Friday, December 31, 2010

Interview: Jane Crown's Poetry Radio

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Jane Crown has scheduled only eight interviews for her radio show in 2011, and I am beyond thrilled that I am one of the lucky ones. My interview is scheduled for August 7, the last slot in the schedule. You can see the whole calendar here:

Jane Crown's Poetry Radio


In the archives, there are easily over two hundred interviews, an accomplishment worthy of a literary Xena. Such astounding magnitude speaks of formidable dedication to poetry and poets.

Crown also runs Heavy Bear Magazine, another treasury of wordplay. I have spoken at length about this wonderful venue before:

Heavy Bear Magazine Review

Crown has yet another laudable trait: she combines her own moral imperatives with her creative productions. She is not afraid to fustigate the powers that be. Being an ethics professor, I have found that most people shy away from denied pockets of dirt and dysfunction, particularly when criticizing their own country. Courageously, this wonderful editor steps up to podium, one she has created through her own passion and will.

I greatly admire Crown for her ethical verve alone, and when you add an intensive commitment to poets, the result is excellence not just in terms of artistry but also heart.

Interviews don’t come my way often. Each is like a joyous tattoo on my memory. I want to mention one of the most magical adventures in my poetic journey: when I was on Poets’ Café, a radio show of KPFK Los Angeles, interviewed by the insightful and intuitive Lois P. Jones. These two special interviews are available online for instant and free replay:

My Poet's Cafe Interviews

The KPFK appearances revamped my morale and gave me great perseverance. Best of all, I am still in contact with Lois P. Jones, a world-class poet and eloquent sage of the Lorca- and Neruda-esque.

Thanks to Jane Crown's Poetry Radio, I will get to do another high-quality interview. Without doubt,I will strive to do my best, because I know how indelibly meaningful interviews can be.

Happy New Year To All!


OWL



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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Acceptance: Scythe Literary Journal

Scythe Literary Journal

Owl Who Laughs in Scythe


I’m absolutely ecstatic that Editors Joe and Chenelle Milford of Scythe have chosen my poems “Small” and “Commute Home” for the next issue. This is a powerhouse of a lit zine, focusing solely on poetry. Contributors include Bob Hicok and Arlene Ang, two of my very favorite poets of all time. Pablo Neruda is still a little bit above them, but the gap is shrinking.

Through a diligence that surely entails total dedication, the Milfords have produced a relatively young journal that already showcases some the best of writers on a bold scale. Volume III, for example, presents forty poets. What makes this so astounding is the fusion of great quantity with superb quality. This is an almost impossible feat, achieved perhaps by only one other zine I know of, The Drunken Boat.

Why is Scythe attracting so many fine writers so close to its inception? The answer is most certainly The Joe Milford Poetry Show, broadcast at 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, eastern time. The archives of this online radio show would stagger the minds of greenhorns and veterans alike. Great names--I mean really really great names--have graced this stage with their brilliance. Paragons and geniuses like Robert Pinksy, Amy Gerstler, Tony Hoagland and Didi Menendez.

In addition, plenty of poets I don’t know have been interviewed. This is not an elitist outlet but rather a cartography of every nook and corner of the lands of the bards. My eyes crossed while counting, but I estimate that over 260 writers have been interviewed.

Wow!

What a thrill for me to be included in Scythe, a journal wisely described as a “natural and logical next step” after the great success of The Joe Milford Poetry Show.

A huge THANK YOU to both Milfords for creating Scythe, a sizeable advance in their already generous gift to all of us.

And a special congratulations to Joe Milford on his first book of poetry, Cracked Altim eter (2010), published by BlazeVox Press. The cover of the book alone will draw you into the deepest conundrums of your Id.

A very grateful OWL, logging out.


PS: To see the cover of Cracked Altim eter, and to read more about Joe Milford, go here:

Joe Milford

To read more about the equally energetic Chenelle Milford, use the companion link:

Chenelle Milford

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Special Gift From The Aurorean!

I had a wonderful surprise in the mail recently, a Yuletide greeting card from The Aurorean, one of Maine’s most popular and energetic poetry magazines. From the specially printed envelope to the small 2011 Aurorean calendar inside, everything was stylish and artistic. It was a true treat, even more so because my last communication with this fine magazine was in 2006.

That’s right. Not only is Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, the force behind The Aurorean, the only editor to ever send me a Yule card, she did so four years after my last publication with her! This demonstrates what I have long know: Brackett-Vincent is a literary leader with a magnanimous and kind heart, who has been hard at work showcasing good poetry since 1995.

Another project of hers, focused on experimental and dark-edged work, is a sister magazine called The Unrorean. How she finds time to run both these stellar outlets is an absolute mystery, one that attests to her diligence and consummate organization.

