David Cherry's blog

On Odes, OCDs, and a Cat Named Jeoffry

It is an unfortunate reality of collective memory that Christopher Smart is remembered less for his poetry than for hisCat Jump 1 by Robbie Sproule cat, the admirable Jeoffry, and his habit (Smart’s, not Jeoffry’s) of throwing himself down to pray whenever and wherever he felt called to do so, including, according to Old Sam Johnson, the sewage and offal-strewn streets of London....

Notes on Notes from Underground, Punk and Russian Poetry

Photo Credit: Klaviatura by khanele / Hannah Born We all come out of Gogol's overcoat
                      --Fyodor Dostoevsky
When I read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground for the first time, it screwed me to my chair for about a week. I was paralysed with a not completely unpleasant terror that when or if I finally pried myself loose, the world would no longer be the brick-and-mortar, what-you-see-is-what-you-get place I had...

Elegies

Sometimes there are no words. 
But time, because it cannot know how fragile we are, will keep flowing.
We will eventually step back into its current. There will be solace.

"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" in The Collected Poems: 1934-1952 / Dylan Thomas
The Book of Psalms
 
Elegy: Poems / Mary Jo Bang
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If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Say It in Print: Scattered Thoughts on Criticism

Photo Credit: Underwood Typewriter II by Geof Wilson  Several weeks ago, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea: Why not write a critique of criticism. I thought I would argue that the thumbs-up-thumbs-down approach is too blunt an instrument for poetry and that there seems to be a tendency for poetry critics to review the poet rather than the book, so that every review becomes an appraisal of a career.

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On Influence, Influenza and Outright Thievery

Photo Credit: Glad Day for Surfin,' after William "Hodad" Blake by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com Lately, I have been thinking a lot about this aphorism. It seems to have as many originators as it does permutations. The gist of it is, “good writers borrow; great writers steal.”

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The Rich, Ouija Boards, and Other Things I Don't Understand

Photo: [Ouija Board] by ~!'s / RyanWhen Frederick Seidel drops a name, it tends to land with the kind of thump that gets a room's attention. Like Neal Cassady's hammer in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, it never happens by accident.

In many ways Seidel is the kind of human being for whom I could work up an unhealthy dislike. For one thing, he's rich; worse yet, he was born that way, and for another thing . . . well, fran...

Poetry in Motion . . . Pictures: The Uneasy Marriage Between Poetry and Film

Photo: Mayan Again by GIRLintheCafeThere are not a lot of movies about poets, which is probably a good thing. It’s just not easy to make riffling through a dictionary looking for a word that rhymes with angst cinematically compelling, and the act of writing—even with a quill pen--is seldom as riveting as a good car chase. Nor do most poets live lives that lend themselves to anything beyond Hal Hartley-style absurdist vérité.

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Rimbaud, Kerouac and Other Heroes I've Slain (A Family Tree of Sorts)

Photo: Details of an Old Typewriter by Raúl Hernández González  Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop! Stop!” cried the old man, “I didn't drag my own father beyond this tree.”The Making of Americans

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