David Cherry's blog

On Influence, Influenza and Outright Thievery

Photo Credit: Glad Day for Surfin,' after William "Hodad" Blake by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com Lately, I have been thinking a lot about this aphorism. It seems to have as many originators as it does permutations. The gist of it is, “good writers borrow; great writers steal.”

The Rich, Ouija Boards, and Other Things I Don't Understand

Photo: [Ouija Board] by ~!'s / RyanWhen Frederick Seidel drops a name, it tends to land with the kind of thump that gets a room's attention. Like Neal Cassady's hammer in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, it never happens by accident.

In many ways Seidel is the kind of human being for whom I could work up an unhealthy dislike. For one thing, he's rich; worse yet, he was born that way, and for another thing . . . well, frankly, there isn’t another thing.

Poetry in Motion . . . Pictures: The Uneasy Marriage Between Poetry and Film

Photo: Mayan Again by GIRLintheCafeThere are not a lot of movies about poets, which is probably a good thing. It’s just not easy to make riffling through a dictionary looking for a word that rhymes with angst cinematically compelling, and the act of writing—even with a quill pen--is seldom as riveting as a good car chase. Nor do most poets live lives that lend themselves to anything beyond Hal Hartley-style absurdist vérité.

Rimbaud, Kerouac and Other Heroes I've Slain (A Family Tree of Sorts)

Photo: Details of an Old Typewriter by Raúl Hernández González  Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop! Stop!” cried the old man, “I didn't drag my own father beyond this tree.”The Making of Americans

Poetry for Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo: Dia de los Muertos by Glen Van EttenIn this day and age when so many people, myself included, are cut off from the worlds from which their families came, we should celebrate all those who have kept and are keeping those ties alive.

I Have Seen the Future, And It's Not Half Bad. (An open letter to poets)

Whazup y’all,

Israeli Postage Stamp: The Prophet Jonah-catalog #301, c. 1963 part of the Festivals 5724 (1963) series. Design by Jean David/Photo by Karen HortonIf you’ve been reading this blog at all regularly, you’ve probably picked up on a certain pessimistic tone regarding the current state and future of poetry. This is nothing new; Eliot and Pound were banging the same drum in the early years of last century.

Jim Carroll (1949 - 2009)

Stairwell at CBGBs, Circa 2003 Photo by bettyx1138 via Flickr Creative CommonsIf you're of a certain age and have a bent toward a certain kind of music, then you probably ground the grooves flat on your copy of Jim Carroll's "People Who Died." It wasn’t an anthem (which by definition excludes); it was something purer than that: a coyote howl of mourning--not for those who had gone (because they had reached something permanent, if only the void), but for those who remained, those who were forced to go on with one more ragged hole in their lives where a person once had been.

All that, and the song just flat out rocked.

In Praise of Futility

Photograph: Old Keys Upclose by Laineys Repertoire via Flickr.com Creative CommonsWhat’s a guy gotta do to get some reaction around here? In last week's post I more or less said Emily Dickinson--had she not found poetry--would have turned out to be a serial poisoner and that Walt Whitman could have been a darn fine used car salesman, and I didn’t hear even a grandmotherly tsk tsk tsk.

Have we really reached the point where any schmo with a keyboard can slag two of the purest of American literature’s saints, and it doesn’t even warrant lukewarm pique?

I, frankly, am outraged.

Not really.

Haiku, or: It Takes Me More Than Seventeen Syllables Just to Get Out of Bed in the Morning

The formal requirements of the haiku may be as stringent as an IRS form, but a good one is pithy, sometimes revelatory and, occasionally, just flat out funny.

Miss Em' and Walt and All the Rest of Us

Portrait: Emily Dickinson courtesy Poetry FoundationIt’s not a particularly fresh notion to say that Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson representPortrait: Walt Whitman courtesy Poetry Foundation a sort of yin and yang of American literature, or that they are the progenitors of the two main strands of American poetry’s DNA. Whether it’s true or not, the notion just seems to satisfy that human need to reduce complex issues to either/or propositions.

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