Happy Fourth of July! An Independence Day-Related New Favorite Poet: Barbara Crooker

My latest new favorite poet is Barbara Crooker (from American Life in Poetry: Column 484).

Those of us that can identify writing our names and other words or shapes in the air with sparklers (as children OR adults ;-) ) should feel a certain nostalgia when reading the below piece. The real thing about the poem though, is the almost filigreed fineness of the words themselves.


We’re writing our names with sizzles of light
to celebrate the fourth. I use the loops of cursive,
make a big B like the sloping hills on the west side
of the lake. The rest, little a, r, one small b,
spit and fizz as they scratch the night. On the side
of the shack where we bought them, a handmade sign:
Trailer Full of Sparkles Ahead, and I imagine crazy
chrysanthemums, wheels of fire, glitter bouncing
off metal walls. Here, we keep tracing in tiny
pyrotechnics the letters we were given at birth,
branding them on the air. And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath, and then I ring
belle, belle, belle in the sulphuric smoky dark.

My favorite lines:

“And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath…”

In them, she lets the reader know, in a certain, special way, that the sparklers help her feel her mother again.

The full article can be found by clicking here.

Enjoy! :-D


How Anne Sexton Won the Pulitzer Prize : David Trinidad : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

A very enlightening yet stinging (for me, that is) article on my poetic idol and the process behind how she won the Pulitzer prize for “Live or Die”.

As far as I am concerned, she did not win it by “default”, for her work is so incendiary, inspirational, and truly masterful, that it was well-deserved. Just read Sylvia’s Death and you’ll see what I mean.

But (as the blog post states so well), it seems that the jury for the 1967 prize was unfocused and unable to come to a true concensus, which in this blogger’s humble (and YES, more than a bit biased in this case) opinion, the end point at which a prize jury should find themselves. Enjoy!

How Anne Sexton Won the Pulitzer Prize : David Trinidad : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation.



Love and commitment are not up for public opinion

My partner of 23 years and I express our deep and heartfelt gratitude to you, LMA, for expressing an opinion that is so spot on! It has nothing to do with politics or what someone else thinks (although it unfortunately seems that others think it is, which is just ludicrous), but simply to do with everyone being just like everyone else!

Love and commitment are not up for public opinion.

Transformations…Poet into Novelist?

Hello Dear Bloginistas,

I would like to know your opinion…

I have several possible fiction ideas I am developing and wanted to know how easy a transition you think it is from Poet to Novelist. This is just about the process of novel-writing, not the process of being published, marketing, etc. That’s a whole other universe! ;-)

Do you think it is a natural progression?

Are there steps that one should take in between (i.e., poems to short stories, then to novels)? Have any of you taken a poem and evolved it into a Short Story / Novel?

Those of you Poets out there in the Blogosphere who have written Novels, what was the experience like?

Let me know your answers to my burning questions in the comments…


Jamy :-D

The End of National Poetry Month…Progress, and the lack thereof – National Poetry Month Post #11

Hello Bloginistas!

Two days ago was the final day of the wonderful month that is National Poetry Month. On the second day of this auspicious month, I laid the groundwork for a “30 Posts in 30 Days” post commitment. WELL, since this is my 11th and final post, I obviously didn’t QUITE make it (in my defense, I did add “Maybe” to the end of the Post’s title).

I DO have many posts in a list that were supposed be part of the NaPoWriMo pipeline, but now, I will just post them as REGULAR posts. I truly thank you for your support and kind likes / follows, and look forward to the future of ARRTI, and what you have to say!

:-D Jamy

A Brief Review of “The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry” – National Poetry Month Post #10

The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

For my 10th National Poetry Month post, I wanted to write a brief review of one of my favorite anthologies, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove. It is a beautifully constructed, encyclopedic tome consisting of some of the greatest poetic minds of the past century.

What sets it apart (from many other such anthologies) though, for me, is the wonderful introduction by Ms. Dove. She starts it with a letter to whom she refers as “T”, about what a “Sisyphean task” she was about to undertake. But, after reading it, one can state that Ms. Dove got the rock to the top of the mountain and left it there, securely, never to roll down again.

The rest of the 23 page introduction is a beautifully detailed, expertly written road map of the “how” and the “why” the anthology was put together. After finishing it, not only was I impressed and entertained, I knew I was in for a great experience.

The anthology is presented chronologically, but not, according to Ms. Dove “to corral poets into historical arenas but rather as a nod to the ineluctable influence of the quotidian”. It does just that; we see, over the decades, how poetry has changed and how it hasn’t, how timeless some work is, how other pieces are of their time and belong to that time only.

I was going to put several examples of my favorites, but decided on just three (from three points in the 20th century: early, middle, and late) to encourage you to get the book yourself, and find your own! ;-)

“Fragment” – Angelina Weld Grimke

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” – James Wright

“Bag of Mice” – Nick Flynn

You can go here to get the book from Amazon.

:-D Jamy