Saturday, August 7, 2010

Miss Me?

My God, has it been two months since my last blog? What a slacker! It's hard sometimes to convince yourself that you have anything interesting to say. I mean, some folks post almost daily and always have something pithy and informative to share (are you reading this, Kelly Fineman?) while others just slap anything that comes into their head up on the page, whether it's interesting, or makes sense or not. I have to find the right rhythm and balance to blogging - I doubt I could do it more than once a week. But once in two months? Shameful!

Poetry: As you may know, I wrote a poem a day in the month of April (actually, a little more than one a day) as part of the Poetry Month challenge on Robert Brewer's Poetic Asides blog. Well, he invited the participants to submit the five best poems that they wrote that month, and out of over 1000 entries, he selected the best 50 and announced the winners on his blog. Two of my poems, "According to Hoyle" and "Mementos", made the list. The only prize is bragging rights, and a possible feature interview on the blog later this year. It's a nice recognition. I also just learned today that my poem, "Rapids Again", is being accepted for next year's issue of U.S. 1 Worksheets, and I may have another poem appearing in a future issue of the formal-poetry e-zine Barefoot Muse.

I'm debating about which poetry conferences I should attend in the coming year. Of course, time and money are always critical factors - ideally I would attend them all, but I'll have to pick one or two of four I have my eye on: (1) Peter Murphy's annual Winter Getaway in Cape May in January (this upcoming year featuring poets Dorianne Laux and Patricia Smith, as well as "regular" Stephen Dunn); (2) The AWP Conference, which will be in Washington DC in February (my friend Anna Evans will be chairing a panel there); (3) The West Chester Poetry Conference, which Anna has been encouraging me for years to attend (and she's actively involved in that one too), and (4) the good ol' Philadelphia Writers Conference, which is the same week as West Chester. I'm leaning heavily toward #2 and/or #3 as they are the ones that I've never done. Oh yeah, and there's the Dodge Poetry Festival in October.

Baseball: It's been one interesting year for my Phillies - fifteen players have been on the Disabled List this season, and currently Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino, all key players, are sitting it out. Pitcher Jamie Moyer is out for the season (and possibly for the career, but after all, he's an "old man" of 47, LOL). Despite all that, as of this writing they are only one game behind Atlanta for the NL East lead. After a huge team-wide slump about a month or two ago, they've started putting things together, getting consistently good pitching (and the addition of Roy Oswalt now gives them one of the best starting rotations in baseball) and some key hitting from guys who until recently were not everyday players (Ross Gload, Brian Schneider, et al.) Anyway, I expect big things if everyone can get healthy again, though I'm doubtful whether they can get back to the World Series for the third year in a row.

Music: Lots of good stuff coming out this year. Just a few of the recent albums that have caught my ear - mostly perennial favorites but also two new "finds":

Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust
Sarah McLachlan - Laws of Illusion
The Black Keys - Brothers
Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love

Poem of the Every-other-month:

I think I'll dust off an "oldie but goodie" - this appeared in the online journal Red River Review several years ago:


Where I live,
in this quiet pocket of
congested civilization,
even on a still night,
windless, moonless
or moon –

there is a constant hum,
subliminal roar, a rumble
like blood rushing in the ears,
coagulation of sounds
just over the threshold –

traffic, planes, air conditioners,
thunder, music, radio waves,
clouds sliding through thick air,
plates of the earth groaning –

and the murmur of souls
only one week removed,
already receding
into the noise.