Rio Sunset Park

Ghosts in the gold, ghosts in the late
Grate growing wet from grey waters.
Ghosts in the water gushing its spray:
Men in it which men aren’t mainly,
Shadows and shades, shadows in spades
Twinned and twining, twisting liquid
Pining from physique, from playing rain:
Where are the men within? White water at
Nighttime walks is a newness to me:
Beguile and charm, enchant and bewitch
Illuminating liquid marvel,
For we have arrived to watch one another
Move from my side to madre’s porch.

I leave it, I leave things
Charged and I think of thunder.

Upon returning to the tempest the tinkers
Heavenward woke from hydrant halls
Their cap clatters, is cast away
By grey ghosts in the grizzled pipes,
By poltergeists who perk to fight
The Zeitgeist of the ziggurat’s kings—
Landlords and landlord things loved
Not by common creatures or their cats.
Mats are soaking. Maybe children
Choking goes unnoticed for tonight.
The streets, they melt. The streets, they smelt
Of sulphur, of piss, and perfume until
The ghosts grist us back our grates.
A native child takes note:
“You play? You playing in the puddle mister?
In the black river we built, we reached?
You’ve passed to my crossing con tu perra?”

Was Venice very varied like Brooklyn
Before it floundered in the foaming sea?
Was Atlantis loved by little kids
Who gave its flooding streets felicity?


On odd years, I’ve made this habit of doubling my age and writing that many poems. I did it with the 46 @ 23, the 50 @ 25, and the 54 @ 27.

This year, for the 58 @ 29, I plan to focus on alliterative meter. It’s the meter used by Middle English and Old English poets as well as Latin and Greek poets. Basically all epic poets use some form of alliterative meter and it hasn’t been used in English for a thousand years. I will be pulling from the rules offered in Lewis’ article on The Alliterative Meter:

In the general reaction which has set in against the long reign of foreign, syllabic meters in English, it is a little remarkable that few have yet suggested a return to our own ancient system, the alliterative line…. Alliteration is no more the whole secret of this verse than rhyme is the whole secret of syllabic verse. It has, in addition, a metrical structure, which could stand alone, and which would then be to this system as blank verse is the syllabic….

A few successful specimens of alliterative meter would be an excellent answer to the type of critic (by no means extinct) who accuses the moderns of choosing vers libre because they are not men enough for meter. For if syllabic verse is like carving in wood and verse libre like working with a brush, alliterative meter is like carving in granite.

“Vers Libre” for those who don’t know is Latin for “free verse.” Lewis has, ultimately, offered for my poetry just the kind of reaction I prefer in all of my life: a reaction that is, deep down, orthodoxy. A reaction to dead branches as radical as the radish itself is to its dead leaf: radical because it is the root of the thing.

Here is the table of contents for my 58 attempts over the next year. After the monogram, I’m including a quote from Chesterton’s An Apology for Buffoons because it defends proper use of alliteration in English:

Go here to see all of my 58 poems written at 29 years old.

lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

cover image by RBerteig

who they really are…

When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.

— Maya Angelou

War for Your Mind: Information in 2016

 Today’s Guest Post comes from Cassie Phillips of Culture Coverage:


There’s a war for your mind. While this statement can be cast aside as hyperbolic fearmongering, there is no denial that media, art, words and publishing have had a massive impact in molding our social mindset throughout history. From the playwrights of ancient Greece to our modern media culture, all the information we absorb has an incredible effect on our belief system in some way or another.

The question is no longer about whether the war is happening. Now we have to look at how it’s happening. How much of a problem is it? What can we do to become more aware of what’s going on and combat misinformation?

 

The History Of Storytelling

The power of the story is something that has been discussed at length over time. It’s undeniable that our ability to tell tales and share information in this way has significantly contributed to our success as a species. Shared anecdotes allowed our prehistoric forefathers to protect themselves from wild animals. Religious texts give people a moral compass to work from. Plays, movies and novels allow us to empathize with experiences we have never even had.

The part of our brain responsible for this, the frontal cortex, has allowed us to rationalize our instincts, use foresight and be reflective of our actions and their social impact. So, in essence, the sharing of media and published work isn’t a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. The real problem, in my opinion, arises when imposing powers try and control and censor these shared stories.

 

The Dawn of Censorship

 

The English Civil War Continue reading War for Your Mind: Information in 2016

David Bentley Hart Articles: A Megalist

(I assume DBH hates portmanteau as much as I, so it seemed fitting to create one for him for the cover image).
Back in 2007, David W. Congdon over at The Fire and The Rose compiled a list of David Bentley Hart articles published by First Things.

