Thursday, 29 November 2007
New Posting at Issa's Untidy Hut
There is a new posting this morning at Issa's Untidy Hut . In order to subscribe to the new RSS feed for Issa's Untidy Hut , you can cut and paste the following into your feed reader:
All future posts will be to the new blog. Please make note of the above and I hope to hear from you at the new spot.
Posted by donw714 at 07:55 EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007 07:59 EST
Saturday, 24 November 2007
New Blog ... Issa's Untidy Hut
It seems it is time to give up on the Tripod blogging service and move along to Blogger. There has been myriad difficulties with Tripod, both technical and stylistic. Suffice it to say, I’ve had it.
All future postings will be at the new Lilliput blog, Issa's Untidy Hut. Here is the url:
My apologies for the change so soon after beginning. You can imagine how I feel about it. In any case, I believe the new blog will be much more amenable to what I want to do, has a nicer presentation, and is, huzzah, ad free.
Hope you follow me over. I will continue to post sample poems from back issues, as well as general announcements, news and musings. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Posted by donw714 at 10:02 EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 24 November 2007 10:04 EST
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Over to "Issa's Untidy Hut"
Well, this morning I wrestled two out of three falls with posting here at "Tripod" and lost. So, instead of compromising, I've posted this morning at the back up blog
Just click through ... Don
Posted by donw714 at 07:22 EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 07:23 EST
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Chocolate Jesus, T. S. Eliot & the Half-Eaten Moon
Since there was a week missed while I was away, I thought I’d make up with an extra posting. The true prompting for this was my stumbling on the Tom Waits' performance of “Chocolate Jesus” on Late Night, posted on YouTube. Just way too good not to share.
In addition, I was struck by the following paragraph by James Longenbach in his review of the Hollander’s translation of Dante’s Paradiso in Sunday November 11th New York Times Book Review:
I’m not sure I totally agree with the last line; that is to say, it is true but, like a two-edged sword, may cut both ways. Rhyme may lull us from this very purpose. All in all, though, I found this observation cogent.
Since this is an additional posting, I thought I would dip back into issue #129 and see if there isn’t a little something more to be mined there:
deep deep seeing
translated by Scott Watson
between rain showers¾
the letters making up the name
worn off the headstone
~ Gary Hotham
-- the morning birds have
eaten half the moon –
leaving plenty for us
~ Tim Robbins
Till next week … Don
Posted by donw714 at 07:07 EST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007 08:56 EST
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Disappearing "Beneath Cherry Blossoms" reappears ...
Imagine my surprise at coming back from vacation to find Beneath Cherry Blossoms gone. Kaput. Vanished. No more (insert dead parrot routine here). So I quickly scampered off to Blogger, with much twitching, swearing and likewise bizarre behavior, and started a new blog, Issa's Untidy Hut.
And, of course, after all that, my email to tech people at Lycos seems to have done the trick and Beneath Cherry Blossoms has reappeared. Rather than retype the whole thing, for this week's post I'll send you directly to
and call it a morning. All future posts will continue to be here at BCN, with Issa's Untidy Hut serving as backup.
Now, where's that pint of warm beer?
Posted by donw714 at 07:46 EST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007 13:04 EST
Friday, 2 November 2007
Thomas Hardy, Obscenity, Poetry
Today is the anniversary of the publication of Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, for which he was largely pilloried. In fact it was the final straw for Hardy; he turned to poetry and never published another novel. The background story to this can be read at Today in Literature. I would add the story James Joyce used to tell of sending his little brother, Stanislaus, to the local lending library for a copy, which he was denied when he asked for "Jude the Obscene."
The promised new issues, #'s 159 & 160, will begin going out in two weeks to contributors after some much needed r & r, with the rest of the run following shortly thereafter. As a result of the r & r, there will be no posting next week. I may try to sneak another in this week if the time presents itself.
Meanwhile, today's selection of archived poetry comes from, Lilliput #128. The last two works deal sumi-e art, a Japanese style of brushwork.
a crowd of faces - -
who can identify
the back of their own head?
making do with fro-
zen dew. my brush full
Posted by donw714 at 10:30 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007 10:32 EDT
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
New issues , Pamela Miller Ness, Marvin Bell and more ...
