolingualist--I'm not proud--that would be Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon or even Bly's translations), but what I said of Ovid's Poems of Exile, I'll say about Neruda too:  any is better than none.

    House of Light, Mary Oliver.  If you know me, you know I like accessible poetry & certainly Oliver provides that, albeit lines such as "This is a poem / about death / about the heart blanching" & "this is a poem about loving / the world and everything in it" ("Terns") go a bit over the top even for me.  I like the way Oliver talks about nature (my favorite example in this collection is "Lilies") & she does plenty of that, with poems about flowers, ponds, turtles, deer, fish, snakes & birds.  In fact, in "Singapore," she says, "A poem should always have birds in it."  Oh, I don't know.   Not that she always abides by that premise, though in "Writing Poems" she does liken the act to the birds & bees, an analogy with which, I'm guessing, Freud (sold separately) would nod in agreement as he pensively stroked his beard or rolled a Cuban cigar around in his mouth.   It's not a bad book, but I remember liking American Primitive better. 

    Love Poems of Ancient Egypt, trans. Ezra Pound & Noel Stock.  I'd planned to read The Cantos, but still smarting from Yevtushkenko, rather than fat-wallowing tomes, I'm drawn to more petite volumes.  I need to do some research--which for me, lazy scholar that I am, usually consists of consulting Wikipedia--to find out if Pound actually spoke Egyptian--I doubt it--or if this is like his Chinese "translations."  I'm not, generally speaking, much for love poems, but I read Pound more for poetics than content.  For instance, in "Sweet Phrases," the lines "Perfume spreads, / Drunkeness begins" briefly remind me of "In a Station at the Metro" before the poem devolves into, one may presume, an intoxicated rant against the lover. Now my tirades, alcohol-fueled or not, are rarely directed at anything specific, especially not a lover, considering the forced monasticism of my current affairs--though "affairs" seems a painfully bad choice of words--but not content with the poem being an invective, Pound seamlessly inserts a mini-paraklausithyron, which is just the kind of crazy, clever thing you'd expect & yet never expect him to do, isn't it? Also, yelling at inanimate objects like a door sounds a lot like me, but what, you may ask, does that have to do with Pound, his poetics, or these poems?  Obviously nada, but I needed to tell someone besides the damn door about my feelings, so thanks for listening. 

    One Hundred Poems from the Chinese, trans. Kenneth Rexroth.  This book includes poems from the T'ang Dynasty of Tu Fu--who Rexroth calls "the greatest non epic, non dramatic poet who has survived in any language," rivaled only by Catullus, Baudelaire & Sappho (whose poetry, he says, didn't really survive)--through various poets from the Sung Dynasty--such as Su Tung P'o, Chu Hsi, & Hsu Chao--up to somewhere around the 13th century, along with bios of the poets & notes on the poems.  All in all, good stuff.  For what it's worth, my favorite poems in this collection are attributed to Lu Yu & Chu Shu Chen.

    Sappho: A New Translation, trans. Mary Barnard.  I would tend to agree with Rexroth that Sappho's poetry didn't really survive, given what few examples we have of it, but his claim set my mind on reading this translation by Mary Barnard. To Ezra Pound, ancient Greek is the most poetic of all languages & reading translations is nothing short of absurd--or at least ironic considering how many "translations" he himself did. In any event, in light of my limited understanding of other languages, I must settle for English, which I'm not only familiar with, but actually quite fond of. Here's #83:

              Don't ask me what to wear

              I have no embroidered
              headband from Sardis to
              give you, Cleis, such as
              I wore
                            and my mother
              always said that in her
              day a purple ribbon
              looped in the hair was thought
              to be high style indeed

              but we were dark:
                                                 a girl
              whose hair is yellower than
              torchlight should wear no
              headdress but fresh flowers

    Japanese Slanguage, Mike Ellis.  This phonetic guide to pronunciation for common Japanese words is fun, as stated on the cover, but much too short. Also, the title is a tad misleading because "Slanguage" suggests a book about Japanese slang, which it is definitely not. The vocabulary consists of basic Japanese household, educational, culinary, familial terms & so on. As for its claim of being a visual guide, the clip-art above English words, used as the phonetic pronunciation guide, serves little purpose. For instance, we're told konbanha (good evening) is the phonetic equivalent of the English words "Cone Bun Wah," with pictures of an ice cream cone & a hair bun illustrating the corresponding words. Since I already know how to pronounce both "cone" & "bun," the pictures strike me as ornamentation. According to Adolf Loos, "Ornament is crime." Well, I don't want to let the author rot in jail, so I'll admit they function to save him from providing additional Japanese vocabulary words (as is, several are repeated) & to give the book the look of a rebus, albeit one previously solved. It's probably as helpful as any quick-peek travel guide--not that I'm going to Japan anytime soon.  Maybe it'll give me the confidence to tackle Japanese the Manga Way at long last. Besides, as I said, it is fun.          

    Follow the following links to follow my full adventures in reading this past year:

    First Quarter Book Report
    Midterm Report
    3/4 Report


    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Otomo Tabito: An Interpretation

    Thirteen Tanka in Praise of Sake


    Rather than worry,
    which, after all, is useless,
    it would behoove you
    to toss off a cup or two
    of sake.  Or more maybe.


    For calling it "sage,"
    as that magnificent sage
    of long ago did,
    let's raise our cups in a toast
    to him & his sweet vision.


    The Seven Sages
    of the Bamboo Grove craved it
    & craved it more than
    all else in their rustic lives
    all those centuries gone by.


    Poets!  Stop wasting
    time churning out spurious
    words pretending you're wise.
    You'd be better off crying
    drunken tears in your sake.


    No, I don't know how
    to talk about it, but when
    sake's in my cup,
    I hold it in the highest
    regard, a shimmering prize.


