Friday, February 26, 2010

Guardian Challenge: Write a Date Poem

Poster poems: Dates from Books: Poetry | 
Get your diaries out, as this month's challenge is the peculiar sub-genre of specifically dated poems
I was reading Yeats's great poem "Easter, 1916" recently, when the thought occurred to me that, on top of all its other, more obvious, virtues, it belongs to an odd sub-genre: poems that include specific dates in their titles.

Easter Rebellion, 1916
A British tank batters down a door in house-to-house searches during the Easter Rebellion of 1916. 
Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty

OK, maybe calling Easter a specific date is pushing it a bit, but for many Irish people Easter, 1916 evokes a precise and, however one feels about the outcome of that failed uprising, significant moment in the history of the island. The poem is, I suppose, a meditation on that place where the personal and public planes of existence intersect; Yeats reflects on the 1916 leaders not just as figures from history, but also as people of his, sometimes intimate, acquaintance.

Great events seem a reasonably obvious subject for date poems, and Yeats is far from being the only poet to approach them by linking the public and private spheres. One well-known poem that seems to me to be uncannily close to Easter, 1916 is Auden's "September 1, 1939".

Of course, the significance of a date can be purely personal, and few are of more significance to the average individual than their birthday. Byron's "January 22nd, Missolonghi" is, I think, a particularly fine example of the sub-sub genre of poet's-own-birthday poem, but even here external events in the poet's beloved Greece intrude. More narrowly personal are those poems that have the appearance of a kind of diary entry. It's a mode that seems to have suited Anne Bradstreet particularly well in poems like her "In Reference to her Children, 23 June 1659" and "Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 10th, 1666".

Here the significance of the date is rooted in the private experience of the poet, although it becomes readily transparent to the reader. The same could be said of Denise Levertov's "To RD, March 4th 1988", an elegy to the poet Robert Duncan; dates of death being second only to birthdays for personal significance.

Other date titles apparently refer to the composition of the poem. Wordsworth's sonnet "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" is one such. However, poets are slippery creatures and not to be trusted, and it is quite likely that the poem was not written there and then, but is, in fact, an example of "emotion recollected in tranquillity". Jack Spicer's jazzy "A Poem For Dada Day At The Place April 1, 1958" is a more likely contender for an improvised, written-on-that-date poem, but you just never can tell.

Sometimes the significance of the date is so obscure that you just have to take it at face value that, say, Wendell Berry heard those things on "October 10" or that Ezra Pound was mistaken at "Pagani's, November 8". Well, I'm prepared to accept not knowing once the poem is good.

So, this month's challenge is to write a poem with a date in the title. It can be a great date from history or an obscure date from your personal life. It can even be something at the intersection of those two possibilities; the important thing is to make it interesting for the rest of us. What's keeping you? Time flies ... © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Zadie Smith's rules for writers

Zadie Smith's rules for writers

We asked some of the most esteemed contemporary authors for any golden rules they bring to their writing practice. Here are Zadie Smith's

1 When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2 When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3 Don't romanticise your "vocation". You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no "writer's lifestyle". All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4 Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can't do aren't worth doing. Don't mask self-doubt with contempt.

5 Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6 Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won't make your writing any better than it is.

7 Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.

8 Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9 Don't confuse honours with achievement.

10 Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

10 Finalists for Best Translated Book of Poetry

Three Percent, the University of Rochester's "translation-centric Web site," has announced ten finalists for its 2010 Best Translated Book of Poetry Award. The judges — Brandon Holmquest, Jennifer Kronovet, Idra Novey, Kevin Prufer and Matthew Zapruder — have selected the following ten books:
  • Nicole BrossardSelections,Translated from the French by Guy Bennett, David Dea, Barbara Godard, Pierre Joris, Robert Majzels, Erin Moure, Jennifer Moxley, Lucille Nelson, Larry Shouldice, Fred Wah, Lisa Weil, Anne-Marie Wheeler. (Canada, University of California)
  • René CharThe Brittle Age and Returning Upland.  Translated from the French by Gustaf Sobin. (France, Counterpath)
  • Mahmoud DarwishIf I Were AnotherTranslated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah. (Palestine, FSG)
  • Elena FanailovaThe Russian Version. Translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler. (Russia, Ugly Duckling Presse)
  • Hiromi ItoKilling Kanoko. Translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles. (Japan, Action Books)
  • Marcelijus MartinaitisKB: The Suspect. Translated from the Lithuanian by Laima Vince. (Lithuania, White Pine)
  • Heeduk RaScale and Stairs. Translated from the Korean by Woo-Chung Kim and Christopher Merrill. (Korea, White Pine)
  • Novica TadicDark Things. Translated from the Serbian by Charles Simic. (Serbia, BOA Editions)
  • Liliana UrsuLightwall. Translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter. (Romania, Zephyr Press)
  • Wei Ying-wuIn Such Hard Times. Translated from the Chinese by Red Pine. (China, Copper Canyon)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Broadsided by poetry and art

