Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Theory For Poets #1

There are a lot of musical terms in The Spring Ghazals—makes sense: in addition to being a poet, I’m also a musician & music teacher.  When writing lyric poetry I believe the poet’s senses should be engaged, & music is certainly one of the things I hear the most.

However, with some exceptions, the musical references that come up in The Spring Ghazals have less to do with “songs” than with musical moments or musical figures.  In particular, it has to do with chords & scales—after all, these are the building blocks from which music is made.

When talking about chords & scales, one can toss a lot of numbers & letters around.  This is true because a scale, in addition to being do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do can also be expressed in the numbers 1 thru 8; it can also be expressed alphebtically in letters between A & G, with & without sharps & flats.  & since chords are based on various scales, they also are expressed in letters & numbers.

But this is music theory for poets (& if you’re not a self-professed poet, that’s ok—we’re glad to have you along).  Let’s not worry so much about the theories involving various intervals, & instead let’s concentrate on what things sound like.

For instance, one chord that gets mentioned a few times is a chord called a “major 7.”  Here are the examples:

Grace #2

—& here comes another star & it’s just as you say the stars are shattered glass like a C major 7 chord that won’t stop ringing

Helix #5

A flock of guinea hens cackling in the cottonwood
A C major seven a D minor seven transposed a major third
A divided highway at 3:00 a.m.


A daydream sweetly dissonant as a major seven chord swelling in a room—

& here’s what the chord C major 7 sounds like:

  C Major 7 by rfrostbanjo

Isn’t that a pretty sound?  There are several ways to play this chord on a guitar, & they all sound nice, but when I was writing the poem I was thinking of the first way of playing it: low on the neck with lots of deep open strings.  I can tell you that there are four unique tones in a major 7 chord: do, mi, sol & ti.  If you’re good at singing do-re-mi you can probably sing this chord.  The fact that it’s a “C major 7” simply means that in this case, “do” is C.  When do becomes a different note, some ways of sounding the chord will seem a bit different—for instance, you can listen to a D major 7, an F major 7 & an A major 7 & hear that there’s something a bit different about each, tho the overall sound quality is the same.  That’s because the notes are sounded in different order in relationship to each other depending on which guitar strings are fretted & which (if any) are left open. 

  Major 7 in different keys by rfrostbanjo

Now this is a “major chord.” We can put aside for a moment the different intervals that distinguish between a major & a minor chord; but if you have any musical background to speak of, you probably know that a major chord sounds—well—more “happy,” more “bright,” more “positive,” while a minor chord sounds more “sad,” more “dark,” more “negative.”  Yet the major 7 chord has a kind of melancholy ring to it, doesn’t it? 

I do think most folks hear this.  It’s a bittersweet chord.  If you listen to bossa nova music, you hear this chord a lot in various keys—just as one example, a major 7 chord is the first chord played in the song “The Girl from Impanema.”

OK, so if this is a major chord, why does it have that bittersweet edge?  I’ll tell you.  Because if you broke the four tones of the chord down into parts & rearranged them, you could make both a full major chord & a full minor chord.  Wild, isn’t it?  In the case of the C maj 7, you have all the constiuents of both a regular old C major chord & a regular old Em chord.  You can hear these—then hear how the C major 7 combines them! 

  C major E minor by rfrostbanjo

That’s enough for today—almost; you can check out yours truly playing the song “Rubato Kangaroo in the final mp3.  I wrote this guitar part several years ago, & guess what?  It starts off with a C major 7 chord!  

  Rubato Kangaroo-guitar by rfrostbanjo 

Next time around (probably Wednesday morning): what makes a major chord “major” & a minor chord “minor?”  Hope to see you then.