Years ago, when I reluctantly switched from postal to email submissions, saving much needed time and money, one of my most painful choices was to stop submitting to The Aurorean. Brackett-Vincent helped me develop courage as a poet, and provided a venue where I could be proud to see my best pieces on display.

About the time I was in contact, she moved from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Farmington, Maine. I was happy to supply her with nature poems about her new home state.

According to my records, the following were published in The Aurorean:

“Eagle Hand” (2004)
“Field’s First Snow” (2004)
“West Quoddy Cliffs” (2005)
“Moonlight On Lake” (2006)

In future blog posts, I will republish some of these poems as part of a tribute to The Aurorean. It is now one of Maine’s most central journals, and has fostered a great sense of community. All of us Mainers, and poets in general, owe a great debt of thanks to Editor Brackett-Vincent.

She has been tirelessly giving to us, a virtue verified and cemented by over fifteen years of dedication.

Thank you, Cynthia. You’re truly one of the most wonderful people on the literary scene.

A Great New Year To You!

OWL

PS: For more on The Aurorean and its sister site The Unrorean:

http://www.encirclepub.com/poetry/aurorean/about

http://www.encirclepub.com/poetry/unrorean

(Note: The Unrorean, but not The Aurorean, now accepts email submissions!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Poem: Black Hole

This piece originally appeared in Yes, Poetry!

Enjoy!

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Black Hole

depthless quietus,
guzzling like a drunk,

vision gets sucked
into your unborn navel,

then whirlpools of torsos
and a nova of dreams.

you ride bright landslides,
snaring creatures of stars:

red mammoths in yoked orbits,
Clydesdales of plasma

tethered to feverish pace.

your sharp cusp
butchers worlds down to gluons.

no blood left,
not even a twinkle.

whatever they saw,
hoboing through the light years,

stretches into a fast-forwarded
movie of everything—

then vanishes like a rubber band
that takes no time at all to snap

and never be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Release: The Toucan Winter 2010

Read The Toucan's Latest Issue

Cover Art For The Issue

Owl Who Laughs In The Latest Issue


The Toucan has released its Winter 2010 issue and it is a scrumptious extravaganza, including beak-dropping cover art and a fantastic list of authors. Debuting in this show is a handy table of contents that provides one-click access to the poems and stories. The Toucan has become ergonomically blessed! It’s an intoxicating production, even more than a strawberry mai tai, complete with one of those classic monologues by Editor Liz, who plays the harried neurotic well, alternating between vivacious, quirky, scintillating or irascible swoops.

This issue presents the most compelling evidence yet that Editrices Liz and Laura are up-and-coming, perhaps destined to take the literary world by tropical storm. The contributors include some of the best poets on the online circuit, including Hugh Fox, Richard Donnelly, Howie Good and Kristine Ong Muslim. The Toucan has been discovered as a serious force!

Not only that, it has rocketed past Owl Who Laughs in its number of dedicated followers.

*envious green grinch frown*

It seems my nature to be controversial, and so I’ll throw out my latest conjecture: the team of Liz and Laura is actually just Liz going solo. Laura is a prop, a fancy, a will-o’-wisp, a Janus head, or what have you, created by Liz for purposes unknown, perhaps to shoulder any and all blame for potential snafus.

Why do I say this? All my interactions with the editrices have been solely with Liz. All posts on The Toucan seem to originate from Liz. Laura’s facebook entry is short and sounds similar to Liz. Laura doesn't seem to do anything except make Liz work hard.

Suspicious! And good gossip material, for sure!

Maybe it is Laura who is real and Liz who is the chimera, the bogey, the crutch. Who can say, who knows, hi-dee-ho, and maybe it is even possible that I am hooting out my hindfeathers.


In any case it is free and fun publicity for The Toucan, a magazine that deserves to be noticed.

Check out the latest greatest amazing issue today! And ask Liz what mystery lurks behind the editors' doors. You can't ask Laura because, well, she doesn't exist.

OWL out.

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UPDATE

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In response to my blog post, I have now received an email from Laura which as far as I'm concerned eliminates any doubt that she exists as a unique person in her own body, as separate from Liz in a physical sense as any of us. Not only that she seems as competent and capable as her cohort, though with her own personality of course.

Carry on, intrepid Toucanistas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The catalyst for the nuclear holocaust that decimated humanity involved an accelerating feedback loop between two forces: the unmitigated greed of the uber wealthy, and the propaganda of fear they used to mold an increasingly poor and gullible populace.

Green Coyote Woman, The Doom War

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poem: Philosophy On LSD

This poem was originally published in Clutching At Straws

Thanks for reading!

