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two more cents on The Change May 1, 2011: Tony Hoagland’s poem, The Change, (pasted at the end of this post), seems designed to shock, and while it does that, it doesn’t do much more than that. It has successfully ruffled the feathers of the contemporary poetry world and has resulted in much passionate discussion and many blog posts. Unfortunately, the discussion has been less about [...] by

Speed chess is playoff basketball. Regular chess is golf. April 29, 2011: Here are some thoughts after reading Stephen Burt’s post. I learned to play chess as a kid, and was pretty decent for a while, able to sometimes hold my own with grown-ups, then I didn’t play much again until my early-twenties: on the quad in grad school, in cafes in Prague. The first time I played speed chess was in Washington DC, Dupont [...] by

Devil’s Lunch by Aleksandar Ristovic April 28, 2011: Aleksandar Ristovic is a Serbian poet (1933-1994) with one book in English, Devil’s Lunch, translated by Charles Simic. Pasted below is the title poem, which is not the best poem in the collection, but it’s a good introduction to his work. Devil’s Lunch A thorn is enough for him. An apple made of iron. The nipple of a girl who [...] by

Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open by Diane Suess April 25, 2011: In 2010, I received 180 poetry books in the mail. All had been published that year, and the single book, (by an author that I’d never heard of), that surprised me the most, the one that grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go was Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open by Diane Seuss, winner of the Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts [...] by

flashlight on LAURA MORAN April 22, 2011: I first encountered Laura Moran back in the first half of the 90’s, in the Poetry Slam world. A few years ago, we reconnected when she contacted me about doing a feature at the library where she works in Narrowsburg, New York (population 414). It always pleases me so much to bump into people from the early days of the slam community and see them [...] by

My Time of the Month April 21, 2011: Today I was walking in Trader Joe’s and one of the women who works there smiled at me, and I realized it was that time of the month again. Let me explain. Every month or two, I go to a barbershop and have my hair and beard buzzed down to a stubble with an electric razor. Then I pretty much let it grow wildly for a month or two, until my beard [...] by

flashlight on the immigration debate: an interview with Lynda Letona April 19, 2011: Today I am interviewing Lynda Letona. I met her in Los Angeles, back in 1999, when I was doing a ten-session poetry workshop at her high school. She was one of the most talented high school poets I worked with and traveled with me to San Francisco, together with 4 other teen poets and poet Derrick Brown to take part in the Brave New Voices [...] by

introductions at poetry readings April 16, 2011: Tonight, I am introducing D.A. Powell at the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival. Since I am blogging, I will share what I came up with. For the record, I am a big admirer of Doug's work, so praise came easy. I would love to see a fellow blogger talk about the challenges of introducing a writer at a reading whose work you don't connect with, or even to [...] by

How Not To Return Home From An Out-of-town Poetry Reading April 5, 2011: Get up at 8:30 a.m. in Tucson. My host, Matthew Conley, swings me by the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona. A remarkable place: an entire building dedicated to poetry, with a library, archives, classrooms, a performance space, even an apartment where visiting poets can sleep. Arrive at Tucson Airport an hour before my 11:55 a.m. flight [...] by

Tucson impressions April 4, 2011: One of the exciting things about being a poet is periodically getting to step out of my day-to-day and fly somewhere to read my poems. I'm in Arizona now for the Tucson Poetry Festival. Here are some random thoughts and impressions. * Stepping off the plane, there seem to be a whole lot of white faces in the airport. * There are an [...] by