Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nostalgia's the New Nicotine

Digging through old jottings and ramblings, and came across this post I put on myspace a couple of years ago to inform my friends of a reading of mine in Louisiana. I think it's charming and more than a little funny. Is it? Or is it annoyingly bombastic? If you were to see a reading advertised in this way, would it pique your interest, or would you dismiss the reader as a juvenile charlatan? (That's what I am, but I don't want any potential audience members to think of me in that way, if it means they won't fill seats and/or buy whatever I'm selling). 

Anyway, here it is: 

I Can Read, and I'll Prove It! 

Come one! Come all! Southeastern alumnus and D. Vicker's Creative Writing Award winner Kevin Cutrer promises to delight with selections of his newest work (and a few oldies-but-goodies). 

Here's the man whose iambic pentameter has beguiled the editors of The Hudson Review, Connecticut Review, Texas Review, and more! 

Listen to his tales of braving the Boston public transportation system, rubbing elbows with literary giants, and tracking down an affordable, delicious breakfast in a city full of lavishly over-priced diners! 

One day only! Let's get out there, folks, and spread the word! Let every seat fill up! Let's break the fire code, people! He's using up all his vacation time! What a guy!

WHEN: 12:30PM NOVEMBER 8 2007

A Moderate Burp on Trends

...at least it's not a loud fart. 

I've been meaning to comment on my comment on Chase Twitchell's poem (a post or two previous to this). My first reaction was "not another cancer poem," before of course falling madly in love with the poem. I hate that reaction (i.e., the first reaction). I think it's a product of the workshop culture, a culture I've managed to mostly avoid, compared to many of my friends and contemporaries (and my friendly contemporaries, as well as a few contemporaneous friends). Why a product of the workshop culture (whatever the hell that is--let's workshop the idea, shall we?). Well, there's always the rhyming double sestina about getting in a car accident on your way to the grave of your grandmother whose loss you're still trying to heal from while your stepmother is in labor in the back seat telling you that you should finally ask that girl out to whom you address so many of your science fiction odes casting her as Barbarella and whose eyes are brighter than the shards of glass that litter the highway as you die and meet the angels above. In other words, we encounter the same scenarios over and over again, whether we're the poor suckers taking the workshop, or the poor sucker(s) leading the workshop. I think that it creates an overload that forms a filter in the brain when one encounters these familiar subjects and tropes. Not another granny never said goodbye poem, we say. Another car accident story? Are all creative writers such terrible drivers? 

I fight to take each poem I encounter on its own merits, without the sour taste of the many horrible poems I've read, the way you munch on ginger root to prepare you for the fatty tuna after just devouring some mackerel. Christ I miss sushi. 

Write Love Poems Not War Poems

Just dug up this little gem I wrote to myself some time ago while reading the Georgics, wondering why it wasn't much mentioned in my undergraduate days. I was reading David Ferry's translation at the time and thought I would have liked to encounter The Georgics at least as much as The Aeneid in my classes. Here's the blast from the past: 

I'm opposed to war poems because they tend to be boring. Yeah, I get it, a lot of people died, women were raped, gold was taken, civilizations fell and civilizations rose. Blah, blah, blah. Tell me how to harvest apples, how to breed oxen, how to keep bees. Show me how life itself can be conquered day in, day out. Well, thank you, Virgil, thank you for that. 

Pretty simplistic, yes, and I want to note now that I don't know what I'd do without the war poems of Wilfred Owen or, for that matter, Brian Turner (and many in between), but I think I hold to this preference most of the time. I don't like the poetry of daily life because it's cozy and warm, but because daily life is itself a war, one way or the other. 

I'd also like to write a great big didactic poem like The Georgics one day. Too bad I know jack squat about nuttin. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's Going On

I'm going to post something here that I left as a comment on another blog, namely Steven D. Schroeder's blog. 

Steven listed a number of "big picture" projects he has going on, and it inspired me to list what's rolling around in my noggin in regards to writing goals. I haven't considered this a poetry blog, but it should be no secret that's where most of my interests lie, and I love directing the few readers I have to poems online they may have missed. So why not share a little something personal about what's going on in my writing life? Here's what I wrote:

I'm working on my first collection of poems, all more or less set in, or about, the south, many of them persona poems told by middle aged housewives and the men who love them. And a lot of barroom monologues for good measure, as well as not a few poems involving head injuries that more often than not result in religious visions and conversions. 

Oddly enough, the second manuscript is forming as well, with not a few poems already drafted for that one--all set in Brazil. 

On top of that I'm drafting short stories and battling to complete a libretto for a composer friend.

A friend and I would like to start an online journal, but that's pretty far down the road. 

And in my professional life, my wife and I have started an English school. So that's taking a lot of time and energy. But I find a busy work schedule only makes the writing life better. 

So, if you feel like sharing, please let me know what you're working on.