OWL

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Philosophy on LSD

the brain a roller coaster
with trouble for cars.
a thought gets in, and zoom!
defies itself, becomes a rebel, a cad,
steals its own gold and
ends up behind prison bars,
which waffle and eat their own tails.

it’s how everything gets done.
gravity was discovered on LSD.
lizards have sex this way and feel it just so.
when you swat a fly, you birth a nova.
we’re all that big. the universe
bent a lot of time and we don’t understand,
but life happened: little galaxies
in bugs and skulls that act out hidden tantrums.

you’re a mobile center of cosmic roots.
the Big Banyan feeds into you.
you’re the dorsal plectrum of a shark
strumming the ocean of the real.
the jaws of an ant,
the nostrils of an aardvark,
the vertigo of a finch—
we’re all taking each others' trip,
heads born full of psychedelics,
and no one drug tells it all
except Illusion.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who Will Save Your Souls?

This is for the Republican leadership in Washington, and anyone else who is an unmitigated servant of greed and the dark god Mammon.





People living their lives for you on TV
They say they're better than you, and you agree
He says "Hold my calls" from behind those cold brick walls
Says "Come here boy, there ain't nothing for free"
Another doctor's bill, a lawyer's bill, another cute cheap thrill
You know you love him if you put him in your will but

Who will save your souls when it comes to the flowers now
Who will save your souls after all those lies that you told, boy
Who will save your souls if you won't save your own?

We try to hustle them, try to bustle them, try to cuss them
The cops want someone to bust down on Orleans Avenue
Another day, another dollar, another war, another tower
Went up where the homeless had their homes
So we pray to as many different gods as there are flowers
But we call religion our friend
We're so worried about saving our souls
Afraid that God will take His toll
That we forget to begin, but

Who will save your souls when it comes to the babies now
Who will save your souls after all those lies you told, boy
Who will save your souls if you won't save your own?

Some are walking, some are talking, some are stalking their kill
Got social security, but it doesn’t pay your bills
There are addictions to feed and there are mouths to pay
So you bargain with the Devil, say that you're o.k. for today,
Say that you love them, take their money and run
Say it's been swell, sweetheart, but it was just one of those things,
Those flings, those strings, you've got to cut,
So get out on the streets, girls, and bust you butts

Who will save you souls when it comes to the very very young,
Who will save you souls after all the lies that you told, boy
Who will save your souls if you won't save you own?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sen Bernie Sanders Amazing Speech!

Yesterday Bernie Sanders, a US Senator from Vermont, stood up at the podium in Congress for over nine hours, the equivalent of a filibuster. It was a rare and passionate moment of extreme protest at this level of power.

And guess what? The Republicans and the rich people they serve absolutely do not want open-minded Americans to see what Sanders had to say. Why? Because he clearly makes the case that the United States is now a banana republic, controlled by a handful of super-rich plutocrats and their lackeys.

Listen to part of what Sanders had to say. It might well change your entire outlook and your life.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Release: Bare Root Review, issue 11

Read BRR 11

Bare Root Review is the literary journal of Southwest Minnesota State University and the cutting edge (“fall twenty-ten issue eleven”) is really well done, including an eye-catching ambience.

For every contributor, you get a visual of the writer; well-chosen background images; an energetic, rugged font; and best of all a sense of theme that blends it all together.

The photographer is Danielle McClain, whose fantastic pictures were incorporated nicely.

I would describe issue eleven's theme as industrial apocalypse returning to nature. A decay of doomsday yielding to a reinvigorated Eden.

All the humans are gone, but hey, we probably deserved it!

You won’t find many journals that succeed so well in making a statement through their decor as well as the quality of their literary offerings.

It must have been a lot of work putting it all together, especially for busy students, and so editors Dannica Dufur and Erin Kyle deserve high praise.

I’m absolutely thrilled that my poem “Confession” is among the offerings. Click on the link above and enjoy!

OWL

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Poem: Unpaved Road

This poem and three others recently appeared in a journal called The Earth Comes First.

See my review of this wonderful journal and get the link to the other poems here, if you wish:

The Earth Comes First


Thank you for reading.

OWL

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Unpaved Road

aorta through acres, hosting
paw prints from lynx to vole,
and gurgling with clues
of spent storms--

yellow machines
soon will slap tar over your face,
demand you sacrifice
your empathy for weather.

people have forgotten
that pebbles have messages
in their many chins,
that serenity is older and more able
than steamrollers.

they have forgotten
the shy quail, which walk
among personalities
of dip and rut,

and they have forgotten all the faces
of leaf and thistledown,
too sensitive to be nurtured
by tar.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Release: Heavy Bear 6 and 7

Release Heavy Bear 6 and 7


Heavy Bear Magazine 6

Heavy Bear Magazine 7

Owl Who Laughs in Heavy Bear



The long anticipated release of the latest issues of Heavy Bear Magazine has arrived. Many fine poets will now be able to read their contributions with delight and a sense of pride; for Heavy Bear is a very special venue.