 Feb 2010 Broadside
"Replacing the Window, Downtown Medford"
Poem by Amy MacLennan; art by Lochlann Jain
click to view / download/ print larger version
You've just been Broadsided. Now Vectorize yourself. I do this monthly for Mountainair Arts, the not-really-a-poetry blog, because becoming a Vector and Broadsiding poetry and art introduces both to new audiences. No preaching to the choir. Read more about it.

PoetryExpress | Poetry Community

An online poetry writing resource and community - write, read, share, publish. According to site creator / developer Chuck Guilford, "Poetry Express is a distillation and collage of numerous writings, talks, and activities that I've developed over the years and tried out on students."

Chuck Guilford has thirty years experience teaching a variety of university level writing courses. He holds a Ph.D. in English and is an emeritus associate professor of English at Boise State University, where he has taught composition, creative writing, and literature classes at both graduate and undergraduate levels. He has also taught numerous poetry workshops for young people.

Resources include writing exercises, links to poetry videos, tutorials, writing and revision tips, multimedia, forums, discussions, blogs... and more

PoetryExpress | Poetry Community - write, read, share, publish

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Swindle / Discover, Share and Publish Poems Online

Welcome to Swindle, a community for discovering and sharing contemporary poetry. Poems get into Swindle in one of two ways — through our automated feed crawler (which scrapes new poems from publications such as The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and Rattle), and through submissions from Swindle users.

To take full advantage of Swindle, you'll want to sign up for a free user account, which will allow you to save and promote your favorite poems, as well as submit poems you find around the web.

If you'd like to add your publication to our automatic feed crawler, send a link to The site must produce a valid RSS feed that includes publication dates for all items before it can be include

More about SwindlePo

Should I add the Plog? Whether or not I submit the RSS feed, we (plural this time, please note), should submits poems from Picnic readers past and present....

magnetic poetry

magnetic poetry
Originally uploaded by surrealmuse
Today is blog an image day. It's a personal decision, not a national holiday. Obviously, Mountainair Arts gets pictures of Mountainair scenes and local scenery. Here, Shaffer and poetry pictures, naturally including the inimitable and amazing Poet-Bot. The ed related blogs will be more of a challenge...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Poetry workshop

Guardian virtual workshop on "fatherhood" poems submitted for a past online poetry workshop exercise. I wonder what if any US poetry sites are doing this. There are online workshops, forums for publishing poems online for feedback, and at least one poetry writing social network (Read Write Poem,


Sent to you by Vanessa via Google Reader:


via Culture | by on 2/16/10

Roger Robinson responds to your poems on fatherhood

Several Things Our Fathers Taught Us by CJ Allen

That beneath the saffron fractals

floating on the old canal

were silver fish. How each sensation

was subject to infinite variation.


How to call pigs. How the light was going.

How you could stop the car kangarooing

by letting out the sticky clutch

tenderly, but with élan.


That there was a difference between

so and so and such and such.

That the truth is utterly merciless.

That a drowning man will catch at razors.


How love can soften ugliness.

How sticks and stones leave cuts and grazes.

That the soul is not continuous.

That things unseen can be believed.


That driving in London meant right-of-way

was merely a pretext for ill-conceived

and hair-raisingly executed improvisation.

That in the night all cats are grey.


I enjoyed this poem. I like the repetitive rhythm of the "hows" and "thats". You might take an opportunity to think about how the words you choose sound. You may have wanted to have lots of "K" and "T" sounds like "fractals" "pretext" "executed" to give the poem a jerky feel of an unsteady relationship. But if not then you should try a version where you pay attention to the sound of your word choice. Poems need to have an organised music.



The hairdresser's daughter by Emily Blewitt

In the backwash,

my head cradled by cold white china,

I remember

capped, soaped,

what it is to be Daddy's girl.

To grow older

as he grows old. To roll

my head and feel it held.

Those strong hands. My curls,


tight, blonde, on his shoulder

resting complacent, comforted

after a long day at the beach.

