12.06.2006

now, the time has come to divest myself of poetry books -- some at least -- if only to continue to pressure my husband to get rid of some more of his books

I have decided to get rid of single volumes by men which I purchased mostly because they were a dollar. This is not very easy, though, because there are a great many reasons to purchase a book of poetry for a dollar, and a great many reasons to hold onto a book of poetry other than wanting to refer to its contents. By which I mean po boz, and also fads in poetry and publishing.

I have at Amazon currently a book by Ralph Burns. Now, this book won the Iowa Prize the same year that Maureen Seaton's FURIOUS COOKING won. Perhaps because Maureen has continued to teach in an increasingly high visibility program, collaborate with other teachers there, judge prizes, and publish books, Maureen Seaton is currently better known. However, the Burns book is also rather boring free verse.

Here's the book right here
http://www.uiowa.edu/uiowapress/burswacan.htm

Ralph Burns also teaches, still, and edits CRAZYHORSE, which I assume is still a well regarded journal -- after this book was published, he won another prize, only five years ago.

Another book I have selected to get rid of is a red hen book which won the red hen prize -- probably benjamin saltman. Also by a guy, also free verse of a sort I really have always thought sort of dull. But red hen went on to publish another book of his poetry only four years after this one -- DEVILFISH -- a book blurbed by Gioia --

Not listed yet, but possibilities are Norman Stock's Buying Breakfast for my Kamikaze Pilot, an unfortunately-titled book on Gibbs Smith which shows that this is not all a "silliman's school of q" purge. Perhaps it is a purge of middle aged or nearing retirement men with names like Ralph, Norman, and Gaylord. Perhaps I will find a Herman. In any case, this book of Mr. Stock has what in 1991 was a nascent short short, titled by its first few words. In "The Man with a Skwered Lip" the story begins "A man with a skewered lip enters a train." Note that change from "the" in the title to "a", the generality implied by "a train" and the mystery -- just what is a skewered lip? The result of an hors d'ouvres accident? Those cocktail swords? Read and find out.

Judson Jerome -- we all know who he is -- if we started buying the writers and poets markets at a certain age and are a certain age -- eked out a book by a Santa Barbara publisher called Daniel and Daniel (I have been wanting to query) with an essay to follow two poems in tercets about Job and Jonah in the Bible. The essay's interesting. The poems retell the stories but pick up on their sort of cultural not really philosophical ideas, like Jonah being a pardoy of self-righteousness. It strikes me that like many other older, accomplished writers who have made a long living around poetry, Jerome is a good teller and so writes lucid pleasant essays, and a good enough reader to be a good teacher, he cites the Stephen Mitchell translations, and shows them being superior to the King James, and then writes a line far worse than the King James in response.

The ORIGINS OF EVENING by Robert Gibb has the misfortune of being a penny book.

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