Inept

Up, well pleased in my mind about my Lord Sandwich, about whom I shall know more anon from Sir G. Carteret, who will be in towne, and also that the Hambrough [ships] after all difficulties are got out. God send them good speed! So, after being trimmed, I by water to London, to the Navy office, there to give order to my mayde to buy things to send down to Greenwich for supper to-night; and I also to buy other things, as oysters, and lemons, 6d. per piece, and oranges, 3d. That done I to the ‘Change, and among many other things, especially for getting of my Tangier money, I by appointment met Mr. Gawden, and he and I to the Pope’s Head Taverne, and there he did give me alone a very pretty dinner. Our business to talk of his matters and his supply of money, which was necessary for us to talk on before the Duke of Albemarle this afternoon and Sir G. Carteret. After that I offered now to pay him the 4000l. remaining of his 8000l. for Tangier, which he took with great kindnesse, and prayed me most frankly to give him a note for 3500l. and accept the other 500l. for myself, which in good earnest was against my judgement to do, for [I] expected about 100l. and no more, but however he would have me do it, and ownes very great obligations to me, and the man indeed I love, and he deserves it. This put me into great joy, though with a little stay to it till we have time to settle it, for for so great a sum I was fearfull any accident might by death or otherwise defeate me, having not now time to change papers. So we rose, and by water to White Hall, where we found Sir G. Carteret with the Duke, and also Sir G. Downing, whom I had not seen in many years before. He greeted me very kindly, and I him; though methinks I am touched, that it should be said that he was my master heretofore, as doubtless he will. So to talk of our Navy business, and particularly money business, of which there is little hopes of any present supply upon this new Act, the goldsmiths being here (and Alderman Backewell newly come from Flanders), and none offering any. So we rose without doing more than my stating the case of the Victualler, that whereas there is due to him on the last year’s declaration 80,000l., and the charge of this year’s amounts to 420,000l. and odd, he must be supplied between this and the end of January with 150,000l., and the remainder in 40 weeks by weekly payments, or else he cannot go through his business.
Thence after some discourse with Sir G. Carteret, who, though he tells me that he is glad of my Lord’s being made Embassador, and that it is the greatest courtesy his enemies could do him; yet I find he is not heartily merry upon it, and that it was no design of my Lord’s friends, but the prevalence of his enemies, and that the Duke of Albemarle and Prince Rupert are like to go to sea together the next year. I pray God, when my Lord is gone, they do not fall hard upon the Vice-Chamberlain, being alone, and in so envious a place, though by this late Act and the instructions now a brewing for our office as to method of payments will destroy the profit of his place of itself without more trouble.
Thence by water down to Greenwich, and there found all my company come; that is, Mrs. Knipp, and an ill, melancholy, jealous-looking fellow, her husband, that spoke not a word to us all the night, Pierce and his wife, and Rolt, Mrs. Worshipp and her daughter, Coleman and his wife, and Laneare, and, to make us perfectly happy, there comes by chance to towne Mr. Hill to see us. Most excellent musique we had in abundance, and a good supper, dancing, and a pleasant scene of Mrs. Knipp’s rising sicke from table, but whispered me it was for some hard word or other her husband gave her just now when she laughed and was more merry than ordinary. But we got her in humour again, and mighty merry; spending the night, till two in the morning, with most complete content as ever in my life, it being increased by my day’s work with Gawden. Then broke up, and we to bed, Mr. Hill and I, whom I love more and more, and he us.

oysters defeat me
and years  inks  little hopes
any rose without enemies

like instructions for melancholy
that make us perfectly happy
but whisper some hard word
just as we go


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 December 1665.

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).

Mismatch

Up and to the office, where very busy all day. Sir G. Carteret’s letter tells me my Lord Sandwich is, as I was told, declared Embassador Extraordinary to Spayne, and to go with all speed away, and that his enemies have done him as much good as he could wish. At noon late to dinner, and after dinner spent till night with Mr. Gibson and Hater discoursing and making myself more fully [know] the trade of pursers, and what fittest to be done in their business, and so to the office till midnight writing letters, and so home, and after supper with my wife about one o’clock to bed.

her letter tells me
to go and I go on
making myself fit
into the midnight clock


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 7 December 1665.

