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Bernadette Mayer...Who Knew

Tue May 10, 2011, 10:07 PM
First, a good joke -

[Sonnet] You jerk you didn't call me up
By Bernadette Mayer

You jerk you didn't call me up
I haven't seen you in so long
You probably have a fucking tan
& besides that instead of making love tonight
You're drinking your parents to the airport
I'm through with you bourgeois boys
All you ever do is go back to ancestral comforts
Only money can get—even Catullus was rich but

Nowadays you guys settle for a couch
By a soporific color cable t.v. set
Instead of any arc of love, no wonder
The G.I. Joe team blows it every other time

Wake up! It's the middle of the night
You can either make love or die at the hands of
                               the Cobra Commander


_________________

To make love, turn to page 121.
To die, turn to page 172.

And then it's time to get serious -

Length of Moon
by Arna Bontemps

Then the golden hour
Will tick its last
And the flame will go down in the flower.
A briefer length of moon
Will mark the sea-line and the yellow dune.
Then we may think of this, yet
There will be something forgotten
And something we should forget.
It will be like all things we know: .
A stone will fail; a rose is sure to go.
It will be quiet then and we may stay Long at the picket gate
But there will be less to say.

Or maybe I have it backwards.

:peace:  :stormtrooper:

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Strange Times

Tue May 3, 2011, 2:56 PM
When is it righteous to hate? I was reading this piece in The Huffington Post. I was thinking about this.

from Celebrating a Death
by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

When I think of bin Laden I think of evil.

But I have to be careful in my celebrations of bin Laden's death. I was a chaplain at Columbia University during Sept. 11, 2001. Two days after the attacks, some of my students put on an art exhibit in response called Peace Kitchen. In one piece a student had put a film of bin Laden's face over a mirror so we saw our own face staring back at us through his. The point was not that there was equivalency between bin Laden and us, but to acknowledge that evil is not something that only exists outside of us that we can point to and kill once and for all. Evil doesn't work like that. All humans have the potential for grace, but we also all have the potential to sin and do evil. It is a tempting yet dangerous practice to look around the world for evil people and target them. That is just what Osama bin Laden thought he was doing. We must be vigilant that we do not become what we despise. We must be careful in the way we use religion and the name of God to further our own causes or to ever manipulate people into hate.

So, let us mute our celebrations. Let any satisfaction be grim and grounded in the foundation of justice for all who have suffered at bin Laden's bloody hands. And also justice for crimes against God -- for using God as an instrument of terror and and promoting distrust between peoples of different religions and nations. Let us put bin Laden's body in the ground, and in doing so bury his disastrous and blasphemous religious legacy.

Ultimately, judgment is not ours to make. But I believe in a just God and I believe that Osama bin Laden, for all the talk of rewards in heaven, will not be enjoying his meeting with the God of Creation.

You can read the rest here:Celebrating A Death. Then read a poem by Carl Sandburg:

Death Snips Proud Men
DEATH is stronger than all the governments because the governments are men and men die and then death laughs: Now you see ’em, now you don’t.

Death is stronger than all proud men and so death snips proud men on the nose, throws a pair of dice and says: Read ’em and weep.

Death sends a radiogram every day: When I want you I’ll drop in—and then one day he comes with a master-key and lets himself in and says: We’ll go now.

Death is a nurse mother with big arms: ’Twon’t hurt you at all; it’s your time now; you just need a long sleep, child; what have you had anyhow better than sleep?
:peace: :earth: :stormtrooper:

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Two

Thu Feb 10, 2011, 12:13 PM
Because it's not three, but it's more than one.

Robin Redbreast
by Stanley Kunitz


It was the dingiest bird
you ever saw, all the color
washed from him, as if
he had been standing in the rain,
friendless and stiff and cold,
since Eden went wrong.
In the house marked FOR SALE,
where nobody made a sound,
in the room where I lived
with an empty page, I had heard
the squawking of the jays
under the wild persimmons
tormenting him.
So I scooped him up
after they knocked him down,
in league with that ounce of heart
pounding in my palm,
that dumb beak gaping.
Poor thing! Poor foolish life!
without sense enough to stop
running in desperate circles,
needing my lucky help
to toss him back into his element.
But when I held him high,
fear clutched my hand,
for through the hole in his head,
cut whistle-clean . . .
through the old dried wound
between his eyes
where the hunter’s brand
had tunneled out his wits . . .
I caught the cold flash of the blue
unappeasable sky.


Sarabande
by Norma Cole


“and then looks at
the stars” from the
bed in the ambulance

looks up at boughs of
trees shifting quickly
lit in blackness

blackening soft, deep
siren’s song—she died
several times that night

and only in the weeks
to come started and
started to come back

then forward which is
real life

:peace: :earth: :stormtrooper:

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  • Eating: Chipotle
  • Drinking: Nantucket Nectar

Huzzah! Huzzah!

Mon Jan 17, 2011, 3:41 PM
There are birds by hogret Real Objects by hogret
:iconhogret::iconhogret::iconhogret::iconhogret::iconhogret:

Three cheers for Margret who has created some yummy bits of digital collage using my poems There are birds and Real Objects as her prompts. They most yummy, no?!

A pair of poems, to celebrate whatever is making you happy.

The Illiterate
By William Meredith

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think that this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.

His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
that keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

Houdini
by Kay Ryan

Each escape
involved some art,
some hokum, and
at least a brief
incomprehensible
exchange between
the man and metal
during which the
chains were not
so much broken
as he and they
blended. At the
end of each such   
mix he had to
extract himself. It
was the hardest
part to get right
routinely: breaking
back into the   
same Houdini.

