Every week or so, I take all the little scribbles I accumulate in various apps and on strange, half-forgotten scraps of paper and I file them in their proper place in my system; a process I call my notebook démêler (h/t to the Cajuns of my wife’s homeland for the term, which is a fantastic way of saying “de-messification”). Today I was doing all this de-messificaiton and I noticed my list of books to read was kind of outdated (new books to add, books I’ve read to remove). Anyway, my point is that in the ten minutes it took me to update the list, I somehow managed to buy yet another book of poetry. Typical.

Also: to all the publishers who are thoughtful enough to include a page that helps you set the text size correctly on your e-reader so the poem line breaks are shown correctly, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you for publishing poets.


What prophecy actually is is not that you actually know that the bomb will fall in 1942. It’s that you know and feel something that somebody knows and feels in a hundred years. And maybe articulate it in a hint — a concrete way that they can pick up on in a hundred years.

– Allen Ginsberg, Paris Review, “The Art of Poetry No. 8”

Still I Rise: Maya Angelou

The great Maya Angelou, spinning hope and wisdom and anger and love, always a difficult balance to achieve, but damn, Dr. Angelou, you make it look so easy:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

– via Kottke.org

The Power of Process


I’ve always admired poets, who manage to express so much under the significant constraints imposed by language. The selection of constraints has a great deal to do with a poet’s process, and Solmaz Sharif, evidently not content at the typical array of linguistic constraints, composed the poetry in Look around the U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. The result of his process is a powerful commentary on war, conflict, and language.

– via Hyperallergic

The World as I See It

I can’t help it: I watch the world, I read the news, I let all these urgent messages crash through my head. I imagine among them I hear the noise of voices straining to outshout each other’s prayers. I ignore it all, like a disgusted god like a regretful creator, totally over what he has made. …

Salt on Wound

Salt on wound

And water on mud

We are only memories

On the run across time

– Fadwa Suleiman, “Genesis” translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Hacker, A Public Space No. 24, 2016.