Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Got two poems picked up by Main Street Rag.

Am excited to review Self-Portrait With Crayon by Allison Benis White for an online journal. Her poems defy expectation in the most genuine way.

Am officially in a music rut. Need new music. I miss new music. Recommendations?

Having drinks with Phil tonight. Phil writes poems and takes the writing of them as seriously as I do.

Like most people, I'm looking forward to eating too much turkey and pie.

Will start a workout regimin soon.

A Complaint

Okay, I'm so bored with poems about Odysseus. For that matter, can you think of a duller topic for a poem than Greek myths? Sure, Sissyphus rolling a boulder up a hill for eternity is a powerful metaphor, but who wants to reimagine it in a poem knowing it's a thinly guised comparison to the poet's cycles of expectation and disappointment? You can count me out.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes you feel like a list

1. August Kleinzhaler. New to his work, I have recently read and enjoyed his Sleeping it Off in Rapid City. His lines build neighborhoods of complexity one concrete image at a time. He's unaffraid to drop in pop cultural artifacts and strange personal references (take, for example, Stinky Phil, a bully from his New Jersey childhood). His verse moves down the page so effortlessly...he not only makes the making of a poem look easy but he also makes brilliance look easy. A couple of years ago he openly criticized Garrison Keilor's wholesome Lake Woebegone approach to poetry: “Multivitamins are good for you. Exercise, fresh air, and sex are good for you. Fruit and vegetables are good for you. Poetry is not.” This sealed the deal for me.

2. Richard Buckner. His 2006 album Meadow sounds like this late autumn landscape's orange, brown and gray in the muted light. To mix metaphor,the songs comb the beaches of loss and heartbreak. The lyrics scuttle along like shells in a low tide, the waters of his gorgeous voice pulls one image out of the sand only to cover it with another.

3. 2009. It will come to an end in 56 days. If you count 2000 as the first year of the new millenium, we have worked ourselves a decade into the century. If you're old like me, you might agree that this is the first decade that has passed with the swiftness of a couple of years.

4. Sufjan Stevens. He has finally given up on his 50 states project. I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved that he has worked through this delusion. While it was an obviously impossible undertaking, we have to be glad his psychiatrist held off on prescribing lithium for as long as he did. The Michigan and Illinois albums were like these grand middle school independent study projects. Something we had learned from and have proudly kept over the years.

5. Midtown Kansas City. Needing more space and a landlord willing to make repairs, we have moved back to Midtown after having lived in neighborhoods to the Northeast for the past year and a half. Again, I'm digging Midtwon's mashup of decay and splendor. An abadoned redbrick colonade here and a well-kept shirtwaist there. The sleek highrises along the Plaza boulevards with excellent views of the crumbling Midtown infrastructure. Not one but two Lexuses idling in a left turn lane. A man posted at the tip of the traffic island with a sign that reads "Out of work. Out of luck. Everything Helps." It's all good.