Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quotation fun - Are poets introverts or extroverts?

In the Winter 2006 issue of Rattle, Alan Fox (editor-in-chief) interviews Jane Hirshfield.

Jane Hirshfield wrote:
I think two kinds of people become poets. Extroverts who go out and entertain the family friends, and introverts who hide in the bedroom and put what they write under the mattress. Allen Ginsberg, I imagine, was the first kind; I was the second. For me, words were not about pleasing or entertaining others but about creating a place of refuge, where I could find something out about what it means to have and be a self.

Which are you, introvert or extrovert? Although I enjoy a good conversation once in a while, I know I am an introvert. I appreciate silence.

Do you think a great poet must be either an introvert, or an extrovert? Of course, I'm inclined to think that the truly excellent poets are introverts, if only because they have the time to themselves to work on their poems. However, one could argue that the extroverts are the poets with more life experience, and thus, more important things to say.

Are any poets you know of both introverted and extroverted?

If you'd like see what others have said about this, go here.

It doesn't get much better than this

Me and my new mountain bike; a birthday gift from my husband. I can't think of anything I like better than a good ride on a beautiful day. . .

Monday, November 27, 2006

Poem Spark Nov. 27 - Dec. 4 - Synesthesia

Greetings fellow poets. Several days ago I read an article in LiveScience about synesthesia: in poetry, the use of language that fuses imagery from one sense to another, from the Greek words for "joined feelings." Some examples are: loud hands, bitter colors, a cold voice.

This technique has been used in poetry to great effect because it opens up a world of connotation that cannot otherwise be stated so simply. From comes this explanation of how Keats used synesthesia in his poetry:

Keats's imagery ranges among all our physical sensations: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, temperature, weight, pressure, hunger, thirst, sexuality, and movement. Keats repeatedly combines different senses in one image, that is, he attributes the trait(s) of one sense to another, a practice called synaesthesia. His synaesthetic imagery performs two major functions in his poems: it is part of their sensual effect, and the combining of senses normally experienced as separate suggests an underlying unity of dissimilar happenings, the oneness of all forms of life. Richard H. Fogle calls these images the product of his "unrivaled ability to absorb, sympathize with, and humanize natural objects."

Keats' poem, Ode to a Nightingale, uses synesthesia—for example:

"In some melodious plot / Of beechen green" (stanza I), combines sound ("melodious") and sight ("beechen green").

Here are some other examples of poems that use synesthesia:

Arthur Rimbaud The Seekers of Lice and Vowels, one of the more famous synesthesia poems. According to

In addition to drawing concerted scientific interest, the phenomenon of synesthesia started arousing interest in the salons of fin de siecle Europe. The French Romantic poets Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire wrote poems which focused on synesthetic experience. Baudelaire's Correspondances (1857) (full text available here) introduced the Romantic notion that the senses can and should intermingle.

More poetic synesthesia examples:

Ann Stafford Listening to Color

Jim Harrison Birds Again

This week's spark: write a poem that uses synesthesia. Good luck, be creative!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Check out "Simply Haiku"

Some of my photos are in this issue of Simply Haiku, with my friend Janet Lynn Davis' luminous poetry. After clicking to enter the site and current issue, click on the Modern Haiga section.

Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Winter 2006, Volume 4, Number 4

Catch Episode 17 of The Countdown, miPOradio's poetry show:

powered by ODEO

Hosted by Bob Marcacci, this episode features poems by:

- Robert Bohm: All This
- Brian Boutwell: untitled
- Ash Bowen: Broken Sonnet to the Building Super
- Mackenzie Carignan: Fascicles
- Christine Klocek-Lim: Once the Leaf Falls
- John Korn: In Belly Wood Grove
- Lilith Nassuri: retro
- Luc Simonic: You, Time & Silly Dad - As of November.
- Harry K. Stammer: Terror 29

Whenever a writer is unable to record their poem, Julie Carter reads the poem for THE COUNTDOWN.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Poem Spark Nov. 13-20 - the Cento

Greetings fellow poets!

