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Baroqueness: Gertrude Stein, C.K. Williams, John Donne, Peter Paul Rubens, John Milton, Frank O’Hara April 20, 2012: "Where's SARDINES?" All that's left is just letters, "It was too much," Mike says. --Frank O’Hara, from “Why I am Not a Painter.” O’Hara and Goldberg talk about composition. What to put where in the picture and how much. Poems have compositions too, distinct or semi-distinct from their subjects. What to put in the beginning so as [...] by

Collaboration April 9, 2012: Jim’s been sick and the weather’s been lovely, which brings all sorts of bugs to South Philadelphia, and so I posted this at Facebook: One-line poem, called “Seasonal”:      Husband with flu swats fly. Or should it be two lines?       Husband with flu      swats fly. Poets 1 and 2 click “like.” Philadelphia [...] by

The Poetess Returns April 4, 2012: Back in the day, the Poetess took questions and dispensed advice on poetry-related troubles for the magazine Peotry, also known as “The Humor Issue”*. Unfortunately (the Poetess sniffs), although you can see most of the issue here, you cannot—for reasons unknown, and despite the Poetess's prayers to the gods of the realm of JSTOR—gain [...] by

So Why Am I Blogging? In which I don’t answer that question. April 2, 2012: “Minds like beds all made up,” writes William Carlos Williams in the beginning of Paterson. The made-up mind is important for (midcareer? really? already?) poets like me to resist. We need to stay open and unmade—and it’s so much easier not to. I’m not bloody-well talking about stylistics, aesthetics, poetics. I’m talking about [...] by

Tony Hoagland’s “The Change” April 28, 2011: Since Tony Hoagland wrote “The Change” about a decade ago, the poem (from What Narcissism Means to Me, Graywolf 2003) has been praised by African-Americans and whites, and attacked as racist by almost as many—or maybe more. That readers find the poem painful is understandable. Hoagland probably intended the poem to cause pain. But “The [...] by

Code Coda April 25, 2011: The letter to the New York Times Book Review that Ange Mlinko mentions in her post caught my eye too, but for different reasons. “Give me code cracking any day” wrote the letter writer, Allen Benn, in response to David Kirby's review of David Orr's new book of criticism, Beautiful and Pointless. Benn then went on to say that, for example, [...] by

Adventures in Parenting: Metaphor, Painting and Narrative for Pre-Schoolers April 19, 2011: (Separated at birth?) My four-year old loves metaphor, although she says she loves simile better than “plain metaphor” because she likes the “like” in a simile. She first became aware of metaphor when in The Berenstain Bears Go Trick or Treating, light “stabs” out of a spooky house in the woods. Ever since she will stop [...] by

Questions I Don’t Understand #2 April 5, 2011: Rachel Zucker: “Is it more important to you that your poems be timeless or timely?” I want my poems to be as good as I can make them. Timely or timeless doesn’t address that. I understand this to be a question about the journalistic content of poetry, or else a question about an individual writer’s relationship to current fashions in [...] by

Questions I Don’t Understand #1 April 4, 2011: The Future of the Line. Gillian Connolly: “In the 22nd century, what will the line look like and do?” I find myself incapable of thinking theoretically about poems. I’m not saying this question doesn’t have value, and I’m certainly not bragging. But is it like ‘if we can dream it, we can do it?’ Sort of like Leonardo Da Vinci [...] by

“…like a bird of prey, the profile of night…” April 30, 2010:            --from “Facing It,” Yusef Komunyakaa’s great poem            about war and race and America and the Vietnam Memorial. The university where I currently teach has more political diversity among its student body than most of the liberal-to-left institutions where I’ve previously taught. It’s never [...] by