It seems the older I get, the more time there is between issues. The new issues will be rolling out in November and December, contributor copies going out first and then the full run of subscribers. Issue numbers 159 and 160 will feature the work of John Martone and Yosano Akiko, newly translated by Dennis Maloney.
It is very exciting to see up and online a pdf version of Origin: Sixth Series, from Longhouse and featuring the work of the selfsame John Martone and continuing the fine editiorial of the late Cid Corman. This 370 page journal is a model of both poetry and Internet publishing and is not to be missed.
This week's issue is #127 (November 2002), with a cover by Harland Ristau. Harland was a great correspondent, artist and poet, whose work had its origins in the Beats. His recent passing has left an unfillable gap for those who knew him. From this issue, the following:
I can see parts of myself
I never saw before
now that the leaves
Like I can see
cut rows of corn
with pecking black birds
behind the loosely
woven trees of November.
--- Carlo D'Ambrosi
Finally if you have a chance, check out Marvin Bell's poem A Campus in Wartime, as read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac this past Wednesday.
It seems we always need reminding.
Posted by donw714 at 06:34 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007 06:32 EDT
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Moby Grape's Don Stevenson and Lilliput #126
This week saw the birthday of Don Stevenson, drummer of the legendary Moby Grape, pictured above flashing all of us the secret sign. Ah, such an innocent time, indeed, when flagging the high sign could be an act of revolution, celebration and immaturity all delightfully wrapped into one. In any case, this, Moby Grape's first album, remains to this day one of the finest album to come out of the 60's and still remains listenable in a way that elicits nary a cringe. Check out the live performance on the The Mike Douglas Show (Douglas introduces them as "The Moby Grapes"): the 2 numbers perfectly highlight how they could rock (despite some bad mic-ing) and also write and perform a timeless ballad ("8:05"). What the heck, here's two more that illustrate exactly the same thing with two different songs ("Hey Grandma" and "Sitting by the Window," the former with the fine lyric "Robitussin makes me feel so fine, Robitussen and elderberry wine") from there seminal first album.
Here's some selections from the next issue in our Lilliput Review tour, #126.
In the drunk's
the priest he could've been
a line of ants
carrying the butterfly-
And two by Mr. Huffstickler:
Posted by donw714 at 08:28 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007 13:28 EDT
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Harold Pinter and Cid Corman
October seems to be crunch month. There is so much to do, truly so little time. Besides teaching a poetry class, there are two guest lecture spots I need to do, all this from someone who became a librarian because he didn't want to teach. Zip drive crashes, two new issues to get out and, oh, yeah, that pesky full-time job. So it goes, indeed.
This week was Harold Pinter's birthday and he reminds us how truly awful the state of the world is. If you have not seen his Nobel Prize lecture, Art, Truth & Politics, it is a must. Steel yourself for the truth, because that is what you will get and it is doesn't get any uglier.
Issue #125 of Lilliput Review was something of a celebration of the truth: a broadside by the master poet, Cid Corman. I've talked about Cid in previous posting and his generosity to even the humblest of publications. So, rather than belabor you further with my inadequate musings, I'll let him speak for himself. The broadside was entitled Only.
to have to
die. Let life
Posted by donw714 at 08:50 EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007 08:13 EDT
Thursday, 4 October 2007
Laurence Sterne ... Wallace Stevens ... Allen Ginsberg ... Lilliput Review
In the latest reverberations of the current administrations' Draconian policies, the legendary New York radio station WBAI has decided to reverse their decision to play Allen Ginsberg's Howl on the air during this the 50th anniversary year of its publication. The outrage is well beyond ludicrous; one hardly can blame BAI, a public radio station around since before the Flood , since the amount of the fines now levied by the FCC for "obscenity" could threaten their very existence.
Still, one would hope that someone would take these bastards to court. I suppose the prosecution team would see their poker buddies presiding, with little chance for real justice.
