Archive for April, 2009

Guest Post from William Soule: Writers To Read Part 1 — Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Recently, I was really excited to discover that brilliant young poet and former ONS Featured Poet William Soule is writing a series of short articles entitled ‘Writers to Read,’ aimed at helping new and emerging writers to discover new influences. I asked if I could feature the articles here as guest-posts, and Will agreed! So here’s the first installment. Enjoy!

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

German-born Charles Bukowski is popular among younger poets for his straightforward, unequivocal style of writing. Ironically, he didn’t start writing poetry prolifically until he was 35, after ten years of near-silence following the publication of his short story, Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip, in Story, and his time in the hospital treating an ulcer.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Bukowski often alienated himself from his peers due to the terrible acne that pockmarked his face. Add in the physical abuse from his father and working menial jobs as an adult, such as at the post office, his writing often features the challenges facing those inhabiting skid row, drunkenness, women, and times at the horse track. the suicide kid details his time at bars, starting with “I went to the worst of bars / hoping to get / killed. / but all I could do was to / get drunk / again.”

Another poem entitled Dinosauria, we, found in the documentary “Born Into This”, talks about some of the problems in society (”we are / born like this / into this / into hospitals which are so expensive / that it’s cheaper to die”).

Throughout his writing career, Bukowski stuck with smaller presses; many see him as an underdog in the writing community, although he became well known during his career, even writing screenplays for movies, such as Barfly, a semi-autobiographical film featuring his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, the hard-drinking womanizer, who was also often found in his novels, some of his most popular being “Post Office” (which aptly begins with “It began as a mistake.”), and “Ham on Rye”, a novel that details his troubled youth.

Passing away in 1994 from leukemia, he leaves behind a vast array of novels, short stories, and poetry among numerous articles he has written for publications. To conclude, here is a touching poem entitled Bluebird, a favorite of mine, and a challenge for you writers that Bukowski details well with so you want to be a writer? Do give a listen and a read–and meet up to the challenge of writing. For more information about Charles Bukowski, check out

Recommended Reading:
Love Is A Dog From Hell (poetry)
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (poetry)
Post Office (novel)
Ham on Rye (novel)

William Soule is a young poet currently living in Utah. His works have appeared in Read This Magazine, elimae, Tattoo Highway, and the delinquent, among others — he is also a former ONS Featured Poet. He runs the webzine Clearfield Review, and works as a Literature Gallery Director for artist-networking site deviantART. Besides writing poetry, William also plays the drums and is a health food nut. He raises a two year old pit bull named Bronē, offers everyone online cookies, and comments on people’s faces.

I’d also like to recommend checking out Bukowski’s Nirvana, as read by Tom Waits… and the movie Factotum, which is based on his life.
‘Writers to Read’ will be back soon… Part 3 will be written by yours truly, so watch this space!

Want to write an ONS guest-post? Drop me a line to!

(Image by MATT MIMS)

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Featured Poet Phoebe Salzman-Cohen Interviewed

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

You’ve already seen Phoebe’s poems ‘An Extra Swing’ and ‘Driveway’ — here’s her interview. Enjoy!

Tell us about your poems.
It’s hard for me to talk about my writing, mainly because don’t know what to say. I guess they’re just ways for me to explore people I know — or imagine — and things/places I’ve seen. They often include things that are partially true, which has gotten me into trouble.
In a way, I feel like writing gives me power, because it’s a way to turn the way I think into something that can affect what other people think and feel (if it works).
I think sometimes when people try to describe their own poetry, the description turns into a poem itself… I’ve never felt comfortable trying to do that. I think poetry should speak for itself. (Although I do admire people who can.)
Ultimately, there’s nothing very poetic about how I feel about my poetry. I just know that it’s what I use to explain myself, to understand people around me, and to try to create something worthwhile.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was very little, but I got much more into poetry when I was around 12 or 13. I started going online and meeting people who helped me, and since then it’s become pretty important to me.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
Well, I’ve been in Read This! I’m also involved in a wonderful underground newspaper at my school, for which I get to write some slightly subversive stuff. I haven’t really been published in many places, as of now. I’m more concerned with improving my writing than publishing it — although the two might be fairly closely connected.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
I think it’s probably being asked to read poetry at a show my friend was having in his backyard. (This happened a few months ago) I admire him very much and it was cool for it to be reciprocated in that way.
It was my first poetry reading (ever), which was pretty exciting.
(It might have also been because it was a little poetic in itself.)