Crimson-suited, I got ice cream in my hair

and the wasps were fat and persistent.

I remember

I did not care then for conditioning,

straighteners, bristle brushes, Kirby grips

to hold the wind back.


Now, these dark loose kinks

cling to my shoulders:

hang weighted in summer,

collect heat and insects;

protest the future. Except

at precise six week intervals when

I forget the sharp heat

and cooled, capped, comforted,

rest my head.


Emily, there's some good stuff going on here. I like how the hair becomes a central image for the whole thing. You might want to think about your line break and your stanzas. What is the rationale? I'm sure you have one, but if you don't, think about it. Nothing by chance, all by choice in poetry. You could probably think about trying some kind of traditional form like a sonnet because of the turn at the end stanza.



Bones Part I by David Clarke 

My Dad was afloat on an inflatable

mattress on the living room floor for over a year.

His femur, tibia, and fibula replaced

by a metallic scaffold, fused

by nuts and bolts that blistered and raised his bruised skin

like scorched sap on a gum tree.


My mother, sister, brother, and me, from the discomfort

of bed, heard his legs pounded to smithereens

by two lads from our road. I was kind of glad

they did it and not me. He lay like old gum

I'd rescue from the kerb, bless, and clean

as though signing the cross could restore

it to its former self. He spent the next two years prostrate on a bed

in the old Meath Street hospital. Blood clots

threatened his life on two occasions. I grew

to love him in that condition.


He was out of it then, pin-eyed on opiates,

buoyant, on a foldaway lifeboat,

in the wreckage of his big ideas

and the musk from Nan's old eiderdown.


This is good stuff. I like how David doesn't put the writer in a positive light. It stops the poem from being too emotional. Again, I'd look at the decisions on stanza and line breaks. Also, David, you might want to play around with the sequence of the stanzas and see how this affects your poem. 



Not my father by Alex Dampney

I did not feel his velour skin

brush against my cheek.

I did not welcome his embrace

when I snuggled to his breast.

I did not let him gently wipe

the tears beneath my eyes.


His lips did not reach down

to mine and find their trembling goal.

His hands did not release

us from the confines of our clothes.

His moves did not entice

my frozen body to respond.

His breathing did not pause

as mother's foot stepped on the stair.


I did not hear his whispered threats

or feel his hands around my throat.

I did not ask how life would be

if he weren't there,

or relish the sweet honeyed taste 

of his imagined death.


I like how this poem calls in to question things that did happen by saying they didn't. I also like its unrelenting mood. I wonder if all the bad stuff might seem even worse if a few good things were included (or as the poem goes, not included) to create a more rounded character. Sometimes, when bad people do good things, it actually makes them more scary, because they're more frighteningly human.



Kigo by Beverly Ellis

A pass-the-parcel of unwanted gifts,

wrappers carefully smoothed and set aside,


juggling cups and saucers

as we judge the sins of neighbours


and try to ignore plastic tubes

like worm-casts under cloth


while he sits very still.  So far so good,

but just before it's time to go –


there: stark as a Japanese poem,

one gold drop trembling.


Hi, Beverly. I liked how sparse and taut this poem is. I also enjoyed the way you linked the Kigo generally associated with seasons with the Christmas season and a season of death. I would look out for well-worn phrases such as "so far so good"; also, for a poem with this title, you should consider whether you might want to use something else instead of "Japanese Poem" for the simile in the last stanza.



Roof by Malene Engelund

After his father dies, he slips off his grief 

like a wet coat and becomes a fury of carpentry,

binding wood to wood as if grafting his heart 

back together the way he would the split stem 

of an apple tree.  


By the second week his hands are gloved 

in splinters, small landmarks mapping his loss 

across palms and fingers. Then he moves 

to the roof, replacing its faded grass cover 

as they had done five years earlier. 


I watch him work it alone, the sharp 

North Sea wind drawing salt from his eyes: 

My father, placing down each slab of soil 

onto the grey tarpaulin, preparing the earth, 

burying his father with every seed he sows.


Wow. Malene, this is a great poem. I like how it puts grief, memory and work together. Also I like how the vision of the father is halfway up in the sky. The rhythm and the images are good. Nice poem.



Jason and the Argo by Kirsty Gillies

When performing my frustration in the front room,

as the youngest child - feeling observed. Picked on.