:peace: :earth: :stormtrooper:

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The Art of the Collage

Tue Jan 4, 2011, 5:37 PM
From the French - to glue. :D Without blathering on and on, I'd just like to say I'm a sucker for it and you should be too! If only because it reminds us that everything can become other than what it is; everything is part of the becoming of something else (and how great is that).

Here are some tasty pieces, brought to you by the talented hands of a few artists here on dA that work in the medium.

:iconhogret: *hogret

The Three Graces by hogret Family Mavericks by hogret Sugar Rush by hogret

Dream: Act VI, Scene iii by hogret The Assemblage Muse by hogret Dream: Act III, Scene vi by hogret

A Farewell to Essay Writing by hogret The Unknown Exponent by hogret

:iconlauratringaliholmes: *weedlace

Winning by LauraTringaliHolmes Adam by LauraTringaliHolmes

Future Tense by LauraTringaliHolmes The World Is by LauraTringaliHolmes

:icontimshel-that: ~timshel-that

West Lake by timshel-that Ars Longa Vita Brevis by timshel-that

Vanitas by timshel-that Light-Giver by timshel-that

:iconrichardleach: *tinkwig

Twist two by RichardLeach Directions by RichardLeach Slow Dancer - Fourth Dimension by RichardLeach

And then there's me...

Guidence Systems Go by swizzleSTIX41 The Face of the Queen by swizzleSTIX41 The Same Tissue by swizzleSTIX41

:peace: :earth: :stormtrooper: dear people.

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Okay I have to share this; it's just too good a bit to keep all to myself.  

I was online yesterday, reading a little of this and that, and I ran across this post over at HTMLGIANT called Laurel Nakadate’s Untitled : Pornstars Reading Poems, and it made me pause and think, "Hm, there's something you don't hear about every day." It starts off like this:

Poetry readings. Whether you love them or hate them, they can sometimes be an uncomfortable or bland affair. Some contemporary authors are committed to reinventing the format of “the reading”—using vulnerability, performance, and other attention-grabbing techniques to pump a little life into these often humdrum happenings. But video artist Laurel Nakadate takes the “the reading” to a whole new level.

In the video Untitled, Laurel has porn actresses read poems by Dora Malech. The interplay between Dora’s poems and the premise of the video is brilliant. The poems grapple with the tension between corporeality and disembodied intellect—being pure body or pure voice, being of the flesh or of the mind, but they settle on neither. Laurel’s video project and Dora’s text collapses those distinctions, using the body itself to speak. “If you give me a dollar I’ll take my top off / and let you see my heart,” reads actress Robbye Bentley. The body is not that which is mute, but that which sings. Another poem speaks to the ecstasy of being an embodied human with the line, “Believe me / when I tell you I’m kept / awake by the light / from my body, splayed star.”

The porn actresses in the video were asked to come to the “audition” (the audition being the final video itself) wearing their usually business attire: lacy lingerie, bright color bras. One woman—Robbye Bentley—even delivers her poems topless, covering her breasts with the poem “script” about a woman taking her top off for money. In recontextualizing the poetry reading event by having porn actresses read poems in settings like bathrooms and bedrooms, the video also dashes another expectation: that the porn actress is somehow less intellectual than the poet. The pairing of poetry and porn initially seemed unnatural to me. On the phone I asked Laurel, “Did the actresses think it was weird to be asked to read poems? How did they react?” She said no, that they loved it, that they were excited to be a part of the project.


Well, as I read and watched, I found myself thinking that this is a pretty nifty piece of work in its own way. I did. And I'm wondering, what do you think? You can read the rest of the article and watch some of the video "auditions" shot by Laurel Nakadate over at HTMLGIANT if I've made you curious.

And when you tire of that, I'd invite you to hit Lemon Hound's blog Conceptual Writing 101 were you'll find many fine little gems of conceptual writing, including this fine post about Mayer/ Bernstein Writing Experiments.  

* Systematically eliminate the use of certain kinds of words or phrases from
a piece of writing: eliminate all adjectives from a poem of your own, or
take out all words beginning with 's' in Shakespeare's sonnets.

* Rewrite someone else's writing. Experiment with theft and plagiarism.

* Systematically derange the language: write a work consisting only of
prepositional phrases, or, add a gerund to every line of an already existing
work.

* Get a group of words, either randomly selected or thought up, then form
these words (only) into a piece of writing-whatever the words allow. Let
them demand their own form, or, use some words in a predetermined way.
Design words.

* Pick a word or phrase at random, let mind play freely around it until a
few ideas have come up, then seize on one and begin to write. Try this with
a non- connotative word, like "so" etc.

* Eliminate material systematically from a piece of your own writing until
it is "ultimately" reduced, or, read or write it backwards, line by line or
word by word.


(Only six more shopping days until Christmas you know - it may be time to start thinking about poems as gifts for all the friends you find it just too hard to shop for :D) Then you can pop over to  wewhoareabouttodie and check out a load of clips and links exploring the nature and process of "Conceptual Writing". Sound like a plan?

:peace: :earth: :stormtrooper:

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  • Listening to: Sly Fox - Let's go All the Way
  • Reading: The last of the semester exams
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  • Playing: dumb
  • Eating: heartily
  • Drinking: nog

Hear Ye...

Sat Nov 6, 2010, 4:56 PM
Whatever it is, I'd like you to take it seriously.

Trying to Pray
by James Wright


This time, I have left my body behind me, crying
In its dark thorns.
Still,
There are good things in this world.
It is dusk.
It is the good darkness
Of women's hands that touch loaves.
The spirit of a tree begins to move.
I touch leaves.
I close my eyes and think of water.

