memorial for a brilliant woman

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Show Us Your Mask! Poetry Contest-

1. Submit up to three poems for $5.00 (checks payable to Shann Palmer)
2. Subject: must be about or concerning masks. (those we wear or share- what we conceal) 44 line limit, please (per poem)
3. Author retains copyright, winners may be included in a booklet, reading, and gallery display.
4. Entries must be postmarked between October 27 and November 27.
5. First Prize- $50.00, other prizes will be determined by the number of entries and will include art donated by gallery members.

Mail entries to:

art 6 Gallery/Shann Palmer
Show us your Mask!
6 East Broad Street .
Richmond, VA 23219

Contest sponsored by the Poetry Society of Virginia and art6.Questions? Contact or visit online

For gallery information go to: /

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Birthdays become annual objects of ridicule
eventually, snapshots of what is hardly recalled.

Photos of a childhood, crazy hair-dos,
vacations, ex-spouses; fashion bungles,
breakdowns, sad unfinished stories,
sappy smiles, harmless goofs that make us
laugh till we choke on the sentimentality-
a humanness only devout misanthropes spurn.

Distracted by the cinematic calendar pages
flipping in my face, I missed yours, didn’t I?

Un-lilylike, to count and spin each day,
worry threads into a tapestry
for which there is no pattern visible
to the naked eye, I become jaundiced and forlorn.

My last birthday was yesterday,
and the day before and the day before that.

Yours was this day, was that day,
and will be until one of us is gone,
run out of pages, numbers, candles,
in the great cleft of memory, passed by.

for DA and AW (oct 24 and 25th)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

not such a bad list.....

Emery’s short list for becoming a published poet includes:
1. Read poetry. Lots of it. He makes the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that there should be a law requiring poets to read 80 books of poetry for every one that they submit.

2. Be involved in the world of poetry - in coffee houses, book shops, open reading venues, on the internet. The more involved you are in that world, the more connections you’ll have within it. As a side note, you’ll also hear an awful lot of poetry - both excellent and horrible. It will affect you as a writer. It’ can’t not.

3. Concentrate time on building a ‘pedigree’ for your work - i.e., getting your poems published in magazines and on literary web sites.

4. Write reviews of other people’s poetry. He says, “Engaging with other work and actively revieing it is a great way to build your own experience of poetry… A side effect of such endeavors is that the poetry you believe matters will eventually be given air space.”

The chapter is even more worth reading for the practical ending to the chapter, Fifty dos and don’ts for submitting poetry. A couple of samples from the list:

5. # Make yourself a player. A mover and shaker. If you are out there participating in literature, publishers will notice you.

10. Find out the name of the person you are submitting to. Find out what they like. Find out where they live. Follow them to work. Alright, just kidding, but find out their name.

21. Beware of sending poems which contain wild metaphor, clever descriptions of everyday phenomena, and make novel use of dialect and idioms, all ending with a stunning epiphany. It’s a tired old template now. Descriptive writing can be very dull.

46. Don’t include your photograph – especially the moody one with the Fedora.

glommed from here

Friday, October 20, 2006

I have a lamp from my mother’s house

The house that is no longer hers, nor mine,
the trailer, the apartment, the hospice bed.

Teresa sent a box of photos with the lamp.
Stern, hard people who look a lot like me,
sharp nosed, straight spined, stand frozen,
the way perseverance stands, unblinking.

We spoke the morning my mother died, vanity
says she knew who I was, but she didn’t.

I barely knew her. It had been fifteen years
of short phone calls and occasional envelopes
containing daddy’s doctor’s statements, his spells,
heart attacks, scraped across the page
in her perfect penmanship, "This is all your fault!"

It wasn’t, I never thought it had been, not then,
not now. I keep all these things to remind me
to be kind, to be careful, to pay attention.

Last Valentine’s Day my sister sent a card.
It was expensive, embossed, heavy.
Inside the gold envelope she included
my parent’s death certificates, not copies.

The card read: “Love, Teresa, Mike, Sean,
and Jess. I thought you should have these.”

Apples fall, even if no one is there to hear.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I know, I was going to post on the James River Writers Festival and the visit by the Poetry Bus- I will, I will-

in the meantime:

The National Book Foundation announced the finalists today for the 2006 National Book Awards.

The poetry nominees are:

* Louise Gluck, Averno. (wow- Italy and myths, there's a couple of untouched subjects. Sure, she's acraftsmann, but this is navel gazing at best, scholarly at worst. She and Hix are in a dead heat IMO- DEAD heat.)

* H.L. Hix, Chromatic. (it took so e searching to find this- these poems are better than any of the rest IMO- this guy can have the prize)

* Ben Lerner, Angle of Yaw (whatever- last year every poet choked on their own vomit, but nobody noticed- the nonsensical, mannered prose poem is way overdone)

* Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem (yoohoo- I'm black and like jazz did you catch the cool words?- the only frayed ribbon he fails to grab is something about New Orleans, but I guess the book was pre-Katrina)

* James McMichael, Capacity (sweet jesus, can I possibly read this entire poem without drowning in it- and not in a good way??? Omigod, this is tedium personified)

I've linked to some net poetry by some of these people and other than Gluck (semi-yawn), I think these poets are just writing weird for the sake of weird (see note on Hix). I mean, who do they write this crap for?? Their peers?? Which I guess are academy oafs who don't want to be accessible or understood.

Check it out for yourself-

It makes me want to cry. Seriously- why do I bother when THIS STUFF is what's uplifted? (It's okay, no one reads my blog anyway)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

James River Writers Festival

go next year!

I will post more, with links to great books found there, and the gossipy-chitchat heard at the after party, the one with valet parking and lots of very tall people- I saw a lotta crotch tonight, enough to make Mel Brooks turn ideas inside-out.

and white people- serious white people.

and shrimp and grits.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lunch poems in the previous post-

for more choices click HERE

and if that doesn't work, google this-
owner:ucberkeley lunch poems

Lunch Poems - Mary Ruefle

Mary Ruefle extends the territory of literature into realms that only poetry can reach, never losing touch with her amazing sense of humor. Her seven books of poetry include her recent Among the Musk Ox People. She lives in Massachusetts and is making her first trip to California in 20 years. [events] [artshumanities] [lunchpoems]