Poems for the new year 2019

I have Michael Schaub of the Los Angeles Times to thank for this New Year's Day post. He's picked some wonderful words to greet the new year from five favorite poets. I'm especially taken by his choosing the words of Naomi Shihab Nye and Dorianne Laux. I've worked with both of them in poetry workshops and consider them my mentors. Five hopeful poems to usher in the new year By MICHAEL SCHAUB DEC 31, 2018 | 11:50 AM Filipino revelers watch as fireworks light up the sky to welcome the new year at the seaside Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila in 2017. (Bullit Marquez / Associated Press) Even if you're one of the nine or so people in the world who actually understand what "Auld Lang Syne" means, you have to admit that Robert Burns' traditional New Year's poem is getting a little old. Luckily, there are other poems you can use to pay tribute to the year that's gone by and celebrate the potential of the one to … [Read more...]

Yes, you can write political poetry

Two op eds - one in the New York Times book review section and one in the Los Angeles Times editorial section - appeared yesterday. The gist in each is that we poets and other artists need to stop avoiding writing or producing other forms of art about politics. We must use our voices to provide the meaning for all that's happening in our world these days - as offensive as it might me. The last time I wrote a poem along these lines was after the buildings collapsed on September 11, 2001 - that is until I did the Robert Lee Brewer poem a day challenge this past November. I found myself writing one political poem after another. That became the most important subject for me in response to a lot of the prompts the Writer's Digest poetry editor put out, and now I feel validated. While Brewer kept admonishing us to  "poem nicely," I even ignored this admonition. And I suspect I'll continue to do so. I've copied both articles verbatim here and hopefully acknowledged the authors and … [Read more...]

Twitter at its best

I’ve been listening to Scott Simon’s distinctive voice on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” for years. After reading this article I know he also has a distinctive, elegant, and loving voice via Twitter. For those of us who haven’t yet found a way to take full advantage of Twitter, read Simon’s tweets about the last days of his mother’s life. After reading them myself, I had to share this article with you. Here’s the link if you want to read the entire Los Angeles Times article. You can also listen to Simon's words on the NPR site.   latimes.com NPR's Scott Simon: A vigil for his dying mother, tweeted with love By Matt Pearce This post has been updated, as indicated below. 6:18 PM PDT, July 29, 2013 Scott Simon, a radio host for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” gave his mother, Patricia Simon Newman Gilband, a very public farewell. Gilband appeared with her son on NPR in 2008, when the pair bantered as she shared stories from her life in Chicago. “Well, … [Read more...]