All sounds recorded using my well-loved ’58 Harmony archtop as seen in the pic!  Except "Rubato Kangaroo" was recorded with an electric guitar.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pasta Alleluia

Lots of people I haven’t understood in this lifetime—
& I haven’t seen olive trees gesturing in breezes
overlooking the Mediterranean like evacuees from Bullfinch

except unmoving—the people I haven’t
understood in this lifetime but loved—& holding my hand a few
inches over the sauté pan I can tell the oil’s ready for the

garlic Eberle grew in the two rows she harvests in June—because the
people I loved I haven’t understood, I was busy thinking
about them—lightly browned, the garlic’s set aside, & chopped morels

our friends left for us added now with ground pepper—of all the
people I haven’t understood & have said I loved
—as the mushrooms wilt & soak up oil—

I haven’t walked where the forest burnt last summer, that’s
where the morels have sprouted amongst the blackened
lodgepole pine—of all the people I’ve loved

nearly the best & almost the worst & not
understood for a minute—& Eberle’s pensive in her garden
picking the spring mix—a simple balsamic dressing—of

all the people I haven’t understood & wanted to—
the chopped Kalamatas add lots of salt—about two dozen—&
the pine nuts & the oregano I never measure—

& Dani says, “I wouldn't wish writing poetry on anyone"—
tho there’s nothing else just now—keep the water at
a simmer so it’s ready for the pasta & it’s time

now—of all the people I haven’t loved well—a
guitar song I wrote for Eberle after a quarrel—the lonesome
train tracks leading everywhere past the Russian Olive groves including

Los Angeles—on the guitar she gave me like
love itself she gave me—of all the people I’ve loved yes I’ve loved
some of them like a guitar perhaps—salting the water—

& there’s another language amongst people who love
& a language to speak about it—talking all night like an
alleluia like a mandocello—

the people I haven’t understood—the pasta’s drained &
tossed—this is so far the hardest poem
before the next poem in this lifetime

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Pasta Alleluia – the Recipe

Time for another poetic recipe from the pages of The Spring Ghazals, wouldn’t you say?

I remember the first time I heard about Pasta Alleluia.  I was living in San Francisco & hanging out one day with old poebiz pal Jonah Winter.  What was the context of the conversation?  It may have had to do with eating well on the cheap.   Needless to say, the name “Pasta Alleluia” really stuck in my mind.

It turns on that the name Pasta Alleluia actually derives from the Leone family—Robert Frost's Banjo readers know L.E. Leone—& it's a Leone-ism for pasta aglio é olio, which as you may know is pasta with garlic & olive oil.  As such, it’s a very basic but very tasty dish; & as L.E. Leone's brother, Chris Leone has described in some detail to me, it can be expanded upon with ingredients ranging from humble to exotic.  In the years that I’ve experimented with Pasta Alleluia, I’ve come up with the following:

About 1/3 cup of good olive oil: Sorry, but most of the measurements/quantities for this recipe are pretty impressionistic. 
Several cloves of garlic, minced: I’ve used as many as 7-8 cloves of garlic, but Eberle & I love the stuff.  Still, I wouldn’t cut that down too much, since the infusion of aglio in the olio is the basis of the whole recipe.
Ground black pepper to taste: Don’t skimp
A pinch or so of salt: Remember—the olives are salty!
About a cup of chopped mushrooms: or perhaps a tad more.  We’ve used the generic store-bought mushrooms, & fresh morels & the mini portabellas, & they’re all good.
Around two dozen olives, pitted & halved: Kalamatas are the best, but any old olive will do (except I avoid the canned variety).
Roughly 1/4 cup of roasted pine nuts
About a teaspoon of oregano
About a tablespoon of basil
1 lb. of spaghetti (or linguini)

That’s it—& remember: everything after the salt (except the pasta of course!) is optional, & you could substitute any number of items; sun-dried tomatoes would be wonderful, for instance.

Heat the oil on medium & then add the minced garlic (I also reduce the heat a bit when I add the garlic).  Sauté the garlic for a few minutes until it’s golden, then remove the garlic from the oil using a slotted spoon.  I keep the garlic aside in a small dish, because I add it back in again at the very end, but this isn’t absolutely necessary.  Then, add black pepper, salt & the chopped mushrooms; sauté the mushrooms for several minutes, then add the olives & the oregano.  You could also add the basil now if you’re using dried basil.  If you’re using fresh basil, wait until just before serving.  Again, sauté for several minutes, then add the pine nuts.  Throughout this process, I use a medium low heat.  After I add the pine nuts, I turn the heat down & cover. 