    If I had a choice,
    I wouldn't be a lowly man.
    I'd not be a man
    at all.  I'd be a sake
    jar, always soaking in sake.


    How repulsive!  These
    phonies who think it's smart when
    they refuse sake.
    If they saw through my eyes, they'd
    see they're no better than apes.


    My Buddhist friends claim
    they carry within always
    the master's priceless
    jewels, but none of that amounts
    to one small cup of sake.


    Even the shiny
    jewels strung across the sky--aren't
    they, in reality,
    the manifestation of
    a night spent drinking sake?


    Considering all the ways
    in which we may wile away
    our time, it's funny
    that the one which brings the most
    joy is crying sake tears.


    Well, if I spend this
    life in drunken revelry,
    maybe in the next
    I'll come back as a bird or
    maybe just a little bug.


    All that lives, so it's
    said, someday will surely die.
    While I'm alive then,
    I might as well enjoy my life.
    I want what gives me pleasure.


    With enlightenment
    comes serenity as well
    as knowledge, but I'd
    rather sob sake-soused tears
    than live such a boring life.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Bad Poets

    Summer in the trees! "It is time to strangle several bad poets."
                                                  --Kenneth Koch, "Fresh Air." 

    I guess anyone who reads poetry could identify with Koch at one time or another. More than one time for me. Each day I must resolve to fight my violent tendencies for fear of being returned to my cushioned room in the hospital's psychiatric wing, which isn't really a wing. Actually, it's not really a hospital, but it's what passes for health care in America.

    Anyway, I recently ran across an article in Arf--no, my mistake, Bark (Do it! Bark! Bark like a little bitch!) entitled (or even if it's not) "A Field Guide to Bad Poets," in which the author, Brett--not really a catchy enough name to go surnameless,in my opinion--characterizes poets from six schools of poetry, creating humorous thumbnail sketches of each.

    Here I use "humorous" to mean "intended to be funny" with no wish to imply any other meaning, such as damp or moist, capricious, given to moods, or actually funny. Also, as long as I'm parsing meanings, "characterizes" may be too generous a word for "stereotypes": confessional poets are suicidal & self-obsessed, nature poets are disconnected tree-huggers, neo-beatniks are drugged-out anarchists, political poets are whacky leftist extremists, experimental poets make no sense & slam poets trivialize important social issues for the sake of drama.

    Ok, he nailed slam poets pretty much dead on, but slam poetry is more performance art than actual poetry, so it's my view not to credit slam poetry as a poetic form. I feel the same way about Ann Coulter; no one--not even Bill Maher, especially not Bill Maher--should ever have her on TV as a political pundit again. Soon she will shrivel & die. Hell, she's over halfway there already!

    Early in the article, Brett (you know, using one name reminds me of another type of poet, the type that uses only one name as an affectation, the type that is often the butt, often deservedly, of jokes about pretentious types) says of confessional poets: "While such work can be quite powerful (see Sylvia Plath and John Berryman), in the hands of an amateur this poetry style is prone to oversharing." Good point, Brett. By extension, could we not also argue that a similar qualifier could be made about the other schools of poets?  Excluding, of course, slam poets.

    I can give numerous examples of poets, not merely Plath & Berryman, from each of the schools who write good poems, but I'll limit myself to the obvious. When I think of the experimental, E.E. Cummings, an immensely talented & popular poet, comes immediately to mind. To an extent, the New York School produced work that was experimental in that it rejected the stale, stolid, academic poetics of its day. Mary Oliver writes well-crafted poetry about nature & I seriously doubt she's some sort of hippie tree-hugger. Some consider Pablo Neruda the greatest poet of the 20th century, though much of his poetry had a decidedly leftist political slant. I'm not sure what Brett means by "neo-beatnik," but if he means Beat poets, Allen Ginsberg enjoyed great success as a poet. If he means non-academic poets, then Charles Bukowski fits the bill.  Certainly numerous bad Bukowski imitators have appeared, but my point is that there are good poets & bad poets in all schools & to conceive of them as a homogenous group is as absurd as it is cliche.

    I don't want to spend too much time criticizing an article obviously intended as a joke, but in just the same way that comedians who rely on ethnic, gender & socio-economic/socio-geographic humor proliferate stereotypes, so too do writers such as Brett (who's not only too lazy to have a surname, but also too lazy to write about something more substantial than preconceived generalizations about poetic types) reinforce misconceptions about poets & poetry.

    Finally, he blames experimental poets' lack of accessibility for poetry's abysmal popularity, but I'm unaware of a time since the advent of the novel as an accepted literary form that poets have enjoyed wide readership. The onus of responsibility for that fact lies not entirely with poets, but also with poetry's gatekeepers, i.e., editors & publishers who determine what poetry the public should appreciate. If the public doesn't, then it seems reasonable to suggest that maybe the gatekeepers should admit their failure & try something different or else move along.

    Return from the Himalayas, Part 9

    "In the end, everything is a gag."

    --Charlie Chaplin


    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    The PHDs Claim

    she will never survive us--
    poor motherfucking
    thing--so we may as well rape

    the bitch, bite her rosy lit-
    tle nipples off--once
    we suck her gorgeous mountains

    of tits dry--then leave
    her good as dead on the side
    of the universe, the whore.

