Scott Poole — Poet and Silly Man

Poet, Scott Poole, gives a terrific interview over at the literary journal, Slow Trains.  When asked “What is your writing routine like,” he replies:

“Well, first I drop into a cold sweat. Then I lie on the floor and wonder if I’m dying. Then I see if there is anything on television that I can steal. Of course, there never is. Then I sharpen a #2 Ticonderoga pencil and throw it into the swimming pool. After that I consider becoming a Barista or Phlebotomist. Then I panic again. Then I watch the movie Barfly, if I haven’t done so in the last month. Then I drink a six pack of Fat Tire ale and fall asleep under the living room rug. When I wake up hungover I do seven hundred jumping jacks and then prepare a meal out of nothing but extra virgin olive oil, leeks, and the latest issue of Sports illustrated. Then I eat a box of cookies and read a few lines out of The Old Man and the Sea: “I have seen lions on the beach…” Then I burst into tears and roll down the stairs. At this point I’m just about ready…”

This issue of Slow Trains features several poems by Poole, which are just as entertaining and off-the-wall as his interview answers.

October 2007 Photo Courtesy of Bina Sveda

I wanted a darker photo for the October header, and Bina Sveda came through for me.  This photo is titled Darker Emotions.  Just so you know what goes into this process, I literally look at over 1,000 photos, bookmark about 100, and then choose 1 from there.  So Bina’s photo really stood out from the rest.  Her screen name on the stock.xchng is binababy12, and you can view and download more of her photographs here.

It’s Not Chick Porn

Dionne Galace’s It’s Not Chick Porn is a great blog with similar content to A Bunch of Wordzrandomness with an emphasis on literature.  There are writing contests and some original stories posted, along with book reviews and guest authors.  My favorite category is studmuffins.  Dionne has an awesome About Me page:

“…I started a blog because my opinions should be recorded for all time. My thoughts should be shared amongst the masses, and discussed at length like Shakespeare. The sheeple must all genuflect before my brilliance because I’m awesome. I’m also a scholar focusing on literature and am the envy of the entire university—nay, ALL universities. Author, blogger, scholar… I’m a triple threat. We all love books, but let’s face it, I love them more than you and I read faster than anyone alive…”

She also has 2 books out, including her latest, Boundless, a collaborative anthology of fiction.

While you’re wandering around her blog, check out the short story by Tumperkin called The RingPart 1 and Part 2.  This is a supernatural romance told in a humorous way — the style reminded me of MaryJanice Davidson, if you’re familiar with her books.  Here is an excerpt of The Ring:

Will you marry me? I mean, how can two people be so completely not on the same page?

It was literally on the tip of my tongue to say No, sorry, when I saw the ring. I know that sounds just awful, but truthfully, that ring just mesmerised me and the words got stuck in my throat. Charlie was offering it to me on his outstretched palm and as soon as I picked it up, I knew that I had to have it. Even if it meant marrying Charlie.”

National Poetry Day, U.K.

October 4th is National Poetry Day in the U.K., with many events leading up to the day.  Here are the main ones:

London:
Monday October 1st, 7.30pm
The Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JB
Tickets £10 (£8 conc). To book call Ticketmaster on 0870 154 4040

Cardiff:
Tuesday October 2nd, 7.30pm
Millennium Centre, Mount Stuart Square, CF10 5DP
Tickets £5 (£4). To book call 02920 472266 or post@academi.org

Edinburgh:
Wednesday October 3rd, 7.30pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre, 45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Tickets £8 (£5). To book call 0131 556 9579

Belfast:
Thursday October 4th, 7.30pm
The Great Hall, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN
Tickets £8 (£5). To book call 028 9097 1070

View more scheduled events at the What’s On page.  The theme this year is “Dreams.”  Find out more at the National Poetry Day homepage.

In related news, August 18th is Bad Poetry Day.  Here’s how to celebrate:

“After all the ‘good’ poetry you were forced to study in school, here’s a chance for a pay back.  Invite some friends over, compose some really rotten verse, and send it to your old high school teacher.”

Also, October 17th is Black Poetry Day; March 21st is World Poetry Day; April is National Poetry Month in both the United States and Canada; and July 27th is Montana Poetry Day, which is the national poetry day for New Zealand (not the state of Montana).

Vaughn-O Doesn’t Write Poetry, People

I came across this website by someone named Vaughn-O.  He really really doesn’t like poetry.  If you say he does, it will make him angry.

“Why do people seem to think that I do poetry? Do I radiate some kind of poet’s gayness or something?…Recently, I went through some of my old school books from years ago. I read through some of the poems that I had to write and thought to myself, ‘Did I really write these? Man I’m gay.'”

Read the entire piece at the website.

How You Like Me So Far?

Sorry about the silly song lyric reference in the title.  😉 This blog is a couple of months old now, and I thought it would be a good time to get some feedback as far as content on this site.

Are you a frequent visitor or a first timer?  Are there things that you come here specifically to see?  Take a look at the categories to your right (or if you have your screen reduced, they may be down at the bottom of the page).  Do you only read certain categories?  Are there categories that you have never read or would never read?  Do you want less or more poetry, news, book reviews, silly weird crap…?  Less or more stuff specific to writers, or bloggers?  Let me know.

