Tuesday, September 29, 2009

pics from Picnic 2009

Thanks to Jim Gay for taking and sharing these pictures from PWP 2009 to commemorate another successful Picnic (12th annual) and Writing Workshop (4th annual) in the shade of the tall tress and colorful gazebo in the Shaffer Hotel garden. 

Gary Glazner & Writing Workshop participants

Gary Brower reading, accompanied by John Bullock on gutar

music by LuLu: Lou Blackwell & Greg Candela

open mic, Richard Ishmael Scott, Belen NM, reading

~ more to come ~

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Poem: Mapping the Interior (Ireland)

Imagine that you had a dishcloth
Bigger than the one mothers put on the bread
To slow its cooling, that you could spread
Over the whole kitchen floor to bring up its face
As clearly as the features on the cake.

You’d have a print you could lift up
To the light and examine for individual traces
Of people who came to swap yarns, and sit on
Sugan chairs that bit into the bare floor, leaving
Unique signatures on concrete that creased
Over time into a map you could look at and

Imagine what those amateur cartographers
Were thinking when their eyes fell, in the silence
Between the stories, that was broken only by
The sound of the fire and whatever it was that
Was calling in the night outside.

© 2003, Eugene O'Connell

Eugene O'Connell page at Poetry International:

Call for Chapbook Library donations

From post by Carlos Contreras (soothxsayer@yahoo.com) at New Mexico Poetry Slam

I am setting out to collect a library of chapbooks for my poetry students here at Gordon Bernell Charter School... for those of you that don’t know the whole story behind my school, it’s in the jail for adults in abq and also exists downtown, in other words if you donate a book it could be going behind bars to help keep someone sane!
Also, any poets willing to donate their time and expertise to present open mic style for a pod full of inmates (90) men... please email me and we can set those opportunities up.
Carlos C



Ed note: a few links to articles about the Gordon Bernell Charter School that Carlos refers to:


I don’t doubt Carlos would welcome donations of not just chapbooks but anthologies, poetry ’zines and so on. According to the website, the school also needs substitute teachers and tutors. Why not email Carlos and ask what you can do?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A word from the Sunflower Writing Workshop

Dale writes:
What a lot of fun writing with everyone! I loved the work we did and will always remember "first kisses". Let's do it again, maybe next August?

This is how my edited pantoum finally settled out, from our thursday night session. FYI "empty orchestra" is what Karaoke means in Japanese, thought it was a cool image. Karin, if you like, please take it for The Rag.

Thanks to Karin Bradberry, Kate Padilla & Maureen Hightower for contributing to this pantoum!

IN THE CITY by Dale Harris

In the city, rain is rust.
Red diamonds rise at dusk.
My shoes are gone, still I walk.
A havoc of birds in the park.

Red diamonds rise at dusk.
Evening fades as evenings must.
A havoc of birds in the park.
A woman on the street alone. 

Evening fades as evenings must.
Cicadas sing and rub their wings.
A woman on the street alone.
Gas lights flicker, sway.

Cicadas sing and rub their wings.
An empty orchestra plays.
Gas lights flicker, sway.
Mischief rattles the dark.

An empty orchestra plays.
My shoes are gone, still I walk.
Mischief rattles the dark.
In the city, rain is rust

HELIOTROPIC by Elizabeth Galligan
I am sunflowered
by the glare of poets
I shine.

 Plus de Pantoum pour vous

Dancing the pantoum
“Warrior Woman Pantoum,” which takes as its structural base the Malayan pantoum poetry form (quatrains in which the second and fourth lines of a stanza repeat as the first and third lines of the next stanza, etc), investigates images and metaphors that speak to the concept of a female warrior. The dance also echoes the repetitive nature of the poetic form in the development and connection of its movement phrases that feature shifts in the dynamic spectrum ranging from softness and vulnerability to intense strength. Dedicated to Leo’s mother, the work is complemented by a score by Emory Music Department faculty member and composer Steve Everett, and is introduced by “Voice,” a poem written in response to the solo by 2007 Perugia Press First Book Award winner Lynne Thompson.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Highlights from American Poet, Issue 36

