Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blog Swap 2010 -"When the Levee Breaks – Levees, Literature, and Symbolism of the South"

J. Bruce Fuller and I are swapping blog post during the summer months. We hope to encourage readers to check each other's page. My first post on his blog, "When the Levee Breaks – Levees, Literature, and Symbolism of the South," discusses similar elements found in each of our writings. To be redirected to his page, please click on his name above, or click here.

Here is a picture and video I found of Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy, authors of the song, "When the Levee Breaks."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan

I was happy to see a new book (Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan) being published posthumously by one of my favorite poets, Ted Berrigan. The book will be released in October. It is a book of letters between the poet and his wife. Shortly after they were married, her father committed his daughter to an asylum and had the sheriff run Ted out of town. For more info, follow the link below to pre-order the book.

If you are not familiar with Ted Berrigan, follow this link. Here you can find poems and audio links. He is my favorite poet to hear read.

This is my favorite poem of his taken from his book, The Sonnets.

Sonnet #2
Dear Margie, hello. It is 5:15 a.m
dear Berrigan. He died
Back to books. I read
It's 8:30 p.m. in New York and I've been running around all day
old come-all-ye's streel into the streets. Yes, it is now,
How Much Longer Shall I Be Able To Inhabit the Divine
and the day a bright gray turning green
feminine marvelous and tough
watching the sun come up over the Navy Yard
to write scotch-tape body in a notebook
had 17 and 1/2 milligrams
Dear Margie, hello. It is 5:15 a.m.
fucked til 7 now she's late to work and I'm
18 so why are my hands shaking I should know better

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prose Poetry - Narrative vs. Lyric

After our discussion of prose poetry the other day. Not to get into a large debate, but one thing to consider: Poetry written in prose form does not have to be narrative--it can be more or have more lyrical qualities (and i agree that most poems we read today share both qualities). It seems that there is an assumption with prose poetry that it has to have a linear narrative. And this assumption is when the blurring of flash fiction and prose poetry seem to exist. Rather, we should look at a prose poem as a poem (whether more lyrical/narrative/linear/ broken/hypotactic/ paratactic/etc) and see it as a choice not to consider line breaks. However, all the other elements exist. language, image, sound, etc. In these following two poems, for me, there is a bombardment of the senses and in that I am left with an emotion. I am not concerned with a linear narrative or what is happening or what it means.

Ted Berrigan:
Two prose poems

Don’t Forget Anger
Never hits us the day it’s lovely gathers us up in its name who pierced the shower 40 below the heel hidden shoes the ruined exercises the shine is all night again pleasure falling off parting the bed during the biting lust. Today we speak above the noise a spyglass littered with soot scenes from the ruins boys and partners before the big bite imitating that’s the penalty denial of gain through pranks the essence of belief. I knew the world of incantations under the sheets of the neck line of the teeth behavior cloth the earth that we know we will go on rubbing. There’s this Lady she has been my friend for some years now and later glee pills a light bulb a tongue saying the damage is done by hands over a period running overtime puzzles rising for some years journeys arms legs learning what is yours love change love emember across passion truly going into the earth No that was another earth how many goats were there on it her and her father movies glazed motives: Put the books back the brown hair simple ways premonitions chance bugles calling the powder flat white in yellow air throbbing then going on off a light lady dark lady cool nights meaning years of writing this news shunted aside before a girl whom you all know and recognize flashing on then off hear lifelong release in these intimate gaits.

Lady, she has been my friend for some years sketches, I haven’t explained Actually of horror subject to neither of our laws intimate incantations under the sheets tried nothing a quivery sort of fellow hurts my forehead this shower No thought for your life and casual abductors in books I cant stand if it die. The life range examination as I am a cowboy it is unless it isnt and you imaginary scenes soot years of writing this most of it movies I cant stand a particular buttressing of the body. Olive green color. Let’s take a sentimental journey. Dont forget to bleed. I have. Many days writing the same work into itself the appearance of a role but How dark for some forty years Irish brogue rolls toward sister mother shunted aside that’s the penalty of time or of space Certainly not a place. So we come together in this bed. Later glee (lie) now pills (no lie) The End. Bugles call no snow to the powderhouse the library abductors, woe unto you also ye lawyers! No. Not reminded, I go (revealed) (No Smoking In This Room)

from Angel Hair 4, Winter 1967–68

I do suggest for those interesting on expanding their definition of what prose poetry can do and offer to a poem, please pick up:
you can purchase it from Amazon by clicking here: An Introduction to the Prose Poem

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What is the future of poetry?

This is a great article that shows different definitions of the purpose of poetry.

