2015 Roundup Year in Review

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!

2014 Roundup Year-in-Review

It has been a year full of poetry and personal revelation. Here are a few highlights.

January: Das Achte Jahr

I take solace in new and simple ways of sharing my love.

February: Andrew Philip Reviews The Silence Teacher

Friend, fine poet, and fellow bereaved father Andrew Philip gives my pamphlet a very personally meaningful review.

March: Reading at the Royal Academy

It was a great pleasure to take part in this innovative poetry reading, responding to architectural spaces in situ.

April: Two Views of Despot’s Progress

My poem “Despot’s Progress” gets two very different film-poem interpretations, thanks to the Poetry Storehouse project.

May: Jellied Eels

My poem “Jellied Eels” wins third place in the Southbank Magazine Poetry Competition, and I release a film-poem version in collaboration with Valerie Kampmeier.

June: Filmpoem 2014, Antwerp

The excellent Filmpoem festival in beautiful Antwerp once again inspires me to want to be a better poet and filmmaker.

July: “Buttons”

Our film-poem “Buttons” wins the judges’ prize at the inaugural Southbank Centre Poetry Film Competition and screens in the Purcell Room.

September: On Becoming British

I acknowledge what has become my second homeland by taking up British citizenship.

October: Swindon Festival of Poetry

Honoured and delighted to read at Hilda Sheehan’s Swindon Festival of Poetry.

November: The Space it Might Take

Pleased to have several poems in the biennial anthology of the Highgate Poets.

December: What Can Computers Teach Us About Poetry?

In which I explain how an analytical approach to poetry might yield new insights.

Wishing you and yours a splendid, poetry-filled year ahead.

2013 Roundup Year-in-Review

I have once again taken a look over the past year and selected a single post from each month that seems meaningful in some way.

  • 7

    January: Lucky Seven

    On the anniversary of his passing, I reflected on the profound understanding of the meaning of love that my son’s brief life gave to me — thus making me the lucky one.

  • Urban Harvest

    February: Urban Harvest

    The Highgate Poets are a lively and talented group of North-London-area poets who welcomed me in to their fold during my time in The Big Smoke. I was pleased to have poems included in their twice-yearly anthology.

  • The Silence Teacher

    March: The Silence Teacher

    Comprised of more than seven years of poems written after the death of our son, Poetry Salzburg published this slim volume in Austria, and orders soon began shipping worldwide.

  • Baby Mice

    April: Mice of the London Underground

    Qarrtsiluni ran my three-part homage to the fuzz balls who helped make my time as a London commuter that much more bearable.

  • May: Doomed in Good Company

    Responding to the news that Salt Publishing has stopped publishing single-author volumes of poetry, I set down these thoughts on why and how and how much poetry matters to me — even if I am the only one.

  • Silk Road Review 10

    June: Silk Road Review British Poetry Special

    A special feature I edited for Silk Road Review, featuring poets from all over great Britain, went to press in the USA.

  • July: First Transatlantic Poetry Broadcast

    Despite a few bumps, we pulled off our first live trans-Atlantic poetry broadcast featuring two fine poets and dear friends. Hundreds tuned in, and a new vessel for poetry was christened.

  • 金継ぎ

    August: Broken is Beautiful

    I mended a broken bowl, and learned a lesson about the beauty of impermanence.

  • Robin

    September: Two Wingèd Poems

    London Grip gave flight to two new poems.

  • Robert reading

    October: Reading at the Troubadour

    I was invited to read from The Silence Teacher at one of my favourite London venues. It was a very special evening indeed.

  • Holborn

    November: Loving London

    I rekindled my love affair with London, discovering it as not only a poetic city, but my poetic city.

  • Ursula

    December: Ursula (Film-Poem)

    Our film-poem “Learning the Letters” screened in Athens at the International Film Poetry Festival, and we brought out a new film-poem playing with anthropomorphism and the noir genre.

2012 Roundup Year-in-Review

Mayan Stone CarvingsOnce again, I take a look over the past year and select one post from each month that seems significant.

January: Numerology of Grief (The Sixth Year)

This brief meditation on six years since the death of our son found its way to a friend-of-a-friend who also lost his son in infancy. To hear how much it meant to him made all the long silences between writing seem bearable.

February: Long-Listed, National Poetry Competition

So close. Still, having my poem be one of the 130 long-listed poems out of over 11,000 entries was a nice little boost.