This sort of oil-based sauce doesn’t like a long cooking time, so by now you should have your water boiling & your pasta ready to cook.  Cook your spaghetti as you usually would, & when there’s a couple of minutes left for the pasta add the garlic back in (if you wish).  Also add the fresh basil right before tossing the pasta & the sauce.  Drain the pasta, & toss it with the oil sauce.

Buon appetito!  My poem “Pasta Alleluia” follows in the next post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writers Talk Interview!

Happy Wednesday, folks!  Just a quick note to let you know that yours truly has taken the Writers Talk interview plunge.  You can check the interview out right here on Robert Frost's Banjo—lots of discussion of The Spring Ghazals for your reading pleasure.

& there's some free content, too!  You can see all four "Grace" poems from The Spring Ghazals on the Writers Talk blog at this link.  If you haven't had a chance to read the book yet, the "Grace" sequence is made up of four prose poems that punctuate the books' four sections.

Hope you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese (the poem)

Macaroni & Cheese

A C augmented chord huffing autumn thru a 12-button accordion
the evenings are guinea hen gray
                                            we have seen so much & forever is so
short a time really the gusts coming down off Council Mountain full of
geese & swans & now it’s March & you said
“You’re making a white sauce,” incredulously because I didn’t know
          any better

Yellow marimba mallets bouncing down a chromatic bass line the
tree you showed me where to plant is grown into goldfinches chirping
          all May—
6 tablespoons of butter melting in a copper pot with
                                            flour black pepper paprkia
the willow’s leaves the china jade & honey agate rosary beads the
tree of life—time is moving chromatic & crisp & hollow
along the wooden keys—“Dreaming on clouds of butter fat” you said—

Something about our life & the recipes found in a 1933 Fannie Farmer
Cookbook is both the same & alien—whisking the roux & the white
sky in July the smoke from the Snake River valley fires
inexorable as a freight train crossing Oregon
                                            as things breaking down
inside & 3 cups of milk which can be 2% fat if you wish

& things breaking down inside the body that is—the milk & flour
thickening in the whisk—a syncopated flute solo starting on low
E recalling how Yellow-headed Blackbirds
                                            sing guttural & vanish
“Is it really 6 cups of grated cheese?” you asked, astonished.
Yes I said yes & I meant it everlasting i.e. a lifetime is how many years the chokecherries scarlet in autumn the frozen fog sculpting the
          willow in

December the juncos foraging for seeds across the deck a layer of
macaroni (cooked al denté 1st – a layer of cheese—a layer of macaroni topped with cheese & white sauce—repeat—the stoneware
          pot baked at 400 roughly
45 minutes—you know when it’s done when you see it—
                                            I’ve said everything I meant
to say to you—a bowed bass trembling against your body—I’ve really
          said nothing

Jack Hayes
© 2010

Macaroni & Cheese (the recipe)

If you’ve read The Spring Ghazals, or even if you only read one or more of the four fine interweb reviews of the book, you know that food plays a significant role in the poems, especially (& obviously) in the “Kitchen Poems” section.  In a nod to that, I thought I’d share a couple of my recipes (yes, I’m the comfort food cook!) for your pleasure, as well as sharing the poems about those foods.  Today’s offering: macaroni & cheese.  This post is a revised version of an early post on Robert Frost’s Banjo.

As a passable cook, I have a knack— or so I’ve been told—for making a mean version of what may be the king (or queen?) of comfort food, macaroni & cheese—thank goodness, because this regal dish has really been bastardized by the various frozen & boxed varieties now being sold in a supermarket near you; & frankly, even a fantastic soul food joint like the late, great Gravy’s in Daly City, CA served a side of mac & cheese that was no better than “ok” (they did serve the best fried oysters ever & amazing fried chicken, though).

