John Griswold, head of the fiction writing program at McNeese State, has published a great book of essays -- "Pirates You Don't Know" -- from University of Georgia Press. Ought to be on everybody's reading table. See my review in Arcadia's "Online Sundries."
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Yo Yo Ma is a great musician, but I didn't like his Silk Road Ensemble when I saw it on TV. What bothered me was the unrelenting visual focus on performers' facial expressions and body movement. I hope TV never discovers poetry. See my "Online Sundries" column in Arcadia.
Monday, May 5, 2014
I've been asked to be a regular monthly contributor to the "Online Sundries" feature of Arcadia, an exciting lit magazine based in Oklahoma City. My first contribution is a review of Austin Smith's powerful new book of poems, Almanac, from Princeton University Press. Smith grew up on a farm in northwestern Illinois and writes about it as if it's at the heart-stopping center of human experience -- which in his hands it is.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the student lit magazine at Eastern Illinois University published videos of faculty and students reading poems. Faculty member Lania Knight generously chose one of mine to read. See and hear it here.
Monday, April 7, 2014
The Heron Tree, the product of three Arkansas college faculty members, puts up a new poem on-line every week and collects them all at the end of the year for a print publication. I'm very pleased to have a poem on the page this week. It may jog memories of clearing out the parents' things and finding that the task deepens your understanding of who they were. Hope you enjoy it.
When we cleared out the garage
for the last time, it was still there,
the grimy-white bookcase that held
paint cans, tools in a fishing tackle box,
jars of unsorted nails and screws.
He owned a store; she played organ
at church; they raised three children.
Only people who believed walnut
would always be plentiful in America
would have painted over it. Only people
who believed things don’t fall apart
would have relied on one screwdriver,
a saw, a hammer and a pair of pliers.
Scrubbing, scraping, sanding,
I bring up the old, close grain.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Very happy to have this poem in the current issue of Arcadia Magazine. Please check out this fresh, handsome magazine out of Oklahoma City.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
I keep a map on the fridge
with heavy-item pickup zones on it,
and I cruise those neighborhoods
looking for wood.
Most is junk,
slab-cut, quick-growth pine.
You learn to spot such stuff a block away
and roll on past.
Then something pulls at you:
the way light reflects off the grain
of spruce or maple,
and you stop
and pop the trunk.