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).

Composer

Up betimes, it being fast-day; and by water to the Duke of Albemarle, who come to towne from Oxford last night. He is mighty brisk, and very kind to me, and asks my advice principally in every thing. He surprises me with the news that my Lord Sandwich goes Embassador to Spayne speedily; though I know not whence this arises, yet I am heartily glad of it. He did give me several directions what to do, and so I home by water again and to church a little, thinking to have met Mrs. Pierce in order to our meeting at night; but she not there, I home and dined, and comes presently by appointment my wife. I spent the afternoon upon a song of Solyman’s words to Roxalana that I have set, and so with my wife walked and Mercer to Mrs. Pierce’s, where Captain Rolt and Mrs. Knipp, Mr. Coleman and his wife, and Laneare, Mrs. Worshipp and her singing daughter, met; and by and by unexpectedly comes Mr. Pierce from Oxford. Here the best company for musique I ever was in, in my life, and wish I could live and die in it, both for musique and the face of Mrs. Pierce, and my wife and Knipp, who is pretty enough; but the most excellent, mad-humoured thing, and sings the noblest that ever I heard in my life, and Rolt, with her, some things together most excellently. I spent the night in extasy almost; and, having invited them to my house a day or two hence, we broke up, Pierce having told me that he is told how the King hath done my Lord Sandwich all the right imaginable, by shewing him his countenance before all the world on every occasion, to remove thoughts of discontent; and that he is to go Embassador, and that the Duke of Yorke is made generall of all forces by land and sea, and the Duke of Albemarle, lieutenant-generall. Whether the two latter alterations be so, true or no, he knows not, but he is told so; but my Lord is in full favour with the King. So all home and to bed.

water goes to water again
and I to song

to live for music is enough
the ear in ecstasy

and all the imaginable world
made of alterations


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 6 December 1665.

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).

No news

Up and to the office, where very busy about several businesses all the morning. At noon empty, yet without stomach to dinner, having spoiled myself with fasting yesterday, and so filled with wind. In the afternoon by water, calling Mr. Stevens (who is with great trouble paying of seamen of their tickets at Deptford) and to London, to look for Captain Kingdom whom we found at home about 5 o’clock. I tried him, and he promised to follow us presently to the East India House to sign papers to-night in order to the settling the business of my receiving money for Tangier. We went and stopt the officer there to shut up. He made us stay above an houre. I sent for him; he comes, but was not found at home, but abroad on other business, and brings a paper saying that he had been this houre looking for the Lord Ashley’s order. When he looks for it, that is not the paper. He would go again to look; kept us waiting till almost 8 at night. Then was I to go home by water this weather and darke, and to write letters by the post, besides keeping the East India officers there so late. I sent for him again; at last he comes, and says he cannot find the paper (which is a pretty thing to lay orders for 100,000l. no better). I was angry; he told me I ought to give people ease at night, and all business was to be done by day. I answered him sharply, that I did [not] make, nor any honest man, any difference between night and day in the King’s business, and this was such, and my Lord Ashley should know. He answered me short. I told him I knew the time (meaning the Rump’s time) when he did other men’s business with more diligence. He cried, “Nay, say not so,” and stopped his mouth, not one word after. We then did our business without the order in less than eight minutes, which he made me to no purpose stay above two hours for the doing. This made him mad, and so we exchanged notes, and I had notes for 14,000l. of the Treasurer of the Company, and so away and by water to Greenwich and wrote my letters, and so home late to bed.

a morning empty
as the paper

a paper that is
not paper

I look at the weather
and letters last

the paper is a thin
sharp nest

any difference between us
is now a new word


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 5 December 1665.

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).