    Oh please stop crying
    about our terrible crime
    & look to the sky:

    plenty planets are left where
    we can spread humanity.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Stevens: “The Imagination Is the Only True Genius”

    I'm looking for Wallace Stevens' quotation from The Necessary Angel about poetry being nothing if it doesn't please.  Something like that.  Of course, I may have imagined it, which wouldn't surprise me, but the world is an imagination we believe.  (As Dr. Joad would say: "How, then, does the world come to appear to us as a collection of solid, static objects extended in space? Because of the intellect, which presents us with a false view of it.")  I'd read the book earlier this year, so I could check my notes, but I thought I'd spare myself the suffering & sorrow of looking for my yellow legal pad--as if I had only one!  As a poet, I must resist the pressure of reality.  Instead I decided to search online, albeit without success.   However, I came across this cool video of Bill Murray reading Wallace Stevens on the somewhat unfortunately named site, Moving Poems

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    3 Poems

    Thanks to the good folks at Unlikely Stories, you may read three new poems by, yup, yours truly, a.k.a. me, by simply clicking here.  Or here.  Or even here

    Raffaello Sanzio, Trionfo di Mattea

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    3/4 Time

    Many readers link free verse with particular subject matter and associate unscannable poetry with atheism and anarchism.  Those who cannot distinguish dipodies from tripods are also apt to confuse free love and free verse.
    --Harvey Gross, Sound and Form in Modern Poetry


    The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara. Because of its diary format, the writing becomes repetitious, but it's still better than On the Road. I read The Motorcycle Diaries after watching the movie, which competently captures the gist of the book. In fact, I don't usually say this, but the movie may be better than the book, though don't hold me to that.

    Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. In nearly every movie "based" however loosely on Mary Shelley's famous novel, the creature is represented as a plodding monstrosity who can barely grunt out recognizable words, but in the book the creature speaks eloquently & moves with great dexterity. To make a sports analogy--the only kind that count--the creature's more Shaq than Shawn Bradley. For those who don't remember Bradley, watch Space Jam.(I'm kidding! You really don't want to do that.) No discussion of Frankenstein, no matter how slight, would be complete without noting that for a genius, Dr. Frankenstein is a fucking moron.

    Brave New World, Aldous Huxley.  As far as dystopian societies go, the one Huxley envisions isn't half bad. Lots of sex with infinitely willing & nubile partners is terrible how? I guess it depends on whether you're an Alpha or not, but that's always the case in class-based societies. Maybe that's one of Huxley's points. Anyway, soma sounds awesome; in fact, the World State highly recommends it & recreational sex for all you Alphas out there. The rest of you losers may want to read this book.

    Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese, Michael J. Nelson. Any fan of MST3K (or Riff Trax) knows what to expect from this collection of essays.  If you don't find MST3K funny, then you probably don't have a sense of humor, so I recommend you get one, if not for your own sake, then for those around you, forced to endure your dimwittedity.  Anyway, the movies in these essays may be a bit dated, but Nelson's critiques remain humorously spot on. 

    Monday or Tuesday: Eight Stories, Virginia Woolf. Having read this collection a few times, I'm slightly embarrassed to say I've yet to grasp all of these stories, but Woolf's usual poetic use of language makes this a worthwhile read. No doubt I'll read this again--& again & still not quite understand.

    The Call of the Wild, Jack London. I'd forgotten the story's told from Buck's perspective. He's no "Woolf," heh-heh, but that dog knows how to tell a tail . . . er, tale.

    Listen, Vladimir Mayakovsky. Among my favorite lines of these early poems come from "And Yet":

                And God will start crying over my book:
                these are not words–convulsions compressed into lumps.
                He’ll run through the sky, my poems in his hands,
                and, spluttering, show them to his friends.

    New York Trilogy: City of Glass/Ghosts/The Locked Room, Paul Auster. Reading these stories I began to think of them as Mickey Spillane/Rod Serling hybrids. I don't say this as a criticism, but simply as an observation--er, impression. Should you read them--I don't know, should you? But why the hell not?

    Kafka Americana, Jonathan Lethem & Carter Scholz. This may be my favorite read this year.  I especially like "Receding Horizon," which exploits the similarity in the names of Frank Capra & Franz Kafka & "Amount to Carry," in which the main characters--Wallace Stevens, Franz Kafka & Charles Ives--meet at an insurance conference.

    Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, trans. Simon Armitage. I went to some major fucked-up parties in my salad days, but I don't remember anyone ever bursting in & challenging everyone to try to chop off his goddam head. Even if I hadn't been passed out atop a silver-sequined blonde at the time--just an anonymous 911 call from being tossed in the swimming pool & left for dead--I doubt if I would have found decapitation entertaining, but that's the 14th century, I guess.


    Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience, William Blake. I read both of these one afternoon while waiting for a haircut. You don't usually find Blake at barbershops!

    On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin. Since I already understood evolution theory before I read this, the book was pretty much preaching to the choir.  Nevertheless, I'm sure I learned something, which I'll obviously forget. I can't remember anything these days.

    The Collected Poems: 1952-1990, Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Yevtushenko wrote some important poems ("Babi Yar," for instance) & I found the literary, cultural, historical & geographical references informative, but among this mammoth 634 page collection are some of the worst poems this side of Leonard Nathan. For instance, in "I fell out of love with you . . .", the pervading image of a puppy scratching alternately at the doors of an estranged couple renders the poem, by default, irredeemable. You can fix the pup, but not the poem. Fortunately, I suppose, the poem doesn't have much imagery at all--most of it is pissing & moaning in the abstract. Some may recall that Frank O'Hara roundly criticized Yevtushenko, dubbing him "Mayakovsky's hat worn by a horse" ("Answer to  Voznesensky & Evtushenko"). At other times, Yevtushenko sounds like Yakov Smirnoff, as in "Knowing and Not Knowing." Then there's the forty page fiasco, "A Dove in Santiago: A Novella in Verse," which, if we take the title seriously, achieves the dubious distinction of being not merely a terrible poem, but also an even worse novella. Out of consideration for the reader, let me briefly note, rather than delving into the phethora of problems with this insipid piece, Yevtushenko's dismissive, chauvinistic attitude toward women poets & women novelists--by extension, we may infer his disdain toward women in general--yet this is but a peccadillo relative to the many literary & human astrocities he commits therein. To be fair, I like some of Yevtushenko's poems--"Meditations at the Back Door" comes to mind & the one about Che is okay--but too often he makes even Michael McClure seem like a competent writer. 

