Pigs, Poems & Paradise


I’ve Doberman (one of you Literators) to thank for the sudden outburst in poetics. Forgive me if I don’t try and publish poetry these days–the time involved pays significantly less than stories, articles and freelance editing. I like to think there’s value in the mere act of crafting poems. And occasionally sharing them.

Anyways, awhile ago I wrote a post challenging all of you to communicate through letters rather than email. Doberman and LoganK (among others) took me up on the dare. Not only is it nice to swell the ranks of my pen pals, I came home from vacation and found a package on my doorstep. It was from Copper Canyon Press.

“Babe?” I called. “Did I submit something to Copper Canyon in the last five months?”

“Dunno,” Kiddo said. “Don’t think so, why?”

“Because it looks like they sent me contributor’s copies.”

They hadn’t and though that would have been really cool, what I got was cooler. Doberman had sent me copies of David Lee’s The Porcine Canticles and C.D. Wright’s Cooling Time. I shot through both in the span of a couple of days and then reread large portions, often aloud to many of my friends. On the way home from watching Dark Knight Rises in iMax, I read several canticles aloud to a regular joe and Mark. We laughed till we (or at least I) was hoarse. The back cover of Lee’s book quotes a critic who said, “He makes us laugh and feel good laughing.” That’s my experience with the pork poet.

The end, however, moved me to tears. I found myself sobbing at his Epilogue, at the idea of finding significance in the simple things the Almighty made us to do and be. It transitioned nicely into what I can only call a guided meditation on poetry. Wright’s Cooling Time took advantage of the Texan amnesty period for any mad person and slaughtered convention and corporation at will. She said things in that book that I’ll be chewing on, cudd-like for years.

Which brought me back into Milton. I think, once again, I put undo pressure on myself to critique the Harvard Classics or analyze the Harvard Classics rather than read the Harvard Classics. I’m back to enjoying them–and poetry–and I hope the whole experience yields fruit for future generations.

Or as Wright might say:

Another strategy is to create new structures that further the art (for its own sake). Create a language the unborn might be unashamed to speak.

Go and do likewise.

PS> Don’t forget Friday is free day!


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  1. So happy you like the poetry! Went out on a limb with the David Lee. He has loads of other books and I didn’t think about the profanity. Not the language of poverty in my opinion. I think that it really works here as an expression of a specific vernacular. Tough guys (or are they…hmmm?) the poem “Mean” is spectacular, a rollercoaster ride!

    CD Wright is just one of the best. It seemed totme that you were trying for a very natural voice. So I sent you those two. I hope Copper Canyon sent you their catalogue. It is full of poems. But you can also read them on the website. I love to support them as they are non profit. Great folks!

    1. Yeah, I’m under the assumption that if a word is viewed as a curse in a given context than for that context it’s a curse. That in mind, there are some hilarious moments of cursing in the Scriptures and I felt like some of his usages paralleled that joy–I think of Balaam’s donkey for one. Yeah, Mean moved me almost as much as the piglets that were breeched.

      You’re right, I’m fighting to find something that sounds natural but respects ancient heritage. Haven’t found it yet, but as Wright said, every year the poem I most want to write changes. Yeah, they send it to me and buying poetry every year’s now high on my priority list.

      Thanks so much.

  2. This ones for you Lance:

    A landscape of players
    Enraptured by the dance
    Sailing timeless oceans
    Fearless in the dark
    Feeling, sensing, touching
    Waiting for the moment

    – Fortune or Truth –

    Chaotically balanced
    Misty jungle skylines
    Warrior wings unfold
    Preparing the flight
    Away the night

    Dawn brings tomorrow

  3. I actually wrote it for my daughter who is doing 1st year at Uni – she is another one of 1000 faces that aspires to create a better world. It took about 2 hours of focus on her inner being – but it applies to all such seekers. Cheers, Neil

    1. That’s awesome. Tell her good luck with Uni. Glad to know of another person aspiring to goodness and truth and beauty.

      Thanks so much for sharing! This is the kind of thing I hope the comments section turns into–a place where we share and dialog and debate and question. I love pushback, remixes and “that made me think of this” moments.

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