Thursday, 28 April 2016

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Nerve Damage, a different kind of ekphrastic anthology

"The Poet" by Joel-Peter Witkin

Rupert Loydell sent this image to numerous poets asking for their responses in poetry, and the booklet Nerve Damage collects the results, with contributions from Annabel Banks, Sarah Cave, M.A. Duxbury-Hibbert, A.C. Evans, Mike Ferguson, Peter Finch, John Gimlet, David H.W. Grubb, Alan Halsey, Daniel Y. Harris, H.L. Hix, Aaron Kent, John Mingay, Sheila E. Murphy, John Phillips, Ian Seed, Robert Sheppard, Martin Stannard, Paul Sutton, George Ttoouli, Loydell, and myself. It can be purchased by sending £5 cheque made to R.M. Loydell or a $10 bill for US orders to Stride, 4B Tremayne Close, Devoran, Cornwall TR3 6QE. I'm greatly looking forward to reading the other poems, to see the range of responses to the image. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Yosemite, April 2016, first of two selections

Bridalveil Fall

Squirrels with the inside of a fallen tree for a home

Yosemite Upper and Lower Falls

Thursday, 7 April 2016

(Re)visiting UCLA, my alma mater, 3 April 2016, second of two

In the Sculpture Garden. The building behind it is Bunche Hall, where I took many of my Latin classes.

More of the Sculpture Garden.

This is where the Department of English was housed in my time.

Great sculptures in the square of Rolfe Hall.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

(Re)visiting UCLA, my alma mater, 3 April 2016, first of two

I graduated from UCLA in 1995 and last visited UCLA briefly around 2000. When we parked the car, I wasn't sure where I was, but with each new thing I saw, I remembered some other item nearby, and puzzle piece by piece, my map of the campus and my time there came together.

The majestic Royce Hall, where I took Chaucer with V.A. Kolve.

Another view of Royce Hall

The quad. The hammocks are a good addition since my time.

UCLA's mascot, the great bruin. He provides soothing shade for a dog. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Frank Gehry / Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

I love this building. There's a wonderful public garden a floor up that extends around the back, too.

part of said garden

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hanne Bramness's No Film in the Camera (trans. Frances Presley, Shearsman, 2013)

Here are some favourite passages from this splendid book of prose poems:

Pools of dew swell with the coming of spring but it will soon freeze, because there is a sense of loss.

end of "1"

The floor is partially erased by the light, it is still possible to set out and get across. It is still possible to pull back, run home and put an end to this experiment.

end of "2"

Photographers do not spend their whole lives taking photos in order to recall surfaces, but what has happened just before or long before, and what will happen immediately afterwards.

end of "11"

The presence of the photographer is not really a threat, but a substitute for one.

from "15"

There are many who will not dissimulate, they sacrifice their smile.

end of "19"

She blushes and smiles with her whole body, as much as she possibly can. But trying so hard does not inspire confidence.

end of "20"

The photographer is hunting Europe's spring, along boulevard and pig sty, he wants to catch the light that deprives things of their value--meaning their place in a hierarchy.

end of "27"

If there is no sky in this picture it is still an image of the heavens.

end of "33"

There's no doubt, she is who she pretends to be. 

end of "67"

Some time during the night it happens, she takes a picture of the dream tree just as the clouds are ripped away from the moon.

end of "81"

A fruit tree with buds, stopped before they could unfold, not shrivelled, not dead, but transformed into an image of longing.

end of "77"

Like the ice, the photo keeps everything in place for a while. And the picture exposes the silence, but if you listen long enough it will break into a roar.

end of "82"

You can buy this illuminating book of prose poems directly from the publisher here

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Connie Voisine's Calle Florista (University of Chicago, 2015)

Connie and I are both graduates of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of California, Irvine, and I was glad to have her read to my students Thursday while she's spending her sabbatical in the UK. Here are some favourite passages from her new collection, Calle Florista:

There weren't flowers so much as

cats, at least a hundred, lounging in the neighbor's yard
while the bushes roiled with kittens.

from "Calle Florista"

Maybe the soul isn't a fussy eater--
still, it is ravenous

and expensive, like a defensive lineman.

from "I Admit that I Believe that Ideas Exist Regardless"

The book's perfume lifted as you touched it: must, dead clover, wood smoke. 
Your flesh became silk, limpid, luminous.

from "Annunciation"

The pond wants to be the sun that dumps its sugar on the grass.


The shoe wants to be the buckle that the girl shines with a cloth.
The buckle wants to be the magpie lifting what shines.

from "Testament"

The holy is 
nowhere. Where
the non-fog
waits in the 

end of "After"

And of course night comes on
just as you desired. As do the wild pigs
snuffling in the desert, as do the wolves
spangled with hunger, and the hunger itself 
that lopes through my house.
Your desire is dark,
whoever you are, and igneously
formed by heat.
Cooling, it litters my slopes.

end of "Psalm to Whoever Is Responsible"

There aren't enough doves
in North America to fill
the gondola of you.
Onions are fallible, only
pretending to be infinite....

the opening of "A World's Too Little for Thy Tent,
A Grave Too Big for Me"

This country wakes to turn off the light,
and it's no other dark but yours.

end of "Prayer of the St. of the Hottest Night
in Las Cruces"

Remember, no matter how hard you tried,
there were no proper

shoes for this.

from "In the Shade"