The Minimal
by Theodore Roethke


I study the lives on a leaf: the little
Sleepers, numb nudgers in cold dimensions,
Beetles in caves, newts, stone-deaf fishes,
Lice tethered to long limp subterranean weeds,
Squirmers in bogs,
And bacterial creepers
Wriggling through wounds
Like elvers in ponds,
Their wan mouths kissing the warm sutures,
Cleaning and caressing,
Creeping and healing.

To England
by Richard Brautigan


There are no postage stamps that send letters
back to England three centuries ago,
no postage stamps that make letters
travel back until the grave hasn't been dug yet,
and John Donne stands looking out the window,
it is just beginning to rain this April morning,
and the birds are falling into the trees
like chess pieces into an unplayed game,
and John Donne sees the postman coming up the street,
the postman walks very carefully because his cane
is made of glass.

:peace:

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  • Reading: David Sedaris - Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
  • Watching: the days get shorter
  • Playing: dumb
  • Eating: heartily
  • Drinking: down to the lees

Zombies - fer the eatin'

Sat Oct 16, 2010, 11:39 PM
Because it's the season for such things, and I've just finished watching Shaun of the Dead (again), I thought we might indulge ourselves with a holiday feast - Zombie haiku!!

As our appetizer, may I recommend that we begin with a few morsels from a Zombie haiku contest over at boingboing

Crunching through his brain,
I realized I no longer cared
whether he loved me

by victriviaqueen

The radio told
me that I would be safe here -
Crowded Stadium

by apocalypticbeef

Zombies by JohnPrisk ZOMBIE JESUS by phishy

Zombies are disgusted by salad and the like, so we'll skip those courses and move on to one of the signature entrees of the season (available on Twitter): haiku of the dead.  

Resourceful teacher,
downing undead schoolchildren
with safety scissors.

Light in the darkness.
Racing to the campfire -
at last, a warm meal.

Get it through your head:
bites kill you, bites bring you back.
It's a simple truth.

The playground empty
save for a lone cursed creature,
battling a swing.

As their numbers grew,
humans clung to each other.
Convenient really...

He won't stop talking.
If the zombies don't get him,
I think I'll have to.

+zombie+ by nayruasukei Zombie Doodle by belldandy105

If you still have room for dessert, and I know some of you do, I'd like to recommend the very fresh If Famous Poets Wrote Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum.

Zombie Haiku by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle
into that zombie plagued night.
And take the shotgun.

Zombie Haiku by Sylvia Plath
From head to black shoe,
daddy, I had to eat you
because I’m starving.

Zombie Haiku by Robert Frost
Two lobes in the skull.
I eat the bloodier one –
not much difference.

Zombie Haiku by e.e. cummings
if anyone lived
in this wretched how town (they)
would be soon eaten.

support zombie hunting by Ashwings Zombie Kirby Sprite -Walk- by CodeGeorge Zombie Plan by secretgal1234  

And for our petit fours, we have a nice little bit of something scrumptious from Wild Poets 2009 Zombie poetry contest:

so tired just let me rest a sec
nah it's just a scratch but yeah
lost a lot of...
hey man...
hey man
hey
if I...
if I... you know...

turn...

here's the chainsaw

by thug

Zombie 1 by pophipi zombie zombie by markmandu

And do try the wine; it's a fine vintage.

Zombies aren't
by Tom Beckett

Zombies aren't
usually affiliated
with organized
religions. They're
visibly uncomfortable
in church,
synagogue, temple
or mosque.
Zombies don't
read scripture.
Zombies don't
read poetry.
Zombies don't
read pornography.
Zombies read
telephone directories.

:peace:

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To Look for, Forage, Ferret Around

Thu Sep 23, 2010, 10:11 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

Whatever that means? :shrug: Oh well.
Now that you're here, these are worth your time; they mean - they mean big.

The True Encounter
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Wolf!" cried my cunning heart
At every sheep it spied,
And roused the countryside.

"Wolf! Wolf!"— and up would start
Good neighbors, bringing spade
And pitchfork to my aid.

At length my cry was known:
Therein lay my release.
I met the wolf alone
And was devoured in peace.

The light and the shadow by JakezDaniel Lucy in the Sky....... by foureyes

Saint Judas
by James Wright

When I went out to kill myself, I caught
A pack of hoodlums beating up a man.
Running to spare his suffering, I forgot
My name, my number, how my day began,
How soldiers milled around the garden stone
And sang amusing songs; how all that day
Their javelins measured crowds; how I alone
Bargained the proper coins, and slipped away.

Banished from heaven, I found this victim beaten,
Stripped, kneed, and left to cry. Dropping my rope
Aside, I ran, ignored the uniforms:
Then I remembered bread my flesh had eaten,
The kiss that ate my flesh. Flayed without hope,
I held the man for nothing in my arms.

Got any? by eXcer Distrustful by eXcer On Time by 1rainmaker

Kicks
by Howard Nemerov

The fishermen on Lake Michigan, sometimes,
For kicks, they spit two hunks of bait on hooks
At either end of a single length of line
And toss that up among the scavenging gulls,

Who go for it so fast that often two of them
Make the connection before it hits the water.
Hooked and hung up like that, they do a dance
That lasts only so long. The fishermen

Do that for kicks, on Lake Michigan, sometimes.

Flying High by TakeMeToAnotherPlace
:peace: :earth:

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Jumping the Shark

Tue Sep 14, 2010, 10:55 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

And so, it's time for something completely different :)

(Poem #188) Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

*

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

*

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be.


