memorial for a brilliant woman

Monday, September 29, 2008

Poetry Bailout!! News

from Charles Bernstein

and poets talking trash about the GOP (Imagine!!)

(thank you, Ron Silliman, for keeping the links going concerning the word)

and from Clive James, part of a poem I must find the rest of... link to review

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered.
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy’s much-praised effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life’s vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one’s enemy’s book —
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seemingly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

(thanks, Jilly Dybka and her Poetry Hut)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from the land of poets! (New Jersey?? R U kidding?)

The 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival was amazing, frustrating, inspiring, and WET.

They must view it like the state fair here- a bringer of rain!

But, ah, the poetry!! A surprise visit last night by Gerald Stern, two hours with Billy Collins, a set as long with Ted Kooser, a joyful meeting with Naomi Shihab Nye, a reunion with Jane Hirshfield.

And more, so very much more!

I have a bag full of wet, stinky clothes, a few books, and the realization that poetry is not as dead as it sometimes seems here in Richmond, that poets are not all selfish and annoying, that some poets will walk miles to hear the right words in the right order...

and relearned that I am a poet because I write and read poetry, not because of an open mike and a captive audience.

Thank you Tom and David A. You are dear friends and I treasure your support.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

off to the festival!

Fend for yourselves, family!

I'm off to the wilds of New Jersey for the Dodge Poetry festival!

See ya Sunday!

Monday, September 22, 2008

from a poet who won't be at the Dodge Festival

Wendy Cope- her thoughts on poetry and process

She's one of the few poets who will not be in attendance at the Dodge Poetry Festival, where I will be from September 25th- 28th. Twenty-thousand people, that's what they expect!

I wonder how many are poets? Half? More than half??

That's way too many poets in one place.

Even if I'm one of them.

Oh constant reader, did I tell you I'll be one of the poets featured at Art After Hours at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts this coming January? It looks like Jan. 15, 2009 will be my spot.

Be there. I promise a good show!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A review of a reading- He's bona fide-

Matthew Donovan, that is- recent winner of the Levis Prize for a first or second book at VCU.

The reading was held in a truncated ballroom in the student commons last night- the worst room ever. It was claustrophobic and packed (young things required to be there- at least they were quiet and stayed for the entire event). I can't blame the English department, VCU has its ways, but this was pretty awful. There were not enough seats, some folks stood throughout. It was stuffy and claustrophobic.

It's difficult to say how it affected the reading, I heard several people complain of neck strain. I sat in the front row on the end, completely sideways in my chair.

Greg Donovan did his usual anecdotal "Larry Levis Lore" talk, always interesting - he seemed a bit uncomfortable, I can't help thinking the venue contributed.

Matthew Donovan (no relation to Greg) is a charming fellow, kind on the eyes, and has a great poet voice. His explanations for poems and process were appropriate (particularly since the crowd was not limited to POETS but filled with have-to-be-theres). I still wait for the writer who can balance explanations and poetry without saying too much-

The reception was 'around the corner' (but enough kvetching about location) and he affably signed books at the nice reception afterward.

Tumbling through his book at home was much better than the event, not because of him- he reads very, very well- but because his poetry is smart, funny (not ha-ha funny but witty) and mixes poetic language with current culture (I love the musical references, but I would). If I had to find fault, I'd have to say there is too much myth-tossing, too many locations- though in general the work holds together well and I will be rereading the whole in the coming week.

I'd love to know what the other, say, top ten contenders were- and specific reasons why THIS book (other than Mark Doty loving it). Only one poem sticks to me personally, the rest leave my head almost immediately as I turn the page.

That's not all his doing- I have a very specific range of work I cherish- there's so much poetry out there I don't feel obligated to love it all equally. I recognize competence, appreciate craft and all that, but the words that wrench me long after I read the page have to contain certain elements.

I have to be personally engaged, to understand what's happening, almost compelled to read a particular poem again RIGHT THEN. I don't mind doing a little research, or a word, or being befuddled occasionally- but don't bore me with your trip to Italy or Spain, don't hold yourself above me with your education and please don't try to talk in a voice you think is beneath you- or above you.

Does Donovan fit my narrow view? Ummm- yes and no. A few poems captured me, one in particular, but so many are just on the edge of academic over-write- the edge, mind you- that I'm not sure this book will come down from my shelf much, or ever after this week. What I do expect is more from him in the future, that Vellum will be a first book that demonstrates he deserves some poetic notice.

On the net, I read a some of the other reviews for this book. In general, the community sure does rally behind its children- most of the writers were full of overblown crap IMO. Those of us outside the clique have nothing to lose by saying our piece- this is an okay book, just okay. I like supporting poets, get books signed when I get a chance to see the poet in person, but I probably wouldn't have bought it without him being here in person. Just my take.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thursday, Levis Prize Reading

2008 Winner- Matthew Donovan for Vellum

Student Commons, Commonwealth A

If you care about poetry, you won't miss this!

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Poetic Principles reading cancelled

Poet Betty Adcock will not be reading at the Virginia Museum next Wednesday, September 17th for the Poetic Principle series. I don't have any information on why, only that she had to cancel. The web page has not been updated but Ron Epps, at VMFA informed me.

The series will begin with Virginia Poet Laureate Pulitzer and Weinstein Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson on November 5th at 6pm.

In the meantime, go hear Matt Donovan read at VCU on Thursday 8pm.

