The Air’s Home [by Joanna Fuhrman & Toni Simon]

“The Air’s Home” is part of a larger mixed-media serial poem—a book length project that Toni and I are working on. Toni makes small-scale paper sculptures of Egyptian deities, and we take pictures of them interacting with various settings around New York City. For this section of the project, we had Toni’s model of Bastet visit Gins and Arakawa’s Reversible Destiny Studio, so we view it as collaboration not just with each other but with Gins and Arakawa. We hope it serves as a tribute to their important, beautiful work.

We first visited and took pictures at the Reversible Destiny studio in 2011, and then went back last year after Madeline’s death to reshoot some of the images. On our last visit, the ankh (the ancient symbol of eternal life) dropped off and stayed behind at the studio—perhaps a sign of Gins’ lingering presence. To read more about Gins and Arakawa and the Reversible Destiny Foundation’s work envisioning an architecture to defeat death, please visit: reversibledestiny.org.

—Joanna Fuhrman

 

CONTRIBUTORS

JOANNA FUHRMAN‘s fifth book The Year Of Yellow Butterflies has just been released by Hanging Loose Press. For more see: Joannafuhrman.com.

TONI SIMON is a multi-media artist living in Brooklyn. Her illustrated book Earth After Earth was published by Lunar Chandelier Press in 2012. For more see: tonisimonart@blogspot.com.

 

WHO WE WRITE FOR [by M.G. Stephens]

I am writing another essay in the form of a blog. Who is it for? Well, myself, I suppose, and anyone else who shares my obsessions or interests, i.e., I would probably write this even if no one was going to read it except myself. This explains my notebooks, which are not really for anyone but myself, at least at this time. When I am gone, someone might have an interest in my notebooks, but certainly not in my lifetime. I can barely get anyone to read a poem much less an essay or a short story, a novel or a memoir. This is the world we live in, where 140 characters is about all anyone can handle. So I like to think of Henry Adams and what he said; he only had around five hundred readers, he claimed. But they were the best five hundred readers in the world!

My writing isn’t shaped by prizes and awards either. I don’t really care if the committee at some foundation or other doesn’t like what I do or if what I write makes them uncomfortable. If my writing makes anyone uncomfortable, then I am doing my job. When I used to teach, I often began the semester by telling the students that I was not there to verify their prejudices; I was there to challenge their assumptions. This is probably even truer when I write. But saying that, I need quickly add that my writing is not there to insult or degrade minorities, other genders from my own, different age groups, ethnic persons, or anyone else who might be deemed “the other.” If my writing doesn’t offend the established orders, then I have failed as a writer, just as that same writing should give some comfort to the outcast and forgotten in our world. It is a tall order, and maybe just an ideal that can’t be implemented, but it is from those ideals that one puts pen to paper and lets the linear progression begin.

Though I am by nationality both American and Irish, very few people mistake me for being Irish, including most Irish people. I am often thought of as the other. In Ireland I sound American; in America people bizarrely think I’m English. In England, I am thought of as a Yank. By now, after more than fourteen years of living in London, I have what is called in linguistic circles a Midlantic accent, something that is a cross between a British and an American accent, but in fact is neither one. There are exceptions to what I’m saying. When I run into my Irish relatives in London, they certainly don’t question my Irishness, although they do think I have a rather unusual accent. Why don’t I speak with a brogue? they sometimes ask. Well, that’s simple enough to answer; I don’t speak with a brogue because, although I am Irish by nationality, I have spent very little time in Ireland.

I mention all this because I think it has a lot to do with how I write and even what I write about and who I write for and why I write at all. How I write has a lot to do with my two nationalities. I have American cadences in my writing, but my sensibility has been shaped by Irish literature, the biggest influence on me of any other national literature. In fact, I am most Irish when I write, and am almost never Irish in my own life. I don’t sound Irish in my life or my writing, but that is because I often try to thwart the lyrical in my prose, believing that being lyrical is almost too easy to do if you are Irish, is almost a national curse, if you will. Some of Ireland’s greatest writers tamped down this urge to create the great prose and poetry they did produce. Samuel Beckett is just such an Irish writer; his prose came into its own when he abandoned any of the old lyrical strategies that were found in his early works, such as Murphy, Watt, and More Pricks than Kicks. It was with the commencement of his trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable) that Beckett came into his own as one of the great Irish prose writers. He went from being a typically lyrical Irish writer to being a spare, unadorned French one. C’etait parfait.

