Monday, January 28, 2008

Going to AWP

So, I'm going to AWP Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Anyone else going to be there?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Poem Spark Jan 21 - Feb 4: Forgotten Things

Today's poem spark has been posted to's discussion forum by my good friend Larina Warnock, editor of The Externalist. Here's the spark:

Poem Spark Jan 21 - Feb 4: Forgotten Things

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Poem Spark Jan. 7 - 21 - Dream Poems

Salutations fellow poets!

This morning I woke before the sun rose; asleep one moment, completely awake the next. Usually it takes several violent smacks on the alarm clock before I can wake up, and usually I go through my first hour of the morning half-dreaming. I often feel a strong need to complete the narrative in which my dreams have placed me: I must swim to shore, or stand back up after sliding down a hill. Today, however, I couldn't remember anything about my dreams but standing and watching the light slowly paint the horizon a brilliant orange and red created that same dreamlike sense of awakening for me.

So, in honor of sleep and dreaming and the ultimate result, waking again each morning, today's spark is: write a dream poem. It doesn't have to be long or complicated, or short and vivid. It can be coherent or surreal, a narrative or a snapshot. Don't limit yourself. Let the muse speak much as your dreams do: imaginative and surprising both.

To get you started, here are some of my favorite dream poems:

Saskia Hamilton The Song in the Dream

John Berryman Dream Song 1

Michael Collier Birds Appearing In A Dream

Langston Hughes Dream Variations

Good luck!

Monday, January 07, 2008

7 things you should know about being a poet

This was too funny to not share; from

7 Things You Should Know About Being a Poet: A List of Lists

My favorite so far (haven't had time to read them all yet) is Michael Wells' 3rd point:

Wells wrote:
People will think you are moody because you are a poet. This is not so. Even people who cannot write a single line of poetry can be moody anytime prior to their death.

So, here's my list, after not much thought at all:

  • Writing poems will not solve your mental problems. On the contrary, it exacerbates the situation because people no longer doubt your insanity when they find out that you are a poet. This, in turn, makes you crazy because you have studied verse for over twenty years and it's all for nothing.

  • Writing poetry can't be used as an acceptable tax-deduction for all the paper you buy and throw in the trash. You've just got to bite the cost.

  • Lines in poems have a tendency to reproduce when you turn your back. Just when you thought you'd got the sucker down to ten lines it morphs into a sonnet. A bad sonnet.

  • Poems have a tendency to hide during April, napowrimo month, especially if you blog about them. Nothing you do will coax the damn things back out, except writing terrible limericks. Use this power wisely.

  • When people find out you write poems, they often want you to write something for their grandmother's funeral. Resist the urge. Some great-uncle is always offended if the thing rhymes, and some other great-aunt is offended if it doesn't. Quote from Dylan Thomas instead ("Do Not Go Gentle" is an amusing choice).

  • You will find your moral compass grows skewed when you've written poems long enough because you come to realize that most of your lines are stolen from something you read ten years ago. Of course, you can never recall the exact text. This also makes you crazy.

  • Finally, your ability to tell an iamb from a spondee will not get you free coffee, even if you quote from Shakespeare and perform the death scene from Romeo and Juliet while in line at the bookstore. Most people will assume you are homeless and try to get you thrown out.

  • .

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008