In lighter fare, I'm currently reading Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne and it is, unequivocably, the funniest book I've ever read. Swift brings the laughs, but Gulliver is all about satire. Sterne brings the satire but, truly, Tristram is all about the laughs.
There is a very interesting version of Shandy up on the web here. It is a hypertext version, that takes you to criticism at specific points and all manner of interesting Sterneiana as well as e-texts on arts, fashion, history, language, music etc., all pertaining to Sterne and his times. Really, this is the web at its best, at least from a scholarly point of view.
If this, however, is all too much and you're just in it for the laughs, there is a version in Google Books (a blurry scan of a New York Public Library book, highlighting what's wrong with Google books, hence no link provided here) and a standard e-text version at Project Gutenberg. For reading purposes, I recommend the standard Penguin version, specifically for the informative notes appended.
As noted on The Writer's Almanac this week, it was the birthday of Wallace Stevens. One of the great short poems that directly shows the influence of the East and its influence on the Imagists, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is one (or more, actually) of the truly great short poems.
The Lilliput issue of the week is #124, with a cover by the late great Harland Ristau. Here are a few highlights.
Something about voyages,
how the body itself
is not the voyager
but the voyage.
In the house of rain
there are many mansions
Posted by donw714 at 11:02 EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007 07:00 EDT
Friday, 28 September 2007
On the run ...
An extremely busy week here in Pittsburgh; I taught a lifelong learning class on poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsored by our local library association (ACLA), am busy making plans for some hiking in the woods and the usual Lilliput things. Also, some film reviews for the website Fulvue Drive-In, one on Marco Polo and the other on the House of Usher. Both were pretty horrific, and not in a good way, which, of course made writing the reviews all the more fun.
So, I'll keep it brief. Today is a day when losers everywhere pause to commemorate the great Arnold Stang. Here is an interview with him because, well, it's the web and here's an interview ... with delightful picture.
Continuing our leisurely sampling of back issues of Lilliput Review, it's time to skip forward to #123. #122 is a one poem broadside by David Chorlton entitled And, which would be criminal to excerpt, so I won't. It is available for a mere buck ... but enough with the plugs, on with the poems.
One Small Poem
can take you
a long way
think how far
~ Bart Solarczyk
And the indomitable Albert Huffstickler:
Posted by donw714 at 10:06 EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Kesey, Hendrix, Yeats and all ...
This week saw anniversaries for Ken Kesey (birth) and Jimi Hendrix (death). Known, of course, for Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion is a book worth revisting and, in fact, may be every bit as great, if not quite as universal. From one of chapter headnotes, for which he seems be nodding back to Hemingway, is one of those moments one finds sprinkled throughout Kesey's work as often as that of, say, Thomas Hardy:
And Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix, what can be said that hasn't been already. Well, there are the lyrics, for instance. Take Voodoo Chile (Slight Return):
And this, Up From the Skies, from his arguable masterpiece, Axis: Bold as Love:
Issue #121 starts off in something of an enigmatic mood, prompted by the always challenging, probing work of John Harter.
Shadows on the wall,
flickering reminders of
my heart without you.
And, finally, Huff, perhaps pointing us back to his broadside featured in the last posting, with this poignant poem:
Posted by donw714 at 07:34 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007 09:38 EDT
Saturday, 15 September 2007
James Fenimore Cooper and the Death of Susie Bowers
James Fenimore Cooper is remembered for quite a few things, not the least of which is his mind cramping, turgid prose that killed the joy of reading for many a high school student. Fortunately, we have Mark Twain, whose brilliant response has perhaps saved a few of those students from a book-less future (in those little connections the mind makes, I thought of Bono's inspired battle-cry in a similar situation: "Charles Manson stole this song from the Beatles. Now we're stealing it back.").
In perverse celebration of JFC's birthday (as noted in this morning's Writer's Almanac), here is Mark Twain's Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (which were not noted in Writer's Almanac).
In defense of Cooper, who has since high school actually given me some occasional moments of reading pleasure, here is the homepage of the James Fenimore Cooper Society, dedicated to the study of his life and works.