Who I write for has something to do with how I write and what I write about, and it might also explain why I write. I have always identified myself as a Catholic anarchist, having done this since my early twenties when I first met Dorothy Day by chance on East 1st Street in the East Village of downtown Manhattan in the 1960s. Ms. Day was the essence of a Catholic anarchist, leftist in her thinking, politically and socially engaged, antiwar, a great believer in helping the downtrodden, and a bit of a rebel too. It was only with the advent of Pope Francis’ pontificate that people have begun to understand what being a Catholic anarchist means. Francis has said that he too is a Catholic anarchist, and when he spoke to the U.S. Congress, he alluded to two people who are the American saints of Catholic anarchy—Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

I write because it is the best thing I do as a human being. I was a fairly good basketball player as a kid, but I was never a great player, even with a really good jump shot that rarely missed when I shot the ball. I also boxed, but again my boxing was good enough to get me seriously hurt. I once taught, but teaching was not my gift, writing was. I wrote as a journalist, but invariably I got in trouble for taking liberties that nowadays are totally accepted. But back then when I got into trouble with an editor or copy editor, I was kicked out of there precipitately. I liked baking, but again I was not a baker, just someone who baked once in a while. I liked painting, but there were others far more colorful, more expressive; and my love of music, which is considerable, was not enough to make me a musician. Writing was it.

Today writing often involves really superficial markers that determine how well known a writer will become. Where did she go to school? Who did she study with? Where is his work published? Who has given him blurbs? These questions evolve into other ones, such as, where does he or she teach and where has that person gotten grants. I have been fortunate, at least when younger, to teach in some of the best writing programs. Likewise I have degrees from some really great places. I have ten letters after my name! Though I grew up in great poverty, I have more than made up for my lack of finances to become an incredibly well educated person. Where I taught reflected that education too.

When I was younger, I was awarded some grants, though never the big ones, the National Endowment ones or the Guggenheim; these awards have passed me by, although I still occasionally apply for them. I made an application for a Guggenheim this year, and have gotten to the second and third rounds. I’m going to be seventy years old in a few months, so the likelihood of ever getting such a grant becomes slimmer and slimmer. But there are still literary awards to be won, although most prizes nowadays require fees to enter them. One of the highest paying awards in the US is the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, given by Claremont Graduate University in California. I think it is around one hundred thousand dollars, and it is one of the few prizes whose winners are poets I have read, heard of, and even know, making it somewhat unusual. Past winners have included Chase Twichell, whom I taught with at Princeton University back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Afaa Michael Weaver, whom I taught with at New York University (NYU) back in the 1990s. Both are very good poets.

I hadn’t published a book of poems in many years, not since the Nineties; but earlier this year I published a book of short poems entitled Occam’s Razor (2015). I published the book myself, under the First Person Books imprint. Self-publishing is a time-honored way of publishing poetry, and I am a fairly seasoned writer, having published my first book with E. P. Dutton in New York more than forty years ago when I was in my mid-twenties. I’ve also published a memoir with Random House, and books of essays with good university presses (Southern Illinois and Georgia), one of which won the AWP award in creative nonfiction. My fiction and poetry have been published by good small presses from Dalkey Archive to Hanging Loose Press, and I’ve published a memoir with Hazelden in Minnesota because it was a book about recovery and the family. I have an advanced degree in writing from Yale University, where my thesis advisor was a Nobel Prize winner for his poetry, and I graduated in the top of my class in writing; I also have a doctorate on poetry from a British university. I had published eighteen books before this one appeared. I am not a beginner writer certainly. My previous books had been praised by writers as diverse as Seamus Heaney and Frank McCourt, Paul Auster and Russell Banks, Hettie Jones and Maureen Howard, Hubert Selby, Jr. and Richard Gilman.

