Poetry News

Jim Behrle, Ron Silliman, minor league baseball, and monkeys riding border collies

By Harriet Staff

Read all about it here in a little thing we like to call "Yo-Yos with Celery." A taste:

Ron: I am quite amazed by who reads my blog. And the kind of readership it gets. I get, for example, a lot of readers who are strictly into haiku. There is a whole haiku community in North America that normally is not treated seriously, but in fact there is a fair amount of decent poetry being written by a number of those people. And a lot of them actually do read me, because I cover haiku. And when I judged the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and picked Aram Saroyan’s Complete Minimalist Poems, one of the two finalists that I mentioned was a book-length series by Roberta Beary that, for all intents and purposes, was the equivalent of a novel written in haiku.

Jim: Hit to the second baseman. That’s going to be an easy out at first. I think your blog has daily readers because of your format, so that every day that you’d show up, there would be something new going on. But also because you were an affable voice that read a lot of stuff and would talk about a lot of different things that people were interested in. It just became, sort of, the poetry blog to follow. Twitter or Facebook might be able to get a few lines out well and quickly. But to write with some thought about something, it’s difficult to do that on Twitter.

Ron: Right. And from my perspective, the hardest aspect is this: that I’ve gone, in my job as a market analyst, from—like every job in America, I’ve gone through a series of speed-ups in the last decade. When I started it, I had a 50- or 60-hour-a-week job. Now it’s 70 to 90. And that difference has a huge impact. Which is one reason why I’ve told them in six months I’m retiring. I’ve had a full-time job pretty much since 1972, when I got out of school. But there was a time when a full-time job didn’t mean 90 hours a week. Nowadays, the average professional thinks of a 40-hour job as part-time work. We’ll see if the Frederick pitcher here went to sleep.

Jim: He’s got to give them back. He’s been in the dugout for about half an hour.

Ron: Yeah, he was. The number six hitter for the Blue Rocks is coming up for the first time.

Jim: This is the second inning. We could be here awhile.

Ron: And then we get to watch the fireworks.

Jim. Yep, fireworks. And monkeys. You can’t ask for more than that.

Ron: I think the monkeys are in the seventh inning.

Jim: I think monkeys and fireworks probably shouldn’t go together, if it’s at all possible to keep them separated. You’ve been sort of attracted to, over the course of the blog’s life, to some of the fads that have come through poetry.

Originally Published: September 21st, 2011