Commentary

Working Hard or Hardly Working

The title of this post is one of my grandfather’s favorite questions to ask me whenever I see him. And, for my part, I never know how to answer, because I always feel like both; even when I’m working hard, it often feels like everything around me is hardly working. This...

Suffering for art (NOT) and small encouragements

Back in September, Robert wrote about writing and being sick here. Now it’s my turn, after spending three days out of the office with an ongoing upper respiratory infection.   (No, actually, one of those days was because I had an allergic reaction to the Omnicef I was prescribed for my...

Good poets vote!

Actually, I’m not sure if there is any truth to that statement. I don’t have any official statistics on award winning poets and their voting record. However, I think most good poets are actively engaged in the world around them. And what better way for poets living in the United States...

A Halloween Poem

I love Halloween in a big way, and I don’t even mind how gory it’s become over time. There’s something healthy about confronting mortality, laughing in the face of death and its brutalities, and flirting with some of life’s darker mysteries (whether we actually believe in ghosts and spells or not)....

The BEST American Poetry 2007

Finally getting around to reading The Best American Poetry 2007, edited by Heather McHugh (guest editor) and David Lehman (series editor), and I’m more than half-way through this year’s rather slim volume (at least, compared to recent editions). I’m still trying to make up my mind about where 2007’s crop of...

Joseph Stalin, the poet?

“Could Stalin have been a poet instead of a tyrant?,” from Russia Today, is a very interesting piece on how Joseph Stalin went from being a rising poetic star to a Bolshevik leader. Of special interest is how Stalin’s poetry may have helped him rise to be the leader of a...

Submissions: E-mail or Traditional Mail?

Though I’d been writing poetry very regularly since my sophomore year of high school, I did not start submitting my poems to publications until January of 2006. Being my own harshest critic, I was prepared to get rejected to all the places I submitted, so I set a rule that I...

Graphic poems (i.e., poems as comics)

Recently, in a bit of nostalgic self-indulgence, I bought a lot of seven 1966 Treasure Chest magazines off eBay. Treasure Chest, offered by subscription to Catholic school kids, was a hybrid publication combining comic book and general interest magazine.*   I wasn’t much of a comic book reader, but I did...

Good laugh on a Monday morning…

Take a look at The Futility Review. If you don’t get a hoot out of this, you haven’t been submitted submitting poetry often or long enough, or you haven’t read many submission guidelines. (Along about March, when I’m getting twitchy from proofing too many listings or writing up new ones, all...

Does Self-Publishing Wreck Poetry Careers?

Received this question via e-mail from poet Liesl Garner: “Last year I performed a poetry show at our local Fringe Festival. I got wonderful reviews, and I am performing a Repeat Performance in October of this year. The Fringe Festival is every Spring, and I plan to participate each year. After...

Poetry Internationale!?!

Thanks to Rus Bowden for finding the following threads discussing whether American poetry shouldn’t be internationalized: From the Virginia Quarterly Review: http://www.vqronline.org/blog/2007/09/20/muldoon-to-take-over-as-new-yorker-poetry-editor From the Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/footnoted/index.php?id=636 From Books, Inq. blog: http://booksinq.blogspot.com/2007/09/at-least-its-not-outsourcing.html ***** Now, my take? Earlier this year, I was published in an Australian lit journal. Within the...

Should Poets And Politics Mix, Part Two

If you’re interested in part one, click here. While “Professor publishes April 16 poem,” by Liza Roesch for the Collegiate Times, might sound mundane enough, it actually explores the idea of whether poetry and politics (and current events, for that matter) should mix. The article is about Bob Hicok and a...

Translating Poetry: Is it worth it?

Thank you to Therese Walsh from Writer Unboxed for forwarding this piece over to me! “Translating poetry opens up new worlds of language,” by Carol Rumens for Guardian Unlimited, attempts to answer the hypothetical question posed in the subject line: Is there value in translating poetry? As Rumens mentions in the...

Nobody Ever Buys Poetry–Ever

Okay, so maybe that’s not technically correct. For instance, I buy new poetry collections about once a week. And I know poets who purchase collections of poetry on a regular basis. People do buy poetry, but it’s not easy finding a good selection of poetry to buy. There’s a chicken and...

It's that time of the year again

As a runner, I love this time of the year. The temperatures are starting to cool off. The air always seems a little fresher. (Is it possible to have a fresh smog alert?) And soon, the foliage will be turning brilliant colors to contrast with the usual bright blue autumn sky....

It’s that time of the year again

As a runner, I love this time of the year. The temperatures are starting to cool off. The air always seems a little fresher. (Is it possible to have a fresh smog alert?) And soon, the foliage will be turning brilliant colors to contrast with the usual bright blue autumn sky....

Following up on Haiku on September 11

I don’t know if you had a chance to read it, but Nancy’s post “Haiku on September 11” was really something worth reading and pondering. While scouring the Net this morning, I found “In wake of 9/11, poetry helps lift us out of suffering,” by North Carolina poet laureate Kathryn Stripling...

Haiku on September 11

I read Robert’s posts about haiku here and here, as well as Michael Dylan Welch’s comments, with great interest. I’ve tried haiku in the past, knew I failed, and have also felt “fearful” about trying again. I’m intrigued by everything that goes into writing a true haiku, including saying more with...

My Submission Process

Today, I received a nice rejection on some poems I submitted to Thieves Jargon. I also sent out a group of poems to Burnside Review. Since I went through the process of marking a submission and rejection on the same day, I got to thinking about how I submit poems, including...

Should Poets and Politics Mix?

“Stranded: Poet Mark Strand Preaches Political Indifference at UCI,” by Victor D. Infante from About.com (reprinted from The Orange County Weekly), examines a comment made by Strand that poets should rise above politics in their poetry, as well as stating that rap and poetry share no connection. Since I was not there...

Bookstores, travel, and more

“Lyrical days on isle of poetry,” by Neil Sowerby for Manchester Evening News, is more a travel than poetry piece. But it was a fun read about Deia, where poet and author of I, Claudius Robert Graves was buried. ***** “Slovenian poetry as a relic of the past?” from CourierInternational.com. Peter...

Epitaphs and food poisoning…

Robert’s post on epitaphs was quite timely for me, since I felt like I was at death’s door most of the weekend. The doctor confirmed yesterday I had probably been debilitated by a food-born illness, confirming what I suspected from the minute the abdominal pains set in. I’m on two separate...

All aboard for poetry!

“‘Worst’ rail firm goes from bad to verse,” by Alan Hamilton from The Times, wins best title for the day. As part of this article on First Great Western hiring Cornish poet Sally Crabtree to perform at selected stations, there is an offer for poets to e-mail poems to The Times...

Taslima Nasreen: Poetry as an act of courage

The last session I was able to attend at last fall’s biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival before starting the drive back to Ohio was “Poetry and the Lives of Women.” Poets onstage in that intimate tent on a crisp fall morning were Toi Derricotte, Linda Pastan, Anne Waldman, and Taslima...

Haiku Revisited

Michael Dylan Welch, who wrote on haiku for the 2005 Poet’s Market, stopped by and offered some great advice in the comments to my “Haiku: Easy or Hard?” post from earlier this week. While it’s probably best to read the comments first-hand, I figured I’d make it easy on people since the advice is...