Jane Crown, impresario and editor, puts a mountain of work into this zine. When I think of the meaning of “heavy bear,” what comes to my mind is the strength of this assiduous woman, who offers the online community a great volume of well-wrought voices. She carries many poets on her shoulders with durable skill and grace.

Issue 6 presents 29 poets and Issue 7 contains 28. Both are dated December 2010, which means they are twins who together compose a formidable opus.

I like how Crown has chosen the format, presenting almost 60 writers in two books instead of just one. Each has a fantastic work of art up front, and each in itself is a masterful mélange. It was noble of Crown, and no doubt onerous, to avoid the throng that results from squeezing dozens of poets into a single presentation.

A little more on the artwork that embellishes the covers: it reverberates with a beautiful psychic depth. This affinity applies to all the covers of HB going back to the beginning. You can view them all here:

Heavy Bear Cover Art

As you can see, the paintings diverge yet also collect around a bright gestalt of spirit, which is vigorous, primordial and shaman-touched. Crown has gone into the Id of a wild pristine Gaea and snatched out bits of lucent phantasmagoria.

HB honestly has some of my favorite cover art, and I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of poetry magazines.

Keep in mind that, on average, each poet has three poems included. This means that Crown has given us approximately 180 works, a mighty act of editorship indeed!

Both well-known and fresh voices are included, and so HB provides a magnificent compendium, one that lavishly samples from the range of creatures that wander the forests of etherspace.

Although Crown has a prodigious will, not to mention vast virtue for carrying so many bards along, she is not immune to exhaustion. Surely there are many hurdles and moments of frustration in dealing with snafus of writers, who can be a whiny and demanding lot.

I bring this up because her last email to all contributors ended with the insinuation that she might be understandably tired and rethinking her role. I am going to quote from that email, so you can draw your own conclusions:

These are the corrected versions of both issues 6 and 7 of Heavy Bear online magazine. Do not hesitate to send Jane Crown any further needed corrections; otherwise, enjoy.

Both issues represent a prolonged halt in publication of Heavy Bear online magazine. Much soul-searching and revamping is required before any further publication.


Being an editor is tremendously hard, and we who are not editors tend to overlook and even minimize the importance of the job. The truth is, editors are the lifeblood of the poetry world. They are more important than almost any single poet, collecting the best and magnifying it.

Jane Crown, on top of being an editor, is good at it. I hope anyone who finds this blog entry will take the time to read HB and send a comment. Moreover, if you are a contributor, please thank Jane Crown for all the effort and time she has put in:

archers.crown@gmail.com

Let us not live up to the prickly stereotype: that artists are so self-absorbed they neglect those who passionately support them.

OWL

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Latest Chapbook: Man Watches January

My latest chapbook, Man Watches January, is hot off the press. It contains my best new poetry, most of it recently published, and I’d be happy to send it to you, signed, for $2 plus postage. This covers my costs and gives you months of hard work from the sanctums of my soul.

The poems in this chapbook and where they have been (or will be) published are as follows:


“A Fall Moment” in Wild Violet

“Old Woman Explains” in Vox Humana

“Philosophy On LSD” in Clutching At Straws

“November Leaves” in Brink Magazine

“Taken” in Bolts of Silk

“Writer’s Block” in Brink Magazine

“The Goodness Thereof” in Vox Humana

“Killing Guilt” in CounterPunch

“Porcupine Mountain”

“Number Cruncher” in Hell Gate Review

“Out of Place”

“Genetics”

“Reagan’s Ghost” in Phati'tude

“Nuclear Monster” in Hell Gate Review

“Denied” in Vox Humana

“Garapito Loop” in Wilderness House Lit Review

“Writing” in The Toucan

“Street Addict” in Hell Gate Review

“More Stars” in Carcinogenic Poetry

“Durance” in Carcinogenic Poetry

“Confession” in Bare Root Review

“Linguist” in Wilderness House Lit Review

“Man Watches January”


These poems have been edited to hell and back to heaven. They have made me cry and wail and sometimes ululate with joy. If you want to support me as a poet, I would be very pleased to send you a copy.

If you want to sample my work more fully first, here is a chapbook I have posted online, plus a very positive review of that chapbook by Lissa Kiernan, the Poetry Editor at Arsenic Lobster:

Review of Gordian Butterflies

Gordian Butterflies


Thanks for considering this. If you wish to purchase a hard copy for just $2 plus postage, email me here:

ccritten@gwi.net


If you would like me to handwrite one of my poems in the chapbook, I will do that for an extra $20. The money would be very useful to me and you would get a very original and personalized chapbook.

Thanks for reading!

OWL