-- Archibald MacLeish

And in other news, I am happy to live in a world where something like this can happen -

Poet Hijacks Atlanta Streets with Haiku Advertising Campaign

Artist satirises roadside adverts by nailing his poetry to traffic lights and streetlamps across the city

Artist John Morse has been peppering Atlanta's road intersections with haikus, nailing his poetry to traffic lights and streetlamps in an attempt to provide commuters with "poetic snapshots of the urban condition".

Mimicking the usual advertisements for weight loss and health insurance, Morse's poems began appearing throughout the city last month. From an exhortation to "Lose ugly weight fast!!/ Feel Happier! Healthier!/ Dump your bigotry" to "Meet local singles!!/ Easy: stand near others/ Hang up your cell phone" and "Free debt counseling/ Take the important first step/ Beware signs like these", the artist has written 10 different haiku, printed 50 copies of each and placed them at 500 locations across Atlanta.

"People read these bandit signs. They'll read them if it's about an electrician or they'll read them if it's about anything," explained Morse. "So if they read it and they like it, great, if they read it and they don't like it, great. But the fact is they'll read it, they're going to read your poetry and that's my goal.

"There's a great deal of bad in the world, and one of the few things that ameliorates the cruelties of the world is art," he said. "A little bit of art can do a great deal of good. And I want to spend my life doing something good ... Will it be good? I don't know. But I'm going to try."

Backed by artist support group Flux Projects, which says the signs offer "compact observations and commentary on modern life", the Roadside Haiku initiative is scheduled to run until the end of October. The haiku haven't been welcomed by everyone, however: Peggy Denby of Keep Atlanta Beautiful described them as "litter on a stick" and told local news site wsbtv.com there would be fines if they weren't taken down.


You can read the poems by following the links in this article Haiku Hijacking .

:peace: to my people. :D :earth:

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Shark Week

Sun Aug 1, 2010, 10:22 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

Oh yes, it's shark week on the Discover Channel, so how about some tribute action. Magnificent as they are, sharks rouse the blood and make the imagination race like little else can. Let's all watch together!

Shark by Kaaa
Shark shark by raidenokreuz76 Great White Shark III by hsaquejklwrm
white shark hunting by alfred-georg Great White Shark I by hsaquejklwrm
Shark by flemmens Shark by miss-misery666
Shark Bay 04 by h-o-l-z Funk Flavored Filling by swizzleSTIX41
Whale shark by Hiddenplanet Shark by benjof
turn and turn and turn and by swizzleSTIX41 Shark by jpgmn
Georgia Aquarium 44 by Dracoart-Stock Great White Shark II by hsaquejklwrm

– A Recipe for Disaster
by b1gfan

Once a shark
learns to associate boat arrivals
and/or people in the water
with dinnertime,

those associations are
remembered for a long time
and taken
with the shark

wherever it may wander

Shark by xatosilur

Hidden Shark
by ~Silvershark

I can see you,
But you can't see me,
Blending into the blue,
The darkness of the ocean.
But you can feel my presence,
I know there are chills,
Running up your back,
As you turn,
Slowly,
You're eyes searching,
Through the murky deep,
Seeing nothing.
But there is no need,
For your fear,
Because I can see you,
I know that you are not what I'm hunting for,
And so I simply slip silently by,
Unseen, unheard, but felt
The fish return,
And you can enjoy the rest of your dive.

Shark Attack by jperick Night of the Shark by nJoo
billy the shark by peri-art LAND SHARK by Xeqz Shark Week by JohnPrisk

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Promises, Promises

Fri Jun 18, 2010, 8:05 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

The Christian Science Monitor ran this story by the Associated Press today - Lakers Riots: Lakers Fans Get Ugly After L.A. Beats Boston in NBA Fnals

A jubilant celebration over the Los Angeles Lakers dramatic win in the NBA championship turned rowdy in scattered sections of the city, with raucous revelers hurling rocks and bottles at officers, setting fires and jumping on vehicles.

Hundreds of police officers massed around the Staples Center before Game 7 of the NBA finals on Thursday night, aiming to prevent a repeat of the violence that accompanied the Lakers' victory last year. But despite their massive presence, scattered pockets of violence erupted in neighborhoods near the arena. No major incidents were reported in the rest of the city, police said.

At least 20 people had been arrested late Thursday and that number was expected to rise, Los Angeles police Lt. John Romero said. Most of the arrests were for public intoxication, while others were for vandalism and inciting a riot.

Television news footage showed several people jumping on a taxi as it attempted to leave the area near the arena after the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 83-79. Someone opened a rear door of the vehicle, while others rocked it back and forth. The taxi eventually made its way through the crowd and out of the area.

Television footage also showed a man being beaten and a car set on fire. And there were scattered reports of windows being broken at several businesses.

Some men ran shirtless in the street, while other people revved car engines and honked their horns in celebration. Broken glass and burnt debris lined the roads.

Jazmine Rodriguez, 24, lives in an apartment building not far from Staples Center. She said every car on her street had its windows smashed.

"When we came down here, only one window was smashed. The cops told us to go back inside, and they (revelers) smashed the other one," Rodriguez said.


Now there's a surprise! You can read up on the rest of the scoop while I contemplate a poem on it or you could poem this one up yourself. Or, you could consider this:

God’s Promises
by Paul Hoover



I, the Lord, will make barren
your fields and your fairways.
Your refrigerators will be empty,
no steaks and no leg bones,
no butter and no cornbread.
And I will remove your screen doors,
force the mosquitoes indoors
where you lie on the bed undead.
For my house you have not readied,
no flat screen and no broadband.
My habitation is a wasteland
of furniture from motel rooms.
I will send the ostrich and badger
in herds through your wrecked rooms;
your beds will be entered by turnstile;
the floor will seethe with bees.
For my house is but a prefab;
its roof lets in my rain.
Woe is the Lord of Heaven
who has no mansion on earth.
Cries are heard from my fish traps,
crows flap on my hat rack,
pandemonium at the threshold
as the owls and bats flit in.
Silence reigns in the last place
and the first place has no sway.
For my knife-edge is impatient,
my ledge crumbles like cake.
I have warned you to beware.
You await a handsome savior,
but the plain man draws near...

