Where Do I Write My Poetry?

I will write everywhere and anywhere, but if I am in a writing mood and I have a choice I will usually head to write en plein air. Much like the Impressionists painted, I love to find myself amidst nature and Beauty. Living in the Eternal city is indeed a privilege. Even from my home in the countryside, I am just a few miles away from exceptional beauties. The Appian Way is indeed one of my favorite places. The area is blessed with so many ruins and surrounded by an amazing rural setting that it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. Sitting close to the old monuments, enjoying the chirping of the birds, spotting the occasional rabbit, fox or hoopoe on a spring day inspires me in ways I cannot properly describe. I was there yesterday in the late afternoon and, as I took a break from my writing, I also took some pictures at dusk. I hope they convey how breathtaking the Appian Way is.


On Poetry and Darkness: John Claude's Upcoming Book "Autumn in the Abyss"

I am so happy to announce that John Claude has a new upcoming book, Autumn in the Abyss, published by Omnium Gatherum. Among my friends I have many poets and poetry lovers and I cannot recommend this book enough to you since the novella--that gives the book its title--deals with poetry. John wrote the novella in Rome a couple of summers ago. One day I was reading to him about the mysterious disappearance into the woods of poet Lew Welch in 1971. This  triggered John to write what I truly consider one of his best works.

I am posting the blurb from the book here below, as well as its cover:

"When enigmatic poet Henry Coronado disappears six months after the New Year's Eve, 1959, Welcoming Chaos event, he takes with him a profound secret wrapped within the words of his poem, Autumn in the Abyss.

Fifty years later, an ill man's research into Coronado's work and life reveals that poetry can indeed change the world, or leave it in ruins.

The Word is a living thing...and often with lethal intentions.

Reality is the strangest mirror." 

You can preorder the book here on Amazon. Get yourself a copy. I am sure you will love it. Thanks!


Brevity in Poetry

I seldom write long poems and I have often questioned the reason why. I guess it is a matter of taste. The first poems I ever wrote were haiku poems. I have always been fascinated by Japanese poetry and the haiku form has always worked well for me. Being able to capture a mood, an image, a moment in just 3 lines is more difficult than one may think, especially if you are following the 5-7-5 syllable rule.

Brevity in poetry is compelling. I feel Emily Dickinson was the skillful master of the genre, despite the fact that she also wrote longer poems. Dickinson was able to convey so much in just a few lines. Sometimes in simply two!

Soft as the massacre of Suns
by Evening's Sabres Slain

Even though I tend not to write as many haiku poems as I used to do once, every now and then "that agony returns." No, it's not really the Ancient Mariner's agony! It's more like a delight. I am glad whenever some editor picks up some. You may read 2 of my latest in "50 haikus."


Confessional poetry? Yes, please!

Does poetry need labels? I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. I am part of a group of poets known as the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. We write poems that are not  meant for old, dusty, elitarian parlors on topics dealing with social themes--such as injustice, labor, etc.--and that are closer to people and their struggle.

This said, I know that as much as the social aspect of poetry has a deep resonance for me, I also know that there is another aspect of poetry that truly grabs me. It's the "me, myself and I." It's talking about oneself, about one's body, one's feelings without hindrance or fear. I know some people and poets detest confessional poetry, but it is really the poetry I consider closest to my spirit. Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath's poems have played a key role in making me love this form of poetry, making me always more aware of how poetry can deal with love, death, suicide, sex, abuse, but also menstruation at 40. Why should these topics be considered overtly assertive bewilders me. As poets we can and should mostly deal with things we can relate to and, as much as some of these topics may be considered "unconventional," they cannot but ring true. Truth is really all I care about in poetry. Being true to myself and  writing about things that truly touch me is all that matters to me.

From Sylvia Plath's Journals

I am reading Sharon Olds' latest poems from her Stag's Leap collection and loving them. They are made of the same stuff Truth is made of. Just a couple of days ago I read one of Margaret Bashaar's poems, Editor of Hyacinth Girl Press, in the latest issue of Stone Highway Review. "The Day You Were Born" is a poem that made me gasp and feel that there are amazing confessional poets out there who know too well what they are doing. Chapeau to them!

The Day You Were Born
by Margaret Bashaar

I spent every moment I was alone crying,
lamented the loss of my life, imagined
wearing white sneakers, imagined cutting
crusts off sandwiches, packing your lunch box.
I hated everyone who owned an SUV,
no different from days leading up to your birth
except I feared someday I would hate myself.
Felt the tug of stitches at my cunt, prayed
you hadn’t stretched me too much because
I’d always wanted a man to do that,
but with his cock, not the skull of an infant
I hadn’t planned for, hadn’t really wanted.
I was 21 - do you think for an instant
I’d thought to make you? I was relieved
when you latched onto my breast - I’d heard
you’d burn 5000 calories a day, and bunny,
I am vain. I was glad for a moment you
were 2 months early because while my left hip
has 3 stretch marks, my stomach is a smooth,
even white sheet you press your ear against, listen
to the body of the woman who will always expel you.