memorial for a brilliant woman

Monday, December 27, 2010

Over with the festivities- back to poetry!!!

I am going to write a poem a day in January, also submit, submit, submit. It's not a resolution, it's what I'm going to do,

First: Poetry Society of Virginia Contest HERE. I've managed to win and place over the years, cash prizes, so I'm going to start gathering this week.

"Secrets" reading in February 11th. I'm not sure what else I'll be doing but it's time to get some poets together, find a venue and do our thang.


Happy New Year coming!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a Nice Thing to Say, and at Christmas!

Muriel Rukeyser  "If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger."

Muriel Rukeyser 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday gifts for poets!!

I'm freezing- I don't care about anything but getting warm.
Busy waiting for packages to arrive so I can wrap them, that kind of thing.

Ordered a number of poetry books (from the poets directly), still trying to get to Fountain Bookstore (favorite bookstore in Richmond) to pick up a few titles.

For your poet friends:

Journals (though some of us like notebooks- what have you seen them use?)
Subscriptions (you can do this online)
         Poets & Writers
         or a million others!
         for a list of poet's favorite book's, go here and scroll through the suggestions made by poets
Gift cards to bookstores (like Fountain Bookstore in Richmond or a local independent)

Most of these you can order right from your favorite chair and computer!!

Remember- THINK LOCAL, BUT LOCAL whenever you can!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Donate for the Holidays- Donate for Life

Are you buying something useless for someone who doesn't need (or want) it? Donate something instead.

Dean Young is one of our finest poets. He needs a heart transplant.

Donate HERE Read the letter by Tony Hoagland.

I did. I know my brother-in-law won't mind.

Some poems by Dean Young:

To those of you alive in the future

Thrown as if Fierce and Wild

Ode to Hangover  has audio

If everyone on my friends and email list donated $10- well, let's just say I have a LOT of friends and many (most) are poets and writers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Such a wonderful life!!

From the Ninth Elegy:

Maybe we're here only to say: house,
bridge, well, gate, jug, olive tree, window —
at most, pillar, tower ...
but to say them, remember,
oh, to say them in a way that the things themselves 
never dreamed of existing so intensely.


I am surrounded by a community of lovers and doers. It is a beautiful time of year.
When a car cuts me off in traffic, when the frantic mother runs into my ankles with her
shopping cart, when I despair over money or messes or temporary inconveniences,
I will recall this and smile.

And write.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tuesday in Goochland!! Music!

December 7th at 7:30pm
the Virginia Benefit Chorale will sing at Grace Episcopal Church in Goochland
to benefit the Goochland Food Pantry and the Christmas Mother.

It's a free concert but we ask you to bring canned food
and/or consider making a donation to the program.
ALL money raised will go directly to
this important cause that has been taken on at Grace Church.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hysterical!! A poetaster's birthday!

from the Writer's Almanac by Garrison Keillor (I subscribe and get it by email every day)

It's the birthday of Julia A. Moore  born in Plainfield Township, Michigan, on this day in 1847. She grew up on a Michigan farm, dropped out of school at the age of 11, bore 10 children, and is famous for writing really bad poetry — so famous for it, in fact, that Mark Twain modeled a character after her in The Adventures of Huck Finn, and he wrote a parody of Moore's bad poetry for that character, Emmeline Grangerford, to recite.

She's sometimes referred to as a "poetaster," which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "a petty or paltry poet; a writer of poor or trashy verse; a rimester." This distinction usually entails things like the use of awkward meter, painfully sappy sentimentality, words that rhyme in an unpleasant way, or poor taste in subject matter. Other poetasters famous enough to be anthologized include J. Gordon Coogler, William McGonagall, and James McIntyre.

As for Moore, her favorite topics included abstinence, temperance, sudden death, terrible destruction, obituaries of small children, and big disasters, such as train wrecks or fires. One of her most famous poems is about the Chicago Fire. She wrote:

The great Chicago Fire, friends,
Will never be forgot;
In the history of Chicago
It will remain a darken spot.

It was a dreadful horrid sight
To see that City in flames;
But no human aid could save it,
For all skill was tried in vain.

Her first collection was published locally as The Sentimental Song Book (1876). But then a big Cleveland publisher picked it up, re-titled it The Sweet Singer of Michigan Salutes the Public, and sent out a bunch of copies to newspapers around the nation, along with a review of mock praise he'd written up. In spite of all this bad publicity, or perhaps because of it, Julia Moore's book of verse became a national best-seller, and she began to give public readings.

The readings did not go well. She was jeered off stage, and her husband, a Michigan farmer, made her promise to never publish any more poetry. She waited until her husband died, and then she published some more.

Each year in Michigan, the Flint Public Library holds a Julia A Moore poetry contest, and people have the chance to do their best imitations. In 1997, 150 years after her birth, the governor of Michigan set aside a week in her honor. A new edition of her poems was published a couple years later by Michigan State University Press, edited and introduced by Thomas J. Riedlinger; it's called Mortal Refrains: The Complete Collected Poetry, Prose, and Songs of Julia A. Moore, The Sweet Singer of Michigan (1998). She once said, "Literary is a work very hard to do."

In her poem "Sketch of Lord Byron's Life," she wrote:

"Lord Byron" was an Englishman
A poet I believe,
His first works in old England
Was poorly received.

Perhaps it was "Lord Byron's" fault
And perhaps it was not.
His life was full of misfortunes,
Ah, strange was his lot.

The character of "Lord Byron"
Was of a low degree,
Caused by his reckless conduct,
And bad company.

He sprung from an ancient house,
Noble, but poor, indeed.
His career on earth, was marred
By his own misdeeds.