Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eastern Standard Time for Poetry

The November Oranges and Sardines, spearheaded into life by the astonishing Didi Menendez is out and has a poem I wrote for Allen Ginsberg, along with a photo of me and an essay I wrote about how the poem came to me. You can order from Amazon or see online at

In the last two Skoog workshop nights, we've been made aware of the process of changing something in a line to its opposite (Plath, Happy Birthday, Sylvia! did this). Also that the 1936 edition of Dickinson's poems is a corrected version (all poems corrected and made to rhyme by another). The l956 edition is the real work. And to think of turning off the switches in the poem (as in its little rooms). Our amiable workshop leader says his poems got better when he started turning off all the switches.

The writing goes well in the workshop. Alas, I feel a bit stuck, or should I say "wanton." (see Plath exercise above).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Workshop 4

We spent lots of time visiting Elizabeth Bishop's Santarem (accent on the e), which ES (Ed Skoog our leader) termed a "masterpiece." It appeared in The New Yorker on February 20, 1978 with its opening
"Of course I may be remembering it all wrong
after, after--how many years?"

Skoogisms: Fragments are more tolerated in the present tense. The past is inherently sad. Sing a little Kung Fu Fighting ("Everybody was..."

The workshop and its participants as well as the hour long Metro ride on the Green and Orange or Blue lines is rebuilding the post-chemo poet in me, the post-chemo Ernie Wormwood.

We are on hiatus this week, what will transpire in the two weeks off?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ed Skoog Community Poetry Workshop At GWU

This was our third meeting and our first where we read our poems which are supposed to be newly written work. For me the poems written in the workshop are lenses into the poets' views of the world and its inhabitants. It's thrilling to hear the poems of new poets you have only known a couple of weeks. I haven't done this in a while, so I (Miss Chemo Fog Brain in Recovery)
am having fun.

Skoogisms: Frost: "A poem is a momentary stay against confusion." Auden: "All bad poems are sincere." Keith Waldrop: "So are the good poems." Hugo: "Poetry must risk sentimentality." Skoog: "No cliche, ever."

I have to turn in a new poem next Tuesday. "Oh Muse, time for a visit."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oranges And Sardines

Be sure to look for this on the web and for the print version at Amazon. I have the privilege of having a poem in the autobiographical issue just out and in the forthcoming issue. I put a link to my blogspot so I wanted to mention it here.

My other interesting news is that I am in the Jenny McKean Moore Community Workshop with poet Ed Skoog at GWU this fall. Kathi Wolfe is also in it so this makes it even more fun. I should be receiving Ed's first book "Mister Skylight" in the mail soon. This past Tuesday the class performed architectural maneuvers on a sonnet we'd written and were exposed to the concepts of chiasmus (a kind of doubling) and sidereal (the movement of the stars). I attended this workshop when it focused on fiction with Vikram Chandra in 1995. Next week: Still Life With Skull.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poetic Voices Without Borders 2

This new Gival Press compilation edited by Robert Giron and with amazing cover art by Joel Traynor is now available from Gival Press and other sources.  It includes work by wonderful poets from around the world who identify the myriad ways we are connected.  I am honored to have a poem in this collection along with other Washington area poets Joseph Ross, Kim Roberts, Grace Cavalieri, Karren Alenier, Mel Belin, Donald Berger, Bernadette Geyer, Patricia Gray, Christopher Conlon, and others.  Giron asks the reader to take to the content like a fish to water and be surprised by who wrote the poem since the poems are arranged by title not by author.  Dive in and start swimming!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What are your resolutions for 2009?

Mine are:  1) to stop using plastic bags
    2) to have a party for my 55 first cousins
    3) to write a poem every week
                    4) to volunteer somewhere every week
                    5) to find a good man for canoodling
                    6) to have my first poetry book published