What is the future of poetry?
What is poetry for? Who is it for? And can it really be on the ascendant? Stephen Moss (who has, sadly, not become the next Oxford professor of poetry) reports from the front line.

The Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes, who teaches poetry at the University of East Anglia, says poems try to capture a reality that is deeper than language. "You're trying to say: I know what this thing is called," he says. "It's called a chair, and that thing is a table. I've got this word 'chair' and I've got this word 'table', but there's something peculiar about this chair and table which using the words chair and table will not actually convey." Readers, he says, may race through novels because they want to know what happens, but they should look to inhabit poems. "Nobody reads a poem to find out what happens in the last line. They read the poem for the experience of travelling through it."

"The simplest and best answer I got at the event in Oxford was "for paying attention". Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, echoes that phrase. "One of the things poetry gives all of us is a way of developing an attentiveness to life, a way of observing the world, of noticing things and seeing them differently," she says. A good poem looks closely at the world; does that Martian thing of trying to see it for the first time. Everything else – the emotional charge, the lyrical delight, the intellectual pleasure – is secondary."

Read the full article from guardian.co.uk here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Ears Need Poetry!

While I was bar tending the other night, a man (buzzed strong to medium strong) wanted to talk poetry with me. He was the only patron left and it was after midnight. I really had no interest. I heard the all to familiar story when someone finds out you are a writer. The man claims he was sitting on two novels and copious pages of poems, but didn't understand the poetry world. Okay, I am rambling now--back to your ears and poetry. He brought up Shakespeare like a gun in his pocket and asked me have I read The Sonnets. After I said yes, he asked me if I read them out loud. And the truth is, only some. He then proceeded to mock the idea of a poet not reading The Sonnets out loud. I served him his last call and hurried him out the door. I was tired and ready to go home.

What I didn't tell him was that, for me, the auditory experience is extremely important. I know that sounds like a "duh" moment, but one of my most memorable experiences with poetry was skateboarding around town while listening to Ted Berrigan's Sonnets on my Ipod. There was a blurring of private and performance. Modern technology has aloud us to capture poetry readings for private consumption later. It is interesting when listening to these performances. These were moments, tiny instances of time--these are not moments to be scrutinized. This is their reading, for us.

From those readings we are privileged to hear the breath and pacing of the poet. Like a young guitar player listening to Jimi Hendrix or Wes Montgomery trying to learn their phrasing (sure the notes are played easy, but the breath and phrasing--that is were the soul is), by listening to these poetry read, we can learn there breath and sing there songs.

Anyway, many of us never are able to watch or hear the poets that we love. I thought I would share a few links of places to download readings (and lectures) in there entirety.

Naropa Poetics Audio Archives: This is a great place to find complete lectures, as well as readings that feature many poets reading collaboratively.

One of my favorite places that I frequent all the time is Penn Sound. The authors are listed by index, and each pages usually has multiply readings. Some of my favorites here are Ted Berrigan. My favorite poem of his is Sonnet II. Another favorite that I have enjoyed getting to hear is Joe Brainard. There is also a great Yusef Komunyakaa.

So again, do your ears a favor and listen to poetry.
If you know of any websites that have audio links to poetry, please post them in the comments.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Publication - Word Riot

Word Riot selected my poem, "Your Name Repeats Like Marching Elephants" for an upcoming issue. More info: TBA

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Mile Off the Highway - William Lusk Coppage

Once in Mississippi the Moon was Hidden - William Lusk Coppage

Vision/Verse II - A success

This years Vision/Verse II went over extremely well. It was standing room only for the reading. I hope to have a video posted later this week. If you did not make the event, the exhibit will remain on display through the month. Also, beautiful broadsides were created by Yellow Flag Press and are for sale through their site. I have two broadsides for sale, based off my poems, "Once in Mississippi the Moon was Hidden" and "A Mile Off the Highway."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not Just About Sex: The Threesome As Poetic Form

Not Just About Sex: The Threesome As Poetic Form is a craft/form essay by Michael Kriesel first published in Chiron Review Fall 2009. It is now available online at The Raleigh Review. The images this "form" create seem not only fractured, but lack a hierarchy of images that is mainly associated with linear poetry.

If interested, please check out Kriesel's chapbook, Moths Mail the House, available from Sunnyoutside Press.

Michael Kriesel is a poet and reviewer whose work has appeared in Small Press Review, Library Journal, Nimrod, North American Review, Rosebud, and the Progressive. He served on the Poet Laureate Commission from 2006-2008, and won the 2004 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and the 2009 WFOP Muse Prize.