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Heaven Is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens: On Tim Dlugos’s “Turandot” August 26, 2008: I am in the hospital for the fourth time in the past five months, this time for excruciating abdominal pain that turned out to be due to a bowel obstruction which has still not cleared up. I have had a tube down my throat and have been unable to eat for over a week. I spend most of my days trying to sleep through the pain and nausea. In the course [...] by

A Few Thoughts on Poetry and Criticism, Part III August 15, 2008: The rather lively response to my previous two posts on this topic has prompted me to post this excerpt from a piece on which I have been working for a while. I hope that it generates similar interest. Due to the heavily policed institutional borders between creative writing and criticism or literature, the interrelationship of the two is often [...] by

A Few Thoughts on Poetry and Criticism, Part II August 8, 2008: I was rather surprised by some of the responses I received to my original post on this topic. I consider thinking about poetry to be an essential element of reading and writing poetry, though obviously not all poets take the further step of _writing_ about poetry. However, literary criticism (which is a genre, and which is not the same thing as [...] by

A Few Thoughts on Poetry and Criticism August 8, 2008: I adore Doug Powell as a poet and a person, but I must disagree with his recent post regarding poets and critics. It's true that the skills required to be a poet and the skills required to be a critic are distinct, but they're related, and to be a good writer one needs at least some of the skills of a good critic. (I also know from his writing [...] by

A Note on MFA Programs August 3, 2008: I am back home from the hospital and hopefully on the mend for good this time. Since I note that August Kleinzahler is once again foaming at the mouth about some utterly imaginary and wholly evil version of MFA programs, about which he clearly knows nothing, I thought that I'd throw in my two cents, since I have two MFA degrees and thus some [...] by

Taking Dictation from a Martian Muse July 24, 2008: While I am still in the hospital, I'm having Robert post this piece: Jack Spicer’s notion of poetry as dictation is hardly original (and originality is a notion Spicer would quarrel with in any case), but Spicer acknowledges its sources and rings his own changes on them: Yeats’ spooks bringing him metaphors for his poetry, or Cocteau’s [...] by

On Alvin Feinman’s “True Night” July 22, 2008: While I am recovering from surgery that will hopefully put at end to my cycle of illness, I am having Robert post another tribute to my mentor Alvin Feinman. So it is midnight, and all The angels of ordinary day gone, The abiding absence between day and day Come like true and only rain Comes instant, eternal, again: As though an air had opened [...] by

In Memoriam Alvin Feinman, 1929-2008 July 14, 2008: I am still in the hospital, awaiting surgery on an abdominal fistula that refuses to heal on its own—quite the contrary—but it’s very important to me to have Robert post this piece. 1 The wonderful poet, teacher and friend Alvin Feinman died a few days ago after a long struggle with emphysema and Parkinson’s disease. Alvin was one of the [...] by

Scattered Thoughts on Fracture July 9, 2008: I am in the hospital with complications from my previous illness. In the meantime, my partner Robert is posting this piece of mine for me. Despite its many accomplishments over the past century or more, poetic experimentation for its own sake has gotten become rather routine, even rote. By now it has frequently come to seem like a form of keeping [...] by

Avant-Garde and Modern, Part Four June 20, 2008: Like the previous post, this fourth and final post on this topic was largely prompted by Brent Cunningham's comments on the second post. Some of it will be more clear if readers refer back to that post and its comment stream while reading this entry. I like the terms “Modern” and “Modernist” because of their bare descriptiveness: they make [...] by