I want to expand on his list to include all of Hart’s First Things articles and, if you have any other suggestions, links to other articles DBH wrote elsewhere. Here is an index of his articles published in First Things thus far (in chronological order):

If you have any others you would like to add, please leave links in the comments and I’ll update the list.

lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

The Brooklyn Film Festival at Windmill Studios

A windmill guards wonder pictures:
blades hedging bad ideas.
Festival goers’ fists and feet
vote as teams, very to very,
sparrows—they echo spite for spite,
but they aren’t right: Thous aren’t here.
The windmill unwinds weathered not
from spins unwound or spurning found sins.
Windies gone whence called:
nailed and neutered, naught milling here.
It waits. It dates waves of critics’
protected programs — posh thoughts in
tiny tins, Tiny Tims
unwelcomed by codes, unwell minds and
well alike, aligned. Alight in pyres
built of prying prudes martyred
for vows they vowed, vowels howl from
faithful ones hung (fading wonders):
“Can not and never can recant.”
No ashes nor knowing masks
that judge our judging as we ask an
honest question to ourselves
about our little burnished hell’s mill:
“By what did dem blades get cleaned?”

On odd years, I’ve made this habit of doubling my age and writing that many poems. I did it with the 46 @ 23, the 50 @ 25, and the 54 @ 27.

This year, for the 58 @ 29, I plan to focus on alliterative meter as you saw above in this poem about the Brooklyn Film Festival. It’s the meter used by Middle English and Old English poets as well as Latin and Greek poets. Basically all epic poets use some form of alliterative meter and it hasn’t been used in English for a thousand years. I will be pulling from the rules offered in Lewis’ article on The Alliterative Meter:

In the general reaction which has set in against the long reign of foreign, syllabic meters in English, it is a little remarkable that few have yet suggested a return to our own ancient system, the alliterative line…. Alliteration is no more the whole secret of this verse than rhyme is the whole secret of syllabic verse. It has, in addition, a metrical structure, which could stand alone, and which would then be to this system as blank verse is the syllabic….

A few successful specimens of alliterative meter would be an excellent answer to the type of critic (by no means extinct) who accuses the moderns of choosing vers libre because they are not men enough for meter. For if syllabic verse is like carving in wood and verse libre like working with a brush, alliterative meter is like carving in granite.

“Vers Libre” for those who don’t know is Latin for “free verse.” Lewis has, ultimately, offered for my poetry just the kind of reaction I prefer in all of my life: a reaction that is, deep down, orthodoxy. A reaction to dead branches as radical as the radish itself is to its dead leaf: radical because it is the root of the thing.

Here is the table of contents for my 58 attempts over the next year. After the monogram, I’m including a quote from Chesterton’s An Apology for Buffoons because it defends proper use of alliteration in English:

Go here to see all of my 58 poems written at 29 years old.

lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

Greenwood

Twenty-four crypts: teeming mouths
songless closed, soothing whistlers
they pucker: Thayer, Galdwell,
Green, Michael — Greenwood blows
cyclonic, sites of graves
stirring waves up, staring stairs
down for prey. Dowreys in
stones displayed; stolen days,
stolen children — stoves aflame
the names! The dates! The native whistling
low till lakes blow circular.
Maelstrom made small in
Mortis’s walls. More teams
of ghosts, of wraiths go into
making it. Maybe a
disaster there is asterisks aground?


On odd years, I’ve made this habit of doubling my age and writing that many poems. I did it with the 46 @ 23, the 50 @ 25, and the 54 @ 27.

This year, for the 58 @ 29, I plan to focus on alliterative meter. It’s the meter used by Middle English and Old English poets as well as Latin and Greek poets. Basically all epic poets use some form of alliterative meter and it hasn’t been used in English for a thousand years. I will be pulling from the rules offered in Lewis’ article on The Alliterative Meter:

In the general reaction which has set in against the long reign of foreign, syllabic meters in English, it is a little remarkable that few have yet suggested a return to our own ancient system, the alliterative line…. Alliteration is no more the whole secret of this verse than rhyme is the whole secret of syllabic verse. It has, in addition, a metrical structure, which could stand alone, and which would then be to this system as blank verse is the syllabic….

A few successful specimens of alliterative meter would be an excellent answer to the type of critic (by no means extinct) who accuses the moderns of choosing vers libre because they are not men enough for meter. For if syllabic verse is like carving in wood and verse libre like working with a brush, alliterative meter is like carving in granite.

