Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gazebo Has Reappeared Like Brigadoon Out of the Mist

When the weather is right, the mists part and the stars are in alignment (no, wait, that's the revival of Hair The Musical), it appears. No, not Brigadoon, the all-new and improved Alsop Review's Gazebo, a literary workshop at which I serve as a moderator. It has been, at various times, a legitimate claimant to the title of the Web's most popular poetry workshop, judging by the numbers. We suffered a major hacking event and had to migrate to a temporary site. The new permanent site is now bare-bones ready for those interested to register and post poems and critique poems. The guidelines are: civility in conversation, no anonymity, posting no more than two poems per week and critiquing at least two poems for every poem you post.

Have I not blogged about the wonderful new zine Slant? Brainchild of poet Rachel Mallino, it features one poet per issue, and every issue is an outstanding read. This is an example of the benefit of publishing and reading poetry on the Internet. You can start up a sleek, smart new publication with a unique idea and go from zero to sixty in a few issues, while also writing your own poems, publishing your own books and blogging -- all with one hand tied behind your back. Kudos to Rachel!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beginning to think in Tweets

Facebook and Twitter can reduce the mental operations to quips and tweets. Seriously, I think these sites pose a danger for writers. Thinking in sound bites isn't good for the creative process, unless your job is composing greeting cards.

However, I have learned some interesting things on FB. One is that prayer and meditation can reshape your brain, according to NPR. Another interesting thing I learned today is from the Gazebo In Exile, the poetry workshop site, where a poem by Stephen Bunch led to a link to an essay by Michael Pollan in New York Times magazine on the democratic American lawn. Sounds highly undemocratic to me, as in, you better keep your lawn as nice as your neighbors' lawns or you'll be hearing from the Lawn Committee. Where I come from (the San Francisco Bay Area), lawn-ocracy is plain undemocratic.

The new field of neurotheology sounds like a scientific dead-end to me. How can you brain-map a spiritual experience? If only we had the MRIs on St. Theresa, John Donne, Emily Dickinson and St. Francis. I have a feeling it would show they had no brain activity whatever in moments of exaltation. And what would that tell us? But it's a fascinating article. One quote I really like:

“The more you focus on something — whether that's math or auto racing or football or God — the more that becomes your reality, the more it becomes written into the neural connections of your brain.”

That's a principle you can bank on. Whatever you love, you become.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's coming ....

The new and improved Gazebo is right around the corner. Watch this space for announcement:


Valparaiso Poetry Review begs to remind you that it has accepted email submissions since its inception in 1999. Now that stamps are 44 cents -- you might as well tear a dollar bill in two and paste it on an envelope to send out five poems.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's finally happened. Instant publishing. Take a look at this New York Times article about Scribd, the newest e-publishing startup. And get that novel copy-edited and ready to sell direct to readers in ... ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, ..., .., ., *&$5#@*!!!

(I blog this stuff so I can remember where I put it.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The All-New Gazebo

... is coming soon, to a URL near you. Stay tuned. That's all I'm saying for today.