Upfront, I should say that my recipe didn’t spring, like Athena, fully imagined from my brain. No, it relies a lot on the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, 9th edition, revised 1951, which for my money is the best comfort food & pie cookbook going. So if you wanted, you could kind of parse the same thing out from that source; or if you wanted, you could pretty much get the recipe from my poem “Macaroni & Cheese” dedicated to my dear wife Eberle—see next post! But to save you the trouble:

First, don’t be afraid of the quantities of dairy goods you see. As Eberle says, eating macaroni & cheese is “like floating on clouds of butterfat.” So you need to grate about 6 cups of cheddar cheese—I prefer sharp; & you know, the cheese doesn’t have to be artisanal, just pretty ok.  In the meantime, cook 4 cups of elbow macaroni just as you normally would— typically 9-11 minutes.

Now it’s time to make the white sauce, which is one of two keys to the whole macaroni & cheese thing. Melt 6 Tbsp of butter in a saucepan, then whisk in a mixture made of the following:

6 Tbsp flour
½ tsp of ground mustard
¼ tsp of paprika
ground pepper to taste—I like lots

Whisk this to a smooth consistency, then slowly add in 6 cups of milk (see, everything except the macaroni is in multiples of three—what does that mean?), whisking all the while—steady & consistent whisking for those not familiar with white sauce (steady & consistent whisking also for those who ARE familiar with white sauce, but we presume they know this). Bring this to a boil, whisking all the while, & let the sauce boil for two minutes, then reduce the heat & let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes (DON’T stop whisking!) Now those of you who are real cooks no doubt have gas stoves, & so have no problem reducing heat quickly & efficiently. For those of us with electric ranges this isn’t so straightforward. What I do is have a burner already turned to low heat, & switch the sauce to that burner after the 2 minutes of boiling—works like a charm, because if you’ve ever tried to deal with boiling milk while waiting for a red-hot electric burner to lose temperature—well, it’s not a pretty sight. By the way, having a second burner in reserve also works like a charm for rice made on an electric range—it’s pretty much foolproof.

By now, you should have your oven heated to 400 degrees. You assemble the ingredients as follows in an oven-safe pot or casserole (more on that in a moment):

layer of macaroni
layer of cheese
layer of macaroni
layer of cheese
layer of white sauce
layer of macaroni
layer of cheese
layer of white sauce

At least that’s the number of layers I get in my stoneware oven pot; & let me tell you, if there’s any chance you can use stoneware, please do so. I’ve also made this for my folks at their old home in Florida in a glass casserole, & while it was certainly good (they liked it a lot), you don’t get quite the same killer crust with glass as with stoneware. The pot you see in the pic at the top of the post—or something like it—is pretty crucial to this recipe.

Bake the macaroni & cheese uncovered at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. You know the whole spiel about oven temps varying, etc. etc. so that’s a caveat. You want to see a golden brown top to indicate that a good crust has formed, but ideally you still want to see it bubbling a bit, too—not dried out.

& in the next post: “Macaroni & Cheese”—the Poem!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review on The Tangerine Tree Press Blog

Good morning, dear readers!  I wanted to take a moment to let you know that there’s a new review of The Spring Ghazals posted on The Tangerine Tree Press blog.  Please drop by this wonderful & literate site when you have a chance: the link to the review is here.

The Tangerine Tree Press blog is maintained by Sheila Graham-Smith, & Ms Graham-Smith did a beautiful job with her review.  She also gives the full text of another poem from the book, “January Morning” (from the Cloudland section), as well as providing an articulate & insightful reading of the poem, bringing all sorts of marvelous elements to her critique.  In case you were curious, the pic leading off this post is a nod to “January Morning”—I’m happy to say this isn’t the view outside our door this morning!

Finally, one last reminder: today is the last day to use the coupon code LEAF305 to receive 15% off The Spring Ghazals when purchasing the book at Lulu.  The offer runs thru 11:59 p.m. today—I just re-checked the original email & noticed they don’t give the time zone on that—a bit unhelpful, but there you have it.  The Spring Ghazals is available at this link.

