Friday, July 03, 2020

Robert J. Sawyer and the p-zeds

Oh wow, discovered new Robert J. Sawyer's QUANTUM NIGHT in ebook from library 💟 and am enthralled. Written soon after our last election, this theory of consciousness near future scifi novel explains much about the psychopath we have sitting in the WH, as well as his p-zed followers. Sawyer is one of the best, and Canadian to boot!

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Favorite prompt

Choose 5 words.
Write about each for 1 minute.
Then write for 5 minutes.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Prompts from chapter headings...

Ideas for prompts from chapter headings of
This is how...
If I could...
Everywhere I turn...
Beyond the telling...
Before I die...
Being in time...
Complicated things...
How to empty...
A life of questions...
Inside the darkness...
Near the center...
Giving way...
Of course you can come...
The golden thread...
Instructions to my smaller self...
Inheriting now...

Pandemic Project

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Literary Terms

Major Literary Terms


allegory - device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in

      addition to the literal meaning

alliteration - the repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words

      (e.g., "she sells sea shells")

allusion - a direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known, such as an

      event, book, myth, place, or work of art

ambiguity - the multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or


analogy - a similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them

antecedent - the word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun

aphorism - a terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or moral principle

apostrophe - a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified

      abstraction, such as liberty or love

atmosphere - the emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting

      and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described

clause - a grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb

colloquial - the use of slang or informalities in speech or writing

conceit - a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between

      seemingly dissimilar objects

connotation - the nonliteral, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning

denotation - the strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color

diction - refering to style, diction refers to the writer's word choices, especially with regard to their

      correctness, clearness, or effectiveness

didactic - from the Greek, literally means "teaching"

euphemism - from the Greek for "good speech," a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a

      generally unpleasant word or concept

extended metaphor - a metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work

figurative language - writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to

      be imaginative and vivid

figure of speech - a device used to produce figurative language

generic conventions - refers to traditions for each genre

genre - the major category into which a literary work fits (e.g., prose, poetry, and drama)

homily - literally "sermon", or any serious talk, speech, or lecture providing moral or spiritual advice

hyperbole - a figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement

imagery - the sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent


infer (inference) - to draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented

invective - an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language

irony - the contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant

      verbal irony - words literally state the opposite of speaker's true meaning

      situational irony - events turn out the opposite of what was expected

      dramatic irony - facts or events are unknown to a character but known to the reader or audience or

           other characters in work

loose sentence - a type of sentence in which the main idea comes first, followed by dependent grammatical


metaphor - a figure of speech using implied comparison of seemingly unlike things or the substitution of

      one for the other, suggesting some similarity

metonomy - from the Greek "changed label", the name of one object is substituted for that of another

      closely associated with it (e.g., "the White House" for the President)

mood - grammatically, the verbal units and a speaker's attitude (indicative, subjunctive, imperative);

      literarily, the prevailing atmosphere or emotional aura of a word

narrative - the telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events

onomatopoeia - natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words (e.g. buzz, hiss)

oxymoron - from the Greek for "pointedly foolish," author groups apparently contradictory terms to suggest

      a paradox

paradox - a statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer

      inspection contains some degree of truth or validity

parallelism - from the Greek for "beside one another," the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words,

      phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity

parody - a work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect

      and/or ridicule

pedantic - an adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or


periodic sentences - a sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end

personification - a figure of speech in which the author presents or describes concepts, animals, or

      inanimate objects by endowing them with human attributes or emotions

point of view - the perspective from which a story is told (first person, third person omniscient, or third

      person limited omniscient)

predicate adjective - one type of subject complement, an adjective, group of adjectives, or adjective clause

      that follows a linking verb

predicate nominative - another type of subject complement, a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that

      renames the subject

prose - genre including fiction, nonfiction, written in ordinary language

      repetition - the duplication, either exact or approximate, of any element of language

rhetoric - from the Greek for "orator," the principles governing the art of writing effectively, eloquently,

      and persuasively

rhetorical modes - the variety, conventions, and purposes of the major kinds of writing (exposition explains

      and analyzes information; argumentation proves validity of an idea; description re-creates, invents,

      or presents a person, place, event or action; narration tells a story or recount an event)