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The worst thing about writing poetry is probably when I’m not able to write it… when I’m stuck, I tend to get fairly frustrated and upset, which clouds my already iffy judgement.
The best thing is the feeling I get when I manage to connect one thing to another in a way that I think makes sense and also sounds good. When I’m satisfied with something, it’s absolutely wonderful.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Since that’s what I’d consider myself, I guess, this is also advice to myself.
– Although it’s important to be able to take constructive criticism and improve your work, don’t let yourself be hurt by what other people say. There are some people who, although they mean well, aren’t always worth listening to.
– Read a lot. Not just poetry, and not just novels. Learn as much as you can about everything you can, and don’t be afraid to learn from someone else.
– Notice things– notice things around you, things about people you’re with, things about yourself, etc.
– Don’t get caught up in what’s “accepted” or in what seems cool. Don’t feel obligated to conform to what you see. (But as I said before, learning from other people is important.)
– Enjoy yourself! Writing isn’t worth it if you torture yourself over it.

Who/what influences your poetry?
I read all the time, and not just poetry (although I do read a lot of it). I love stories that make me both think and feel, and that’s something I work towards when I write. I think the people I’m around and the places I go are almost as important as what I read, because that gives me something I want to say.
I also read a lot of graphic novels (um, comics), and the ones I like the most often read like combinations of a good movie and a good poem. I’ve been trying to work towards that feeling for a while — squeezing one thing into the other, almost.


I used to examine the hair
on my arms when you talked to me
and push it so it would all fall
in the same direction because it made
my skin look tougher.
By the time I looked up,
my blush would be gone.

You’re trying to grow a beard but
the fuzz is still the same color
as your chin
and I can see it when you laugh. Once
we were both waiting for something in
the history room, and you sat on the windowsill.
When you spoke, your jaw
outlined your words like you suddenly
were older.

Before I would never
look at you because
I thought you’d see me, but
sometimes you’d try first. if
you noticed me you’d smile, pounding
my fist like I was cool enough.

You asked me to read poetry
at a show you were having,
and a month later
I stood on your lawn with my eyelashes
catching stray pieces of hair.
When I finished I put my paper down and
you were sprawled on the grass with
your hands in your pockets,
looking at me as if
I should be there.

(Photo by Greeblemonkey)

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Procrastination Station #35

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Short one this week, to make up for the epic-ness of last week!

Think you’ve got library fines?! // The writer’s struggle… // Pocast: laureates on poetry for children // Bookcross, people! // & RIP, JG Ballard (more tributes here and here).

Recycle your books… into vases? For real! (thanks Amanda!)

Jim pointed me in the direction of Poetry Through The Ages: An Expressive Journey. Tricky to navigate, but I love the clicky-bubbles! (Yep, technical term! — works best in Firefox, btw.)

If I wasn’t renting, I would tile my whole house with these!

Rachel is talking with Ted… lovely recording from Crow, too!

Found online this week: Howard Good (RT14 and RT17 contributor!) is over at Bolts of Silk // …so is ONS reader and blogger Colin Will (get well soon, Colin!) // a handful of stones is featuring former FP Tom Rendell // RT ed Dave Coates has a new poem up at his blog // …and ONS regular Col has posted some cool visual poetry on his! // + Stephen Nelson finds visual poetry within his surroundings… I really like this latest offering.

Scarlett Johannson is so cool.

The worst homemade Star Wars costumes ever (supposedly… I was actually quite impressed by some of them! Tiny bucket-headed stormtrooper? Very cute.)