(Zephaniah)
:peace: :earth: :peace:

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Summer Reading

Tue Jun 1, 2010, 11:46 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

To kick off my summer reading, I've picked up a copy of Language for a New Century, an anthology of contemporary poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and beyond, (edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, and Ravi Shankar), and so far I'm enjoying it a lot. It has a solid mix of voices, styles, themes ... and it's organized in very sensible, very readable sections. It's all win. Here are a couple of my favorites from the first 30 pages.

Directions to My Imaginary Childhood
by Nick Carbo

If you stand on the corner
of Mabini Street and Legazpi Avenue,
wait for an orchid colored minibus
with seven oblong doors,
open the fourth door –

an oscillating electric fan
will be driving, tell her to proceed
to the Escolta diamond district –
you will pass Maneng Viray’s Bar,
La Isla de los Ladrones bookshop,

the Frederick Funston fish sauce factory,
and as you turn left into Calle de Recuerdos,
you will see Breton, Bataille, and Camus
seated around a card table playing
abecedarian dominoes –

roll down your window and ask
them if Mr. Florante and Miss Laura
are home, if the answer is, yes,
the proceed o Noli Me Tangere park
and wait for a nun named Maria Clara –

if the answer is, Jen e se pas!, then turn
right onto that parking lot of Sikatuna’s
supermarket to buy a basketful
of lansones fruit, then got back
to Calle de Recuerdos until you reach

the part that’s lined with tungsten-red
Juan Tamad trees, on the right will be
a house with an acknowledgements page
and an index, open the door and enter
this page and look me in the eye.

Practical Aim
by Cyril Wong


After the pain, what would the body learn
that it does not already know of relief?

When that fire truck has raged past,
what do I rediscover about silence,

except that I would always miss it?
Do trees mind if it is the same wind

that passes through their heads everyday?
After the mall is completed, must we

remember the field it inhabits now
where we chased each other as children?

If my lover fails to wake me with a kiss
a third time this week, do I worry?

After the earthquake, would it matter
no on saw two dogs from different

families approach each other
without suspicion, then moving apart?

As the workers wash their faces hidden
by helmets that beam back the sun,

should they care about the new building
behind them beyond the fear of it falling?

Does solitude offer strength over time,
or is denial of it the only practical aim?

If my mother cannot see how else
to be happy, is it enough that she may lie

in bed, convinced God watches her sleep?
After severe loss, what does the heart

learn that it has not already understood
about regret? When all light finally

forsakes a room, do we take the time
to interrogate the dark, and to what end?

Perhaps I see you buying this book; perhaps I see you reading it - at the corner table over there, while eating your strawberry scone, waiting for your latte to cool just a little bit more.
  
:peace: :earth:

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Well Lookie Here

Tue May 18, 2010, 11:08 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

There's a new book about Walt Whitman out there my people. I hope it lives up to this review of it (passed on to me by my friend Andrew).

‘On Whitman’: The Real American
By Jeremy McCarter | NEWSWEEK
Published May 7, 2010
From the magazine issue dated May 17, 2010


If I were to count up the things I love best about America, this tableau would be high on the list: Walt Whitman, on a street in Washington, exchanging a respectful bow with Abraham Lincoln as the president's carriage rolled by. That the United States managed to produce either of these gentlemen, the self-taught frontier president and the great poet of democracy, reflects well on our way of life. That a lucky pedestrian could watch the two of them pass close enough to acknowledge one another—such original minds, such extraordinary beards—nearly makes the notion of a special dispensation for America ring true.

As far as anybody can tell, Lincoln and Whitman never paused for a proper conversation. It's too bad, because if they had, it would have been a latter-day constitutional convention. After the Civil War exposed some limitations of the Framers' plans, it fell to Lincoln to bring forth, through his reconciling speeches and his sacrificial death, a "new birth of freedom" for the Union he helped to save. But Whitman, if we read him right, proves to be just as much a Founding Father as Lincoln, and for many of the same reasons.

Ethnically, geographically, and materially, the United States had careened outward during the 19th century. More vibrantly than anybody else, Whitman sang a hymn of praise to what he grasped would become "not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations." He saw how our continental democracy could benefit citizens' souls but recognized how much openness and equality this would demand—the nearly infinite differences that would arise. "I hear America singing," he wrote in Leaves of Grass, "the varied carols I hear."

Neither Whitman nor the president he eulogized in his great elegy "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" are ever far from America's consciousness; neither is what you'd call neglected. But sometimes our need for one of them is more than usually acute. Lincoln offered a touchstone when we tried to make sense of Barack Obama's election in 2008. Now, C. K. Williams has written a book on Whitman, and it arrives not a moment too soon.

This isn't just a dark time for the American economy; politics have grown so vicious and corrosive, it's turning into a dark time for the American soul. Creeping militancy. Mounting cynicism. Talk of division—up to and including secession. Affection for the Confederacy, whose sympathizers (does this not bother anybody else?) killed Abe Lincoln. Until his death in 1892, Whitman opposed all those forms of ugliness. He knew they would subvert American democracy's ability to bring about his most earnest dream: a people with large spirits and heroic souls. "How short we have fallen compared to what he saw for us," writes Williams, "how in so many ways have we regressed." Those shortcomings make right now an excellent time for our mystic chords of memory to be touched by the poet who is—if anyone is—one of the better angels of our nature.

