Thursday, November 3, 2011

The busy holiday season is about to spring upon us, so isn't a bit masochistic to take on another poem-a-day challenge in November? Well, maybe not as much as writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month, but still.... I'm following Robert Brewer's daily prompts again for the Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge. Three poems in three days so far. (Well, five actually, if you count the two limericks for Mad Kane's Humor Blog.) The other thing I'm doing is posting a video of a favorite poem each day on my Facebook page. So far I've used "Facing It" by Yusef Komunyakaa, "Forgetfulness" and "Lanyard" by Billy Collins, and "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden.

I had the pleasure of seeing Jane Hirshfield again a couple of weeks ago at the Kelly Writers House on the University of Pennsylvania campus. (You may recall I took a week-long workshop with her in Florida last January, and if you know me well, you're probably getting tired of hearing me talk about it.) She read from her wonderful new collection of poems, Come, Thief. I was happy that she recognized me when I came up to say hello afterward, especially since she has admitted to a bad case of "face blindness". I did tip her off that I was coming to the reading, though, through our e-mail correspondence. You must get her book - my review of it on can be found here.

In publication news, I've had a few rejections, including the anthology of poems from Peter Murphy's Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway - I didn't make the cut. I was sure they'd like my wedding poem, "Hoofing", enough to include it, but Peter's daughter Amanda said that they'd had an incredible response and could only take about 10% of the poems submitted.) On the up side, my friend Anna Evans, who edited the recently closed online formal zine The Barefoot Muse, asked if she could include my sonnet "You Missing Piece" in a "best-of" print anthology she's putting together. I'm honored to be included. Also a group of us members of the Poetic Asides blog are putting together an anthology of poems written in response to Robert Brewer's prompts. I will have three poems included in that publication. I also got my Summer issue of The Lyric poetry magazine which contains my poem "Doldrums".

I forgot to mention in the last blog that I attended the Collingswood Book Festival for the first time this year, on October 1. It's a huge street festival held every year in Collingswood NJ, featuring editors, publishers, book sellers, authors and poets selling their wares, and reading and signing their works. There's a poetry tent that features readings throughout the day, and my friend Tammy Paolino, who's a fine poet and an editor for the Courier-Post, helped organize the events. Two of my favorite regional poets, B.J. Ward and Charles H. Johnson, were featured readers, along with Tammy And her poetic colleague Laurie Guarnieri, and my friends Anna Evans and Rachel Bunting. The weather was perfect too - I had a really good time.

Baseball: Well, another season bites the dust, and once again, so do the Phillies in the post-season. After winning a team record 102 games in the regular season, they couldn't get past the Cardinals in the divisional series. The Cardinals played like a team possessed, and eventually won the World Series title over the Texas Rangers. The Phils just couldn't muster up enough offense. Ironically, after Game 3 of the divisional series, when the Phils were up 2 games to 1, a panel of astute analysts on MLB network declared unanimously, "The Cardinals are done." How very wrong they were. Oh well, there's always next year. I am excited, though, that I'll be seeing them in spring training in Clearwater, FL next March.

Poem of the Month: I don't know if I told the story here before of this poem, which appears in the new issue of The Lyric. The editor has already accepted two of my other poems for previous issues, but when I heard nothing more for almost a year, I assumed she didn't accept the others I had submitted. Then out of the blue I got an e-mail from her last spring: She had accepted my other poem "Doldrums" but the letter to me got lost on her desk, until she was cleaning it out one day. She asked if it was still available, and I said yes indeed.


Your day, a gray-flat stratus of a sky,

runs on humidity and sogs the mind

with melted ice cream, watermelon rind,

as uninspired summer hobbles by.

The afternoon will settle, like a fly

on honey, six legs stuck in disrepair.

Though thunderstorming evenings clear the air,

ennui is moderate, not hot and dry.

The day collects as dew upon a glass,

and tracks in rivulets to tabletop,

but life’s not uneventful as it seems.

Though clouds will rumble on as hours pass,

its manufacture never deigns to stop.

The day becomes the engine of our dreams.