Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poets Are the Next Vampires

Vampires are so last year. They're everywhere now: in bestsellers, on television, in movies. If you're tired of the vamp trend and looking for a hot new Halloween costume, then look no further. Check out this handy list of poet costume ideas, including a nightgowned, reclusive Emily Dickinson, a lusty and bearded Whitman, a rubber-gloved William Carlos Williams, and, of course, the bard of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

Any other great literary costumes out there? Let me know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little Something from the Scottish Play

Yes, I misquoted the Bard last week. In order to redeem myself, here is the witches' spell in its entirety:

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.
1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Workshop: Pantoum Me!

The pantoum, a poetic form in which whole lines are repeated, seems appropriate for Halloween season. The finished product often has the feel of a spell about it, a little "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble." And many times writing a pantoum feels like an act of magic...the way the lines fit and meaning transforms from stanza to stanza, the way you always seem to know when it's done. So if you're feeling witchy or warlocky, I suggest you work a little magic and compose a pantoum of your own.

First the rules...

1. Write a first stanza.
2. The second and fourth lines become the first and third lines of stanza two, like thus:

A
B
C
D

B
E
D
F

3. Repeat this pattern for subsequent stanzas, thusly:

B
E
D
F

E
G
F
H

4. The final stanza re-conjures those forgotten lines from stanza one:

G
C
H
A

You end where you began...got it? Good.

Glam Rock Pantoum

What happened to the skinny boys?
David Bowie strutting skin-and-bone thighs
as the Goblin King, in snakeskin gray,
his balls rising like a heart between ribs.

David Bowie strutting skin-and-bone thighs
on stage, singing Ziggy played guitar,
his balls rising like a heart between ribs,
a barking tree frog in white branches.

On stage, singing Ziggy played guitar,
forearms strungwith g-string veins.
A barking tree frog in white branches,
the artery swelled in his neck when he sang.

Forearms strung with g-string veins.
Hipbones pointing like triggers.
The artery swelled in his neck when he sang,
I thought I could wrap my mouth around it.

Hipbones pointing like triggers,
as the Goblin King, in snakeskin gray,
I thought I could wrap my mouth around them.
What happened to the skinny boys?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Long Time, No Write

It has unquestionably been too long between posts. I was working on reorganizing the blog, and then life took me away. So sorry!

I will be posting regularly again soon, though not as frequently. In the meantime, read these wonderful e-journals:





Thursday, October 8, 2009

Born in the UK

Today is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom, and I'm guessing that the home of Shakespeare and Byron will be a great source of poetic celebration. In addition to readings and educational programs, the official NPDUK website offers links to a selection of British poetry bloggers.

In other literary news from across the pond, Scottish poet Don Paterson has won the prestigious Forward Prize for his recent collection, Rain, and the British pronounce T.S. Eliot their favorite poet, according to an online poll. While I have had my love affair with J. Alfred, I must admit to a soft spot for John Donne as well. Who is your favorite verse-composing Brit?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Bad Movie of the Month

Infamous jewel thief Blackie (French Stewart, of Third-Rock-from-the-Sun fame) has found the ultimate hiding place for his most recent haul: the collar of a seeing-eye dog. When Owen (Luke Benward) sees Blackie and his henchmen, Arty (Kelly Perine) and Bud (Chris Farley's brother, Kevin), mistreating the dog, he helps the poor animal escape. Finding refuge in his mountain-top fort complete with booby traps, Owen is ready to fight off the bad guys with his new animal pal, the aptly named Diamond.


Some material courtesy of Gracenote, Inc.