January 31, 2011

BookMarks: The Memoir Project Reading Series: War, January 24

This is the forth in this series held at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, tonight the theme was "War" selected & hosted by Robyn Ringler. There were nearly as many readers "on stage" as there were audience members. Also, different from other readings in the series, Robyn had asked members of the audience to read the intro/bios of the readers. Unfortunately, I lost track of who was who by the time each reader came up & they were not introduced again. But I was able to crib a playlist so at least I can match the photos to the faces.

After some introductory remarks (based on Philip Lopate's "The Art of the Personal Essay") the group began with "The Cacophony of War," a simultaneous group reading of their texts, a very effective introduction, contrasting with the individual texts that followed.

Leslie Neustadt was one of 3 poets among the mostly personal essays. However, her poems were scattered throughout the other readings, & included the humorous "The Invasion of Mus Musculus" told in "war" terminology. Her other poems were "In the Brig of Hadditha," "War's Coast," & "The Salt Wars." Leslie has had work in most of the readings in this series. The other poets were Sharon Chambliss with an all-too-brief "War of the Heart," & Elizabeth Gordon's "Brief," that told the story of Viet Nam vets tossing their combat medals over the fence of the White House.

Paul Donahue's untitled essay wondered what happened to his home-coming when he returned home from Viet Nam. During the break Paul told me he was a member of Veterans For Peace. Another piece about the Viet Nam era was Deborah Sabin's moving story, "Warrior," of a friend who did 4 tours in Viet Nam, his stories & his suffering with the effects of being poisoned by Agent Orange.

Essays about World War II included Frances Mantell's "A Child' View of War," David Nichol's memoir of packing his father's books (but only one about WWII), & David R. Wolcott reading from his father's World War II memoir.

Susan Nowogrodski showed us a different sort of conflict in a memoir that combined her father's writing about Poland & the at-the-time new Soviet Union, with her grandmother's stories of the Warsaw Ghetto.

R. Grayson Edick's essay about his experiences working in government intelligence on September 11, 2001 brought us closer to the current time; he used the images from that day to talk about the costs of war, turning his personal memoir to a political essay.

Robyn Ringler read the essay by Rob Mitchell, about his experience serving in Afghanistan; Rob is currently serving in Iraq.

BookMarks: The Memoir Project Reading Series continues through April at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy -- it's free.

January 30, 2011

Sunday Four Poetry, January 23

This series, held a the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY, has become one of the region's premier reading/open mics. Today, instead of the usual individual featured poet, the series presented a panel discussion billed as "Three Poets Read and Speak Poetics." But first, the open mic.

In honor of the panel's topic I read 2 poems on poetry & prompts, "Poetry Prompt" & "The Lesson." Sally Rhoades read a poem from one of her visits to Cyprus, "The Mound" (about seeing a burial mound). Alan Casline had 2 poems, "The Flower at Night" & one of his "spontaneous poems" "34th Chorus." Our host, Dennis Sullivan, read a poem on the nature of memory & it's control on our lives, "A Visit from Nobodaddy" (cf. William Blake). Jill Crammond started off with "Carrots Don't Grow Overnight…" with Curious George but, of course, about marriage & a poem you can find on her Blog, "Marriage as Occupation." Jim Williams gave us a "Silly Song" in a Scots accent. Carolee Sherwood's poem also can be found on her Blog, "An X-file on the Wife Who Didn't Really Die," & then the mix of images in "Recurrences."

Carol Graser (host of the poetry open mic at Caffe Lena) made the long trip from the north country to share "At the Diner Waiting for Good Poems" then the knitting of children & sweaters in "Salvage." Mark Obeedude O'Brien reflected the longing of many of us for Spring with "Suserations," then his consideration of the old/new term "Pitching Woo." Dan Orenstein's "Call It What You Want" was a meditation on the nature of what some call "the soul," then he read a sonnet (based on Genesis 29) "Leah's Eyes Were Weak."

