If You Think That's Bad, Wait Till You Hear What They're Doing With Loaves and Fishes

Foolgrave's Golden Treasury

I follow most of the weblogs that I follow via their RSS feeds through Bloglines, saving items that might later turn up here are links.   Quite the little backlog of poetry-related links has been accumulating there, so this post will serve to flush them out.   As an incentive for those of you who aren't interested in this sort of thing (i.e., the rational majority of my readers) I have a brand new double-dactyl awaiting you below.  Now, sing in me, Muse!...

  • Prodigal's Return Dept.:

All together now: "First there is a Henry then there is no Henry then there is."

In other words, the rumors of Henry Gould's disappearance from poetry weblogging have happily proven only temporarily true.  HG was drawn back in in part by a series of e-mails between Reginald Shepherd and Josh Corey that Josh began posting on April 28; additional installments have popped up on May 5 and May 9.  Yes, it is all part of the ongoing, oft tiresome "conservative/ formalist/ Quietudinist vs. progressive/ avant/ post-avant/ Phlogistonian" debate, the principal effect of which is to produce an unattractive glaze over the eyes of those who lack the zealots' inclination to pick a side and fight for it, but it is an often well stated contribution to the discussion.

  • Advice to the Lyric-lorn Dept.:

I was obliged to walk around wearing a goofy grin after reading this headline at Sploid:

Walt Whitman's Beyond The Grave Message: Don't Become a Poet!

Here is the full story, and the key passage:

'First, don't write poetry; second ditto; third ditto,' Whitman says.  'You may be surprised to hear me say so, but there is no particular need of poetic expression.  We are utilitarian, and the current cannot be stopped.'

The Good Grey Poet recommends getting a job, in the printing game if possible.  Creative writing programs take note.

  • "I am known by many names . . ." Dept.:

I have accumulated no fewer than eight (8) saved links to recent posts by Greg Perry on his weblog g r a p e z, which suggests the level of pleasure I have been deriving from it of late. 

Having honored National Poetry Month by giving up poetry, Greg has since turned over a substantial tract of his virtual turf to a burgeoning clan of alter egos, beginning with bluesman manqué Son Rivers.  More Son appears here ["Cynthia Forsythia,/ the goddess of fertility . . ."], here [the body electric is backhandedly invoked], here [lunch is eaten], and here [divers trees become involved].

On Monday of this week, three more personae joined the jam, introduced by Greg as "Ry Foote, a stalwart formalist if I ever knew one; Tweed Majors, a connoisseur of all brands of free verse and graceful perceptions; and last but certainly not least, Nolo Lingua, card-carrying member of the avant-garde."   Tweed posts a poem, provoking a colloquy among the lot of them:

Foote: Poetry must be a strong republic, but with protocol.
Lingua: Poetry is anything the reader wants it to be.
: Very well, and who is this character Harry?
: Harry is a left-handed pitcher nick-named God.
: Oh my God, you’re pretentiously hopeless.
: There is no God and there is no poem.

And so on.  I'll be staying tuned.

  • Inevitable Paglia Content Dept.:

I am now midway through reading Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems, which has gotten me to William Carlos Williams (Paglia goes for the obvious choices there: those white chickens and those cold delicious plums).  It is, so far, a solid collection of close readings of (mostly) very good poems.  It is a worthy and interesting attempt to reach a general audience that may have forgotten, or never learned, how poetry works and what rewards a little effort can bring in reading it.  Well intentioned, and sprinkled over with the sort of cross-disciplinary zingers that made Sexual Personae such fun.  More miscellaneous Pagliana:

  • Ann Althouse reports on a Paglia sighting (with photos) in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Kerry Howley at Hit and Run notes an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, with video.  [Caution: video link does not function properly in the Firefox browser; one must use the backward-looking Internet Explorer.]
  • The transcript of a CBC Radio interview.  ["English literature continues to be sexual right into the 18th century – think of Tom Jones  – and it’s not until the 19th century where you see an attempt to purge all the sex out of it."]
  • And all this book tour hubbub has drawn out one of my increasingly rare double dactyls, to wit:

Les Poemes au Camille

Higgledy, piggledy,
Pròfessor Paglia --
Sexy persona, rhe-
torical zest,

Vigorous critical
Paraphernalia --
Breaks, blows ‘n’ burns, in her
Quest for the best.


Kent Gibson


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Cowtown Pattie

'All together now: "First there is a Henry then there is no Henry then there is." '

Perhaps sung to the tune of: "There Is A Mountain:
"First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

Subliminal Donovan at its best, Fool!

George Wallace

Yes! Pattie wins -- empty applause, endless credit and little more -- for being the first to spot what was indeed intended as a reference to the Sunshine Superman himself, Donovan Leitch. Smartly done.

Cowtown Pattie

I'll take empty applause and the endless credit...


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