Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Countdown #20

THE COUNTDOWN #20 with Bob Marcacci is live. Featuring Arlene Ang and poems by:

01) Ann Bogle "Basal distance"

02) Rachel Dacus "Wine Under a Fig Tree"

03) Craig Hill "South of Clark" - Craig Hill's Poetry Scorecard

04) Christine Klocek-Lim "Children, do not mourn the snow"

05) Rick Mullin "Amtrak Cheeseburger, Northeast Corridor"

06) Shelia Murphy - "if as if whole daylight came to be" - As/Is poet

07) Maurice Oliver - "When the Daring Among Us Flirt"

08) Pearl Pirie "Old Uncle"

09) Wm. Rike - "Crone on Time"

10) Jordan Stempleman - "The Eye"

Listen to it:

powered by ODEO

Here's my poem:

Children, do not mourn the snow

There is fear we say. Snow breaks over our feet.
The school bus drives away, a blizzard of young faces
at the windows. We fall sometimes when ice changes
the earth and to reassure ourselves we insist
there are no disasters here. But the day meanders
against our impatience as snow engulfs our bus
again and again. Inside, children carve frost-flowers
down from the windows to watch them melt against skin.
They barely noticed the drive begin while we floundered
on the curb, swiping at the cold. The shock of it all cornered
our voices until we examined the damage that silence makes
and waved goodbye too late. When the bus comes home again,
we kiss our children’s faces, pinked in this weather, turned up
into the wind that frosts the afternoon with light.

© 2007 Christine Klocek-Lim

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My poem is in The Pedestal Magazine

The Pedestal Magazine is an excellent journal and I'm very pleased to be in this month's issue. To see my poem, "Partial Building Collapse," follow this link.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snowed in here

but the animals aren't having any problems.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quotation fun - Do American poems lack substance?

In The Hudson Review, Volume LVI, Number 4 (Winter 2004), Bruce Bawer reviews the book Poets Against the War. This book is edited by Sam Hamill and features poems that speak out against the Iraqi war by poets both known and unknown.

The review in pdf form: A Plague of Poets

Bawer wrote:
Throughout these poems,the implicit argument is: Why can't the whole world be as peaceable as my little corner of it is? The poets appear to believe that their serene lifestyles are somehow a reflection of their own wisdom and virtue; they seem to think they are in possession of some great yet elementary cosmic knowledge from which the rest of us can profit. What they evidently do not realize is that what they are celebrating in these poems is a security for which they have to thank (horrors) the U.S. military and a prosperity that they owe to (horrors again) American capitalism. Entirely absent from their facile scribblings, indeed, is any sign of awareness that this "blue planet" is a terribly dangerous place and that the affluence, safety, and liberty they enjoy, and that they write about with such vacuous selfcongratulation, are not the natural, default state of humankind but are, rather, hard-won and terribly vulnerable achievements of civilization.

Does living in a country where a lack of open warfare is the norm create a poetry of ignorance?

Is it wrong for poets who live in a peaceable nation to write about or against violence elsewhere in the world?

I don't think so. However, I believe that such topics as war and violence in a poem must always be approached with caution and a sort of enlightened respect. If we begin limiting the content of poems to those things that one has experienced directly, it would restrict the freedom of speech for which this country's people have fought, the "hard-won and terribly vulnerable achievements of civilization."

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Poem Spark Feb. 5-19 - the Ghazal

Greetings fellow poets!

This week's poem spark is dedicated to Esther. Without her help, the Poem Spark section on Poets.org's discussion forum would not have such a fabulous index, Poem Spark List, nor would it still be going strong, twice a month. She is also responsible for a plethora of new poem spark ideas in the thread, Poem Spark Ideas take two! Thank you Esther!


The ghazal is a lovely poetic form that focuses on love, longing, melancholy, spirituality, philosophical questions, and other similar topics. The use of repetition and rhyme make it suitable for song, both traditionally and today. To learn a bit more of the history of this type of poem, Poets.org's page Poetic Form: Ghazal has an excellent essay about the form. Here's an excerpt that explains how ghazals are written:

Poets.org wrote:
The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets--and typically no more than fifteen--that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet's signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet's own name or a derivation of its meaning.

Upon further research, I discovered an interview of Robert Bly in which he talks about the ghazal: An Interview with Robert Bly

He has some interesting things to say about the syllabic structure of the form and how it translates from Persian and Arabic to English. Bly's ghazal, embedded in the transcript of the interview is worth reading. His discussion about the ghazal, beyond structure and into the meaning of this type of poem, is illuminating.

In the interview, Bly says: I've mentioned that the ghazal often makes a leap to a new subject matter with each new stanza; that is itself a form of wildness. This intrigues me: the idea that the constraints of this form allow a poet to explore topics that may be too difficult, too wild to grapple with in another way. The ghazal seems to provide the ability to leap from one idea to another, from stanza to stanza.

Here are some examples of ghazals, beginning with an essay that contains several in the text:

from Triplopia: The Ghazal: An Inevitable Unity by Jenny Burdge — look for John Hollander's "Ghazal on Ghazals" and Denise Duhamel's "Bra Ghazal."

Agha Shahid Ali Even the Rain

Heather McHugh Ghazal of the Better-Unbegun

This week's spark: write a ghazal. Be creative. Have fun!

Friday, February 02, 2007

new work in Concelebratory Shoehorn Review

I've a few poems and photos in the second issue of Concelebratory Shoehorn Review. The editor, Maurice Oliver, has done some really nice work with this issue and I'm very pleased to be included. Check out some of the original artwork, too. I was particularly taken with Magyar's paintings.