sarcasm - from the Greek for "to tear flesh," involves bitter, caustic language that is meant to hurt or

      ridicule someone or something

satire - a work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or


semantics - the branch of linguistics which studies the meaning of words, their historical and psychological

      development (etymology), their connotations, and their relation to one another

style - an evaluation of the sum of the choices an author makes in blending diction, syntax, figurative

      language, and other literary devices;  or, classification of authors to a group and comparison of an

      author to similar authors

subject complement - the word or clause that follows a linking verb and complements, or completes, the

      subject of the sentence by either renaming it or describing it

subordinate clause - contains a subject and verb (like all clauses) but cannot stand alone; does not express

      complete thought

syllogism - from the Greek for "reckoning together," a deductive system of formal logic that presents two

      premises (first "major," second "minor") that inevitably lead to a sound conclusion (e.g., All men are

      mortal, Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal)

symbol (symbolism) - anything that represents or stands for something else (natural, conventional, literary)

syntax - the way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences

theme - the central idea or message of a work, the insight it offers into life

thesis - in expository writing, the thesis statement is the sentence or group of sentences that directly express

      the author's opinion, purpose, meaning, or proposition

tone - similar to mood, describes the author's attitude toward his material, the audience, or both

transition - a word or phrase that links different ideas

understatement - the ironic minimalizing of fact, presents something as less significant than it is

wit - intellectually amusing language that surprises and delights


Poetic Feet


U - unaccented syllable, A - accented syllable


amphimacer - AUA

anapest - UUA

antibacchus - AAU

bacchius - UAA

chouambus - AUUA

dactyl - AUU

iambus - UA

pyrrhic - UU

spondee - UU

trochee - AU


breve - symbol for unstressed syllable

macron - a "-" symbol to divide syllables


Literary Devices

Popular Literary Devices

Monday, March 23, 2020

Finding the right book...

These sites have been mentioned in previous posts, but the author here gives very good instructions on how to use each one.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Free Art Books from the MET

FALL by Neal Stephenson

Going to try experiential/phenomenological posting:

1Urdu, Verdande, Skuld
Clothe, Lachesis, Atropos
(Look up etymology. PS Don't get hung up on phenomenology, as it's a rabbit hole.) 

(NTS>Make a list of books to read together: Reading Syllabi)

Quale, qualia

Moore's Law & Singularity

And now at about 200 pages in, I'm getting to the overlap of current political climate and dystopian narrative.
The Red Card
1. Speech is aggression.
2. Every utterance has a winner and a loser.
3. Curiosity is feigned.
4. Lying is performative.
5. Stupidity is power. 

"Humans were biology. They lived for the dopamine rush. They could get it by putting the relevant chemicals  directly  into their  bodies  or by partaking  of some click bait that had been algorithmically  perfected  to make brains generate  the dopamine through  psycho alchemy."

"Every single  time a neuron fires, the brain rewires itself a little bit in response to that event. Frequently used connections get strengthened. Neglected ones atrophy. Neurons get repurposed. Things get remembered--or forgotten."

At about halfway point and feeling like there has been a bit of overreaching. Sustaining interest becoming more difficult...

"...watching Bitworld through the LVU was literally like watching grass grow."

Kind of sums up what reading about it is like at this point. I've been skimming and am beginning to wonder if the novel is going to be able to pull any kind of redeemable plot back together.

Well, I skimmed through  to the end. What a disappointment. I'd say, in general, the novel is about 500 pages too long. Where was his editor while this waste of paper was taking shape?! Sad example of what happens when a reputation replaces respect for the finished project. Sheesh...

Transgressive Fiction

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Mary Karr Memoir Reading List

