Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Poem-a-Day: Right on Track!

I'm still doing great on the poem-a-day challenge, 23 for 23 plus a couple of "bonus" poems, largely thanks to Robert Lee Brewer's daily writing prompts on his blog. (See prior post for the link.) I haven't missed a day since I joined his blog on the 7th. He gets over 100 entries for each of his prompts, and he has started to post his ten or so favorites from each day's assignment. He's up to Day 11 now, and he's just featured two poems I wrote: "Record Store" (Day 10) and "Paper Clip" (Day 11). There have been some really good poems submitted (and of course, some not-so-good ones), and certain poets seem to stand out day after day. You should check out the site at least to read them, and it's not too late to join in on the writing assignments.

I got word that my poem, "Mosquito Truck", has been accepted for the next issue of Edison Literary Review. They also feature one of my poems, "52 Pickup", as a sample on their website.

I wish I could get to all the poetry events going on this month. Tonight I missed an event at one of the local libraries, hosted by my friend Therese Halscheid, an excellent poet from South Jersey. Next week is a poetry reading that is part of my home town's (Cherry Hill's) week-long "Arts Bloom" festival, but I will have to miss that too. Still, I'm lucky to be in an area where there's so much going on poetically, and not just during National Poetry Month.

Music: My local favorite music station, 88.5 WXPN, has a daily feature called "Top 5 @ 5", hosting by the afternoon DJ, Jim McGuinn. He plays five (sometimes more) songs on a related theme, so in honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I'd suggest a theme of "songs about poetry" : songs that mention famous poets by name, or set a famous poem to music, or even have a poet's participation, or just mention poetry or poets in general. There are a lot more than you might think. Here's the list I sent him:

1. Walt Whitman's Niece - Billy Bragg and Wilco
2. Sylvia Plath - Ryan Adams
3. Bukowski - Modest Mouse
4. Richard Cory - Simon and Garfunkel (the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem set to music)
5. The Dangling Conversation - Simon and Garfunkel (mentions Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost)
6. The Stolen Child - The Waterboys (the Yeats poem set to music)
7. My Ride's Here - Warren Zevon (co-written with his friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon -also name-checks a bunch of poets)
8. Poetry Man - Phoebe Snow
9. Cemetery Gates - The Smiths (mentions Keats, Yeats and Wilde)
10. Poets - The Tragically Hip
11. Poet - Sly and the Family Stone
12. Tangled Up in Blue - Bob Dylan
("Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century....")

Jim used my theme today and played #1, 9, 10 and 12 on my list, along with:

Afternoons and Coffeespoons - Crash Test Dummies (mentions T.S. Eliot)
Ghetto Defendant - The Clash (contains Allen Ginsburg reading his poetry)

He and traffic reporter Lauren Valle also composed a couple of haiku for each other on the air. Very cute. I'm glad they had fun with the theme.

Some other "poetry" songs:
Desolation Row - Bob Dylan ("Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot/Fighting in the captain's tower...")
The Highwayman - Loreena McKennitt (lyrics from the Alfred Noyes poem)

Other music news: Check out Heavenly Harmonies, a collection of early vocal music by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, performed by Stile Antico, on Harmonia Mundi Records. It is sublime - some of the most breathtakingly beautiful music - and performances - ever.
I got two CD's from the Amazon Vine program. One is the new album by Paddy Casey, Addicted to Company. I wasn't impressed - you can read my full review on The other is Oracular Spectacular by MGMT. I haven't heard it yet, but it's been getting some good buzz. More on that later....

Poem of the Week: Here's another one I've written for the poem-a-day challenge. The writing prompt was to title a poem, "How ______ Behaves" and to fill in the blank with anything you like, then write about the subject. Since it was Monday the 14th, I wrote the following:

How Monday Behaves

Like a sidewinder, a varmint behind the rocks,
ready to spook your horse.

Like a mad scientist, his piecemeal human
writhing as he screams, “It’s alive!”

Like a despotic king in ancient Asia Minor,
demanding your first-born child.

Like Angelo Rossetti in fifth grade,
who used to like to trip you with his foot
every time you walked up the aisle.

Like you have the worst hangover of your life,
and it’s your mother, pulling up the shades.

Like the road that you hate with ten traffic lights
that are always synchronized against you.

Like it wants to dance to every song
ever written about it:
“Monday, Monday”; “Stormy Monday”,
“Blue Monday”, “I Don’t Like Mondays” –
and it wants you to be its partner,
and it has two left feet.

Like it wants to be Monday with a capital “M” –
no wait, it always has a capital “M” –
like it wants to be all in caps and scream in your ear:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post and the poetry. Sly Stone's "Poet" is a really powerful and important song given what Sly was going through at the time. I write about this and more in my book Sly: the Lives of Sylvester Stewart and Sly Stone. It's available on Barnes and and