I made my usual angry exit sweeping between

the two armchairs my parents always sat in


like Jason passing through those clashing rocks

dangerous, because I never made it through

before my father caught me as I passed,

in the net of his arms. Hauled me in 


without a word onto his chest. The white

water rafting, the moody waves, became calm sailing -

lying flat as though he was the bottom of a boat –

the rough boards of his hands - yellowed


with tobacco, cradling my arms, and it was warm,

lying back, looking up, listening for the next 

low boom of his heart – sea inside

an underwater cave, breaking against rock.


But one day I ran through - and I don't know

if it was me or you that thought I was too old.

Me dodging the net from spite, or perhaps you

never casting it out. But it's something to know -


that the sun hoisted on its ancient pulley

will jam half-way and never rise or set.

And the tide will one day halt mid-way in or out,

and never break against the underground rock.


Nice work, Kirsty. I like how you set up the metaphor of the armchairs and Jason and the clashing rocks – but I think that in some places you carry this metaphor too far. I'd look at the third and fifth stanzas and consider whether you could lose one or both. Try it and see how it feels.



Lekythos by Maximilian Hildebrand

I am sure you are dead. All that remains is the ritual

That began the day I took your pulse, and finding an echo

But no voice, cut a lock of your hair as comfort for my vigil.

Each day since, I have embalmed myself with the few photos


I still have of you. They reassure me that you were always old, old man;

Kind, indulgent, white-bearded. In short: always a father.

Most nights I anoint myself with your oils - I drink Lagavulin or good vin

de table, an honest link of what we shared. Or rather,


A recession between two likening faces.

For yours does not change, and my clothes-horse bones wear it

More often these days. Remnants that hold you in a false stasis

soak my skin into crinkled mimicry. I fear it,


My shadow-filled mirror, clearing as I grow older:

One day I will see an old man, crying on an old man's shoulder.


This is a nice sonnet, Maximillian. I like the whole idea of storing oil and storing someone essence and memories. I also like the rhymes you use: very unpredictable. The sonnet is all about the turn, though, and your turn could be a greater shift.



Dad's Shed by Harry Nicholson

That shed, carefully constructed

from scrap wood and bolted

as though to be moved later,

stood at the end of his Sundays

of tidy rows of leeks

and oblong beds of strawberries.


It began to sag with his decline,

until it collapsed into an exhaustion

of softened wood and torn felt,

to be over-run with brambles -

a courting spot for cats.


I cleared the site for her sake

and kept his medals.


Sometimes in dreams I go there;

it's where my memories are...

down his concrete path.

Inside - the rabbits stare

through wires, not fed for years.

I rush around...

give water and fresh hay,

long neglected fondles,

say: 'I'm sorry - I've been away.'


Harry, I think the symbol of the shed and is a good idea, but I feel your final stanza goes off at a tangent and the strong concept dissipates. Try some alternative final stanzas, perhaps linked more closely to the concrete idea of the shed.



The path by Joseph O'Donnell

The path

to my father

leads through

a world of


seaside holidays

brown tweed jackets

sunday dinners

secret presses

an old ford cortina

his days and nights working

my days and nights wondering

about him

his past

his lost parents

that lost family

a grave in the churchyard

where they lie

a mystery to me

woken every morning half singing

peppermint crisp and peppermint cream

turkish delight and tangerine

or that other favourite of his

tie a yellow ribbon

round the old oak tree

if you still want me

when i gaze on my daughter

i see me in her

and him through me for her

a world of silence

leads through to

my father

the path


I admire the idea of the path from dad to writer to daughter. I also see what you're trying to do with the shape of the poem, like a path, although I've become wary of late of representational forms. You may want to to play about with equal stanzas and see how it works for the poem. Good luck.



KANSAS, 1973 by Floyd Skloot

My daughter nestled in a plastic seat

is nodding beside me as though in full

agreement with the logic of her dream.

I am glad for her sake the road is straight.

But the dark shimmer of a summer road

where hope and disappointment repeat

themselves all across Kansas like a dull

chorus makes the westward journey seem

itself a dream.  She breathes in one great

gulp, taking deep the blazing air, and stops

my heart until she sighs the breath away.

The sun is stuck directly overhead.


I thought it all would never end. The drive,

the heat, my child beside me, the bright day

itself, that fathering time in my life.

We were going nowhere and never would,

as in a dream, or in the space between

time and memory.  I saw nothing but sky

beyond the horizon of still treetops

and nothing changing down the road ahead.


