Saturday, February 27, 2010

What are the 3Ps of a poetry reading?


Are poems inherently personal? If so, where in those seemingly a-personal poems is the poet lurking?

At a public reading, how much influence does persona exert? Some poets don’t talk much between poems. Patter turned off, but not persona.

Some, ask that applause be held to the end. Delay is measured by distance.

No doubt, food stirs appetite. In a restaurant with an exposed kitchen you can watch, but you can’t cook. You see the flame, but can’t feel the fire.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What if Emily lived in the current age of social networking?

Dickinson, of course. Single name is shorthand for timelessness, fame/infamy, familiarity. Strange to think of Miss Dickinson cohabiting with Facebook, Twitter, or blogging. Perhaps, not. Digital media, though, has done her proud. A couple of my favorites:

Poetry Foundation

Flash Rosenberg

And yours? Please post a comment.

Timeless food? Some insist on chocolate. I say cheese, please.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Does a poet write to express what she knows or what she doesn't?

Toss a dime
Still a dime
Whole dime

Consider, hole foods: donuts, bagels, Cheerios, cannoli, swiss cheese, Lifesavers, pretzels, onion rings, and lotus root (sliced). More thinking needed on the holy empty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why is poetry so ripe for anthropomorphizing?

Consider, the poem. The same words in the exact order read by native speakers are heard, perceived, and interpreted differently. Poetry is translation personalized to the max. Of course, nature is fair game, too. Stones don’t hold the same weight for everyone. Fog, also.

The language of food is a personal interpretation of taste. I’m thinking of anchovies.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How are walking and reading connected?

Beside being gerunds, they connect by moving us toward and through image and sound. As if exercising some form of inherent punctuation, a physical object invites us to linger – to see and re-see. Words, being read, have as their locomotion (not in every language, of course) a left to right destination, propelling us along a straight line of sound. Of course, in poetry the straight can curve, wobble and/or stop, rather abruptly.

Along the way – pavement and print -- much to see. Much to hear.

Consider food in the context of walking and reading. I walk to market on the way to the library. I read a lot of c-books (cook & children’s). Children’s picture books are a journey and meal onto themselves. An on-the-spot picnic.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is known by the way a line of poetry ends?

When I heard Joni Mitchell’s "Blue", I become smitten with enjambment. Not saying I’m opposed to end-stopping or caesura. I perceive a connection between enjambment and seasonal fruit. The largess of the ripe is akin to the run-on line.

Speaking of which, kumquats have hit the local markets, clamshells of tiny setting suns. When kumquats are fresh, there’s no stopping eating them in their entirety – skin, pith, seed. Isn’t the sound of the words (kumquat/enjambment) a meal in and of itself?

Try this:
kumquats, cherry tomatoes, marinated Black Mission figs w/fennel seed, almonds, Bulgarian feta on spinach. Drizzle olive oil from the marinated figs. Especially good-to-go on the color. Now, listen to "Blue."

Friday, February 19, 2010

What are 3 good reasons not to write?

A hint: the same is true for not reading. ……guess they aren’t worth mentioning.

Let’s explore the positive. Consider 3 good reasons to cook.
1. aroma
2. color
3. taste
Add a 4th: feed a friend. Good night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Do coffee drinkers write different poems than tea sippers?

Absurd, yes. A circumference where caffeine and herbal overlap. Take for instance, edgy & meditative.

Regarding tea, consider Lapsang Souchong, a caffeine buzz rivaling coffee. Consider, the minimalist poem being as empty as a meditation on a precipice. Being as full as.

How a simple meal replete with conversation manifests a circle.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do you take your poems for a walk?

Feet were the measure of rhythm eons before Wordsworth did his on-the-hoof composing. How did he remember so many words? Perhaps, Dorothy was scribe. On the best of walking, feet-down it’s Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlush: A History of Walking (Penguin, 2001).

Back on track and ready to roam, wear comfy shoes, have pen/paper at the ready. Pay attention to your breath. Pay attention to your leg-length. Perhaps, the latter is called stride. Perhaps, it is music of a line break.

