Monday, June 23, 2008


I'm looking for poems about reading, about books.
Even about specific books.
Thomas Lux has one.
Any other suggestions?

The Voice You Hear
When You Read Silently

is not silent, it is a speaking-
out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It is the writer's words,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her voice, but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling,
having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word barn
that the writer wrote
but the barn you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally -- some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation
is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows...
And barn is only a noun -- no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.

Thomas Lux

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Robert Smithson:
A Map of Broken Glass

Language operates between literal and metaphorical signification. The power of a word lies in the very inadequacy of the context it is placed, in the unresolved or partially resolved tension of disparates. A word fixed or a statement isolated without any decorative or "cubist" visual format, becomes a perception of similarity in dissimilars - in short a paradox. Congruity could be disrupted by a metaphorical complexity within a literal system. Literal usage becomes incantory when all metaphors are suppressed. Here language is built, not written.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I'm reading in Nyack on Tuesday June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
at Riverspace.

Reading with me is a poet I don't know -- Frank Messina.
We'll read with saxophonist Erik Lawrence
for an evening of poetry and jazz entitled "Mellow Declamations."

Should be interesting, especially as it has been awhile since I've

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Posted most of the new work and some older, but barely revised,
work at the private blog. It's a curious sensation to put the poems
there, leaving me with the mini-sensation that the work is in some
kind of completed state -- lulling me. But I know there's
work to be done.

I'm clearing space in my head and, poem by poem, I see and see again
the crevices, the rough places that must be made plain, the plain
places that want messiness. Oh it's all a walk on the wild side.

And a brain shift is necessary. So many words, so little time.
Sometimes I want them to just go away.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


These amazing lilacs are blossoming now (later than others). Their scent permeates the house, the street, me. I've not written in a while, taking a break to sort through the writing I did in April. I've been reading over the poems and other gorgeous junk (garbage becoming compost). I recently decided to manage the revision process by stealing an idea from RebeccaLoudon. In her interview with Kate Greenstreet, Rebecca says that for one of her books she used a private blog for document control, revising on the blog and giving access to a select few.

I revise a lot. And my drafts tend to get scattered the deeper I go. Usually I keep track by putting dated drafts in notebooks. But sometimes I'm lazy about printing out. And, true confession time, I don't back my files up. Rebecca Loudon's idea seemed to make good sense.

I started a private blog last week and have begun putting poems there. So far I'm leery about sharing that work. In point of fact, I have never even posted my own poems here. Yes, readers can follow links to previously published work, but I've not posted works-in-progress. Maybe I will. We'll see how it goes. Also, I decided to do the private blog in Wordpress, which is also free. Just to see how things worked over there. My plan is to get an accumulation of poems up and then roll up my sleeves. In fact, as I move the drafts over to the blog, I start to fiddle. Revision is deep, important work for me. So I'm excited about this format. I'll keep you (whoever you are) posted.