On Trump, Poetry, and the Impending Apocalypse

I am currently reading some very assiduous, profound, and implacably thoughtful poetry that will likely have little to no effect on the modern human predicament. And I know I’ve already lost a few of you, because I just used the Oxford Comma. I even capitalized its proper name. Let me say, first, that there is nothing, necessarily, wrong with it. I mean the assiduous poetry, not the Oxford Comma. However, I’m concerned that this poetry is passing for the Pulitzer, while equally good and potentially much more helpful verse is being ignored. Or at least sidelined. Listen to Trump. Listen to Clinton, for that matter. Listen to FOX, or CNN, for God’s sake. The world is awash in got-danged seriou

Would That I Were Wrong

I guess I thought the discussion was behind us. Like the discussion of whether or not Napoleon was actually present for the battle at Waterloo. And that doesn’t make it any less painful to continue to say. But… the antiquated and romantic notion that major publishing companies scour the earth for writerly genius and then, upon discovery, tirelessly go to work to bring that genius to the world… (and, let’s be honest, make that genius a bunch of money in the process)… is long over. If it ever existed to begin with. Sure, there have been the “lightning strikes” here and there. But, think about this statistic for a moment: Three to four hundred thousand books are published every year. And that’s

On Being Un-Misunderstood

As a poet, it took me years to understand that I was going to have to make a choice. A choice, understand, that I never had to make as a songwriter. And that choice had to do with whether or not, as a poet, I wanted my poems to be understood. As a songwriter, it was understood that your songs should be understood. What I understand now, though, is that if my poems are understood, I will not be appreciated by other poets who prefer that their poems be misunderstood. And what I’m further beginning to understand, is that being understood reduces your chances for publications, awards, and prizes. The reason? The poets who do not like to be understood are the editors and judges. Now, please under

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