Tom Corrado read a selection of his aphoristic "Scripts for Today." After doing a brief commercial for Lodge's on North Pearl St. in Albany, Joe Krausman read a couple post-seasonal poems, "Season's Greetings," & "New Year's Eve" (his resolutions). Howard Kogan proposed a way for poet's to make money from our poems with his hilarious "Product Placement," which did just that. Margaret Bryant's poem "Composition" was a poem on a poem, while "A Spring Poem" was a perfect way to end the open mic, with hope for the end of Winter.

The day's "feature" was a panel discussion/reading by 3 professed "Women-who-write-poetry," Marilyn Paarlberg, Therese Broderick & Mimi Moriarty, on their particular approach to poetry. But first, they honored/acknowledged their sister poets from the past, or in the present day in other countries, who don't have the freedom to write & publish their work.  (In the photo, left to right, Mimi Moriarty, Therese Broderick, Marilyn Paarlberg.)

Marilyn Paarlberg talked about "voice" or poetic persona, which led into her poem which was a dramatic monologue in the voice of a working-class women in Maine.

Therese Broderick talked about her concentration on sound in her poems, poems as physical things, like breath (cf. Allen Ginsberg on this). She read a poem with lines from the children's book Madeline, a poem that she recently revised for more effects from sound.

Mimi Moriarty's contrasting focus was on "hammering" her free writing into a form to make it a poem. She read 3 examples in different line lengths, the angry, rambling long lines of "Very Nice Person," the slow pace, short lines of "Track Photo," & the mixed long/short lines of the shape poem, "In the Dark."

The afternoon was rounded out by a few questions & discussions then some of us found our way to Smitty's for another type of "panel discussion" over food & drink.

Every 4th Sunday, at the Old Songs Community Center, 37 S. Main, Voorheesville, NY, 3 PM, bring poems for the open mic & attention to the Featured Poet.

January 27, 2011

Barbara Blatner, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, January 22

Barbara Blatner is a poet, playwright & composer-musician who I last saw in this area reading at the Albany Art Gallery in 1990; I remember fondly a poetry chapbook she published called The Pope in Space (Intertext Press, 1984). She currently lives in Manhattan & teaches at Yeshiva University.

On this day she did a book-signing & brief reading at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza for her new book of poems, The Still Position: a verse memoir of my mother's death (NYQ Books, 2010). The poems depict Barbara's mother, Betty's, last days, Monday to Friday, with brief sections "before" & "after." She read a selection of poems, "home!", "as you lay dying," "your vision," "the buck on the lawn," "dying as trickery," "last breath," & "I see it in my mind." The poems are filled with the little details of attending a person in their last days & hours, many of the poems as delicate as breath itself. Her book is available at the Book House.

It was nice to see this fine poet back again, however briefly, in Albany.

January 25, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, January 20

The first in this series for the new year & a good turnout on a cold night in the great Northeast. I invoked the muse of Janine Pommy Vega, gone from us too soon, then on into the open mic.

Dennis Sullivan was up first, & leading the group from the Voorheesville poets there to support the night's featured poet; his poem "A Black & Voiceless Day" had more hope than what the title implies. Alan Casline left some free broadsides for us & read the short poem, "The Gods Are Your Parents." Mark (Obeedude) O'Brien's poem, "Pitching Woo," an old term being used again, ponders the fragility of conception. Joe Krausman's "Couvad" is from his "anthropology series" with characteristic humor & unexpected rhyme. Therese Broderick's newest poem was about a wooden ruler found in a draw, "Great Rulers."

