Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I've Accidentally Learned While Writing Poems (This Week)

There is a place called Doubtful Sound in New Zealand. It’s very beautiful.

Yes, there is a band called The Doubtful Sounds.

The population of bottlenose dolphins in the Doubtful Sound area “has decreased by at least a third since 1994.” (In 2008, it was estimated than there are only 56 dolphins there.)

A text featuring someone stranded alone in the wilderness can be called a Robinsonade (it sounds like a sports survival drink--“Robinsonade: Now with even more electrolytes, to help combat dehydration AND loneliness!”).

And you, friends? What have you been learning, accidentally or intentionally?


  1. I learned that spending time thinking about the ways the governments of the world and all their dramas only exist to backstop the profits of the bank cartel is not an appropriate use of my time.

    I learned that I much prefer James Tate’s mid-period strange female poems like “Marfa”, “To Fuzzy” and “Jelka Revisited” to his admittedly more consistently creative and mainstream later story-poems, which seem to me a pleasing blend of a more grounded Ashbery, a saner Donald Barthelme and a less frivolous Jack Handey. His evolution, however is quite impressive (kinda like poetry’s Tom Waits, making it because almost impossible to follow necessary to follow but always escaping with new moves without once playing it straight or dropping character)— well-disguised jazz improvisation (perhaps the highest compliment I can give to a contemporary poet). I also learned that everyone, it seems, including you and me, seem to have squirrelled some of his vibe into our poems, that’s how large and generous what he’s bringing us is.

    I learned that Elvis Costello’s line “and she’s so sure she’s self-possessed / but then again she’s half-undressed” required 31 years of distillation and Fiona Apple singing it (at 1:45 of this most disturbed duet) for me to understand it enough to burst out loud laughing on the wild springsummer New York city streets, where even Big Bird painfully trying to scratch his back is ignored but laughter is cause for great alarm and suspicion.

    Thanks for asking, and for leaving the scent of Dolphins.

  2. Rats will fight vehemently over a Batman logo (blanket) in their cage.


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