Posts Tagged ‘Poems for an Empty Church

02
Feb
12

First Brief Notes on Paleopoetry

I stumbled upon this image just a moment ago.

Woman with Horn

It’s called Woman with Horn. (There may be other names, but that’s what I’m using.) I found a decent brief description of this Woman with Horn carving:

This limestone image of a female carved into the cliff wall at Laussel, in the Dordogne, in France, carries an object that perhaps is a horn, or, by virtue of its lunette shape, might evoke the moon. It dates to roughly 20,000-18,000 BCE, and seems more imposing than its mere 17 inches of height. (Nature and Society)

There’s a lot more to it than that, as I remember from studies, and I think I get to some of it in this poem, which I wrote sometime ago.

All Objects Contain History in this House
after Louis Zukofsky & W. C. Williams

The pregnant lady
on the wall,
she lived here
first. Her left arm broke.
Too brittle
we assume.
We feel sorrow
for her
fingers reach
only inches
above her navel.
No farther. A bit longer
is her right arm
& strong.
She stands with her elbow cocked
as if to throw
the crescent moon
to the end of the year.
We can tell.
She looks
forward with the stone stance
of determined aim,
&
the crescent has thirteen scratches
made with intent
& a blade.
The marks obviously
are for the passing year’s
every new moon.
Her expectant face
though is blank. Not without
expression
totally but flat
as the wall.
We barely
notice her breasts
sag
to her wrist
& stretch marks.
Her right nipple
also has broken off,
we can’t explain that,
but we can understand
why she wants to throw
away the past.

I started that poem in October 2003 and finished it on April 27, 2007. It now appears in Poems for an Empty Church (Palettes & Quills Press, 2011). If you like that poem, you’ll love the book because the other poems in it are even stronger.

I wanted to share that poem tonight for two reasons. One, I had forgotten about the above sculpture for a long time, and when I saw it, I remembered I wrote a poem about it. So there it is. Two, this is an early attempt at what my friend (Christine Noble) and I are calling Paleopoetry. Clayton Eshleman got there first, and he’s the man, but we are doing it differently. Except for this poem, I think the neo-Paleopoetry (where Eshleman is Paleopoetry) is more imaginative in the direction of the human spirit and soul at the time those Paleolithic artists existed. This neo-Paleopoetry likes to branch out into everything we can find and imagine and that made us human and how we became human. It about how we came to invent things like dolls and burial and cooking. And how the invention then turned back on the inventor and the spiraled outward to humanity and culture and fear and death and love and metaphors and sex and . . . . What it’s really about is living and the beginnings of living and the beginnings of the creative processes and imagination. The above poem isn’t really like that, or not much, but these new ones my friend and I are writing are. Maybe I’ll share some more as time goes by.

Additionally, Paleopoetry is also good place to also continue my explorations into investigative poetry. If I can study the Paleolithic era with enough integrity and write about it well enough, then the Paleolithic era will connect all people at all times. It will become a lense through which I see life and the universe and that I hope others will use to do the same.

I hope to have more detailed thoughts on this as I progress. I just wanted to get those first thoughts out there so I can remember to think about it and come back to it.//

10
Jan
12

Rob Carney and Tom Holmes Poetry Reading (1-27-12)

Friday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. –  Rob Carney (from Utah) and Tom Holmes at RIT Liberal Arts Faculty Commons (06-1251), right across from the Wallace Library.

That’s right I’ll be reading with Rob Carney. One of the three people to whom I dedicated Poems for an Church. So if you like my poetry, you’ll love his poetry even more. Plus, he’s an awesome reader. And if love mythic poems, this is a reading that shouldn’t be missed.

Rob CarneyRob Carney is the author of number of books, including Story Problems (Somondoco Press, 2011),  Weather Report (Somondoco P, 2006) and Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts (Pinyon Press, 2003), winner of the Pinyon Press National Poetry Book Award — and two chapbooks, New Fables, Old Songs (Dream Horse Press, 2003) and This Is One Sexy Planet (Frank Cat Press, 2005). His work has appeared in Mid-American Review, Quarterly West, and dozens of other journals, as well as Flash Fiction Forward (W. W. Norton, 2006). He lives in Salt Lake City. To hear an interview with him, the Poet Laureate of Utah, Katharine Coles, and the editor at Sugar House Review, John Kippen, click here. He is also a former guest editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics.