    Poems of Exile;Tristia & The Black Sea Letters, Ovid, trans. Peter Green. In exile, Ovid continued to write, probably because he had nothing better to do, but also to petition his friends & acquaintances to intercede on his behalf so that he could return to Rome. Mostly, however deservedly, he whines. It marks quite a departure from Ovid's confident, if not audacious, persona in The Art of Love, which, according to the poet, is partly to blame for his exile (carmen et error:  a poem & a mistake).  No one would argue the exile poems equal the quality of his earlier works, but any Ovid, even an understandably whiny Ovid, beats no Ovid at all.


    Some Trees, John Ashbery.  This book includes such classics as "The Instruction Manual" & "Portrait of Little J.A. in a Prospect of Flowers."  I also like "Illustration," "A Long Novel," & "Meditations of a Parrot," among others. In fact, it would probably be quicker to list the poems I don't like, but that would come across as negative.

    Poems of the Night, Jorge Luis Borges. Lots of good poems in this dual-language collection of Borges' night poems, with various translations by Robert Fitzgerald, W.S. Merwin, Charles Tomlinson, John Updike & others. Two of my favorite poems,"The Suicide" & "Ein Traum," are concerned, to some degree, with subjective idealism, the former of which you may read below:

    The Suicide

    Not a single star will be left in the night.
    That night will not be left.
    I will die and, with me,
    the weight of the intolerable universe.
    I shall erase the pyramids, the medallions,
    the continents and faces.
    I shall erase the accumulated past.
    I shall make dust of history, dust of dust.
    Now I am looking on the final sunset.
    I am hearing the last bird.
    I bequeath nothingness to no one.

    (trans. Alastair Reid)

    Selected Poems, Blaise Cendrars (trans. Peter Hoida).  As a result of recently reading Yevtushenko's colossal, at least in size, volume of collected poems, I find myself reluctant to delve into books of any length. My general rule of thumb right now is that any poetry collection thicker than the width of my thumb is out. Thus, I passed on reading Berrryman's Dream Songs & Hart Crane's Collected Poems as I'd previously planned. Indeed, so great was my fear of once again being stuck in a book with few flecks of joyous light, plodding on & on & on without exit in sight, that I chose Hoida's selected translations over Ron Padgett's much larger collection of Cendrars. Intellectually I knew Berryman, Crane & Cendrars wouldn't be as mind-numbing as Yevtushenko, but I wasn't ready emotionally. It may seem I'm expressing regret, but if so, that wouldn't derive from this book. While I wouldn't characterize it as the best thing I've read lately, I would call it enjoyable & entertaining.

    Show and Tell, Jim Daniels.  I like this book. A couple poems in particular I like are "May's Poem" & "Shedding the Vestments." Especially for those of you tired of stodgy, stuffy, snotty poets, I recommend Jim Daniels. I also recommend Jim Beam & Jack Daniels. I like to drink them together, chasing a shot of Beam with a slug of Jack & vice versa, then lie naked on the lawn, staring at the sky & winking back at the stars.

    Blood Mountain, John Engels.I received this one of fifty specially bound copies numbered & signed by the author as a gift years ago from someone who, no doubt, would prefer to remain anonymous. It's a nice book, the poetry is rich in imagery derived almost exclusively from nature, but I can't say that any one particular poem stands out. Maybe "Dream Book," if it weren't so long & dull. In any event, I appreciate the thought.

    Landscapes of Living & Dying, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Each time I've visited San Francisco, I've gone to City Lights Bookstore, but on none of these occasions have I ever met Ferlinghetti, only a few scattered "Ginsberg facsimiles & carbon-copy Keseys / . . . in old tennis shoes & backpacks" ("Adieu A Charlot").  Ok, I know he's nearly a hundred or whatthefuckever, so he's probably working part-time at most while contemplating retirement, but you'd think I would've run into him at least once. I've shrugged off the notion he doesn't really exist, but that he's instead a composite of various Beat & Beat-esque poets, originally created to serve as a figurehead for City Lights Publishing to avoid possible prosecution over obscenity charges for publishing Ginsberg, but too much historic evidence suggests otherwise. Anyway, this book's an interesting read, which is about as much as I want to say about someone who's apparently ducking me. I would also point out that I especially like "Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes," but first, an apology, sir, is in order.

    Light in August, William Faulkner. The plot tends to plod a bit at times like an old mule in mud, but Faulkner's abundant storytelling skills & characteristic flourishes keep the reader engaged, though a date for the wedding is yet to be set. Not Faulkner's greatest novel, it's still a far cry better than most of the junk out there. Perhaps it's unfair to say that while living in Mississippi when, in fact, it never went beyond subsisting as a student, I tired of Faulkner primarily because of the constant barrage of anecdotes about him, but removed from that environment, I've come to wonder if he's not the best novelist America has to offer after all. I'm not saying that he is; I'm just saying he's pretty damn good.

    In the Egg & Other Poems, Gunter Grass.  Some of you may remember the guff that Grass took for his anti-Zionist poem earlier this year. While I probably agree with many of the sentiments he expresses, it admittedly isn't a very good poem, but neither is it so bad that he should be banned from Israel. I mean, holy shit, everyone writes a bad poem from time to time. For me, that happened in 1985 or 86. It's hard to recall the specifics--something or other about sex, an allegory of sorts, I think--but I'm smart enough to know the art of good writing lies in revision, so I'm still free to go pretty much wherever I want--well, if money were no object. Which, sadly, it is. A huge fucking object. If it weren't, I don't know where I'd go, but I sure as hell wouldn't stay in this shithole of a shire like Bilbo Baggins' bastard son, I'll tell you that much. But I digress. The point is, I enjoy Grass's poems, such as "Transformation," "Epilogue," "Wrong Beauty," & one of my favorites:

    Folding Chairs

    How sad these changes are.
    People unscrew the nameplates from the doors,
    take the sauce pan of cabbage
    and heat it up again, in a different place.

