A day of mourning for George HW Bush
It’s a new world order. Read more
It’s a new world order. Read more
Perhaps the iconic trickster Coyote is a symbol for the frustrations of the smart person in a stupid world. Read more
View larger image at 5280 Lens Mafia…
I am haunted by numberless islands… – WB Yeats
Walking by the shore at dusk,
air leaden with a faith in words. Read more
Dandelions think they're bluebells. Moths believe they're butterflies. No one told them, or they wouldn't listen. What if I'm mistaken, begoggled, peddling DaVinci's madman machine toward high noon?
The Turning – Samhain 1991 1. In this dry land crickets fear to chirp for waste of moisture. Rattlers bleach their bones, listless in the summer scald. 2. I don't want to say too much for fear of being misconstrued or maybe for fear of being understood all too clearly so here's your warning – Read more
When I was a young writer I swung for the fence with every syllable. I felt like any word that didn’t crush you with profound implications for eternity was a wasted opportunity. I resented articles. I didn’t understand white space, breathing room, the need for silence between beats, and I had little time for the banal, pedestrian-mongering wanks who did.
I learned more about these things as I grew, and I think becoming a photographer has honed those lessons even more. Noise drowns signal.
Even though I’m no longer a poet, I sometimes read things I wrote in that past life. Read more
In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.
We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
The reading list for the contemporary poetry seminar during my first semester in the MA program at Iowa State was an interesting one. Elizabeth Bird, Louise Erdrich, Richard Wright, Charles Wright, Gary Snider, Carolyn Forché, plus a couple others I can’t recall right now. Also, the point of today’s story, Audre Lorde, a writer I had never heard of.
It was Fall of 1987 and it was a fascinating, albeit frustrating class. Read more
One of the symptoms of depression is an addiction to rumination. The vicious cycle of negative thinking that strips us of energy and desire. It is precisely our obsession with working out what makes us unhappy that makes us unhappy. – Chris Corner
You don’t walk away from something that was central to your very being for 35 years without … thinking about it.
Three or four years ago I wrapped my fourth book of poetry and hung up my quill, as it were. Read more
Former US Poet Laureate Mark Strand is dead at 80.
In a 1998 interview with the Paris Review, poet Strand said something I find fascinating:
Well, I think what happens at certain points in my poems is that language takes over, and I follow it. It just sounds right. And I trust the implication of what I’m saying, even though I’m not absolutely sure what it is that I’m saying. I’m just willing to let it be. Because if I were absolutely sure of whatever it was that I said in my poems, if I were sure, and could verify it and check it out and feel, yes, I’ve said what I intended, I don’t think the poem would be smarter than I am. I think the poem would be, finally, a reducible item. It’s this “beyondness,” that depth that you reach in a poem, that keeps you returning to it. And you wonder, The poem seemed so natural at the beginning, how did you get where you ended up? What happened? I mean, I like that, I like it in other people’s poems when it happens. I like to be mystified. Because it’s really that place which is unreachable, or mysterious, at which the poem becomes ours, finally, becomes the possession of the reader. I mean, in the act of figuring it out, of pursuing meaning, the reader is absorbing the poem, even though there’s an absence in the poem. But he just has to live with that. And eventually, it becomes essential that it exists in the poem, so that something beyond his understanding, or beyond his experience, or something that doesn’t quite match up with his experience, becomes more and more his. He comes into possession of a mystery, you know—which is something that we don’t allow ourselves in our lives.
One of our greatest poets has died at 87.
I had the privilege of seeing Kinnell read while I was at Iowa State in the late ’80s. He did some new things – things he’d been working on during the flight out, in fact – but this was the high point of the evening.
Thank you, Galway. Sleep well.
22 is my lucky number. 22 years ago I wrote this poem, one of my best ever (or at least the one that a lot of people seemed to like). It’s a Solstice poem, and today is Solstice.
So here you go. Happy Solstice.
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley – Robert Burns
No plan, however well conceived, survives contact with the enemy. – Military Adage
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. – Mike Tyson
Here in NaPoWriMo 2014, we’re encouraging everyone to write poetry every freakin’ day. As I said last week, write like nobody’s reading. In my case, I’m not doing new writing so much as I am reflecting on writing and thinking about the times when I was writing, not only every day for a month, but pretty much every day period. And I’m thinking about the writing process – why we write, and how. Read more