Saturday, April 04, 2009

Po-News, Chap Giveaway Goes On, Fortunes for Poems

With Jilly Dybka's Poetry Hut Blog on hiatus, I am getting some of my poetry news from an excellent journal I like to visit for many other reasons, Smartish Pace. I just got my new print annual from SP, and discovered their new media section, with videos of readings by poets Gregory Orr, Michael Chitwood, Lisa Russ Spaar, as well as an AWP Chicago video and more. SP is a great magazine - visit the website and subscribe. It's well worth it.

Day Four of the daily poem challenge for National Poetry Month. I have taken to using fortune cookies for prompts.

And the daily giveaway of my chapbook Another Circle of Delight continues. Email me with your address and if you're first of the day, a free copy will be yours. Send the request to:

Thank God it's Saturday and all I have to do is taxes and write a poem.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Migration over but not National Poetry Month

The Painted Ladies have hustled through the Bay Area and are reportedly in farther Northern California now. I don't know if I could have stood it for another day, so many dustings of delicate purpose rolling by without cease (except at night). The butterflies left are black and tiny white, and far fewer. It felt as if I was holding my breath for a week.

National Poetry Month rolls on, however, and along with it the daily poem. Here are some more places to look for inspiration, thanks to Kristin Berkey-Abbott. I'm finding the daily poem more of a challenge this year. My standards are higher, woe is me. I've been reading too much Whitman and Dickinson and I may not have recovered my low literary morals yet.

Bumping it up to the current post again: the daily chapbook giveaway continues. Tomorrow, however, I'm going to do the math and put the East and West coast on an equal footing in terms of who gets there first. Though nobody said you couldn't enter more than one day! I like equality, especially today, when I've just been studying the American Revolution.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Shaking Things Up

Seems fitting that National Poetry Month would be the time for the government to announce a new Poet Laureate: former rapper Vanilla Ice. You heard me. Known these days as Robert Van Winkle, a native of Dallas (my husband's hometown, and just about the last place I'd expect a Poet Laureate to emerge from, though they do have a mighty fine state fair). Apparently, the former Vanilla Ice has taken a literary turn in recent years.

Read all about it on Kelli Russell Agodon's Book of Kells. Brilliant, Kelli! (Don't forget to check the date of this post and the comments.)

Alas! The fascinating Poetry Hut Blog by Jilly Dybka is "temporarily closed." Where will I get my daily poetry news?

Bumping up the offer to send a free chapbook to the first person each day in April who emails me with a request:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

NaPoWriMo First Day

It's almost over, I wrote my poem, and facing 29 more daily poems, I'm thinking about racehorses and pacing.

Question: Is anyone reading doing the exercise and posting on your own blog, and if so, how do you regard the copyright situation? I'm hesitant to post here because I don't want to lose First No. American Serials if I should happen to write something publishable. Views, anyone?

It's my fourth go-round, and I'm already thinking about prompts. But also remembering how delicious I find this adventure. Though by the end, I'm often scribbling haikus as I fall asleep. Still.

National Poetry Month

Why does it begin on April Fool's? has my favorite proposed theory of the origin of April Fools' Day:

Spring Fever

It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Now that we've got that out of our systems, it's time to get serious about NaPoWriMo. Being addicted to overachieving (Kelli, I hereby apply for membership in the club), I wrote two poems this morning. My anxiety over not being able to complete the month-long exercise expresses itself in overdoing at the beginning, so that if I feel really desperate toward the end I have good material with which to cheat.

Which is funny: who's watching? I don't post all my poems in a workshop (deal with my muse), I haven't taken a pledge anywhere -- only my own confession could expose me if I fail. And yet I prepare to fudge the results.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poetry book lotto

I've decided to hold a lottery for National Poetry Month and give away copies of my chapbook Another Circle of Delight. I'll give away one a day every day in April. To enter, email me your name and address. If you're the first person on that day, I'll send you the chap. Write to:

I just read a terrific autobiography essay by C.K. Williams on the Academy of American Poets website. A rich resource for reading poetry. If you wanted to read a great poem a day, it would be a great place to go every April day for poetic stimulation.

And speaking of rich poetic websites, Poetry Foundation's beats the magazine by not just a mile but light years. I don't know what their editorial thinking is -- every poem in the magazine sounds like every other -- but the website is incredible. Another place to delve in April for inspiration.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

National Poetry Month is almost upon us

So if you don't want to run the NaPoWriMo 30 poems in April marathon, there are many other ways to celebrate poetry every day in the coming month, or so says this New York Times article. Some are a little silly, such as: Identify a poet whose life and work you think children would find interesting. Create the cover art for an illustrated children's book about the poet's life and work.

But some are provocative and stimulating. I dipped into idea #2, the article "The Greatness Game" and found I resonate with Donald Hall's assertion that contemporary poetry suffers from a lack of ambition to be universal and to measure up to past greatness. Too many poems about the dailiness of life. I am starting my own poem about the pervasive sadness in poetry -- a sad note in an art that has so often celebrated exaltation, as well as tragedy. Now it seems so often to celebrate tedium. It made me want to write the other kind of poem.

Okay, Twitter. Who's on it, and what are they doing on it? I have dipped in a toe and don't really know if I can keep up, or want to. Anyone have thoughts on its usefulness or lack of?

Flocks of butterflies lilting through our area the last few days -- so many I thought the winds had kicked up a new round of falling leaves, but they're animated as leaves aren't. Some kind of migration, but in numbers I can't recall seeing before. It's like being in one of those animated fantasy movies, where the leaves grow wings and things grow faces and eyes and suddenly everything around you is more alive and sentient.