Thursday, October 20, 2016


I don't know what year this photograph was taken, but it's in Ireland in the 1800s, either before or after my grandparents came over, and it has nothing to do with my family or clan as far as I know and yet when I saw it online and enlarged it, the man with the newsboy cap with his left hand to his chin...well, I felt like I'd seen that face in the mirror when I was younger, and I still make that gesture...

I remember once in a high school foot ball game when I got down on the line for the first play of a game, and the guy across from me from some other high school and I looked into each other's faces just inches apart and we both reacted because, again, it was like looking in a mirror. After that game I never saw the guy again and don't remember if I even got his name...

Life can be so unexpectedly revelatory in such mysterious head shaking ways....

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


His refusing to say he would concede if he lost the election should disqualify him, but so should so many other things he's said, and done. It may turn off those already turned off by him but it won't change his supporters.

She had more facts and reality based answers, and I know to her supporters, among which I classify myself, she won handily, but anyone still undecided is someone who hasn't gotten all the facts and/or doesn't believe them and wants to be convinced emotionally.

I wish she, and Democrats in general, slammed back at rightwing distortions with strong empathic clear and simple statements of passion repetitively as they do. Hilary started to do that a few times, like when she said he choked when he met with the Mexican president. But then she let him get away with soft pedaling that and getting emotionally emphatic about how he'd make great deals with Mexico and her deals did and will suck etc.

It's being declared a victory for her and will probably keep her well in the lead, but my guess is he might pick up a few points because she often sounded like she was reciting speech excerpts or policy points rather than expressing spontaneous passion. Hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Seems like it's Yul Brynner nostalgia year with the new version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN film and now the HBO series WESTWORLD based on the Brynner film back in the day. But that's not the reason I decided to check out HBO's WESTWORLD. It was the incredibly impressive cast, led by Evan Rachel Wood, one of the most underrated actors out there. Always brilliant even if the material isn't, and she doesn't let me down in WESTWORLD. Her performance so far has made me watch it, despite the seemingly de rigueur sadistic violence endemic to too much of cable TV and films these days.

The creators, Lisa Joy and Jonatan Nolan, play mind games beyond the original movie's simple premise, so that after only the first three shows I'm almost lost. But...with Anthony Hopkins playing his usual sardonic-and-probably-evil professorial genius and Ed Harris the seemingly sadist anti-hero, and Jefferey Wright and Thandie Newton committing their unique talents to playing what so far seem like hopeless characters, and more...well, I'm gonna keep watching.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I began writing poetry as soon as I learned to write (there's a poem in my archives written to my mother when I was five in 1947), started sending poems to magazines in my teens (in the 1950s) and began publishing my poems in my late teens (the early '60s). One of the poets who influenced me at that time was Gary Snyder. I met him when I handset the original Windhover Press fine printed book REGARDING WAVE in 1969 (later published by New Directions from that version).

I have almost never been disappointed in Snyder's writing, and in the 1960s, especially, admired everything he wrote. That still holds true today, after reading this latest Snyder collection, THIS PRESENT MOMENT. Now in his eighties, and one of the last of his generation of poets to still be around, if not the actual last, this book is a fitting coda to his writing and poetry career.

Like an old athlete who doesn't have as many moves anymore as the young one, but can achieve the same results with those fewer moves, because he has the experience and expertise, THIS PRESENT MOMENT is a tribute to Snyder's poetic skills as much as any previous book. Here's just one example from it:

Young David in Florence, Before the Kill

Michelangelo’s David’s not a warrior,
not just a clever boy—he’s a cool young man.
Weight on the right leg, eyes left
brow crinkled, calculating, estimating
    the text says Goliath is already down.

Left arm to his left shoulder and the stone-pouch,
right hand down at his side,
holds the ends
     long leather sling straps—he has not
thrown it yet. Stands still, in a deep place
a hinge in time

and naked grace.

Firenze 2004

Friday, October 14, 2016


prizes are extremely arbitrary so who wins isn't obviously always dependent on quality of work...though the quality of Dylan's work is extraordinary (as in literally extra ordinary) even if it is often derived from other people's writing, musically, lyrics, and otherwise, but that is an ancient technique (see centos) totally indulged in and accepted in contemporary work and ever since modernism, so that makes him even more literary in a way... that said, I can see why some writers are offended by this Nobel since there are so many worthy poets and fiction writers and playwrights whose work has either been unrewarded or completely overlooked and deserves attention, and at least some monetary reward, and Dylan has already received all that...on the other hand his winning validates (and in a way elevates) almost an entire generation (now aged) and his impact on not only it but those that followed, whether indirectly or not...but the article is right to point out that the music field generally rewards its artists much better than the literary one of poets and fiction you can see...mixed reaction but mostly happy about it...