I have been reading a lot of amazing poetry lately, and so jotted down a few notes for Huffington Post on the ones that most grabbed my attention.
You can read the full list, with commentary, on the HuffPo site. Feel free to add your own favourites and recommendations in the comments section there.
The April 21st edition of The Long-Islander newspaper slipped through my mail slot today. In “Walt’s Corner”, a column dedicated to poetry since the paper was founded by Walt Whitman in 1838, appears my poem praising various uses of two fingers.
(Click to enlarge)
I have had two poems in The Long-Islander previously, both times listing my location as “Ojai, California”. But this is a poem that could only have been written in the UK.
Previous Poems in The Long-Islander
[Note: George Wallace informs me that, while the newspaper was founded in 1838, he actually started publishing “Walt’s Corner” in 1988]
2015 was the year of The Knowledge for me, as well as a spate of film-poems, collaborations, and trips to new places. Here’s a brief look back at the salient moments from each month.
| January: Nine Years of Love|
I reflect on nine years since the birth and death of our son, in the year when my maternal grandfather and spiritual teacher also pass on. The conclusion is simply this: our world is in need of love.
| February: Namesake (Film-Poem Online)|
A paean to my namesake/nemesis, this bit of machinima plays with identity in the digital age using parallax techniques. It was both painstaking and fun to make.
| March: Sneak Peek at The Knowledge|
Excitement builds as Nine Arches Press publishes a few poems from the book online.
| April: The Knowledge Arrives|
I drive up to Milton Keynes to receive my first batch of author copies of the book. A surreal and wonderful moment on many levels.
| May: Reading and Workshop at Walt Whitman Birthplace|
I delight in setting foot in New York for the first time (!) to give a half-day workshop and evening reading at the Walt Whitman Birthplace.
| June: "Mnemosyne's Tango: Poetry, Film, and the Dance of Memory"|
A brief essay in which I lay out what fascinates me most about the film-poem genre.
| July: Ledbury Poetry Festival|
I take in Ledbury, catching up with poets like George Wallace, George Szirtes, and Daniel Sluman in various cafes and pubs.
| August: The Essence of Instinct (Film-Poem Online)|
Hot on the heels of the release of Google's new Deep Dream technology, I give it a try as the basis for a new film-poem.
| September: Letting the Robin out of the Bag|
Nine Arches Press puts my poem "Robin" on their promotional canvas bag. Beautifully done, it becomes the basis for a few Christmas presents this year.
| October: World Literature Today Does The Knowledge|
Piotr Florczyk takes a deep dive into The Knowledge, and comes up with a few pearls.
| November: The Knowledge Goes Pining for the Fjords|
Abby E. Murray sucks the marrow from this book. To know even one reader has read the book this carefully--let alone a poet I admire as much as Abby--is a rare privilege indeed.
| December: Two Poems, and a Review of The Knowledge, in Poetry Salzburg Review|
Ian Watson gives a ringing endorsement of The Knowledge, concluding, "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."
Roll on 2016!
Long-Islander George Wallace and Frisco Kid Paul Fericano have been quietly and diligently going about the business of furthering the tradition of Amercian poetry in their own unique voices. I take a look at what each has to offer — Wallace’s rough tenderness, Fericano’s slapstick pathos — in an online review of their work.
You can read the full review at HuffPost UK.
I just came back from a week-long spiritual retreat wherein I was completely off the grid to discover that two new poems of mine are now available online.
“Historic Spring” appears in the Fall/Winter issue of PoetryBay, an online literary journal edited by George Wallace. Do check out the full issue as it is consistently teeming with interesting poems. I am also grateful to George for inviting me to give a workshop and reading at Walt Whitman’s birthplace in May. I will be reading from my collection The Knowledge, which comes out in late April, and which includes this poem.
“La Campagna, London, Friday Night” appeared in Rattle #44 this summer and is now available on the Rattle website with an accompanying audio recording. As it happens, I also recently created a WordPress plugin to support the Rattle website by making their “random poem” capability more durable in its popularity. Personally, I could spend the better part of the day clicking that random button and reading their excellent poems.
I came home tonight to a strange package from New York. In it was a copy of the August 11th issue of The Long Islander, bearing one of my poems. Regarding this historic American newspaper from England, it seems curious to note that its founding by Walt Whitman in 1838 was in the Victorian era, when our North London flat was built. And the location of “Ojai, Ca” beneath my name, once second nature, is finally beginning to feel remote.
I wrote this poem long before I dreamed I’d end up here. My relocation gives the title a new shade of meaning for me, as I seek to blend in with strange surroundings. Sometimes I am unsure myself just whose side I really am on.
Many thanks again to George Wallace for publishing this poem. Click here to read the clipping.