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What Came in the Mail

So Recently Rent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From JOB, for Christmas … with a note that perhaps I have an affinity for Eastern Europeans, to which I can say, Yes, I certainly do. I hadn’t read much of M. Codrescu. Know of him primarily because of his NPR gig, of course, and something he’d written in connection with New Orleans. Leafing through the table of contents, the title “dream dogs” caught my eye, which turned out to be a good choice because it is (a) short, and (b) consists of lines that are entirely left-justified, which is makes reproducing it in this post much easier.

dream dogs

years ago it was easy to dream of wolves
and wake up your lover
to show him the blood on your hip.
the wolves had ties
and followed after every sentence
rather polite.
now there are police dogs
using tear gas and the lover next to you
doesn’t wake up.

ME: I like it. Thinking that it must have been written with a woman in mind, I flip back a few pages and learn that it’s from a section named for a former wife, Alice Henderson-Codrescu. Naturally, this interests me, and so I read a few more.

reverse

the storm outside
must be the kind you read about in the newspapers,
killer of babies and bums.
the kind of rain that goes in the subway
when i hold on to the coat of a fat man
whose disastrous life
makes me happy.

ME: Not much to do with the wife, as far as I can tell, but the alliteration in “babies and bums” catches my ear, and the schadenfreude my heart … although I’ve put on a few pounds this last year, so …

zzzzzzzzzzzz

i want to touch something sensational
like the mind of a shark. the white
electric bulbs of hunger moving
straight to the teeth.
and let there be rain that day over new york.
there is no other way
i can break away from bad news
and cheap merchandise.
(the black woman with a macy’s shopping bag
just killed me
from across the street.)
it is comfortable to want
peace from the mind of a shark.

ME: I like this one, too, although I don’t have much of an idea about what it means. The title leads me to suspect it is perhaps a version of a dream he’s had, and now I wonder whether all of the poems in this section are based on dreams, since we have it in the title of the first poem above, and the imagery in each of the poems has sort of chaos we often experience in dreams. The lower case letters bring to mind W.S. Merwin, but Codrescu’s poems contain a great deal more of life as most of us find it. He isn’t trying for the sublime in every line, and in fact seems to be trying to avoid anything that might signify portentousness. So yes, I like it. Not as much as JOB’s own poetry, but I’ll be dipping back into this volume until I see more from him.

Thanks JOB!

This sounds vaguely familiar…

But I could swear it takes place on the West Coast – in a place like Seattle or something…

…and BOB goes Nobel!

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Sorry, Cormac, maybe next year.

‘The Poems You Write Up at Night’: Compulsive Versifying

A few excerpts from that article ‘Compulsive Versifying after Treatment of Transient Epileptic Amnesia’ in Neurocase that everybody’s talking about:


 

Abstract

Compulsive production of verse is an unusual form of hypergraphia that has been reported mainly in patients with right temporal lobe seizures. We present a patient with transient epileptic amnesia and a left temporal seizure focus, who developed isolated compulsive versifying, producing multiple rhyming poems, following seizure cessation induced by lamotrigine. Functional neuroimaging studies in the healthy brain implicate left frontotemporal areas in generating novel verbal output and rhyme, while dysregulation of neocortical and limbic regions occurs in temporal lobe epilepsy. […]

[Read more…]

A profile on the face of quirkily hyper-sexualized, unconnectedly earlobed (and, of course, Catholicish) American poetry, or How I learned to stop projecting and love Sharon Olds

lockwood

Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., and was raised, as her author blurb states, in “all the worst cities of the Midwest.” What it does not say is that her father is a married Catholic priest, currently in a diocese of Kansas City, Mo. This requires a bit of explanation….

As a child Lockwood was intensely pious. “Catholicism is very beautiful,” she told me. “When your father is a priest, it’s invested with extra authority, and your father is invested with extra authority.” As a teenager, she had a strict dress code and a very limited range of after-school activities, which included a youth group called God’s Gang. “There was a lot of talk about gangs at the time,” she recalled, “and the idea was, what if there was a gang but it was a cool gang — for the Lord?” In God’s Gang they spoke in tongues, and the leaders would outline “all the sex you can’t do.”

Title for my eventual volumne of collected poetry

Caterwauls & Doggerels

Which reminds me, I need to finish the poem I started for the Lansing Priest’s ordination:

A priest makes men uneasy – how dare he what he does?/Standing in the breach ‘tween God and man…

And also the poem I started for the Confirmation of my two sons and godson last Thursday:

When the Spirit first descended/ When the reign of death was ended/ He came/ As flame/ That burned and rested all at once/ Consuming all but what Christ sought to save/ The wheat within the chaffy shell/ Since chaff is all that’s bound for hell/ And only wheat may live beyond the grave…

You know, because only jazz criticism sells better than poetry.

Exchange (for FOK Paul)

[Neko Case’s “Middle Cyclone” playing on car stereo.]

Eldest Daughter: You know, I think Neko Case is the Catwoman of music.

Me: So then who’s Batman?

Eldest Daughter: Duh! Tom Waits of course!

 

 

“… also in Josephus …”

Nichts

etwas

A conference is only a conference, but a good cigar is a smoke.

photo copy 10

Brian Jobe on Bourbon Street, Saturday night.

Join the fray…

USA. New York. 1950.

Where they discuss the not-so-usual suspects – including you and you and you and you and and you and you and…!