Why I Rhyme

September 21, 2009

Here’s an essay I wrote for the LA Times called Why I Rhyme — it’s about how I started writing poetry, rhyming, other things, part of a cool series they do called Off The Shelf.

The panel at Brooklyn Book Festival was great, a little thing about it with a picture of me and Thurston Moore and Lupe Fiasco and Tracie Morris is here.

And a picture I took of Thurston when we were both signing books. He has a huge line of people in front of him. I have time to take his picture.


Upcoming readings and news

September 6, 2009

So, I’m headed to NY for a couple of fun things.

First, a reading for Paragraph, at Clay Spa, with Timothy Donnelly and Darin Strauss, at 8pm on Friday, September 11th, for details click here.

And then, more strangely, a panel on that Sunday the 13th at the Brooklyn Book Festival, moderated by Touré, with Tracie Morris, Thurston Moore, and Lupe Fiasco. We will probably talk about skateboarding, rhyme, Rakeem, alternate tunings … actually I have no idea. Here are the specifics about the panel, which is on Sunday at noon:

12:00 P.M. Poetry, Pop, and Hip-Hop. A panel discussing how poets, songwriters, and rappers push language in new and essential ways. Featuring Lupe Fiasco, Thurston Moore, Tracie Morris and Matthew Zapruder, moderated by Touré.

For the official Facebook site with info, click here. If you’re in NY, come say hi!

Der Pyjamaist!

July 27, 2009

The graphic novel version of the poem “The Pajamaist,” translated by Ron Winkler into German, illustrated by Martina Hoffmann and published by Luxbooks, exists in the world. I don’t have any copies to sell yet, but I should have them by the time AWP in Denver comes around, if not sooner. You can see it here, on Martina’s website. It’s incredibly awesomely cool.


On The Radio

May 6, 2009

Click here if you dare to listen to me on an internet radio show, hosted by a young poet Joe Milford, who is very kind and intelligent and genuine, I was glad to talk with him. I read some poems from American Linden and The Pajamaist and have a good conversation with him about poetry and trees and restlessness and Massachusetts and Maryland and what it’s like to be a poet today, and I also read a bunch of new stuff from Come on All You Ghosts.

A Few Things …

April 16, 2009

• a podcast of me talking about John Ashbery, with host Curtis Fox

• an upcoming reading/panel discussion next Thursday the 23rd at 7pm with Brenda Hillman and Graham Foust in Walnut Creek

• and thanks everyone, the ankle surgery went fine, I’m just recuperating and will be up and about shortly!

So Betsy at Pilot Books has some copies of For You in Full Bloom, the chapbook I wrote of poems based on paintings by Chris Uphues, available for sale. It was a really limited run, and we sold most of the books at AWP this year, so we weren’t sure if we’d have enough to sell on the web. But apparently there are a few copies left, so if anyone is interested email — editors [at] pilotpoetry [dot] com — we might do another run later in the year for some events in NY and San Francisco, stay tuned! Betsy and her partner Meghan Dewar did an absolutely unbelievable job with the book, it’s bound with metal bolts. Here is one of the poems, along with one of Chris’s paintings.

Also, I just got word from Luxbooks that the German graphic novel edition of The Pajamaist (Der Pyjamaist, see the cover in a post below) is off to the printer! I saw the proofs, and the drawings by Martina Hoffman are unbelievable, and the translations by German poet Ron Winkler are terrific. When I actually have copies in hand I will post an announcement here. They have also expressed some interest in doing an English language version with the same drawings.

Show Your Work

April 12, 2009

Among the many responses to my essay on the Poetry Foundation website, one which disagrees in an extremely civil and articulate way is Craig Teicher’s, here on the National Book Critic Circle blog. He writes:

“In my view, a critic has three main jobs: foremost, to describe the work under consideration, meaning to figure out and clearly articulate what it’s intending to do and how.  Then, the critic has to make a value judgment, basically answering the question of whether or not the work succeeds in doing what it sets out to do, and whether or not there are other successes and failures to speak of.  This is important: criticism has to police the art form.  If readers—and critics are really just representative readers—don’t say whether they think poetry sucks or not, poems go slack.  Finally, the whole thing needs to be an interesting piece of writing, a work of literature in itself, albeit perhaps a minor one.”

My main purpose for the essay was to nudge critics more towards the first job he describes. I read a fair number of reviews, and I think vital aspect of reviewing is not emphasized nearly enough. My disagreement with what Craig writes above would be with his characterization of the importance of the second job of the critic. But I’m eager to talk it over more with him, and glad to be disagreed with in a thoughtful way.

Essays, poem, etc.

March 31, 2009

I’ve been working on some prose, though I think I’m done with that for a little while. Here is an essay on the Poetry Foundation website, which has generated a fair amount of commentary, some of it thoughtful and some of it of course par for the internet wacko course. And here is an essay I wrote for JBooks.com, about of all things the Passover Seder plate. That just goes to show you something, I’m not sure what.

And here is a new poem on Slate.com, including audio — I wrote it for my beloved niece, who recently went from being an only child to an older sister, with all the concomitant benefits and sorrows.

One of the comments on the PF piece asks me why I don’t write reviews. I used to, and will post some of the longer and more interesting pieces here at some point in the near future. As always I really appreciate everyone reading my work.

Latest News!

February 18, 2009

New readings in NYC, Berkeley, Walnut Creek posted!

Der Pyjamaist!

December 26, 2008

Check out the cover of the German graphic novel version of the poem “The Pajamaist,” which will be published by Luxbooks this year. The artist is Martina Hoffmanthis is her very cool little movie, Lotta und der Zauber in der Nacht.

German Pajamaist Book Cover

German Pajamaist Book Cover