When I sent off my book of poetry to the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, I didn’t so much think I could win this award so much as they would at least take me a little bit seriously. Maybe I could make a few cuts, as I sometimes do with grants and awards, and then be jettisoned towards the end. Not long after I sent off the eight copies of the book which were required to enter the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, I received a letter from Claremont, along with the return of my books. Here is what the letter said:

Thank you for submitting Occam’s Razor for the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. However, because only full-length volumes (a full-length volume of poetry is generally understood to be 48+ pages in length) are eligible for the award I am returning your submission. When you publish a full-length title, we hope that you will consider submitting it to the Tufts Poetry Awards.

I have deposited this letter under a file labeled Irony. I had purposely designed my book to resemble little books from the alternate press I remembered from my youth on the Lower East Side in the 1960s. And I didn’t number the pages either. All the poems were quite short, most just a few lines long. They are poems that had been published in good little magazines, including Gargoyle, Exquisite Corpse, Qarrtsiluni, and the South Boston Literary Gazette, among others. One poem about President Obama was published online in the Chicago Tribune, in fact, it was the lead poem to honor the President upon his first election.

Occam’s Razor consists of 137 poems, and the book is actually 60 pages long. That is 12 pages longer than what the Tufts award committee generally understands to be a full-length volume of poetry. Someone at the Kingsley Tufts award decided that my book didn’t look like a full-length book, so they rejected it without actually checking to see how many poems there were and how many pages comprised the book. It is what happens to the majority of poetry books which are submitted to awards or grant-giving organizations. It is what happens when your work is deemed to be not on the inside looking out, but peering into the dance hall from an outside window. It is not fair, and yet no one ever said that poetry awards were fair. It is just how these things are done. It is also called the same old same old or business as usual. Am I crazy to think that poetry should have a higher standard?

 

 

 

 

MG Stephens

M. G. Stephens is the author of eighteen books, including the novel The Brooklyn Book of the Dead (“a great, great book,” says Roddy Doyle), and the essay collection Green Dreams, which Joyce Carol Oates picked as one of the notable nonfiction books of the 20th century in Best American Essays of the Century.

4 Poems [by Lea Graham]

Namecouth, (adj.) known by name; well-known, famous; notorious (rare).

Let’s say Maurice the Pants Man or
Rizutti’s Good Night Café what used
to be Old Billy’s Lounge now charred

on Millbury Street down from what was
once Stony O’Brien’s where your Gram
used to sit with her boyfriends into

her 60s, drinking gin & giving
you & your brother & sister
quarters for the jukebox, now called

Nick’s (cuz Vincent & Nicole are so
in love, says Captain Bob). Let’s say
the Greyhound that used to be

Rafferty’s & before that a name
I can’t pronounce in Gaelic & where
they say the Baker was blown & shat

that girl & I wonder which corner
or john & how much stench that place,
that dark place where we all go to watch

the World Cup with Richie Scales,
Allie Bombz, Bells & Whistles—
Everyone, you tell me, has another

name or several, better known than
their own: Giant Jesus & Baby
Jesus, Husky Jay & Bakery Joe,

Trojan Mick & Pacman Pat, Lord Pork,
Fat Ron, Polish Stosh & the Warrior.
Even in Texas, Michael mentions

“the Vernon” to Sue, his liquor
store gal from the Woo, who gives him
the thousand mile stare. She says,

Bucket o’ Blood & We were told
to look away, cross ourselves
& the street when passing that place.










“Because We Can’t Paint Flowers & Reclining Nudes & People Playing the Cello Anymore”

Thanks, Barnett Newman. As if we ever could here in America. The Island
once called “Scalpintown.” Kelley Square’s “Sacrifice Division.” Dimey beers
or hot baths for a nickel. The Nines voted “best crack.” A grafittied whale breaches

off the Vernon’s east wall, witness to the goings. White City’s alligators shot
basking on Tattasit. The Zip destroyed in fire. The Barrel auctioned to Cork.
There’s Providence to the south. Rumors of tunnels. Bathsheba Spooner hung

with child, buried under a rock near the road to Green Hill’s tool shed.
Kunitz’s father stilled on a bench across from the Greek church, carbolic acid in
Hand among the elms of Elm Park. The ghost of my own little dog still barking.