March: Magma Poetry Launch Reading at The Troubadour

I was delighted to have a poem appear in Magma, and fell in love with the history and rich atmosphere of The Troubadour that night.

April: First Year in London: Lessons in Negative Capability

Reflecting on lessons learned after one year living in England, I found the advice of John Keats as pertinent to poetry as it was a balm for culture shock.

May: Jonah (Film-Poem by Alastair Cook)

Lens-based artist Alastair Cook did a remarkable job incorporating a poem I wrote in memory of our neighbour-friends’ son into a film-poem in his characteristic visual style.

June: At Home in the English Countryside

Settling in to a different pace of life.

July: In Praise of Small Spaces

Learning to take pleasure in the little cultivations of a simple life.

August: Sabotaged! (A Review)

Martha Sprackland made some deeply insightful observations, the likes of which could only have come from reading closely and thinking carefully about my debut collection Human Shade

September: Ira Lightman: Experiments in Poetry

I came to embrace the high-risk, high-reward art form of experimental poetry.

November: Silk Road British Poetry Feature

After months of poem-wrangling and poem-wrestling, I completed my special feature on British poetry for Silk Road Review, due out in print next summer.

December: The Power and Peril of Written Words

Raw from the Newtown shootings, I typed out some thoughts on America’s reverence for the Second Amendment. It was re-syndicated by Huffington Post and ended up making the front page. Thousands of reads and hundreds of comments later, I only hope we might come a little closer to preventing such tragedies in the future.

2011 Roundup Year-in-Review

“How can I tell what I think ’till I see what I say?”

-E.M. Forster
Image: Wikipedia

Once again, I have taken a look over the past year, and selected one post from each month that stood out in some way.

January: The Fifth Year

Today, I said goodbye two our two-year-old Australian nephew, not sure when we will see him again. As we near the sixth anniversary of our son’s birth and death, I realise how far we have come, not only geographically, but psychologically as well. Passing the fifth year was a milestone for us.

February: Human Shade

In February, my debut short collection Human Shade was published by Lost Horse Press in America. It was extremely heartening to see so many orders arrive in such a short time. I brought a few copies with me to England.

March: London Calling

In March, we made the decision to move to London. Having lived my entire life in California, I had no idea just what a leap this would be for me.

April: Adieu, America

In April, I said goodbye to America, but not to being an American. In fact, living here, I have never felt so American as I do now. My father also bid me farewell in a very special way.

May: Through the Looking Glass

In May, we arrived with just our suitcases. We had one week to find a place to live before the start of my new job. After the whirlwind subsided, I began to feel like Alice, down the rabbit hole in a world that only superficially resembled the one I had known.

June: Notes on Contemporary British Poetry

In June, I began to take advantage of my circumstances by way of comparative Anglo-American poetics. So began an effort to overcome what I have deemed “poetic culture shock“ — and come to understand the subtle differences between British and American poetry.

July: Discovering an Artistic Ancestor

In July, I discovered a remarkable book by another poet named Peake, which had a profound effect on me.

August: The Nature of Peace

In August, the London riots exploded not far from our home while we were on holiday in Wales with my parents. The contrast prompted this meditation.

September: An American Werewolf in London

In September, I began to put my finger on the sense of otherness that had been haunting me, and let myself howl a bit at the moon.

October: “On Being Straight (A Thought Experiment)

I wrote this piece in October, and within a short span of time my “thought experiment” turning the tables on identity politics had received over 95,000 views on StumbleUpon, and been republished in The Good Men Project.

November: “The Invisible Father

A colleague’s casual remark set off this mini-essay for The Good Men Project about the being a father without a child.

December: “British Matches

In December, Aperçus Quarterly published this short poem, inspired by the warning label on a pack of matches. Along with comparative Anglo-American poetics, I seem to be studying semiotic estrangement — the effect of “everyday” signs and symbols on a cultural outsider.

It has been a remarkable year. Wishing peace to you and yours in 2012!

2010 Roundup Year-in-Review

Father Time and Baby New Year

Once again, I have looked back over my posts from the past year, and pulled one favorite for each month.

January: Amichai and Nasrallah

In comparing these two remarkable poets from either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am struck by their similarities.

February: An Unexpected Dedication

A massive sculpture is installed downtown to commemorate the Ojai bear, and remembers another to me unexpectedly.

March: Blogging the End That is the Beginning

A friend who passed away this year started a blog near the end of his life to share his revelations.
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