my only valentine's day poem

I loved this poem long before the author became one of my book’s guys (“i sing of olaf,” The Enormous Room et al.). I once asked my students, as their midterm, to explain to me how someone can write a love poem without ever using the word. Can you tell me? somewhere i have neverContinue reading “my only valentine's day poem”

waiting for the blessed break.

So I’m reading excerpts of Norman Mailer’s testimony in the trial of the Chicago Eight, trying to get a sense of the WWII-vet cabal that was supporting the protesters at the  Convention, when I get to this line: ” I was in my hotel room with Robert Lowell and David Dellinger and Rennie Davis.”  AndContinue reading “waiting for the blessed break.”

studying with truman

Sometimes things happen in the right order. If I had been a conscientious student at Hunter High School, I’d have read this book under Jack McNeil, my very first Creative Writing instructor. At the very least, you might think I’d have taken it 20 years later, as a narrative-obsessed journalist. But the true-crime genre itContinue reading “studying with truman”

hanoi hannah in philadelphia

Still CRAZY deadlined. Spent much of the weekend in 1968, when — as Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan put it in their 1984 Who Spoke Up?: American Protest Against the War in Vietnam — “events happened so quickly, hammer blow after hammer blow, that in retrospect it seems astonishing that the national psyche survived intact.Continue reading “hanoi hannah in philadelphia”

when elephants walk

Last time I posted a poem by this guy it was after having heard his voice for the first time in a while. Below, now, is the moment when, instead of traveling on a poetry fellowship, he shipped out for Vietnam. I’m not sure it’s the best way to start writing about that fact, butContinue reading “when elephants walk”