David Cherry's blog

Notes on Amphigouri*: Slithy Toves, Granfalloons**, and Cromulentishness***

Illustration of the Jabberwock by Sir John Tenniel

Human language ranks even above the much-vaunted opposable thumb in my book. Sure, thumbs came in handy for our ancestors when it came to throwing spears at bison and such, but I think we can all agee that it was when humans developed the ability to order a mastodon sirloin rare with a side of sloth that things really started to take off progress-wise.

"A Writer First, A Woman After" --Katherine Mansfield

Honestly, I do not know what possessed me to attempt to tackle this topic, but here it is: there is no essential difference between male and female poets. In fact, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that in a blind taste test, it would be nearly impossible to accurately guess the gender of any given poet by the poem alone.*** The range of approaches and poetic concerns within each gender grouping are just too vast; in other words the category "women poets" is so broad as to be nearly meaningless.

Lucille Clifton 1936-2010

Cover Art: Wild Blessings: The Poetry of Lucille Clifton by Hilary HolladayLucille Clifton wrote as close to the bone as a poet can. She cut away much punctuation, all ornament and everything else that was superfluous to the task at hand. Her poems often had the rhythm of speech, but it was speech as one wishes speech could be. 

Love Poems For Valentine's Day: Guaranteed To Throw Sparks Or Your Money Back.

Photo Credit: aliança by Rodrigo GianesiFor some people Valentine's Day is easy. They sow Necco Sweethearts like grass seed, believing each little saying imprinted on each little pastel-tinted heart to be meaningful if not oracular. Then there are the conspiracy theorists who claim to have documented proof that the Truffle Makers' Guild and the equally nefarious Greeting Card Poets' Bund are behind the whole charade.

And then there are the rest of us, swinging between hope and despair.

The Surreal Thing

Photo Credit: The Treachery of Images by Rene Magriite / Photo by Jason ford (Sur)reality TV: Andre Breton, self-appointed (or self-anointed) Grand Poobah of the Surrealist Movement and author of its manifesto, was the kind of kid who would take his ball and go home whenever the other children balked at his dictatorial ways,

Is Rap Poetry?

In an earlier post I argued--not altogether convincingly even to myself--that songwriters should not beVintage Typewriter by House of Sims / Brandi Sims considered "poets." Basically, I said it is an apples to oranges comparison--each genre's aims and tools are so different as to be nearly unrelated.

Theories of Everything, Answers to Nothing

Over the last few years I've read a lot of literary theory and will frankly admit that most of it just doesn't Dekonstrukcja by eisenbahner make a dent. It comes in, curls up in my brainpan like a very fat, very disagreeable cat and goes to sleep, occasionally waking up to bat around my medulla oblongata like a toy mouse.

Songwriters vs. Poets: A Battle Royale (Or a Long-simmering Grievance Aired to No Good Effect)

Our lives would be so much better if everyone had their own horn sectionPetrarch and his Favorite Axe, after a fresco by Andrea del Castagno.
John Prine is a songwriter I admire a lot. I can’t listen to any of the many covers of “Angel from Montgomery” without getting all wistful and gooey inside.

Poetry, Politics and Principled Uncertainty

Typiewriter! by etharooni/ethan r"Have you ever heard of insect politics? Insects don't have politics. They're very... brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first... insect politician. Y'see, I'd like to, but..."
--Seth Brundle, The Fly (1986)

Last week's post got me thinking about poets as public voices, presuming to, or being presumed to, speak for those who can't or don't speak for themselves--in short, poets as political animals.

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