Thursday, April 29, 2010

NaPoMo Update: Review of My Book!

I was very happy to get the new issue of the annual poetry journal, Philadelphia Poets, this week. Last year they published my poem, “Record Store”, and although I don’t have a poem in this year’s issue (#16), editor Rosemary Cappello wrote a very positive review of my latest chapbook, Breathing Out. She said, among other things:

In Breathing Out, a collection of 24 poems, the reader gets a glimpse of the talent of Bruce W. Niedt, a poet who is obviously moved to write about everything under the sun and then some. Niedt has the ability of studying an object—anything from an earth-bound salad bowl to the far-off planet Mars—picking its “brain” and communicating for it. This goes for people as well, whether they’re the long-gone Chinese poet Li Po or the contemporary “Old Man at Bedtime.” […]

When it comes to creating the perfect last line that not only sums up the poem’s intent but adds a thoughtful twist, Niedt is second to none.[…]

Yes, the subjects of Niedt’s poems run the gamut. There’s even one commemorating “Mr. Peanut [in] Atlantic City” and his clocks, “All the Clocks in my House Are Set to Different Times,” which happen to be two of my favorites in this collection. But then, so are all the others mentioned here. Bruce Niedt has proven his versatility as a poet in this impressive collection.

Thanks, Rosemary!

As expected, it’s been a busy Poetry Month – as of today I’ve written 35 poems in 28 days for the annual “Poem-a-Day Challenge”. Two more to go! I also invaded the Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy PA last Friday with my Quick and Dirty posse – Anna, Kendall, Andrea, former (and still honorary) member Rachel, and myself. We rocked their socks! It was a respectable group of about 15, most of them members of Mad Poets Society, who sponsored the event, and it went very well – some of us even sold some of our books. (I’m on the calendar to return there for a solo reading in September.) Tonight is our monthly reading series at The Daily Grind in Mt. Holly featuring Bill Wunder. Unfortunately, I can’t get to all the events that I would like to attend – there are two this Sunday at the same time to which I’m invited, but I probably won’t make either one.

My aforementioned poet friend Rachel Bunting, by the way, has just won the Best of the Net award for her poem, “The Apiary”. Way to go, Rach! (I tried to post the link but it doesn't seem to work from where I'm writing.)

I had a decent birthday on Tuesday, despite hobbling around most of the day on a strained knee. It was nice to get a lot of best wishes from my Facebook and Poetic Asides friends, and I had a nice quiet celebration with my wife and youngest son. (The other three sons called and wished me happy birthday). It was pretty low-key, just the way I wanted it.

So how about a poem? I’ll offer the one that I wrote my birthday. The prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a poem about hope or hopelessness. This is a “parody”, if you will, of Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers…”

The Thing with Fur

Hopelessness, the thing with fur,

would stalk me in the wood,
and threaten like a predator
that never comes to good,

and track me with its yellow eyes;
I’d stumble on the trail
and it would pounce – I’d be its prize,
my flight to no avail.

I’ve heard its howl – it fills the moor,
like some soul-stealing wraith,
but I need only close my door
and fuel my fire with faith.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NaPoWriMo Marches On!

I feel like the world's worst blogger. How can I expect to have readership if no one knows when I'll post again? Once a month certainly isn't enough, yet I feel if I post daily or even weekly i won't enough to say to be interesting. I need to find the right balance.

Anyway, enough of that. Once again I'm doing National Poetry Month's Poem-a-day Challenge, and doing quite well, thank you - 26 poems in 22 days (and that's counting a themed group of three haiku as one). None of them will help win me the Pulitzer Prize, but as the estimable Peter Murphy says, "Give yourself permission to write crap." I hope there will be at least 5-10 decent poems, or poems with potential, contained in this batch. I'm participating in the Poetic Asides blog again this year, but frankly I haven't been real excited about most of Robert Brewer's writing prompts. They do get me started, though, I'll give them credit for that.

April is every bit the busy month I expected it to be. Sunday the 18th my friends Anna and Kendall and I went to New York to represent Kendall's Maverick Duck Press at a reading at ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side. It was - how should I say - interesting. The venue was a building that was a former "squat" and on the verge of being condemned, and the audience - let's just say they barely outnumbered the three of us. But they loved our reading and they PAID us for our appearance. That's right - PAID for reading poetry! Tomorrow night I read with the Quick and Dirty Poets at the Big Blue Marble on Carpenter St. in Philly, and next Friday the 30th our group has their monthly reading series at the Daily Grind in Mt. Holly, featuring Bill Wunder.

Music: Listening and downloading stuff - the "new" Jimi Hendrix (previously unreleased studio performance of new and cover material), the new Dr Dog, and a couple of "discovery" bands (for me, at least), The Dodos and Field Music. Keep an eye out for new albums by Caribou and New Pornographers.

Poetry: How about one of the poems I've written this month? This is about the late great poet Lucille Clifton:

Miss Lucille

We will miss you, Miss Lucille,
who paid homage to your hips

and made ladies proud of themselves
no matter what their size,

who wrote of indignities and injustice
to your people and to all people,

who I will always remember
meeting, your dignity and grace.

May your own boat carry you
to the “water waving forever”.

We will miss you, Miss Lucille,
but we will find you in your poems.