Ernesto Cardenal in Denver (via Bardstown, Kentucky)

I will be celebrating Earth Day in Denver this year with Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal, “Latin America’s greatest living poet”.

And he has Kentucky connections, which are always good to celebrate. Cardenal was a close friend of Thomas Merton monk -poet and lived in Kentucky for several years as a Trappist monk at Gethsemani.

He will be reading from his book The Origin of Species and Other Poems. The title and focus on Darwin’s theory intrigues me. Evolutionary theories, as a way of thinking about the world, have infiltrated so many disciplines. Since I’ve been listening to lectures on ecocriticism, I’m primed for a poetic meditation on this theory of our time.

I’ve been reading from another of Cardenal’s books, Apocalypse and other poems. Ernesto Cardenal poetry moves me and stops me in place, opens me up to the moment of being alive, of what it is to be living now. His PRAYER FOR MARYLIN MONROE is scathing and tender. EPIGRAMS begins with an epigraph from Catullus and recalls that poets mix […]

Creativity at Artcroft – Carlisle, KY

I’ve been in the writer’s residence at Artcroft for almost two weeks. One of my goals for this residency is to write daily and create a substantial first draft of a novel. My current tally is 12,000+ words; I am good with that.

I’m taking a short break in Lexington for a couple of days with my family. This will give me time to take care of some personal affairs that require Internet and phone access. On residency I have only limited Internet access using my phone.

Upon arriving at Artcroft I was bolstered by the beauty of the surrounding land and the care that has gone into creating this place. The fact that Robert and Maureen Barker built this place specifically in support of the arts is truly inspiring and motivating. I am grateful to be one of the many recipients of their support and encouragement. Their own creativity and art endeavours enable them to truly understand and provide what a person needs to sustain himself in a creative space.

I stay in the […]

Artcroft, here I come

Tomorrow I am flying to Kentucky. On July 1st I begin a creative residency at Artcroft in Carlisle, KY. This is an incredible opportunity for which I am incredibly grateful. Not only does this residency provide a supportive environment for me to write, but affirms my writing practice. The good people at Artcroft believe in me, believe I am a writer and value my creative endeavour. I feel very happy about this new adventure.

My project for the month long residency is a novel. Writing a long work is uniquely challenging. I’ve done it once before in 2006 when I began writing my MFA thesis. Up until that point I had written short stories only, and writing a novel was an invaluable learning process. The most important thing I learned was that I could do it. I could write everyday on an extended narrative.

The last couple of months I’ve been applying some of the lessons I learned from that project. Outlines help me. I’ve outlined the first two parts and left the conclusion open. […]

Prince of Sin City by Gary Walton

Prince of Sin City by Gary Walton 2009 Finishing Line Press Georgetown, KY

This picaresque novel tells the story of Dennis Prince, a freelance news reporter, uncovering corruption in Newport, Kentucky during the late 1980s. At first Prince’s mission is to merely follow a stripper at the request of her boyfriend, Big Dick Hubris, but soon he’s caught up in a complex web of intrigue with roots far back in Newport’s history implicating some of the city’s own in the greatest crime of the century ?, the assassination of JFK.

Prince of Sin City is a farce, along the lines of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and A Confederacy of Dunces.

I don’t usually like funny books ?. I just don’t get it; although I do get that it’s funny to lack a sense of humor. If it had been anything other than a Kentucky book, I wouldn’t have gotten beyond the first few chapters. But I did continue and by the time I reached the end I was glad of it. I think […]

A Poem for Mother’s Day

I read this poem at an open mic during Kentucky Women Writers Conference in 2005. It feels appropriate for this day.

She sets up her cardboard box temple at the crossroads over the mountain pass on the side of the road waiting for one thing to end and another to begin waiting for the tooth to fall out black and hollow holding on to lost children and conspiring to lose her mind she reads the phone book and finds all the same people with different numbers She asks for the crown royale like she’s asking for the time but she’s really asking if love is going to come around one more time and sit down next to her altar and take away what sorrow she has left and take her away over the mountain she says one last time

One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding

One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding. Robert Gover. Titusville, NJ: Hopewell Publications, 2005. 225 pages.

I first heard about One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding last year in a writing workshop with Bobbie Louise Hawkins. She suggested the book for it’s effective use of monologue.

The second time someone mentioned the book to me was after a reading at the The Laboratory of Art & Ideas. I had read the first chapter of my manuscript Beats the Blank, and a man in the audience came up to me afterwards and asked if I’d read the book by Robert Gover. I told him I hadn’t but since it had come my way twice by two different people I would for sure check it out. I ordered it the next week.

In his […]

Travelling Writer

I’ve been visiting Kentucky for the past week. It has been over a year since I’ve been here to there are lots of people for me to visit with. I’m having a great time.

And I’ve gotten some work done. I read through my manuscript with a red pen and made some changes. Now I have draft #2 almost done. When I get back to Boulder I’m going to get some comments back from Tim, who has been reading it since the beginning of the summer. By the time I bring it to class to workshop it should be pretty sharp.

I’ve also been listening to sappy love songs from the 80’s. (Remember Spandau Ballet? True?) But I won’t go into it. Let’s just say that I’m surprised at how some of my deepest ideas about love and life […]

Got to get published

I have a couple of weeks before going back to Lexington. I’ll be starting a new job tomorrow (as a ranch hand!) and moving to our new apartment on Tuesday. But I’ve decided to use this time to work in getting published.

A friend and classmate at Naropa got some incredible news last week that has inspired me. I don’t want to say what the news is yet because I don’t think the official announcement has been made. But he already said he’d give me an interview, so I’ll post one pretty soon.

I have a few stories of my own that are ready for publication. I sent some out last year, but this year I’m going to make an even bigger effort. I’m using the Writer’s Database to track them. In the next week I’ll send my story […]

Response to Lewis MacAdams: Service / Politics

During Week 1 of the Summer Writing Program I attended a lecture by Lewis MacAdams on his Los Angeles River Project. Naropa’s website gives his bio as:

Lewis MacAdams is a poet, journalist, filmmaker, and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River. He is the author of a dozen books and tapes of poetry, including The Poetry Room, Live At The Church, News From Niman Farm, and Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe. Poem For The Dawn of the Terror Years, The Family Trees, and The River, Books 1,2, & 3 were published recently by Blue Press in Santa Cruz. He is also the author of Birth of The Cool and is currently at work on a biography of Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner. His film, What Happened To Kerouac? ? is available on DVD. He is the father of four and lives in downtown Los […]

Godlike by Richard Hell

Here’s the review I started working on before the holiday. Enjoy.

Godlike by Richard Hell Akashic Books New York 2005

As soon as we let ourselves love another person we are forever wounded, because we are dying and everyone we love is already dead. It’s that certain. Life is just so much unfolding of time and spatial relationships. The wound of our mortality is with us if we dare to look honestly and directly at our lives. Godlike by Richard Hell not only looks but picks at the scab.

Richard Hell was born Richard Meyers in Lexington, Kentucky in 1951. As a teenager he was in and out of trouble. He got […]