You can read on over at Newsweek if you'd like. It's all pretty sassy stuff! Oh, and lookie lookie :)

Some wonderful works by :iconbenheine: and :iconsalihagir: :w00t:
Pencil Vs Camera - 12 by BenHeine Pencil Vs Camera - 4 by BenHeine Pencil Vs Camera - 19 by BenHeine
Pencil Vs Camera - 8 by BenHeine Pencil Vs Camera - 10 by BenHeine 61- Magnifying Glass...  IV by salihagir
66- Magnifying Glass... V by salihagir 67- Magnifying Glass... VI by salihagir 99- Magnifying Glass... VIII by salihagir

:peace:

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But Art Just Isn't Worth That Much

Wed May 12, 2010, 9:15 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

So begins a blog post by Peter B. Hyland over at Plowshares blog.emerson.edu/ploughshares/… which goes a little somthing like this:

When I was a teaching fellow in graduate school, one morning a colleague and I debated the virtues of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita over coffee in our campus office. I had added the novel to the booklist for my fall classes, and her initial vague disapproval now solidified into the contemplative frown and raised eyebrow that lets a man know his character is up for judgment. While checking her e-mail, she asked how my classes were coping with the text after fifty pages. I said "great," and it was true. Although I felt a few minor tremors erupting here and there during my first lecture, the students began asking intelligent, probing questions once they actually started reading, and one went as far to say, "I really like this, but I hate Humbert. Is that all right?" My friend clicked her mouse a few times, turned away from the monitor, and asked, "But what do you want them to get from it?" I answered back with something about the nature of desire and the purpose of art and the astounding conflicts a psyche inevitably endures. She sipped her coffee. "Hmm...what else?"


Her point, as far as I could tell, was that my undergraduate students weren't ready to handle a novel about a pedophile. It unnerved me a little. Once I put aside her tired reservations about literary taboo and propriety, her question prompted me to explore more vital considerations about my role as a writer, the impact of my work, and where I exist in an ethical community.


When discussing literature and ethics, we're mostly concerned with the cultural function of a novel or poem. We less often consider what impact the activity of art-making has on our immediate community, mainly because our understanding of community tends to be macroscopic. In the second section of his brief poem "The Literary World," Philip Larkin approaches the responsibility of a writer this way:


Mrs Alfred Tennyson
Answered
   begging letters
   admiring letters
   insulting letters
   enquiring letters
   business letters
   and publishers' letters.
She also
   looked after his clothes
   saw to his food and drink
   entertained visitors
   protected him from gossip and criticism
And finally
   (apart from running the household)
   Brought up and educated the children.

While all this was going on
   Mister Alfred Tennyson sat like a baby
   Doing his poetic business.

I've not yet found a poem that disputes the old Romantic notion of genius quite like Larkin's does. He strips Tennyson of all his literary majesty and points to something inherently pathetic and disappointing in the way writers sometimes conceptualize their purpose. One of the reasons the poem works so well, from its humor to its cataloging of the domestic, is that culturally we still endorse the idea that genius privileges its owner, placing him or her at least partially outside the shared ethical community. It's perfectly fine and justifiable if Mr. Tennyson burdens his wife with domestic affairs because, after all, he's writing poetry; moreover, excellent poetry. This mentality really only works with certain professions. We aren't so apt to forgive the garbage man for neglecting his wife and children, no matter how much genius and dexterity he exhibits collecting the trash down Main Street.

The idea that a writer should, without question, sacrifice his friends, family, and himself for art is a compelling stupidity, though it is equally silly to think he must sacrifice nothing at all. We are so given over to the privilege of genius that we can blindly forgive most anything it produces. Writers will invade the lives of those nearest to them. As a poet, I know this is unavoidable; I cannot imagine art unfolding in any other way. But I find it too simple to say that my activity as a writer conquers all other obligations, and I think the manner in which I conduct myself as a poet has larger social significance. Whenever we make allowances for a writer's abuses, whether they are big or small, our reason for doing so is nearly always connected to the quality of their work. Larkin's poem forces the question: If Tennyson produced some of the best English verse ever written, why should we care about Mrs. Tennyson and her domestic burdens?


Tough question that; many answers come to mind.

While you ponder all that check out the multimedia offerin's over at Plowshares (if you'd like): blog.emerson.edu/ploughshares/…
:peace:

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Generating Text

Fri Apr 30, 2010, 2:09 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

As promised in the comments of my most recent little bit, here are the three poems I used for my piece Put some original text here. Are they not so very beautiful.

Music, When Soft Voices Die
Percy Bysshe Shelley


Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory,
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

A Thunderstorm in Town
Thomas Hardy


She wore a terra-cotta dress,
And we stayed, because of the pelting storm,
Within the hansom's dry recess,
Though the horse had stopped; yea, motionless
We sat on, snug and warm.

Then the downpour ceased, to my sharp sad pain,
And the glass that had screened our forms before
Flew up, and out she sprang to her door:
I should have kissed her if the rain
Had lasted a minute more.

The Fury of Rainstorms
Anne Sexton


The rain drums down like red ants,
each bouncing off my window.
The ants are in great pain
and they cry out as they hit
as if their little legs were only
stitched on and their heads pasted.
And oh they bring to mind the grave,
so humble, so willing to be beat upon
with its awful lettering and
the body lying underneath
without an umbrella.
Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave.

So do you want to try the Markov Text Generator for yourself? Do you want to try this one instead? Will you answer the call of the links?