Great movie trivia: The Goonies, The Wizard of Oz

The world’s smallest Pacman game… warning: horrible time-eater! (via)

Your weekly ‘great tattoos!’ link

& this stop-mo is absolutely amazing!:

Have a great weekend! x

(Photo by Thomas Hawk)

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More from Featured Poet Phoebe Salzman-Cohen

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Another of Phoebe’s poems… interview tomorrow!


We write our names on brick walls
and on the sides of bus stations so
they might go somewhere
and we wait for someone to remember us.

We turn on the radio to listen to this guy
who was famous by the time he was fourteen
My friend thinks he’s sexy
and closes her eyes in the back
of my mother’s car when she hears his voice
But he makes me step out of myself
like he’s a lesson in how to be better and
all I can do is listen. I try to leave fingerprints
on my hands

He is singing about being left behind
but you can’t be abandoned if
you haven’t been found. It’s dark
but I can see us on the windshield like
we’ve hit it. My friend is shivering and
she doesn’t notice because she’s
pretending to move somewhere else.

I tell her that I can’t wait to learn
how to drive, but I don’t
know where to go. I want to drag our names
through everywhere and leave people
remembering what our handwriting looks like

When the song ends, we
lift ourselves into the driveway,
opening the gate like it’s monumental
and mumble new names for each other.

(Photo by Nathan. P.)

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Things I Love Thursday #35

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Brand new Read This!
By the time you read this (ha!), I will probably be in the Forest, slaving over a hot photocopier, creating the brand new issue of Read This… RT17. (What happened to 16?) We’re back with a bang, let me tell you: brilliant artwork and prose from exceptionally great artist Amy Bernays, and poetry from former ONS Featured Poet Eric Hamilton, the lovely and talented Mr Howie Good, and an impressive list of talented RT newcomers. We’ll also have some great stuff up on our website in the next day or two (I’ll let you know), and as always, RT17 will be available to purchase at the Read This Store! Watch this space!

My students.
This is maybe a strange one, as this week I (and they) received the bad news that only one student in my entire lecturing class had passed their prelim (mock) exam. Many of them are relying on the grades they get this year to carry them into University; the majority of them have learning support needs of some kind, almost all are high school dropouts or second-time-around-ers… which basically means that a failed mock means a lot more to them than you’d think. I have only been working with this class for about three months but they are a really great bunch of kids, and to see their self-esteem knocked like this is upsetting. I suspect that the prelims, which were marked within the department, have been harshly marked across the board to get them all to pull their socks up before the exam… this is pretty common practice. However, it seems to be having the opposite effect in some cases. Basically, my students are in my TiLT this week because I have huge faith in them all — I know that not all of them will pass, but there are many who work hard and really, really want this qualification. They’ve also been an incredibly levelling influence (nothing more levelling — or brutally honest! — than a group of seventeen year olds!) when I’ve been feeling down or upset lately. I am doing my best to help them achieve their goal, but this is just an additional prayer to the universe: give them all a kick up the ass, give them the motivation to revise! They are all good, sweet people and they deserve success.

Getting back into the poetry swing of things, for real!
I know this was in last week’s, but I’ve been breaking myself back into everything gently after my brief hiatus. I am now getting on top of everything again: plotting the next Read This Press titles after the huge success of Skin Deep (yeah!), getting ahead with RT as you’ve already heard, and best of all, writing again! I have loads of new plans and schemes AND, if my desperate saving and squirrelling continues to plan, I am also hoping for a free summer (ie, no distracting waitressing job or the like!) to write, plot, scheme and achieve. Sounds good! Let’s hope it happens!

I really need to go out and take some photos of my own to show you my new neighbourhood… I feel like a real phoney living round here, it is so nice and respectable! It’s very quiet and safe (lowest crime rate in the city! Take that, Morningside!), with loads of cool winding backstreets, closes, parks and gardens to wander around. And here’s my street! I am loving it — I loved the mad, noisy rush of life on the Grassmarket, but I feel like that phase is over now. I am officially a New Towner, depressing, but true!