Recovery

Several people to me about business, among others Captain Taylor, intended Storekeeper for Harwich, whom I did give some assistance in his dispatch by lending him money. So out and by water to London and to the ‘Change, and up and down about several businesses, and after the observing (God forgive me!) one or two of my neighbour hermosa mohers come to towne, which did please me very well, home to my house at the office, where my wife had got a dinner for me: and it was a joyfull thing for us to meet here, for which God be praised! Here was her brother come to see her, and speake with me about business. It seems my recommending of him hath not only obtained his presently being admitted into the Duke of Albemarle’s guards, and present pay, but also by the Duke’s and Sir Philip Howard’s direction, to be put as a right-hand man, and other marks of special respect, at which I am very glad, partly for him, and partly to see that I am reckoned something in my recommendations, but wish he may carry himself that I may receive no disgrace by him. So to the ‘Change. Up and down again in the evening about business and to meet Captain Cocke, who waited for Mrs. Pierce (with whom he is mightily stricken), to receive and hide for her her rich goods she saved the other day from seizure. Upon the ‘Change to-day Colvill tells me, from Oxford, that the King in person hath justified my Lord Sandwich to the highest degree; and is right in his favour to the uttermost. So late by water home, taking a barrel of oysters with me, and at Greenwich went and sat with Madam Penington con laquelle je faisais almost whatever je voudrais­ con mi mano, sino tocar la chose meme; and I was very near it, and made her undress her head and sit dishevilled all night sporting till two in the morning, and so away to my lodging, almost cloyed with this dalliance, and so to bed. Over-fasting all the morning hath filled me mightily with wind, and nothing else hath done it, that I fear a fit of the cholique.

mending from seizure
her head
disheveled in the wind


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 4 December 1665.

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).

Acute

It being Lord’s day, up and dressed and to church, thinking to have sat with Sir James Bunce to hear his daughter and her husband sing, that are so much commended, but was prevented by being invited into Coll. Cleggatt’s pew. However, there I sat, near Mr. Laneare, with whom I spoke, and in sight, by chance, and very near my fat brown beauty of our Parish, the rich merchant’s lady, a very noble woman, and Madame Pierce. A good sermon of Mr. Plume’s, and so to Captain Cocke’s, and there dined with him, and Colonell Wyndham, a worthy gentleman, whose wife was nurse to the present King, and one that while she lived governed him and every thing else, as Cocke says, as a minister of state; the old King putting mighty weight and trust upon her. They talked much of matters of State and persons, and particularly how my Lord Barkeley hath all along been a fortunate, though a passionate and but weak man as to policy; but as a kinsman brought in and promoted by my Lord of St. Alban’s, and one that is the greatest vapourer in the world, this Colonell Wyndham says; and one to whom only, with Jacke Asheburnel and Colonel Legg, the King’s removal to the Isle of Wight from Hampton Court was communicated; and (though betrayed by their knavery, or at best by their ignorance, insomuch that they have all solemnly charged one another with their failures therein, and have been at daggers-drawing publickly about it), yet now none greater friends in the world.
We dined, and in comes Mrs. Owen, a kinswoman of my Lord Bruncker’s, about getting a man discharged, which I did for her, and by and by Mrs. Pierce to speake with me (and Mary my wife’s late maid, now gone to her) about her husband’s business of money, and she tells us how she prevented Captain Fisher the other day in his purchase of all her husband’s fine goods, as pearls and silks, that he had seized in an Apothecary’s house, a friend of theirs, but she got in and broke them open and removed all before Captain Fisher came the next day to fetch them away, at which he is starke mad.
She went home, and I to my lodgings. At night by agreement I fetched her again with Cocke’s coach, and he come and we sat and talked together, thinking to have had Mrs. Coleman and my songsters, her husband and Laneare, but they failed me. So we to supper, and as merry as was sufficient, and my pretty little Miss with me; and so after supper walked Pierce home, and so back and to bed. But, Lord! I stand admiring of the wittinesse of her little boy, which is one of the wittiest boys, but most confident that ever I did see of a child of 9 years old or under in all my life, or indeed one twice his age almost, but all for roguish wit.
So to bed.