Floyd, I like this. It feels like some kind of extended sonnet. I think, though, that you need to examine your line breaks, especially in the first stanza. If you're saying that the line breaks there are to give the feel of continuous travelling, is it working? Play around with some others. I really loved the rapture of the second stanza.



4 O'Clock Sundays by Karen Stanley

In Summer, at this time, the heat has branded

earth; fans whir, regurgitating hot, dry air.

Along the beach, a tide of sunburnt skins begins to stir,

rippling slowly, drifting homeward, leaving littered

sands abandoned. At this time, you're bath-damp,

basking in your steamed cleanness, waiting

for my weekly call. Four o'clock, on the dot.

Your life clings to this thin thread.

In Winter, at this time, pink street lights spark

bright surprise through black nights; church bells

remind it's homage time. The long telephone line

winds south, its wire stretching to a disconnection.

Your bath's bone dry with death. It gets to four o'clock.

The phone sleeps in its cradle; my fingers fret.


Karen, I love the sense of mystery and hesitation in this poem, and also how you handle time and place. It draws me in and makes me want to know more – but has already given me enough.


[Our apologies for the delay in the responses to this workshop.] © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Things you can do from here:


Saturday, February 13, 2010


by Edwin Morgan, Saturday's poem from Books: Poetry | , from A Red Rose or a Satin Heart: An Anthology of Scottish Love Poems

There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air
in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you
let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills
let the storm wash the plates
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Hakim's weekend recommendations

February 13th @ 7pm


"A Day of Celebrating Black History"
 with Mistress of Ceremony:  Cecilia Webb

Local entertainers featuring poetry, singing, dancing, etc

Date: February 13      Time: 7-10pm

$10.00 at the door

*This event is a fundraiser for the African American Performing Arts Center Foundation 

Call 222-0785 for more information


African American Performing Arts Center

310 San Pedro Drive NE

Albuquerque, NM

Visit www.aapacnm. org for more details.


February 14th

Church of Beethoven Valentine's Day Performance


@ The Factory on 5th

1715 Fifth St. NW

Albuquerque, NM 87102



  • Guillermo Figueroa makes his C of B debut: (Please just Google this man. Ridiculous! http://www.nmso. org/About/ figueroa. php)
  • Borodin String Quartet and Andante from A Minor Sonata by Bach. (Google Bach too, just for fun!!!)
  • Poet Hakim Bellamy. (WhatEVER you do…do NOT Google me…PLEASE!)

(sorry Hakim ~ no such luck, sauce for goose and all that... Google away dear readers....)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wayne's List: February Events, Las Cruces

Our thanks and expressions of appreciation to Wayne Crawford, editor and publisher of Lunarosity, for adding me to his event mailing list. After all, this plog is dedicated to the proposition that not all NM poetry happens I-40 & above...  Unless otherwise noted, events listed below are in Las Cruces.

Sunday, February 14, 4:00 PM

A Hymn Festival Concert at First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Boutz Road features nationally known guest organist, choir director and composer Michael Burkhardt.  Among the music presented will be original music by Burkhardt.  Also on the bill are the Doña Ana Youth Choir, NMSU University Singers, and additional instrumentalists.  The concert is free and the public is invited.

Tuesday, February 16, 7:30-PM
Open Mic at Palacio's Bar on Avenida de Mesilla, Mesilla.  Featured this month is poet Connie Wanek.  Her third book, On Speaking Terms, has just been released from Copper Canyon Press, and is a Lannan Literary Selection for 2010.  Previous books include Bonfire (1997) and Hartley Field (2002).  She was also editor of the prize-winning anthology, To Sing Along the Way (2006).  Her work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly and Poetry magazine, among many other periodicals.  Wanek's poems have been called "incomparably lovely" by US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, who named her a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress in 2006.  She was raised in Las Cruces, NM, and now makes her home in Duluth, Minnesota.  (website:

Friday, February 19, 7:30-9:00 PM
Writer Kevin Prufer is featured in the La Sociedad Reading Series. Graduate student (Creative Writing program) reader is Mac McCormick. Hardman Hall, Rm. 206