Today is also the birthday of the famed conductor, Bruno Walter. Though his recording of Beethoven's symphonies have long since passed as the standard to measure others by, call me a romantic, they still remain my personal favorites. Here is the Second movement of the 9th Symphony, conducted by Walter.
Issue #120 of Lilliput Review is a broadside by Albert Huffstickler, entitled Dearly Departed. This sequence of poems was written in memory of fellow poet/artist Susie Bowers, who had taken her own life very recently. Susie and Huff were close and Huff had his own issues with self destruction and so this hit him as hard as it can. As was usually the case, Huff talked himself through it in his poems and this was perhaps the best sequence he ever wrote, in my opinion. The following are from that sequence.
Suicide is a
you take from others
so many things that
were never yours
to begin with.
I don't think I want
to understand why you did it.
I can't even deal with
Posted by donw714 at 11:50 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007 06:50 EDT
Thursday, 13 September 2007
DHL ... & autumn ...
This week was the birthday of D. H. Lawrence. Often forgotten is the fact that Lawrence was a master poet, really a poet first, as was Hermann Hesse. He excelled at all lengths, but was perhaps one of the finest poets ever in the short form. Here are two examples:
Nothing to Save
There is nothing to save, now all is lost
but a tiny core of stillness in the heart
like the eye of the violet.
Nothing to Save is reminiscent of another great short poem, one of my personal favorites, by James Wright:
Taking a look backward this week at Lilliput #119, which nicely coincides with the season. Here are three short subjects on the coming (and past) fall season:
One day all the leaves blow away.
I have been worrying
about the wrong things.
~ Ray Skjelbred
Posted by donw714 at 08:35 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007 07:43 EDT
Friday, 7 September 2007
Persevering and Other Things
Persevering with Charles Wright's Scar Tissue has paid off; as with many a poetry volume, a gem or two may be found here or there.
The Woodpecker Pecks, but the Hole Does Not Appear
It's hard to imagine how unremembered we all become
How quickly all that we've done
Is unremembered and unforgiven,
Bog lillies and yellow clover flashlight our footfalls,
How quickly and finally landscape subsumes us,
And everything that we are becomes what we are not.
This is not new, the orange finch
And the yellow and dun finch
picking the dry clay politely,
The grasses asleep in their green slips
Before the noon can roust them,
The sweet oblivion of the everyday
like a warm waistcoat
Over the cold and endless body of memory.
Cloud-scarce Montana morning.
July, with its blue cheeks puffed out like a putto on an ancient map,
Huffing the wind down from the northwest corner of things,
Tweets on the evergreen stumps,
swallows treading the air,
The ravens hawking from tree to tree, not you, not you,
Is all the world allows, and all one could wish for.
~ Charles Wright
And the last verse from a poem called Pilgrim's Progress
In the end, of course, one's a small dog
At night on the front porch,
barking into the darkness
At what he can't see, but smells, somehow, and is suspicious of.
Barking, poor thing, and barking,
With no one at home to call him in,
with no one to turn the light on.
~ Charles Wright
Yes, it was worth the slog through. And, yes, it's probably time to pick it back up and start all over again.
When is a blog a journal? When no one posts responses? Hmn?
Back to the tour through back issues of Lilliput. This time it is number 118, which was a broadside of the poet M. Kettner, entitled Highku. A decidedly skewed take on the haiku form. The out-of-body experience as prosody ...
aerial surveillance of self
patent leather reflecting sun
Next time, homage to Issa - I hope. Or, maybe Whitman. Or not. Hmn.
Posted by donw714 at 16:34 EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007 16:37 EDT
Friday, 31 August 2007
Within and Without: Revelation
Within and Without: Revelation
As I mentioned before I've been struggling with Charles Wright's recent volume of poems, Scar Tissue. This morning, Garrison Keillor highlights a fine poem by Wright in his Writer's Almanac: "After Reading T'ao Ch'ing, I wander Untethered Through the Short Grass," from his collection Appalachia. Check it out, it's worth the click.