I hear so much by chance
a fat plum of a bark
a passionate vapor

and one who with ash and dagger
has moved in under my bed


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 3 December 1665.

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).

Poet Bloggers Revival Digest: Week 49

poet bloggers revival tour 2018

poet bloggers revival tour 2018 A few quotes + links (please click through!) from the Poet Bloggers Revival Tour, plus occasional other poetry bloggers in my feed reader. If you’ve missed earlier editions of the digest, here’s the archive. (Note that I’ve just corrected the numbering of the weeks going back to early September, when I began miscounting. Sheesh.)

A somewhat shorter digest than usual this week, as the end of the semester looms and the holiday season gathers steam, but those bloggers who are finding the time to post seem to be in an especially lyrical mood, as you’ll see. On a geekier note, Friday saw the release of a major new version of WordPress (for self-hosted sites; not sure when it rolls out at WordPress.com) with a completely redesigned post editor and site builder called Gutenberg. Of interest to poets: one of the basic tools they include is a Verse block, as an alternative to the standard prose paragraph. It wraps everything in Pre tags so that all formatting, including intraline spaces, will be preserved exactly as you type it. And there’s a style definition so that one can easily specify a preferred font, font size, line height, etc. using CSS in the customizer. Anyway, if that’s all a little over your head, don’t worry about it. The main point is that the WordPress lead developers are looking out for us poets. Which makes sense, because the WordPress motto has always been “Code is poetry.” Now at long last, poetry has its own code.

One of them keeps sticking a stray beach ball from god knows where down her shirt to make a mono-boob, or up her shirt to make a nine-months-blown. Another keeps collapsing into howling giggles, falling out of her chair. I’m giving them words: poema, poeisis, onomatopoeia: the creation, the act of creation, the summoning of a thing by its name.

I call her name, the collapsed one, and say, in the midst of trying to define the etymologic relationship between psyche and breath, inspiration and the necessity of oxygen for life, I don’t even know what’s going on with you right now, and laughing a little, I hold out my hand to the one fooling around with the beach ball—give it up, here. I take it when she passes it, put it on the desk behind me. She says: we made you laugh, though, didn’t we, and I nod. You always look so sad.

Gut punch, her notice.

I take the etymology lesson and wrap it around some fairy tales, then ask them to write: inhabit someone, I say. A character, maybe minor. Write in their voice. Summon them into being. Make of their voice a creation: their story, from their point of view. Make us understand.

What are you going to write, one asks. I share some ways I have answered this particular prompt in the past, and get them started.

Their pencils stutter, then stroll, then gallop.

I do not say

I will write the voice of a frozen river, black
under feet of ice; I will envy that ice, forming
into carillon bridges, islands and trunks; the voice
of a woman under ice screaming the last air
from frozen lungs, each bubble become an ice bell
someone stops by the side of the road to photograph.
JJS, December 9, 2018: ice bells

*

When I read a wonderful poem, I do feel the piece has exerted its power, that language, words, imagery have the strength to sway my emotional field. After reading an entire collection by a good writer, I sense a resonance–intuitive, unsettling. Sometimes, the work evokes in me a desire to do what that writer has done. That’s one type of influence. The list of such writers would be lengthy indeed.

~~

Other influences, though–amazing works of art, thrilling architecture, deeply moving music or dance–I could not exempt those as streaming into my consciousness, awakening me to something new. Or human beings, especially those I love best.

And places. Environment matters to my poetry. In the city, I wrote city poems. In the country, I write country poems. After I’ve traveled somewhere new to me, I conjure the place in my mind and it exerts its own kind of power on me.

Influences, in my writing life, are generally bound to experiences; I’m not a very imaginative writer. “A change in the weather is sufficient for us to create the world and ourselves anew,” wrote Proust. I am not contradicting myself in this paragraph. But I think I will have more to say on this topic soon, once I mull it over a little longer.
Ann E. Michael, Influences, personal & poetic

*

Q~Your contributions helping other poets through your blog and social media were part of the inspiration for this interview series. What made you decide to do this work?