Hope you take advantage of the offer before it expires, & really hope you take a few minutes to read Ms Graham-Smith’s excellent review.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview on the Tangerine Tree Press Blog

OK, so now I’m interrupting my own commercial to let you know, dear readers, that there’s an interview with yours truly about The Spring Ghazals on the Tangerine Tree Press blog—you can read the interview right here.  I found the Tangerine Tree Press questions both challenging & insightful & am really happy with how the interview turned out.  Many thanks to Sheila Graham-Smith for the fine work she did on this!

Admitted: my timing on these posts was less than perfect.  But please do check it out!

Time Is Running Out! & Other Thoughts

Pardon this commercial interruption, folks, but let’s face it—a big purpose behind this blog is to try & get The Spring Ghazals into as many people’s hands as possible. 

So, here’s the scoop—if you’re thinking of buying the book, what better time to do it than when you can purchase The Spring Ghazals for $10.20 instead of $12.00?  All you need to do is enter coupon code LEAF305 between now & 11:59 p.m. on November 15th when you checkout with The Spring Ghazals at Lulu.  Here’s the link for purchasing the book.

I do hope that you’ll consider buying the book.  It’s true that much of the content (tho not quite all) is scattered far & wide across the Robert Frost’s Banjo blog.  However, a series of poems posted in somewhat random order on a blog that includes posts on everything from recipes to musical instrument history to essays on women’s literature—well, they just don’t add up to a book of poetry. 

& The Spring Ghazals is very much a book.  The ordering of the poems—I believe—really informs the book’s themes.  Even the “front matter” is important to understanding what the book is about.  None of these things can be reproduced on a blog in the same way that they can be reproduced in a book.

Remember when people talked about the death of vinyl records?  Sometimes it occurs to me that the “fate” of books may turn out ultimately to be much the same.  Right now, vinyl lps are often sold as a premium item by artists such as Amanda Palmer who are really using the new digital industries to take control of their art, independent of the corporate recording industry.  Poetry publishing of course is much different than the music business—even for corporate publishing houses, poetry books are at best loss leaders.  In some ways, the proliferation of poetry blogs may in fact have literally “devalued” books—after all, if the content is free—even if the form it’s delivered in may not be as satisfying—why pay? 

I hope that’s not the majority rationale, I really do.  I believe The Spring Ghazals is in its own, no doubt small way, a beautiful thing.  It is a beautiful thing because of the poetry it contains—which can be found for free—but it’s also a beautiful thing because of the way it brings the poems together.  That’s the “premium” content.

From time to time, I will post poems from the book on this blog so interested potential readers can get a “taste.”  I don’t foresee making the content freely available all in one place in book order, however.

So, once again, hope you take advantage of this offer from Lulu in the next few days.  & next time—within the next couple of days—I’ll return to non-commercial programming!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Public & Private

I've been too much "in my own head" lately as a very dear old friend pointed out to me yesterday.  These days I've wondered quite a bit about the "personal" or "private" circumstances that seemed to compel my writing The Spring Ghazals.  I think of these things, & I think about how these things aren't really "private" any longer, not simply thru the publication of the book—tho that fact certainly complicates the questions I've had—but also thru this blog & other avenues of promoting The Spring Ghazals.  These considerations, still unanswered in my own mind, have led me to create some questions for you, dear readers.  I'm hoping your answers may bring me some clarity:

  • How do you—as fellow writers—deal with writing about life experiences that involve other people, especially people with whom you’re no longer in touch?
  • Are you ever concerned about “private/interior” realities being made public, whether the writing appears on a blog or in a book or is simply circulated amongst friends?
  • Are there ways that you attempt to censor yourself—either consciously or unwittingly—when writing about severe emotional states?
  • Do you think that “confessional poetry”—using the term more loosely than the standard definition—is potentially therapeutic, or does it, as Plato said, only “water the passions?”
  • If you do or ever had, engaged in “confessional” writing (using this broad term, where “confessional” means something like dealing with intense emotional states or circumstances) are you conscious of constructing personae for either the “I” or other “characters” that distances them from actual persons, or do you tend to take a more “head-on” approach?
  • Do you believe this type of “confessional” writing is exploitative, either of the writer’s own self or the selves of those she/he is writing about?
  • For those of you who have read all or part of The Spring Ghazals: were there points at which this private/public interface seemed uncomfortable, or did the poems have enough of an appeal beyond the specific circumstances of their composition.
  • In the case of a “confessional poetry” where there is a broad appeal, what do you think creates the broad appeal?  In the case of a “confessional poetry” where you get more of a sense of “exhibitionism,” what is lacking?

These are some things on my mind, & I’d love to hear from readers on as many or few of these topics as interest them!

Pic shows my study in Charlottesville, VA in 1986

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Virtual Reading #4 (& Questions)

For your listening pleasure: a couple of new recordings of poems from the “Kitchen Poems” section of The Spring Ghazals.  “French Toast” was one of the first few poems written in the entire manuscript, while “Greek Salad” was the last poem written for this section.  The poem “Fondue,” which appeared in an earlier virtual reading is also embedded in the player in case you missed it the first time around or simply would like to hear it again.  Don’t forget: there’s a discussion of my poem “Fondue” by writer Aaron Wilson on his Soulless Machine blog.  You can read Mr Wilson’s post about it here, & you can also see a video I made as background for the reading.

Speaking of backgrounds for readings: I’m tossing around the idea of creating musical settings as background for some of the poems from The Spring Ghazals & then recording the complete package to issue as a cd.  While I realize the readership here is a pretty select sample, I’d be curious if such an item would interest people, either in concept or in actuality.   Or would a cd of “just poetry” be more your cup of tea?  Since Lulu also produces cds, I’m thinking eventually I could make this into a one-stop shopping experience.

Of course, as you will hear, I know I need to invest in a pop filter before I go any further; using our condensor mic I just can’t keep the “p’s” from distorting & still keep the rest of the levels normal.  But that’s a relatively inexpensive item—around $20.  But I also noticed this page has a pretty ingenious homemade design which (per the article) can be built for $5.50.

A gentle reminder: you have less than 10 days to get The Spring Ghazals from at 15% off the $12 cover price.  The discount comes out of Lulu’s pocket, by the way!  Simply enter code LEAF305 at checkout.  You can purchase The Spring Ghazals here.

If you have a moment, please do weigh in on the cd idea; I’m tossing around various musical ideas related to the poems as we begin planning this week for next summer’s fine arts extravaganza in McCall! 

I’d also be interested in any suggestions about topics readers would like me to address here.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Do I Want?

It’s been wonderful to see the positive reviews of The Spring Ghazals from fellow bloggers; I’ve appreciated the time & effort you folks have put in so much.  It’s gratifying also to see that other folks “get” what I was about & find these poems moving—the latter is particularly gratifying because in so many ways the poems in The Spring Ghazals treat personal—some might even say, private—matters. 

Because I ask myself what exactly it is I want or expect from these poems now that they’re gathered together in a book that people can buy—people, at least in theory, who know nothing about me or about any of the circumstances that led to the poems being written.  Of course, since I have made these poems into a book & made that book available to the general public, that must be what I want.

The “Kitchen Poems” were the first poems written in The Spring Ghazals manuscript, & at first these only intended to be shared amongst friends.  Then later, in the midst of a lot of personal distress, I started the Robert Frost’s Banjo blog.  At first I didn’t intend to post any of my poems there, tho I did write some prose poems in the first couple of months that eventually were gathered into the “Cloudland” section of The Spring Ghazals.  & as the blog began to develop a readership, I slowly began to post my own work—poems from my San Francisco days at first.  The poems drew a positive response from readers.

