Monthly Archives: February 2023

To Be or Not to Be That, Is the Question

You’ve been punctuated! In my title, moving the pause (caesura) signaled by a comma turns Hamlet’s proposition into something different. Whatever “that” may be, being it or not being it is what’s now in play. The New York Times publishes … Continue reading

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Can This Be Poetry? It’s Direct, Clever and Fun!

Poetry, February 2023, celebrates William J. Harris (still living). Reading the issue’s portfolio of Harris’s poems gave me some laugh-out-loud moments. Here are two (in full): On Wearing EarsAs long as peoplecontinue to wearearsthere won’tbe muchpeace and quietin this world. … Continue reading

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The Agony of Hamline and Macalester

“Art need not defer to religion. If that’s no longer obvious we’ve gone astray.” (Michelle Goldberg) (Michelle Goldberg, “A Left-Leaning College Didn’t Want to Offend, So It Closed Down Her Art Show,” New York Times, 2-13-23) The story of what … Continue reading

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Diametric ‘Scape States

“He’s showing us in the natural world our own inner landscape,” said [collector Bernard] Lumpkin, who owns four Gavin canvases. “When you’re inhabiting a painting by Cy, you’re inhabiting a world which is simultaneously strange and familiar; real and surreal; … Continue reading

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Verse from Two Directions

“I tire of being made to feel smart rather than pleased.”(Peter Schjeldahl) 1. Online One finds lineated speech flowing freely, touching on themes of love, nostalgia, rage, nature, disillusionment, mortality and healing. There’s earnestness, the odd hard edge, whiffs of … Continue reading

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‘Cucumber Sandwiches. Season with Pepper Apparently’

My title is, in full, a text message received from a correspondent in early morning with no context. I read it silently then more attentively aloud. With growing alarm I realized it was a perfect dactylic pentameter. Rubbing sleep from … Continue reading

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The French Are Okay with Being ‘The French’

“We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college educated.” (Tweet from The Associated Press Stylebook) How “the French” constitutes a “label” left many French people mystified. … Continue reading

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The United State of the Whole Damn Nation

When I presume to wax oracular& prophesy immaculate vernacular,thund’ring from on high abominationat nucular & realator & joolery,remind me I’m not holier than thee. In the matter of what crosses our lipsunsaid it goes that each one of us sipsfrom … Continue reading

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Five Quotes About …

“What I teach you is nothing. What you learn by doing over and over is where the learning begins.” (Simon Michael) “Writing poetry is much easier … Five Quotes About …

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Don’t Get Me Started

On Squirrels I don’t defend creationism butsometimes it’s hard to getmy head around the notion thatone bit of protoplasm puton a bird suit, another a people suit,and don’t get me startedon squirrels. Have you ever notedhow one can scamper up … Continue reading

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