A~I’m so thrilled to hear that my blog helped to inspire your interview series! My blog really has been a happy accident. I originally created the site just as a place to post poems for others to read when asked about my work. As I started submitting and looking for writing resources online, I found that my blog was a good place to save them. Then I shared one of my posts in a Facebook group and received such positive response, I decided to keep sharing. I also noticed that in the writing community some writers are competitive—they don’t want to share opportunities for fear that someone else will be published or win the contest instead. It seems to me that poetry just does not get enough attention in general, and the more I can share, the numbers of poetry readers might just grow, which means a larger market for my work while supporting other poets along the way. I kept trying new things based on my own research, like lit mag submission calls, then interviews with editors, guest blog posts, etc. and continued to get more followers and great feedback. I’ve learned so much along the way and I’m still learning every day.

Q~How do you balance your time between your own writing, the work you do to help other writers and your life outside of writing?

A~This is a great question. I do have a lot of poetry projects going on, locally with my poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, Provo Poetry poemball machines, Poetry Happens (a monthly radio feature of poetry events in Utah), an annual community writing workshop, two annual anthologies, festivals, readings, open mics, the list goes on and on. And, of course, a full-time career in software product management, my blog, and my own writing. It’s a delicate balance to be sure. Ultimately, all the work I do for poetry feeds and supports my own writing practice as well. I’m continually learning, finding inspiration, and growing as a writer. Timewise, I focus a lot on efficiency, large blocks of time to work on specific projects or to write, so I’m not stopping and starting too often. And, I have a very patient husband and family, who let me spend hours in my office uninterrupted. They know how important poetry is to me and have been an amazing support system. I often combine poetry activities with other things—like weekend trips, family time, dinner before or after an event, etc.
Resurrection Party / an interview with poet Trish Hopkinson (Bekah Steimel’s blog)

*

–“I have a uterus with puppies in it”: you can either file this under comments one usually doesn’t hear in the halls of academe as I did this week–or you could use it as a line of a poem–or you could create an interesting short story. And for those of you who are wondering, we have a Vet Tech dep’t, and I overheard one of the faculty members discussing visual aids that she has to show students.

–I posted this haiku-esque creation on Facebook, but I want to keep it in a place where it will be easier to find:

Write me from the camps.
Be my Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Teach me how to live.

–I am still enjoying my online journaling class immensely. It’s interesting to see how our sketches are informing all of the future sketches–and also interesting to see how I have begun to recognize each person’s individual style.

–Here’s one of my favorite quotes from this week of the journaling class. It didn’t come from the book we’re reading together, but I might not have noticed the Rumi quote if my classmates hadn’t been quoting Rumi. I found it in Anne Lamott’s “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace”: “Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.”
Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Saturday Snippets: Fetal Puppies and Other Vagaries

*

Intentions: Double my submissions next year.

Should I pay more in entry fees? I don’t think so. This amount [$350] made me gulp, but it supports a variety of publishers I want to support, and that feels supportive of my work, whether it got accepted or not.

Is it all worth it? Can’t I just be content making work?
No. I want it out there. I want it read or viewed. I want it appreciated. Or criticized, or whatever.

Yeah, I know, friends, that I get down at the mouth throughout the year. But I also feel buoyed sometimes, amused often, engaged in my work, and hopeful. Do I fail to mention that? Remind me to mention that.

I sometimes get the sense from people that they think I should be content just making the work, that there’s some kind of purity in that. That the search for publication success is somehow a sullied enterprise. Egotistical, perhaps. Or at best, a fool’s errand.
I say, it’s part of the artistic process — do the work, put it out into the world, take your shots and huzzahs as they come. Complain bitterly along the way; dance foolishly around with glee. It’s all part of the equation.
Marilyn McCabe, An Accounting; or, Writing Submissions by the Numbers

*

I was reading The Fish the other day, the classic anthologized Elizabeth Bishop poem, and it is just so good. And I read Crossing the Water by Sylvia Plath (the book before Ariel–I like this one better for some reason, though its considered transitional), and it is so very good. Listening to the Daily Poem podcast, they played Mending Wall by Robert Frost — as anthologized and read and reread as it is, it is so good and worth reading and rereading. I want to write poetry like that! Like Robert Lowell and Louise Gluck, Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson.