Remember to pack a peanut butter/jam sandwich. “Yum, yum,” as my friend is wont to say.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do we need a reason to read (Wm) Blake?

The traditional day of hearts/roses coincided with the Lunar New Year. All week flowering cherry, plum & quince have offered a fragrant roar to welcome The Tiger.

Major holidays abound with festive food. I love spaghetti and meatballs for its straight-forward, all-season, Jersey-kind-of-attitude. Simple & necessary. Like cats, like poetry.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How do poems taste?

Bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and, more recently, savory are the Western options. Does each word have an inherent taste or it is in the aggregate --phrase, sentence. Does a writer develop a particular taste palette? Add smell to taste, you arrive at flavor. Perhaps, it’s opt to speak of the flavor of a poem. Then again, perhaps, this is too personal and best left to an individual’s oral cavity.

By the way, do you think ears taste sound?

I love savory -- as taste, as herb, as word, as sound.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can a poem be a-political?

A fit topic for this day of romantic (lower case) love, awash in red with hearts/flowers plenty. Consider, if you have your hands with loving intent on another person or animal, how likely are you to pull a trigger, detonate a bomb, issue an unkind word? So, love poems move toward peace and are, therefore, political. Collective breath is politics.

What to taste today? A body desires. A body is food.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Does meaning dwell in punctuation?

Punctuation imparts meaning, so the sentence says. A nifty container for sentence as well as phrase and fragment, a poem is a vehicle for perceived punctuation. Line break, extra spaces, stanzas, placement of words on page choreograph sound.

The larger issue being, language dwells in possibility called breath.

Now, of food! Sorbet cleanses the palate. Which food is most like a question?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Does the perceived gender of the author influence your reading, interpretation, enjoyment of the work?

Take for example a gender-neutral name, either initials or a first name that is both female and male (like “Kit”).

Approximately 2x a month through an online poetry group, I digitally meet “sparrow” (no first/last name with email address). “sparrow” emails me, “Kit, I poked around your blog. You’re a woman! I thought you were a Massachusetts attorney.” Mmmmm. What does that say about my poetry – tone, subject, line breaks, heart and sinew?

Now, I take a bird-level view of “sparrow” and ascribe an amazing vocabulary and wit to this passerine. If you pin me down, I assume “sparrow” is male having read the poems circulated to the group. I share this with a poet friend. She’s sure “sparrow” is a woman based on the email address. Mmmmm.

Via email this evening “sparrow” confesses gender. I’ll leave that in the nest, for the time being. Of being, everything matters and is of.

Mmmmm, now, on to food. Yin/yang. Hot/cold. Is there gender-neutral food? Perhaps, toast. Yes, definitely, toast. Hold the jam.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How much does a reader's state of mind/being influence her "enjoyment" of reading a poem?

I’m a fan of Heather McHugh. So I relished the luxury of reading her latest, Upgraded to Serious (Copper Canyon, 2009). I couldn’t connect with the poems. Why? Took it personally. Did she no longer want me, as a reader? I waited a week and re-read. In the 7 day interval, it’s safe to say her poems didn’t change one iota on the page. So, I shifted. Glad of it. Yup, Heather McHugh is one poet who continues to inspire me. Read Upgraded to Serious and, if necessary, again. You’ll be well fed.

Makes me think of publishers. But that for another discussion.

Re-read, re-write, re-discover – what’s the continuum/connection of dish & poem? Why is it, sometimes comfort food fails to satisfy? I remember disliking pizza the first time I tasted it as a kid (yes, strange child). I got over it on a subsequent try. An ongoing love affair ever since. On the other hand, I have always loved bananas. Apples and cheese, too, I might add.

Monday, February 1, 2010

See that woman rolling a suitcase? How many poems is she hauling?

Admit it. Words are migratory. They travel. They hitchhike. Cross boundaries as do bird, seed, spore. They multiply.

Makes me want to pack a picnic. Traveling food to accommodate as many as a blanket seats. Perhaps, I mean just two.