Poetry at the, er… Jekyll and Hyde!
That is, the event formerly known as Poetry at the Great Grog! The Edinburgh New Town’s best monthly poetry reading has changed location, from this to this (check out the inside)!!! I love the new venue, I have to say: creepy and kooky, amazing cocktails, and much quieter and calmer… no more annoying sports fans interrupting the poetry! And the first J&H gathering was a freaking amazing one… among the performers were my dear friend Ryan Van Winkle, who wowed the audience with smart, sweet, sad and funny poems, including ‘Darkness on the Edge of Toast,’ his famous Bruce Springsteen poem, which I never get tired of hearing. Ryan was followed by the wonderful Kevin Cadwallender, who is without question the best performance poet I’ve ever heard read. His set was hilarious and brilliant as always. If you’re in Edinburgh at the beginning of the month anytime, let me know and I will take you along!

The X Files
Yes, this was also here last week… but I am officially obsessed. In fact, I have started playing ‘oh my gosh did you see that episode?!’ with my dear friend Miriam (she deserves to be on this TiLT list, too!). I have a massive girl-crush on Scully, she really is my heroine.

And you?

(Photo by Ukpressphotographer)

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This week’s Featured Poet is Phoebe Salzman-Cohen

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I first discovered Phoebe when she sent some work to Read This. The eds and I all loved it. Here’s her bio and one of her works for you to enjoy… more in the next couple of days!:

Phoebe Salzman-Cohen is a sophomore in high school who lives in suburban New Jersey. She likes to think she’s clever, but she’s not sure if many people agree with her. She’s into reading about theoretical physics, walking around aimlessly (and with aim on occasion), and debating about various philosophical issues. She also plays the cello and has a really wicked cello case. Everything else about her is generally up for debate.

An Extra Swing

Some of us went to the swings
after sundown to break the law. My
friend asked me if I was going
to write a poem about it, and
I didn’t answer

there were five of us, and
an extra swing. If you had been there
we could’ve tried to steer each other
away from the poles, lining ourselves up. We
never got to hold hands
so at the playground I held on with my elbows,
palms rubbing my sweatshirt pocket
to keep them pristine

It was a week ago when you
said yes and hugged me like
you wanted to see if I would fit. I’ve always
admired you, but
I’ve never been able to forget that
long enough to remember it again and say it

I was quiet when you told me
how you wanted to travel the world and
become everything, smiling because
you weren’t sure if you should,
and when you put your knee next to mine
in your room like you wanted me to be there, and
the next day when
I found out that you didn’t.

At the playground I traced you
into the woodchips like I was
drawing photographs of you, shivering
because you’re too complete
without me.

(Photo by Sharper24)

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Favourite poems from YouTube: Part 4, Sarah Kay

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Like many performance poets, I first discovered Sarah Kay watching Def Poetry Jam. She’s a great, unruffled performer whose work is very narrative but also full of symbolism  Here’s the first poem of hers I heard:


See also: Jellyfish (she’s obsessed, like me, with childhood nostalgia and storytelling — this is a great example!); Hiroshima; Not Just Another Math Problem (a rap amalgamation); Peacocks; And Found (short one); Tshotsholoza

and finally, B — a poem that makes you want to shout HECK YES! at the end. Well, if you’re anything like me…

Favourite poems from YouTube? Link me!

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Procrastination Station #33 & #34

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I’ve missed a couple of these so this one’s going to be epic!

I freaking love the novel, so I am so happy Ann Weisgarber got this nod! // New poetry workshop with Christopher James — send some work! // AL Kennedy’s series continues // Quiz time!: Spring in Literature // Do authors owe their readers? // What are you doing for NaPoWriMo? // Spring songs // & Happy Birthday Naked Lunch!

Hey, all you cheapskates and deadbeats! Go buy a freaking book!

I just discovered this desk blog. More interesting than it sounds!

