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Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas-yet-to-be: a Christmas Card

Illustration: pencil sketch by R
for Christ Church Cooperstown
Christmas Eve program
There are many lovely Christmas poems and hymn lyrics--a form with many notable American practitioners--but the most beautiful carol by a living writer is by Richard Wilbur, who knows how to be simple and knows how to be ravishing. May he keep writing lovely poems in good health past the century-mark!
Dana Gioia says of Wilbur, "It has been Wilbur’s ironic achievement to excel at precisely those literary forms that many contemporary critics undervalue–metrical poetry, verse translation, comic verse, song lyrics, and perhaps foremost among these unfashionable but extraordinary accomplishments, religious poetry." It is a great good luck that we as readers do not have to be governed by the times, the trends, the politically correct, and the critics but can rejoice in loveliness wherever and however it is found.

A stable-lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
And straw like gold shall shine;
A barn shall harbor heaven,
A stall become a shrine.

This child through David’s city
Shall ride in triumph by;
The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
Though heavy, dull, and dumb,
And lie within the roadway
To pave His kingdom come.

Yet He shall be forsaken,
And yielded up to die;
The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men:
God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s love refused again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

THALIAD online!


An excerpt (print and audio) from my 2008 long post-apocalyptic poem, Thaliad, has gone on line at qarrtsiluni. Please click on the link below. And please leave comments at the site--I won't turn comments on here because I know that Dave Bonta and Beth Adams would like to have comments at qarrtsiluni.

I'm eager to see how people like this piece. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion... This section is part IV of XXIV parts.

Merry almost-Christmas,

Here's an excerpt from the editorial note that explains how it is posted:

"Thaliad (excerpt)'" went live this morning:
Please circulate the link to your friends and contacts.

As you'll see, I decided to take the rare step of restricting the archival and front-page view to a longish excerpt -
- so that the stuff we've just published won't be pushed too far down the page. I decided to do this only after verifying that the theme we're using employs a very obvious "more" link-text ("Read the rest of this entry >" in blazing red), and finding an arresting image to break it at (the butterfly tree). So I don't think any of our regular readers will be discouraged from reading the whole thing. I also chose to post it on a Wednesday because mid-week postings tend to get the most traffic. We're really excited to be publishing our first book-length poem excerpt, and we're hoping it gets as many viewers as possible.

PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDIT: The image from Ponte Sant'Angelo is in honor of the angel in Thaliad and in honor of the season and those angels who "great glad tidings tell." The photographer is Valentina Jori, Rome, courtesy of

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, the Dreadful Little Humiliations of Writers!

Oh, the comedy of it all! I hope Miss Brittany M will forgive me for finding amusement in the question below and its answer, particularly since Catherwood is a rather modest book in size. I speculate that during the time she took to search "ALL OVER," she might have actually read the book. The internet has a cunning way of devouring time. It is the modern fairyland, where people go for seven years and find that generations have gone by when they return.

In lieu of reading, she might add some froth and air and whip something like the NYTBR review into a 4-paragraph essay, I suppose. I wouldn't know, being one of those bizarre souls who loves to read books. But I don't demand that everybody else do or be likewise, and I certainly don't want Brittany M to read my book when all she wants it for is a puff of words in the shape of an essay. After all, I don't want to go drag racing or have my nails done or do a thousand other things that I might do instead of reading.
Here goes the question, copied from
Yahoo Answers:

Where can i get a good book summary of Catherwood By: Marly Youmans?

ive searched ALL OVER & i cant find anything. i have to write this 4 paragraph essay on it, & i havent read the book.

About me: so my name is brittany, and i love to give advice.
but since im not perfect, i have problems of my own as well.

Answerer 1
can't find much for you - just the professional and customer reviews here
  • 20 hours ago