Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"American Hybrid," Cold-War Style

“The current battle of ‘obscurity’ versus ‘clarity’ (or of ‘to be’ versus ‘to mean’) tends to divide poets into two extremes equally deadly to poetry. The first extreme, in the name of anti-philistinism, is for cross-word-puzzle poetry which, whatever its fascination, would kill poetry by scaring away its audience. The second extreme, in the name of communication, would demagogically popularize poetry, in betrayal of all integrity of standards, until it reaches the widest but also lowest common denominator and is no longer poetry at all, but verse. The first group would sterilize the muse. The second group would prostitute her.

“Is there not third possibility for the curious craftsman? Must he become either précieux or ‘corny,’ either Babbitt Junior or Babbitt Senior?

“The answer is: an act of creative faith in a new and third force in poetry, already emerging, equally remote from the muse’s mincing sterilizers and back-slapping salesmen. Such a third force must prefer a difficult simplicity to an easy obscurity. It must return to the function of ethical responsibility and of communication of ideas and emotions. Any fool can lucidly communicate an easy greeting-card level of ideas and emotions. Any fool can obscurely ‘impress’ a would-be modernist reader by incoherent and pretentious approximations of difficult ideas and emotions. Great art communicates lucidly and with classic simplicity the most difficult level of ideas and emotions.”

- Peter Viereck, Dream and Responsibility: Four Test Cases of the Tension between Poetry and Society (1953), p. 20.

“That bed is too hard; that bed is too soft; but this bed is just right.”

- Goldilocks (attrib.; n.d.).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To B.O. - A Sonnet

I remember when you loved me -
We would make love all night;
When we awakened in the morning
We never knew who was on top -

But then you wrote me that letter
In which you said you were dropping out
Of NW Missouri State University, library science,
Class of 2012, and of my life, to wed another -

I went back to the small town
Where we both grew up, to Grandma's house,
Now so empty, yet so full of memories,
And watched the sunset through the flyspecked glass.

I thought, It is always that way with life -
What you expect is never what you get.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letter to a Young Poet

Dear Young Poet,

You need to know:
I don't care about your exotic vacation locale,
or your feelings about the peasants there.
I don't care what happened to your pet.
I don't care about your sex life.
I know that's hard to believe.

I don't want your vatic nuggets of wisdom,
esp. that one? - at the end of your poem?
Even when you're old enough
to dispense them plausibly,
leave it to the self-help books
and checkout-line philosophers, ok?

Please don't talk to me in present tense
unless you are transcribing something
actually happening as you write.
If you're writing while it's actually happening,
please get a life. . . . Especially a sex life
(look, if you were raised Catholic, we know for sure
it's not as fascinating as you're making it sound).

Don't tell me what I do ("you do this, you do that").
You're not here.
I know what I do, and that's not it.

And don't use foreign words if you can help it.
Esp. when describing your exotic vacation locale.
OK, you went to high school. We know.
You don't have to tell me anything
about yourself to make me feel sorry for you.

If you "weird up" a confessional poem,
it's a weirded-up confessional poem.
Everyone will know this
(writing confessional poetry in 2010
is like writing "thee" and "thou" in 1968
in a poem w/rhyme and meter -
so if you do it, do it proudly).

Feel free to use "thee" and "thou."
Think of it as "Post-TheeThou" poetry.

And then and then you don't
have to think about line
breaks at all. Or you could go back
to writing stories in prose.

O yeah and BTW it's like
what we imagine knowledge to be, b/c
I have wasted my life
reading poems
that have already been written before.

Thank you very much for your consideration.
Please do not hesitate to contact me
if I can be of any further assistance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Here is a playlist of poems read at the Meadowlark in Denver, Fri., 9 April 2010. It's not a forensic reconstruction, but doggone it, it's the best I can do. Read, link to, pass along, ignore, mythologize.

To click on the readers directly, click here.

Kathleen Ossip - "The Deer Path," The Believer (forthcoming May 2010).

Daniel Borzutzky - "Budget Cuts Prevent Me From Writing Poetry," PFS Post; and "In Other Words," in One Size Fits All (e-chap; Scantily Clad 2009).

Janet Holmes - From THE MS OF M Y KIN (Shearsman 2009). Janet also edits Ahsahta Press.

Tony Trigilio - "The Manchurian Candidate (1962)," MiPOesias Summer 2008, 55-56.

