baseball, poetry, and kim chi

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a bit of help please

Making my way through Spicer's Holy Grail. I am stuck on one poem. I hear another poem or nursery rhyme beneath this poem but can't put my finger on it. Here is a link to the sixth poem in the Book of Galahad. If you know the source, please do let me know.

My 33rd

This is how a birthday should be celebrated. A bit of pork. Some mushrooms. Kim Chi. A George Forman Grill. Must have scissors to cut the pork.
A sideways SY next to some Red Lettuce.

Get the pork belly, kimchi,and mushrooms on the grill. (mushrooms at the top, pork in the middle and kim chi at the bottom. This way the pork grease get mixed in with the kimchi.). Make sure you are wearing your Giants sweatshirt. Everything tastes better in orange.

Grill. Looks like I forgot to take pictures of the eating. It was the best part.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page

Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday. She was 85.

Spicer's Books

books in Jack Spicer’s possession when he died in August 1965

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

If Cain puts it together we have five

These days, maybe it is the ocean and the continent between, but I feel that the giants are close. I must click on these blogs a few times every day. The rumors bring spring closer. I love the idea of the Giants having zero hitters and four Cy Young winners. I want old time baseball.

These are the blogs I frequent

What am I missing?

Monday, December 08, 2008

poetry down in London

I went down to London this past Saturday. There was a little get together. We read poems and talked and drank a bit of beer. I had not been in a place like this in a long time. A lot of poets, confident in their work, interested in the work of others. It was a real pleasure.

I also got some very good news the other day. It looks like a book will be published in 2011.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reading in Seoul

Four by Four Reading Series

Sunday, December 7th

Beans and Berries, 3rd Floor

(near Yonsei University's Main Gate)

We will have

four featured readers

and four open readers.

Thus far,

the featured readers are

Loren Goodman, Dustin Hellberg,

Ken Drennen, and Pirooz Kalayeh.

If you are interested in

being one of the open

readers, please

contact 4 x 4 at


If you want to attend,

submit a video,

or pass on the info (a flier
has been attached to this message).

Essayists, fiction writers,

interviewers, comic book artists,

filmmakers and poets welcome. ^ ^

Hope you are all

having a wonderful winter!


Jen Nally

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Some excellent newish poets

Editors are limited by what we solicit and by what poets send in. I can't publish the best poem in the world (if that is what I am looking for) if that poem is sent to another magazine. So, across the front page of past simple, I do not write “THE BEST POETRY IN THE WORLD”. I know that to make that claim demeans myself, my readers, and poets who have trusted me with their work. It distracts from the content. (And it looks lame).

I was talking about this on another blog the other day, and I was still working from a visceral reaction. Today, I hope to be a bit more clear.

Some magazines/anthologies do make the claim "best of". The other day we were talking specifically about The Best New Poets. When a claim like this (best) is made, the rules need to change. No longer can you say, “We worked with what we had, and we think we had some great stuff” If that were the case, then the title needs to change to “The best new poets that sent work.” Then it is just like any other magazine, and that is not what they are aiming for (by their own claim).

In order to make this type of claim, the editors need to do some serious leg work. If I was publishing “The best poetry on York Street”, I would knock on every door on York and ask what people had. So long as they didn't tell me to screw myself (and I'd hope that many would), then I would remind them again as the deadline approached. And if someone did tell me to screw myself, I might have to think about renaming my anthology. How could I still claim that it was the best poetry on York Street if one of my neighbors would not play? Just because the neighbor is a jerk does not mean that their poetry, had they submitted, would not have been included. So really, the issue is no longer The Best Of, but “Some of the best of”. Maybe my title would change to “Poetry from York Street”. But notice, at least I went out and banged on doors. I at least tried to back up my claim. I made an attempt.

So, what does “Best New Poets” do? Actually, they do a rather good job. They begin the winnowing process early. They allow all writing programs to send in a few poems. They also allow magazines to do the same. That is a great start. They allow other people to make the first move. Now, wait a second, that seems a bit off. Editors are strange birds. Not every editor has any desire to nominate poets from their magazine. Writing programs are no better. So, this is what “BNP” is saying. We are having an anthology and are are going to call it “BNP”. Now, it is your job to submit to us. You do the leg work. You come and knock on our door and drop your poem off. We are going to call it “BNP” (regardless of the actual poetry. The name was decided before the submissions received). And the only people who have a chance to be in it must have their work with an editor who wants to give it to us. The editor, not us, must take time out of THEIR busy day, read our rules, and submit.

How many poems get lost at this step?

Now, for those poets that wish to be included, but do not have a benevolent editor/mentor, you still can. But, in order for your work to even be looked at, you need to pay a reading fee. The fee is not much, but it is a few bucks. This Is Crazy. You are putting together an anthology called the “Best New Poets”. You make this claim, but then you want the poet to pay to submit? It seems that the anthology is weaker because of it. If anything, the poet should be paid to submit. You should want to collect as much work as possible to see what is out there. I know that this will take time. And I know that you are busy; And I know that this is expensive, but you made the claim. You want the name; back it up.

These objections would go away if the name was changed or the name was earned. Honestly, I am not even sure such a name could be earned. Why not just call this magazine, “Some younger poets of skill/craft/note/ etc” Call it what it is. Leave “The Best” at home.

A final note. Before best New Poets came out (four years ago?), I submitted some work. It was not accepted. Most of the work I send out is not accepted. Most of my favorite magazines have rejected my work at one time or another. I just want to make sure that it is understood that I do not have an ax to grind because of it. Rejections are part of the game. Deal with them. I also need to point out that I did submit some poems from Past Simple to a best of. I did this because I felt it good for the poets to be recognized, and yes, for past simple to get some awards too. So, at times I play.

I'd also like to note that when Catfish Press first came out (or was it past simple?) that there was a line about the “best”. There was also a line that said, “We're bottom feeders”. The first, said tongue and cheek, has disappeared. The second remains.

In the end though, I am happy when any poet gets a nod. The pat on the back feels good. Sometimes, when the pat on the back comes with a “best of”sticker, it feels even better.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday at the York and then the Rose

Sunday is my favorite day. I am sure if I had to work on Monday, it would not be, but these days I am a student. Sunday is a time of roasts.

The pub down the street, York Tavern, offers beef or pork or chicken. I usually go with the beef.

Sy also went with the Beef. She also went with a Guiness. She has good taste.

After the food, SY went home to work on a paper, and I went to another pub to watch some football.

We bet on was going to score the first goal I got 0-0. The score was not 0-0, so I lost The time was good and the sun went down at 4. I saw it set through the bathroom window. I don't take pictures in the bathroom, so you will just have to imagine what a setting sun looks like. Today there is no sun, only rain. A pizza is on the way.

I just joined facebook. It seems that that is where things are announced. I am not big on asking people to be my friend. So, if I have not asked you yet, it does not mean that I do not desire it.