Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pre-Poetry Friday: My (not so) Secret Source for Poetry News

The Washington Post is a mecca for poetry lovers. Go ahead, do the free registration, if you have to. You'll thank me the next time you're desperate for a Poetry Friday idea. (Or you can read it at your local library, but it's hard to link to that online.)

Not only do they have a weekly column called Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky, which publishes outstanding poems along with a brief commentary, but they also publish articles on the local Poetry Slam scene and they note the death of soldier/poets. (Here he is, slamming.)

They also publish reviews of children's poetry books, and even a blow-by-blow recounting of a date between a pre-published children's book author and an actor. (Just guessing her children's book rhymes. No evidence.) Not to mention this story of a runner who sings the Mister Roger's theme song to pit bulls and yes, there's a poetry connection there. You just have to read all the way to the end to discover it.

But what I truly enjoy is their regular Sunday feature, "Life is Short: Autobiography as Haiku." Okay, it's not really haiku, but participants have to use 100 words or less to describe their own lives. Week after week, I laugh and I cry. (That last one is written by Suzie Celentano, my yoga teacher.)

And of course, there's always the time honored technique of cutting words out of the newspaper and flinging them into the air to make your own Dada poetry. Here's what happened when I pasted this particular post into that last link:

You'll an connection (That honored
publish (Here of song to
that have to mention less
read only outstanding brief Poetry
ahead, by the publish have
me it at a words

Hey, that's almost a poem. And it's almost Poetry Friday. See you soon.


  1. Holy Macaroli! Great ideas, great sources, yum!

    Back in college I thought I wanted to be a Dadaist. I went to art school that kind of thinking was encouraged. I once made a dadaist play using various characters and lines of dialog taken from five different plays, tossed in the air, glue-stik'd into randomly chosen order.

    Horrible, but a lot of fun to do!

  2. Yeah, that's the thing about Dadaism...the artist has a blast, but where does that leave the audience? Yelling: "But that's absurd! Absurd, I tell you!"

    Glad you enjoyed the sources. I rip up the paper nearly every day, saving things into my files.

  3. A-ha! A fellow collector of clippings! And how do you sort and file them all?

  4. That Life is Short feature is great. Ever done one? I really want to (one day) think of something BRILLIANT for that NPR "This I Believe" feature -- write some amazing essay, that is. But writing it brilliantly is the hard part. Anyway, I would think a Life is Short feature would be just as hard, especially having to be concise.

    Not sure if I'm making sense. It's late . . .

  5. Ooh, excellent! You've talked me into that WP registration.

  6. David, I fail miserably in the sorting and filing department. And you?

    jules: I've wanted to try. I have. But it's much harder than it looks. That's why I'm so amazed that the quality of them very rarely falters.

    eisha: I should ask for a commission, huh? Isn't it great that so much is on line? After awhile, it all goes into their archives, and you have to pay a small fee to access a copy, but that's only fair to the writer. But until then, it's really surprising how much of the Post you can read online.

  7. I have a system: It's called "everywhere". I've got storage boxes and notebooks and mysterious boxes from my move a few years back that I don't want to admit I haven't looked into that my wife doesn't know about [yikes! ;)] but...

    The one that started it all almost 25 years ago has a name on it" The Excelsior File. And that's the truth and the secret origin.

  8. Oh thanks for these links. I really can't not go there now. So many Fridays to explore new poets!

  9. Well, crap. The Post just discontinued their Life is Short feature. They reorganized their Style and Arts sections, and this fell through the cracks. I guess life really is short.


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