Some days when you wake up, it's raining and you're out of coffee (or tea, in my case). Sometimes the alarm doesn't go off and you dash into your car a half-hour late. By the time you return home, you're wet, hungry, and you have a wicked headache from caffeine deprivation. This is the kind of day when writing anything seems impossible. This is a cento day.

According to, the definition of a cento is:

From the Latin word for "patchwork," the cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets. Though poets often borrow lines from other writers and mix them in with their own, a true cento is composed entirely of lines from other sources. Early examples can be found in the work of Homer and Virgil.

For the complete page on centos, go here: Poetic Form: Cento.

So, since the forecast here is calling for rain at least through Thursday, it looks like tomorrow and the day after will be a cento day, too. Your poem spark mission for this week: write a cento. Don't stress-out. Feel free to mix up the lines with some of your own. Feel free to use just the end-of-line words from another poem for yours. Feel free to use just a title. It's difficult to light a candle in the rain, but with the right spark, anything is possible.

If you're looking for poems to steal (uh, I mean borrow) from, here are a few favorites:

Eleanor Wilner Moon Gathering

Anzhelina Polonskaya Sky

Stanley Kunitz The Portrait

Jane Hirshfield A Hand

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Once the leaf falls

Your blue jacket is not the sky.
My hands are not skilled in all
things, as you once believed
long before your fingers grew
as strong as mine. Understanding
seems easy as you dismount
the bus, your backpack dangled
carelessly behind. The trees
above us do not interest you.
I document your footsteps
anyway, memorize the residue
of your childhood left behind
in the thick shadow of an oak
and its easy release of acorns
scattered into bits on the ground

as today’s wind moves your hair
aside, and not for the first time.
Suddenly your chin is strange.
My welcome falls into the breached
door of a future. Years from now
you will no longer be so pleased
to see me. Each week’s phone
call will fall upon the wry
ears of a man concerned
with different things

than those that interest me
now on this walk home beneath
turning leaves. Soon they will fall
into piles where I will pull you,
laughing as we jump into the damp
chaff of trees as though the weather
to come was not cold, not the end
of this year, not a difficult movement
into a season of harsh revelation.
You have no idea what bare branches
await, nearly broken already
from the collective descent
of autumn.

© 2006 Christine Klocek-Lim

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's election day in the USA

Did you vote today? I voted around 9 am and at my rural Pennsylvania polling location, I was voter # 126. According to the workers there, that's an unusual turnout for that early in the morning.

I took both of these photos in 2001. The first is the view out of one of the windows in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, taken in February. The second is at Ringwood Manor in New Jersey, taken in May.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quotation fun — Is political poetry valid in the USA?

These quotations are from the book, "Giving Their Word — Conversations with Contemporary Poets," edited by Steven Ratiner. The quotations are taken from the chapter, "Carolyn Forché — The Poetry of Witness," who Ratiner interviewed in 1994.

This first excerpt is taken from page 148:
Steven Ratiner wrote:
One of my first questions concerned her reputation as a "political poet," a category generally disparaged in American Letters and viewed as a hybrid of the partisan polemicist and the benighted idealist. Her response enveloped the better part of the day and, in the process, provided powerful insights into the politics of language and the education of a young woman writer in the realpolitik of the literary world.

This second excerpt is taken from pages 156-157:
Carolyn Forché wrote:
"By 1980, it had become apparent to me that many Salvadorans had invested their time and even risked their lives to educate me about the situation in their country. And their hope, finally, was that I would come back to the U.S. and talk about it here. They didn't realize that . . . discussing the circumstances that gave rise to the Salvadoran war wasn't something expected of poets in my country and we wouldn't be considered a viable source of information. I tried to explain, but because Latin Americans esteem poets so highly, they didn't understand."

To see the rest of this conversation, click here to enter the discussion forum and view the comments.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

surprise! I'm in Abalone Moon

I was quite surprised today to receive an email from Abalone Moon with a link to the latest issue: Animals. The surprising thing: one of my poems is in the issue, when I had abandoned all hope of hearing back from the editors. This makes today a good start for my favorite month of the year!

My poem: Early man was hunted by birds.

Autumn in Pennsylvania