In the spring of 09, again in the midst of quite a lot of personal turmoil, I started writing the actual ghazals.  Without even as much comment as I’ve offered on this blog as to what was behind them, I started posting them on Robert Frost’s Banjo.  Again, they were met with enthusiasm, & I was grateful for this.

Now the poems have moved from the flickering computer monitor to ink & paper.  They are available at a price.  I ask myself these days—especially as sales still remain extremely slow—what that means & how it fits with what I “want” for these poems.  I’m not naïve—I never thought that I’d make real money off the book.  Did I think I might sell, say, dozens of books?  Yes, I did.  Perhaps when the book moves onto Amazon & Barnes & Noble that still will be true.  But at this point, I think I need to assess what a realistic idea of “success” is.

I wrote this book in a state of emotional upheaval, it’s true.  Of course, in the composing of any individual poem, there’s something like joy—there’s the feeling of being lost & outside oneself, looking at one’s own experiences from a more focused & intent place.  One isn’t in “distress” in the moments of writing anymore than one is abysmally depressed while actually playing the blues.  Does writing poetry cure this sort of distress, as singing may “take your blues away?”  I can’t say that I’ve ever found it to be a long term solution—in fact, there have been times in my life when I’ve thought that far from helping one to surpass distress poetry—at least in my personal experience of it—actually seems to foster it.  I don’t say that this is true for everyone—perhaps not even for most.  It has been true for me.

So what do I want?  In an ideal world, dear reader, I would have liked the person to whom the book is dedicated, the EG I wrote about earlier on this blog, to have the poems & to like them.  The fact that this isn’t the case is beyond my control.  Beyond that, tho, I believe in these poems as good poems—I believe that, despite their personal origin, they can move & interest others.  But now I realize that to a large extent, whether this happens is also out of my control.

It seems there’s an act of letting go that’s called for—perhaps in some way, that’s what’s “wanted,” even if it’s not what “I want.”  The Spring Ghazals have gone past me—even if they only ever find their hands into a small handful of people who read & enjoy them, they are out of my hands now.  Yes, I’ll continue to do what I realistically can to draw people’s attention to them.  But after that, this is all between you—the people who somehow encounter the book—& the book.

Letting go—as it says in the book: “this is so far the hardest poem/before the next poem in this lifetime”

Pic: To add a bit of levity to the proceedings, Hogarth’s “The
Distrest Poet”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Spring Ghazals Reviewed on "New England Travels"

I'm so happy to announce another wonderful review of The Spring Ghazals, this time by writer Jacqueline T. Lynch on her New England Travels blog.  You can read Ms. Lynch's review here

Jacqueline T. Lynch is a prolific blogger & writer in her own right.  She writes Another Old Movie Blog, which is a litertate & incisive look at classic film; Tragedy & Comedy in New England, her look at regional theater; & New England Travels, her virtual tour thru her native New England—a region I'm also from, & which is of course depicted in several poems in The Spring Ghazals.

In addition to her blogging activities, Jacqueline T. Lynch has published articles and short fiction in regional and national publications, including the anthology “60 Seconds to Shine: 161 Monologues from Literature” (Smith & Kraus, 2007),  North & South, Civil War Magazine, History Magazine & several plays with Eldridge Publishing, Brooklyn Publishers, & Dramatic Publishing Company, one of which has been translated into Dutch & produced in the Netherlands.    Her novel Meet Me in Nuthatch is now available as an ebook through & Smashwords, & her recent short story Interfacing is also available as a Smashwords selection here.

If you'd like to learn more about this talented writer, please check Robert Frost's Banjo on Thursday, as Ms Lynch will be participating in the Writers Talk interview series!

Finally, many thanks to Jacqueline, with whom I've had a long-standing cyber-friendship that actually went "3-D" when we were able to meet last March during a cross-country trip I took back east.  I so appreciate her support, as well as support from so many other friends from blogs & Twitter & Facebook.

& remember: you can still purchase The Spring Ghazals on Lulu for 15% off thru November 15th by entering the code LEAF305 at check-out!

Pic shows the Vermont house where I grew up