Tom Holmes – Wine Never BlinksTom Holmes is the editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics (www.redactions.com). He is also author of: Poems for an Empty Church (Palettes & Quills Press, 2011), which was nominated for The Pulitzer Prize; The Oldest Stone in the World (Amsterdam Press, 1-1-11, 12:00:00 a.m (the first book released in 2011)); Henri, Sophie, & the Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex (BlazeVOX Books, 2009); Pre-Dew Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2008); Negative Time (Pudding House, 2007); After Malagueña (FootHills Publishing, 2005), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, forthcoming). And he has thrice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

This event is sponsored by RIT and Palettes & Quills.//

01
Jan
12

Best Poetry Books in 2011

According to No Tell Poetry and Michael Meyerhofer, my poetry book, Poems for an Empty Church (Palettes & Quills)was one of the best poetry books released in 2011. You can read the full list here: http://notellpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/12/best-poetry-books-of-2011-michael.html.

Poems for an Empty Church front cover

Why not order a copy now?! Just click here.//

29
Sep
11

Poems for an Empty Church Book Release Reading and Party

Oh yeah. October is just around the corner, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yup. My girlfriend celebrates her birthday. And it’s time to celebrate Ezra Pound’s birthday.

Ezra Pound Yawping

And the Yankees make the playoffs. And it’s Halloween. And Tom Holmes has a book-release reading and party.

Poems for an Empty Church front cover

That’s right. I’ll be reading at A Different Path Gallery on Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the wonderful art gallery in downtown Brockport, A Different Path Gallery, located at 27 Market Street.

Poems for an Empty Church poster

[To download a printable version of the poster, click Poems for an Empty Church PDF.]

Oh yeah. Good times. Poetry, wine, food, and you. Come for the wine. Stay for the poetry.

Here’s what they are saying about the book:

I’ve had a good time with Poems for an Empty Church, which is a big book, capacious, and surprised me with its often free-flowing and associational aesthetics.  As you want (usually) a cubist perspective(s), and as you say you want your poem/accept your poem as smarter than you are, you hit all sorts of interesting effects.  So, friend, way to go. I peered through the rocks into that eye & land of yours ….

– William Heyen, author of Shoah Train (finalist for the National Book Award)

Of course, no church is ever really empty unless people let ritual and myth lapse into repetition and dogma. Even then it isn’t empty, just empty of awe. That’s when origin stories are most necessary, and that’s what Tom Holmes provides in abundance: Moons create amazement, then stones create reflection, then people come along creating words, aggression, fire, flutes, art, physics, and probably our destruction, everything progressing ’til it returns full circle. Along the way, “statues pry themselves from sides of buildings / and exit the city / clutching their plaques.” Along the way, a lot of fine poems unfold, one containing a curse: “you have succeeded / in being only what you thought / you should be.” It’s a curse because we ought to be more. In a century in need of a giant do-over, Poems for an Empty Church reminds us of that. Even better, it makes a good lever or spark.

– Rob Carney, author of Story ProblemsWeather Report, and Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts

In Poems for an Empty Church, Tom Holmes writes of birth and death and the life we live in between those two events in beautifully sculpted lines carved into the white space that surrounds them. “I dare say I can hear / muddy angels singing /the lines of God,” he writes in “The Calculus of a Tod Marshall Book of Poems.” There are plenty of angels in Tom Holmes’ poems too, but one must be still enough to hear and appreciate the whisk of wings hovering over these powerful meditations.

– Sarah Freligh, author of Sort of Gone

I think of Charles Olsen when I read Tom Holmes’ poems: open, investigative, prophetic, often with mystical implications. These are the elements of our best modernist poems, and Holmes is a modernist – or a pre-modernist, or a post-pre-modernist. And there lies the real interesting part of his poems, they are hard to fit into anyone anywhere. He sits us in an empty church and says listen. He knows “it was the moons talked first.” He knows the dreams we dream even when “we wheeze / asleep in our boxes of shadows.” In these poems and parables is our collective of fire and nightfall, origins and endings, monochromatics, rivers, and stretch marks. Sappho makes a rare presence, but this is a book more stone-carved than page-written and she too is an ancient muse. As this author’s I is an absent eye, scanning the world of caves and shadows to find clouds who feed themselves, ghosts like alphabets, and men who whittle bones into flutes.