This was our featured poet, Edie Abram's, first feature, even though she has been writing poetry for years, & co-hosting the Sunday Four Poetry series. I was pleased that I made it happen. Many of her poems were about her background as, she described it, "a New York City Jew," in fact, her reading was framed by poetic memories of her grandparents, beginning with "Grandpa's Hands" & ending with the rambling family-memoir, "Dona Sarah." Other family poems included "Damn You George Santayana" about some escaping Europe leaving others behind, and a tender poem about her aging mother giving up rules. But her poems also talked about herself in sometimes the most personal ways, often tinged with wry humor, such as "A Matter of Perspective" about the aftermath of cancer surgery, "Next Time" about fibromyalgia, getting ready for a party in "Stepford Wife," & the luxurious, sensual "Edie's Mikvah." She included her pets in poems about walking in the woods with her dog, & another about the pets crawling into her bed during a thunderstorm. Other poems were "David on Micki's Death" & "Courage" (about the gift of a compass). In "Lot's Wife" she boldly confronted God's inhumanity to mankind. It was a pleasant ramble through the life & memory of this wonderful local poet.

After the break I re-started the open mic with my poem built from newspaper accounts of a 2006 shooting, "Secrecy Guards Oldest Pine As Town Mourns School Killings Family Urges Kindness." Tom Corrado read from his ongoing serial poem, "Scripts for Today," expressed in what I used to think of as non-sequiturs, but might better be described as meta-sequiturs.

Perhaps the biggest "hit" of the night, based on audience chatter afterwards, was Danielle Colin, with her moving poem about a woman she saw on the bus, "Washington & Fairfield Inn Next Stop," a meditation on "home," bringing up her own memories. Justin's piece was a lyrical sermon on loving Jesus, like a preacher-poet. "Screamer" (Amy Fortin) has been trying out her work-in-progress, "Fire," at a couple venues; it's about the grim aftermath of losing one's home in a fire.

Signed up as Nicco, Nick Patti was a former Albany poet, now based in NYC; he read "Dispatch from a Park Bench" from his zine, Riverfront: A Zine of Poems ($4.00, at Nicholas Patti, P.O. Box 442, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276 -- send him poems). Anthony Bernini's terrifying poem was based on a snatch of overheard newscast "Held in Place." Our final poet of the night was Dr. Moses Kash III, with his scribbled reaction to the shooting in Tucson "Shadows of Darkness."

We are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, every third Thursday of the month, $3.00 donation, with an open mic with a featured reader. Bring a poem.

January 21, 2011

“The Clever Cleaver”

(a painting by Tommy Watkins, UAG Gallery, Albany, NY)

What’s for dinner?
the utensils seem to ask.
The squid asks the same
becoming dinner itself

(posted to the Big Tent Poetry site)

January 17, 2011

“Missing Pieces”

is completed in the Club
endless keyboard playing
a warm cantata
while my failing pens
tell me –
             “become like a painter
               choose your own palette…”

blue ball point to
black pencil to
pink Pilot

to write the blue guitar
the big brown bass
     the indigo of the night café
          red drums sounding like murders

The piano man’s face
is chords of color
minor, augmented
his charts like poems
coming to life
the volume turned up

From across the room
the piano is the key
to the painting, the jazzman’s
head centered like the Sun
as perhaps it is.

(On Wren Panzella’s painting at the UAG Gallery, Albany, NY)

January 14, 2011

The L - Word

We are
of words

Some said
only in

The "C-word"
The "F-word"
The "N-word"

Afraid of
Night ?

& I thought
what of

the list


But listen
when a
lips say
the "L-word"

Love ?
Lust ?
or just
Longing ?

[Written in response to the weekly prompt on Big Tent Poetry, like a double somersault on the trapeze or sticking your head in the lion's mouth, only more dangerous.]

January 12, 2011

Second Sunday at 2, January 9

This new series continues with better audiences, poets & prosers, tag-team hosted by Nancy Klepsch & me.

