Poem: Expectations

Expectations

Anyone may “find” a text; the poet is he who names it, “Text”.
–John Hollander [1] [2] [3]

1.

The very heavens
rupture — news of Pontiff’s decision
to abdicate.

2.

Somewhere in America,
for nearly a week, film and
fiction collide — Rambo-like
manhunt ends as expected.

3.

She sings, When you get
to Asheville send me
an email…. 

Will she tell me that
the President is
coming to town?

Will a hollywood
celebrity greet
him when he arrives?

Will he retire
to the Paris of the South
after this whole
presidency thing
?

4.

Whether it comes from
above or snakes its way through
the dark depths below,

the number one regret on
the lips of the dying is
to have lived true to one’s self

rather than by the
expectation of others.

NOTES:
[1] From the archives of this blog.
[2] The poem was composed from and of news headlines and related blog posts. John Hollander wrote in Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form that “anyone may ‘find’ a text; the poet is he who names it, ‘Text’.”
[3] Annotated version of this found poem was published Feb. 15, 2013 and originally titled “The courage to live”.

Typewriter poetry and blogging

Some days all you need

A poem for a friend composed on a manual typewriter

At least five years ago, an old beat up manual typewriter provided a platform to compose poetry and other writings.1 It was an effort to return to an intentional practice of crafting poetry and prose without distraction of disruptive media.

For years and years, a notebook, journal or sketchbook was never far from reach. But one night after a long night of poetry and music at Beanstreets followed by an even longer time of coffee and conversation at Old Europe, a friend convinced me to try blogging.

Photo courtesy of @mxmulder

Sample journal page of poetry

The immediate response to blogging was infections.2 Connecting with people all over the country, networking, sharing and being part of an active digital community was exciting. The practice of writing allowed me to hone the craft of creative writing and exposed me to other writers across the country. One of those bloggers actually showed up at a poetry gig I did. She was on a cross-country trip to visit friends and wanted to visit in real life.

Over time, I noticed that my practice of writing notes, daily sketches and other activities had all but disappeared. Relying on keyboards, display screens, hard drives and servers presented became a crutch. My writing drafts and sketches appeared deceptively crisp and final in neatly formatted text documents and web blog interface windows.

So, I pulled the plug. Returned to handwriting and typing as practice.3 Some friends and fellow poets saw a few samples of typewritten work and suggested I post it on my blog. It was a novelty. A curiosity. So, I did.

One of the first photographs of a poem I composed on a typewriter was written for a friend. It was posted about this time of year — in 2011.4 A few days later I followed up with another poem5 that was later read at poetry event.

I do not claim to be the first person to post an image of a poem typed on a manual typewriter. But I noticed a trend in that direction about a year after posting those images of poem sketches.6 Not sure exactly if I started the trend. Probably did not. Maybe other like-minded individuals who sought to return an organic practice of handwriting and typing as a mode of composing their visions and ideas.

Here is to a five year anniversary of analog writing.

NOTES:
[1] In truth, I composed poems on an electric typewriter prior to that. Did it for decades. Did not own a personal computer until… well, that is another story.
[2] That was when there were a mere couple million web blogs in the world. Now, there are some platforms, like Tumblr, boasting 100 million blogs. The blogosphere has become quite congested.
[3] Examples of some the 30 poems in 30 days journal posts with photos: here, here and here.
[4] April 1, 2011, blog post.
[5] Poem: “Never Look A Doughnut Dealer in the Eyes”
[6] Examples include Typewriter Poetry, Remington Typewriter Poetry, and the most popular is Tyler Knott (though his web page has an archive going back to 2003 (which is odd because he uses Tumblr as a platform and Tumblr was launched in early 2007… maybe he migrated his content from some other source to Tumblr… but I digress) the posted images do not begin until 2012 (unless I am mistaken).

Five reasons to support the poetry marathon

Racine poets at last year's poetry marathon

Racine, WI poets represented at last year’s Poetry Marathon.
Photo Credit: Woodland Pattern Book Center

Just two more days until the 21st Annual Poetry Marathon Benefit Reading at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. Here are five reasons to support the Annual Poetry Marathon:

  1. over 25,000 small press titles
  2. book titles include poetry, chapbooks, fine print materials, broadsides, and multicultural literature
  3. money raised supports Woodland Pattern’s 2015 programming in literature and the arts, including an after school program and youth summer camp
  4. enjoy 15 hours regional poets, writers, and lovers of the arts
  5. 150 poets and writers from Milwaukee and surrounding areas

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Five poets representing Racine, Wisconsin at the Woodland Pattern’s poetry marathon need your support! Help each performer raise at least $35.