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Embarras de Richesses

Mon Apr 19, 2010, 8:49 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

Having missed logging on to dA yesterday, I find that I missed a wonderful thing: a Daily Deviation on Ademir Returns. Wow; I mean wow! That is pure delight and a wonderful kindness indeed. Many thanks to William (:iconfllnthblnk:) for the honor, and a big :highfive: to the nearly endless train of deviants who always seem to have  a bit of time and a kind comment to share with me. I am very grateful to all of you :D; Thank you.  

Also a big, big, (big) :tighthug: to :iconblueskye27:, just 'cuz she rocks!

By way of thanks, may I offer you a great little piece that I ran across early last week? Can I? Can I, huh? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze! 'K thanks. :w00t:

Sneaking Poetry into the Office – the Perfect Waste of Time

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Griffin Poetry Prize, Scott Griffin, its founder, announced this week that he was doubling the prize money. Seven finalists earn $10,000 each; the two winners haul in $65,000 more each.

Mr. Griffin said he did it to reflect “the importance” of poetry. You don't hear capitalists say such things very often.

Recently, I was trying to find Thom Gunn's poem Hampstead: The Horse Chestnut Trees. I'd come across it months earlier, looking for a poem suitable for a eulogy. The Gunn poem wasn't appropriate, but it has a nice line I wanted to memorize, about a pair of chestnut trees between which Gunn remembered riding his bike with his brother:

they spread outward
and upward
without regret


Now I wanted to put those lines into a letter to a friend. But I couldn't remember where I had seen them or who had written them. Nor could I remember what I thought I had memorized. I would like to be someone who can pluck strands of poetry from memory when he needs them, the way a skilled fisherman can coax a fat trout from a pool. Instead, I use poetry like a weed-whacker, like a cheap app on the iPhone of my brain: I use what I can find.

Which seems undignified. We're taught in school that poems are sombre things, not to be used as therapeutic shorthand. One is supposed to study poetry and appreciate its formal niceties, its pantoums and epistrophes. Poets such as Karen Solie, P.K. Page or Kate Hall (all nominated for this year's Griffin) need years to produce slim volumes of dazzling work.

On the other hand, in Solar, Ian McEwan's new novel, the central character, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Oxford graduate, seduces his first wife by flash-memorizing some Milton. He's astonished how easy literature is compared with advanced math.

Looking for the Gunn poem, I turned to the same four books I consult whenever I'm looking for a poem to lift me over an inspirational declivity: two volumes edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes called The School Bag and The Rattle Bag; Francis Turner Palgrave's Golden Treasury in coral leather, won in 1968 as a prize at school; and my wife's thick, spine-broken Norton Anthology of English Literature, bespawled with pencil notations from her college days.

Roughly 4,200 pages of poetry. I brought them into work here at the abattoir, where my comrades labour so keenly. I was embarrassed to be reading poetry at work.

I laid the books out in the grotto of my desk, with its secret organizational nooks, its gentle eddy of dividers. I began to leaf quickly through the mass of pages, looking for the poem. I knew I was looking for a final stanza. I knew it had been published in the 20th century. Of course the search would have been easier on Google with more information (trees, chestnut and bicycle yielded nothing), provided I wanted to use Google instead of books packed with poems.

I did not – because, looking for a poem in a book of poems, you find lots of others. You get inefficient, and waylaid. Each new find – it goes without saying! – is a slap in the face of productivity, an admission of waywardness and temporary incapacity. Books – of poetry! – on one's desk! Out in the open! Like – gravestones! There are few things you can do at work that make you feel more extraneous than surreptitiously reading poems. I don't think I'm exaggerating.

The first lines that caught my eye were an epigram by J.V. Cunningham: I married in my youth a wife/ She was my own, my very first/ She gave the best years of her life/ I hope nobody gets the worst. I later discovered (online) that Cunningham was one of Gunn's favourite poets. He thought we'd still be reading Cunningham in 50 years. It turns out some of us are.

At this point, it was still before 10 a.m. on a Wednesday.

You can read the rest of this over at The Globe and Mail. I'd recommend it; it has a great ending.

:peace:

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Others Have Not Been So Lucky

Mon Apr 12, 2010, 7:14 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

You might like this. I did;it's a good read. Frances Booth posted this story on The Guardian.co.uk this past week.

You are free to write, others have not been so lucky

For 50 years PEN's Writers in Prison Committee has been campaigning on behalf of writers who have been imprisoned for speaking their minds

"You're free to write," read the email that stood out from the others in my inbox. I clicked on the message. Its words struck home: "Others have not been so lucky".

The email was an invitation to participate in a project to mark 50 years of the International PEN Writers in Prison Committee.

Choosing to participate caused me to stop and think, properly for the first time, about the writing freedom I take for granted every single day.

Since 1960, the PEN Writers in Prison Committee has been campaigning for writers who have been threatened, suppressed or imprisoned for their work. The most famous include Wole Soyinka, Vaclav Havel and Salman Rushdie, who have all had to weigh their words in fear.

The committee was formed at a PEN meeting in Rio De Janeiro, after researchers passed round a list of 56 writers imprisoned in Albania, Czechoslavakia, Hungary and Romania.

PEN centres began to spring up in countries where writers had been imprisoned because they spoke or wrote their minds. Fifty years on, there are more than 70 centres worldwide and together they support around 900 persecuted writers, editors and journalists each year.

To mark 50 years of defending freedom of expression, PEN's Writers in Prison Committee is running a year-long campaign – Because Writers Speak Their Minds.

One strand of this campaign highlights the cases of 50 writers PEN has campaigned on behalf of in the 50 years that the committee has operated. Each of the oppressed writers, who include Mamadali Makhmudov from Uzbekistan, poet Angel Cuadra from Cuba and Bangladeshi novelist, poet and journalist Taslima Nasrin, has been paired with a writer from writing group 26, of which I am a member.