    What sort of furniture is this
    that advertises departure?
    People take up their folding chairs
    and emigrate.

    Ships laden with homesickness & the urge to vomit
    carry patented seating contraptions
    and their unpatented owners
    to and fro.

    Now on both sides of the ocean
    there are folding chairs;
    how sad these changes are.

    Incontinence, Susan Hahn.  Not sylvan with Disney-esque woodland critters, but Sylvian as in Plath-like depths of morbidity, these well-crafted poems,as Hahn says in "Half Price," are not about "sex, but despair / and death." If we let A represent despair & B stand for death, the following sophomorically suggestive illustration may perhaps help provide further understanding of Hahn's already accessible poetry:

    Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut.  I know Slaughterhouse Five is his greatest work--you'll get no arguments from me on that score--but I've always liked Cat's Cradle, partially because as the first Vonnegut novel I read, it returns me to high school in my mind, a far, far better place than actual high school, which I hated every mind-fucking day of. Also, I like the way the prose flows in Cat's Cradle. Not to denigrate his genius for storytelling, but Vonnegut characteristically writes short, choppy sentences that--rather than the terse, stylistic manner of "Papa" (story tie-in) Hemingway--often seem kind of clunky. In Cat's Cradle, however, the story fairly glides across the pages, making it a delight to read. 

    Into It, Lawrence Joseph.  Early in this volume, Joseph reflects that "in making the poem, Brecht's point, to write about trees-- / implicitly, too, to write about pleasure-- / in times of killing like these is a crime" ("Inclined to Speak"). This statement seems to function as the guiding principle behind these poems, whose subjects include genocide, terrorism, war, capitalism, imperialism, etc. For this principled stance, I applaud Joseph. Loudly. However, I have a complaint about the writing: he relies too heavily on "to be" verbs.   As I tell my classes, these verbs serve no purpose but to fulfill grammatical obligations & zippo else. You can't taste an "is" or feel a "was" or smell an "are" or see a "were" or whatever. I find the reliance on verbs of existence (as I call them) particularly irksome in poetry, a field in which grammar no longer wields Excalibur & rules supreme. (Imagists rarely wrote in complete sentences. Speaking of, Joseph needs to incorporate more imagery.)  Otherwise, good stuff.

    Geography of the Forehead, Ron Koertge.  In "Why I Believe in God," the younger Koertge (one assumes) allegedly receives this advice from the Almighty in regards to poetry: "Don't be deep or obscure. Try and make people laugh." If this apocryphal tale were true, then a rich reward awaits Koertge in the hereafter for doing the Big Guy's bidding. The poems in this volume cover a wide range of topics--aliens, Superman, Frankenstein, etymology, wolves, werewolves, Jesus, the Apocalpyse, poetry, boy scouts, youth, old age, Flaubert, the Cisco Kid--each with a charmingly light touch. In fact, Koertge is laugh out loud funny at times, & while never obscure, he's sneaky deep, so maybe the omniscient one won't notice.

    The Haberdasher's Daughter, Suzanne Levine.  Having attended a couple of workshops (not a couples workshop--there's nothing like that between us) with Suzanne inhibits my making a few of my characteristically off-handed, flippant remarks, which is why I normally don't blog about writers I know personally. Inhibitions are no fun--which helps explains why alcohol sales remain, in a manner of speaking, staggeringly high--so in short, kudos!

    See also:

    First Quarter Book Report
    Midterm Report


    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    New Look

    Returning visitors will note the design change of this page. If not, please do so now while I check on my laundry.  Ok, so you've probably realized by now that I finally bit the blogger bullet & switched to one of the new design templates. Here, "new" means introduced within the last four years or so. Thing is, I've been hesitant to alter my blog, but in my defense, well, I'm not exactly sure why. 

    Anyway, with this "new" look, readers can now share posts with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc. with a single click. My friends on Facebook may have noticed that I recently shared several of my previous posts. I did so because I wanted people to read a few what I considered neglected posts, as well as to test the ease of this feature. Could sharing be easier? Of course, but psychokinetic technology is still forthcoming.

    Also, if you like a post, but don't want to write a comment because you don't have time to put together a bunch of nouns & verbs & who knows how many punctuation marks, now you can register your "Reactions" by simply checking the appropriate box or boxes provided. I always appreciate feedback, especially the positive kind. Speaking of, your thoughts about the new look are welcome. So too are laundry tips. My damn towels are still damp!