I don’t want to be famous–I don’t even care if I write these poems and only my family reads them. But I want to be able to write. those. poems.

How do I get there? Chances are, my talent has taken me about as far as it goes and I’ll only get better in little increments, never reaching the lofty heights of a truly great poet like the ones I so very much wish I could write like.

But maybe that is ok, and that is what drives me to keep writing–the tension between what I can create and what I envision creating.
Renee Emerson, Mediocrity

*

Funny how I got here. I woke up thinking about the earthquake that just hit Anchorage Alaska, which was a 7 magnitude with all-day aftershocks and how quickly these life-threatening events dissipate on the news “cycle”. Amazingly there were no deaths reported and no tsunami. I was also thinking about how magnitude is reported in logs. I’ve felt a couple of distant 4-5 magnitude quakes; a 7 magnitude is 100 times stronger than a 5; and a 9 would be 10,000 times stronger. Although I’m not sure that magnitude equals strength exactly, so I’ll just think : ten thousand times worse.

But there is still poetry. For now.

Here’s a poem about rain:

Rain

Most days, I no longer long
for you. The rain has become
my welcome mat.

I soak clothes and skin in it,
bleach these personal stains,
staunch my body’s needs.

I dream in haiku
as it taps at my window
in tart syllables.

Nowhere is it fully documented
how terrifying it is to be me.

Risa Denenberg, Sunday Morning Muse in the Rain

*

In response to a challenge at Ekphrastic Review. Here are all the poems generated by this photo of a Colombian Breastplate. Thanks, Lorette, for including my poem with the others!

A golden, first century breastplate —
mythic protection in battle. Mortals
have sought aegis from the gods
since time began, it seems.

When my youngest was three,
he wore an Incredible Hulk T-shirt
every day for a year, certain his kinship
with the angry green goliath
could transmogrify a toddler
to a Titan older kids would fear.

I hope the Columbian warrior
with a flying deity on his chest
found more success than my guileless,
doomed boy, whose brother and sister
held him down and made him smell
the lint in their belly buttons.

Sarah Russell, Birdman, Colombian

*

I’m so grateful of the reading and work that went into this in depth and thoughtful review of my chapbook Footnote by Deborah Hauser published by Stirring, one of the oldest continuously publishing journals on the internet. And they are always open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. A link to their submission guidelines is below.

Hauser’s careful reading and insight captured so much of what I was after in this collection of poems. She gives thoughtful descriptions and commentary on several of the poems along with samples. I couldn’t be more honored by the time she spent with my work and in writing this review! Here’s the first paragraph of the review where she describes the format and theme of the collection:

Footnote, Trish Hopkinson’s clever new chapbook, is a multi-layered journey through literary history and popular culture. Each poem reads well on its own, but the footnotes (represented with an appealing * at the bottom of the page rather than the usual, academic 1) add context and meaning. Hopkinson embraces the anxiety of influence and openly engages with her predecessors who include the canonical (Emily Dickinson), the avant-garde (David Lynch), and the radical (Janis Joplin). It’s as if, in these poems, Hopkinson is answering the question “Which artists would you invite to a dinner party?” and the reader has been invited to eavesdrop on the ensuing conversation.”
Trish Hopkinson, Book Review: Footnote, by Trish Hopkinson – by Deborah Hauser via Stirring (always open for submissions!)

*

I have been a huge fan of KateLynn Hibbard’s work since her first book, Sleeping Upside Down, was published in 2006. She followed this up with her luscious collection, Sweet Weight. And now, after way too many years, her third full length collection, Simples, published by Howling Bird Press has just been released — a haunting collection of historical poetry inspired by women’s experiences living on the Great Plains frontier.