Saturday, February 20, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
"Warholed:  Poetry and Pop Culture" is a poetry reading about Andy Warhol, Warhol's iconic images (Marilyn, Elvis, Sigmund, Einstein, Campbell's Soup, etc.) and more generally, popular culture. It takes place at the Las Cruces Museum of Art on the north side of the Downtown Mall while the Warhol exhibit is in the museum. It should be a lot of fun.
Among the local and area poets who will participate are Chris Acosta, Ashly Bender, Peter Brooks, Kathy Cooke, Wayne Crawford, Camillo Roldan, Michael Mandel, John Pate, Dick Thomas, Lawrence Welsh, Robbie Wendeborn, Joshua Wheeler and Ellen Roberts Young. " The presentation is free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 27, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
As part of ArtForm's "Love of Art" month, a reprise of last year's "For the Love of Lit" will take place at the Branigan Cultural Center, 500 N. Water Street on the north end of the Downtown Mall. The reading is hosted by poet Wayne Crawford, and features local poets and writers. Each will read for approximately five minutes.  Many will also have books and/or CDs available for purchase. 
Among those participating are Sheila Black, Peter Brooks, Floydd Elliott, Billy Garrett, John Pate, Bob Sanchez, Ann Sellemi, Bud Russo, Joe Somoza, Joe Speer, Tim Staley, Larry Stocker, Joanne Townsend, Dick Thomas, Diane Walker, and Ellen Roberts Young.

"This is another event to further conjoin and promote the arts," Crawford said. "It's another opportunity for the community to take in local writers and poets. The program features many excellent writers and equally commanding readers." The "Love of Lit" reading is free and open to the public.

 NOTE Change of date from Feb 21 to  Sunday, February 28, 3:00 PM

Joe Somoza will do a poetry reading at Acequia Booksellers in Albuquerque (4019 Fourth St. N.W.)  For more information, call 505-890-5365 or 575-522-1119.  Joe's latest book of poetry is "Shock of White Hair,"  and his latest CD is "Joe Somoza Reads (Vox Audio 2009).

A Roundup of Poetry Contest Deadlines

Deadline Roundup + tips on submitting, from Poetry

Poets! Are you snowbound? Have you been woodshedding over the winter, poring over your poems, trying to get them published in a magazine or put together a book manuscript? Then maybe now that spring approaches, it’s time to think about sending your poems off to be judged in a publication contest. Here’s a sampling of upcoming competition deadlines:
Required reading before you submit to any contests:

Related resources:
More contest links
A Roundup of Poetry Contest Deadlines originally appeared on Poetry on Sunday, February 7th, 2010 at 23:39:10.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recommendations for Improving Access to Poetry

Study to improve distribution of poetry in new media develops recommendations for poets, publishers, and literary organizations (reposted from the Poetry Foundation Newsletter)  

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce the first report of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute (HMPI). In 2009, the Institute convened a panel of poets, publishers, and experts from the fields of media, law, and technology to examine issues related to the access of poetry on the Internet and related new media. As a result of the study, the HMPI has released a white paper intended to help poetry come more effectively into new-media outlets so that it will be more accessible to various audiences.

The white paper’s recommendations are intended for use by poets and others in the poetry community as a tool to help them rethink their relationship to copyright and fair use and thus to develop permissions practices that allow the greatest possible access to poems while still protecting the rights of creators. The report also includes recommendations intended to help the poetry community use new media for poetry education. The full report is available for free download at

In order to maintain the value of accessibility as a top priority, the report provides a list of questions that poets and rights-holders can ask themselves when making licensing and permissions decisions. Also included in the report are specific recommendations for poets who may need advice in handling their wills and estates and a list of action items for poets and other members of the poetry community who are interested in lobbying for greater commitment and access to poetry from political and educational establishments. 

Finally, the report recommends that leading poets and poetry organizations work together to create a central online portal or aggregating website through which educators and others interested in learning more about poetry can find the best existing poetry websites. This last recommendation reflects a chief concern of the HMPI's inaugural report, the need for poets and poetry organizations to work together to achieve common goals.

“The report is also meant to inspire substantive community action,” noted Katharine Coles, HMPI director. “For example, the Center for Social Media, in a spin-off project, is working with the poetry community to create a Best Practices for Fair Use in Poetry document, while the University of California at Berkeley College of Law is working with the HMPI to develop a clinic related to fair use of poetry in education, with a focus on electronic media.”

A policy forum dedicated exclusively to issues of intellectual and practical importance to poetry, the Institute, named for Poetry magazine founder Harriet Monroe, has as its purpose to convene interested parties to identify issues and champion common solutions for the benefit of poets and the art form of poetry.

Advisors on the Institute’s new-media project included poets Michael Collier, Wyn Cooper, Rita Dove, Cornelius Eady, Kimiko Hahn, Lewis Hyde, Robert Pinsky, Claudia Rankine, and Alberto Ríos; publishers Kate Gale, Fiona McCrae, and Don Selby; nonprofit administrator David Fenza; computer scientist Rick Stevens; and law professors Jennifer Urban and Monica Youn.

