Thursday, February 26, 2009

Awake Dream and Amazon Kindle Killing Comic Books

Awake Dream

I am tired.
Eyelids fall off;
now I'm awake,
lucid in the midst
of dream.
You are there,
but not yourself.
I am there,
but I have no eyelids.
We are in love
with words,
and earthworms.
Shooting targets, large
Russian novels,
and icy lemonade.
We can't wake up.
Because you are yourself
and I am not.
I have no eyelids.

I'm not thrilled with the title - comments are always welcome

On they had an interesting article about the new Amazon Kindle 2 and its effect on the comic book market. Check out the article here.

As an avid comic book reading, anything regarding the comic book market is of interest to me. Vaneta Rogers provides some interesting facts towards the effect that comic books, very soon, will mostly be digital and readers will access them on some sort of device, like the Kindle. Here are my thoughts -

1. Has anyone actually seen someone with a Kindle? I have seen people - famous people, like Neil Gaiman, with them in online videos. But I have never seen someone with a kindle in real life. I do agree that comic book readers on an I-Phone or an I-Pod Touch is not that far off, but on a kindle?

2. Comic books have become a small niche market and most fans I know collect comic books because they like the stories. But those same fans also state the fact that they like having a physical copy of the book - something tangible that they can hold in their hands while they are reading. For many the collecting aspect of the hobby is even more important than the reading/good stories aspect of the hobby. This comes up in floppies (monthlies) versus trade paper back (collected editions) debates all the time. Many comic book fans like buying/collecting the floppies.

3. The kindle is in black and white. While some comic books are in black and white, and some black and white comics are very good (Echo by Terry Moore; Bone and RASL by Jeff Smith); most comics are in color.

I wouldn't worry too much about the kindle and its ruining the comic book market

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Underside of Leaves

Yesterday, my sophomores were in the computer lab working on a debate project and so I haphazardly grabbed a poetry book from my desk - one that I hadn't read yet. I grabbed The Underside of Leaves by Joseph Hutchison (he recently came to Pomona to do a poetry reading and the school library purchased a few of his books - they are right now sitting in my classroom so I can sift through them). I started it in the computer lab and then finished it after I took it home last night. I was completely floored. It was wonderful. Rarely do I ever start a book and then finish it the same day. I could not put it down.

Hutchison has a powerful command over language. I would go so far as to say he is an expert. His poetry speaks not only to literary experts and MFA Graduates, but to the common reader; the reader who may not know all that much about poetry. His poems are simple, but deep.

My favorite from the collection is "Demosthenes, Dying, Addresses His Dead Lover." I also enjoyed "Artichoke" - a short, simple poem from the collection. It is definitely worth a read - pick it up, you won't be sorry.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last night I finished reading my copy of the February 2009 issue of Poetry. This was an in the middle issue - not bad, but not terribly wonderful - for me. I did enjoy some of the poems in issue. Even a poem from Kim Addonizio (I am seeing her everywhere these days). I did not get the manifesto section. I tried to read them, and understand why we were doing this - but I guess it was not for me to know. I never read the comment or letter sections - most often I find that the people who comment, or send letters in are talking about poems that I don't know and thus can't connect to their comments. There was also a section of strange artwork - also probably not for me to understand.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What constitutes good poetry?

I just finished my Jan/Feb issue of Poets and Writers and I came across another great article. "First Thought, Worst Thought" by Kim Addonizio. She specifically was writing an article about poetry exercises that inspire - and her main concept is that our first draft is not the best one. Revision as necessary. Now I know that there are some who would disagree, but that is not really what I wanted to comment about. She goes into a short dialog in the article and lists what she feels makes poetry good. I agreed on many of her items and thought it would be good stuff to incorporate in my poetry unit with my Juniors. I think the ideas Addonizio has are simple enough that my students would be able to use this list as a template to help them determine what they feel makes poetry good. Maybe that even becomes the topic of an essay later in the year.

Here is Kim Addonizio's list...
Sufficient thought
The parts contribute to the whole

Some of my comments on the list...
Surprise - Absolutely. I tire of reading poetry that is the same over and over and over.