This is a book you do not want to miss. And while the music of the lines allows you to feel you are floating across the page, there is also true pathos in the work. Hibbard time travels through the Great Plains employing a variety of personas: healer, teacher, locust swarm and Jewish bride-to-be. In a lesser poet’s hands these characters might seem contrived but not in Hibbard’s hands.

Trees bowed over with the weight of them and they ate—
the tall grass the wheat the corn the sunflowers
the oats the barley the buckwheat the bark

(from Swarm)

The poems accrue and create a dreamscape of life where the work is unrelenting and the landscape both awe inspiring and cruel. Hibbard’s background in Women’s Studies (both as a poet and a scholar) is integral to this project.
Susan Rich, Simples: The Joy of Reading KateLynn Hibbard’s New Book

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There is a lot that I don’t talk about on this blog, as I am very conscious of respecting the privacy of those around me. So I will keep this brief. There was a sudden and tragic death of a young man in my family this week, and we are all reeling from it. I am shocked and saddened and very concerned for those who were closest to him. I’m unable to concentrate well enough to write anything at all today. So I will simply leave you with some poems, and a plea to hold your loved ones close. […]

On Emptiness
by Kristen McHenry

When I stick my hands in there to feel around there’s nothing. Once I sat for emptiness alone, entire months, flailing blindly in the spaces where emptiness had weight. Nothing rolls off of my palms, nothing mocks my efforts. I’m parched and have received bad information. All that time I sat, breathing in, only to know my own low feelings. To kneel there open-handed and say, this is all I have to offer. My palms no longer ferry light.

They say within a void lies all possibilities, but I think there are only two persuasions: Corpulent emptiness, and a nothingness that drifts above our heads, that will not acknowledge us. In second grade we planted seedlings. They came up vivid, lusty shoots. I understood then there was a kind of order, that this was nature’s outcome. It was impersonal and pleasing. Could I now proclaim, I am feeling full, or I must fill up, or, I am fully felt. I flounder with seeds and window boxes. The problem is that emptiness has teeth, and wishes of its own. The emptiness is un-content. It will not do with the least it can survive on. No stones, no feathers, no shells settle in my hands. Only a crusted thing, grown around its nut, seed of all nourishment, jewel of the essential.

Sit and think of nothing. Sit and engage only in the hollowness of breath, its motion in your veins. I tell people all day long because I believe it is important: We breathe in oxygen, we breathe out carbon dioxide, the lungs lunge, the lungs do their job. There is nothing easy in the effortless.

I remain to this day faithless despite everything I knew my heart could do. I stick my hands in there to feel around. I bring up tangled in my fingers a clear and weightless substance that slips off into space.
Kristen McHenry, Hard Days

*

Even as this term’s portfolios and papers come snowing down and I organize next term’s particulars, however, I’m trying to bask in another grand finale: the re-launch of Shenandoah. It’s stunning how much Editor-in-Chief Beth Staples has accomplished since she started in August: the dated-looking website has been radically redesigned on a new server, but most importantly she recruited exciting new work–a few pieces by distinguished writers who’d appeared in the magazine under R. T. Smith’s editorship, but many, many others from writers who might not have considered sending to us before, so that the issue is more inclusive than ever along every possible axis. I say “us” because Beth, who has a collaborative spirit, included her new colleagues as volunteer readers from the beginning, and by mid-fall had appointed several of us as genre editors, including Seth Michelson for translation, Chris Gavaler for comics, and me for poetry. I didn’t read every entry or make every call on acceptance or rejection in my genre, and that will be true of the next issue as well (towards which a lot of work has already been accepted) but I did read thousands of pieces (and am still processing the last few from our fall reading period).