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Demonic Literature

    • A Bael for Adano, John Heresy
    • Barbatos, Par Lycanthorpe
    • Beelze Budd, Herman Hellville
    • Catch-666, Joseph Hellraiser
    • Daimones, Hermammon Hesse
    • The Dark Angel, Lillian Hellman
    • Demon Juan, George Gorgon, Evil Overlord Byron
    • Fear & Lucifer in Las Vegas, Hunter Hiss Thompson
    • For Whom Belial Toils, Ernest Hellontheway
    • Goatshead Wilson, Mark of the Beast Twain
    • "Goblin Mosh Pit," Antichristina Rosetti
    • God Amon Is Hard to Find, Flannery Occultist
    • "God's Grand Error," Gerald Mangoat Hopkins
    • The Grasp of Wraiths, John Satansback
    • Grave Expropriations, Charles Diggings
    • The Great Ghastly, F. Scott Fallenangel
    • The Hellbound & the Furies, William Fuckgod 
    • "An Immodest If Not Immensely Immoral Proposal," Jormangund Swift
    • The Interpretation of Demons, Succubus Freud
    • Isle of Hellhounds, Thomas Gnashingofteethe
    • "I went to hell," Emily Devilson
    • The King of Tartarus, John Gremlin
    • "Kthulhu Khan," Samuel Taylor Coldwitch
    • The Lady of the Lake of Fire, Cerberus' Altar Scott
    • Lilitu, Vlad the Impaler Nabokov
    • Look Hellbound, Angel, Thomas Werewolf
    • The Magic Mangoat, Thomas Manngoat
    • The Man Who Should Be Killed, Rudyard Killing
    • "The Mephistophiles," Frenz Karkass
    • The Moon & Six Imps, W. Somerset Melchom
    • Mrs. Hellaway, Virgin Blood Woolf
    • The Myth of Seraphims, Albert Camio
    • Native Sin, Richard Wrong
    • The Necessary Anger, Malice Stevens
    • Nero & Narcoma, Matt Morose
    • "On Lamia's Breasts," Robert Heretick
    • On the Origin of Succubi, Charles Darken
    • The Pentagram in the Rye, G.D. Slanderer
    • Poltergeist's Complaint, Philip Wrath
    • Prince of Darkness, Joseph Gonebad
    • Sins & Sinsability, Jane Allsin
    • "Song of Mictlantecuhtli," Walt Wickedman
    • Songs of Exorcism, William Bleak
    • Tess of the Devil, Thomas Hellboy
    • "To His Corpse Mistress," Andrew Morehell
    • To Kill a Motherfucking Bible Thumper, Harpies Lee
    • The Televangelist Manifesto, Karl Marax & Friedrich Evil
    • 20,000 Legions of the Underworld, Ghouls Verne
    • Uncivil Disobedience, Henry Devil Thoreau
    • The Un-god Seeker, Sinmore Lewis
    • "Unholy Willie's Prey," Robert Forever Burns
    • Vileland, Thomas Impchon
    • Vrykolakas Fair, William Makewar Chicanery
    • War & More War, Leo Totaldestoryeroflivestoy
    • The World According to Gaap, John Incubus
    • "Worm Hill," Vermin Thomas

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    What Rhymes with Dejection?

    Clearly you're awfully good. In the end, though, no single poem won us completely over, although the baseball one came close.

    Our apologies. We wish you the best placing this work elsewhere.


    Thank you for submitting your poetry. We enjoyed reading it but after careful consideration have decided that we cannot use it at this time.

    Please feel free to submit other work to us in the future.


    Please try us again next year.

    We enjoyed your submission and are sorry for taking as long as we did to reach a decision. Your poems made it through our entire reading process and were read by all of our editors. Unfortunately your poems were not selected for publication.

    Thank you for sending us your work. We really enjoyed your submission, but we didn't feel it was a right fit. 

    Sorry to say No on this and I wish you the best of luck elsewhere.  These are interesting and clever and pretty much accomplish what you set out to do. The judges just happened to like others better.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that although I think the way you have the poems designed on the page works, this would be extremely difficult and expensive to typeset and a lot of publishers would shy from it just for that reason. I'm not saying that's right. I'm just being honest.


    Thank you again for your submission. We appreciate the chance to read your work, but have decided to pass. We wish you the best of luck in placing your poetry elsewhere.

    Thank you for letting us read your work. We're sorry it's not right for us at this time.

    We are sorry this particular manuscript was not selected for publication. We hope you will send us another soon, though. We could not publish without the fine writing submitted to us. While we regret that the large number of submissions we receive makes it difficult for the editors to respond personally, we want to emphasize that an editor personally read your manuscript. Devoted reading is part of the editorial mission; it is also our own personal one.

    Thank you very much for submitting your manuscript.  Unfortunately, your work has not been chosen as the winner of the prize or as a finalist.

    We'll have to pass on this submission, sorry to say. Thank you very much, though, for letting us have a chance with your work.

    We have given your work close consideration and find that it does not suit our present needs. We wish you success in placing it elsewhere.

    Your work is gorgeous and we'd love to publish it in the upcoming weeks. We love the lush, powerful language and the rich imagery. *

    After careful consideration, we have concluded that we are unable to publish your work at this time. The opportunity to assess the unpublished creations of writers from around the world is a great privilege and responsibility, and with that in mind, we want you to know how honored we are that you have trusted us to consider your work. We invite your further submission and correspondence and remain grateful for your continued support.

    We very much appreciate the opportunity to read your work. We read your poems with interest, however we decided that they do not quite meet our current needs. It's unfortunate that we receive more good work than we can publish. We hope you will send us more poems in the future.

    I'm sorry to tell you that I've decided not to publish any of these pieces. Thanks again for thinking of us, and please keep reading.  I wish you all the best in your writing.

