Friday, January 25, 2013


mija & bunny, bklyn 2008

oh so classic mijas, rollin & sangin post-brunch

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

reposted form Coldfront Mag - OPEN LETTER TO ALEXANDRA PETRI from John Deming

Dear Alexandra Petri,

I am writing in response to your attack on American poetry in your Washington Post blog today.  Throughout your piece, you forward assumptions based on your own lack of exposure and allow these to stand as truth. I know it is just an opinion blog, but people have been convinced by less, and despite your “blog voice,” I sense you might really believe what you are saying. I will also assume you are sincere in stating: “I hate to type this and I hope that I am wrong.” So I am glad to let you know that poetry is fine. 

In fact, it is thriving. Let’s look at your charges:

“You can tell that a medium is still vital by posing the question: Can it change anything?”
Your generalization does not specify what kind of “change” you mean. Literal political change? That’s what you go on to suggest. Along with “revolution.”

Be serious. Congress can barely do that. Look what hell the president has to go through to do anything. But you attack American poets. You name none of them except the one you happened to see on TV, and you suggest his whole career is irrelevant to everyone because it is irrelevant to you. And apparently it is irrelevant to you because he does not live up to some high school ideal.
A requirement of political change is too much to ask of any artist. Kurt Vonnegut said in 2003: “every respectable artist in this country was against the war [in Vietnam]. It was like a laser beam. We were all aimed in the same direction. The power of this weapon turns out to be that of a custard pie dropped from a stepladder six feet high.”

There’s also Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky: “Ever since art has existed, mankind has always strived to influence the world through it. But on the whole it has always failed to have much social or political effect. I think now, looking around me and also looking back, art cannot really affect social development. It can only influence the development of minds. It can work on our intelligence and on our spirit. But for changing things, there are greater social forces than art. After all, practically all human endeavor has as its aim the changing of the world.” (thanks Jason Bredle)

You claim poetry isn’t “vital.” I will try to explain. A sponge and dish soap are vital to me because they make change in the kitchen. To me, at least, poetry is vital because it has a similar effect on the life of my mind. Robert Frost, who read at JFK’s inauguration, once said that a good poem “ends in a clarification of life–not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.” Frost never enacted legislation. But he continues to provide clarity. Poetry is very helpful to people for whom superstition is not enough.

More than 2,000 books of poetry are published each year in the U.S. But how many of these did you account for before making your harsh judgments? Have you read Timothy Donnelly? Anne Carson? D.A. Powell? Rae Armantrout? Dana Levin? Nathaniel Mackey? That’s off the top of my head. Here are forty from last year alone. And thirty from the year before that. And the year before that. I could go on.
Poetry changes things every day for many thousands of people in this country. (You claim “six.” I guess that is a “joke.”) So many of these poets are devoted not only to their craft, but to publishing magazines, to starting presses, to finding their way in a thriving, diverse, multifaceted, multi-talented, international community. You say contemporary poetry “is a limp and fangless thing.” Have you read Skin Inc.Our AndromedaBlack BoxFragment of the Head of a Queen? The Glimmering RoomAngle of Yaw? Unless these are the kinds of fangs you have in mind, in which case, I’m sure I could drum somebody up for that too.

Your most offensive comment, though, is your condescending assertion about Mr. Blanco’s career and claim to be an example of the “American dream”:
 “He has overcome numerous obstacles, struggled against opposition both internal and external — in order to excel in poetry, a field that may very well be obsolete.”

I hope we’ve established that poetry is far from obsolete, and regardless, I know that no reasonable thinker on these matters would conflate popularity and artistic viability. Rejecting a whole genre, too, is critically insolvent unless you’ve experienced it to the point where you distinguish its good parts from its bad. Your complaint isn’t much different from complaints like “I hate hip-hop” or “I hate country”—they are always generalizations, and are almost always made by people who haven’t spent enough time listening. Which makes them irrelevant. Obsolete, even.

Yet you’ve got Mr. Blanco’s picture up on the Post, making him look like a shamed politician for performing an incredible honor—and not one the poet ever would’ve dreamed up for himself.
Lastly, you comment that in poetry these days, “you can just spray it liberally onto the Internet and hope it sticks. Or am I being too harsh? Something similar could be said of journalism, after all.” Yes, something very similar could be said for journalism, and I don’t just mean in your piece—provocatively titled “Is poetry dead?”—which, I will reiterate, got a surprising green light despite its failure to include a single contemporary poet other than one who just spoke at a Presidential Inauguration.

But there are many, many more, and a very small percentage receive grants. We are here, and we plate your dinners. We teach your kids. We slave over works we know will receive no wide audience. We shoe your horses. We work in all kinds of offices. We write about all of this and none of it, and some of us do it really, really well. We find ways to make a living and still practice an art form that yields clarity and meaning. How is that not Blanco’s “American dream” in every sense?

