Monday, October 9, 2017

Getting my website at up and going with assist from my son, Mike. I'm thinking maybe this is the way to publish my crazy poetry, more than get published actually or keep on self-publishing.  Maybe some of all three?  Anyway, its a way to punch my micropoetry and my other poetry and push it out to social media.

I'm also going old school and getting bookmarks made at vistaprint. I wanted a muse on there, but they put an image of what looks like a teenaged girl in a tshirt on there. I had to reject that - makes me look like a child molester or something.  I want somthing more age-appropriate for an old beat up poet.  Maybe a pre-Raphaelite muse.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Today, I found out that I can push the blue microphone button on my Xfinity controller, say "Blue Oyster Cult" and select Blue Oyster Cult videos on 'shuffle'.  These videos, a mixture of live footage and MTV and pre-MTV style videos then play for an hour or so.  Is this not a wonderful thing?  Particularly wonderful are: "Joan Crawford (has risen from the grave)", "Godzilla", "Born to be Wild" and "Astronomy". 

Blue Oyster Cult was (is?) a band of suburban Long Island Jewish fellows, a former Bar Mitzvah band, who play ominous sounding, metallic rock undercut by humor, mainly wry but sometimes harsh. Their lead guitarist (really good) called himself "Buck Dharma" but looks like your cousin Jerry who was in the science club.  What a great band!

I am mentally preparing for my MFA studies, hatching strategy in my mind.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


best of times for me

Reading Andrew Marvell at Rutgers with Ann Baynes Coiro and workshopping in Advanced Poetry with Evie Shockley.  Along with my weekly workshopping with the US1 Poetry Collective in Princeton, I am in Maximum Poetry Overdrive.  These two professors seem almost too good to be true.  But they are true.

With poetry, there is always the DRIFT. By that, I mean that I start to wonder if I am starting to lose my mind a little bit.  I think most artists and poets get this sensation: that one has drifted just a little too bit far from shore.

Fortunately, my babysitting duties (not the right word, more like babysitting heaven) with my granddaughter Allison Jade Browning, keeps me tethered planetarily. Hanging out with a 16 month old brings the Earthly dimension to everything.  Keep it simple.

Allison, along with the three dogs and their needs and the two parakeets keep things very grounded. I also try to cook several times a week, take cookies to US1 Workshop and watch Larry David on TV. All of these things keep it real.

The poetry deal is funny. Funny. I submit poems and they all get summarily rejected.  So, you get that dichotomy:  write to be published vs. write to write what it is you want to say.  I am definitely erring on the side of saying what I want to say.  It's hard to even consider what might get published.  In workshop, I get some advice like, "Help your reader out a little more."  I am loathe to do this. I want my reader to follow me in my own poem, not the opposite.

There is the constant tug, when I am with others, of the commercial with respect to poetry. However, there is really NO COMMERCE in poetry.  Earnings-wise, like most art, it is a loser.  So why worry?  I try not to.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interesting Week, from 9/11 to 9/18

I had a poetry reading at Princeton Library with Mahogany L Browne which went very well. This was my first reading of any note, set up by Lavinia Kumar, another poet who is part of the US1 Poet's Collective with me.  I read a bunch of my poems:  "Reading Chaucer and Joyce to Parakeets", "Mood Ring", "your summer dress", "Horseflies" (a pretty good success) and Lavinia asked me to teach a class in my "stunt" poetry (I forget the technical name for it, but it can be read in any direction and is sort of cellular, like a spreadsheet.)

Next, I got accepted to the Low Residency MFA Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts!

Good Week!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Batman Lego movie

I went today with my wife and grandson to see The Batman Lego movie, a very clever piece of cinematic programming, composition and vocal acting.  It is very clever and witty on split levels - little kid and adult.

This kind of programming is becoming more prevalent these days as movies target the global youth - adult market and is highly financially calculated.  Still, some of these sorts of movies are crafted better than others.  They are all "team" made projects, rather than individual visions, I think: movies by committee, large-scale mixed media projects that operate on the literary level of a television situation comedy, with violent overtones.

