If you like ekphrastic and prompt-driven poetry, Visual Verse is a goldmine discovery. Each month, they post a new intriguing image, and publish scores of written responses from all over the world.
To kick off 2016, Preti from Visual Verse emailed me to ask if I would write a poem in response to their image as a commission to sort of prime the pump. Do ducks swim? I was delighted to complete the challenge: 50-500 words written within one hour of viewing the image.
Nine Arches Press in collaboration with Leeds Ebooks has done an excellent job bringing The Knowledge into an all-digital format. If you got a Kindle, iPad or tablet for Christmas, or have been holding off reading The Knowledge due to international shipping costs, now is your chance to get it for a song.
If you have a Kindle, you can download it directly from the Kindle Store. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read it on the Kindle app for your iPad or Android tablet.
I have a long list of e-book pet peeves, but this version has been expertly done. The table of contents is hyperlinked, font sizes can be adjusted to taste, and — best of all — it wraps long lines of poetry correctly with hanging indents. Apart from the formatting, you might also enjoy the contents.
My copies of Poetry Salzburg Review 28 arrived today, with its signature surrealist cover holding nearly 200 pages of enticing poetry and reviews.
Among them are two new poems from me — “The Computer Programmer’s Wife”, to which I expect many a beleaguered techno-spouse might relate, and the off-kilter Anglophonic lament “Getting On With It”. I am also looking forward to mining out new nuggets from familiar names like Piotr Florcyzik, Kim Moore, and Rob A. Mackenzie.
The review of The Knowledge is a ringing endorsement (I had to sit down) from Ian Watson which concludes, “The problem with The Knowledge is that there are just too many striking images, too many poems to cite. Just go out and buy it.”
Along the way, he points out poems that take up topics that teachers will often advise beginning writers to steer clear from, such as common birds or writers’ block — and notes how these poems succeed, almost defiantly, anyway. He points out my preoccupation with fleeting detail, and calls the work, “erudite, urbane and at times intriguingly evasive.”
We reinserted ourselves into the perpetual cloud layer over Heathrow today, returning from a sun-drenched Thanksgiving in Southern California. In our absence, howling winds have stripped the trees bare. Here comes December.
A more welcoming variety of December greeted me on the doorstep today as well: contributor copies of the excellent US-based literary journal. Founded in 1958, the journal is making waves under new direction. I was pleased to discover a raft of Pacific University MFA students who make an appearance in this issue, including Mary Bond, Greg Jensen, Sam Roxas-Chua, and Andrew Wood.
I am looking forward to tucking in to the 200+ pages of fine poetry and prose. The fire in the stove is lit. The cat is near. Good writing is to hand.
Thus will we make our way through another English winter
Not just any tote bag — a concrete interpretation of my poem “Robin”, beautifully designed by Jane Commane, on a classy natural canvas bag. It comes free with a subscription to the Nine Arches Poetry Book Club — itself an excellent idea that gets you six fine single-author poetry collections hot off the press, discounts on other books, and special invitations. Gift wrap available. Really, I hope they made enough bags!
I also like the idea that using this tote instead of a plastic bag might help a scruffy robin survive the long winter of our global mass-consumption.
As they say in the UK: “Bagsy!” And in my native California: “Totes amazeballs!” You get the idea. I’m exited.
The film-poem genre has attracted considerable interest from various disciplines, and is beginning to gain astute critical insight as an emerging artistic form.
One excellent vehicle is the German-based Poetryfilmkanal website. I was delighted to be asked to write an essay for them about the fascination of the film-poem. The relationship between art and memory has always fascinated me personally, and in this piece I regard memory as a kind of aesthetic glue holding the two genres in relationship to one another.