“Vers Libre” for those who don’t know is Latin for “free verse.” Lewis has, ultimately, offered for my poetry just the kind of reaction I prefer in all of my life: a reaction that is, deep down, orthodoxy. A reaction to dead branches as radical as the radish itself is to its dead leaf: radical because it is the root of the thing.

Here is the table of contents for my 58 attempts over the next year. After the monogram, I’m including a quote from Chesterton’s An Apology for Buffoons because it defends proper use of alliteration in English:

Go here to see all of my 58 poems written at 29 years old.

lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

5 Reasons My Kickstarter is Failing

We have several trite truisms for moments like these — you live and you learn; if you fall down, pick yourself back up again; if life gives you lemons then make lemonade — but seldom do these account for a strong internal compass. Recently, I decided to try my hand at Kickstarter with one of the strangest ideas I’ve ever dreamed up — which, as you know, is saying something. Though it has four days left and would only take 143 people to fully fund, as it stands my Kickstarter is failing quite miserably because of a basic miscalculation: I thought the rules I apply to everything else in my creative and professional life wouldn’t apply to Kickstarter.

I was wrong.

So here’s what I learned after living through 23 days of Kickstarter, soon to be 30 days — hopefully the lessons I’m learning as my Kickstarter is failing will help those of you who plan to use the platform in the future. Here’s me picking myself back up after having fallen. Here’s some lemonade:

Mystery has no place in a one-to-one business pitch. I know this, of course, and seldom actually fundraise or sell books based on mystery alone. However, I somehow thought Kickstarter enjoyed mystical immunity from the rules. Kickstarter definitely works one way and definitely does not work another: it works well when structured like the old As Seen on TV commercials. It works poorly when used like an Apple sales countdown or using the principles of viral marketing campaigns of the JJ Abrahms variety. I owe Richard Monson-Haefel for this insight and will be applying his wisdom to all future out-there ideas. As Don DeWelt used to say, “Teach an old idea in a new way or a new idea in an old way.” This was a bad case of a new idea sold in a new way — less than 1% of the people who watched the video inside Kickstarter have given. That tells me all I need to know.

A divided house cannot stand and neither can a divided business. While doing this Kickstarter, I’ve been in the middle of a capital campaign for my patrons. Ultimately, I should have waited — there’s simply too much communication coming out from me at the same time and people get mixed messages. If something has to go, it needs to be the Kickstarter and I’m happy to let it fail in order for my core business and relationships and art to succeed. This also kept me from making a big pitch: let’s be honest, $5k isn’t inspiring. $500,000k is inspiring. You know how I know this?

Don’t major in the minors. The album I was Kickstarting was written by a character in my forthcoming debut novel. The upside to this is that a lot of people are now excited for that novel. The downside to this is that very few people cared about the album. I will likely need to play shows under Mearcstapa for a good long while and try again much, much farther down the road. That and as a Redditor said release the novel first. Good and noble and true ideas have an infinite shelf-life. I believe that applies to this idea and the songs are already recorded — eventually there will be an audience for this thing, maybe when I’m sixty, and it’ll take next-to-nothing to finish production on the symphonic novella, so we’ll simply let it go into hibernation until demand climbs higher unless, of course, 143 people go grab a copy right now.

People need a personal connection. Part of the problem with my very mysterious intro video is that it removed me — the author and songwriter — from the people I care about and want to connect to. Only a handful of people know my music (some old college buddies, some people in NYC, and a dozen writers from a writer’s enclave). The other 8,000 or so know my fiction, my articles, my speaking, my work with intentional communities here in NYC, etc. In other words, even for those that realized I was writing an album from the perspective of one of my novel’s characters, I didn’t connected my face and name to the project so they had a huge apathy barrier to overcome.

Try before you buy. Honestly, the biggest piece was not having an EP or a Rockwood Live or something to direct people towards. Some sort of sample — playing the mystery card really, really shot me in the foot on this one. And this is where I’m going to have to get personal — in this project I learned about the handful of people who will support my work through thick and thin, through all vicissitudes. And I feel like even though the Kickstarter’s at 21% and probably won’t get to 100% before next Tuesday, I feel like I owe those early backers at least something beyond the sample of the reading and Even If:

So I decided to get really vulnerable and share a series of rough video recordings of these songs that grew out of my really painful 2015 as well as some of the stories behind them:

Cherokee Highway

Lexi’s Song

Inkwell

The Wreaker

Shennadoah

The good news?

My debut novel Faceless heads to the editor on June 27th and then the real fun begins.

THANK YOU for all of the support, even when I fail. You guys are the greatest — all 8,000 or so of you.lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

 

Brooklyn Author and Producer

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