Thinking about why I prefer living in a conservative rural area so much more than a liberal university town. Partly of course because I grew up out here and it’s what I’m used to. Partly because places dominated by transients struggle to retain any real community feeling. And partly because I’d rather be teased, taken seriously or ignored than condescended to. Which is to say, I suppose, that I’m more comfortable with normie discourse than with discourse discourse.
It undoubtedly helps that I’m in Appalachia, where loners and weirdos tend to be more accepted than elsewhere. Ocasionally even celebrated if you’re weird enough. People around here still talk about Bicycle Harry 30 years after his death. He was rarely parted from his bicycle, they say.
There is a difference between a walk and a hike. A lot of people don’t know this. But if you have to pack a meal, it’s a hike.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about dinosaurs from watching trailers to “Jurassic” movies, it’s that they had many gleaming teeth and enjoyed showing them off. Not unlike Hollywood executives.
All you Russians who are mad at Putin for invading Ukraine just wait til he's been rehabilitated as a friendly old goofball by the Russian mass media and spends his retirement frolicking around with Russian Ellen Degeneres.
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) May 20, 2022
If we keep having wet years it won’t be long before Pennsylvania and the whole mid-Atlantic region turns into rainforest. Trees are already growing faster due to all the extra CO2. State parks in Pennsylvania now routinely spray BT for black flies. But if the trade-off for more biting insects is more trees and more lushness, I guess I’ll take it. There’s a distinct possibility that if I live another three decades, which seems eminently doable, I’ll get to see the equivalent of another half-century of growth… on whatever trees, shrubs and vines survive the extinction and climate change gauntlet.
Elaine Equi, 2015 pic.twitter.com/mR6mE0YGky
— Dave Bonta (@morningporch) May 21, 2022
Revisting an Elaine Equi poem I screenshot and tweeted back in May called “Phantom Anthem,” I do a web search [no, I’m not being coy; I don’t actually use Google anymore, and it’s too hard to verb Duck Duck Go] and find a metalcore album of the same name by a band I hadn’t heard of, August Burns Red. Very different from the poem, but so far very good. (For the uninitiated, metalcore = metal + hardcore. Which basically means that the lyrics are shouty rather than growly or screechy.)
Listening to Sepultura’s classic album Beneath the Remains and trying to remember how extreme and cutting-edge it sounded back in 1989. Now it’s pretty much the Beach Boys for me, warm nostalgic glow, head bobbing mostly in homage to lost energy and outrage. (May 23)
I refuse to watch another movie or TV show about Vikings until someone does an adaptation of Egil’s Saga. What the hell is wrong with Hollywood? Who doesn’t want to watch a movie about an ugly, drunken poet who was also a warrior/mass-murderer and possibly part-werewolf?
It would be the ultimate poetry film, if one could figure out how to convey the complexities of skaldic verse in English without a ton of footnotes. (Maybe there could be an interactive version of the movie with footnotes! LOL)
I’m 56 and have lived in the woods nearly all my life. This was my first good bobcat sighting. Even the hunters’ trail cams rarely pick them up—that’s how stealthy they are. Been hearing occasional bobcat screams, though, so we knew they were around.
Of course I went for my phone, as stealthily as I could. And of course the cat saw the movement immediately, turned and ran back up into the woods. The fact that it was a juvenile was especially welcome news: they’re actually raising families in Plummer’s Hollow! Or at least within a few miles of it. (Bobcat territories are not small.)
I still remember being SO EXCITED about the release of WordPress 3.0, poring over all the new features, digging into the code. 6.0 was released this morning [May 25] and I can barely be arsed to read the summary screen after I update. Sigh.
“Select text across multiple blocks and edit it all at once” is a feature I’ve been jonesing for, though. And sure enough, the blog digest is much easier to compile now (because you can’t paste more than one paragraph into a quote without converting it into an ordinary text block, which then needed to be converted into quotation paragraph by paragraph, until this latest update). Thank you, WordPress volunteers.
What might’ve been a haiku moment—a dog catching a frisbee at the park—becomes instead a page-long, William Carlos Williams-influenced lyric poem. Which is fine, of course, but reflects a very different view of the audience—passive recipients rather than co-creators of a vision—plus the standard, post-Romantic centering of the poet’s own experience rather than focusing on whatever is at hand. I’d argue further that William Carlos Williams, Lorine Niedecker, and the other Objectivists were actually closer to the spirit of Japanese versifying in that regard (focusing on the world in front of them), though still continuing to compose as solitary individuals rather than as co-collaborators.
I don’t mean to dump on this poet; just using his fine poem as a springboard for some thoughts, as one does. I’d best be careful, though: a friend on Facebook complained about the shoddy print job and cheap paper on a 2006 book of poetry from Penguin and a couple of commenters jumped down his throat for possibly making the poet feel bad, if/when he discovers the post. Yes, poets can be fragile creatures, but jesus.
This, incidentally, is why I moved away from doing poetry reviews: I would like to be critical when I feel that’s warranted, but there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for that among the small-but-possibly-growing contingent of people who read poetry for pleasure. So for example I won’t be saying much more than this about Victoria Chang’s new book, The Trees Witness Everything, although I actually love the poetry in it, because I think her framing of it as Japanese verse forms is unfortunate. (Though it’s very cool that that was a jumping-off point for her.)
I seem to have caught up to the point at which I began recycling tweets into blog posts at the end of May, so this concludes my encore presentations (to borrow a favorite phrase from NPR’s late, lamented show Car Talk).