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Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium

Monday, June 26, 2006

via the excellent Pharyngula: Over Three Hundred Proofs of God's Existence.

Obligatory poetry content (an old sonnet of mine):

Mysterious Ways

I found her on my porch one night, half stoned,
Black-eyed, and broke. I had a sofa-bed,
Where passing out "Will I be safe?" she moaned—
I figured while she snored she wasn't dead.
Next morning came the tale. It was her son
Who'd beat her up and robbed her for cocaine,
And daughter who, not to be outdone,
Had dropped her off with whiskey for her pain.
"No cops," she said before she slept again,
But I called anyway. Much good it did.
That fall the hurricane took everything.
Staying next door, she drained her glass and said,
"My Kenny stole so much from me God swore
To send a storm so he can't steal no more."

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Monday, June 12, 2006

I don't have it in me to edit lists tonight, but the list on the left really needs attention. One thing I'll add when I can edit lists is Mezzo Cammin, an online journal of and about formal poetry by women. In the impressive debut issue there's poetry by Rhina Espaillat, Kate Light, Judith Moffett, Leslie Monsour, Jennifer Reeser, and Marilyn Taylor, and criticism from Julie Kane, Patricia Valdata, Debra Bruce, Diane Lockward, Margaret Rockwell Finch, and Meg Schoerke. I talked to about half of them at West Chester: is it any wonder I'm overwhelmed?


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I'm back, but not recovered, from West Chester. It's always exhilarating and exhausting, intellectually and emotionally, and just plain exhausting physically—the first panels begin at 8:15, and only fifteen minute breaks and meals interrupt the action till nearly 10 every night. James Fenton's and Samuel Menashe's readings were revelations; David Mason singing in Greek; Alicia Stalling's doing the near-impossible, following Sam Gwynn; Harvey Hix generously reciting Pete Fairchild's "Body and Soul"; Maura Stanton's masterful workshop on narrative and her even more masterful Life Among the Trolls—and I'd better stop here before someone thinks I'm attempting an exhaustive list of last weekend's marvels.

Well, two more things right now, and quite a bit more in the next few days as I assimilate it. So much for a month off.

I knew of Kathrine Varnes as co-editor, with Annie Finch, of An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, but I had read little of her poetry, and partly because of the second of my "two more things" I bought her first book of poems, The Paragon. Very late last night, wound up and sleepless even after 5 shots of scotch, I wandered out into the parking lot to piss and to watch the full moon playing with the clouds. My waterman friend Gumbie (I'm not making this up) came around the corner of one of the little cottages here, arm in arm with a woman I didn't know, laughing and leaning on each other, and Gumbie says "Mike, meet my next ex-wife!" and she sings out "Totally!" and together they let me know they were going to have more fun than I was about to and disappeared into his apartment.

I went back in to finish that piss in private and opened The Paragon to a sonnet sequence called "His Next Ex-Wife," and had to give it a go. I've read it twice since. It's bloody marvelous, 43 sonnets linked by using the last line of each to start the next, the record of a phone call from a second wife to the first on the occasion of his leaving again. I'm not yet coherent enough to do the sequence or the book justice. Just buy it.

And now the second thing: while you've got your money out, let me tell you again about Rhymes for Adults, put together by my friend (and fine poet) Mary Agner. Kathrine Varnes is in it and so am I; the contributor's list makes me very proud to be in such company. Thank you, Mary.


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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

A new Weekly Sonnet is up, with a theme suggested by Russell Ragsdale. For another view of custom-poetry, take a look here, where Robert Pinsky and Julianna Baggot have a fifteen minute duel.

Tomorrow I head for the West Chester Poetry Conference. I'm thinking of taking the rest of the month off from blogging. It's been three and a half years—I'm repeating myself, not blogging enough, almost dreading working at it, and not writing enough poems. If you don't hear from me until July, you'll know why.


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