    * The magazine subsequently folded before the poems appeared.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Blogma 2 Addenda

    Adam Blog & the Blogs:  "Blog Eat Blog," "Prince Blogging," "Blog Darlings," "Los Blogeros," "Blogs of the Wild Frontier," "The Magnificent Blog," "Don't Blog Square (Blog There)," "Jolly Blogger," "Blogger in the Home," "Blog & Blogger," "Goody Two Blogs," "Puss'n Blogs"

    Al Blogart:  "The Blog of the Cat," "Blog Granville," "Blog Passages," "On the Blogger," "Blogway Hotel," "Blogless Skies," "Blog on the Radio"

    Alice Blogger: "No More Mr. Blog Guy," "Blog My Lover," "School's Blog," "Blog Eighteen"

    The Allman Bloggers Blog:  "Blogging Post," "Statesboro Blogs," Eat a Blog, "Blog Sky," "Les Blogs in A Minor," "One Way Blog," "Ain't Bloggin' Time No More," "Ramblin' Blog," Bloggers & Sisters, "Blogissa"

    Billy Blogg:  "She's Got a New Blog," Blogging with the Taxman about Poetry, Victim of Blography, William Bloge, Blog on Blog, Merblog Avenue (with Blogco)

    Blog:  "Blog 2," "Bloglife," "There's No Other Blog," "Girls & Blogs," "She's So Blog," "Mr. Bloggs,"  "Blogscene," "Won't Blog It," "Bone Blog," "Blogcoma," "Blogless Man," "Beetleblog"

    Blogarama:  "Blogus," "Shy Blog," "Cruel Blogger," "Blog of the Jungle," "The Blogarama Blogamix"

    Blog Blogson:  "Bloggin' Jive," "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Blog," "Five Blogs Named Moe," "What's the Use of Blogging Sober (When You're Gonna Blog Drunk Again)," "Bloggin' Out"

    Blog Crimson:  "Heartblog," "Neal & Blog & Me," "Blogotica," "Blogless," "B'blog," "The Sheltering Blog"

    Blogeiner:  "Blogent," "Dirty White Blog," "Blogs Like the First Blog," "Jukeblog Hero," "Blogging for a Girl Like You," "Doublog Vision"

    Blogerica:  "A Horse with No Blog," "Blogtura Highway," "Muskrat Blog," "The Tin Blog"

    Blog 52s: "Blog Lobster," "Party Out of Blogs," "Private Blogaho," "Quiche Lablog," "Strobe Blog," "Blog Shack," "Follow Your Blog"

    Blogfinger:  "Blog After Blog," "Come & Blog It," "No Matter Blog," "Baby Blog," "Apple of My Blog"

    Blogge Midler: "Bloggie Woogie Blogle Blog," "Blog Blogneath My Blogs"

    Blogger Ali:  "Uncle Sam Blogdamn," "Blogdom Isn't Free"

    The Bloggers: "Cannonblog," "Divine Blogger," "Blog On," "Hellblog," "Blog Splash"

    Blogger Than Ezra:  "Blog of New Orleans," "Return of the Blog Moderns," "Deperately Blogging," "In the Blog"

    Bloggertramp:  "The Blogical Blog"

    Blogging Muses:  "Counting Blogward," "Bright Yellow Blog," "Blogface," "Freeblogger"

    The Bloggin' Spoonful: "Do You Blog in Magic," "You Didn't Have to Blog So Nice," "Blogger in the City," "Blogger Generation," "Darlin Blog Home Soon," "Did You Ever Have to Blog Up Your Mind?"

    Bloggy Joel:  "Just the Way You Blog," "Only the Good Blog Young," "The Blogger," "Blog Shot," "Uptown Blog," "The Longest Blog," "Keeping the Blog," "We Didn't Start the Blog"

    Bloggy Squier:  "The Blog"

    Blog Halen:  "You Really Blog Me," "Bloggin' with the Devil," "Blog for Teacher," "Unblogged," "The Full Blog," "Blogama," "Why Can't This Blog Love?"

    Bloghat:  "Blog Ride," "Blog for the City," "Stone Blog," "I Just Blog to Make Love to You"

    Blogi Mitchell: "Blog Yellow Taxi," "Free Blog in Paris," "Blogged on Bloggery," "Blog Sides Now," "Blogstock"

    The Blogkees:  "Daydream Blogger," "I'm a Blogger," "A Little Blog Me, A Little Blog You," "I Wanna Blog Free," "Pleasant Bloggy Sunday," "Last Blog to Blogsville"

    Bloglistics:  "You're a Blog Girl Now," "Blog Ya Blog Golly Wow," "You Make Me Feel Blog New," "Blog Up to Make Up"

    Blog Marley: "Blog It Up," "Zimblogwe," "Bloggin'," "Blogger Down," "One Blog," "I Blog the Sheriff"

    Blog Purple:  "Smoke on the Blogger"

    The Blog Rascals:  "Good Bloggin'," "Bloggin'," "People Gotta Blog Free," "How Can I Blog Sure," "A Blogiful Morning"

    Blogsh:  "Blogsh City Bloggers," "Blog Riot," "Reblog Control," "Blog in the Supermarket," "London's Blogging," "Bankblogging," "Bloga Kola," "Know Your Blogs," "Blog New Cadillac," "Blogs of Blogston," "Blog the Casbah" "Should I Blog Or Should I Go," "Blog to Hell"

    Blog Stewart:  A Blog Is As Good As a Wink . . . to a Blog Horse, "Bloggie Mae," Blogs Have More Fun, "Forever Blog," "Hot Blogs,"  "You're in My Blog," "Do Ya Think I'm Bloggy?"

    Blogvana:  "Smells Like Blog Spirit," "Blog It," "In Blog," "Come As You Blog," In Blogero, "Heart-Shaped Blog," "Blog Apologies," "Very Blog"

    Blogwerk:  Autoblog, "The Roblogs," "Neon Blogs," "Koblogek-Koblogenmelodie"

    Blog Withers:  "Ain't No Blogshine," "Blog on Me," "Grandma's Blog," "Just the Blog of Us"

    Blogysics:  "Kaja Kaja Blog," "My Blogona," "Bloggin' Bloggin' Gaa," "New Blog Jacket"

    Bloogio:  "Blogsta's Paradise," "Payblog," "Somebody's Gotta Blog"

    Cat Blogger:  "Blog as the News," "American Blog," "The Bloggest," "Cross Blog Style," "Blog of His Head," "You May Blog Him," "Blogged in Bars," "Blogging Proof"

    Cat Blogens:  "Peace Blog," "Blogshadow," "Blog World," "If I Blog," "Blogging Has Broken," "Bitterblog," "Tuesday's Blog," Buddha & the Chocolate Blog, "Blogger & Son," Catch Blog at Four, "Where Do the Children Blog?"

