Monday, April 26, 2010

Dear Anonymous critic:

"More cowbell" doesn't count as a critique. If you'd been first with it, or even seventh, maybe, but now? It's like writing, "I think you should adjust your line breaks." Try something different. Perhaps your next anonymous letter could begin, "If the river were whiskey and you were a diving duck... ."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Never the Twain

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death, a good time to remember a great writer.

Twain always disappoints. He never outgrew his need to shock or clown or impress, an amusing thing in a Dave Barry-style humor columnist, but something a novelist cannot afford. The collapse of Huck Finn as it moves towards its conclusion is only the most famous example; every one of his books exhibits the same deficiencies. I tend to like Life on the Mississippi best because it is frankly a collection of sketches.

Not every novelist needs to be Henry James, but think how much good a touch of Mr James would have done Mr Clemens.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

From a long time ago. This appeared in Poetry Ink.

They say that at the house right down the street,
the one looks much like ours, they ran a brothel.
Actually, a whorehouse is what they say,
a word that people like, when they can manage
to poke it somehow into the conversation.

I haven't pictured anyone who lived there,
although I've tried, no woman who might be
the siren of our cul-de-sac. The cops
led two kids and a chocolate lab away.
I hadn't seen a one of them before.

At my house we were busy with the closets--
you take this, no I want that--mementos
of incidents we couldn't quite remember,
except of you, young in your wedding dress.

Friday, April 09, 2010

from the mailbag

I see you have a Facebook page now & you use it. Wouldn't you be better off spending all that time practicing poetry? It needs it.

No doubt. But Facebook inspires me, and I learn so much from it. Did you know there are people out there--even poet-people--with thousands of friends? It's like having phone books for friends. Did you know that when you ask people to befriend you, they might reply, "And you are who?" thus proving that the predicate nominative is still alive and well.

You know people only find there way here because you wrote that 1 pome with friction in the title right?

I have mentioned this before. I'm just happy my peeps are happy. If I have facilitated frottage, I'll just have to live with that.

Dear RHE, Did you know that it is not the medeival ages anymore?

So have I heard, and do in part believe it.

RHE, your ugly and ur mother dresses you funny.

Dear Mr Justice Scalia,

There is no need to personalize this.