Bob's Blog of Poetry

About Poetry and Stuff

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Location: Southwick, Massachusetts, United States

I've read and written poetry intermittently for over forty years. Had a staged reading of a play on Off Off Broadway. Been published in a few places, both print and online. I was just thinking that maybe I'm spending too much time on the computer, and then I started this blog. I'm nothing if not inconsistent.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm on MySpace

If you've been missing me, I regularly blog on MySpace.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ballard Street Poetry Journal

Along with Lori Desrosiers, I have a poem in the current issue of the Ballard Street Poetry Journal. Neither of our poems is viewable online, but their site tells you how to order the printed issue, if you're interested. I got my contributor's copy a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed the work included. It's edited by Heather Macpherson, who is an accomplished poet in her own right.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

This is it!

In an article on, Hugo Kugiya, of Canadian Press, describes the kind of life that I thought was only paralleled by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski was paid an annual allowance by the publisher of Black Sparrow Press for all the poems he could write. Jack Prelutsky, a children's poet who has earned millions, was similarly treated by his editor.

Hirschman insisted they open a joint chequing account and put him on an allowance, $130 a week. She also promised him lunch out every week if he gave her a poem.

His books have sold more than a million copies (children's poetry vastly outsells adult poetry), making him one of the bestselling living poets.
Prelutsky demurs when talk turns to money, but it is clear his poetry has made him millions. Today, his advances are befitting of a bestselling author

Now that just might be the thing to do. Writing humorous poetry for kids seems like a healthy and lucrative way of wordsmithing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Programming Poet

In an article by Kevin Duffy he writes about Chris Jansen, a computer programmer who is also a poet. Sounds familiar. He articulated the reason for why I probably wrote no poetry during my first dozen years of progamming computers, and then I started writing poetry again:

Writing computer code is not unlike writing poetry, he said.

"You have to build up, line by line, meaning. If you screw up, magic does not happen."

"You try to plan everything. You try to celebrate your success. But it is not enough," he said.

BTW, this programming poet (aka me) has a poem in the latest issue of The November 3rd Club. I believe I'm now the only poet who is privileged to have had a poem in every issue.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Poet Laureate

So, Donald Hall will be the next American poet laureate. The man who so famously denounced the writing of the "McPoem" while ironically creating so many himself will now be at the helm of poetry awareness for the country.

Don't get me wrong. I like Donald Hall's writing-- when he's writing prose, particularly his reminiscences of other poets (Their Ancient Glittering Eyes) or criticism (Breakfast Served Any Time, All Day). Well, ok, "Goatfoot Milktongue Twinbird" seemed a bit pretentious to me, but other than that, Hall has some delicious things to say about poetry, like:

"The McPoem is the product of the workshops of Hamburger University," and "every year, Ronald McDonald takes the Pulitzer." Poems, "to satisfy ambition's goals, must not express mere personal feeling or opinion -- as the moment's McPoem does. It must by its language make art's new object."

Hall wants a poetry channel on satellite radio and/or perhaps a TV poetry channel. I hope he's successful, especially if it's XM Radio, since I'm a subscriber. (hint, Don)

And while we salute Hall's ascension, let us not forget the real poet in the family...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Making it all about me

John Cusack

In an Associated Press article, John Cusack talks about "Grace is Gone", in which Cusack plays a man whose wife Grace is killed in service in Iraq. Filming wrapped last month; the movie's producers — who include Cusack — will be looking for a distributor or film festival opportunities.

Cusack's character, Stanley, delays telling his two daughters about their mother's death, instead taking them on a road trip while the former military man sorts out his complicated feelings about the war.

Cusack said he does not dwell on how his movies are initially received by the critics or public.

"I'm not worried about how it turns out in the first two months after it's released. A piece of art takes a while to be appreciated or not — if it is a piece of art. You try to make something that has some value and then in three, four or five years, it will still be interesting or it will have a pulse. Some things that you make, people say are terrific right away and they don't really hold up," Cusack said.

"You just sort of make it, and it's all about the process of making it. Trying to do the best you can. And then you have to wait for a long time to see if it has resonance anyway."

I've certainly had poems I thought were well-crafted being met with a "that's nice..." and poems I thought were throw-away being received with "Wow! That's really good. I really like that!" And poems that were initially met with a "that's nice..." have been published a year or two later. But the word I most focus on in "Trying to do the best you can" is "you": not trying to do the best a committee can. Whether good or bad, years from now I'd like a reader who comes across my poems to at least be able to recognize "oh, I can tell, that's a Bob poem." And that's why I don't submit my poems for critique much anymore. It's not that I think I know it all; I'm just not interested in conforming to what others think should be my voice. I hope I'm saved from megalomania by continuing to read and listen to poetry and literary criticism by others, always trying to learn how to appreciate different kinds of poetry than the ones I write.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The new Tilt is up

Rachel Mallino did a great job with the layout of the new Tilt, and the guy who reviewed the books didn't totally suck.