Victoria Hanna – Aleph-bet (Hosha’ana) Continue reading
Victoria Hanna – Aleph-bet (Hosha’ana) Continue reading
I once tripped through these lands like a god,
like the pure embodiment of all the liquor
the Allies ever drank in Tokyo.
It is quiet here now,
and the Americans are gone,
but I know these streets.
The Ark of the Covenant, well,
I use it as a coffee table now.
It holds many remotes with which
I flip channels to see the world.
The world doesn’t bother me,
what people say about how it used to be does.
A straight arc is a line.
These Fritos in my pockets,
I’ve had them since 1977.
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.
…in a hotel room in San Juan Bautista, California.
My wife and I had been having a lovely time until then.
I am fortunate she returned from the hotel pool in time
to switch off the set.
If she hadn’t, I might have ended up on Fox News.
(Picture taken in San Juan Bautista, California on June 22nd, 2013)
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.
do a rag time in Tokyo
smashing the feedback
of a million wartime guitars…
It’s a sunny flag day here in USA Land,
a day when we think that our moments of silence say
that we honor the blood and flame clouds
which were human beings before the towers went the way
of the dodo, and Pan-Am Airways.
A couple of things will become obvious quickly for readers of this review. The first is that the reviewer has the same last name as the author being reviewed. That would be because we are related. Put that aside. If writers from Sophocles to Turgenev to Steinbeck have taught us anything, it’s that father to son assessments should be read with…a critical mind, let’s say.
The second is that the author of this volume of poetry is a working poet as well as the poetry editor at Scholars & Rogues. So I admit freely there’s a bit of insider trading going on here. But I challenge the reader to find a publication that does not tout works by its own staff. For those who’ve taken that challenge – well, they’ll be gone awhile, so let’s move on, shall we?
Throwing the house from the window is Booth’s third book and second book of poetry. A brief look at his first two works is probably apropos to set this third work in context.
His second book, Danger! God Particles, is a series of what would commonly be called “flash fictions” these days, though Booth, an admirer of Donald Barthelme (and arguer with this reviewer on multiple occasions about the author’s merits) would point the reader towards Sixty Stories as an influence. Continue reading
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 war is completed–the price is paid–the title is settled
Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked!
let none evade!
(How much longer must we go on with our affectations
Let me bring this to a close—I pronounce openly for
a new distribution of roles;)
Let that which stood in front go behind! and let that
which was behind advance to the front and
Let murderers, thieves, bigots, fools, unclean persons,
offer new propositions!
Let the old propositions be postponed!
Let faces and theories be turn’d inside out! Let
meanings be freely criminal, as well as results!
Let there be no suggestion above the suggestion of
Let none be pointed toward his destination! (Say! do
you know your destination?) Continue reading
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
My neck is sore.
It’s been 90-degree, goose-pipe bent for…Jesus who knows?
I always hated Jim Morrison. He was what I wanted to be and I assumed he couldn’t possibly deserve it. When I started reading his poetry, I brought my negative attitude with me. I felt vindicated with every cliché. I wanted to destroy the myth of Jim Morrison, the myth he lived, a wild fiery sprint from ordinary, a screaming tear through the night woods of youth, a lingering flash blindness and whispered stories.
He was a consummate borrower. Another way to say this is his poetry is pregnant with reverent homage to great writers. I wish this was a fault, but it’s not. We can never reach farther than when standing on the shoulders of giants. Continue reading
The changes in Tokyo,
have vexed me for decades.
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. Continue reading