Here's a Betty Adcock poem for your perusal:

Why White Southern Poets Write the Way We Do

Because we were the last ones deserted
by the God of visions and serpents—

because an August field can levitate
on the ratcheting din of cicadas,

and the magnolia, offering its melted candles,
burns invisible prayers onto sunlight—

because every one of us has at least one
relative who plowed poor with a mule—

because the dead still enter our sleep as columns
of figures on the debit side of the ledger,

and there are darker voices in which we cannot speak,
black ghosts, smoke hanging in the twilit liveoaks—

because we found the broken words everywhere,
rolling like loose beads under the chiffonier,

and we weren't suspicious when our breath
restrung them in patterns heavy as scripture—

because a mist can sit in a pasture
like a cloud in a basket—

we never stopped believing the hoop snake
really does roll to assert the compass of time,
framing the vanished, the exiled dreamers, even
ourselves rising to occasion, almost reprieved
as the weed-strangled fields rise in autumn fire
to dance, to sing anyhow, to grieve.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

short poems

Thanks, Tom- but the poems are gone now.

Good reasons to be a poet

from poet Reginald Shepherd, who died September 10th.

I write because I would like to live forever...

I write not to be bored...

And never to forget beauty, however strange or difficult.
more info and a poemfrom Harriet

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Support the Arts!! be a Borgia!!

By supporting the artist- yeah, that's the ticket!

This July, I attended West Virginia Writer's Workshop at West Virginia University to study with Denise Duhamel (who is wonderful). I am going to attend the Dodge Poetry Festival September 25-29. This has all kind of tapped me out, though I have four part-time jobs (I also volunteer at the gallery and the Virginia Museum).

If anyone would like to contribute to the cause of poet- you can send a check to art 6 Gallery care of my name and I guarantee I will use it wisely. This is your chance to be like one of the great patrons of days long past!! You could be a modern day Borgia!! No poison involved!

Shann Palmer is certainly a non-profit entity, though not by the legal definition, but think of it as a mitzvah as the holidays approach- no, I'm not Jewish but I try to do a good thing every day myself.

Or you could stop by the gallery Thursday-Sunday and buy my chapbooks, poetry bags, and CD.

Or commission a poem!

yeah- all that- of course, I know personally most of the folks who read my blog and I know you could use the same favor. I should be grateful I have a healthy family, all the food I need, and a roof over my head. Every poet I know could use a patron. Bless us every one!!

Send it to the gallery instead as a donation- or any gallery of your choice! Or any poet of your choice!

Then go here or here or here or here or here and read a poem- it will make your world a better place!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's hard out here for a poet

There's a restaurant in DC called Busboys and Poets.

and here in Richmond Shockoe Poets, the longest running open mike in Richmond, can't find a new home.

We're meeting at art6, 6 east broad, from 2-4 on the 2nd & 4th Sundays until something pops up.

We're looking-

Someone was searching Mutyalamaduvu

so google sent them to my poem (written last year for an AmarantH Dance Company performance at art6

Body in motion

from the top of her heads to the calloused soles of her feet,
the dancer’s heart pumps blood to all the places it needs to be
in constant movement beneath the skin: sartorius, ilium,
ischium, transverse abdominis, latissimus dorsi, trapezius,
her blood like water seeping up only to seek its own level
before a spectacular fall: Niagra, Tagbaladougou, Gocta,
Mutyalamaduvu, Papalaua, Hagoromo-no-taki, names
that tumble off the tongue like spun sugar confections
slung carelessly down jagged cliffs, over verdant valleys,
under burned bridges, water that goes deep to rise, rise,
rise again in unexpected places as springs, springs,
springs that bubble and pop to mystical healing shrines:
Calimanesti, Lourdes, Daius Church, and Bethsaida, where
just one toe, one fingertip dipped in the troubled waters
will bring blessed relief from an eternity of pain- but
you must be the first, first, first or be left to crawl back
to your cot to wrap up in sorrow to wait, wait, wait-
another year, another holy day, until a stranger says
you can do it if you want to, you can do it on your own,
find a healing, it’s already within you to take the gift,
float joyfully away on a sea of salty tears, buoyant,
expansive as furled sails in tropical harbors, blinding white
against the nacreous panoply of colors: vermillion,
pomegranate, viridian, malachite, gamboge, amaranth,
an impressive array somewhere between red and rose
love stands simple capturing the breath, heart beat, memory
of a fragrant flower: ansinthium, verbena, moonflower, lilac,
gardenia, or jasmine, strong and fragrant as musk, to stand
against the world and its gravitas, one body of many parts,
single-minded, from foot to hand to mouth to heart, the beat,
beat, beat pumping blood to all the places it needs to go,
like water rises then falls and seeks its own level,
again, again, again, again, again, again.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Obscene- but I'm just a poet

Cindy McCain

Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

(from Vanity Fair)

and a response

Entitlement- like the Bakker's, like the Enron executives, like.....

and you know, I'm not complaining that they want to look good (??) but I'm sure all of this could have been less ostentatious- and sure, maybe some of the stuff was gifted or bought cheaper- but still-

I'd spend more money if I had it, of course I would- and I would give more away. I do now and I don't have it.

So much of value is so little, life is enough riches: love, companionship- how many of the delegates at both conventions had to put the whole trip on a credit card, one they will have trouble paying?

Friday, September 05, 2008

I should be asleep

At last I have completed a poem- time and energy have been sparse, so have the words.

Sometimes dreams bring a bit of inspiration.

shakes thoughts into phrases.

added because someone asked- will disappear Monday...

When you lived in Hong Kong ... poem removed for editing before submitting

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Poetry and Politics

Concerning Lorca

Class vs Gender

In the eye of the hurricane

Billy Collins and underwear (well, lingerie)

11 new poems byLinh Dinh

Dr Andy’s Poetry & Technology Hour w. Joe Biden and Laura Cherry [MP3]

Arming the locals (okay, this isn't poetry-related)

Thanks, Ron Silliman and Jilly Dybka