Is poetry dead? (Wow, what an idea! I’ve never heard anyone ask THAT before! *rolls eyes*) And if so, did materialism kill it?

Amazing bookstores!

A blog devoted to chronicling On The Road? No way…

Do nothing for NaPo!

Ecopoetics interview with the lovely and talented Jen Hadfield.

Book promotion, anyone?

Jim is channelling Ginsberg.

Poetic tattoos special: Kim Addonizio // Michael Mayo // Jill Alexander Essbaum

Found online this fortnight (soon getting its own slot on ONS!): Fantastic new poetry from former Featured Poet William Soule // Phillipa shows us her favourite book covers // Former Featured Poet Shirla White over at Bolts of Silk // One of former Featured Poet Chris Lindores’ newest // ONS regular Col Ventura at a handful of stones, haikuing it up // a sweet tattoo poem from ONS regular Swiss // I loved this quote from reader Cassandra’s blog: “life is the main course, boys are just desserts. And sometimes the main course is so fulfilling that you don’t want dessert.” Heck yes! Love to you, Cassandra. // Cassandra was also at a handful of stones recently // and handful of stones founder Fiona has some great rejection advice.

Yet more urban decay stuff, courtesy of Look At This: houses swallowed by sand // end of an empire // viewing hole galleries // closed down themepark

Amazing vintage photos (via).

T-shirts every typography geek should own (via). Seriously want the ampersand.

30 (supposedly) controversial album covers.

A couple more cool tattoos: one (Elvgren love!), two.

& love this!:

Have a great weekend!

(Photo by Magicbeanbuyer)

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Things I Love Thursday #32, #33 & #34

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

So, as you may already know, I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from ONS — and from everything else, if I’m honest. The wheels came off my life a little, and my response was just to drop everything and go into hiding. A weird response… but the right one, because I am feeling heaps better. I’m starting to get back into everything again now, slowly but surely. I start teaching again on Monday and I’m actually looking forward to it a lot. And you’ll be seeing a bit more of me around here again too. So, since I missed two TiLTs, I’m catching up now… here’s what I would have listed the last couple of weeks if I’d been around!

The start of the new Formula 1 season.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll probably already know that I am a massive motorsport geek, and particularly love Formula 1. The first F1 season I clearly remember is 1996, when Brit Damon Hill took his first and only championship (though I vaguely remember the hype surrounding Nigel Mansell’s eventual victory in 92 as well) — this obsession was passed down to me by my grandfather, who used to restore and race old Le Mans cars and other racers. Last season, if I’m honest, was a bit dull — the usual teams (Ferrari/McLaren) dominating, almost every race dogged with controversy and stupid FIA rulings, and although a Brit did win the championship, it was hardly a triumphant victory… So knowing that the 2009 season was to bring brand new cars and the biggest rule-changes in F1 history, as well as being back on the BBC (no ads!) and introduced by the one and only The Chain by Fleetwood Mac (goosebumps everytime!)… basically, The Boy and I were feverish with excitement! And so far the season has been incredible — teams (new and old) which were previously mid-pack at best are leading practice, qualifying and races while the big boys (Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault) seem to have, er, not built very good cars (the Ferrari is so long it can’t go round corners anymore). It’s really nice to see Reubens Barrichello, who’s been forced to play second-fiddle to a certain Michael Schumacher for most of his career, in a fast car and on the podium (Trulli too… one to watch this championship I reckon). It’s also nice to see newbs like Sebastian Vettel getting a shot at victory. Williams, always a favourite team (and British of course) is making a beautiful comeback, and hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a British driver on top of the podium two races out of two! I’m only sad that my very favourite driver, Robert Kubica (Poland/BMW Sauber) is having a miserable season so far — driving amazingly as always, but crashed out in both races so far. Still, it is seriously competitive for the first time in ages and I am very excited to see what happens! Any other F1 fans out there…?