Adams, Henry. the education of henry adams. mont saint michel and chartres
Allende, Isabel. the sun of our days
Als, Hilton. the women
Amis, Martin. experience
Angelou, Maya. i know why the caged bird sings
Antrim, Donald. the afterlife
Arenas, Reinaldo. before night falls
Ayer, Pico. falling off the map
Saint Augustine. confessions
Baldwin, James. notes of a native son
Batuman, Elif. the possessed: adventures with Russian books and the people who read them
Beah, Ishmael. a long way gone
Beck, Edward. god underneath: spiritual memoirs of a Catholic priest
Berhard, Thomas. gathering evidence
Black Elk. black elk speaks
Blow, Charles M. fire shut up in my bones
Bourdain, Anthony. kitchen confidential
Boyett, Micha. found: a story of questions grace and everyday prayer
Brave Bird, Mary. lakota woman
Brickhouse, Jamie. dangerous when wet
Brown, Claude. manchild in the promised land
Buford, Bill. among the thugs. heat
Burgess, Anthony.
Busch, Benjamin.
Cairns, Scott.
Carr, David.
Carroll, James
Chaudhuri, Nirad C.
Chatwin, Bruce.
Chast, Roz.
Cheever, Susan
Cherry-Garrard, Apsley
Churchill, Winston
Ciszek, Walter SJ
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Coetzee, J M.
Collins, Judy
Conroy, Frank
Conway, Jill Kerr
Covington, Dennis
Crews, Harry
Crick, Francis and James Watson
Crowell, Rodney
Dau, John Bul
Day, Dorothy
Dinesen, Isak
Didion, Joan
Dillard, Annie
Doty, Mark
Douglass, Frederick
Du Bois, W.E.B.
Dubus, Andre, III
Dunham, Lena
Dylan, Bob
Eggers, Dave
Eire, Carlos
Exley, Frederick
Fey, Tina
Forna, Aminatta
Fox, Paula
Frame, Janet
Frankl, Viktor
Franklin, Benjamin
Frazier, Ian
Frenkel, Edward
Fuller, Alexandra
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel
Gellhorn, Martha
George, Nelson
Gilbert, Elizabeth
Ginzburg, Yevgenia
Gourevitch, Philip
Graves, Robert
Gray, Francine du Plessix
Grealy, Luch
Greene, Graham
Guevara, Ernesto Che
Haley, Alex and Malcolm X
Hamilton, Gabrielle
Hampl, Patricia
Hardy, G.H.
Harrison, Kathryn
Haxton, Brooks
Hemingway, Ernest
Herr, Michael
Hickey, Dave
Hogan, Linda
Hongo, Garrett
Hooks, Bell
Huang, Eddie
Hurston, Zora Neale
Irving, Debby
Jackson, Phil
Jacobs, Harriet
Jamison, Kay
Jordan, June
Keller, Helen
Kidder, Tracy
Kincaid, Jamaica
King, Stephen
Kingston, Maxine Hong
Knausgard, Karl Ove
Krakauer, Jon
Lawrence, T. E.
Least Heat-Moon, William
Levi, Primo
Lewis, C. S.
Liao, Yiwu
Lopate, Philip
Lorde, Audre
Lowell, Robert
Macdonald, Helen
Malan, Rian
Mandela, Nelson
Mandelstam, Nadezhda
Manguso, Sarah
Mantel, Hilary
Markham, Beryl
Martin, Steve
Matthiessen, Peter
Mayle, Peter
McBride, James
McCarthy, Mary
McCourt, Frank
McPhee, John
Merton, Thomas
Milburn, Michael
Mingus, Charlea
Momaday, N. Scott
Momette, Paul
Moody, Anne
Murakami, Haruki
Nabokov, Vladimir
Nafisi, Azar
Neruda, Pablo
Nolan, Ty
Norris, Kathleen
Oates, Joyce Carol
Olsen, Tillie
Ondaatje, Michael
O'Rourke, Meghan
Orwell, George
Parker, Mary Louise
Patchett, Ann
Pirsig, Robert
Raban, Jonathan
Radziwill, Carole
Raphael, Lev
Red Cloud with Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
Reed, Ishmael
Rios, Albert
Rodriguez, Richard
Roth, Marco
Russell, Betrand
St Aubyn, Edward
Sallans, Ryan
Santiago, Esmeralda
Sartre, Jean-Paul
Sassoon, Siegfried
Shackleton, Ernest
Shakur, Assata
Shakur, Sanyika
Shteyngart, Gary
Sleigh, Tom
Smith, Patti
Smith, Tracy K.
Solomon, Andrew
Sontag, Susan
Soto, Jock
Stahl, Jerry
Strayed, Cheryl
Talley, Andre Leon
Tan, Amy
Theroux, Paul
Tolstoy, Leo
Thompson, Ahmir-Khalib
Thompson, Hunter S.
Trillin, Calvin
Twain, Mark
Walls, Jeannette
Wainaina, Binyavanga
Washington, Booker T.
Watt, Robert Lee
Weil, Simone
Welty, Eudora
White, Edmu d
White, T. H.
Wideman, John Edgar
Wiesel, Elie
Winterson, Jeanette
Wolfe, Tom
Wolfe, Geoffrey
Wolfe, Tobias
Woolf, Virginia
Wright, Richard
Yen Mah, Adeline
Zailckas, Koren

Mary Karr The Art of Memoir

"The tarantula ego--starving to be shored up by praise--tries to scare me away from saying simply whatever small, true thing is standing in line for me to say."

