March 27, 2011

Fashion and Poets

Fashion and poets - a disturbing mix...

From O, The Oprah Magazine, March 08, 2011

Modeling the latest looks, eight rising poets express their dynamic personal styles—and show you how to cultivate your own.

see the photographic evidence -

March 26, 2011

Gerald Stern at WCCC

This Time: New and Selected Poems
The WCCC Visiting Authors Series continues on Wednesday, March 30th, with a reading by Gerald Stern, recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry.

This event, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Warren County Community College in New Jersey in Room E208, is free and open to the public. The WCCC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, will provide complimentary refreshments. Originally scheduled for January 26th, Mr. Stern’s reading was moved to March 30th due to inclement weather.

Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1925. His books of poetry include Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992 (W. W. Norton, 2010), Save the Last Dance: Poems (2008); This Time: New and Selected Poems (1998), which won the National Book Award; Bread Without Sugar (1992), winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize; The Red Coal (1981), which received the Melville Caine Award from the Poetry Society of America; and Lucky Life, the 1977 Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets.

His honors include the Paris Review's Bernard F. Conners Award, the Bess Hokin Award from Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Prize, four National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from American Poetry Review, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2005, Stern was selected to receive the Wallace Stevens Award for mastery in the art of poetry. He also served as the first Poet Laureate of the State of New Jersey from 2000 to 2002. For many years a teacher at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Stern now lives in Lambertville, New Jersey.

The WCCC Visiting Authors Series is supported by a grant from the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission. All facilities comply with ADA regulations and are fully accessible. After the reading, there will be brief Q & A with the audience and a book signing. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

For directions to the college or to find out about WCCC’s Creative Writing degree program, please call (908) 835-9222 or visit

March 21, 2011

The Green Heron Poetry Project

The Upper Delaware Writers Collective Announces
The 2011 Green Heron Poetry Project

The Upper Delaware Writers Collective (UDWC) was founded in 1993 as a charity organization. Based in Sullivan County, NY, it also has members and activities in Wayne and Pike counties in PA and Orange County, NY.

The green heron is a native bird whose numbers are increasing in the region. It is adaptable and wily and uses tools to catch its prey.

Themes such as green herons, birds, bird watching, landscapes, places, nature, bodies of water, adaptability (for humans and animals), contemplation, conservation and sustainability are welcomed.

These themes can be interpreted loosely and are for inspiration only. We are open to well-crafted poetry in all styles.

The UDWC sponsors events designed to preserve and extend the cultural and literary legacy of the Delaware River and the Upper Delaware River Valley.

For this contest, poets must reside in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Each poem must be 26 lines or less; prose poems of 250 words or less, one poem per page.
Entry free of $5 per poem; entries limited to four previously unpublished poems. Make
checks payable to UDWC.

Include a cover sheet listing your full contact information, poem titles, and a short bio (50
words or less). Judging will be anonymous. Do not include any contact information on poem submissions.

A panel consisting of UDWC members will judge.
Submission deadline: Friday, May 27th, 2011.
Winners will be notified by July 1st, 2011.
Send SASE for announcement of winners.
Poems may be submitted by first class mail or online. If online, manuscript will be
considered once the entry fee has been received by mail. Word documents only.

First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Third Prize: $25

Winning poems will be artfully rendered on a poster with the green heron and presented at our annual awards ceremony and celebration in Narrowsburg, New York, September 17th, 2011.

For information and to send submissions via first class mail:

Green Heron Poetry Project
Georganna Millman
PO Box 120
Big Indian, NY 12410

For information and to send submissions online:

For more information: 845.252.7506

March 18, 2011

2011 Writing Contest - TIFERET Journal

TIFERET,  A Journal of Spiritual Literature, offers three awards of $500 in the categories of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

TIFFERET publishes writing from a variety of spiritual and religious traditions with a mission to help reveal spirit through the written word.

The poetry judge is Alicia Ostriker. Josip Novakovich is the non-fiction judge and Gayle Brandeis will be the fiction judge.

Contest Guidelines:
* Unpublished poems in English must be received through our online submissions manager by May 1, 2011 deadline.
* First prize in each genre: $500 and publication in TIFERET.
* Honorable Mention Prizes will receive publication in TIFERET ONLINE.
* $20 fee for each entry. Limit 6 poems (must be submitted in one document), one story or essay up to 25 pages in length.
* To enter, go to:     Specify the genre and pay your appropriate entry fee using PayPal.

Winners will be announced June 30, 2011.

March 17, 2011

Poetry With a Sheen

On the lighter side of the poetry world, comes the news that Charlie Sheen has been reading from A Peace of My Mind, a long out of print book he self-published 20 years ago, on his webcast, "Sheen's Korner."

A sample verse from the poem "A Thoughtless Soul"

A night of drink
A night of hate
A night as dark,
As last night's date.