& for the usual reason (nobody signs up #1) I ended up as the first poet to read, the November poem "The Lesson," & "The Brown Bunny." Carolee Sherwood had 2 related poems, "Boudoir" (where did that alligator come from in her room?), & the 5 pieces of "Claims," including a new hive like a bedroom. Tim Verhaegan created the most buzz of the afternoon (& had to shut the door to keep the kids out), with a hysterical memoir, "The Fuck Family." Leslie Neustadt rose to the challenge of following Tim with the humorous defense of her "Stay At-Home Poems," then "The Language of Things," & "The Sacrament of Sushi" with its lush description of food, served by her son.

Jil Hanifan was back again, this time with a couple of urban Mary-Oliver-poems (her description), "The Sorry Neighbor" & "Old Pears" (or "Pairs"), with pear trees reminding her of her parents. Denise Hackert-Stoner was a new voice, with some short nature poems, "After the Rain Storm," "Small Hope," "Diamonds in a Cave" (snow), & "A Tree in Winter." Carol Jewell said she is learning Swedish & shared with us 2 poems from an anthology of Swedish women poets, then a poem of her own written on a train from Indiana with a description of Lake Erie.

This was Heather Haskins first time reading, with a prose memoir about dressing up as child in her mother's clothes & make-up, "The Identity Thief." Ron Drummond's father died recently & he read an invocation in honor of James E. Drummond, then read the obituary that he, Ron, had written. Nancy Klepsch read 2 poems from her teaching experience, "Mentor Poem" & the moving "Mama I Know Your Daughter" (from working with at-risk students). Bob Sharkey read an excerpt from "Roll Top Desk Drawer A," an inventory of what could be found there.

Terry Bat-Sonja's poems ranged from a memoir of her Kosher grandmother, to a couple of notes to former boyfriends, to the tender poem for her husband, "The Beach at Laguna Niguel." Jill Crammond's poems both dealt with marriage in different ways, "What Really Happened" is about a nun re-thinking her marriage to Jesus, & "Unfinished" has Cinderella nostalgically recalling her previous life & regretting her marriage. Jason Crane was the most topical with a poem on the shooting in Tucson, AZ, "This Changes Nothing" (I expect to see more poems on this topic in the next few weeks & months).

This series continues, for free, & for prose writers as well as poets, at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY, 2PM on the 2nd Sunday of each month.

January 9, 2011

Caffè Lena Open Mic, January 5

The first Wednesday of the New Year & the second poetry open mic, at a crowded Caffé Lena, but not all poets, some were chaperones & some the great audience the poets need. Carol Graser, the host & organizer of this monthly event, began by paying tribute to Janine Pommy Vega (1942 - 2010) by reading Janine's poem "The Green Piano."

Carol Kenyon was first up (wasn't she first last month too?) with "Fishes" & "Nothing" ("…never"). Patrick Sisti likes to memorize poems by famous poets & recited pieces from "Gunga Din," "The Raven," & from William Congreve.

Young Hamilton Graig was the most daring poet of the night, on stage in a long, sleeveless dress, & included a poem inspired by his reading of Jack Kerouac (what would ole Jack think of that?). Rob Reuss read a rambling "The Drunken Waiter" in memory of a dead friend. This was Carl Bertrarm's first time; he read a couple poems, including "Soldier's Dream." Another first timer was Kim Ims who read 2 love poems "The Young Major" & "Can't Remember."

Tonight's featured poet was Jason Crane who gave out copies of his new poetry zine, "Daylight Robbery" from the equally new SNAFU Press. He began with a couple poems from Unexpected Sunlight (FootHills Publishing, 2010), then on to a cluster of love poems from a new book As Close As Something Far Away ("South," "Salt," "Estonia," & "Lost & Found" -- some can be found on his website). An interesting piece was dedicated to the jazz clarinetist, Thomas Savy, "The French Suite." & you can find more about his poem "Tell the Story When the Ball is in the Air" on The Basketball Jones & Jason's website. He continued on with "Longevity" (nothing changes), "I am Not an Indian," "Villawood" (the irony of the Australia detention center), the Jack Johnson poem "Wait," "Prophecy" (which he dedicated to me & even said some nice things about me from the stage -- thanks, Jason), the historical/literary analysis of "Ah Bashō Who Were You Really?" (poets as undercover agents/Nijnas), a poem for his mom, Sally, "Apples," & ended with his erasure of Dr. Martin Luther King's Viet Nam speech, "I Cannot Threaten Death." In the short time he has been in the area Jason has established himself as one of the central "Albany" poets & we are glad to have him.