Five Poems and a Manifesto

Kevin McFadden has published 5 poems and a manifesto over at the literary journal, archipelago.  Here is an excerpt from his poem, Amen:

               “Not love, some other empire:

the early attentions and the late attenuations.

But I wanted a lover, not—my abettor—

a better. The awfully big hows of your little

light whys,”

And part of his “manifesto” for Anticism:

“Anticism plays on playfulness (full synapse), the stuff on which dreams are smear’d, on which puns are spun. Its hand is heavy, its soul is light…”

I like the way he plays with language — it’s clever without becoming brainier than thou.  Definitely check out the links above to view more of his work.

American Literature Abuse Society

Literature abuse, or “readaholism,” is a very serious problem.  Okay, it’s actually a silly one that was totally made up, but this great website for the American Literature Abuse Society (ALAS) is very funny and worth a read.  They also have a special section for when the problem gets completely out of control — that’s right, when the readaholic spirals into the depths of becoming (insert ominous music here) an English Major:

“Within the sordid world of literature abuse, the lowest circle belongs to those sufferers who have thrown their lives and hopes away to study literature in our colleges. Parents should look for signs that their children are taking the wrong path – don’t expect your teenager to approach you and say, ‘I can’t stop reading Spencer.’ By the time you visit her dorm room and find the secret stash of the Paris Review, it may already be too late. What to do if you suspect your child is becoming an English major:

1) Talk to your child in a loving way. Show your concern. Let her know you won’t abandon her- but that you aren’t spending a hundred grand to put her through Stanford so she can clerk at Waldenbooks, either. But remember that she may not be able to make a decision without help; perhaps she has just finished Madame Bovary and is dying of arsenic poisoning.

2) Face the issue: Tell her what you know, and how: ‘I found this book in your purse. How long has this been going on?’ Ask the hard question- Who is this Count Vronsky?’

3) Show her another way. Move the television set into her room. Praise her brother, the engineer. Introduce her to frat boys.

4) Do what you have to do. Tear up her library card. Make her stop signing her letters as ‘Emma.’ Force her to take a math class, or minor in Spanish. Transfer her to a Florida college.”

If you’re a regular visitor to A Bunch of Wordz, then chances are, you already fall into the category of a chronic readaholic.  I’d say you should probably read up on it — but, maybe not.

Abuse: Genes, Teens, and Talking Smack

In case you missed my post yesterday or the gazillions of other people writing about this on the internet, today is the day where bloggers come together to raise awareness of various forms of abuse.  In light of that, I’d like to talk about the following 3 things:  1) how a certain gene causes people who were mistreated as children to become violent adults, 2) when your child is abusing you — when kid or teen defiance is more than normal kid stuff and how to tell if your child has Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and 3) verbal abuse from the perspective of the abuser.

1) Reason Magazine published an article which asks the question “Are criminals born or made?”  The answer:

“A study published last week in Science suggests they’re made, but some people provide better raw material than others.

The study involved the gene that encodes the brain enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)….

Subjects who both suffered abuse and carried the low-activity MAOA gene were nine times as likely as the rest of the study group to engage in antisocial behavior such as persistent fighting, bullying, lying, stealing, or disobeying rules in adolescence. They accounted for only 12 percent of the subjects but 44 percent of the study group’s convictions for violent crime.

The results were even starker for the subjects who had suffered the most serious abuse. “As adults, 85 percent of the severely maltreated children who also had the gene for low MAOA activity developed antisocial outcomes, such as violent criminal behavior,” said Terrie Moffitt, one of the lead researchers.”

Read more about the MAOA gene at reason.com.

2) At first glance, ODD, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder seems like something overzealous psychatrists and worry-wart parents made up.  The behavorial signs are all things that a normal teenager usually goes through:  losing ones temper, disobeying adults, arguing.  But ODD is much more than teenage angst, and many of the behavoirs are usually present from early childhood.  Additionally, ODD can cause a great deal of emotional turmoil for the rest of the family.  It often goes undiagnosed and can eventually lead to much more serious problems, such as Conduct Disorder, if left untreated.  Find out more about ODD and Conduct Disorder at teenswithproblems.com or take the test to see if your child displays the symptoms of ODD at the ADD ADHD Advances website.

3) Lastly, check out this letter from a verbal abuser who acknowledges his problem and seeks change at Dr. Irene’s Verbal Abuse (Site).  The letter is interspersed with Dr. Irene’s advice.  If you suspect you may be a verbal abuser or a victim of verbal abuse, read Dr. Irene’s Signs of Verbal and Emotional Abuse.

India’s Bilingual Online Lit Mag

I’m always on the lookout for good literature in English which originates outside the usual sources like the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  I was delighted when I found Tistarangit: First Online Literary Magazine of Sikkim, which is published in Sikkim, a state within India with a very interesting history.  Here you will find essays, fiction, and poetry translated into English.  The following is taken from a poem called The Expanding Universe by Rajendra Bhandari.

“From where I stand
the graveyard is nearer than my home.
The noonday shadow
under my foot
stretches in the afternoon.
Everything is running farther:
Mother’s embraces, Father’s blessing,
the childhood landscapes
the playground of my youth
the bamboo groves.”

Please go and read the entire poem and take some time to explore this site.  From what I gather, establishing this magazine is a big step for the people of this small state.  It’s also a fascinating window into a different culture which is making big strides into the larger literary scene.