Amazing! Poetry Pharmacy in UK

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

fuck you ee cummings by Ron Currie

fuck you ee cummings

now would be a tough time for ee cummings
what with autocorrect and all
i know
because i'm writing an ee cummings poem
and i refuse to turn off autocorrect
because i want you to know how hard i worked
to write this for you
so instead of going the easy route
i'm training autocorrect
to accept, for example, a standalone lowercase i
i type it three times
and on the third time autocorrect starts to understand
that i will not relent
and it's like, "okay fine
what the fuck do i care
you can have your lowercase i, psycho."

yesterday i read a short article
they all have to be short these days
like these lines i'm writing now
are they short enough?
i can make them shorter
i've heard no one can concentrate anymore
so if you like
i can
to accommodate.
shit, though,
"accommodate" is probably too long a word
for the times
my apologies.

the short article i read
was written by a young woman
who photographs the dead and dying
which probably sounds weird
also macabre
but she does it at the request of families
who want these pictures
and it's beautiful
there is one photograph
of a mother in a hospital bed
she has just given birth
and the baby has died
they knew he was going to die
because his lungs didn't form properly
so he was fine in utero
while oxygen was being provided
by his mother
but the moment he had to breathe on his own
that was that
the doctors took the baby
while he was still alive
and set him on his mother's chest
so they could feel each other, however briefly
and the baby wrapped his little arm
around his mother's face
a totally reflexive thing for a baby to do
grasp and cling, you know
but also, frozen in a photograph,
the most touching gesture i've ever seen
i will never forget that image
i will see it on my own deathbed
looking at it, i cried
but not like she did.

most of the time
the things i read
day after day
blend together into a drone of static
you know how that feels?
scrolling, scrolling
insensate, narcotized
but that article
and that photo
jesus christ did i feel alive
sitting there weeping
it was glorious
to borrow that grief

every year
my wife and i and some friends go to cape cod
for a week at the end of summer
and the past few years
there have been more and more sightings of great white sharks
attacks, too
last year a young man was killed by one
less than a mile from where we stood
sipping wine in the shallows
and a town councilman
started calling for sharks to be killed
like he was some third-tier character in "jaws"
the kind everyone in the audience knows is an asshole
and an idiot
my wife worries about the sharks
but i don't
let me say right now
that in the unlikely event i am killed by a shark
i do not authorize anyone to go killing sharks on my behalf
as though they are wrong
to eat bipeds
who present themselves as easy meals
particularly when those bipeds
are busy destroying everything
the sharks prefer to eat.

a few months ago i sat in a room with some very smart people
and asked them a question
i requested that they only answer yes or no
"do you value human life over all other kinds?" i asked
they all answered yes
only one of them hesitated.

we were working on a television project about climate change
and each day we talked to experts
and learned
about how everything is dying
and we are responsible
and yet
every one of them still believed
in an unshakable bedrock way
that human life is more valuable
than anything else.
me personally, i'll swerve and veer into a telephone pole
to spare a squirrel.

we sat in that room for weeks
drank dozens and dozens of beverages
seltzer and unsweetened tea and kombucha
and put the plastic containers in the recycling bin
like good citizens.

at night i would go home
and drink beer and then
when the clock indicated it was time
to go to bed
i would take an over-the-counter sedative
and still wouldn't really sleep.

the reason i'm mad at ee cummings
is because he convinced several generations of would-be poets
that writing in all lowercase letters is somehow inherently profound
it isn't
it's just kind of dumb
and i don't care if ee cummings persists in the canon
and my work is forgotten
that doesn't make writing in all lowercase letters any less stupid.

