The Singing of Birds

July 16, 2012



Last night I stood outside in the dark, the garden still hot from another day of drought, softly steaming with the good watering I had given it.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.  Where were the birds?  Where was the birdsong? Were they all bedded down for the night in the heavy branches of the lindens, […]

Posted in: Poetry

Put the Phone Down: On Lists and the Insolence of Loss

June 14, 2012



The breaking of so great a thing should make A greater crack Antony & Cleopatra (V.i. 14-15) [Many of the premises you find here will comprise the heart and soul of my Mentoring services. They will also be further developed in The Perfect Ten Seminar this coming October (26-29) in Truchas, New Mexico, where a […]

Posted in: Poetry

A Shadow’s Shadow: The Writer and the Writer’s Ambition

March 19, 2012



All things counter, original, spare, strange;     Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) Commenting on Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s “Tabula Rasa,” a work for two violins, prepared piano and chamber orchestra Wolfgang Sandner says in the liner notes: “What kind of music is this? Whoever wrote it must have left himself behind at one point […]

Posted in: Poetry

On Downton Abbey, House Parties, and Surviving AWP

February 28, 2012



A few days ago I went to a house party with poetry. The occasion was an incantatory reading by poet Karen Chase, start-to-finish, of her book-length poem, “Jamali-Kamali: A Tale of Passion in Mughal India” (Mapin Publishing, India 2011). As a starting point, Karen Chase knew only this: just off Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road in Delhi, India, […]

Posted in: Poetry

Grace Notes — Singing the Poetic Line

February 15, 2012



Each line a poem, each line reaching out beyond its line break into an uncertain endlessness – and so each line earning that sort of honor. Or not. In a sense, this installment is more impressionistic than specific. But its intentions nevertheless have to do with very specific qualities of attention and regard, somehow achieved […]

Posted in: Poetry

In a Single Breath

January 12, 2012


first snow

Enough of cake and cookies, out with the stale macaroons, the spent candles, the oddments of wrapping paper and ribbon behind the couch, under the couch, between the sofa cushions. Days lengthen, at first almost imperceptibly, and although there is so much winter yet to come, the soul begins its slow thaw, urging us in […]

Posted in: Poetry

On Poetic Gesture and Emotional Commitment

December 20, 2011



Here we are as poets, in search of primordial forms that pull our imagination beyond the strict confines of the world as we’ve grown used to seeing it, picturing it, describing it – figures of the bird, the fish, or some other unknown prehistoric creatures. It doesn’t matter, really, whether that vision is all elegance […]

Posted in: Poetry

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