After the break Carol Graser continued with her own poem "Poetry Open Mic." Corliss Carol is a seasonal visitor (we should all be so lucky) to the area reading 2 of her own poems, "Forcing the Poem" & "Making Sense of it All or Not," then, while acknowledging the 2-poem rule went on to read a third poem by someone else, she described as "a $2000 poem" -- why? (we'll start the bidding at 2 cents…). W.D. Clarke rhymed us to the northern California town to listen to "The Bard of Alleghany." Kate McNary asked an owl in "Sense" then read her poem "The Moon." Nancy Denofio's memoir of girlhood in Schenectady was titled "A City Where the Monster Rules." Gordon Haywood's 2 poems were set out in the woods, tales of pig farmers, & a house in the forest. Barbara Garro's poems also clunked along in ancient rhymes, about "The King's Cups" & some Irish swans.

Alan Catlin has still another chapbook coming out, Deep Horizons, & read the poem in which Diego Rivera does on a take on the theme, then another of his bartender's nightmare poems with the story of "Tall Shriners in the Lounge." Carolee Sherwood had 2 new poems: "Katrina If I Were You" (a who-to-blame poem in which the famed hurricane is a wild woman), & a poem from her J. Alfred Prufrock series, "The Muttering Retreats" (sounds like a book in the making). I followed with my seasonal "What Happens in Autumn," & "My Birds' Poem of Thanks." Don Levy paid tribute to the featured reader with "The Adventures of Jason's Bag as Told by His Publicist."

Dan Nester was the first of the night's digital readers, from his laptop, the hilarious interview with his mother, "Anatomy of My Mother." Obeeduìd read from his iPad a poem about information lost between generations, "Into a Small Dark Place." Alan Casline's 2 poems were about imagining exile in different contexs, "In Exhile" & "Enter the Village."

Sylvia Barnard's 2 poems addressed the impact of the cut in the humanities programs at the University at Albany affecting us all, & her personally, one ("Messiah") based on Handel's on the destruction of the arts in general. Jill Crammond ended the night with the parable of "The Dead Man & the Ghost" meeting in a bar -- chilling.

The first Wednesday of any month at historic (& hysterical) Caffe Lena, Phila St. Saratoga Springs, NY, 7:00PM sign-up, 7:30PM start, $3.00 (at least) donation.

January 6, 2011

Albany Poets Presents!, January 4

Guys hanging out doing Jeopardy (getting most wrong), this was the open mic that almost didn't happen but did. Marcus showed up early (i.e., on time) then left when we shrugged when he asked, "Is it happening?" But he had more important things to do, but then Screamer arrived & she didn't & she was only half a block away. That's when we knew we could (maybe) do it.

As Keith was setting up the mic in strolled 2 more poets so there we were, a real open mic, not just the guys drinking beers at the bar (is that so bad?).

el presidente, Thom Francis began, correcting my earlier Blog entry, with "Write, Right?", trying to write, "waiting." I was interrupted as I started by a call on my cell phone from Don Levy, so I thought it was OK to take the call, since Don should've been here too, then on to my poems "Looking for Cougars," & "Standing Vigil."

Screamer (we don't ask why) aka Amy Fortin read an unfinished piece from her notebook, "Fire," about the aftermath of a house fire, based on a relative's experience. Keep writing on this, Screamer.

Danielle Charleston arrived just as we started & read a moving piece, "Femmes Haitiennes," about her homeland, the women, the neighborhood mothers.

