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The Purpose of Poetry April 27, 2012: For poet and songwriter Patti Smith, the social awakening came when she heard Neil Young’s Ohio: That song, she writes in Just Kids, “seemed to crystallize the role of the artist as a responsible [...] by

Poetry in Motion (Pictures), Part I April 18, 2012: My brother used to refuse to go to any movie whose review used the words “panoramic,” “poignant,” or (worst of all) “poetic.”  Each, he thought, was code for [...] by

Too Late, Spring/National Poetry Month April 16, 2012: As the faculty sponsor of the literary magazine everywhere I’ve ever taught, I’ve lived out the same painful ritual every year.  I beg for submissions from Opening Day on, only to be [...] by

Real/Haiku April 12, 2012: About 15 years ago, when I first heard a North American Haiku Conference was being held in nearby Evanston, I naively pictured something like Comic-Con—you know:  people in space helmets, jet [...] by

Slam Poetry: The Difference Is You April 4, 2012: Slam poetry is a forum not a form And the difference is u – Something living, someone alive, It’s the difference between a boulder, unmovable And being bolder, or At least moving Toward each [...] by

So long, Harriet January 16, 2010: The other Harriet — Harriet Beecher Stowe — says in Uncle Tom’s Cabin that “friendships are discovered not made.” Joining this blog over the past few months, I [...] by

Production Notes for February: The Movie January 13, 2010: Production Notes for February: The Movie 1. Snow covers everything like a film. 2. The only theatre in town is showing The Return of the Bride of Quietness. 3. Overhead, a wedge of geese: A greater [...] by

The Narrative Arc of a Semester January 5, 2010: One year I hung a giant sheet of pink butcher paper outside the Writing Center with an invitation for people to jot down thoughts of the day as they walked by. (I guess it was sort of a Stone Age, [...] by

Resolutions January 3, 2010: I started making New Year’s resolutions when I spent some time teaching in Rockview Maximum Security Prison, outside State College, PA. While teaching an extension course for Penn State (back [...] by

Slavery — Then and Now January 2, 2010: Let’s say you don’t take the North Pole worskshop to be a metaphor for the sweat-shop oppression of slighted people everywhere. Fine, have it your way. Just before the holidays my [...] by