Verse Form Invades New Niche

Reader Shellity has made good on her promise to pinch my verse form. Even better, her wonderful poem has shown added flexibility–three verses, instead of my usual one or two, showing me that my form has greater potential than I ever suspected! This is how it begins, and before you know it my verse form will be boring elementary school children for generations to come!

While you are at Shellity’s, take a look around; in particular, I loved what I saw in the “Big Angry Sky Daddy” category. I always said I wasn’t the best at what I do. I just got here first.

John Donne On The Temple Shooting

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect (at my privileged distance) of the Sikh Temple shooting, is the obsession with the differences between Sikhs and Muslims. Intentional or not, the implication is clear; it would be understandable if someone shot up a Muslim mosque.


A guest post today from John Donne. The context was different, and this is an excerpt (albeit the best-known excerpt) from a larger meditation (Meditation XVII–Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris (Now this bell, tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.))

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Click and Clack, Redux

While looking for yesterday’s verse–the one I wanted to send to Car Talk, but did not–I came across another car-related poem (part of the same assignment, actually) which I had thoroughly forgotten about. It is a villanelle (most famously exemplified by Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night”), and in this case, the best thing about the poem is its title. Which, as you will see, announces that it is a silly verse, and is a villanelle. After the jump: [Read more…]

Poems For Sale

I love this story (on NPR)

Zach Houston runs his Poem Store (on any given sidewalk) with these items: a manual typewriter, a wooden folding chair, scraps of paper, and a white poster board that reads: “POEMS — Your Topic, Your Price.”

For five years now, this has been his main source of income. Not that it’s necessarily a steady income, mind you.

I don’t think I could do what he’s doing. There are a few times when my verses flow out as fast as I can type them, but when you work in rhyme and meter, a typewriter is a bit intimidating. Give me a delete button, or better yet, an eraser. Actually, I don’t generally erase–I cross out, and put arrows on the page to move things around. Once in a while, I re-write something I have crossed out, which suddenly fits two stanzas later than I thought it would. But a typewriter? I’d need two drafts, and Zach Houston is putting out poems in mere minutes (at least, the examples in the story).

But he’s not starving, which is nice.

Ironically, I got a payment from Lulu today–two people bought my book last month! That brings the number of books sold in 4 years to 161. (Greta Christina broke a thousand in a few hours; PZ will probably have a few thousand pre-orders already.) But hey, Zach Houston shows that hope springs eternal, perhaps particularly during poetry month. So…

Take a look! (And if that doesn’t work, just look to the “Cuttlestuff” tab at the top of this page, or go to Lulu and look for “Cuttlefish Omnibus” if all my methods fail.)

Poetry Out Loud

So I walk the Cuttledogs, return home, turn on the idiot-box, and am transformed.

By stroke of luck, it just so happens to be Maine’s 2012 Competition Finals of Poetry Out Loud. My goodness, what a wonderful thing.

When I write my piddling little verses, I hope that the best of them are, above all, fun to recite out loud. My favorite poems are those that I cannot read just once–I am compelled to repeat them, aloud, no matter how much it annoys the cats. Poetry–real poetry–is meant to be spoken, to be felt, both in the speaking and in the hearing.

A couple of years ago, a reader asked to read one of my verses for Poetry Out Loud (or some local variant). Maybe some year, I’ll hear one of my poor verses on a state or national stage. For now, I’ll be satisfied knowing that someone thought my verse was worthy of the effort.

After the jump, the finals: [Read more…]