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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bontasaurus poetry assemblage & more

Dave Bonta's second annual list of poetry books of the year is up, each chosen by a different writer:

Just like last year, I thought I’d put out a call to poetry readers to contribute to a favorite poetry books list that doesn’t pay much heed to critical fashions or even date of publication. I asked people to try to select a single favorite book, which I realize is a tough assignment… and not quite everybody managed it. (I allowed a few reviewers to sneak in a second book, as you’ll see.) Unlike last year, I forgot to do this earlier in December so people could use the list for holiday shopping purposes. Oh well. Poetry books do make great Valentine’s Day gifts! And the responses I got are, I think you’ll agree, wonderfully varied, personal and eccentric. Thanks to everyone who took part. —Dave

Take a look! My choice was Susan Hankla's Clinch River, which I reviewed for The Hollins Critic.

* * *

29 December, the fifth day of Christmas

And Gary talked about Thaliad...
What fun!
I'm adding an assemblage-update: I'm realio-and-trulio touched by the wonderful Gary Dietz putting me in his personal pantheon here. Gary is an all-around interesting person and a wonderful single father who has surmounted more challenges than most people ever face I'm putting a link here because I'm pleased by his tribute but also because it feels immodest to say so, and most of the people who will read this post have already passed by. So I suppose I'm hiding it in plain sight in order to say thank you, Gary--what a sweet man.


When I woke, I was having such an obvious, complex dream about the state of arts culture and my own minor place in the hierarchy of that world that I'm still bemused. Talk about symbolic! It involved being in a large Checker cab with a bunch of male writers (including Bob Dylan) and no back door. I had that horrible dream sensation of forgetting something--in this case, my manuscripts to read--but was rescued by sending out a mental call for a very large bird to fetch them.


  1. It's all so intellectual down here (compared with things up at Tone Deaf). While I hover uncertainly between life and death in my dreams, closer to farce than tragedy, you're calling up words like "hierarchy" and "bemused"; not enough to put off readers (for that I'd recommend "rebarbative") but enough to show you've still got your wits about you. The Checker cab echoes another poet of the pop world: Joni Mitchell. The point is you're still in control and I'd expect no less. I wish you fragrances and belles lettres.

    1. Surely you jest! There you are with your maimed, heroic face, a hero about to go on quest!

      I'm a bit under the weather after spending the evening two days back with lovely people and a friendly dog: I have horrid dog allergies. So please, only the mildest of fragrances... Thank you.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.