National Poetry Month card #17

National Poetry Month greeting card - Garrison Keillor

I’m doing one of these a day until the end of April. To send it, copy the permalink or the image file link into an email, tweet, Facebook DM, etc. — or just download and make free with the image.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Comments


  1. This nicely reminds me, by the frisson of exception, how rarely you actually put anyone down :)

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    1. You’re right. I was in a foul mood yesterday, and hearing Keillor’s preachy Protestant “good poems” voice doing some lightweight piece-of-shit poem by Billy Collins did nothing to improve it.

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  2. Writer’s Almanac is but an Onion leg-pull with an unduly slow reveal.

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  3. Dave. Not so adroitly changing the subject from Keillor, who, indeed seems to be an Onion joke, I’d like you to satisfy my curiousity here?

    Who Is That Avatar?

    Though finding Bonta’s image
    Is plenty hard to do
    I’ve seen photos of elusive Dave
    This does not look like you.

    Not Emerson, or Whitman
    Not even Dave Thoreau
    I know I’ve seen that face before
    But are we meant to know?

    One can Google up a photo
    If one only has a name
    But one can’t reverse the process.
    It just doesn’t work the same.

    So unless this be state secret
    I would really like to know
    So I then can stop obsessing
    And get on with Bonta’s show.

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    1. Bill asked the same question a couple weeks ago. I was a little surprised, actually: don’t all white guys with beards look alike? They do to me. But I don’t know who this fellow is. I snapped a photo of a photo in a little historical museum in the nearby town of Alexandria, PA, last fall. Since I was born in Alexandria, VA, this seemed somehow appropriate. I guess it’s one of their august founders. Some early 19th-century Scots-Irish cow-banger, no doubt.

      Thanks for the light verse, though. I love it!

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    1. Thanks for sharing those links, Marly — I’d forgotten about those posts. As I said in a comment at the second one, I’m not so much bothered by a blurring of the distinction between prose and poetry; that’s something I engage in often enough myself (daily, in fact). What bothers me in these examples, which I’d have to say are faily typical of Keillor’s “good poems,” are their failure to really challenge the reader — or, dare I say, their authors. They’re proffering a shallow and purely intellectual kind of insight that ultimately isn’t all that nourishing. The cure lies not in different or in better writing techniques but in better, more unmediated seeing and listening. I learned this from Mary Oliver, but the study of almost any gifted poet or artist would teach the same lesson, I think: that we progress as artists only to the extent that we learn to fine-tune the quality of our awareness.

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    1. Well, yeah, but I hate to be too critical there, because if I had a radio show I’m pretty sure I’d sing goofy-ass song parodies on it too, and my voice isn’t half as good as his, even. I wouldn’t attempt hymns or duets, though.

      Reply

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