The task? Write 50 words, no more, no less, inspired by the life and work of the writer.

These pieces are being posted each day online in the run up to, and during, the Free the Word! Festival, held 14-18 April.


You can read the rest of Booth's piece if you follow the link above. Or, if you've a mind to read some of the works to which she refers (a number of which are pretty great - if I may be allowed a pitiful understatement) you can peek at the archive over at 26:50

You can even read a few distressing accounts of writers who've been imprisoned for their words on the archive page of International Pen. I'd like to say that it's incredible stuff, but the sad truth is it's not so incredible as I'd wish it to be.

Freedom my brothers and sisters. Enjoy it; use it; protect it. :peace:

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Is Poetry a Career Path?

Wed Mar 31, 2010, 10:48 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

I recently read a fun piece by Jim Behrle about making a career out of being a poet. It's so tragically true that I couldn't help but enjoy it, so here's a little taste:

24/7 Relentless Careerism
How you can become the most important poet in America overnight.
by Jim Behrle

Let’s just begin by saying that there are more poets than ever before in the history of literature—and therefore more magazines, reading series, and tiny publishers. There are probably 800 or so active writing programs in the United States alone. I could have looked up the actual number, but facts don’t actually matter. If I say that Obama is a strong and effective president over and over again, it makes him a strong and effective president. Be louder and say simple things over and over again, and you will triumph in any debate or forum.

Now, you might think that because there are more poets than ever, there might be more opportunities for poets than ever. And you’d be correct. If your fondest wish is to become the next totally obscure minor poet on the block, well, you’re probably already successful at that. This literary landscape has proven itself infinitely capable of absorbing countless interchangeable artists, all doing roughly the same thing in relative anonymity: just happily plucking away until death at the grindstone, making no great cultural headway, bouncing poems off their friends and an audience of about 40 people. A totally fine little life for an artist, to be sure. No grand expectations from the world to sit up and listen. One can live out one’s days quite satisfied to create something enjoyed by a genial cult. But that’s not why any of us are here tonight. We’re here to conquer American Poetry and suck it dry of all glory and juice.

So those 800 writing programs churning out, say, 25 students apiece each year are actually factories sending more enemies to the front lines. These soldiers, filled with ambition—and now out $30K apiece—believe that they’ve paid their dues to the kingdom. And each one of them believes himself the true heir to all the masters. That his face belongs on the Poetic Mount Rushmore. And that yours doesn’t.

Even within the elite enclaves of poetic communities—like this New York City Poetry Project Scene—there is a constant battle to stay afloat while pushing others beneath the bubbling surf. Because there is so little at stake, all battles must be fought to the death. And because there are so few spots available, the survival instinct takes over. You’d think that only 10 or 20 poets ever walked these corridors, to hear young poets nowadays tell the tale. But what of the other faceless thousands who have ventured through, poems in hand, waiting for their slice of the spotlight? Forgotten, erased, remembered only as a rat turd upon some dusty archived sheet? This is not the glory we poets were imagining when we first fell in love with the idea of entering the art.


Wanna read the rest: 24/7 Relentless Careerism Go for it!

Sing wit me while you read...

I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips
hold me tighter than my Dereon jeans
acting up, drink in my cup
I couldn't care less what you think


Oh, and while you're in a poetry mood, why not check out The Poetry Fortune Teller, posted by danicouture at blackbearonwater.com :D. It's a fun and artsy little origami fortune teller. There's a pdf linked to the site so you can download a copy if you like. Or - you could make your own, using lines from your own verse, and post it here on dA for all of us to share. After all, who among us couldn't use a little guidance in times like these?

:peace:

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3 by Lucille Clifton

Wed Mar 10, 2010, 10:24 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Epic Win!

qallupilluit by msklystron painted by the wonderful :iconmsklystron:

A fine and familiar voice has passed, leaving the chorus of American poetry for the eternal. Won't you remember with me:

jasper texas 1998

for j. byrd

i am a man's head hunched in the road.
i was chosen to speak by the members
of my body.   the arm as it pulled away
pointed toward me, the hand opened once
and was gone.

why and why and why
should i call a white man brother?
who is the human in this place,
the thing that is dragged or the dragger?
what does my daughter say?

the sun is a blister overhead.
if i were alive i could not bear it.
the townsfolk sing we shall overcome
while hope bleeds slowly from my mouth
into the dirt that covers us all.
i am done with this dust.   i am done.



the message of crazy horse

i would sit in the center of the world,   
the Black Hills hooped around me and   
dream of my dancing horse. my wife

was Black Shawl who gave me the daughter   
i called They Are Afraid Of Her.   
i was afraid of nothing

except Black Buffalo Woman.   
my love for her i wore
instead of feathers. i did not dance

i dreamed. i am dreaming now
across the worlds. my medicine is strong.   
my medicine is strong in the Black basket   
of these fingers. i come again through this

Black Buffalo woman. hear me;   
the hoop of the world is breaking.   
fire burns in the four directions.
the dreamers are running away from the hills.   
i have seen it. i am crazy horse.

won't you celebrate with me

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

You can read a good piece on Lucille Clifton written by Margalit Fox for the New York Times.  

:peace:

Support the Support? by wardrich Conflict and Terror by StJoan Yellow Stamp by MammaThatMakes Stamp Supports you by Inspirized Generic Image Macro Here by jolaedana I support DLD by IrrevocableFate I dreamt I WASN'T dreaming... by cos22 284 : Hot, Throbbing Stamp by witegots


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