 I have Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA Mens T-shirt, Charlie Sheen Quotes Mens Shirt, X-Large, Olive
I have Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA T-shirt
suitable for reading his poems.

Mens Retro Bowling Shirt, BIG & TALL sizes: Medium, L, XL, 3XL
Suitable attire if you are auditioning
for the Charlie role on Two and a Half Men

Sheen poetry, lean and mean, hot on eBay - Washington Post

March 14, 2011

Great Falls, Paterson

Great Falls, Paterson, originally uploaded by ronk53.

The Great Falls were booming this past week after heavy rain.

In 1778, they inspired Alexander Hamilton (statue in photo) to see something that could power American industry. Paterson, New Jersey became the site for the new nation’s first planned industrial city - a “national manufactory.”

They are also the falls that appear in William Carlos Williams' poetry. 

"Paterson lies in the valley under the Passaic Falls
its spent waters forming the outline of his back. He
lies on his right side, head near the thunder
of the waters filling his dreams! Eternally asleep,
his dreams walk about the city where he persists
incognito. Butterflies settle on his stone ear.
Immortal he neither moves nor rouses and is seldom
seen, though he breathes and the subtleties of his machinations
drawing their substance from the noise of the pouring river
animate a thousand automations. Who because they
neither know their sources nor the sills of their
disappointments walk outside their bodies aimlessly
for the most part,
locked and forgot in their desires-unroused.

—Say it, no ideas but in things—"

Williams' Paterson (Revised Edition)

March 5, 2011

Taha Muhammad Ali and a Kind of Revenge

The past month has been full of revolution and change in the world. I was reading some poetry online and came upon a talk given by Mark Doty titled "Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now" (read or listen to it online).

In one section of his talk he says:

"But I was also thinking about the tide of voices lapping at this country's shores in our moment. The sounds of all the rest of the world speaking. To get a sense of how little we listen to that tide, all it takes is a quick look at the statistics on the publication of translated books, which make up the tiniest fraction of what's published in the states. Lots of American books find their way into other languages, but few indeed come the other way. The message is plainly that while the world beyond our boundaries speaks, giving us the opportunity to see who's out there and how they see things and how they feel, we have not been paying attention. That's the painful, inescapable lesson of 9/11. When suddenly so many Americans found themselves asking, "Why?" "Where'd that hatred of American power come from?" There's no answering this question if we are not listening.

I can't think of a better place to turn, thinking about this need, than to the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali."

Taha Muhammad Ali
at the Dodge Poetry Festival
2006 (photos Lynn Saville)
I was at the Dodge Poetry Festival in 2006 when Taha Muhammad Ali and Peter Cole gave a reading of Taha’s then unpublished poem "Revenge". I remember that it shook the audience first in fear and then in another direction.

In 1948, Taha fled from Galilee to Lebanon with his family when their village came under heavy bombardment during the Arab-Israeli war. A year later, still a teenager, he slipped back across the border and settled in Nazareth where he still lives, now as an Israeli citizen.

“Revenge” has all the elements of revenge, and revenge hasn't changed much from ancient times. A father has been killed, a village destroyed. And the speaker in the poem has thought about his revenge. He has even played out outcomes.

But the bomb made of revenge that he is building in his mind gets dismantled before it can go off as he plays out relationships (mother and father, sisters and a brother, neighbors and friends) which transform his enemy.

He uses memories of places and moments (a prison, a hospital room, a father’s hand over the heart when his son is late) and in the end he imagines finding his enemy all alone and, rather than taking his revenge, he leaves him, knowing that the pain of aloneness is punishment enough.

For this month's writing prompt, we are writing about revenge. Of course, this ancient and basic human act takes many forms. It can be small and personal or very large and frighteningly impersonal.

I'm in a frame of mind where (as in the poem) where we can use our imagination to change wrong action into right action and turn over stones instead of throwing them.

Taha Muhammad Ali says that in his poetry “there is no Palestine, no Israel. But, in my poetry, suffering, sadness, longing, fear, and this is, together, make the results: Palestine and Israel. The art is to take from life something real, then to build it anew with your imagination.”

Your own poem should take on an example of revenge and carry it out in whatever direction suits the poem.

I recommend that you listen to the reading of the poem in the video below. Translator Peter Cole reads the poem in English after Taha reads it in Arabic.

One last thought from Mark Doty's talk - from after he read the poem to his audience -
It is revenge, of course, that brought the great corporate monuments of New York City down into the dust. And revenge that fueled the seemingly endless, capricious war-making that has followed. There is no end to revenge in sight but here on the page, within one life, a life which presents some excellent reasons the speaker might want revenge, might be moved to strike back. The chain of reprisal is ended for the duration of the poem and in whatever ways the text goes on reverberating in the minds of its readers and listeners.

Read the printed text of "Revenge" in Arabic and in in English.

The poem was was initially published by TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation, along with a short introduction to the poet and the poem by Peter Cole.