Reading Barbara Crooker's new book and feeling the urge to pull poetry back to sanity. Too much language-bending, cutesy difficult writing out there now. It's refreshing to read poetry with music and purpose that doesn't strain your analytical abilities, but does deepen your feeling of connection to life. Life is difficult enough -- why do poets so often want to make poetry another difficult layer? Not that I don't like linguistic effect and here and there some imagistic ornamentation -- "costume jewelry" I heard Annie Dillard calls it -- but when did literature veer so far in the direction of the daily newspaper that it's only "if it bleeds, it leads" or if it's unintelligible it's marvelous?

Rant over. Take a look for yourself at Barbara's site. Or go over to Wordtech's page for her book, Radiance, and read sample poems. "Some October" is my favorite. I'd stack it up any day against Mary Oliver's "Fall Song." In fact, there's a lot in Barbara's work that reminds me of Oliver's.

I'm in a celebratory, radiant mood. It's Sunday, my day of as much poetry as I want to read, and as little as I can manage to write. One has to have a day off, even of writing. It's also a week in which a friend of mine was just ordained a Bishop in the Catholic Church. The ceremony was in Baltimore, so I wasn't able to attend, but I heard that blessings rained liberally on all and a great party was held afterward. Yay, Denis!

Blogging is my distraction from goal-oriented writing. It's becoming my journaling, though I never want it to veer into the lane of boring to others kind. I can use paper for that. Or my head. I've thrown out years of journals, so why write more? I'd rather read. Once you turn a certain age, the specter of your heirs having to pore through the stuff and decide what to do with it is horrifying. Let all the drafts, dreams, journal pages and half-revised, unfinished pieces of work be burnt! Let the ashes turn into birds of inspiration to fly through someone else's head or simply, beautifully vanish.