Sue Cerniglia comes to lots of the poetry events but rarely reads; tonight, she had a small cluster of poems for us, the first titled "The Certainty of Things Not Done," then the moving piece about her visit to a Nazi death camp "The Sediment at the Base of My Heart, then the description of "Sunshower."

Shantala Thompson came along with her friend Danielle & read an untitled notebook piece about a man exposing himself to a young girl on a train.

So we just hang out & sometimes a poetry reading breaks out, like a hockey game. It's on the first Tuesday of any month at Valentines on New Scotland Ave. in Albany, NY, say, approximately, perhaps 8:00 PM. Check out Albanypoets.com.

January 3, 2011

New Year Butterfly

I don't know what to make of this. Sunday after I had taken my Xmas tree down & was cleaning up in the kitchen, I saw this butterfly on the rim of my tea cup. Where does a butterfly come from in January? Why in my house?

I had a brief moment of panic as I recalled that the ancient Greeks depicted the soul/spirit/breath (psyche) leaving the body at death as a butterfly, & wondered whose soul had wandered into my house (& on New Year's Eve I had seen the recent movie "The American" in which the final image is of a pale butterfly flying off into the forest as the character played by George Clooney dies).

The butterfly stayed in my kitchen. I put sugar on the counter for it, but later found it dead in the middle of the floor.

As we used to say in college, "This must be symbolic of something."

Poets Speak Loud: the Dan Wilcox Roast, December 27

So how to write about this? First of all, it's all about me & barbecue sauce; second, I didn't take many notes & drank a few bourbons; third, Keith videoed it, right? So what can I say that won't be contradicted by a couple of other versions of reality? I was pleased to be surrounded by my Albany poetry friends, both roasters & spectators, although the first big snowstorm of the season limited the audience somewhat -- that's life in the Great Northeast.

Dan Nester had a full written text but we don't know how much he improvised from it, though he seemed to roast other absent poets of Albany as well as me, just stoking the fires I guess. He was followed by the AlbanyPoets.com executive staff, including el presidente, Thom Francis, Mary Panza & Keith Spencer. I was allowed time to fire back/defend myself, but, hey, so much of what was said was true (or pretty darn close) I just assumed whatever was said was true but un-indictable. The next time they should make sure we get a bus pass to Rob so he could get here for the fun. AlbanyPoets.com hopes to make this an annual event -- not roasting me, but some active poet fool in the Albany scene, so stay tuned to their website for the listing of events throughout the year & the next roast.

The highlight of the event was when A.C. Everson (aka "Breaking My Art") gave me head, I mean presented a pinata in the image of my head, (photo by Mary Panza) filled with kisses (of course), peace-sign key chains, perky, fuzzy boobies & kitchen magnet images of me with a poem sticking out of my head.  Fortunately she didn't break my head, but dug deep into the hole in it under the beret to toss the goodies to the audience.  I could've gone to heaven right then, such an honor from Albany's Pinata Queen (maybe I did).

Actually my notes start after the roast (& the 3rd bourbon) so they are probably more accurate. The dancing poet Avery Stempel read a couple of pieces, in his exhubarent, Terpsichore style, one a tribute to the Roasted himself (used with Avery's permission) about an open mic I missed:

Welllll… that’s not exactly what happened…
An Open Mic Sans Dan Wilcox
by Avery Stempel

Oh the invoker of muses
            The stirrer of star-dust

Absent now
            Victim to that fickle fate that strikes us all from time to time: lacking the ability to split into multiples and be everywhere at once.

