The double dactyl is aptly described on the jacket of this new anthology as “a devilish amalgam of rhyme, meter, name-dropping and pure nonsense,” but editors Daniel Groves and Greg Williamson have somehow persuaded the likes of X. J. Kennedy, J. D. McClatchy, Kim Bridgford, Caki Wilkinson, Andrew Hudgins and Charles Martin to contribute their efforts to this new anthology, conceived as a follow-up to the original Jiggery-Pokery anthology compiled by the inventors of the form, Anthony Hecht and John Hollander. Also included are three of my own poems, along with several by my good friend A. M. Juster.
It’s nice for a writer to imagine someone may read the stuff he puts out there; nicer still to discover that someone has actually read it. Mike Juster brought my attention to these remarks on Patrick Kurp’s blog, “Anecdotal Evidence.”
I just learned that my poem “An Indelicate Proposal” was chosen for the Rosalie Boyle / Norma Farber Award from the New England Poetry Club, an association founded in 1915 by Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, and Conrad Aiken! The poem will be posted on the NEPC website.
John Tavano and I were thrilled to hear Parisian singer Anne Marie Codur and pianist Jill Borenstein perform our song, “La Girafe” at the Boston National Poetry Month Concert last night. It was a wonderful evening all around: Sufi poetry read to the accompaniment of the Turkish bowed tambour, Derek Walcott’s poetry paired with the mesmerizing sound of steel pans —even a Japanese pop song!
The Boston National Poetry Month Festival arrives every April like poetry’s Opening Day. I’ll be one of the Thirteen Keynote Poets reading in The Commonwealth Salon at 700 Boylston Street on Friday, April 7. And on Friday evening, as part of the Poetry, Music and Dance Concert, Anne-Marie Codur and Jill Borenstein will perform “La Girafe,” a song I wrote with guitarist John Tavano.
Look at this cool little thing that just showed up on line. The first poem I ever published —back in 1981— has been chosen as an “NER Classic” by the New England Review. The picture they’ve chosen to place beside the poem on their website is just right.
James Martin, SJ, sent out this gospel-inspired tweet: “In the tale of the Gerasene demoniac, the darkness must be recognized and named before it can be cast out. You must name it clearly.” Here is the poem that Pedro Poitevin translated into Spanish recently for publication in Letras Libres. It is taken from my book Elegy for Everyone:
What To Call It
Suppose we call the monster Monster?
Would it create a stir?
Till now, we have addressed the monster
Timidly, as Sir.
We’ve left him ravaging in peace;
We’ve given him his way.
He got a nicely-rounded niece
To picnic on in May.
We prayed for her; and prayed that he
Would find her to his taste.
It tears at one’s insides to see
The offering go to waste.
Much good it’s done us. Hear him roar.
We’ve whet his appetite.
It’s made him clamor all the more
And rattle things at night.
We keep awake. We count our sins.
No man of us is blessed.
He prowls among our might-have-beens,
Too violent to rest.
And no one calls the monster Monster.
We have ourselves to blame.
You don’t domesticate a monster
By using a pet name.
We ought to use the tautonym.
No ifs or ands or buts—
We need a name that sticks to him
Like a dried string of guts.
Monster. Monster. Monster. Monster.
—Say it if you can.
What innocent would trust a monster
To be a gentleman?
My review of James Matthew Wilson’s The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking can now be read online at the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center website.