Poetics of the Scratched Patron

For Garin Cycholl

If Matthew O’Leary call 911!
A universe withdrawn to corners,
miniaturizing or what bears the mark

of infinity. Lana Do-Ya-Wanna,
always in our daydreams, the house protects
the dreamer. For dealing in the john, Richie,

this cosmos of the half-open. How we
take root, day after day, in a corner
of the world, Carol No-Teeth, before out-

spread fields & daring Lisa B. “The Leach”
to daring associations. Round cries,
Bum Tommy, of round being. Alive,

contradictions accumulate. Bobbie
Serve- At-Your- Own-Risk’s intimacy or
imagined as a vertical being

with increased intensity. Doyle—the fat
one, subject to dispersions. The mind loses,
Big-Jugs-Jeanie, its geometric

homeland. None other, CC & Hang, of
a wine deep sea. Larry & Steve the-Human-
Ferris-Wheel imagining degrees in

unity or Nelly “the Canolli”
fighting Jonny Mumbles under the sky’s
cupola, this curdled quiet trembles

before Al’s buddy, Damien, sensing
a square’s stability or what depth these
echoes, Giant Tony, seems memory’s

refuge. The simpler the image, Georgie
“for swearing at bartenders,” the vaster
this dream. Recalls songs, charms, pure threshold

 









Song of Bakery Joe

I drive through other people’s dreams.
Lilac & rudbeckia in rinsed-out brandy

bottles for the ladies when I can, rye,
pumpernickel, you-name-it until noon

at the Vernon leaving day-olds for regulars
to do something nice ya know cuz it never hurt

nobody where I go to write poems to Our Lady
of the Dollar Draft, Venus of the Blackstone,

her sweet-smiling Keno screens bring luck,
rest before song—sweet   

 sha-da-da-da   dream sha-da-da-da
baby…









Lea

Lea Graham is the author of the forthcoming chapbook, This End of the World: Notes to Robert Kroetsch (Apt. 9 Press, 2016), the poetry book, Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You (No Tell Books, 2011) and the chapbook, Calendar Girls (above /ground press, 2006). Her poems, translations and reviews have been published in Notre Dame Review, Southern Humanities Review and Fifth Wednesday. She is a contributing editor for Atticus Review’s feature, “Boo’s Hollow,” which showcases poets’ writing on place.  She is an Associate Professor of English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

3 Poems [by Terence Winch]

The End of the World Polka

 

There is a story about a ghost   who knelt in the attic with his

mouth open, his tongue hanging out,

and even the wind was frightened

of him, and even the moon and stars

were frightened of him. He could extract

all the wisdom out of everyone in the house

and devour all the holiness and knowledge

that ever hath been embedded in the hearts

of all who dwelt in that dark place

of pestilence. Oh, who would ever deny it?

Who would have enough air to inhale

the necessary antidotes of fierce courage

and forbidden thoughts of everlastingness?

 

The constellations wink and the deep and terrifying dark of the unthinkable

universe, the one, you know, that keeps expanding further and further out

into the farthest reaches of the tiny molecule that is the actual universe

wherein all the other

supposedly infinite universes reside,

that deep and terrifying dark

releases its hot, uptown electricity

into the cosmic, comic fallen world of light, where people get married,

daughters talk back to their fathers,

and one spidery ding in the windshield

spreads everywhere throughout the kingdom

until the ground cracks open

and the priests fall in to their doom.

 

 

 

Irish Town

 

The drunken girls are in the ocean.
When they come out it will be time for Mass
and communion at St. Camillus. Our souls
are scrubbed clean by now, though we eye
their lovely curves outlined in tight white skirts.

There are no strangers here. We are all immigrants
to the 20th century and we learn time
with our feet. We can smell the music
like the new mown meadows of the homeland.
Over here, we have too much to eat
but never enough to fill us up.

