Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Man Without A Country

Vonnegut is wise, cantankerous, and funny.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March Rejections

River City 12/23/05, rej 3/11/06
Green Mountains Review 10/29/05, rej 3/14/06
Hayden’s Ferry Review 4/11/05, rej 3/16/06
Pleiades12/23/05, rej 3/20/06
Quarterly West 10/3/05, rej 3/22/06
Florida Review 12/23/05, rej 3/24/06
ACM 8/9/05, rej 3/27/06
Paris Review 12/19/05, rej 3/28/06
Crazyhorse 12/19/05 rej 3/31/06
Pool 3/22/06 rej 3/31/06 (not rdg)

The returns are in for March.

Looks like about four-and-a-half months is the average return wait for March.

Want to see more rejections? They're posted below. Here are links:

February 2006
January 2006
January 2005-December 2005

Friday, March 24, 2006


I finished Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son and Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man last night.

I don't know if I can articulate this well, but I think there are fundamental things that these two books share. Maybe it's nothing more than the idea of the outsider/outcast and trying to fit in. But it feels deeper than that. Both good books. Both about a character falling apart.

I'm also in the middle of several books of poems. Hickok's Insomnia Diary, Gluck's Wild Iris, Emanuel's The Dig, and I just started Jane Hirshfield's After.

What are you reading?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Poems To Use As Scaffolding

Jane Kenyon's "The Blue Bowl"

James Galvin's "Post-Modernism"


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another Good Exercise from The Practice of Poetry

J.D. McClatchy says to take a poem, he gives specific suggestions about what kind of poem to select, but generally, he says to take a poem you admire and retype it so that there is space to write between each line. Then he says to write your own line in each of those spaces. Next, take the scaffolding down and see what kind of poem you've written between the lines. That's what the exercise is called, "Writing Between the Lines." It's on page 155 of The Practice of Poetry edited by Behn and Twichell. McClatchy goes on to say to label this poem you've written between the lines as Part I. He says to write a part II that extends or continues or departs from Part I. I think McClatchy's right. You should do this.

Pick a poem.



Thursday, March 16, 2006

Why Can't I Access My Blog?

When I try to publish, or at least the last couple times when I've tried to republish, I get this message:

001 java.io.IOException: EOF while reading from control connection


Ohp, wait. I guess blogger fixed the problem.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Poets Against the War

What does it say that this is the poem at the P.A.W site that most sticks with me:

"Heaven as Anus"

Monday, March 13, 2006

Page 119

This exercise comes from page 119 of The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. This exercise was devised by Jim Simmerman. Basically, the exercise is to accrete a poem that includes most or all of these twenty projects:

1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia.
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you've never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of "talk" you've actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don't understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: "The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . . ."
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona in the poem do something he/she would not do in "real life."
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a nonhuman object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that "echoes" an image from earlier in the poem.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dialectic in Writing

David Jauss has an article in the current Writer's Chronicle that's worth a read. The article is called "Lever of Transcendence: Contradiction and the Physics of Creativity."

Jauss states that creativity is the product of divergent thinking, that uncertainty results from divergent thinking, that contradiction is at the heart of uncertainty. Making use of a metaphor from Simon Weil, Jauss says that "contradiction can function as the lever of transcendence in the creative process."

Jauss cites Niels Bohr: "There are the trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true."

Jauss says, "Clearly, writers have--as Samuel Beckett has said--'a strong weakness for oxymoron.'"

Jauss quotes Cleanth Brooks: "the language of poetry is the language of paradox."

Jauss says, "Robert Lowell is another poet who often found his poems by resisting his initial, convergent impulses. According to Jonathan Raben, Lowell's 'favorite method of revision was simply to introduce a negative into a line, which absolutely reversed its meaning."

Jauss says if we would use creativity to "lift the world" we should "learn to argue with ourselves, to think dialectically, to look, like Janus in opposite directions at the same time."

My summary through quotes is of course insufficient, but you get the idea.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Trees, Sentences Educating Sentences, a Gesture


Heard a possible first line for something the other day on npr:

Trees don't get confused.


Brian Kiteley of DU, in the introduction to his book about writing, The 3 a.m. Epiphany, says he "heard William H. Gass explain to a group of students how he wrote his fiction. [Gass] said, 'Each sentence educates the next sentence. Each paragraph educates the next paragraph.'" Kiteley says that he imagines "Gass meant he rewrote each sentence until the next one came to him. Or that by rereading a paragraph often enough he saw, finally, where next to take the story."


When Li-Young Lee spoke here years ago, he discussed writing as a gesture. He said that he didn't go back and tinker with a poem word by word or line by line. Instead, if a poem didn't work, he threw it away and started again, writing a new poem from start to finish. He said that in writing as a gesture, one line lead to the next.


Normally, I wouldn't think of putting Gass and Lee together, but these thoughts seem to connect them.


What next.

Open Source Poem VI

Immaculate Conniption=

imminent occupational=pantomimic ale nut icon=inept mac columniation=uneconomical pita mint=comic manipulation net=capitulation mnemonic=

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Saturday, March 04, 2006


"Possibility: An Assay"

"To Opinion: An Assay"

"Termites: An Assay"

"Poe: An Assay"

"'To': An Assay"

"To Judgment: An Assay"

In a Marin Independent Journal article dated 02/22/2006, "The Zen Poet of Mill Valley," Paul Liberatore lets Hirshfield explain how assays differ from another kind of poem she calls a "pebble."

Liberatore's article says:

Her gentle affection for people and everyday things is evident in her work, collected in this book as poems, short pieces she calls "pebbles" and longer "assays."

Hirshfield is a horsewoman with an Arabian gelding she keeps at Muir Beach. Here's an example of a pebble, titled "Sentence," that refers to a horse:

"The body of a starving horse cannot forget the size it was born to."

"The pebbles are not riddles or jokes, but they're like riddles or jokes in that they put something forward and it isn't finished until the person hearing it or taking it in puts two and two together," she explained. "They aren't finished except in the experience of taking them in."

The assays, taken from what most people know as a mining term, "are a meandering way of exploring something's nature," she said. "One (a pebble) is a like a flashbulb and the other (an assay) is a long look around."

As an aside, I wish I had a name like "Liberatore." However, knowing my luck, if I did, it would be something like, "Nochildleftbehindatore." Or "Martin-atore."

Friday, March 03, 2006

PBS Newshour With Jim Lehrer

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Collage and Google

I don't think I like the word flarf.

Here's more of what Tony Tost says about collaging sources.

Anybody know of anything else to read about this? I'm so self-centered and disconnected, I thought that I myself had discovered the idea of using google searches as a source for word collages. I guess marrying google searches and collage is actually of an obvious move. So much for self-centered disconnectedness.

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