Music - I would agree, but when the music takes over the poem then it brings me out of it as a reader.

Sufficient thought - I would hope so. I struggle with this when I am writing my poetry. I get a glimmer of an idea and then the poem doesn't follow that idea and goes off on a tangent. I need to work on putting forth the sufficient thought needed to make a poem good.

Syntax - This is another thing I need to work on. Addonizio says, "A good poet is a 'language master.'" And I certainly am not. I have problems with punctuation/grammar especially.

The parts contribute to the whole - I agree

Mystery - as she describes it the poem needs to come to life. So yeah, I like poems coming to life for me. I will agree.

So now...


Friday, February 20, 2009



Walk into your bathroom.
(Just do it.)
Sit down on the sweating floor,
take a towel - still
damp from this morning's
shower - and stuff
it under the door.
Turn off the light,
close your eyes,
and listen.
The train will pass soon,
but will you hear it?
And will you hear
when that asshole neighbor
downstairs starts
banging his hip hop?
Will you hear the drip
or rush of
water in your own bathroom?
because you are the only
human alive
in the world.

As always comments are welcome

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Haven't Lived

Haven't Lived

you haven't lived until
you've seen
the northern lights
on your back
the snow & rocks
digging in

I've never lived.
Who am I?

As always comments are more than welcome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On Not Writing and POETRY BOOT CAMP

I recently read the article by Gabriel Cohen in the Jan/Feb issue of Poets and Writers entitled "On Not Writing."

I really enjoyed it. Cohen has good insight and I felt a connection to what he was saying.

We all have those times when writing is just SO hard and it is the last thing we possible want to do. And those times are probably the most important times to be writing. There is no magical equation to follow to make writing easier - other than just writing I think. I have never had a time when I sat down, either at my keyboard or at my notebook, and couldn't write something. The trick is getting sat down. I find that it is most difficult when my life is really busy. Which makes sense. But then I also feel that my life has become increasingly busy since I moved from Las Vegas. In Nevada it seemed I had all the time in the world to just sit and write and I wasted that time away playing endless hours of video games. And now I am without the hours I would like and spend my evenings staying up way later than I intended to get some writing in.

Ahhhh what a life.



I am really excited about the poetry unit I am preparing for my students. POETRY BOOT CAMP I am calling it. I really can't take credit for the name, a colleague has used it in the past. But essentially I am going to focus on helping the students enjoy poetry - Like they used to enjoy poetry when they were young. Here are some of my ideas in list form.
1. Students will receive a list of around 25 poems - grouped in fives - and they will be asked to read those five or so poems for a specifc day. We will discuss the poems round-robin style in that class period. They will also write a short response to one of the poems they read - these responses will be very emotion/reader response driven

2. Students will be taught the tools of explication and will be asked to explicate three poems of their choice over the course of the unit.

3. During class periods, when we aren't discussing the response poems mentioned in 1 - we will be looking at poets craft. So one lesson on poetic forms/open form, one lesson on figurative language, one lesson on images...etc.

4. The unit will culminate in two projects - The first will be a power point, where the students will pick a particularly poignant poem to them (one that we read for class preferably) and find pictures/images to go with each line and then organize it into some sort of presentation. Second students will be asked to create a "Favorite Poem Project" presentation AL A Robert Pinsky's website. We won't be video taping them - but it should prove to be interesting.

My main goal is to get students to enjoy poetry. Even if it is just for one poem. If I can get them to enjoy and understand one poem then I will feel like the unit was a success.

For a creative touch I will be dressing up in camo gear on the introduction day of the unit and marching my students around the school chanting LEFT LEFT LEFT RIGHT LEFT - POETRY IS REALLY COOL, IT IS THE BEST PART OF SCHOOL. POETRY IS REALLY NEAT, IT WILL GET YOU OUT OF YOUR SEAT. SOUND OFF... ah it should be fun.


One last thing. I just noticed a new follower.
A big welcome to Ben

Monday, February 16, 2009

I love this poster

Ha - the previous post was about hate, this one is about love. I found this poster on another wonderful blog The Scrapper Poet check it out here. But this really is an awesome poster.