We talk incessantly in our sleep
and we are always asleep. Our dreams
are ridiculous cartoons about monsters
that nonetheless wake us with our own screams.
We are stupid about love, dumb about sex,
and captured for life by the rapture of loss.

 

 

 

Incidents of Travel in the Minivan  

 

I wake up in a car park at the airport
in Darbytown, a medium-sized city
125 miles from Wellington, New Zealand.
I have only just landed, and it is a
beautiful, sparkling day. I find myself

Sitting behind the wheel of my rental
van, consulting a map, when the only
other motorist in the car park, a few
spaces away, yells over to me, “Hey,
mate, there’s a condor on your roof.
Best beware.” As you probably know

Condors are about as big as the average
sized man, and they are known to
snatch drivers right out of their cars,
who are never seen again. I immediately
hit the button to close the window

And that’s when I hear it. The condor
growling like a mad dog, angry
that I have closed the window before he
can grab me and make off with his prey.
Until then, I did not know a bird could growl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TW Dec 2014

Terence Winch’s most recent books are This Way Out (Hanging Loose Press, 2014), Lit from Below (Salmon Poetry [Ireland], 2013), and Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor (Hanging Loose, 2011). He has received various awards and honors, including an American Book Award, an NEA grant, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing.

Poem [by Vincent Katz]

Mais Suave Igualmente Eficaz

 

I saw something on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana
photophilia an all-white showroom called Arpoador

adesivos personalizados envelopamento dos veiculos
and just off Avenida Atlantica:

bikinis yellow umbrellas beach chairs abandoned facing ocean
two fishing boats anchored

rock islands shooting up out of plane
cloud tumults blue harbored in midst of streaks dark hovering

thought I saw a shrine to bespectacled poet of Rio
but it was only a figure of public interest

two girls in black bikinis far away and long ago bend to consider wares
of beach vendor, then don their street apparel, white

young men with wide chests, exposed elderly women free in sidestreet breeze
dumptruck full of earth and rocks, dripping brown water on mosaics

Cariocas afraid rain will damage leather or imitation-leather
their frame of mind, ultimate desire to go to beach

no one believes sitting on a beach in the rain could be a good thing,
as on Long Island, or Maine, or other places we have attempted it

good we were able to forget those
attempters of life-structuring, our lives in particular, which brook no structure

our lives must fall, as yellow petals fall to mosaics, in rhythms which turn
discotheques to museums, museums to bookstores, bookstores to rain

endless walking in front of beach looking walking mountains loom
voracious mouth of violence glutted but is now sorriso of banjo player

endless bodies of looking, comparison in front of beach,
in front as day slips from noon to afternoon

in everyone’s biography, one mysterious detail: they all die
of all geniuses who lived, hasn’t one figured out how not to die?

life in this moment, siren breaking through
in two-pitch whine, waking from mid-life slumber

see things few see — parts of lives —
tiny silhouette across jumping into lighted space

light sectors in darkened building sit and watch, decide
not unimportant, not nothing, but

everything happening we are gifted with
possibility of any moment

how can clouds be white against dark sky?
how can person be ready for trip from one continent to another?

lying on beach in mid-city, looking up,
seeing one single illuminated point in all the darkness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vincent-katz

Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, and critic. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, two books of translation, and his art criticism has been published in numerous books, catalogues, and journals. He is the editor of Black Mountain College: Experiement In Art, published by MIT Press in 2002 and reprinted in 2013.  He is the author of The Complete Elegies Of Sextus Propertius (Princeton, 2004), Alcuni Telefonini, a collaboration with painter Francesco Clemente published by Granary Books, and One-Liners, a chapbook from Faux Press.  He was the publisher of the poetry and arts journal VANITAS during its 10-year run and continues to publish Libellum books.  He curates the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia Chelsea and is on the staff of the MFA Program in Art Criticism and Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he has taught the courses “The Poet As Critic” and “Investigating Interdisciplinarity.” This poem above is from his upcoming book Swimming Home.

