David Cherry's blog

2011 Adult SRP Drawing Winners

The Most Famous Top-Secret Place on Earth

Cover: Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie JacobsenArea 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base / Annie Jacobsen

I don’t believe in those big-headed, squat-bodied extra-terrestrials with the unhealthy interest in the lower reaches of the human intestinal tract. Yes, I do suppose someone is out there, if only because the place is so big the laws of probability demand it. I just figure they are not in the habit of venturing into the vast vacuum of space for a cocktail or two with the boys, then, after a few too many, ending up in Iowa making crop circles in some hapless farmer’s field of sorghum.

Sheer Genius and Dumb Luck: The Rise of a Cultural Behemoth

Cover Art: Those Guys Have All the Fun by James A. Miller and Tom ShalesThere was a time when ESPN’s Chris “Boomer” Berman was my only friend and I actually grasped the nuances of Australian Rules Football. I tend to think of that period as my own personal dark ages—meaning I spent my time in a perpetual gloom, positing lots of benighted theories of how the universe works, bathing very little, and living on a diet of root vegetables and beer.

Allen Ginsberg: Heartthrob

Cover Art: Howl: The Original Draft Facsimile / Allen GinsbergGranted, casting James Franco as the poet Allen Ginsberg in the new film Howl is not as bizarre as trying to shoehorn John Wayne into the role of Genghis Khan, nor as venal as tapping Brad Pitt to play Achilles. Still, my initial reaction was, "What? Matthew McConaughey wasn't available?"

After I managed to talk myself off the ledge with the promise of cookies and the reassuring notion that at most three or four people would pay to see a movie about an Eisenhower-era obscenity trial surrounding a poem that today could be used to sell artfully distressed lofts to red state fauxhemians, I had to concede that of today's young actors Franco is the only one with the perverse, what-the-[heck] sensibility to pull it off.

Fish in a Barrel: The Case Against Billy Collins

No BillyI hate Billy Collins.

I imagine he would say with a six-figure smile that I'm way at the back of a long line of people who hate him.

Billy can take heart in the fact that because so many people hate him, it is becoming fashionable in some circles to claim to like him, but this is a transparent contrarianism born of cocktail party boredom and too much boxed wine on an empty stomach.

Notes on Parenthood, Wistfulness and Melancholy

Detail for Melancholia by Albrecht DurerWistful. 

A damn fine word . . . a first rate word, in fact . . . evocative . . . almost onomatopoeic . . . a word to conjure with . . . a word to get lost in . . . a word you can't really grasp until you've got a few rings under your bark . . . or until you've dropped off your daughter for her first day of high school

Poetry-to-Go: Podcasts

Graphic desigh by dcherryIt is hard to argue that there has been a more lasting and world-altering piece of technology than the good old ink and paper book. Once the machinery for its mass-production was developed, dogmas of all stripes were doomed and a more or less perpetual process of cultural transformation churned into motion.

Unsolicited Advice and Other Things You Don't Want to Hear

Photo Credit:Untitled Photograph [Woman Writing]  by Mr. StabileToday I want to address the would-be poets out there. More specifically, I want to offer some advice to all of you who have ink coursing through your veins, but who can't find: a) the time b) your voice c) your muse d) your pen.

The Lay of the Land: Poetry and Landscape

Shift by Slack PicsIn this city where the only elevations are office towers and freeway overpasses, and where a cement-lined ditch is called a bayou, it is easy to forget that there are places in the world full of snow-capped things and cold, clear, running things, not to mention dewy, meadowy-type things and gently rolling things.

Full of Sound and Fury: Poets as Playwrights

Photo Credit: Chimp Does Hamlet by King Chimp / Riley BobThe verse drama has gone the way of the affordable cup of coffee and unironic mustaches and I'm not sure why. It seems to me that the inherent artificiality of a stage production in this age of hyperrealistic entertainment should push playwrights to experiment with language in more interesting ways than they do. As it is, the limitations of the stage place the bulk of a production's weight on its dialogue. Why shouldn't playwrights seek a language that shoulders past the sputtering rhythms of everyday speech into the realm of the poetic?

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