Louise Glück in Conversation with Dana Levin James Galvin on James Wright and Poetry of Place Carl Phillips on Brigit Pegeen Kelly Donald Revell on Poetry and Purity John Koethe on Henri Cole Maureen N. McLane on Twisting and Turning Linda Bierds on Jonathan Thirkield Saskia Hamilton on William Cowper & Emily Dickinson Manuscript Study of Walt Whitman & Spring 2009 Notable Books

For a Dollar: Louise Glück in Conversation Interviewed by Dana Levin, poet Louise Glück, recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award, discusses her latest collection, A Village Life, and answers questions related to teaching, audience, and cultural import. On the web at: www.poets.org/lgluc

The Poetry of Place: James Wright's "The Secret of Light" James Galvin looks at the work of James Wright, stating: "[Many of these poems] are self-annihilated descriptions of actual surroundings and show a remarkable sense of ease in relation to uncertainty." On the web at: www.poets.org/jgalv

The Surreal Is No Less Real: Brigit Pegeen Kelly Carl Phillips discusses the work of Brigit Pegeen Kelly: "...her poems are like no one else's—hard and luminous, weird in the sense of making a thing strange that we at last might see it..." On the web at: www.poets.org/cphil

The Art of Violent Concision: Henri Cole John Koethe delves into Henri Cole's newest collection: "Blackbird and Wolf contains some of the most truthful poems in modern American poetry." On the web at: www.poets.org/hcole

Twisting and Turning: From the Poets Forum Moderator Maureen N. McLane offers a divagation on "Twisting and Turning" at the 2008 Poets Forum, accompanied by panelists Ron Padgett, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, and Susan Stewart. On the web at: www.poets.org/kryan

A Shape of Reality: Jonathan Thirkield Linda Bierds discusses the work of an emerging poet: "[Jonathan] Thirkield's myriad, haunting images result in layered lyrics, and the gathering of those lyrics results in a book shaped and enriched by the layered flashes of a singular mind." On the web at: www.poets.org/lbier

Forms of Reticence Poet and Lowell scholar Saskia Hamilton offers a captivating essay re-examining the influence of hymns on Emily Dickinson's verse, ruminating on the work of William Cowper, and how it complicates the traditional expectations of the hymnal form. On the web at: www.poets.org/edick

Manuscript Study: Walt Whitman Walt Whitman's handwritten rough drafts of "Come, said my Soul" reaveal much about the poem: it begins as an address to a "him," shifts to addressing the soul, and then becomes a command to the self to create a poem that one can return to enjoy even after death. On the web at: www.poets.org/wwhit

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gary Glazner's Alzheimer Poetry Project expands to Germany

Gary Glazner, recent picnic reader and writing workshop instructor, posted this message about the Project's German launch to the Alzheimer's Poetry Project on Facebook. The exercise Gary describes will be of particular interest to workshop participants:

The launch was a smashing success! Six poets, three health care worker and a representative from the German Alzheimer's Association received three hours of training in a hands-on workshop in using poetry with people living with dementia. The event was the subject of a public radio show which aired yesterday and will continue being broadcast throughout the weekend in a number of markets and was featured in today's Marburg newspaper.

Five people in various stages of dementia participated in the workshop. Those are the numbers, real and necessary for any report and for a clinical description, we might say we saw positive facial expressions strong verbal response and increased sociability. That two of the people participating in the session exhibited spontaneous recitation of poems they knew. But it does not give the emotional impact on the poets and the participants.

We opened with the poem that thus far every German asked knows, "Alle Meine Enchen." Lars Rupple the Marburg Poetry Slam organizer, gave a brilliant introduction, talking about how when he was young he really did not like poetry, how he was forced to learn poetry in school, how for him the poem he most remembered was not by a famous poet like Rilke but this little rhyme, he remembers his mother singing. He asked who each person's favorite poet was and then launched into Alle meine Enchen and everyone started laughing as one of the poets began to do a duck walk. Four of the participants sang along.

