Friday, August 31, 2007


This is a poem I wrote years ago that may have some relevance to the previous entry (which provided a link to Michael Paul's "if only academic poets could have the upper hand in the slam poetry field" screed).  It can also be found in the e-chapbook NOTHING HELD BACK (referred to in a recent entry).



One day, a man dressed in black

rode into town and introduced himself

as the Savior of Poetry.


“Reject low culture!” he cried.

“Your dismal poetry all sounds the same to me!

All poems should display exposure to high culture.

All poems should bear the mark of an MFA degree.

All poems should be thoroughly workshopped

and rewritten dozens of times until they are

scrubbed clean of any stains of amateurism!!!"


"To hell with Slam Poetry!

To hell with personal rants!

To hell with teenage angst!

To hell with childhood memoirs!

To hell with office poetry!

To hell with free verse!"


"Long live sestinas!

Long live clerihews!

Long live triolets!”


No response from the townspeople.


The man in black then pulled out a bullwhip

and began lashing out at everyone around him,

saying that stupidity should be punished.

“Americans are dumb-and proud of it!” he said with a sneer.


I stepped up to the man in black and

took the bullwhip from his hand.

Before he could respond, I told him

that good poetry can be found in all forms-

whether free verse, rhyme-and-meter or slam.

I recommended that he climb on his high horse

and ride out of town immediately.


The man in black, to my surprise,

obeyed my request.

As he rode towards the sunset,

the townspeople could hear him mutter to himself

about collage being a lazy form of poetic art.



and the freedom to write it

in any way possible-


At least until the next man in black rides into town.


Academic poet gives his take on slam poetry.

Passing this along without comment: former Southern California poet Michael Paul's recent column for POETIX.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New poetry e-book NOTHING HELD BACK available for FREE download.

I've just finished a poetry e-chapbook called NOTHING HELD BACK, with ten poems about personal, political and poetry-related events.

This chapbook is available for free download in either Publisher (pub) or Adobe Reader (pdf) formats.

Please e-mail me at if you would like a copy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The most vapid, profit-conscious man in television news: Dan Abrams.

MSNBC has now repositioned itself from two earlier incarnations as Earnest Yuppie Newscast and FOX NEWS clone to opinionated centrist network (with more opinions than actual reporting, since that might cost NBCUniversal some money) run by Dan Abrams, a man who looks like a cross between Steve Carell and the Eddie Haskell character from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER.

Keith Olbermann's COUNTDOWN show can occasionally offer some left-of-center opinion counterweight (when not going for easy laughs re "wacky" news and YouTube footage and making celeb silliness the Number One story), but Abrams also pads the channel with crappy prison documentaries, DATELINE predator episodes on their umpteenth run and encourages the female anchors (including former MTV/ABC employee Allison Stewart) to mug and smirk.

And who will ever manage to forget the spectacularly awful "get to know me" ad running now with anchorperson (and Courtney Cox Arquette lookalike) Contessa Brewer singing karaoke in a NYC bar?

Thanks, Dan.  Keep it up.

I told you so! re KID NATION.

Here's a rerun of a blog entry I wrote in May about CBS' reality series KID NATION:

There's a reality series called KID NATION coming to CBS next season which will take children (age not known at present) and set them up in a New Mexico ghost town to see how they'll carry on in a world without adult supervision.

Yes, there will undoubtedly be some kind of scripting and multiple takes (a reality show way of ensuring the kind of "reality" the producers and network want).  And it's a safe guess that this kind of social engineering will involve young people getting the kind of psychological damage which comes from humilation and bullying in a public forum (let's leave off the table the issue of "they wanted to do it" for now).

And since the participants will be younger than most reality series "stars", CBS will probably bully them further with don't-tell-or-we'll-bury-you nondisclosure agreements.

Maybe CBS could have a reality series where Les Moonves and other execs jump into a swimming pool filled with human and animal feces in order to grab a billion dollars in tax-free cash.

That's a series I'd rather watch.

See also this recent article posted to AOL: