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Reruns

Rerun of a poem from House of Words and Mary Karrs birthday featured today on the rehabilitated Writer’s Almanac.

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, January 16, 2021

Pictures of [Korrektiv] Poets

Check.

It.

Out.

Redound thee unto mine own personage…

all-shakespeare-tragedies-ranked

Dappled Things took the bait… Heh.

With apologies to Dino

Uncle Walt Wrote a Novel!

005
Who knew the multitudinous poet had it in him?

Apparently a grad student named Turpin did.

And apparently everyone does…now.

As noted in the New York Times, Whitman once wrote in 1882, “My serious wish were to have all those crude and boyish pieces quietly dropp’d in oblivion.” Later, when he heard someone was interested in publishing his past fiction, he said, “I should almost be tempted to shoot him if I had an opportunity.”

Clearly, Whitman hadn’t expected Turpin…

Opening Up a Dialogue

House of Words paid Facebook a nominal fee to boost the dissemination of a haiku in support of the Women’s March this past Saturday. And it generated some interesting feedback from outside the usual House of Words demographic.

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Existential Dissonance

A fascinating footnote, perhaps, to Potter’s “The Lesbians in My Life” (House of Words, p. 25):

“I’ve been changed by this love: I am calmer, fatter, pregnant. But my fundamental coordinates have not changed.”

lesbian_marries_man

Check the OED again?

Revision of a revision

Y’all and Me

You, Webb, are a warm front
that moved in from the north (by way of California),
a blind spot bearing beautiful gifts; and
Quinn, you’re a garden in the air for sure,
Seattle Sub specie aeternitatis with tendrils dangling down.
Angelico, O.P., would you deny you are a golden L.A. filament
inscribed with the name of God’s hunting dog?
Southern Expat, ye be, unmistakably,
a magic Georgia heirloom mistaken for a Texas feather duster;
JOB, obviously: a fountain in a Wisconsin cow pasture
is what you are, spouting Wisconsin poetry constantly;
and Lickona the anachronistic anagram
annoyed by anonymity, the dollar in the pocket
of a New England winter coat in San Diego summer.

And me? I am the discoverer of y’all.

Practice What You Preach Department

faded signposts

We shall still more thoroughly ground the young man, if, on introducing him to poetry, we explain to him that it is an imitative art and agent, analogous to painting. Not only must he be made acquainted with the common saying that poetry is vocal painting, and painting, silent poetry, but he must also teach him that when we see a painting of a lizard, an ape, or the face of Thersites, our pleasure and surprise are occasioned, not by the beauty of the object, but by the likeness of the painting to it. For it is naturally impossible for the ugly to be beautiful, but it is the imitation which is praised, if it reproduce to the life either an ugly or beautiful object. On the contrary, if an ugly object is represented as beautiful, we deny the truthfulness or the consistency of the picture.

How to Study Poetry by Plutarch.

 

 

Three Sonnets

I. Word House
Where Amherst’s hermitess had bitten
The Puritan tongue with reproof,
Spokane now speaks such song, begotten
As rain, pronounced as raftered roof,
Refined as wine in cooling cellars.
What whirrs there through the threshold’s pillars?
It sounds to be a potter’s lathe
That spits out earthen sparks to bathe
The night with reason: words are shelter
For faith which palates reach with speech
Like star to planet, wave to beach.
The mystery of diction’s altar:
In stormy house, a world of calm –
In sonnet’s hovel, castled psalm.

II. Beard Nest
A formal nudity is shameless
Because the body knows what lust
Denies to serve: the many nameless
Conspiracies of love that nest
Like birds within the beard of Jesus.
Will darkened theaters cease to please us
(More known than knowing) just because
The plight of Job excites applause
For pleasure’s picture show? With Satan,
The naked frame reveals; but beer
Is found as near to elbow’s cheer
As language brewing roots in Latin –
And here, a man and woman found
A common tongue on common ground.

III. Water Board
The sifting surf is sorting shingles
Upon the beach. The clashing sounds
Of armies, ignorant as angels,
Is drowned as holy rage compounds
The wave that builds. But you know, fuck it.
A man can throw up in a bucket –
So justice gains what mercy lost –
A man can take his licks on a post –
So blood and history are bonded
As Adam waxes up his board
Now bounden where he lay, a lord
At play. Sea-savaged and up-ended,
He’s framed by grace – and tries to name
Its aspect ratio to fame.

My Email to Garrison Keillor re. Walker Percy

Dear Mr. Keillor,

You and Walker Percy both occupy honored places in my personal constellation of literary stars.

That’s why I was shocked and disappointed by your treatment of Dr. Percy in the May 28, 2014 edition of The Writer’s Almanac. Percy never worked as a psychiatrist. In fact, although he was an M.D., he never really practiced medicine. He contracted tuberculosis while conducting autopsies during a residency in pathology at the end of medical school.

And that synopsis of The Moviegoer (which thankfully only appears in the printed version of TWA) is just as horribly askew. Binx Bolling is a stockbroker who goes to the movies but “in an attempt to get over a nervous breakdown” reeks of having been pulled out of someone’s ass who never read the book and doesn’t really care.

I’m not sure I can trust what you say on TWA anymore.

Maybe what you need is a crusty old librarian who cares about real facts and knows how to dig into reliable sources. Coincidentally, I am just such a librarian (and poor starving poet to boot, having earned $100 from TWA, thank you very much, and about $3.95 in royalties since publishing my book). I would be interested in supplementing my meager poet-librarian’s salary, if you’re hiring.

I didn’t start off this email thinking it would turn into a job application, but the spirit surprises us sometimes.

Let me know what you think. In any case, I’m looking forward to what you come up with for Walker Percy the next time his birthday comes round.

All the best,
Jonathan Potter
Spokane WA