or 100 Jackhammers for the Poet with Writer’s Block;
or 100 Ways to Jumpstart the Engine;
or 100 Pencil Exercises;
or 100 Ways to Stimulate Your Next Wine, Cheese, & Poetry Night
Table of Contents
- Finding the First, Discovering the Middle, & Chasing the End
- Imaginary Worlds
- Science, the Universe, Time, & Other Evolutions
- Fun with Letters, Words, Language, & Languages
- Forms: Obscure, Updated, & Invented
- New School; or Double Vision; or WWI (Writing While Intoxicated) & Its Repercussions
- Miscellany; Trying to Relate the Unrelated; or These Gotta Go Some Place . . . So Here
- Stupid Money, Dumb Politicians, & Celebrating America
- Responses; or Calling All Poets (Dead & Alive); or Talking to Eternity
- It’s All About You
New School; or Double Vision; or WWI (Writing While Intoxicated) & Its Repercussions
Here’s a phrase that probably exists, & if it doesn’t, it should. I’m sure it’s from somewhere. Let me know if you know.
One of the aspects of cubism is using multi-perspectives in space & time on one canvas. Consider Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
I See the cats playing with a rose fallen from a wreath: a stiff silvery stem topped by a dark pink ball. How curiously they bat the rose, sniffing it with glee, and that’s what makes me bend, and see that it’s really the long dried tail and entrails of a rat. I laugh: If rose & rat are not so far apart, then what can’t be mistaken for something that it’s not? The turn’s a way of telling me to make each breath a self-revision. “I see” from Bend by Natasha Sajé, published by Tupelo Press. Copyright 2004 by Natasha Saje. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Tupelo Press.
The assignment then: Bend as many perspectives as you can into a poem – a poem to not exceed one page in length (consider it your canvas). And please, don’t rely too heavily on line breaks.
Helpful hints to achieve this assignment: pretend you are inside Picasso’s mind or Einstein’s mind.
GemALEgedicht – The Pintist School of Poetry
Let me tell you a story of the forgotten school of poetry that Ralph Black & I (Tom Holmes) have recently discovered. This school arrived in the late nineteenth century & early twentieth century in a few dank, town pubs in Northern England, Scotland, & on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. This poetic movement wasn’t a response to anything, it grew organically from the hops & yeast in Pints of Ale.
The Pintists, as they were called, believed in writing poetry whilst drinking pints of ale. Though they preferred to call their composing of poetry in this manner as Pinting. This school of poetry held firm in their beliefs of Pinting: everything could be explained by using only objects in the bar as a metaphor for the human condition; they believed the bartender was a high priest, or priestess; and their muse, their god, was represented in the below picture painted by Brian Warner.
Yes, the Pintists held strong til they read these lines from The Waste Land:
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME
These lines shook many Pintists to the core. They believed they had been stagnating by drinking only one ale. The Pintists slowly fractured. First came the experimentalist who started binging on the German Ales. Then some of them even split into a smaller group of fringe avant gardists who downed Indian Pale Ales whilst writing their poems (& they were sure to use “whilst” as often as possible in their poems because they believed “whilst” had etymological connections to “whistle”, which they thought keen because they were always wetting their whistle, which later became their underground, hip word for pencil, because the pencil, they believed, couldn’t create unless it was wet with ale. (Some deep-hearted, avant garde, IPA Pintists actually took this literally, & dipped their pencils into their pints of IPA, like a fountain pen into an inkwell, as a ritual before they wrote. A few years later, these poor soles, these writers in the primes of their youths & artistic expressions, died from lead poisoning. This sorrowed all Pintists, & they slowly vanished like the sputtering of an empty keg.)).
At the same time everyone was reading the lines “HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME”, & whilst the avant garde IPA Pintists were slowly killing themselves, feminists got involved in the movement. They believed, & rightly so, that they too could drink as much & write as well as any of the male Pintists. This group of women would become known as the Ale-Wives. And whilst they believed in the Pintist school of poetry, they also believed the words “HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME” was a good suggestion to all that it is time to go home. The Ale-Wives stressed the importance that there are certainly a few things outside of the pub that are important to consider. They also stressed the cyclic nature of life – all good things must come to an end, but tomorrow is just the beginning of more good things.
