Monthly Archives: June 2009

Jun 29, 2009 Politics

Hey guys,

Very sorry for the absence. While we’re on the subject, this will be the last MV until about mid-August. You know, gotta work on my tan.

There have been two requests for some work by Carol Ann Duffy, and y’all know I never turn down requests. Ms. Duffy was recently appointed Poet Laureate of England, the first woman in the 341-year history of the post. For her first published piece since the appointment, she took as her topic not a royal wedding, a royal birth, a royal birthday, or a royale with cheese, but the expenses scandal that rocked Parliament this spring. It was published in the Guardian about 2 weeks ago, and an editorial in the paper said that “the poem can be seen as a statement of intent that she intends to tackle big, difficult subjects in the nation’s narrative.”

Further,

“It is a powerful, passionate commentary on the corrosiveness of politics on politicians and the ruinous effect on idealism… Beyond saying the poem was about the effect of politics on idealism, Duffy was reluctant to elaborate on its meaning, wanting the poem to do the talking.”

I am likewise reluctant to elaborate on its meaning, wanting you to do the talking. Have a good week. -ed.







POLITICS



How it makes of your face a stone

that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,

clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue

an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand

a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh

a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs

hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice

that can throw no six. How it takes the breath

away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,

makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,

of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –

politics – to your education education education; shouts this –

Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your

conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

-2009

June 2, 2009 Racer

Greetings, earthlings.

Forgive my 2-week absence. Things happened; mistakes were made.

Listen, if I said we were going to read a poet whom critic Adam Kirsch has called “the best American poet writing today,” who is a winner of the LA Times Book Prize, who counts among his admirers Billy Collins and Paul Muldoon, who has been a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, and who just celebrated the publication of hisCollected Poems, 1959-2009, you’d probably think, “Oh, goody, a familiar name!”, right? Well, you tell me: Frederick Seidel.

Right?

As you all know I treat myself to one new book  of poetry a year (sad, in its way, but true). Not having the $40 for the collected poems in cloth, I went with 2006’s Ooga Booga, the title of which jokingly refers to his reputation as scary, dark, menacing, a sophisticated poet of our emotional underbellies. Or really, his emotional underbelly. Oh and literal underbellies, too. The man likes his sex. The tone of the poems I’ve read so far is invitingly personal and astringently ironic. His other choices–diction (pretty erudite), rhythm, form, length, rhyme–are all pretty “normal” for a dude writing essentially realist, lyric poetry in the second half of the American 20th Century. And something about my mindset draws me to his ouevre, which I’m glad to have just discovered. Watch (listen) how a strange lack of punctuation–coupled perhaps with the time-bending properties of mid-day alcohol consumption–here maintains his illusion of zealous, reckless speed. -ed.




RACER

for Paolo Ciabatti


I spend most of my time not dying.
That’s what living is for.
I climb on a motorcycle.
I climb on a cloud and rain.
I climb on a woman I love.
I repeat my themes.

Here I am in Bologna again.
Here I go again.
Here I go again, getting happier and happier.
I climb on a log
Torpedoing toward the falls.
Basically, it sticks out of me.

The F-16s take off in a deafening flock,
Shattering the runway at the airbase at Cervia.
They roar across horizontally
And suddenly go straight up,
And then they lean backwards and level off
And are gone till lunchtime and surprisingly wine.

-2006