Sandra Doller - "He Works for a Smithy," from Chora (Ahsahta 2010).

Keith Newton - "I Lived Among Girls," included as part of a video collaboration in SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records (2009). Keith is the editor of Harp & Altar.

Charles Alexander - Coda from “Pushing Water” (unpublished – for parts 1-32 of this long poem, see Charles’ book Certain Slants, Junction Press 2007). Charles is the publisher of CHAX Press.

Chris Davidson - "It Really Happened," "The Opossum," and "Farewell" (these last part of 52 Songs).

Shanna Compton - "Fabulous Fake," Spooky Boyfriend 1; "Argument Nine" (audio), Dusie; "Collapse Seems Too Romantic a Word," No Tell Motel (24 March 2010). Shanna publishes Bloof Books.

Rachel Loden - "Scarified Beauty"; and "Black Sun on a White Sun," New American Writing 27.

Jennifer L. Knox - "Nice 'N' Easy Medium Natural Ash Brunette," Octopus 12; "Burt Reynolds FAQ," Abraham Lincoln 3 (summer/fall 2008).

Peter Davis - "Poem Addressing People Who Love Heavy Metal But Don't Know Anything About Poetry," "Poem Addressing People Who Are Reading this For the Third or Fourth Time," "Poem Addressing My Contemporaries, Many of Whom I Am Competing Against for Sweet Teaching Positions." These will appear in Poetry! Poetry! Poetry! (Bloof, forthcoming - scroll down). There are also probably links to some of them somewhere on Peter's blog. We just can't be sure.

Ana Božičević - "Intervals of Please," Wheelhouse (winter/spring 2009).

Joseph Harrington - “The History of Sexuality,” A cappella Zoo 4, and "[history becomes fate when]," from Things Come On (forthcoming Wesleyan UP 2011; also in P-Queue 6, p. 113).

Aaron Belz - "Avatar"; and "My Last Duchess," "Regret," "Dial Tone," "My Chiquita," and "Love-Hat Relationship," all in Lovely, Raspberry (Persea 2010).

Susan M. Schultz - "Old Women Look Like This," Honolulu Weekly 7 Apr. 2010 (excerpt in sidebar). Susan publishes Tinfish Books.

K. Silem Mohammad - 2 Sonnagrams: “‘TV Gunfight: Tut, Tut! Tivo Bullfight: Huh, What?’—T. T. Mutt” [from Sonnet 38 (“How can my muse want subject to invent”)], Open Letter 14.2 (2010); and “Uh Huh, Uh Huh: I Dry Fried Air, I Eye a Freed Ferry, I Fry Runny Ray’s IV” [from Sonnet 104 (“To me, fair friend, you never can be old”)], trnsfr 2 (2010).

Steven Schroeder - "Never Loved a Shovel" (title stolen from The Clash); "Get Your Fucking Shinebox" (title stolen from Goodfellas); "Face like a Barndoor" (title stolen from Robert Creeley), forthcoming in The Journal.

Katie Degentesh - "I Wanted to Be Closer to God," from Reasons to Have Sex (working title), some of which will appear in A Public Space 11.

James Belflower - From "Johnny Cash Poems," originally published in Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks (unarchived, alas). For similar work by James, see EOAGH 5 (only it's Blanchot instead of Cash).

Chad Parmenter - "Vivienne Eliot Stands at Her Window to Pray."

Kate Greenstreet - "[He stands beside the body of the man he couldn't help]"; and "suddenly as night," in The Harp & Altar Anthology, ed. Keith Newton and Eugene Lim (2010).

Jorn Ake - "Watching Hogan's Heroes in German," from Boys Whitstling Like Canaries (Eastern Washington UP 2009).

Reb Livingston - "Lament for Fronting," Coconut 14; "Spell for Refunding Her Who Bozoed a Wineglass," No Tell Motel; and "Diminished Prophecy 6:3," Gargoyle 55.

Ben Doller - "[Your ode is too short...]" and "[I wasn't outraged...]," both from FAQ: (Ahsahta 2009).

Jeff T. Johnson - “Separation Anxiety” and “What Was That Again,” Cannibal 5.

Luc Simonic - "Joy at a Truck Stop" (reg. req.); "Giving Up on Poetry at a Young Age" (scroll down).

Amy King -"Necessary Instinct"; and "Brooklyn White Ink Party," Moria.

Thanks to the readers - it was a knockout.