Thursday, January 23, 2014

Haiku, Somonka, Box Sets, and So Forth

Hey, I just remembered - I have a blog!  I guess my life just isn't fascinating enough to warrant daily, or even weekly (sometimes monthly) posts. Anyway, it's best to keep my legions of fan up to date once in awhile.

I'm still grappling with relative poetic inactivity since cranking out 30-plus baseball poems for that chapbook contest in November.  I hope to hear the results of that effort by Groundhog Day.  Meanwhile, I have a rather minimalist haiku that appears on today's (Jan. 23) edition of the e-journal tinywords, which you can find here. Also, I placed second in the Poetic Asides Somonka contest, for a collaboration with fellow blog regular Rosemary Nissen-Wade.  A "somonka" is a form of tanka usually with two verses, often written in collaboration, and often with a love theme.  Here's our poem (Rosemary wrote the first verse and I wrote the second):

A magpie warbles
at my gate.
I send you the song
across distance.
When I hear it
I will fashion clouds
to its music.
When the weather turns
they will sail to you.
The first-place winner's prize is publication in Robert Brewer's poetry column in a future issue of Writer's Digest, but he says ours will also appear if he can swing it. If so, it will be my fourth appearance in his column.  Thanks, Robert, for selecting it, and thanks, Rosemary, for a great collaboration.
I did write another poem recently, prompted by my poet friend Lorraine Stanchich Brown, who is working this week at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Florida as an intern to Carolyn Forché. Lorraine and I met at a writer's retreat in Maine years ago, and have remained long-distance friends ever since. We reconnected when I attended the Palm Beach festival in January 2011.  She has been involved with them for several years, and that year she got to be Robert Pinsky's personal assistant, while I took the wonderful Jane Hirshfield's workshop.  Lorraine sent me one of her workshop prompts, and we're trying to rekindle the one-on-one critique exchange that we've had on and off over the years.  The other good news is that my local critique group, The Quick and Dirty Poets, may be in the process of resurrecting itself.  So maybe I'll have more incentive to write in the near future.
Music:  This time I'm recommending two box set series that I discovered while browsing  They are the "Original Album Classics" from Sony Records, and "Original Album Series" from Rhino records (featuring a lot of Warner Brothers artists).  Both series are very similar in that they are box sets of up to five classic albums by the same artist, in a no-frills package that includes the CD of the original album releases (some with bonus tracks) and replications of the original cover art on the cardboard sleeves. And the best part is that these sets average about $20 each, so they're perfect if you want to round out your CD collection with an artist you may have neglected to acquire over the years on CD.  My first purchase, a while ago, was a Dave Brubeck set that included his classic Time Out and four subsequent studio albums. More recently, I purchased sets by two 1960's groups who couldn't be more dissimilar, artistically or commercially: The Monkees and The Incredible String Band.  Also, I found a five-disc set of Santana albums from the early- to mid- 1970's for just over $10 - practically a steal.  Check these sets out on Amazon if you are so inclined - chances are you'll find at least one you'll like.