Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Give thinks

In about a month, the new site will be up. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to work everything (if anyone knows how to use drupal, I am ready to be schooled) but at the very least I'll just steal some blog architecture and build the new magazine that way.

So I haven't read much poetry lately -- other than the poems I've been forced to teach my students (really, who makes these awful "literature" workbooks?), but I find myself wondering how to construct my next poetic project.

I'm planning to write a long narrative poem (big surprise there) about Korean War POWs. The problem, the one I (and Milton) always find in English poetry is how to construct the thing. The last lengthy narrative I wrote was in a bluesy sort of Beowulf-like meter that was far more accentual than accentual-syllabic. It was surely fun, and I've used it in my stalled fairy-tale project (retelling a dozen fairy tales without magic), but I'm thinking the Korean pieces will be shorter (the previous poem is 2,000 ish lines long and divided into 6 sections and the fairly tales are about 400 lines each) by an order of magnitude (about 30-40 lines). With something this short, I'm tempted to use rhyme as well


rhyme is so dangerous in American poetry. It can be gotten away with in song, because all songs are a little bit silly (or playful? better term?). I'd like to embrace the ludic in these lines but, geez, I'm talking about brainwashing and the collapse of humanity and all -- heavy -- and I'm wondering if the rhyme will trivialize it.

So I'm debating a few things -- the first is to look at some popular lyrics of the late 1940s and very early 1950s (you know, pre-rock) and play with the way they rhymed, this often involves a lot of internal rhyme and slant rhyme (assonance?), which might be awfully fun to play with.

Another is to look at the poetry that would have likely influenced the narrator. I'm thinking ww1 war poetry and the early moderns -- but I don't want to slip into the solipsistic narcissism of the moderns -- been there, done that, have 4 or 5 dozen impossible poems from it.

The final is just to play with rhymes -- nothing as insane as amphisbaenic rhyme (one sonnet in that was more than enough) -- like again slant/near/half rhyme and internal rhyme -- and rhymes in weird places. A little prep work with writing Canzones has given me a feel for internal rhyme -- but a great danger of rhyme is that it can speed things up.

So, readers, from my daily Canadian to folks as far as Indonesia, what are your favorite sorts and examples of imperfect rhyme? How do you puzzle out the difficulty of rhyme in English?

What are your favorite songs from 1940-1953?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

liquidity levity

Why have a blog if it can't host silliness every once in a while?

NEW edits as of Dismember 9th:

Bye bye, Dow!
Bye bye, GDP,
Hello, insolvency,
the economy's gonna die.
Bye bye, my money, goodbye.

There goes my money
with a guy named Wu.
He sure looks happy,
I sure am blue.
It was my money
but it's not now
'cause Congress gave it
to Hu Jintao.

Bye bye, Dow!
Bye bye, GDP!
Hello, insolvency,
the economy's gonna die.
Bye bye, my money, bye bye.

I'ma through with finance,
I'ma through with banks.
I'ma through with bailouts,
I'ma through with Hank.
You cannot tell me
inflationary cash
is gonna save our
dumb bankrupt ass.

Bye bye, Dow!
Bye bye, GDP!
Hello, insolvency,
the economy's gonna die.
Bye bye, my money, bye bye.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Long live poetry!

Politics are dead and gone, right?

Okay, probably not, since we live in a democratic republic and all, but still.

So there are 9 arteests on board for the SEEKRUT LITERACHRE MAGRAZEEN.

Two novelists, a long-narrative poet (ahem), two reglar-ol' poets , a reviewer, a theorist, and two photo-graffers. Also a webstar recording guru who I hope to have contribute some songs.

At any way it will rock.

Look for a street date of Janyerry first.


Friday, November 7, 2008

A Freudian slip of the forked tongue


"Let me close by saying that I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead."

The Dictionary:

"enormity, noun: an act of extreme wickedness"

How true, how true.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A 51st Post Retrospective

Reviewing American poetry, we find:

1) There are too few books of poetry sold in America.

2) Po-biz itself seems to be "healthy" and thrives in academia. Unfortunately, its main product seems not to be poetry but posturing.

3) Slam poetry also thrives, but in the ether. It's exciting in the sound but printed, falls down.

4) The two shall never meet.

5) Narrative poetry is neglected but tends to do well when it can get published, which is not often enough.

6) The number of "trained poets" is staggering.

7) They must be the only ones who buy books of poetry.

8) To solve this we should change the way we write and aggressively market poetry.

If you're someone who is satisfied with the state of American poetry and thinks we should just write for maybe 1/3 of 1% of the population, then I'm not really talking to you.

But if you think that the reading public (1/3 of America, or 100 million people) would read poetry if they could find anything good, if you're interested in expanding the readership of poetry, if you want to consider what your audience wants and deliver it to them with brilliant artistry, then I have three questions:

What have I left out?
Where am I wrong?
What do you think we can do?

Cheers for the next fitty,

#9: Visual "poetry" isn't poetry but rather the same thing as acrostics and comics -- for lack of a better term, propago.