Thank You,

John Deming

Editor in Chief Coldfront
MFA Poetry The New School
BA Journalism University of New Hampshire

cold to hot has made a mesquite leaf mess of my newly manicured backyard / back to classes today

cholla looks pretty but is mean as all hell

Ringo has fox blending in qualties

Sunday, January 20, 2013

write / take care / write

Silly Thurs

me & Dan H at Plush - Mark had a show - photo by Lo

Garst Baviar = best baker in town.  Met w/ Sam Ace at Passe & had a lovely Garst treat & wonderful conversation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Octopus 15 is out / Congrats to Joseph Mains on first issue / Season is O--VER / dang cold in the desert



I'm sure you saw the Packers lost last nite.  There are worse things I'm sure, but one day after I still can't think of any.  As says Abe S, "I am verbless."  Love you 12!  Love the Pack!


In other news:  

Last nite it was 27.  Tonite it will be 25.  Tomorrow nite 21.  WTF TUCSON?  All the cacti are gonna freeze & die again like that that apocalyptic winter 2/3 years ago...cacti dead on the streets.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

my ladies

Carmen, perhaps

dontcha go messin w/ camacho

gay alley

Mollie (on rt)


on WED i made soup - LUCKY cause i been SICK on thurs, fri, & now sat

LUCKY also sick days now - cause it's below freezing for the next FOUR NIGHTS - all of my plants are snuggled under blankets - the only reason I'm going out the door today is for the GAME - GOOOOOOOOO PACKERS GOOOOOO!

start w/ onion garlic saute - add turkey kielbasa (or not) bunches of kale, heirloom tomatoes (sooooo good),
two boxes of low sodium chx broth, dry white wine, peppers from ristra, red pep flakes, white beans (or whichever you like), potatoes (if you so wanna).  i like shaved parm on top after ladled - also am pan frying naan bread w/ salt - delish.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

write / clean / cook / out for wine! / this & that / these easy first weeks of 13 sans teaching

recording for ab gorham's frank stanford project.  thanks, dan, for allowing to me just sit there & read.  

tatie loves lo

these boys cooked for me

Saturday, January 5, 2013

YES PACKERS YES! 24-10 vs Vikings. Bing!

Saturday couch reading

when the desert gets cold she gets cold. im watching football & writing. i need tortilla soup, that cure all, if i could get off the couch

Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

by Robert Browning

Gr-r-r--there go, my heart's abhorrence!
   Water your damned flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
   God's blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming? 
   Oh, that rose has prior claims--
Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
   Hell dry you up with its flames!

At the meal we sit together;
   Salve tibi! I must hear
Wise talk of the kind of weather, 
   Sort of season, time of year:
Not a plenteous cork crop: scarcely
   Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt;
What's the Latin name for "parsley"?
   What's the Greek name for "swine's snout"?

Whew! We'll have our platter burnished, 
   Laid with care on our own shelf!
With a fire-new spoon we're furnished,
   And a goblet for ourself,
Rinsed like something sacrificial
   Ere 'tis fit to touch our chaps--
Marked with L. for our initial!
   (He-he! There his lily snaps!)

I've always loved these three stanzas here.  


this afternoon is Packers time.  I'm hoping I won't have to be calling on Jesus.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

13: backyard fire & ponies

Jan 1 fire

Jan 2 desertscape

<3 max="max" pony="pony" td="td" this="this">

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

13: new new new new new new new

joe lo cooked the best NYE meal

okkkkkkkey packers.  gear-up sportsbar wear.  we'll get you Vikes next week.

red g w/ dan & lo

The Number 13 is a Karmic Number.  Number 13 is the number of upheaval, so that new ground can be broken.  The number 13 has great power.  If this power is used for selfish purposes, it will bring destruction of the self, and in turn, this will bring dis-ease and illnesses.  Adapting to change gracefully will bring out the strength of the 13 vibration, and decrease any potential for the negative.

13's are traditionalists, hard workers and organizers. 

hallo 2013, mindful, sparkly, & cold in this desert sonoran. here is one of my students clarissa bueno. bill wetzel did an interview with her for op-ed news.

An Interview With Poet Clarissa Bueno


Bill Wetzel: Tucson Poet Tree is a heterogeneous mix of music, art and poetry. Tell us a little bit about the events and what somebody should expect if they attend one?

Clarissa Bueno:   Tucson Poet Tree is community of artists that come together to display their work in natural environment. I strive to curate a variety of mediums including poetry, music and art that is free to the public. All I ask is that the audience brings along their love for art and a blanket as these events are more like picnics.

get more of the interview here:  click!