Skip to main content

In Poetry

Today is a day to be thankful.  I have two poems in the February 2011 issue of Poetry, which arrived a few minutes ago in the post (delayed by a thunderous downpour earlier).  I am one of the asterisked poets (there are other fine poets included as well of course) - my first time in this, the greatest, and most significant of all poetry magazines in the English language.  I count this as one of the highlights of my life so far - not better than my wedding, or first real kiss, but on a par with graduation, my first book, that sort of thing.

So - huge.  And why?  Because I remember, as if it was yesterday, the first time I heard of Poetry, when reading about Ezra Pound, when I was 14 - he became my hero.  I recall reading Poetry in university, in the library at Sir George Williams.  The slim, tidy magazine has been a part of my life, and what it means to be a poet, for 30 years.  Did I ever think I'd appear in its pages?  Not on your life.

I dream big, but not that big.  Now, faced with this true delight, bittersweet feelings intrude - the poems were occasioned by (among other things) deep personal sorrow, and hint at subjects of a most intimate nature.  However, they are poems firstly, and I am proud of them, and so glad they have the best possible platform in which to reach other readers.

Writing and sending out poetry - at any stage of a writing life - is tough, and filled with setbacks - but sometimes there are the "gravy" moments, as Raymond Carver used that word.  Icing on the cake, a rainbow, a slant of light, a voice in the wilderness - an epiphany - some moments are gift horses.  Take the magazine and run about the room, whooping it up.  As ABC once sang, with improbable joy - yippikiyay!

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…