Today is the birthday of the Irish songwriter/bard Van Morrison. Over the years, he has given the world such a wide array of quality music, from the cliched blue-eyed soul through the mystic to skiffle, country and beyond. One of his least lauded but very best albums, at least for the poets in the crowd, is 1980's Common One. It is simply, while simultaneously being about, revelation. Here is "Summertime in England":
Well, for a blog that should be highlighting the short poem, that's a stretch. Today's selection of poems from a back issue of Lilliput Review comes from issue #117. Perhaps there might be some revelation there:
EVERYTHING THE MYSTERY THE
WOOD THE SMALL ANIMALS THE
BIRDS DEEP BEDS OF PINE NEEDLES
Posted by donw714 at 07:00 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Robert Crumb, Buk and Lilliput Review #116
Today is the birthday of the artist Robert Crumb, whose work embodies the torturous passage of the generations who grew up in the 50's and 60's. Truly a marriage made in hell, he did covers and artwork for a number of Charles Bukowski's books, one example being Bring Me Your Love, above. In recent years, Buk's books are being published by Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. Hardly reflective of his small press roots with Black Sparrow, but so it goes, as the poet said.
Continuing the tour of back issues that is the main purpose of Beneath Cherry Blossoms, here are some interesting poems from #116:
museum alcove --
incautious gum chewers
lean closer to Shiva
Posted by donw714 at 07:04 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007 07:52 EDT
Saturday, 25 August 2007
Charles Wright, Charlie Mehrhoff and That One Nagging Question
Today is the birthday of the poet Charles Wright, whose recent volume, Scar Tissue, I am currently struggling with mightily. More palatable, at least for me, is the poem " Last Supper" by Wright, from his collection The Wrong End of the Rainbow, and posted on the poets.org website.
For a decidedly more small press approach to things, you might want to check out the website of exemplary poet Charlie Mehrhoff, one of our finest practitioners of the short form and someone I've had the honor to publish both in Lilliput Review and as part of the Modest Proposal Chapbook series. From his collection One Hand Clapping in that series comes the following:
From issue #115 of Lillie, this little gem:
And, hopefully, committing these words to the page, an old poet friend went some of the distance to their denial
A number of Shakespeare sonnets, such as, and Shelley again (see the August 4th entry of this blog) ...
Posted by donw714 at 10:54 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007 07:46 EDT
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
John Lee loves Dorothy ...
Birthdays on this day include John Lee Hooker and Dorothy Parker; if ever there was a blues singer who wrote poetry and a poet who had the cosmic blues, these two fit the bill. Here's one by John Lee that Dorothy certainly could relate to:
And here's one from Ms. Parker that John Lee could probably have tapped his feet to ...
A Very Short Song
In keeping with the somewhat somber mood, two great short pieces by Albert Huffstickler from issue #113 of Lilliput Review:
Posted by donw714 at 09:12 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007 09:14 EDT
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Small press icons and a Hugh Fox broadside
This past week saw anniversaries of three of the small presses' most influential icons: Charles Bukowski (born 1920), Ed Sanders (born 1939) and Jack Spicer (died 1965). Also, today is the anniversary of the execution death of Federico Garcia Lorca.
Spicer translated some of Garcia Lorca's poems and a letter to him from Spicer on the art of translation may be found at the Spicer website at the University of Buffalo.
Ed Sanders, a founding member of the influential folk/poetry group the Fugs, has become known in recent years for his book-length historical poems, such as 1968: A History in Verse. There is an interesting interview with Ed posted online by Billy Bob Hargus that's worth a look see. One brilliant bit of short verse by him from Thirsting For Peace in a Raging Century: Selected Poems 1961-1985 follows:
And speaking of small press icons, issue #112 of Lilliput is a broadside of the work of Hugh Fox, entitled Slides.
Going back to my forest
through the suburbs
that are only thirty or
forty years old but
look eternal, a white-
man about sixty walks
out of one of the houses
he could be anyone.
As with all back issues of Lillie, this little ten slide broadside performance is available for $1.
Posted by donw714 at 08:12 EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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