My new house.
It didn’t help that during my recent stressed-out-blob-phase, I was required to move from my tiny, one-room studio flat in central Edinburgh, to a brand-spanking-new two-bed attic flat in the lovely neighbourhood of Stockbridge. It was stress on a stick for a couple of days, having to empty all our rubbish (we have a LOT of stuff… 300+ books, 200+ vinyl LPs and 400+ CDs) out of all the nooks and crannies we’d hidden it in — I kept opening cupboards and finding more when I thought it was all packed! However, we finally got it all done, and we’re so happy with the new place — a week and a half on, and I still keep running from room to room just to look at all the space we have! First off, the neighbourhood is brilliant — we’re on the main drag in Stockbridge, which is very posh and artsy, loads of little cafes and boutiques and no terrible strip clubs or other dens of vice (we lived in a bizarre neighbourhood before)! Because we’re in the attic we have a lot of stairs to climb, but it’s quiet and we have lovely sloped walls and low ceilings. Obviously we have more than one room, too — seven in all, counting the hallway, which I absolutely do! — we have seperate living space/sleeping space, so we don’t have to sit on our bed to watch TV anymore (!!), we have a dining table (major novelty!), a kitchen that isn’t constantly in the room with us, and best of all The Boy has a spare little bedroom in which to keep all his Boy Things and play computer games. The new Read This Towers is quite splendid, in short! Anyone want to come and stay?

You lot.
Because I couldn’t believe the huge outpouring of good wishes that happened after I posted this. It’s my natural inclination to share things with people — sometimes I worry that I do this too much here — and it felt like therapy just to write down what was going on, oddly enough. But I didn’t do it to seek sympathy, and so I was absolutely shocked at the number of sweet and encouraging comments that appeared here, on my Facebook and in my inbox. I was and still am incredibly grateful for all your good wishes, advice, suggestions and offers of help. A lot of you don’t really know me at all but you’ve all been total stars. Huge thanks to you all!

New poetry projects.
Poetry? Oh yes, I vaguely remember, that writing thing… but weirdly, although I have been neglecting my poetic duties a little recently, projects seem to be coming to me without waiting for me to go to them. I was recently invited to send some poems to 5Px2, an anthology of Scottish and Italian poetry and translation. The other Scottish poets were Hazel Frew, Matthew Fitt (who did poetry workshops at my high school when I was 16!), Christie Williamson and Andy Philip, whose first collection ‘The Ambulance Box’ has been my latest bedtime read, and it’s great (ONS will hopefully be a stop on the Ambulance Box book tour soon!). I just got my copy of 5Px2 and it’s a stunning, very tactile book, full of great poems. I can highly recommend it!
Other stuff: I’ll also be reading at the VoxBox Sotto Voce Slam in May (my first slam! Nervous!), appearing in the forthcoming Golden Hour Book II, and taking part in Utter!, a spoken-word poetry show touring the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With all that and a load more stuff in the wings, I am getting back into writing with a new zeal… long may it last!

My first lecturing paycheck.
That sounds mercenary, but I don’t quite mean it like that… a couple of weeks ago I got my first paycheck from my job lecturing in English at Telford College, and it was an incredibly big deal for me. Since I was about eleven, I’ve done a weird and wonderful variety of jobs — I’ve worked as a day lamber, a drama coach, a secretary in a chemical factory, a nanny, a thrift store worker, a Media Liaison for my local goverment Road and Technical division, an envelope stuffer, a legal secretary, a pet-sitter, a one-to-one tutor, and of course as a magazine editor! But none of these things have ever been “real” jobs — they’ve all been low-paid/voluntary, and temporary. My lecturing job is a lot of firsts for me — my first real salary, my first “permanent” job, and my first real taste of responsibility… no one else is going to teach these students, no one else is going to get them through their exams, no one else is there to answer their questions. Getting the first paycheck made it real, weird as it sounds. Money aside, it was a good moment.