Then came a Heinz Erhardt poem about a cow, Eine Kuh, which ended with Lars and one of the poets Felix Romer having a contest to see which of them looked more like a cow. Then another hilarious poem by Erhardt about Maggots. Our theme as you have guessed by now was animals. Erhardt is similar to Shel Silverstein in humor and style.

We composed a group poem by asking if, "You were a bird where would you fly and what would you see?" We used Die Vogel Hochzeit, and Fiderallalla, as inspiration and as a sort of chorus singing it before each person was asked the prompt. One woman said, "I can't fly, my arm is hurt, my shoulder is sore." At the end of the session she said, "When I hear the poetry, my arm doesn't hurt any more." Another woman at first said she would not fly any where." When Lars came back to her he asked if she would fly to a church, and she replied, "No, I would fly into your hair!" At that moment with everyone laughing and Lars pulling and shaping his hair into a nest it felt like there was no dementia in the room.

We ended the session with Ode an Die Freude, by Friedrich Schiller and then Es ist Schon by Felix Romer.At the start of the session one of the women was unresponsive when the poets said hello to her. For most of the session she had her eyes closed. Her face was stiff, showing no emotion. Felix sat next to her and through out the session made contact with her by touching her arm and repeating to her what was happening and what people were saying. At the end she had a small but distinct smile and nodded her head yes when asked if she would like the poets to return. On Monday we workshop in Berlin!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When Science & Poetry Were Friends

Review of The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes
Pantheon, 552 pp.

The Age of Wonder means the period of sixty years between 1770 and 1830, commonly called the Romantic Age. It is most clearly defined as an age of poetry. As every English schoolchild of my generation learned, the Romantic Age had three major poets, Blake and Wordsworth and Coleridge, at the beginning, and three more major poets, Shelley and Keats and Byron, at the end. In literary style it is sharply different from the Classical Age before it (Dryden and Pope) and the Victorian Age after it (Tennyson and Browning)....

During the same period there were great Romantic poets in other countries, Goethe and Schiller in Germany and Pushkin in Russia, but Richard Holmes writes only about the local scene in England.... [T]his book is primarily concerned with scientists rather than with poets.... The scientists of that age were as Romantic as the poets. The scientific discoveries were as unexpected and intoxicating as the poems. Many of the poets were intensely interested in science, and many of the scientists in poetry.

[I]n 1833, the word "scientist" was used for the first time instead of "natural philosopher," to emphasize the break with the past.... Holmes's history of the Age of Wonder raises an intriguing question about the present age. Is it possible that we are now entering a new Romantic Age?

When Science & Poetry Were Friends - The New York Review of Books

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Call for Broadside Submissions

Broadsided is looking for evocative, riveting (but not so esoteric as to be inaccessible) poetry & prose. What are Broadsides and where do they appear? They are out on the streets, online and any manner of unexpected places to be read by anyone coming across them. That said, Broadsided wants smart, difficult work that challenges and speaks strongly.

The Telephone Pole: A
Broadsided Classic

Where have Vectors posted? Lots of places. Clicking an image in this online gallery of vectorized broadsided will give you a larger version. Anyone can be a vector or Broadside distributor. I'm an online vector, posting on Mountainair Arts, tweeting and elsewhere online. Broadsiding here would be too much like carrying coals to Newcastle, wouldn't it? But wouldn't it be neat - and complete the circle - to broadside your poetry, prose or artwork?

Coffee shops are a perfect spot
to Vectorize

Switcheroo Deadline, October 5. The finished Broadsided publication will be posted November 1, 2009. Email submissions welcome at any time: check online guidelines.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Auden's Poem to Humanity

Today is September 1 and The Nation very appropriately showcases Auden's poem to commemorate the event it lamented. A favorite of mine too if only because I might have frequented that same dive on 51st St.

"Seventy years ago today, the military might of Nazi Germany was thrown against the free state of Poland. Hitler's planes, troops and tanks swept across the northern, southern and western borders of the nation....World War II had begun"

Let us recall it again with Auden as our guide:

September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
We must love one another or die

and the rest + a fine commentary
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