One component of my research is to explore how
>different poets / groups of poets interact. I'd love to hear your
>reaction (either immediate / emotional or otherwise) to the following
>Garrison Keillor will begin a new series through Minnesota Public Radio
>on "literary friendships" (you might be interested in seeing how's
>he's framed the series; to quote his radio plug: "writing is a solitary
>pursuit, and that makes literary friendships all the sweeter"
>www.literaryfriendships.publicradio.org). The first conversation is
>between Robert Bly and Donald Hall.
>SO, would you attend the first conversation? Would you buy a ticket?
>Would you go if someone gave you a free ticket? If you wouldn't go, what
>would you do instead?

Email Rebecca Weaver at weave049@umn.edu with your response.
Application/Nomination Deadline: January 31, 2005
Panel Dates: TBA
The California Arts Council is designated to recommend individuals to the Governor for the position of Poet Laureate.
The role of the Poet Laureate is to spread the art of poetry and encourage literacy and learning in California. The Poet Laureate would provide a minimum of six public readings in urban and rural settings across the state and educate community, business, and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. Additionally, the candidate would undertake a significant cultural project that would extend through the term. One of the goals of the project must be to bring the poetic arts to students who might otherwise have little opportunity to be exposed to poetry.
The California Poet Laureate may, and is encouraged to, coordinate his or her project with any similar project being undertaken by the current United States' Poet Laureate. Any other reasonable activities as agreed to mutually by the Poet Laureate and the Arts Council. After being appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate, the Poet Laureate would serve for a term of two (2) years beginning in 2005.
How to Nominate
Poet Laureate nominations may come from qualified people in the field of Literature (poets may self-nominate) and MUST be mailed to:
California Arts Council
c/o Mr. Ray Tatar
1300 I Street, Suite 930
Sacramento, CA 95814
NOMINATIONS must contain:
1. A cover letter from the nominating organization or individual describing the qualifications of the nominating organization or individual.
2. The name and biography of the poet to be nominated (300 words maximum). A competitive biography would include a summary of significant awards and published literary works.
3. A summary of no more than a half-page indicating why the nominator considers the poet's work to be of the highest quality and representative of the State of California.
4. Complete contact information for the nominated poet.
5. Confirmation indicating that the nominator has contacted the nominated poet and that the poet has reviewed the job description and agrees to the nomination.
6. Three (3) poems by the nominated individual typed on 8 ½" x 11" paper single-sided.
Nominees must have lived in California for at least 10 years.
No materials will be returned. Nominations must be received at the Arts Council by 5:00 p.m. January 31, 2005. For clarifications (but not nominations, which must be sent to the above address), e-mail Ray Tatar at rtatar@caartscouncil.com.
Review Criteria
The Poet Laureate will be a poet who is recognized for excellence of his/her work, is widely considered to be a poet of stature, has a significant body of published work, and agrees to serve for a period of two years.
Review Process
Each nomination will be reviewed by the Arts Council staff for completeness. Incomplete nominations may not be considered.
The Arts Council functions with the assistance of the peer panel review system. The Poet Laureate panel will comprised of no less than three (3) representatives of the poetry community chosen from the Literature panelists and presented to the Arts Council at a scheduled public meeting for approval.
Poets, poetry presenters and literary experts will meet to discuss the merits of each nominee and how they relate to the criteria. They will create a ranked list and the panel will present the top three nominees to Governor's Office for approval.


I have really mixed feelings about this; I think there is a real, live tension between shopping for a religion and American religious syncretism. I also think the same "there are people doing religious practices and there are people doing religious practices" distinction is like the "there are poets and there are poets" distinction. And there are religious practices and there are religious practices. I would like to think it is at least possible that Madonna Kabbalah works for Madonna and has led her to some sort of insight that might be more insightful than the practice of local West Palm Beach third rate artists (you know, the kind that paint letters in pastel colors and gold on plates that show up at craft fairs).

And you know, there are poets and there are poets. You read a poet has adopted as a regular practice a thousand-year-old Christian heresy and writes out of that belief system; you see Will Alexander pick up a book on the same thing and write a poem that'll knock your socks off. You read that poet x has been diagramming sentences, and you remember doing a lot of that in school & wonder if Sr. Josephine was right and then say NAH. Or, for example, I write something and somebody picks it up and says, "yeah, but infinite series are supposed to be about ___; they are not supposed to be about ____."

I know that a real problem I had with American Tibetan Buddhism was the way in which the completely foreign folk religion, lore, culture, etc. was encoded in beliefs, visualizations, practices, and I really felt that these could never be legitimate for me -- especially since I felt the "languages" were so similar to what I knew of medieval Christianity --; I always felt that Merton's Chuang Tsu was nearly indistinguishable from the Italian folk tales about friars. That's why the visualizations in my poems are Carrie, etc., you know, something from my experience.

I know Stephen Dubner, when he wrote his book all those years ago about being raised as a charismatic catholic (as I was, partially) and then converting to Judaism (his parents had both converted to Catholicism from Judaism), was accused of being some new age baby boomer religion-shopper. I hope he gets into the Kabbalah and writes some songs about it.

>>>What you say of course is true, but not in the case of Merton. He did his >>>practice, to say the least, and, at least in his later, more mature, ecumenical, work, was just annotating that part of his spiritual life that lent itself to literature. To call Merton a star, which you directly don't, would be like saying that the Dalai Lama isn't authentic because he has become a public figure, which would be absurd. As for Madonna. I don't know her, so I can't speak for the depth of her commitment. If you can you arrange a date for me with her, I would be grateful.


> you know real Kabbalah and I mean the Zohar or Abraham Abulafia or
> stuff is really interesting. But when Mysticism becomes pop it becomes
> a miscarriage rather than real. This has happened allot recently it
> first began with Thomas Merton in the 50's and 60's with all the
> 'interest' in Christian monasticism and then had an echo in Kathleen
> Norris's work- it then happened again with Coleman Barks and Sufism,
> it continues to happen with Buddhism and now Kabbalah.
> A monk friend of mine put it really well if you are reading that a
> rock
> is doing a practice then it is not really happening it is in the quiet
> a mystical movement wells up and creates new realities- these will not
> be created by Madonna doing Kabbalah but with years of study and
> practice of
> form of mysticism it is impossible to get to this place without
> sustained effort, just like it is impossible to get to be a poet
> without the same practice
> R
> Raymond L Bianchi
> chicagopostmodernpoetry.com/
> collagepoetchicago.blogspot.com/
> >
> >
> > And I'm sick of hearing about the Kabbala and all that shamanitic
> > crap - "The kabbala" - Ha! More like "The Old Cobblers" HA!
> >
> > Richard Taylor


Cost of the War in Iraq

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