Commentary

Thank You IRS!

While I’m not sure how much this stimulus/rebate thing-a-ma-bob is actually going to help the economy (just as I was skeptical of the earlier stimulus check that apparently didn’t help out), I’m more than happy to have received a bounce in my checking account this morning. Yay! I know not everyone...

April PAD Challenge: Day 4

Sorry for the late post today. It’s been a doozy of a morning. First, the power was knocked out by some intense storms early this morning, so my alarm did not wake me up this morning. Luckily, my girlfriend called–giving me just enough time to rush over and make my oil...

Is poetry a collectible commodity?

There’s nothing especially unique about this news story about Eureka Books celebrating national poetry month. I mean, many poets (including me) have their plans for getting through April. But reading the article kickstarted my brain into motion: Can poetry be a collectible commodity? It’s so obvious that the answer is yes. But even with...

Board up the doors!

Cover the windows! Dim the lights! But not too much, because you need to get writing today and into the night (late, late, late at night). After all, today is an extra day that you only get once every four years. If you don’t write today, you won’t be able to...

Sample Cover Letter From Pebble Lake Review

The editors at Pebble Lake Review offer a sample cover letter. This specific example is for fiction, but it’s easy to see how it could be modified for poetry. http://www.pebblelakereview.com/samplecoverletter.htm A word of advice: Any time editors go out of their way to give you specific tips or samples of ways...

Feeding poetry to the kids

“Windham Poetry Group Overcomes Adversity,” by Heather Murdock from The Daily Campus, reports on a high school poetry group that’s been performing locally and competing in poetry slams since early 2004. As someone who founded and published a little lit zine in the mid-90s, I think high school is a perfect...

Will you be my valentine?

So today is Valentine’s Day. Some people love it; some people hate it; and some people think it was invented (or at least promoted) by greeting card and chocolate companies. Here’s a fairly detailed Wikipedia link about the holiday: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day. ***** Love and poetry are classically linked. What is The Odyssey but...

Are You Planning Ahead for a Big Hit in Poetry?

I received a couple questions over the weekend as part of my Writer’s Market thing I do. And I thought they both would work well as things to ponder here. In fact, I’m opening myself up to poetry specific questions at my work email (robert.brewer@fwpubs.com) if you put “Poetic Asides Poetry...

Should poets be treated like rock stars?

Of course they should! Read: “Poet-mania: Mary Oliver’s sold-out appearance sparks a ticket frenzy on Craigslist,” by John Marshall from SeattlePI.com The article reports on the popularity of Mary Oliver in the Pacific Northwest with tickets selling out at venues in both Seattle and Portland. And the demand is still so high...

Exit, Stage Left…

I don’t know how many readers here are old enough to remember the old Snagglepuss cartoons (or maybe they’ve shown them on Cartoon Network or something). Anyhow, whenever Snagglepuss was poised to flee, he’d talk in stage directions: “Exit–stage left!” And off he’d shoot, accompanied by that little gunshot echo they...

Poetic Bookstore Blues

Last night, I decided to browse a couple bookstores in my neck of the woods for a good literary journal or poetry collection. For some odd reason, I never seem to learn my lesson about looking for poetry at the big chains. While they have a wonderful selection of about everything else, the...

Art, poetry and enigma: Giorgio de Chirico

When I’m not reading poetry, I love reading those Taschen art biographies. First, artists paint (hehe) interesting lives. Second, the paintings included in the biographies often work as excellent poetry prompts. I’m reading about Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico at the moment. De Chirico worked as a surrealist and thought his life was connected to...

Free Poems vs. Copyright Infringement

There’s a battle of opinions regarding copyright at The Guardian. In “You like my poems? So pay for them,” British poet Wendy Cope states her case regarding how copyright infringement damages the sales of her work. In “Free verse: getting copyright wrong,” Oliver Burkeman counters with his arguments. Meanwhile, the NYT’s,...

A very good instructional book for poets

While I don’t want to promise that I’ll be doing a lot of poetry reviews and critiques and such, I think it makes sense for me to share good things when I happen upon them. The current “good thing” I just finished reading is Ted Kooser’s The Poetry Home Repair Manual...

A spoof, a poet, and plenty of jargon

“Three cheers for the epic poetry of jargon,” by Jonathan Guthrie from the Financial Times, applauds the clever use of jargon by businesses to discourage further correspondence with clients. While this kind of “poetry” is great for businesses, it should be stated that poets will likely have the same effect on...

Found poem, and an elegy…

My sister forwarded an e-mail to me last night that contained her kids’ thank-you notes for gifts they received from their aunt and uncle in St. Louis. My four-year-old niece’s dictated note struck me as a “found” poem. (My sister describes my niece’s dictation as “a stream of consciousness thank you...

Poets Hiding in Their Closets

Scanning the poetry news today, I came across “Author reveals his ‘secret life’ writing poetry,” by Lisa Pierce from The Advocate. It’s about a poetry event for John Phillip Santos’ poetry collection Songs Older Than Any Known Singer (Wings Press). In the article, Santos says, “Once I moved to New York and...

When literary journals become too efficient…

…writers start to panic. I love Waldo Jaquith’s use of the term “The Angry Letter.” As part of my job, I receive many such complaints from writers about not hearing back from a magazine after waiting patiently for a whole month. Maybe they’ll be pleased to read Waldo’s blog post: “We...

Poet Confidential: I WAS A GREETING CARD WRITER

Last summer Robert bravely confessed that he had once been duped by one of those poetry anthology operations. My confession may be even more shameful for someone who attempts to be a “serious” poet: I was a professional greeting card writer. I don’t mean I wrote and submitted greeting card verses...

One Editor's Gratitude

Friday I started sending out magazine/journal verifications for the 2009 edition of Poet’s Market. Monday I sent out four more sections’ worth of listings, and Tuesday I finished up with the Contest & Awards verifications. This is my eighth edition as editor of Poet’s Market. After all this time, I still...

One Editor’s Gratitude

Friday I started sending out magazine/journal verifications for the 2009 edition of Poet’s Market. Monday I sent out four more sections’ worth of listings, and Tuesday I finished up with the Contest & Awards verifications. This is my eighth edition as editor of Poet’s Market. After all this time, I still...

Poetry and the Silver Bowl

Yesterday Robert and I were discussing the series of posts he’s been doing about poetic forms, and we started talking about how we originally got motivated to try forms after writing mostly in free verse. Robert said a college class had introduced him to poetic forms, and that’s when he began...

Too Much Money Is a Bad Thing for Poetry?!?

“A Windfall Illuminates the Poetry Field, and Its Fights,” by Julia M. Klein from The New York Times, reports on the 5-year progress of the Poetry Foundation (once the Modern Poetry Association), publisher of Poetry Magazine, using a $100 million grant from pharmaceutical company heiress Ruth Lilly. In 2002, there was a...