her transformation of this fear….

“There are only five letters in this volume written by Plath during her hospitalization, between August and December, 1953; the longest is to [Edward] Cohen. The details she gives him of her breakdown and suicide attempt are familiar, for the same things would surface a decade later in her novel, ‘The Bell Jar,’ which was published pseudonymously just before her death. The tone, however, is quite removed from that book’s sarcasm:

“‘I need more than anything right now what is, of course, most impossible; someone to love me, to be with me at night when I wake up shuddering in horror and fear of the cement tunnels leading down to the shock room, to comfort me with an assurance that no psychiatrist can quite manage to convey.’

“Plath’s sense of vulnerability here is acute. What would become remarkable in her writing is her transformation of this fear into a voice that sounds inviolable and resolute.”

Anwen Crawford – The Letters of Sylvia Plath and the Transformation of a Poet’s Voice New Yorker – 12/10/17

good advice for poets

“…try to read the journals where you are submitting (The Southern Review and many journals are now available through Project Muse, so it’s more convenient to peruse the literary landscape) to get a sense of what they might and what they probably will not publish in terms of style or subject matter. If they’ve published a poem about drive-in theaters or quantum theory in the past couple of issues, they probably aren’t going to be ready to publish more on those subjects for awhile, no matter how good the poems may be.”


Dailies 12/13/17


Mariama J. Lockington – aria

white-throat sparrows/full of note/netted in the eventide/voices
sawing the trees/fragile little bodies/tracing frantic circles
             not understanding/what we must all come to accept/not one day
Read rest of poem 



Carla Kirchner  – Gravity

“Reports of the death of supergravity are exaggerations.”
—Stephen Hawking

They’ve taken away Pluto.
San Francisco is lost to fog. I’ve forgotten
much of what I learned in second grade.

Read rest of poem 




Adonis – 7. Tempted by Nothing: A Song

I do not believe the mind of the crowd
I believe in light—
radiating, penetrating, pointing a direction.

Read rest of poem 



Poetry Diary: very tired. Experiencing 


Donald Justice 

It smiles to see me
Still in my bathrobe.
It sits in my lap
And will not let me rise.

Read rest of poem 


Dailies 12/12/17


Poetry Diary 1:


Hilda Morley

This season for us, the Jews—
a season of candles,
 *****************one more
on the seven-branched candlestick for
the seven days of the week,



Billy-Ray Belcourt – The Cree Word For a Body Like Mine is Weesageechak

the cree word for a body like mine is weesageechak. the old ones know
of this kind of shape-shifting: sometimes i sweat and sweat until my
bones puddle on the carpet in my living room and i am like the water
that comes before new life.

Read rest of poem 



Raymond McDaniel – The Commons

The revenge I wanted to take was not an eye for an eye

but for an eye, a mind.

The opposite of property is theft, but so is property.

Property requires the occupation of space by matter.

Read rest of poem 



Rodney Jones – The Watergate

For most in the United States the word brings a phase
when mortars in Vietnam still whistled around them
and the scandal of Nixon and his Machiavellian buds
poured from the news into their subconscious—I see
Read rest of poem 



Poetry Diary 2:

Roy Moore: not a good poet. Follow this link to read how important poets critique his poetry.  And (as I found out while blogging tonight) not a senator.  

Rudolph – the story of an underdog, written by an underdog

“The year was 1939, the Great Depression was waning and a manager at Montgomery Ward in Chicago decided that the store should create its own children’s book for the annual holiday promotion.

“The boss tapped Robert L. May, an ad man for the store, to take a crack at a story. May was a hit at holiday parties for his way with limericks and parodies. But May didn’t see himself as a winner. He had always felt like a bit of an outcast, and, at 35, he felt he was far from reaching his potential, pounding out catalog copy instead of writing the Great American Novel as he had always dreamed he would.

“He came back with the story of an underdog, red-nosed reindeer who was in the right place at the right time — just when Santa needed a reindeer with exceptional skills. 

“‘Can’t you come up with anything better?’ the boss asked, according to a May’s 1975 telling in a story published in the Gettysburg Times.”

Read more: 

Writing ‘Rudolph’: The Original Red-Nosed Manuscript – Jessica Pupovac – NPR – 12/25/13

An old but good piece. I’m fascinated by this story because it’s about a wildly “popular” poem. Ronald D. Lankford Jr.’s book on the subject is also quite good….


more on the popularity of Plum parodies

What the “Plums” Meme Has to Say About How Poetry Can Work on the Internet– Mark Sussman – Slate – 12/12/17

“Poets and English teachers sometimes lament that poetry isn’t popular. What they seem to mean is that not a lot of people buy books of poetry or read poems at all outside of the classroom. But the cold plums meme suggests that ‘poetry in the age of Twitter’ may not mean 280 character poems. In an essay on poetry and pop music, Michael Robbins writes that, ‘A pop song is a popular song, one that some ideal ‘everybody’ knows or could know. Its form lends itself to communal participation.’ In that sense, the cold plums meme is poetry going pop. Not in the sense that you’ll hear it on the radio. You’ll hear it in the street, but only if you live on the internet, and only if you sing along.”


Dailies 12/11/17


 Galway Kinnell – When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone

When one has lived a long time alone,
one refrains from swatting the fly
and lets him go, and one is slow to strike
the mosquito, though more than willing to slap
the flesh under her, and one hoists the toad

Read rest of poem 


 Lisa Olstein  – Cinders Of

Never before have I found airplanes
or the blinking red eyes of hundred-story
cranes so beautiful, LA People
eating and drinking and glowing

Read rest of poem 




Susan Barba – Exhibit 1

Start with a base map, unlabeled terrain,
in shaded green and ochre, nude relief,
cool continental mass bathing in blue,
a face whose features now are visible,
Read rest of poem 



Poetry Calendar. I can’t remember whether I ever had an Advent Calendar as a kid, but I’m enjoying watching my own kid open the one we got him. It’s not as sad an experience as Schnackenberg has w/her own, thankfully….


Gjertrud Schnackenberg 

Bethlehem in Germany,
Glitter on the sloping roofs,
Breadcrumbs on the windowsills,
Candles in the Christmas trees,

Make Emily Dickinson’s “Black Cake” for the holidays! It uses 19 eggs & weighs almost 20 lbs.

“It’s fairly common knowledge these days that everyone’s first favorite poet Emily Dickinson was also no slouch in the kitchen. In fact, as others have pointed out, in her lifetime she was almost certainly more famous for being a baker than she was for being a poet. Her creative and culinary works even seem to have influenced one another—or at least she worked on a number of poems in the kitchen, while she worked. So it’s no surprise that the Dickinson family recipes—a few of which have survived—fascinate the faithful. At least, I know that personally I decide to make one of them every year (only to become daunted or otherwise forget). So in case you’d like to impress everyone you know by arriving at your next seasonal gathering with a picnic basket full of Emily Dickinson-approved recipes (and especially if you have a boat full of eggs you need to unload), here are a few recipes to choose from.”


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