Saturday, May 24, 2008


I finished. Years I’ve been reading The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Today I came to the last poem. I read the last poem, #1775 per editor T.H. Johnson’s system, which appears on the 716th page.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

aesthetically detrimental

In a New Yorker profile of Tiki Barber, the pro football player discusses his injuries, some of which, I got the idea, have resulted in chronic pain (certainly true of many another pro baller).

”I have this huge scar on my hip that’s just starting to heal,’ [Barber] said. “It’s under my pants. I take my pants off after the game and I have this laceration on my hips, and I’m, like, how the fuck did that happen, you know? But that’s just football. It’s aesthetically detrimental.”

I like that phrase, “aesthetically detrimental.”

Of course, considering the beefcake shot that illustrates the article one’s curiosity is piqued. Show me your scars, Tiki.

source: The New Yorker, January 29, 2007

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Best Poetry in the Whole World!

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz in her new history of the New York slam scene, Words in Your Face, quotes Guy LeCharles Gonzalez:

“I’ve got a marketing background, so I know: whatever you do, it’s the best. From the beginning, [the fliers I made for louderARTS] said, ‘The Best Open Mic in New York City.’ Suddenly, this is an issue [for people] … The fliers I made for the Open Room also said, ‘Best Open Mic in New York City.’”

There are some who find upsetting the anthologies that claim to be collecting The Best. Is it unfair, even unethical, to represent yourself as The Best?

Does declaring your poetry The Best imply that other poems are inferior? If you have a venue (a stage & a mic, a press) and you say you only choose The Best, what does that say about you? That yours are the unimpeachable Besting criteria?

Anyone who says he publishes only The Best is lying. Anyone who believes he is the best judge of The Best is deluding himself.

At this point I have a certain affection for the outlandish claim. There is no Best Cup of Coffee in the World because there is no single Best. There are bitters and bigs and darks and jolts, grinds and ages. The Best Sonnet ever written! The Greatest Villanelle Ever Held!

You’ll never read a better haiku than my ‘ku!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sexton and Madonna

Madonna read Sexton, says Lucy O’Brien in her new Madonna: Like an Icon:

In her teenage years Madonna read Anne Sexton, and discussed with her sisters how much the Pultizer Prize-winning poet looked like Madonna Sr.

[Yes, Madonna was named after her mother. The elder Madonna died of cancer when her daughter was five.]

[Sexton’s] work was highly personal, often autobiographical, and laced at times with gallows humor. Sexton committed suicide in 1974, after publishing eight collections of poetry that combined beat style with high-art Romanticism and a graphic sense of the emerging feminism.

[Madonna was born in 1958 so was 16 when Sexton died.]

[Sexton’s] economy of language and unflinching look at death in poems such as “Madonna,” which was about the death of Sexton’s mother from cancer, would surface later as an influence ... But in the early 1970s, to a teenage girl missing her mother and looking for answers, Sexton’s poetry just offered a strange kind of solace.