sometimes talk among my friends turns to
the degradation of language
particularly written language
we care about these kinds of things
we're weird like that
and certainly it's not ee cummings' fault
that now everyone communicates
in abbreviations and cave scrawlings
but i'm angry
and he's a convenient target
and don't come at me with how
the rules of language
are classist and oppressive
designed to keep the tools of self-expression from the masses
i'm sick of that kind of talk
i grew up poor and i figured english out
so shut the fuck up and learn how to spell.

the friend of mine who cared the most about language
died last year
he was my best friend
and he just dropped
here today, gone tomorrow
that was hard
i drank too much for a while afterward
i drink a lot anyway
but in the months after he died
i was really getting after it
and i cried a lot
i wrote a book about him and us
that no one wants to publish
maybe because it's about two straight white guys
maybe because it's not a very good book
and that's okay
i think there are things about the book he wouldn't have liked
but he might have liked this poem
i wish i could show it to him and find out.

i'm tired of the drone of static
i don't want to hear your opinion
tell me instead about what you've lost
let me see the photo of the moment you lost it
rather than a photo of you on a beach
tell me about what you love more than anything
tell me about what scares you.

what i'm trying to say is
let's get real
fewer pictures of your brunch, please
and more pictures of dead babies
but we've had plenty of pictures of babies
now that i think about it
babies piled like cordwood in dachau
babies with their heads caved in in mississippi
babies burned and screaming outside trang bang
babies face-down in the rio grande
and we still go about our business
place our napalm orders before the end of the fiscal year
and fret idly about our bodyfat percentage
or whether men sit with their legs splayed too wide
on the subway.

so again, i want to hear from you about something real
but as a show of good faith
I'll go first
What scares me on this morning
is the thought that somewhere in the world
at a circus or some shitty unregulated zoo
somewhere in kazakhstan
or kansas
someone is using an ankus
which is a fancy word for a sharp metal hook
to get an elephant to do things like stand on its back legs
or get on board a train car.

i worked for a circus once
no, really
it was a small operation and had no performing animals
but there was a guy there who had worked with larger outfits
like ringling brothers
he fancied himself something of an intellectual
and tried to make the case
that animals like elephants have to be abused
in order to get them to behave
he was dismissive of any argument to the contrary
like for example that maybe we shouldn't keep elephants in captivity
in the first place
for the purpose of entertaining us
and then they wouldn't need to "behave"
he was an asshole
he probably thinks climate change is a hoax
he's so smart and no one can pull the wool over his eyes
i hope someday an elephant stomps his fucking guts out
i mean it
that's a performance i'd like to see
i would stand and applaud.

yesterday i was doing pull-ups and pushups
in the park
like an idiot
and an acquaintance came by on a bicycle
on his way to work
he's a lawyer for the aclu
we talked about how the planet is burning
and how in the context of that fact
nothing else really seems to matter
i told him how in the room
where we wrote about climate change
the scientists told us things privately
that they would never say publicly
because no one would believe them
because the truth is too horrible to believe
we also talked about david buckel
a lawyer who set himself on fire in brooklyn in 2018
to bring attention to what we've done to the planet
and then my friend had to get to work
and i went back to my pull-ups and pushups.

david buckel set himself on fire in brooklyn
doused himself with gasoline
struck a match
added a bit more carbon to the atmosphere
to make a point
and that night
after they'd come and taken his body away
a woman took a picture of the charred grass where he'd died
and posted the picture on twitter
not to call attention to what he'd done
not to demand we pay attention to his death
but to complain to the municipality
about children having to see the scorch marks
as they played soccer
which is about as ridiculous a response
as i can imagine
to a man killing himself
to save everyone else.

who will think of the children, indeed.

i have a dream
that sometime in the future
we will finally understand what we've done
and every april 14th
on the anniversary of david buckel's death
hundreds of thousands of us will set ourselves on fire
to honor him.

did you know that elephants have pads in their feet
that let them communicate with each other over miles?
they don't like lifting their feet off the ground
you have to really hurt them to get them to do it
because to an elephant
lifting your feet off the ground
is like you and me covering our eyes and ears
did you know that elephants
will break into metal containers
to recover the bodies of family who have been slaughtered
and give them a proper burial?
that they have grieving rituals
they perform year after year?
that like us
they never forget their dead?

