Category Archives: Starting from Poetry

All posts from January 2009 thru January 2012.

The Joy that Finds Us

My attitudes about poetry can leave my students a little confused.  But I’m not sure this confusion is always genuine.  It seems sometimes a kind of resistance, which insists on a holding fast to a belief long after it has … Continue reading

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Some Notes on Wonder

Early this winter, I was startled by a flock of starlings.  They had been nesting in the cypress tree which flanks the garage, and when I came around the corner with the trash cans they flew out from hiding.  They … Continue reading

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Poetry & Prayer

As a child, I never learned how to pray.  My parents aren’t religious, and I can’t remember a single instance, when my mother or father uttered the word God.  And yet despite this fact, I have cultivated, through the art … Continue reading

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Revising Revision

A few years ago I wrote a long essay called “Why Poetry Doesn’t Matter.”  I only remember now the gist of that argument.  And the conclusion went something like this.  When considering the uses of poetry, we ought not to … Continue reading

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On Little Songs & Lyrics to Genji

Next month, S4N Books releases my first full-length collection of poems, Little Songs & Lyrics to Genji.  Actually, the book contains not one full-length collection, but two long sequences.  The first, “Little Songs,” is a series of sonnet-like poems presented … Continue reading

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Sabbatical

I started this blog to correspond with my sabbatical, which began officially in January and ended when I taught my first class in September.  It was a rough few days the first week, and I’m still not altogether used to … Continue reading

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Revision Means to See Again

I wonder sometimes why I began to write.  And sometimes I wonder why I still do.  I know my process well enough to know that I especially feel this way after a long bout of writing.  The last year has … Continue reading

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Two Attitudes: The Power of Poetry

There are two basic attitudes regarding the power of poetry.  The first is summed up by Tennyson’s Ulysses who, though old, manages to convince his men to sail with him once again “to strive, to seek, to find and not … Continue reading

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Humility & Poetry

Eliot says that humility is endless.  And Thoreau says that “humility like darkness reveals the heavenly lights.”  But I’ve been thinking lately about a book called The Wisdom of the Desert, translated by Thomas Merton, which is a compendium of meditations, lessons … Continue reading

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On “Can Creative Writing Be Taught?”

This week in the New Yorker Louis Menand reviews a book called The Program Era by Marc McGurl.  According to Menand, the book attempts to make the argument – and I’m simplifying here – that the proliferation of creative writing programs has not only affected the way we write … Continue reading

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