Category: poetry

  • My Friend Monty

    My Friend Monty

    I have a poet friend in North Hollywood named Monty who says he’d kill a small domestic animal if that’s what it took to get the exact word in an exact line. He likes to make sweeping statements like that, though, when I visited him recently, his dog Rvr wasn’t around—yes, Rvr. When he’d rescued […]

  • Madness, Poetry, and Choosing Not to Die

    Madness, Poetry, and Choosing Not to Die

    Robert Lowell wrote those two lines in his poem “Night Sweats.” It’s one of my faves (the full poem is below). It’s a love poem, about a man who suffers mental illness, and his wife, who keeps him alive. It’s a brutal poem. Lowell suffered from manic depression. These days, people say “manic depression,” and […]

  • Our Demons and Our Words

    Our Demons and Our Words

    1. Poetry born out of horror has a rough go of it. Some of the things we do to one another are so damaging, it’s near-impossible to wrap words around them. Yet, poets try, and sometimes they even succeed. But behind one poem that works, there might be a couple dozen that failed. Sometimes I […]

  • My Pulitzer Prediction

    My Pulitzer Prediction

    Okay, I’m going out on a limb here, but, I called it once before. I had a chance about ten years back to interview for radio, the novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, for his book, Middlesex. I haughtily (Well, that’s how Michelle called it) proclaimed, “Mr. Eugenides, I’m gonna say it–I believe this one’s going to win the […]

  • “F**k You, Death.”

    “F**k You, Death.”

    We’ve been reading about Death in Robert Frost’s and Emily Dickinson’s poems. They’ve both got different voices, and different “angles” on dying. Now we have our friend, Dylan Thomas, the scotch-slugging, chain-smoking Welsh poet who gives us a little advice on facing our own death. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is one […]