– Sean Thomas Dougherty, author of Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line and Broken Hallelujahs

Poems for an Empty Church was officially released September 2, 2011, from Palettes & Quills. Founded in 2002, Palettes & Quills is devoted to the celebration and expansion of the literary and visual arts and offers both commissioned and consulting services. Palettes & Quills works to support beginning and emerging writers and artists to expand their knowledge, improve their skills, and connect to other resources in the community. Further, Palettes & Quills seeks to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of these arts through education, advocacy, hands-on assistance, and by functioning as a literary press.//

16
Sep
11

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day 100 (Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007)

Hurray. Finally, it’s Day 100 in the Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine Tour. I’ve been saving the Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 for quite some time and for quite some occasion. While tonight is a quiet night, here’s what’s been going in the last couple of weeks. Hmm. How to order them. I thought of listing by order of importance or magnitude, but, hmm, they are all pretty big. So randomly.

Finally, I got new job! Yay. Thanks Gerry Fish. I’m going to be an editor, which is something I love to do. The job begins Monday in St. Louis. I’ll stay there for a week. Then the rest of the gig is working from home.

Working from home on my new laptop. A Toshiba Satellite P705D with an AMD A6-3400M APU with Radeon HD Graphics 1.40 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM (thank goodness. that’s really what I wanted most), Windows 7 Home 64-bit, and 640 GB hard drive.

What else. Oh, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics issue 14 – The I-90 Poetry Revolution with guest editor, Sean Thomas Dougherty came out and we had a release party reading for it. It was a great reading held at the Alumni House at SUNY Brockport. (Thank English Department for hooking me up with space!)

SUNY Brockport is new thing. I’m teaching Introduction to Creative Writing there one night per week. I just started a few weeks ago. What fun.

I got that job thanks to Ralph Black, Steve Fellner, and Anne Panning and because I’ve a number of published books, including one that just came out two weeks ago. The book is Poems for an Empty Church from Palettes & Quills.

Poems for an Empty Church front cover

I’ve hired The Critic to speak on my behalf for this book.

The only way to shut him up is to BUY MY BOOK.

So I’ve had a lot going, and I’m not listing some other items, too. That’s enough. So tonight some good wine for the 100th day in pursuit of the juiciest wine.

Tonight’s wine is Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Napa Valley. It was number 5 on the The Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of 2010. So the wine should be perfect for tonight.

I got the wine on hearing its name and its rank. I did not know how it was spelled. I thought it was going to be a Spanish wine from Altamira. I was hooked because I love Spanish wines and I love the Altamira Cave with all the paleolithic cave art of which I’ve been writing poems about.

Altamira Bison

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007Enough of this. Let’s get to this 96-point wine.

The is an inky wine that’s dark purple in color and 90% opaque. It also has a tall meniscus. Is this wine even ready?

Thinking of tall, the bottle is tall and skinny. Odd.

The nose is smoky with dark berries, cassis, and black pepper. Yet with all that going on, it’s mild. My girlfriend says it smells inky. I get a hint of that, too.

Wow, that’s weird. It almost vanishes on the finish but then resurfaces.

It’s smooth going in like liquid air. And thinner than you’d expect from a cab. It’s actually kinda flowery when it gets in the mouth. But there’s also the counter of the inkiness and cassis. The cassis is on the beginning of the finish.

When you first taste it, it’s kinda like grapes. Like grape jelly but not as sweet but with the same wobbly texture.

My girlfriend picks up mushrooms. She also thinks its weird, but she thinks it’s weird because “It’s juicy, but I can’t define any of the berries.” After some time, she gets blackberries. I agree. That is, I think I can feel and taste those little blackberry hairs that poke out from in between the little blackberry bubbles.

Blackberries with hairs

This is a really mild wine. I quit enjoy. I give it an A.

The longer it sits, the juicier it gets and spicier, too. It gets more and more delicious. I can’t believe how much better it has become in the last 15 minutes. This bottle has been open for about an hour now, and it’s blossoming. It’s slowly becoming an A+. It’s coming alive with juiciness and youthful vitality. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein watching his monster come alive or, more specifically, Young Frankenstein watching his monster come alive.

The Altamura Cabernet Sauvignong 2007 is engaging. It’s flirting with me. It’s seducing me. Mmmmmmmm. I have been seduced.//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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