Some good news, ending in cat vomit

That new anthology of poet-bloggers I mentioned two weeks ago is out, from the new, Montreal-based Phoenicia Publishing.

Writers and artists have always formed groups for mutual support, commentary, and encouragement, sometimes collaborating on public projects from group shows to hand-printed literary magazines. But while one tends to think of local writers hanging out in Paris cafés in the 1930s, or on the lower East side of New York in the 1950s, how does that desire for communication and creative inspiration translate into today’s online world?

You can browse the Table of Contents and read sample poems (including two of mine that you might recognize) at the Phoenicia site, then follow the link to order a copy or two. It’s a beautifully designed book, and should make a classy (and very affordable) Christmas, Hanukkah, or Solstice present.

UPDATE: Rachel Barenblat, one of the two co-editors, does a much better job of describing the book.

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I’m guest-blogging at Blogging Blog (say that three times fast!) on Blogs as a medium for online literary magazines: lessons from qarrtsiluni. And yes, I committed what I always thought was a cardinal sin for bloggers: using a colon in a title. Ack!

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Last night, I got some very exciting news from a blogging friend of mine, the multi-talented Natalie d’Arbeloff (also included in the aforementioned anthology, by the way) whose Blaugustine I have linked to so many times. Natalie was one of six finalists in a huge competition sponsored by the Guardian newspaper to win the right to edit their women’s pages for a week. Natalie didn’t learn until she attended the party last night that she had won! Be sure to stop by (November 8 entry – no permalink) and congratulate her.

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If I were serious about getting more readers and links for Via Negativa, I guess I’d be leaving these comment haiku far and wide. But that’s not the point of the exercise; I simply want to respond more thoughtfully to the blogs I already read. Sometimes I can’t think of a haiku, but the effort translates into a more substantial prose comment than I might’ve come up with otherwise. And lots of times, still, I nod in silent appreciation and move on.

Marja-Leena

stained glass of
rusty red and yellow
birch leaves on wet skylight

Leaves on wet skylight:
this must be what a snail sees
from inside its shell.

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Dr. Omed

In this series of nude photographs of the frankly obese-and-proud-of-it women of the Big Burlesque and Big Bottom Revue, he fights the good fight against the ‘tyranny of slenderness.’

The yin-yang tattoo
on the fat woman’s back has grown
as big as an apple.

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Theriomorph

cold walk in the dark
dog in circle of flashlight
home a distant light

First snowfall melts
on contact with the ground. Only
the fallen leaves turn white.

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frizzyLogic

It’s always been difficult to describe the colour of the carpet that runs along the corridor, up the stairs and along the upper corridor of this house. Not mustard, not buttercup. Sunrise? no. Baby-shit comes close. But now, thanks to Cat, I know the exact hue. It is cat-sick-bile coloured.

A mixed blessing:
the color of the cat’s vomit
matches the carpet.

15 Comments


  1. that last haiku…I like it.

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  2. First snowfall—
    a snail sees an apple
    turn white

    (Although, I suppose the snail would be hibernating, and I couldn’t figure out how to put some cat vomit in there too.)

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  3. You beat me in posting about some of the great news out there while I’ve been too busy in the studio! That’s a great article you wrote at Blogging Blog, Dave. And the haiku, thanks.

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  4. Thanks for dropping in.
    Like Basho’s frog, one plop
    means enlightenment.

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  5. Does “plop” have the same connotations in the US as in the UK? Dr Omed’s comment is resonant and appropriate on many levels.

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  6. What connotation does “plop” have in the UK?

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  7. Hi all – Thanks for the comments. Cool mash-up, p.p., though you’re right – it’s hard to imagine a snail actually witnessing that.

    As for plopping, my bathroom poems (not to be confused with my more recent translations of Issa) are still one of the biggest draws for random Google hits. The series ends with this haiku:

    The old privy.
    A turd falls in.
    No sound of water.

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  8. Children announce, loudly, in highly-populated public places, that they “need to go plop-plops”.

    If only we all had old privies, or eco-toilets. But they (the children) would probably come up with something else with which to embarrass the repressed parent.

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  9. Actually, I like that focus on the effect rather than the action – it’s much more circumspect than “B.M.,” for example.

    Boys are fascinated by poop, though – there’s just no way around it. I had two brothers, and we’d compete to see who could produce the longest turd.

    (Repressed? You? If that’s the case, I’m not sure I want to meet someone you’d consider fully liberated!)

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  10. Confetti to Natalie–wonder what she’ll do with that?

    Hope you get lots of readers for the qarrtsiluni article. It’s enlightening.

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  11. Dave, thanks very much for mentioning my little media triumph.

    Why am I always late coming here to catch up on your consistently educational as well as entertaining, poetic as well as pragmatic musings? Rhetorical question, no need to answer.

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  12. No feed reader because I cherish the illusion that I’m capable of reminding myself of anything I want to do – like keeping up with favourite blogs.

    Reply

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