Monday, April 14, 2008

Three Cheers for NaPoMo!

Thank goodness for National Poetry Month! It’s always a good excuse for this poet to “goose the muse”. In my neck of the woods (the Philadelphia/South Jersey area) there’s something going on just about every day this month. I can’t possibly do all the events I’d like to attend, so I have to pick judiciously.

I did attend the Rutgers Spring Writer’s Conference in Camden on Saturday the 12th. It’s a free, one-day conference featuring workshops on all types of writing, and an evening reading open to the public, This year’s featured guests were Joyce Carol Oates and Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, both of whom teach at Princeton. I have seen them both before, and actually have met Muldoon (I took a workshop he gave at College of New Jersey a few years ago, right after he won his Pulitzer), but I had to skip the evening program. Regardless, all three workshops I attended were quite good. The poetry workshops were led by Gregory Pardloe and Rachel Hadas. I submitted work to Hadas’ workshop, and it was well-received by both her and the other attendees – of course I got constructive criticism, too. I also attended an excellent and informative workshop on memoir led by David Matthews. The afternoon readings were by Rachel Hadas, Richard McCann and Jane Bernstein. All were very good – Hadas read her poetry, McCann read a thought-provoking except from a memoir about his liver transplant, and Bernstein read an affecting essay about her adult retarded daughter. Of course, I saw several of my poetry buddies there, too.

I’m still going strong in the Poem-a-Day Challenge – 13 for 13 up to today (14 for 13 if you count the “bonus” haiku I wrote yesterday). I’ve latched onto a fun blog on the Writers Digest website by Robert Lee Brewer (find it here) which gives daily poetry prompts and invites participants to post the results. There’s quite a variety of poetry, needless to say.

Music: Not much new stuff to report, except I did get R.E.M.’s new CD Accelerate. I think it’s the best album they’ve done in quite a while, and definitely the rockingest album since Monster. I’d rate it four stars on a scale of five.

Poem of the Week: How about one of the poems I’ve cranked out in my Poem-a-day Challenge? It’s nothing substantial, but it was a lot of fun to write. (Poetic license: not all these bands are really on my iPod.)

What’s in My iPod

Arcade Fire, AC/DC,
Beatles, Beastie Boys, Black Keys.

Crash Test Dummies, Cream, Cousteau,
Dead Can Dance, The Doors, Devo.

Elbow, ELO, Eve 6,
Fine Young Cannibals, The Fixx.

Gentle Giant, Go-Betweens,
Hüsker Dü, Heaven 17.

Indigo Girls, Innocence Mission,
Jefferson Airplane, Joy Division.

Kings of Leon, Kinks, King Crimson
Lovin’ Spoonful, Luscious Jackson.

Magic Numbers, The Motels,
No Doubt, Neutral Milk Hotel.

Over the Rhine, Ozomatli,
Pink Floyd, Pet Shop Boys, The Pixies.

Quicksilver, Queens of the Stone Age, Queen,
Roches, Rage Against the Machine.

Son Volt, Smithereens, Spoon, The Shins,
Tom Tom Club, Tool, Thompson Twins.

Uriah Heep, The Undertones,
The Verve, The Vines, The Velvetones.

Wilco, Wedding Present, Who
X and XTC (just two).

Youngbloods, Yo La Tengo, Yes,
Zero 7 – that’s it, I guess!

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