 

 

 

 

Poem [by Vincent Katz]

 

A walking way; a people.
Body grimace, affect; orange.
Butts, faces, guts; trimness.
        Movement, pause.

Sun red ball; sliver moon.
Endless traffic; sky haze.
Skyscraper; low-lying house.
        Garden; enormous.

Silent over jungle; hours.
Back and forth; border.
Sleep sitting wait; possible.
        Impossible.

Far below, clouds; float.
Shadows on ocean; below.
Light of sun; endless.
        Ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

vincent-katz
Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, and critic. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, two books of translation, and his art criticism has been published in numerous books, catalogues, and journals. He is the editor of Black Mountain College: Experiement In Art, published by MIT Press in 2002 and reprinted in 2013.  He is the author of The Complete Elegies Of Sextus Propertius (Princeton, 2004), Alcuni Telefonini, a collaboration with painter Francesco Clemente published by Granary Books, and One-Liners, a chapbook from Faux Press.  He was the publisher of the poetry and arts journal VANITAS during its 10-year run and continues to publish Libellum books.  He curates the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia Chelsea and is on the staff of the MFA Program in Art Criticism and Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he has taught the courses “The Poet As Critic” and “Investigating Interdisciplinarity.” This poem above is from his upcoming book Swimming Home.

SOME THOUGHTS ON POETRY IN THE NEOTERIC AGE [by M.G. Stephens]

Poetry is like a tropical rain forest; it is nothing but sex and death.

The gender of poetry is feminine, and so is its voice and its moods.

The color of poetry is black, but also blue.

The nature of poetry is to be energized and dynamic.

Poetry enters the room quivering, and exits with great fanfare.

In between the beginning and the ending, poetry dances.

It does not matter if poetry’s dance is fast or slow, although it seems best as a tango.

Poetry stares at its audience, silently wondering how it got here.

The name of poetry is still being debated in backrooms around the world.

Naming was poetry’s first assignment.

Yet poetry usually fails to name itself.

Most people would not know a poem if even it bit them on their ass.

It is advised to wear protection when having sex with a poem.

The poem of its time has not arrived at the literary party yet.

I am a prose writer in love with poetry.

I have only known one or two poets, but I have known thousands of people who write poems.

A poem invariably lightens a room, even a gloomy poem, especially in a gloomy room.

The poem is never the straw that broke the camel’s back. A poem lightens your load.

To be a poem, words are needed. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess what else is required.

You have no doubt heard of language poets. I am a poet searching for my language. I hope I never end this search because I don’t intend to find anything

A nonverbal poet is a dancer, not a poet. A visual poet is a painter, not a poet. A poet’s poet is an oxymoron or perhaps I simply mean a moron.

The baseball pitcher whose form intrigues us is another matter than poetry. This is true for basketball and football players too. The boxer who moves gracefully around a ring is not a poet. There is no such thing as a poet in sports unless, on the side, that athlete actually writes poetry. Otherwise she is not a poet; she is an athlete.

If a poet assassinated the 47 richest people in America, the so-called 1%, all of them billionaires many times over, the world would be a better place for poetry and everything else.

The death of poetry is its beginning, not its end. The birth of poetry is its end.

I am not a poet but I read a lot of poetry. I am a prose writer, i.e., I am a liar.

Poetry has the longest feet in the room.

If a poem breathes, run for your life.

If a poem talks to you, this is a sign of schizophrenia. Speak to a doctor.

If a poem goes out for a walk, let it go alone.

If you fall in love with a poem, don’t expect it to reciprocate.

If a poem makes you feel spiritual, consider it a blasphemous utterance.

Poetry cannot swim. Do not expect it to float if it falls overboard on a love boat.

Assignations are poetry’s way of giving you an assignment.

If your grandmother tries to talk you out of being a poet, listen to your grandmother.

If your mother tells you that poetry is for knuckleheads, believe her.

If a teacher tells you that you are a poet, question her authority.

Poets are liars, horse thieves, bandits, brigands, highway robbers, usual suspects, persons of interest, even murderers and arsonists. A good person being a poet is as rare as a good scone.

What is deeper, a poem or a well? A well.