We waited in that somehow empty room, glancing back and forth, over our shoulders, making small-talk as the minute hand gradually progressed towards the appointed start time, smacked it across its rosy cheek, and then moved on… minutes pass, we wait some more... looking around awkwardly, shuffling printed pages, flipping through notebooks, not knowing how to begin, or, whether we should begin at all…

Finally someone dazedly stumbles to the microphone, mumbles incoherently – and we’re off – reciting as if in a fog, the muse only a faint light winking on and off in the distance – babbling in tongues, depressed and mystified: poets, musicians, artists lost – without guidance, without inspiration

               Lacking that spark, that dust, that beacon, that hint of peaceful creativity

The air in the room is stifling, subtly devoid of the “schnik-click” of a camera shutter contracting, devoid of peace beads and berets, devoid of the presentation of that unique viewpoint - the opening of that stained glass, multicolored window that is the poet DWX.

Suddenly, the mists shift, vibrant rays of coincidence blast through the fuzziness and
synchronistic lightning bolts explode out of poet’s mouths, making him present after-all!

He is here… he is!

                     maybe not in this room directly...

            but here… and now…

the readings continue… the music plays on... the windows open and close…
                      and the muse laughs

It’s not the truth
            But it’s pretty darn close

After that there seemed to be some general confusion about the alleged open mic for which no one brought poems. But there were plenty of poems in my head (in the pinata & in the kitchen magnets Annine had made). So how appropriate was it that that everyone got to read one of my poems during the Quote/UnQuote Open Mic? Thom (most appropriately) "The Ellipsis Poem," Carissa read "Ave A Girls," Mary "Ordering Lunch," Carolee "Channeling Richard Brautigan," & Jill read "The Birds' Poem of Thanks." Jason pleased & honored me by asking to read (& did) "My Sather Gate Illumination."

But then we had a real open mic poet, dying to perform his work for us, Big Daddy (whose other work some of us had been eating tonight), the cook here at McGeary's. He began by proudly announcing almost a year "clean," & read "Reborn," then the equally positive "Growth."

& a brief, roasted thanks to Tess Collins & the staff of McGeary's, particularly our patient & unflappable waitress Megan -- we'll be back on the last Monday of each month for the open mic, featured poets, good food, cold beer, lots of smiles, & parking on the streets.

If I was "roasted" tonight it was in the warmth of my friends in this wonderful, vibrant poetry scene here in Albany -- thank you AlbanyPoets.com & to all that showed up. I'll see you at the next open mic.

January 1, 2011

A Conversation between a Pedant & Me

[This exchange took place on Facebook in response to my list poem on my Blog posted December 30. You will note that the critic threatened to, & then did, remove his comments from my Facebook page. However, I have my FB messages sent to me via email (otherwise I might never check my FB page) so, remove, shmove, I know what you said. I think it's interesting as an exchange between someone who has a rigid idea about what a poem should be (& has no sense of humor), & someone (i.e., me) who plays it much looser & enjoys the playfulness of poetry with language, grammar & syntax (& with pushing an uptight someone's buttons). As always, feel free to add you own 2 cents in the Comments.]

Pedant: says, Hey, Dan, though this piece is thematically quite good, it needs revision; it's a rough draft, very rough, in the sense that an Eng. 101 Comp. teacher would have a field day with the lack of coherent syntax in the piece. Whaddaya think? A few minutes of rational thought, working on the syntax, and you'd have a much better piece. I'm just sayin'!

Me: I only write crappy poems.

Pedant: I'll go ahead and remove my comment, since it was meant to appeal to one's intellect.

Me: You are way too serious.

Pedant: You really don't see the lack of syntactically complete statements? "Love will make you want to." Followed shortly after by "The wrong words in the wrong place can." There's no syntactical coherence. It's a technical problem. You need an editor. I'm not saying it isn't a good poetic theme, I'm saying you need to make a few tweaking lil revisions. Would you teach a kid to write that way, using poor syntax? He'd be ill-served.

Me: as I said.

Pedant: I'm going to remove my comments.

& he did.

I guess the issues are:
1) do I want to "have a much better piece"? &
2) will the correcting of a "lack of coherent syntax" make it "a much better piece"?
oh, & 3) maybe the "kid" is a she.