most people don't realize it
but climate change denial doesn't really exist
except in the united states
and australia
the reason for this
is a man named rupert murdoch
who for a long time has controlled
great portions of the media
in those countries
rupert murdoch
is worse than hitler
i don't say that lightly
i don't toss around words like "fascism" and "genocide" willy-nilly
so when i say
rupert murdoch is worse than hitler
know that i mean it
in practical terms
like lives lost
and i believe
that history
if humanity survives in a form that can continue to record history
will bear me out
fuck you rupert murdoch
go back to where you came from
you aussie prick.

what i'm saying here is really important to me
by which i mean i have spent countless nights
in countless different rooms
staring at countless different ceilings and thinking about this
and because it's so important
and i want it to reach the widest possible audience
i decided to write a poem.

of course this is a pretty long poem
and free verse to boot
so if you decide you need to go do something else
i totally get it.

when you're a writer people sometimes ask
why you decided to be a writer
insofar as there's any answer
the thing i've settled on is that
writing is an act of faith
the faith that you and i love the same things
fear the same things
grieve the same things
no matter that i am a man and you are a woman
or that i am white and you are latino
or that i am american and you are afghani
faith, in short, that love and fear and grief are the same thing everywhere
and the rest is just details
and that if i write about the things i love and fear and grieve,
you will see yourself in me
and vice versa
and having looked in the mirror
and seen ourselves rendered strange yet recognizable
we will be less lonely and afraid and angry
and less inclined to want to kill each other
and less likely to dismiss each other's suffering

but that sort of feels like greeting card bullshit and
i am not interested in feel-good nonsense
or we-are-the-world platitudes so
let me offer the ballast of acknowledging
that there are real and meaningful differences between us
that i neither deny nor discount
all i'm suggesting is
i am capable of a trick
by which i can imagine
the lives of people who are not me
nothing more or less than that.

and that you are capable of it, too.

as an example, one of the earliest pieces of fan mail i ever got
was from a sudanese refugee living in canada
who read my first book
and wanted to thank me for rendering her experience of the refugee camps in south sudan
so faithfully
when i told her i was a white boy from new england
and had never set foot in sudan
let alone in the camps where so many people were slaughtered
she couldn't believe it
kept testing my story
to find the holes
but there were none
i just looked at some pictures, i told her
and wrote a story that
her heart knew to be true.

i can even put myself in rupert murdoch's mind
despite the fact that he's a demon from hell
who will be directly responsible for the deaths of millions
once the waters start rising in earnest
he loves his children i bet
i can latch onto that love
feel it
replicate it
render his humanity
after all, there's plenty of evil in me, too.

neither of us will be spared, rupert, you shriveled, hateful old fuck.

sitting here looking at the baby lying on his mother's chest
appearing to sleep except for the blue tinge of his skin
sitting here thinking about the cuts behind the elephant's ears
and her loneliness
unable to hear her family through her feet
i feel an eruption of sadness so strong it seems i can't bear it
i know you've felt the same
so let's maybe talk about that
instead of which presidential candidate we favor.

don't worry; i'm not a revolutionary
i'm not brave enough to do anything except write
though i do sometimes have idle thoughts like
the last radical act left to us might be
to destroy the internet
if such a thing is even possible anymore.

this'll sound weird but
sometimes i worry the arrangement
between me and my dog
is one of warden and prisoner
that every act of domestication through history has been
nothing but evil
predicated entirely on the fact that we happen to have
the most impressive brains on the planet.

certainly plenty of animals have had worse lives than my dog
he's spoiled rotten
but i was listening to an interview with a guy who studies
the relationship between humans and animals
and he said something interesting about the movie "e.t."
what if e.t. had whisked elliott away to his home planet
and put a collar on him and told him when he could and could not
go to the bathroom
breathe fresh air
feel the sun on his face
or worse
had strapped elliott into some rig that kept him from being able to move anything
but his eyes
as e.t. and his buddies cut and prodded and shocked and burned
and then e.t.
as justification
said "sorry elliott, but
we simply had to know what kind of effect
this drain cleaner has when applied to your bare eyeballs
and left there for thirty-six hours
and we're smarter than you so
surely you can see how all this is entirely justified
or at least you would be able to see that
if you could see anymore
which you can't."