How long is a poem? Several feet. What else is needed? Four boards and a passion.

Poetry rarely makes sense of anything. The better a poem the more likely it is as useless as an old shoe.

Poems start on the left, moving to the right, line by line, left to right. Is there not any other way to render a poem?

A great poem always starts on time.

Have you noticed that when poems break down, they are like old refrigerators? It is the compressor that has failed.

Poetry rides in with banners flowing in the wind. It is full of promises which rarely are kept. Poetry is full of broken promises. It is the nature of the beast. Poetry rides out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered. Beware the poem.

I have wasted most of my life contemplating, reading and writing poetry. But to what avail? To no avail.

Poetry is like an oven that has become overheated and cannot cool down. It is very good on a cold, damp night to warm the bones. Baking bread however in the poem is ill advised. Bread burns in such an oven.

When poetry walks naked into a room, no one is there to greet it. A fully dressed poem is one that poets, scholars, critics, and teachers wants to strip naked and vilify for its extravagances. You can’t win if you are a great poem.

Poetry is like a naked poet at the book signing.

A naked poem gyrating in the middle of the floor at the bookshop. Six people were there to witness this event. None of them were believed afterwards.

I once smoked a poem. But I did not inhale it.

I once drank a poem, but I got so drunk, I can’t remember anything.

I have had a lifelong affair with poetry. My affair with a poet is even longer. The affair with the poem ended many years ago.

What poem is it? It’s just gone four o’clock.

Where are we in this poem—New York or London? Actually we are on the third stanza, which is located about the middle of the page.

All poetry is political, especially poems that espouse no political agenda.

All poetry is lunatic. That is why poets are obsessed by the moon, although I once painted over a thousand paintings of the moon, and only a handful of poems about it. Go figure.

A love poem is rarely about love or poetry. Once in a lifetime a poet writes a love poem.

I am not a poet, I am a human bean. Plant me and I will grow to amazing, even dizzying, heights. If you plant a poem, it lay fallow for years. Sometimes, though, a word tree grows, and poets may pick things from its branches for their poems.

Poets rarely write poetry. Poetry is usually written by janitors and maids, though sometimes handmaidens of poetry come along.

The handmaidens of poetry often work in their spare time as hand models.

She was not a poet but a fashion model. It was believed that she looked like a poet. No poet who ever lived looked like a hand model or any other kind of model.

Poetry, like prose, often contradicts itself, thus proving that a poem need not be consistent in order to be a poem.

A friend once said to me: Poetry is calling it a day.

I would call such a poem something other than a day. Perhaps it reminds me more of the dawn.

Immortality is something that no poet need concern herself with. All poets, by their natures, are not only fallible and inconsistent, they are also mortal. Immortals do not write poetry.

The death of the poet is only her beginning.

Poems die every day, and even become extinct, never to be heard from again. I mourn these deaths daily. Do you?

The poet is like the artist working from a life model. If someone sits naked in a room with the poet, poetry comes of this journey the same way a drawing or painting emerges from a studio working under similar conditions.

The poem is like an apple pie cooking in a kitchen window. Its smell attracts the tramps.

All my life I have wanted to be two things: a poet and a tramp. I have succeeded at one of those enterprises quite successfully.

I have been exposed to poetry, and poetry has been exposed to me.

Poetry has thrown in the towel. That makes this particular poem a technical knockout.

Poetry is doing pushups in the other room. I hate when poetry does this.

When poetry lurches into my home, I am often sleeping. I get my best ideas for poetry when I am dreaming. Sometimes I wake up with a poem fully formed in my head. I simply get up and sit down to write it in a notebook. In some respects, I should not put my name to such poems. More accurately anonymous wrote these poems.

What is the difference between a poet and road-kill? There are skid marks in front of the road-kill.

If poetry hears me saying these things, it covers its ears. Thus I have no influence upon how poetry develops. It has a mind of its own.

I once read a poem that has stayed with me for more than fifty years. Who wrote this poem? What is it called? Try to guess.

If poetry is like riding a bicycle, remember to wear a helmet the next time you attempt to write a poem. Don’t get a wedgie on the bicycle seat either.

