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Sunday, October 25, 2020

New reading, new poems--


I've been down in Carolina for some weeks, and of course I did not bring enough books with me (because who can bring enough?), even though there are books here as well, and I somehow tumbled into the lovely Harry Alter Books while my mother was at PT and came out with a Modern Library Pound Poems and Translations, some Horace odes, a pretty Petrarch collection, and Rupert Brooke. This plunge into book-greed happened despite the fact that I toted plenty of books with me, including the new Sally Thomas and Jane Greer collections (if you didn't see our three-way reading, it's mostly--minus a bit of techno-slip--on my Charis in the World of Wonders page, near the end. Jane reads from Love Like a Conflagration and Sally from Motherland.)

The reason I succumbed to another Pound collection was that I had the yen to read him while reading Timothy Steele's interesting nonfiction book, Missing Measures. Having a memory like a sieve, I did not recall--or else Steele has been an indefatigable hunter--so many expressions of uncertainty about vers libre from Pound, Eliot, and Williams. I'm afraid I laughed at Eliot's dismay when his niece sends him some of her school-assigned homework: free verse poems. What you and the public schools have unleashed on us, Thomas Stearns! A Niagara of poems... Steele talks at length about the disappointment of all three with what was accomplished, and how no hoped-for new metric emerges from Modernism and why that might be. It's a fascinating book that zooms back to the classical world to show the roots of free verse, and how various ideas pertaining to prose writing and poetry writing become braided, swapped, or muddled along the way. It's a useful book for any young poet, I would think, and might just convince one of the need to return to roots, or at least examine them.


"An Apple Tree Carol"



"The Little Place"
North American Anglican

(Click on my name for lots more.)

and some






So that's 3 poems at Patrick Key's new Grand Little Things.


Versification, or the art of modulating his numbers, is indispensably necessary to a poet. Every other power by which the understanding is enlightened or the imagination enchanted may be exercised in prose. But the poet has this peculiar  superiority, that to all the powers  which  the perfection of every other composition can require  he adds the faculty of  joining music with reasons, and of acting at once upon the senses  and the passions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Professor Phillips at

Thanks to @MobyProf for this short, strong review at

Click to big-ify!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Clive, Charis, clips, poems


Interested in the multitudinous making of Clive Hicks-Jenkins, who has illuminated so many of my  books and made them beautiful? Here's yet another affordable chance to own a bit of his work.

Clip from his website: Launched today, my new print edition with Dan Bugg at Penfold Press, The Tiger’s Bride. It marks a return to a theme I explored in my first print with the Penfold Press, Man Slain by a Tiger. The two prints have a common interest in Staffordshire Pottery and in particular their ‘penny-dreadful’ celebration of awful events. Based on the Staffordshire group titled The Death of the Lion Queen, my print draws on the history of Ellen Bright, who in 1850 at Wombwell’s Menagerie entered a cage of mixed big cats for the entertainment of the crowd. 

Go here to read more about the tragical tale of Ellen Bright.


"But mostly, I’ve been reading this wonderful new novel by Marly Youmans. Holy smokes you guys, the tension in this thing, and the sense of foreignness, and the pacing! I’m not finished with it yet, but I can’t see it being bested for my favorite novel of the year." --writer Mischa Willett, in Buttondown (his newsletter)

Mischa Willett's collection, The Beta Elegy, is suddenly on sale for less than $5. at Amazon--the hardcover! Might be a mistake, but there it is for now...

Here's poet Dan Rattelle's review of The Beta Elegy. Clip: Irreverent. Colloquial. Unexpected. And daringly funny. I once read in a Creative Writing handbook that one should use words like ‘grandmother’ rather than ‘grandma’ in a poem because they carry more weight. Hmm. Willet is also willing to take for granted that his readers’ grandmas also baked lasagna and crocheted superfluous hats. And thus, I do not need to explain the joke. There is also a delightful poem about the sort of typeface used in a note to tell someone he cannot make it to a wedding in Long Island (why is Long Island funny? It just is).


Of course, a person (this person, anyway) often likes an interview because it's so dratted kindred to her own thoughts about many things, but read it anyway: Amit Majmudar at Tributaries.

Here's a clip, the opening paragraph: 
I’ll offer a preliminary historical note on vers libre. As Eliot practiced it, it was really a medley of prior verse forms, roughly juxtaposed. The phonetic runs of blank verse, rhyme, tercets, etc. of, say, Four Quartets, has the same fragmentary nature as the actual snippets of prior literature incorporated into The Waste Land. If practiced like that, free verse required, as its prerequisite, a mastering of or at least familiarity with meter and rhyme in practice; that is, it comes after you get the other ways of writing down. It is a “late” form both in the history of English language poetry and a “late” form in the poet’s technical development. This is no longer understood. Young poets arrive at free verse as their first stop; many never even try writing in meter and rhyme, much less failing often and failing joyfully at it, because they mistakenly locate it in the “past” of poetry.


"Youth at the Borderlands" 

Various poems and prose "tinies"

"The Watering Place" 
"House at the Edge of Sleep"

"The Aspen Wish"

"The Young Wife's Reply" at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

(Response to "The Husband's Message," c. 970, from the Exeter Book)