Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quick and yet he moves like silt

A cd of Richard Hugo's poems that is only available in MT libraries and through interlibrary loan.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Directions for a poem

1. Look around.
2. Pick something that catches your eye.
3. Watch it.
4. Describe it.
5. Describe it again,
6. and this time use some words that don't seem quite right for the subject to create some tension through diction.
7. Question the scene you've described.
8. Question it again.
9. Perhaps you are interrogating the thing you're observing, or perhaps you are interrogating the reader about what you've seen.
10. Question it.
11. Propose answers for the questions you have asked.
12. The form of the poem should somehow connect to the questions.
13. Find a place for some rhyme of some kind.
14. Use a one word title.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Paul Muldoon Rocking

Paul Muldoon's band is Rackett.

Download his song "Most of the Time" at the Poetry Northwest site. Also, Muldoon's essay sort of explains how he started writing songs. Muldoon and Warren Zevon.

Direct link to "Most of the Time" mp3 from PNW site

Other songs can be downloaded here.

You can hear whacked out lyrics like "her coffee grinder smells of marzipan."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Here's an idea

Read a poem. Then write directions for someone else to create a contemporary version of that poem. Focus on technical and thematic issues in your directions.

For example, take this Dickinson poem:

I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I ’m accustomed to him grown,—
He hurts a little, though.

I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.

I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

I wished the grass would hurry,
So when ’t was time to see,
He ’d be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

I could not bear the bees should come,
I wished they ’d stay away
In those dim countries where they go:
What word had they for me?

They ’re here, though; not a creature failed,
No blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me,
The Queen of Calvary.

Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I my childish plumes
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking drums.


Some directions might be:

1. Write a poem about an unexpected feeling caused by a shift in the seasons.

2. Use four line stanzas

3. Use half-rhyme.

4. Use highly imagistic language.

5. Use medium length lines.

6. Connect the change in season to an animal.

7. Connect the change in season to something sacred.

8. The poem should trace the process through which the speaker of the poem comes to term with his/her feelings and therefore comes to terms with the season.

9. Write a poem that understands how the changes in season are connected to life, but that doesn't understand why and wonders.

10. Use the words "foreign," "stretch," and "salute."


Try to get at least ten or twelve, up to twenty directions.

Bakeless says yes to Aaron Baker

Another no.

Alice James says yes to Lia Purpura.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


If the video doesn't work, go to one of these links. It's funny.

Stephen Colbert, Sean Penn, Robert Pinsky


The same thing at a Poetryfoundation blog.


Friday, May 04, 2007


August Kleinzahler has selected Sally Van Doren's manuscript, Sex at Noon Taxes

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