All poetry fails.

All poems are failures.

All poets are failures.

Before there are words, there is a rhythm in the head that we associate with poetry. This rhythm is filled with failure in its very structure. To fail is a poems ultimate strength.

That is why I love poetry; there is nothing in it for me.

The emptier the poem, the greater its pleasure. I long for a poem of pure and complete silence.

I long for a poem at the top of the tree, like a bird perched on a branch.

I long for a long drink of poetry in the middle of the night to allay the terror and the fear of existence.

Poetry reveals nothing, has no accomplices, expects nothing in return, challenges so little, has stakes that are so insignificant that it is a wonder that anyone cares about it.

A poet told me that she was pregnant with a poem. But then she had an abortion. Years later she gave birth to a memoir about this experience.

The poet is a prose writer too lazy to write.

Poets are people of few words. If a poet’s head is filled with words, she is probably really a prose writer.

The fewer the words in the head the likelier a poet is going to locate the truest rhythm of what the poem is.

Poetry quits in the middle of the game because of its dream concerning the wreckage of the future.

This is the neoteric age after all. In the neoteric age the art of poetry will be forsaken on a cross between two thieves.

Neoteric art resembles other arts in that its poems employ words. All other resemblance to the past is false.

Neoteric art is not coming to a movie theatre near you.

Neoteric art has no undercoat or underpinnings. But it does wear underpants. They are blue. They are pink. They are green. They are floral. They are stained. The stain is not likely to come out.

Academics already hate neoteric art and it has only just now started.

Poets need to assassinate academics after killing the 47 richest people in America. It is the only way that poetry is going to survive in the neoteric age.

The neoteric age is upon us. I still write in a notebook first, using a fountain pen. I don’t advise anyone else to follow this formula. I am not a practitioner of the neoteric. I am simply the messenger. Hands up, don’t shoot.

Neoteric art is yet another artistic bamboozlement.

Art is bullshit, and neoteric art is no different. Neoteric art is bullshit. What all the arts have in common is a long streak of bullshit.

I invented neoteric art right here in the early 21st century. No one knew what legs it would have. No one realized how erotic it all was. No one quite knew what it was at first—until it was too late.

Neoteric art breaks from the past after a long embrace—the kiss of death.

Neoteric equals 21st century and beyond, the new millennium, its long breath.

The poem quivers in a corner in its stark meat-lust beauty.

Poetry calls out across the neoteric frontier. If no one hears it, it really does not matter.

The neoteric age is anarchist in its ideals; filled with a sense of social justice; is spiritual by nature; omnisexual; is both a community and an isolated utterance.

The intercourse of the neoteric: sex is another way to put it.

The neoteric boat is like the neoteric bicycle. It may appear like the old boat or bicycle. But there all similarities dissolve. The difference between the modern (or even the postmodern) and the neoteric is a sea change, like day and night, chalk and cheese.

Like love, a poem appears, poetry appears, often unexpectedly, often without any warning.

Poetry is like a kite floating in the sky high above our heads, coasting on the wind.

Poetry is like sunlight and rain, like dish soap and vitamins, like longeurs and lozenges.

Poetry is—neoteric at its root.

Neoteric poetry is a contradiction, a counter-indication, a valence. It is a benediction.

Neoteric poetry resembles nothing so much as a mountain lion loose in a downtown area.

Neoteric poetry scans.

Neoteric poetry coheres.

Neoteric art blossoms like a blister on the lower lip.

Neoteric art reads like a poem but looks like prose. It reads like prose despite its meter.

In the neoteric age, the meteoric rise of meter was not anticipated.

The meteoric rise of meter is like the gold rush. Prospectors appear on every street corner. Despite the gold in their pockets, they have no teeth. Despite their prosperity, they are tramps.

To be neoteric is to be contemporary but in a farsighted way.

Expect resistance to the neoteric. All such movements meet old-guard resistance.

The neoteric age is an ideal, a paradigm, it is not the everyday but rather the extraordinary found almost every day.

The paradigm of the future will be neoteric.