So, OF COURSE I’ll be teaching poems from the new issue next term. My syllabi always include plenty of books on paper; I love print as a medium. But a digital issue can be a great addition to the mix: free, ultra-contemporary, and diversifying a reading list in interesting ways.
Lesley Wheeler, Teaching from online magazines

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And after over a decade of submitting to Shenandoah, I have a poem in their newly relaunched issue. When Beth Staples, who recently took over the literary journal at Washington and Lee, sent me the e-mail a few months ago, I was in shock. A dream journal for me for sure, and happy to be part of the relaunch. The poem is called “Introduction to Writer’s Block.” It’s also an extremely personal poem for me, as it describes trying to write poetry again after a severe MS flare hospitalized me last fall, and I was struggling with memory loss and aphasia, trying to literally find my words again. Anyway, so happy to be in the issue! […]

Today the morning is clear and cold again, Stellar jays darting in the trees, hummingbirds around our feeders. I am looking forward to seeing some writer and artist friends for “art dates” in the next two weeks. I am thankful for publishers who send out royalty checks (this time, thanks to Two Sylvias – they always send royalty checks right before the holidays, which seems a lucky time to get a check) and thankful for people who volunteer at our zoo to keep red pandas and snow leopards alive and healthy, thankful to all people who create art – and those who support art with their time and money. I am thankful for days I have enough energy to get up and go out of the house to experience the lucky world I have around me – flowers, trees, holiday lights – and thankful that this year I am not as sick as I was last year around this time. I am starting to think, in a hopeful way, about 2019. May it be a better year for all of us.
Jeannine Hall Gailey, Lots to Celebrate Edition- New Poems up at the newly relaunched Shenandoah and SWWIM, Zoolights and Red Panda Cubs, Thanks to Escape Into Life for a Pushcart Nomination

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).

Two

Up, and discoursing with my wife, who is resolved to go to London for good and all this day, we did agree upon giving Mr. Sheldon 10l., and Mrs. Barbary two pieces, and so I left her to go down thither to fetch away the rest of the things and pay him the money, and so I to the office, where very busy setting Mr. Poynter to write out my last night’s worke, which pleases me this day, but yet it is pretty to reflect how much I am out of confidence with what I had done upon Gibson’s discourse with me, for fear I should have done it sillily, but Poynter likes them, and Mr. Hater also, but yet I am afeard lest they should do it out of flattery, so conscious I am of my ignorance.
Dined with my wife at noon and took leave of her, she being to go to London, as I said, for altogether, and I to the office, busy till past one in the morning.

we held on
two pieces of thin ice
where night leases day
like a flat in London
together till past one


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 2 December 1665.

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).

Closeted

This morning to the office, full of resolution to spend the whole day at business, and there, among other things, I did agree with Poynter to be my clerke for my Victualling business, and so all alone all the day long shut up in my little closett at my office, drawing up instructions, which I should long since have done for my Surveyours of the Ports, Sir W. Coventry desiring much to have them, and he might well have expected them long since. After dinner to it again, and at night had long discourse with Gibson, who is for Yarmouth, who makes me understand so much of the victualling business and the pursers’ trade, that I am ashamed I should go about the concerning myself in a business which I understand so very very little of, and made me distrust all I had been doing to-day. So I did lay it by till to-morrow morning to think of it afresh, and so home by promise to my wife, to have mirth there. So we had our neighbours, little Miss Tooker and Mrs. Daniels, to dance, and after supper I to bed, and left them merry below, which they did not part from till two or three in the morning.

shut up in my little closet
a wing
your desiring mouth

who makes me stand so much
that I am ashamed to dance


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 1 December 1665.

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).

Home body

Up, and at the office all the morning. At noon comes Sir Thomas Allen, and I made him dine with me, and very friendly he is, and a good man, I think, but one that professes he loves to get and to save. He dined with my wife and me and Mrs. Barbary, whom my wife brings along with her from Woolwich for as long as she stays here. In the afternoon to the office, and there very late writing letters and then home, my wife and people sitting up for me, and after supper to bed. Great joy we have this week in the weekly Bill, it being come to 544 in all, and but 333 of the plague; so that we are encouraged to get to London soon as we can. And my father writes as great news of joy to them, that he saw Yorke’s waggon go again this week to London, and was full of passengers; and tells me that my aunt Bell hath been dead of the plague these seven weeks.

the office made me love
to stay at home
sitting up after supper
as fat and full as a bell of plague


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 November 1665.

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).