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Writing

Poems and Their Ideas

January 19, 2011
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An idea for a poem is always a competing poem.

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Meditation on Apollinaire

January 12, 2011
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I must describe the physical sensation this poem had on me. It was a hot and humid day, and the house was full of fans whirring, and flies buzzing, and no one was home.

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On Assignments

January 11, 2011
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It occurred to me that if a poet or writer is to develop discipline, he or she must have some sense of assignment.

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To Beginner Poets

December 28, 2010
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A poet CAN be taught to twist his pain into clever metaphor and image, but at the same time, must have healthy relationship to his sanity.

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Gatekeepers of Literary Greatness: Some Definitions and a Parable about Chickens

December 15, 2010
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The chickens are purifying their system, purging it of corruption. Meanwhile, the chickens who willfully refuse to answer the bell are seen as impious, as negative, as renegades.

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Here Be Dragons

December 14, 2010
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We all have our ways of dealing with the unknown, I guess. Apparently cartographers used to write “Here be dragons” on sections of uncharted territory, especially oceans.

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On Poets and Speakers

December 13, 2010
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I’ll read a poem about death, sadness, and strife, and in some cases, the suffering of the speaker, and then meet and converse with the contented and well-adjusted poet.

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Letter from Karnataka

December 6, 2010
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While all this is magical, it’s really just a sideshow to the main attraction: For 10 straight weeks, I have all the free time in the world to write, write, write.

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“Fractured at a Touch:” More on Abstract and Concrete

November 29, 2010
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We are always towards an abstraction, one way or the other, but the use of detail, how we emphasize or mute, or play with an image is at the heart of contemporary poetics.

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A Thing with Feathers: Concrete and Abstract

November 23, 2010
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We have seven hues, a silver gyre, seven swords of vision, and a prophet’s flaming tyre. Beats me as to what Campbell means, but almost all lyrical poems contain such moments of high gibberish.

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Derangement: Breton and Metaphor

November 16, 2010
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All metaphors are, eventually, false, inaccurate, distortians of reality. Reality itself is a distortion. Frost–the conservative–said as much.

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Metaphor as Foundation of Consciousness

November 9, 2010
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Metaphors are committed to falsehood and inexactness for the sake of a possibility more vital than precision.

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To carve a face

November 7, 2010
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Cut triangles with the tip of your knife for eyes, pairs of triangles on each side of each eye. Connect them with thin, arching lines, cutting a curl of wood away, leaving a circle remaining, a mound, a pupil, inside. Practice until you have a whole boards of eyes.

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How to Teach Writing to Beginners (Towards a Different Kind of Workshop, Part IV)

November 5, 2010
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Russian novelists exhausted every eye color in the 19th century. Pop song writers are the only people who can make a big deal out of eyes anymore.

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Jazz, Workshop, Fake books, & Misremembering

November 2, 2010
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By the shores of gitchee goomy, / Stood the noble Hiawatha / quoting from the other shore: / Only this and nothing more.

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On Gene Tanta’s “Critical Introduction to Unusual Woods.”

October 30, 2010
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Even though both the form and content of Gene Tanta’s work are particular to his Romanian-immigrant experience, he insists that his poetry is accessible to everyone. His poetry, he says, exists both as aesthetic objects and political propaganda. This is absolutely true about all poetry, not just his own. Inevitably, literary criticism will come to see that literature is always both.

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