    Donna Blogger:  "Blog Girls," "Blog to Blog You, Baby," "Last Blog," "MacArthur's Blog"

    Earth, Wind & Blog:  "Shining Blog," "Septemblog," "Got to Get You into My Blog," "Blog a Blog," "Serpentine Blog," "Bloggie Wonderland"

    Edgar Blogger:  "Bloggenstein"

    Eric Blogdon & the Animals:  "The House the Rising Blog," "We Gotta Get Out of This Blog," "Story of Blog Diddley"

    Foo Bloggers:  "I'll Blog Around," "Monkey Blog," "Learn to Blog," "Blogged Actors," "Next Blog," "Blogout," "Blog It All"

    Garblog:  "Stupid Blog," "Blogger Vixen," "#1 Blog," "Blog Like Me," "Blog for Poppies"

    Grandblogger Flash:  "Superbloggin'," "The Adventures of Grandblogger Flash on the Blogs of Steel," "Blogio," "Flash to the Blog," "We Don't Blog for Free"

    Grand Blog Railroad:  "Blogger to Home," "We're an American Blog," "Some Blog of Wonderful"

    The Grass Blogs:  "Midnight Blogfession," "Any Way the Wind Blogs"

    The Grateful Blog:  "Uncle John's Blog," "U.S. Blogs," "Blog of Grey," "Blog in a Bucket"

    Harry Blogsson:  "Me & My Bloggow," "Everybody's Bloggin'," "I Guess the Lord Must Blog in New York City," "Without Blog," "Blog into the Fire," "You're Blogging My Heart," "Blogman"

    Iggy Blog:  Zombie Bloghouse, Blog-Blog-Blog, Blog by Blog, Naughty Little Bloggie

    Jeff Blog Group:  "Blog All Over," Blog-ola

    Jimmy Bloggett:  "Blog Monday," "A Pirate Blogs at Forty," "Blogarittaville," "Blogs in Latitudes, Blogs in Attitude," "Cheeseblogger in Paradise"

    Johnny Blogger:  The Progressive Blog Experiment, Nothing But the Blogs

    Kings of Blog:  Holy Blogger Novacaine

    Linkin Blog:  "Somewhere I Blog," "Blogcut," "Blogs of Authority"

    Marilyn Blogson:  Antiblog Superstar, "Personal Blog," "Lunchblog," "Blog Is Dead," "The Reflecting Blog"

    No Blogt:  "Bloghouse," "Just a Blog," "Bloggerwebs," "It's My Blog"

    Notorious B.L.O.G.:  "Notorious Blogs," "Blog Money Blog Problems," "Nasty Blog," "Dead Blog," "Blog Poppa"

    Oblogis:  (Blog the Story) Blogging Glory, "Wonderblog," "Blog It Up," "Blogger Man," "Bloghead's Blog Holiday," "Blog on a Different Cloud," "Bloggin' in the Bushes," "Chamblog Supernova," "Love Like a Blog"

    Phil Bloggins:  "You Can't Hurry Blog," "Against All Blogs," "In the Blog Tonight," "Bloggudio"

    The Prebloggers:  "Blog in Pocket," "Middle of the Blog," "Stop Your Blogging," "Blog on the Chain Gang," "Blog Me," "Blog Full of Mirrors," "Blogstar"

    Randy Blogman:  "I Blog L.A.," "Blog People," "Blogimore," "Blogginham," "In Germany Before the Blog," "Let Me Blog"

    Reo Speedblogon: "Keep on Bloggin' You," "Blog It on the Run," "Keep the Fire Bloggin'," "Can't Blog This Feeling"

    Sammy Blogger:  "I Can't Blog 55"

    Seals & Blog:  "Hummingblog," "Summer Blog"

    Simon & Blogfunkel:  "The Blogs of Silence," "Like a Blog over Troubled Water," "Scarblog Affair"

    Sly & the Family Blog:  "Everyblog People," "Blog," "Blogily Affair," "I Blog to Take You Higher," "You Can Blog It If You Try," "Blog Fun in the Summertime," "Blog to the Music," "Thank You (Falettinme Blog Mice Elf Again)"

    Sonic Blog:  "Blog in the Heather," "Blogger Kane," "Kool Blog," "Shadow of a Blog," "Blog Age Riot," "Blog on Tin," "Blog-Christ," "Blog Revolution," "Screaming Blog," "Kill Yr Blogs,"  "The World Blogs Red," "Expressway to Yr Blog"

    The Stray Blogs:  "Blog This Town," "Stray Blog Strut," Gonna Blog, "I Won't Blog in Your Blog," Blog for Speed

    Three Blog Night:  "Eli's Blogging," "Easy to Blog Hard," "Celeblog," "Mama Told Me (Not to Blog)," "One Man Blog," "Blog in the Country," "Old Fashioned Love Blog," "Blog & White," "Shambalog"

    Tublog Shakur:  Blog Life: Volume 1, "Blog Me a G," "Blog to the Grave," "Outblog," "Fuck the Blog," "How Blog You"

    Woody Blogthrie:  "I Ain't Got No Blog," "This Blog Is Your Blog," "Dear Mrs. Blogevelt," "Pretty Blog Floyd," "Worried Man Blogs," "Lonesome Road Blogs," "Dust Blog Refugee"

    Z.Z. Blog:  "La Bloge," "Velcro Blog," "My Blog's in Mississippi," "Sharp Blogged Man," "Doubleblog," "Fuzzblog Voodoo," "Blog Blog," "Cheap Bloglasses"