  1. Nick Demske – poet and author of critically acclaimed self-titled poetry book and featured in Poets & Writers. read more
  2. Justin Grimbol – author of Hard Bodies, Drinking Until Morning and others. read more
  3. Kelsey Harris – poet featured at the 2014 Racine and Kenosha Authors Book Fair.
  4. Aaron Lundquist – spoken word poet, featured at Grassroots Open Mic and Artist Showcase. read more
  5. Nick Ramsey – Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin and co-founder of Family Power Music. read more

Ok, technically, there are more than five, but I saw most of these fine poets perform last night at the Grassroots Open Mic at George’s Tavern. Also, I will be reading during the marathon as part of the Racine delegation. Please consider supporting me with a pledge. It is as easy as one, two, three. Go to the Woodland Pattern Book Center, here, and:

  1. under “Pledge a Reader online!” select a donation amount,
  2. add “Reader’s Name” (that’s me, Matthew Mulder) and
  3. click the “Pay Now” button.

Thanks for your support!

Your help is appreciated! My goal is to

Your help is appreciated! My goal is to reach $100 pledge by Friday. If you could pledge $5 that would be awesome! ow.ly/I2LjB

Help support the Poetry Marathon

Racine poets at last year's poetry marathon

Racine, WI poets represented at last year’s Poetry Marathon

The 21st annual Poetry Marathon Benefit Reading for Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern Book Center is this Saturday, January 31, 2015. If you are not familiar with Woodland Pattern Book Center, here is an introduction to this non-profit organization from their website:

 Woodland Pattern’s… specializes in literature from small and independent presses and is well-stocked with over 25,000 titles.

The poetry section is among the best in the world, and has a comprehensive blend of classics and contemporary works, translations, and poets from all schools. Several ethnic sections include… poetry from African American/Black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native American writers. Nearly half… of our space is devoted to poetry, a commitment that few organizations can claim to match. (continue reading)

Woodland Pattern’s mission is:

…dedicated to the discovery, cultivation and presentation of contemporary literature and the arts.

Our goals are to promote a lifetime practice of reading and writing, to provide a forum and resource center for writers/artists in our region, and to increase and diversify the audience for contemporary literature through innovative approaches to multi-arts programming. (continue reading)

I will be reading during the marathon and would really appreciate your support. Please consider supporting me with a pledge. It is really easy and only takes three steps. Go to the website (here),

  1. under “Pledge a Reader online!” select a donation amount,
  2. add “Reader’s Name” (that’s me, Matthew Mulder) and
  3. click the “Pay Now” button.

And thank you on behalf of the Woodland Pattern Book Center!

[Podcast] Advent Poems – special edition – 1

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This is a special edition of the Coffeehouse Junkie audio podcast.

A couple years ago I composed a list of twelve Advent poems that has become on of the most read blog posts of Coffeehouse Junkie.

This episode features “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov, “Advent” by Donald Hall, “Into The Darkest Hour” by Madeleine L’Engle and a selection from the Book of Common Prayer.

When books find you and do not let go

Other than “To an Athlete Dying Young,” my familiarity with A. E. Housman is very limited. But serendipitously a published lecture of his found me and I have been deeply reading it for a couple of months now. The lecture is titled The Name and Nature of Poetry.

In contrast, another book found me in late August. It is Finding the Islands by W. S. Merwin. This too have I read deeply for the last few months (and I dare not confess how much my library fine is to date).

These authors speak to be in a manner that few contemporary writers do. Modern readers consume modern fiction and poetry, but modern literary works seem less and less able to engage me. I feel — at times — as if I am drifting backwards in time as my years advance.

Help select Advent poems

A few years ago I posted a question: Why is it so difficult to find well-written Advent poems? There was little to no response to that post.

Undeterred, I collected a few poems that are good examples of poems of the Advent and posted either web links to the poems or the poems themselves.

Each year, around mid-October the traffic to those Advent poem posts increases dramatically. By the end of the calendar year they are in the most visited posts on this blog.

This year I am considering an audio podcast production featuring readings of selected poems. Here is where I could use your help:

  1. If you have a few minutes please take a look at a list of twelve Advent poems and let me know which is your favorite. Or if you have an Advent poem that is not listed please send me a web link or the poem for consideration.
  2. If you are or know of a musician who would like to contribute to the audio podcast, please contact me. Specifically, I am looking for instrumental compositions.

Thanks for your support. I look forward to your feedback.

 

Photos from last weekend’s Racine and Kenosha Authors Book Fair

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Kelsey Harris reading her poem “Pinkest Thoughts.”

 

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Dan Nielsen reading is (in)famous five-liners.

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Nick Demske reading from his celebrated book Nick Demske.

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Marcia Eanes reading from Passion’s Zest.

 

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Kelsey Hoff reading from her recently published Sad Girls Poems.

 

Is poetry the language of protest?

This question is like a sliver under my skin. It started after I read an article that made the following statement: “At its root, poetry is the language of protest.”

  • Is this statement is true(objective)? Or opinion (subjective)?
  • Does poetry function as poetry if it no longer contains an element of protest?
  • If poetry is like a kitchen recipe with ingredients and proper baking instructions, what would the recipe look like?
  • Do you come to poetry with a desire to protest?

What say you, dear reader?