The X Files repeats on Virgin One.
Sad (is it?) but true — this is my new addiction. I remember being absolutely terrified of this show when it was around at first, and seeing it now it’s quite funny… a lot of the things that freaked me out were the most silly and far-fetched things about the whole thing! But it’s being repeated, one episode every weeknight, and The Boy and I are hooked. I’m not a big TV watcher (apart from the F1, obviously) so this is a new experience for me. Dana Scully is my ultimate heroine — it just upsets me how utterly anti-feminist the show is. Nearly every episode, Scully gets into jeopardy and can only be saved by the crusading Mulder (at the very last second before she’s shot or decapitated or something, usually)… also, she gets beaten about a fair bit by the bad guys, whereas he rarely does. She’s smart but helpless, whereas he’s smart and he can apparently beat a door down with one finger. No fair!

Honourable mentions (because this is epic enough already!): My friend from undergrad, Amy, starting up her own business — she’s taken on the management of a failing pub and seems to be turning things around, which is awesome (it’s the Greenmantle on the corner of West Cross Causeway and Nicolson Street, for you Edinburgh folk… go have a pint and support my mate!) // my little sister’s amazing artworks and films // building my collection of literary and spoken word LPs… anyone else collect these? // having a 24 hour supermarket right next to my house (so useful!) // floorlength kilt-skirts… seriously warm // wireless internet (first-timer, enthusiast) // this song (heard it so many times, it’s forced me to like it!) // this kind-of-Easter-ish movie! // getting really into Oi music // cake — bad, but good.

Et toi…?

(Photo by {peace&love♥})

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Featured Poet Matthew Raue Interviewed

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Tell us about your poems.
My poems are all over the place. I make attempts at epic-sounding, chant-like, pages-long attempts at invoking the entire universe, all creation, the glory of being… Other times, when I feel less ambitious, I write poems a few lines long about “the little stuff.” I think many poets attempt this, and those who succeed have “arrived” in an important way (See Cid Corman) . I write to try to get people not to be so stuck in what I call, “Meism.” I want people to sort of, “give up,” to relax and to just open their eyes and be quiet. Everything is worth our wonder.

How long have you been writing?
I don’t know how long I’ve been writing. More importantly, I started reading at about the same age as everyone else. That’s when I started thinking. Writing was a natural result of thinking.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I got a poem in another blog called, “Best Poem.” Looking back it was mediocre. Also, a magazine called “Ugly Cousin” accepted about 14 words of a very long poem I wrote. “Ugly Cousin” only accepts work that has been rejected. I want to keep submitting work. A few editors have taken the time to encourage me, despite their simultaneous rejections, which I appreciate enormously and gives me more confidence, not less.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date have been the handful of poems I’ve written that I know, by my own good taste, are good.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best thing about writing poetry is when a line comes out and, as I said in the previous question, I know it’s golden. If a poet can’t tell when he or she has written something worth existing, they should put the pen down. I think people have too little confidence in their own great work, or too much confidence in their own poor work.
The worst thing about writing is having the ambition and the feelings and the experience to get it written, but not the mastery or the… words.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Write more. Wonder. Wander. Spend plenty of time looking at the stars. Understand that all this writing, all the wars, the stubbed toes, the halls of politics, the endless tomes of wisdom, the greatest works from our greatest masters of words… all evaporate eventually into something else, for reasons we can’t understand, or for a lack of any reason at all. That is what somehow makes is worth doing. All of it.
And read as much as possible. Especially the old masters, who are fashionably disregarded at the moment.

Who/what influences your poetry?
WHAT: Astronomy, nature, cities, travel, friends, world affairs, music, Asia.
WHO: Cid Corman, Robinson Jeffers, Milton, Dante, James Joyce, Steinbeck, Basho, Buddha, whoever wrote the Bible, John Muir, Bukowski, Tennyson, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, Blake, Van Gogh…
I don’t know yet.

Heavy Sleepers

Nudged though we are,
by the noises of snow
alone in the woods;

by footsteps on the stair,
knowing who makes footsteps
on the stair;

by certain inebriants and what must be
revelry sewn by none other
than His highest messengers,
intended for our unlocked souls;

we do not wake;
and we are heavy sleepers.

(Photo by .eyebex)

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