Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bossa Reading Tomorrow

There's a great reading at Bossa tonight, an open mic poetry reading in D.C. on 18th Street. Bossa is a nightclub in the heart of Adams Morgan. The reading series is called Worth of Mouth, occurring on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. It's free and it's especially welcome to spoken word performers. Here's the Web site:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Poetry Exercise #2: Cartoon Characters

One exercise I found useful is to write a poem about a cartoon character, like Bugs Bunny or Beetle Bailey. The Beetle Baily poem I wrote was about Bailey being a gay soldier who has a S&M-like relationship with his sarge, but Bailey leaves and they never have a true relationship. You should write the poem in the character's voice, perhaps warping it satirically or maybe taking it straight. Imagine what it would be like to be this character, from a human/emotional standpoint rather than a purely comical point of view. What motivates him or her? What is wrong with her or his life? How does the character interact with other characters and what causes him or her pain or makes him or her happy? For example, a poem about Huckleberry Hound might counter the view that he's dumb or slow. He might be misunderstood in a profound way. Let me know what you think about it.

Poetry Exercise #1: Headlines

Lots of times it's hard to get started writing a poem. There are so many possiblities, and a lot of times I resort to writing autobiographically about events I remember. There's nothing wrong with confessional poems, some of my favorites are in that mode (like Plath or Berryman). But, sometimes you want to get our of yourself, so here's an exercise: Find a newspaper or magazine headline and use it as the title of the poem. Let this title influence how you start, perhaps as the spur for a fictional narrative or maybe it hits a feeling or topic you're interested in, like tragic love or trying to keep faith in something. The point is bringing something outside yourself and using it to jump start your own work. Here's a few examples I got from the Washington Post's story on cheesy magazine cover questions: What is spacetime? Will Humans Last Another 10,000 Years? Who's naughtier in bed: men or women? Just a Headache . . . Or Worse? Let me know how these exercises work out for you all, or suggest some more in the comments section!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This Is Mainly a Poetry Blog

I want to set this up mainly as a poetry blog, trying to post at least twice a week. This blog will discuss, I hope, the poetry I'm reading and the problems and successes I'm having in my own writing. I also want to publicize poets I like (especially D.C. locals and friends). The name of this blog is after a poem I wrote that appeared in the most recent issue of "The Iowa Review." Today I received a rejection from a local university journal and feel discouraged, but I have stuff out there that may have more luck. Poets need to be really optimistic and resilient, considering the constant rejection. So, that's the intro and away I go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My Other Site

See my other site at