Writing and Politics

I looked the word politics up in Merriam-Webster and saw that there are different definitions

As a rule, I abstain from politics. The version of politics I avoid is: the art or science of government; the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy; and the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government ?.

I do not vote or protest or sign petitions. I do not read or watch the news. I refrain from involving myself with the democratic process in the US. Instead of working with the system, I work with people through service.

Another definition of politics is the total complex of relations between people living in society ?. That’s pretty comprehensive. The English language is tricky: the […]

Bullet, Hell, and Podcasts

The semester is finishing up and I have alot of school work to do. Which means I’m finding lots of other interesting things to occupy my time.

Bullet issues 1-3 arrived this weekend. Oh yeah. The first issue is four inches wide and eight inches tall, which fits easily in my back pocket. It’s real nice looking, well worth the three bucks or so that I spent on it. But what really counts are the stories inside.

The cover promises: Danger! Danger! 10 High Voltage Stories. The only previous Bullet story I’d read was the one they sent when I signed up for their email-list, None of this stopped Lemmy by Annie Rinse, about two skin head punks who drive a stolen car through a store window.

November 21st, 2005 | Category: Nothing Achieving, Poiesis | Comments are closed

Is naropa on the inside or outside?

I heard about this article at P&W and this interview with Steven Ford Brown from the KY Literary Newsletter.

The interview is mostly about a website, foetry.com which reports on fraudulent poetry contests sponsored by some respectable institutions, including University of Iowa’s Iowa Poetry Prize, University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series, and The Colorado State University’s Colorado Prize.

It’s pretty shocking. These are some prestigious names. Even Kentucky’s Sarabande was in the foetry list (the good news is that Sarabande has changed its contest rules to include a no friends of the judge ? clause).

The interview with Steven Ford Brown also gets into the ethics of the whole MFA system. This is an important discussion. The issues raised are the same ones I struggled with […]

a punk rocker now

I recieved my signed copy of Godlike but I’m waiting for Winter break to start reading it. I’m talking Richard Hell up all over the place though.

At work, whenever I see someone come in that looks even vaguely punk I ask if they’ve heard of Richard Hell. They say no and I proceed to tell them that he is the o-riginal punk rocker and was influenced by Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

And I always mention that he’s from Lexington, Kentucky. Usually by the time I’m handing them their bagel and chai, I’ve talked so much about him that they’re writing Richard Hell on the back of their hands.

Yesterday one of my teachers came in for his coffee, Steven Taylor, who I know is connected with the […]

Kingdom of Shambhala

The semester has about four weeks left. From my engineering days, I remember this time as crunch time. I don’t have any final exams, but I do have several papers that coming due. Next Monday I have to turn in a paper on the Shambhala training level one that I went to last weekend. But it’s pretty straightforward: five to seven pages with specific questions to answer.

The first question is What is the kingdom of Shambhala and how is its story relevant for us today?

Here’s my answer:

Shambhala is a mythical kingdom located in the Himalayan Mountains. The exact location of Shambhala has been lost. Some people believe the Kingdom still exists in Tibet, but directions to it are coded in a poetic language.

Road Work by Jack Lewis

In Road Work (Operation Homecoming, Random House 2006) by Jack Lewis tells what I would call an anti-war story.

I know Jack through Zoetrope, where he is a member of the Antiwar Poetics & Writing Office. While he is anti-war, he is expressly not anti-military which may seem like a paradox but is one that many soldiers and families of soldiers have to deal with. He calls it his veteran’s agnosticism ? and says he won’t sell out his friends to take a stand ?.

That’s key to the stories success: not taking a stand. That is what makes the writing powerful anti-war writing. It doesn’t take a stand, which would really just be a disguised pro-war activity. Isn’t that what war is about: choosing a side, taking a stand, defending a way of life?

November 11th, 2005 | Tags: | Category: Ahimsa, Long Tail Reader, Poiesis | Comments are closed

writing doesn’t say enough

I’m reading Madison Smartt Bell’s writing book Narrative Design for my final paper on the structure of stories.

He discusses the faults with the craft-only Iowa style workshop approach to teaching creative writing, as well as the faults with the what he calls the inner-process style. About the inner-process he writes:

The inner-process teaching strategy can indeed get interesting results. But to my mind the risks it presents to the individual student writer are too great. One’s inner process should in fact remain private. If you admit into it the writing teacher, and/or the writing group, you risk forming a quasi-pathological dependency.

He goes on to say that the good teacher finds a balance between both and so will the discerning student. Recalling the workshop I took […]

Enlightened Society

This weekend I am going to a Shambhala Training, level one: The Art of Being Human. This is a one credit course through Naropa. For the past couple of months I’ve been reading Sacred Path of the Warrior.

I’ve been interested in this training since I went to a talk at the Lexington Shambhala Center. At the talk in Kentucky, Lance Brunner described Shambhala training as a secular practice that could be combined with any (or no) religious practice.

I have seen the power of religion. In some very real ways my brother’s life was saved by his finding religion. I remember when he went to the hospital and the doctors told him if he didn’t stop drinking he would not live to be 25. He is now very involved in his church, community, and family in practical ways […]


Yesterday at ESL I was able to talk with one of my students for a few minutes before class. It was an interesting situation because I know only a few words of spanish and she knows only a few words of english. But we managed to cobble together a genuine conversation.

We talked about the weekend and halloween. Her son, who is four years old, dressed up as Frankenstein. I asked about her work. She works at a hotel one block up from Naropa. Boulder is starting to feel more like a real community. When I walk home from school I pass the hotel where she works in housekeeping. I feel connected, like elements of my life are integrated.

I also got three new students to the class yesterday, a married couple and another woman. It was kind of […]

A Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

Tonight I went to a reading called 4×4 ?, featuring four graduate students, one each from CU, DU, CSU, and Naropa. The readers were:

CSU: Matt Goering DU: Paul Grandbois CU: Jennifer Greene Naropa: Zulema Inai

I’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed with how much I’m learning here at Naropa. That’s the thing about learning. I knew when I applied that I would learn something, but since I haven’t learned it yet I have no idea what that something is.

I imagine a treasure box. I know there is treasure inside, but until the chest is open I can’t really appreciate what the treasure is. Now that I am here and the treasure chest is opening I am filled with joy and gratitude.

When my teacher/mentor James Baker Hall […]