i think about those smart people in that room
cooking up stories about climate change
talking each day about how we've fucked everything up
and yet still so certain
that we're the best, most important thing
in the universe
with our big brains
and impressive thumbs.

i have no idea why this poem is becoming
so spielberg-heavy
but fuck it
sometime you just go
where it takes you.

a smart man once said
that the quality of our thoughts
can only be as good
as the quality of our language
so let me engage in something even more futile than writing a poem
or setting myself on fire
and ask you to communicate in complete sentences
ask you to care about the difference between
your and you're
ask you to understand
that language
used skillfully
is how you become me
and i become you
used skillfully
is how we care more about dead babies
than fucking instagram sunsets
used skillfully
is how we learn to hear
with our feet.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Raw and Genuine Poets Marianne Moore

"Poetry"by Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond 
all this fiddle. 
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one 
discovers in 
it after all, a place for the genuine. 
Hands that can grasp, eyes 
that can dilate, hair that can rise 
if it must, these things are important not because a  

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because 
they are 
useful. When they become so derivative as to become 
 the same thing may be said for all of us, that we 
do not admire what 
we cannot understand: the bat 
holding on upside down or in quest of something to  

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless 
wolf under 
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse 
that feels a flea, the base- 
ball fan, the statistician— 
 nor is it valid to discriminate against "business documents and 
school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make 
a distinction 
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the 
result is not poetry, 
nor till the poets among us can be 
"literalists of 
the imagination"—above 
insolence and triviality and can present 

for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them," 
shall we have 
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, 
the raw material of poetry in 
 all its rawness and 
that which is on the other hand 
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Free Online Books

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Shakespeare and Ginsberg

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Art Therapy Gaining Recognition in UK

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Writing puts us in an active relationship to literacy where the emphasis is on the writer as a builder of meaning. Reading puts us into a passove relationship with literacy where the emphasis is on other people's words and we have to question our interpretation rather than express what's on our own minds.
(Paraphrased email from Peter Elbow to ?)

AWA 5 Essential Affirmations

1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer's original voice or artistic self-esteem.
5. A writer is someone who writes.

Peter Elbow's FRE WRITING


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Michael Ondaatje's WARLIGHT


"I suppose there are traditions and tropes in stories like this. Someone is given a test to carry out. No one knows who the truth bearer is. People are not who or where we think they are. And there is someone who watches from an unknown location."

"(Just as) no score relies on only one pitch or level of effort from musicians in the orchestra. Sometimes it relies on silence."

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


I've always been enthralled by the pre-Raphaelites because of the symbolism, but this post is mostly an excuse to post this amazing image.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Literary Quotes

 The sun did not rise, it overflowed. ~ Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

 Any woman who is sure of her own wits is a match at any time for a man who is not sure of his own temper. ~ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Books—the generous friends who met me without suspicion—the merciful masters who never used me ill! ~ Armadale by Wilkie Collins 

Scattered wits take a long time picking up. ~ Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

"It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crop." ~ Adam Bede by George Eliot 

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving! ~ Middlemarch by George Eliot

 "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?" ~ Middlemarch by George Eliot

"It hath been often said that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible." ~ Amelia by Henry Fielding 

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired." ~ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being. ~ This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again. ~ This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes. ~ A Room With A View by E. M. Forster 

People have their own deaths as well as their own lives, and even if there is nothing beyond death, we shall differ in our nothingness. ~ Howards End by E. M. Forster

 "The proper study of mankind is books." ~ Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

Reason is the first victim of strong emotion. ~ Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future. ~ Dune by Frank Herbert

If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets. ~ Dune by Frank Herbert 

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. ~ Dune by Frank Herbert

 "I call people rich when they're able to meet the requirements of their imagination." ~ The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

 To read between the lines was easier than to follow the text. ~ The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

 Impropriety is the soul of wit. ~ The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham

 "Life isn't long enough for love and art." ~ The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham

 Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heaven. ~ Paradise Lost by John Milton

 For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. ~ Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

 Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. ~ Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
Or else my heart, concealing it, will break. ~ The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare 

To sleep! perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 We know what we are, but know not what we may be. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 A dream itself is but a shadow. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 Brevity is the soul of wit. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 All that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity. ~ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

 "Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, As self-neglecting." ~ Henry V by William Shakespeare

 "We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep." ~ The Tempest by William Shakespeare

 Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose. ~ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley