Wednesday, June 27, 2012


June 29, 1613   The Globe Theatre catches fire and burns to the ground during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.

June 29, 1861   Elizabeth Barrett Browning dies at home in Florence at the age of 55.

June 30, 1955   James Thurber writes to the New York Post of the ravages of ages: “With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and a definite hardening of the paragraphs.”

July 2, 1961   The winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature, Ernest Hemingway, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Describing how he worked: “When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go.  Then it explodes and that is my idea.”

July 4, 1845   Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond: “I went to the woods because I wished to…see if I could not learn what it [life] had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

July 4, 1855   Walt Whitman, 36, publishes Leaves of Grass at his own expense.  The book does not sell.

Sharon Olds reminds us: “Walt Whitman didn’t sing only as a white man or a gay man.  He didn’t even sing as a living man, as opposed to a dead man.  He made the human race look like a better idea.

July 8, 1822   Percy Bysshe Shelley, 29, drowns while sailing off Viareggio and is cremated on the beach onto which his body is washed.  Strangely, his heart will not burn.  Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley carries it with her in a silken shroud for the rest of her life.

July 10, 1871   Marcel Proust is born in Auteuil, outside Paris, during the turbulent summer of the Paris Commune.  He later will blame his persistent bad health on his mother’s nervousness caused by street violence during her pregnancy.

July 10, 1873   Following an angry quarrel in Brussels, Paul Verlaine discharges a pistol at Arthur Rimbaud, wounding him slightly in the wrist.

You know, you don’t always have a choice of what you’re going to write.  You’re not like a cow that can give cream with one udder and milk with another.  Bruce Duffy

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.  Jessamyn West

I am not a writer except when I write.  Juan Carlos Onetti
***                                                     ***                                              ***

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Today I’m featuring a poem by Trish Dugger, Poet Laureate of Encinitas, California.


If you’re stepping out of your panties,
it’s too late for Plan B.  Trust me.

Actually, I never had a Plan B or
any plan at all.  I maureened

down the farley path to where his
lips led.  That was humphreys ago.

Losing the keys to my car, house,
indeed my life, ended in reginald.

Had I known the final phyllis, would
I have said, vince instead of when?

His lester and loretta philliped me
with a cynthia I’d never imagined.

Now I’m stranded at the janice craig,
glass shards of yesterday scattered

behind me.  It’s clare that I must brock
and bleed to return to the other side,

to get back to candace where brad
began, before the bruce of bridget.

It would be easy to remain in hillary,
to wendy my time in painless walter.

I’m no good with blood and gordon.
So look for me in the garden of denise.

The weather is pleasantly pauline and
I’m learning to clancy with new clydes.

- Trish Dugger
previously printed in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fall/Winter 2010 – 2011, Issue 47.

When I asked Trish what had been her inspiration for this poem, she said that at the time she was in a poetry workshop that was reading POETS OF THE NEW CENTURY (a  2001 anthology edited by Roger Weingarten and Richard Higgerson).  She gathered her inspiration from reading Mark Halliday’s poem, “Your Visit to Drettinghob,” whose tone is gracious and welcoming, spoken by the proud owner of the castle.  Scattered throughout the poem are fanciful, made-up words.  [As I could find no online link to the entire poem, I’ll offer morsels so you can get a flavor of Halliday's poem.]

            Welcome to Drettinghob and welcome more specifically
            to the North Transept of Smegma Manor which once formed
the warm-weather dalyrymple for the Prince’s consort’s gardeners
when the West Winkle of the castle was still standing.
…                                    It was the Earl’s morridgemen
who worked the clench-ovens in which these trouted bottles
were shreamed with scatgurry oil to deepen the morlseed flavor
of the local hooch called Dretbrof.  Try a sip!  Ah,
that’s the true Dretbrof….

Trish Dugger’s work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies and was featured on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry (  She’s won local poetry slams twice and three times been in the top three in slams.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Late Breaking News:

RT Sedgwick's book, LEFT UNLATCHED, won this year's San Diego Book Awards for Best Published Book: Poetry.  Congratulations, RT!

[RT's poem, "Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery," was featured in my first post of this blog.]

For more of RT's poems and information about his book, click here.


Sunday, June 10, 2012


CONGRATULATIONS to Natashsa Trethewey,

chosen as the next Port Laureate.  She is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate.  Her term starts in September.

Natasha Trethewey's second book, Bellocq's Ophelia, (2002) uses the early twentieth-century photographs (by E.J. Bellocq), of prostitutes in the Storyville section of New Orleans, as a springboard to tell the story of one of the mixed-race prostitutes.

She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for Native Guard whose central sequence is devoted to the Louisiana Native Guard, a Black regiment in the Union Army, made up of mostly former slaves who enlisted and who were assigned to guard Confederate POWs.

She is the author of four poetry books.  Thrall is forthcoming in September, 2012.

Click here to see her poem "Letter Home"

Click here to see her poem "Pilgrimage"


Secondly, I want to share a online site for poetry and prose that's been previously published in RATTLE, a wonderful magazine.  I've bookmarked this site so I can go to it daily:

Click here to go to RATTLE online.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


(Rainbow, CA: Garden Oak Press, 2012)

   The  San Diego poetry scene thrives, enriched by its diverse voices.  This is most apparent in SAN DIEGO POETRY ANNUAL 2011 - 12 which brings together the talents of 226 poets (326 poems), including an expanded bilingual section, in its sixth, and largest, collection.  These poets offer a wide range of sensibilities and subjects which embody the complexities of the region.

   It's no surprise that poetry of place figures prominently in this edition -- whether it's Christina Buress speaking as Interstate 5:

          Beyond the twisted chain link fence
          past dry chaparral and scrub oak
          are twelve lanes of me
          source of roar
          rubber pursuing concrete on asphalt

or Linda Engel Amundson, in "On the Line," depicting the border, certainly as a demarcation, but also as a frame of mind full of friction and intimidation:

                                      ...that mark
          that says you may not enter
          let them show you badges
          then spit on the ground
          where all faults lie in wait
          San Andreas, San Jacinto, Coalinga
          [where, fixing a pick-up truck,
          guys] pass socket wrenches
          and drink Modelo
          wish for a good life
          for los ninos
          and beautiful women
          tattoos are a force field
          that keep the life sucking
          gringos away.

And, like San Diego County itself, beach, suburban, mountain and desert settings particularize many of these poems, though some poets look beyond their home turf to Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, Omaha Beach and Monet's garden at Giverney.

   In this sixth edition of the poetry annual, you'll find truth-telling -- as when Trish Dugger admits

          like maybe I'm

          the only one
          who doesn't get

          the red wheel

          and the white

          the rain    yeah
          I get the rain

-- or tall tales, as when Jon Wesick warns us in his hilarious "Polar Bears Make Bad Neighbors"

          especially the one with jailhouse tattoos.
          Like, I'm supposed to believe those teardrops
          are just for ringed seals!
          He never works.  All he does
          is sit around the pool in his Speedos.

   Dip into the talent and scope of the San Diego poetry scene.   SAN DIEGO POETRY ANNUAL  2011 - 12 is both engaging and comprehensive.  Enjoy.