In addition, the HMPI has announced its second project, POETRY ALIVE: Bringing Poetry into Communities, to be published in 2011, which will comprise essays by 10 poets with national and international reputations discussing important programs and vehicles for bringing poetry into specific communities.
In addition to the essays and building from them, the book will include an appendix, which will draw from the strategies discussed in the essays and will serve as a kind of flexible toolkit for people and organizations interested in bringing poetry to their own communities. 

Poets to be included in the project include Robert Hass, Elizabeth Alexander, Patricia Smith, Luis Rodriguez, Bas Kwakman, Lee Briccetti, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Dana Gioia, Anna Deavere Smith, and Thomas Lux.

For more information on the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, please visit

Monday, February 8, 2010

Downtown ABQ Treehouse Reading Sat. Feb. 13th

Join event organizer, featured poet (& past Picnic poet) Lisa Gill at 516 ARTS Gallery in downtown Albuquerque for a Valentine's Day Special this Saturday, Feb. 13, 7 pm: open mic, signup at 6:30 pm, poetry or flash prose with an erotic, sensual or quirky slant welcome, 1-4 min. Composer CK Barlow will dj for the night. Costumes encouraged.

The open mic will start a little earlier than usual, to accommodate the larger crowd, but we still encourage you to come early.The sign up list will be closed at 6:50; first come, first served.
Additionally, there will be prize-packs from Self Serve* for the best poems of the night. Voting details, as with all things American and pseudo-democratic, will be determined at a later date.

We'll also be joined for the evening by poet Dinah Frank who sent the following PR:

The shy exhibitionist Dinah Frank, world famous for her obscurity, will be reading her award winning love story to french filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Titled Dirt Cabaret: A Stainless Steel Love Story, the fiction requires she wear a bodice made from Super 8 Film and she intends to comply. 

Featured reader Lisa Gill plans to bring her alter ego Dinah Frank, a character in one of her short stories, and read odd fiction from a past Nob Hill street performance as well as work from her dissertation.

Free, fun and open to the public For more information, visit Treehouse on Facebook.

Thanks to Lisa Gill & the Treehouse Facebook page for this post.

Guardian Poem of the week: Cowboy Poetry

Twenty-Sixth Winter by John Dofflemyer: The Guardian poetry section gives cowboy poetry the nod....

via Culture | by Carol Rumens on 2/8/10

This time, a simultaneously hardbitten and tender example of 'cowboy poetry'

If you find the term "cowboy poetry" impossibly paradoxical, you might need to think again. Last month, Elko, Nevada, saw the 26th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, an annual event that began with a small group of writers, folklorists and musicians, coming together to celebrate and regenerate an increasingly threatened way of life. Among the participants was the author of this week's poem, John Dofflemyer, whose first full-length collection, Poems from Dry Creek / was the winner of the 2008 Western Heritage award for outstanding poetry book.

Twenty-Sixth Winter
I've wanted to squeeze
despair into thin air,
discharge bold charity
with my Remington
muzzle to her ear,
blast grey suffering
from this fleshless, ratty hide
tight as a drum
over Willow Buena's bones
half-a-dozen times
when shadows climbed
up canyon evenings
each September,
to only let her go
another winter
with each memory
in her one soft eye,
the other in a cloud.
And were I young again –
she'd be gone.
Her neck is softer
beneath the halter
as I lead her out
of her retirement, away
from the fretting mules
babysat the past six years
       and I think of my father's step
       as it slides along the furrow,
       led up and down the orchard row
by something
       I can't quite see
in me.
       Another man,
       another horse,
       another time
would have let nature claim her,
graze until gravity pulled her down
some frosty night
       to be licked and chewed,
       melt away,
       forgotten carrion.
The ridgeline of her spine is hard
to look at
       this close to the house
       in this only spot of green.
She trains us –
       rattles her bucket
       earlier each dawn
       as if she could
       bring the sun.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Picnic & Workshop dates set, Shaffer booked

The game is afoot! Once again the Shaffer Hotel has generously and graciously agreed to host the annual Poets and Writers Picnic (13th!) and Sunflower Poetry Writing Workshop. Shaffer manager Mary Kate Lackey is most pleased welcome a pack, gaggle, herd or whatever of poets to the Shaffer and looks forward to meeting us. The Picnic, scheduled Sat. Aug. 28, noon to 5 pm, runs concurrent with Mountainair's annual Sunflower Festival. Picnic are held in the gazebo park next to the hotel and include featured readers and music as well as an open mic. Ken Gurney rejoins Dale Harris as co-mc.
Picnickers ~ more poetry please