Around the time of the rise of the Ale-Wives, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, & Gertrude Stein were in Dublin, Ireland, trying to raise rent money for James Joyce. They met Joyce in a bar in Dublin to give him rent money so he wouldn’t be evicted & so he could concentrate on his writing. Joyce was so touched by the love & concern that he started buying drinks to celebrate this act of love. Eventually, when the rent money was almost all gone, Joyce started buying drams of ale instead of pints. He was trying to conserve what little money he had left. At which point, Ezra asked Joyce if he had heard or read anything of the Pintists. Joyce responded, “Yes, they are so dramatic & grandiose in their expositions. What they need to do is start drinking these drams, like us!” Soon the minimalist school of Pintists was born, & they called themselves the Pintalists. The Pintalists lasted the night, & the school was never heard from again. Though one poem was recently discovered by a Pintologist from Brockport, NY. This Pintologist was in SUNY Buffalo’s library of archives doing research on Ezra Pound. Whilst going through Pound’s journals, he found a cocktail napkin with a poem on it. He believes the poem was written during the night of the Pintalists. The poem reads:
In a Tavern in Dublin, Ireland The apparition of these faces – bubbles on a dram of ale.
Ok. Your assignment is to revive the school of Pintists. You will find a bar & compose poems whilst drinking pints of ale, um, I mean, you will involve yourself in Pinting.
Oh, one last thing, all Pintists believed in good tipping practices. They believed it healed the soul. They believed the better they tipped their high priests & priestesses, the less hungover they would be in the morning.
Ok. Now, go forth.
Katzenjammer Poesie, Jeg har tommermenn Poesi, Katza Poezja, Mamurluk Poezija, or Hangover Poetry
There’s a somewhat new & most unique book out: The Wrath of Grapes: A Complete Hangover Cookbook & Guide to the Art of Creative Suffering (XOXOX Press, 2004). In a smart & fun & creative manner, the author, Patrick Meanor, educates us in ways to deal with our hangovers. And it will be most useful for us poets, since this book is culturally aware & informs us through poems, poets, writers, movies, music, etc.
One of the things The Wrath of Grapes notes is that there is very little written about the hangover, creatively or medically. But it does note that Peter Fallow, the anti-hero from The Bonfire of the Vanities, is “the first official Hangover Hero in American literature.”
Your assignment is not to get drunk & hungover, but to be on the forefront of a new genre: Hangover Poetry. This will be a poetry that deals with the hangover on some level: as a starting point for a metaphor, a place to turn a metaphor towards, a launching point for something else – but it must include the hangover. We need to see what we can learn from the hangover? how can it inform us? etc. . . .
A sub-genre would be poems that were written while hungover, but this is not advised.
Here’s an excerpt from an early part of The Wrath of Grapes that suggests something you should not do when hungover:
Don’t study the physical habits of your pets, especially the dog. Cats are mercifully enigmatic and won’t evoke too much paranoid response from you, although their piercing stare could unnerve you if you observe too long. Dogs, however, especially their incredibly quick eyebrow movements, should be avoided. Their eyebrow activity may pull you into the emotions that they seem to be expressing and will exhaust your mind by trying to follow their quickly changing feelings from sadness-to-happiness-to-fear-to-illness-to-daffiness, and so on ad infinitum. This is called “dog’s eyes syndrome.” It’s the old problem of what poets call the “pathetic fallacy”; that is, projecting human emotions into simple animal actions that mean nothing – which is really pathetic. Their eyebrows are probably adjusting to light refraction since most dogs are half blind anyway and they’re simply trying to see you. But don’t think about that too much, either.
(Patrick Meanor quote from The Wrath of Grapes is used with permission of XOXOX Press. Please visit their website at www.xoxoxpress.com.)