As good as they can be, not many of them remain in the mind, appeal to me on a real artistic level, a real emotional level, or function as much more than woo-woo for kids. I can think of a few exceptions, but none that I would go out on a ledge to promote here.  I did like this movie, entertaining in a very clever and crazed fashion and appealing to the longtime "Batman consumer", which I certainly am.  I read Batman in the fifties and sixties, watched the original TV series and many of the other Batman productions.   This movie touches on nearly everything that went before in both a charming and arch manner, trying to be campy and homespun all at once.

The last movie I saw, "Fences" was an artistic success on every level.  I guess its good that such variance exists in "Motion Pictures", but I would like to see more "Fences" and less "Lego".

Friday, February 10, 2017

My geographically challenged inner flywheel again thwarted my momentary destiny in DC this morning when I got off the Metro too early and walked out on the wrong side of town.  It took a half hour of circumperambulation in fairly frigid weather before I reoriented to a bus-stop and used my Senior Citizen Metro Card to get back uptown to the Convention Center.  Adventures in getting there in a roundabout way.

Actually, it was a good experience. I saw a lot of the area south of the capitol and got some legwork in.  Also, I made it to the Gwendolyn Brooks Golden Shovel reading just in time and caught some really inspiring activity.  I got to meet Sandra Beasley and Major Jackson, two poets I really like.  They were really nice and their readings were polished and authoritative.  Wham.

This was my first AWP and it was right cool.  Thousands of writers swarming around.  Poetry at the book sale area as far as the eye could see.  Lots of African American poetry readings.  Catharsis.  All that sort of thing.  I'm overwhelmed by the number of poets there are.  Who knew?  Also, I got to meet people from three or four MFA programs.  I attended two why do an MFA discussions.  A lot of input!

At times, I felt like a snowflake, sometimes a cog in a giant wheel, turning.  You know, like that.

I was there for two of the 3 1/2 days of the conference and didn't attend anything after 4:00 either day.  I was limited by lodging far off-site.  For the future, I will book early and stay on-site.  It would be ideal to be able to go upstairs for awhile, go to evening events, etc.  Have folks upstairs for chats and brews, etc.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

so, tonight: Robin Trower at the Keswick, just days after the death of Jack Bruce.  I'm envisioning this: waves of large wobbling notes washing over me sitting in the sixth row.  I would like to hear the infinite guitar sound.

My last experience with Robin Trower in concert was "historic" in that it led to the composition by his then-band, Procol Harum of a song about the night in question.  This was during the cold winter of 1968-69 in Macomb, Illinois at Western Illinois University, where I was an 18 year old freshman. (Uh, 46 years ago.)

Procol Harum (magically, I thought) appeared unannounced on a week night to play at Western - a few buddies and I were in the Student Union and someone came in and said, "Hey! Procol Harum is going to play in the ballroom!"  We went straight there and saw them setting up. What?

The concert, with the original group played their first two albums' (White Shade of Pale and Shine On Brightly) material. The concert was insanely good, but during the climactic part of their closing number and during an intense solo by Robin Trower, the power to the stage went out.  Augh!  They re-grouped, power was restored and they restarted the number.  Again, the power went out.  Oh, no!
This happened, I think, three times.  Finally, they gave up.  However, no one there (maybe 100 students) would ever forget.

For weeks after, we could talk about little but Robin Trower. His guitar playing was quite unbelievable and none of us had suspected he was THAT good.  That note bending and natural vibrato left us in awe.  Of course he would go on to continue to stun crowds from there on with both Procol Harum and successive bands.

Anyway, I greatly anticipate his performance this evening. I'm hoping for a heartfelt version of "Spellbound" in particular, but hey, Robin - whatever you want to play is okay with me. 

Also, being a former band-mate of Jack Bruce, I'm wondering what tribute might be in store? We will see.