David Cherry's blog

Fish in a Barrel: The Case Against Billy Collins

No BillyI hate Billy Collins.

I imagine he would say with a six-figure smile that I'm way at the back of a long line of people who hate him.

Billy can take heart in the fact that because so many people hate him, it is becoming fashionable in some circles to claim to like him, but this is a transparent contrarianism born of cocktail party boredom and too much boxed wine on an empty stomach.

Notes on Parenthood, Wistfulness and Melancholy

Detail for Melancholia by Albrecht DurerWistful. 

A damn fine word . . . a first rate word, in fact . . . evocative . . . almost onomatopoeic . . . a word to conjure with . . . a word to get lost in . . . a word you can't really grasp until you've got a few rings under your bark . . . or until you've dropped off your daughter for her first day of high school

Poetry-to-Go: Podcasts

Graphic desigh by dcherryIt is hard to argue that there has been a more lasting and world-altering piece of technology than the good old ink and paper book. Once the machinery for its mass-production was developed, dogmas of all stripes were doomed and a more or less perpetual process of cultural transformation churned into motion.

Unsolicited Advice and Other Things You Don't Want to Hear

Photo Credit:Untitled Photograph [Woman Writing]  by Mr. StabileToday I want to address the would-be poets out there. More specifically, I want to offer some advice to all of you who have ink coursing through your veins, but who can't find: a) the time b) your voice c) your muse d) your pen.

The Lay of the Land: Poetry and Landscape

Shift by Slack PicsIn this city where the only elevations are office towers and freeway overpasses, and where a cement-lined ditch is called a bayou, it is easy to forget that there are places in the world full of snow-capped things and cold, clear, running things, not to mention dewy, meadowy-type things and gently rolling things.

Full of Sound and Fury: Poets as Playwrights

Photo Credit: Chimp Does Hamlet by King Chimp / Riley BobThe verse drama has gone the way of the affordable cup of coffee and unironic mustaches and I'm not sure why. It seems to me that the inherent artificiality of a stage production in this age of hyperrealistic entertainment should push playwrights to experiment with language in more interesting ways than they do. As it is, the limitations of the stage place the bulk of a production's weight on its dialogue. Why shouldn't playwrights seek a language that shoulders past the sputtering rhythms of everyday speech into the realm of the poetic?

Life as an Open Book: Memoirs by (and about) Poets

Photo Credit: Underwood by dvs/Doug ShickWriters as a species might be the most abject creatures ever to slink down a blind alley of evolution, but for that anomalous little glitch in our programming that demands that we be heard--that claims not just a voice but a voice made concrete--set in type, if not necessarily in stone.

W. S. Merwin Named U. S. Poet Laureate

Cover Art: The Rain in the TreesW. S. Merwin has been named U. S. Poet Laureate. He will replace the outgoing Kay Ryan. He is the author of thirty books of poems, and translator of many more. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in both 1971 and 2009, and the Academy of American Poets' Tanning Prize, among many other honors.

Young Americans: Sitting on their Hands on a Bus of Survivors

Photo Credit: Typewriter by HeavenlyCabins / Cheryl G Whatever doesn't kill you...makes you stranger  --The Joker in The Dark Knight

Over the last twenty years, this country has experienced a population boom of poets, thanks mainly to the Slam Movement and the proliferation of graduate creative writing programs. There are about 300 colleges and universities in the U. S. offering MFAs in creative writing. If you figure they have each cranked out two dozen shiny new poets each year over the last two decades, you have upwards of one hundred forty thousand  "professional" poets to work the counters of an awful lot of coffee houses. And that doesn't include all those folks who decided they could do without a couple years of listening to their peers congenially disembowel their poems, nor the thousands of gifted amateurs, dabblers, dilettantes, pikers, poseurs, and haiku geeks.

Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: Poetry for Children

Photo Credit: Duncecap from reproducinggenius.comI am only writing this post because a couple of weeks ago I more or less prostrated myself soliciting topic suggestions, so I feel obligated...obligated and bitter.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I do not condone inflicting poetry upon innocent and impressionable minds. Read your kids books on Java Script, or marketing, or advanced particle physics, anything but poetry. It will only lead them to lives of frustration and heartache--not to mention insanely expensive and useless liberal arts degrees.

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