The poetry writing workshop begins the preceding Thurs. afternoon Aug. 26 and runs thru Sat. Aug. 28. This year's workshop includes a plein air writing field trip to The Land/an art site, Tom & Edit Cate's environmental art installation in Loma Parda. Santa Fe author Miriam Sagan is our guest teacher for the plein air session. Email Dale Harris at or call (505) 242-4930 for workshop information.

Links for PWP 2010 & poets ~ with more to come

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FYI: Writing Contest Deadlines

The deadlines for 45 writing contests fall between February 15 and March 15, including Bellingham Review's three prizes for works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Monday, February 1, 2010

poetry contests conducted like American Idol

but not in this country...

via Silliman's Blog by Ron on 1/31/10

I have noted on occasion that, in the Middle East, one can watch poetry contests conducted in the fashion of an American Idol (or, in the UK, Pop Idol, Simon Cowell's original show in this format). I have seen the show called both Million's Poet and Prince of Poets; am not certain if in fact that is one show or two. But if one hunts around on YouTube for a bit, you can find some examples. Not knowing the language transforms it into a mode of sound poetry, but even in those terms one can get a sense of the verbal devices & tone of the poems. It's a fascinating mode of music.

Poster poems: Alliteration

Wouldn't you like to be published in The Guardian? As with last month's, this is another virtual workshop + call for submission by posting as a comment to this Guardian poetry blog post.


Sent to you by Vanessa via Google Reader:


via Culture | by Billy Mills on 2/1/10

This month, building blocks: highlighting not a subject or form, but the oldest device used to organise poetry in English

Generally speaking, these Poster poem challenges are either topic-based or call on you to work in a set form. This month, we're going to try something a bit different; the focus is on a technique, but not a form as such.

Alliteration is, perhaps, the oldest device used to organise poetry in English, dating, as it does, from the very earliest appearance of verse in the vernacular. It lies at the very heart of Anglo-Saxon poem making, and lends a kind of solemn movement to the language of a poem such as Beowulf. However, this use of alliteration is not limited to Old English; it's a technique that is used in many more modern epic poems. For example, lines such as "Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved His vastness" display Milton's mastery of alliterative pomp.
Of course, Anglo-Saxon poetry wasn't all gloom and grandeur; the riddles may not be side-splittingly slapstick, but they do display the more playful part of the poet's palette. This more light-hearted aspect of alliteration is a fine feature of many tongue-twisters, such as She sells sea shells by the sea shore. It is also frequently found in the efforts of Emily Dickinson and the genuinely brilliant Gwendolyn Brooks.
In the wake of the Norman conquest, the native alliterative tradition faced stiff competition from French and Italian rhyming verse forms, but it never fully disappeared. Indeed, the 14th century saw a fine flowering of poetry that drew heavily on the old order of things; poems such as Pearl, Cleanness, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Vision of Piers Ploughman echoed the earlier English poets, while introducing a new variety and freshness to the alliterative line.
One of the more striking aspects of Langland's Vision is the way in which he uses alliteration to produce instantly memorable phrases; his world is a "fair feeld ful of folk", of himself he declares "I have lyved in londe … my name is Longe Wille" and at the heart of the poem is the insight that "Whan alle tresors arn tried, Truthe is the beste". This characteristic of being memorable has long attracted poets to alliteration, and allowed, for instance, Tennyson to turn out one of the most easily recalled opening lines in English "He clasps the crag with crooked hands".
A lot of poets have used alliteration to introduce a mellifluous mode to their lyric lines; think, for instance, of Byron's She Walks in Beauty or Hopkins's Binsey Poplars, poems in which alliteration is amalgamated with all the artifice of Latinate rhyme to form a music that melds the best of both traditions. One result of this rapprochement is that the alliterative line of the Anglo-Saxon scop has been developed to the point where it runs across lines, weaving its way into the fabric of the entire stanza. It's a development that drives the syntax of a poem such as On Seeing the Wind at Hope Mansell by Geoffrey Hill.
And so, this month I invite you to invent alliterative odes. Be they sombre or singalong, epic or epigrammatic, riddles or – oh, enough, you get the point – your poems are welcome here, as ever. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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