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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

A Geographical History of San Francisco

In Art, History, Poetry, San Francisco, Science, Technology on December 19, 2016 at 11:51 pm


Since we moved back to San Francisco last year, I’ve been taking pictures of places of literary and artistic note in the city. I published a post on “literary life in North Beach” on my agency’s blog. This is an ongoing and less geographically restrictive diary of the city’s literary, artistic, scientific, and political history.

202 Green Street, where on September 7, 1927, under the auspices of William Crocker (grandson of the transcontinental railroad magnate Charles) and the Crocker Bank, Philo T. Farnsworth and his “Lab Gang” sent the first TV signal ever broadcast to the Merchants Club about eight blocks away. Read the rest of this entry »


Once upon a time, but not here, not now

In Poetry on February 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Koosah“In those terrible places designed to rob us of our bodies and our spirits, we sustained each other.” — Philip Levine

Once upon a time, but not here, not now,
We sustained each other. Weak and varied,
We communed against the unbreakable dark.
It was not advantage we were seeking
But defiance in the presence of the truth.
We flourish then we fail and fade away.
Read the rest of this entry »

Numbers: my weekly news column in verse

In Anonymous, Journalism, Poetry on October 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

200176792-001My weekly column on news in verse, “Numbers,” has debuted in The Cryptosphere.

Each week I’ll be reviewing a trend or event in the news. In metrical verse.

Although the approach is exceedingly unusual these days — in fact, I believe Numbers is the only weekly poetic treatment of news currently being published (if you know of any others, please let me know) — but the practice of journalism-in-verse can be traced back to at least mid-17th century France.

I have actually written this type of news-based occasional verse a few times beforeprimarily for ReadWrite. But this is the first time I’ll have a long-term opportunity to see what the format can do over time, for both news and poetry.

Read the rest of this entry »

To The War Poets

In Poetry on November 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Vietnam Navy

This story shall the good man teach his son. – William Shakespeare, Henry V

All the words they’ve bitten out of war
And written down with shaking hands and blood
Half-whiskey, or in grim mastery of self Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest Poems: Published in NYC’s The Awl

In Poetry on July 19, 2013 at 12:18 am

Nakuru Chinese

My latest poems to be published are “Letters to David Berman and John Hodgman,” which were published in May in the New York publication, The Awl.

Read them and weep with comedy.

They go a little something… like this… Read the rest of this entry »


In Poetry on October 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

This poem, written in couplets, contains every word from the Oxford English Dictionary cloud of words which first appeared in Chaucer’s writing. 

Praise this poetical monster, the magician Chaucer,
Over the crude and caterwauling dotards
Who, insolent and annoying, amble fattishly,
Blocking past from future possibility.

They twitter on, their work an endless proem,
Lacking the poignant misery of a poem;
The only thing they agree on is altercation,
The pinhead’s angel-like enumeration,

Or worse, they fashion melancholic proverbs
on womanhood, or praise the jolliness of poppets
In notes of maudlin intellectuality,
Each unconvincing word said superstitiously.

No, every fleshy dalliance should be praised,
Wantonly outshine the Milky Way,
An ablution, each nymph narcotic, never sluttish,
Her femininity earthy, my enchantress;
Each good-night be Valentine’s day.

Federico Garcia Lorca’s Birthday is Today

In Federico Garcia Lorca, Poema del Cante Jondo, Poets on June 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico García Lorca is one of my favorite poets. I even followed his ghost to his city, Granada, Spain. There, I lived with my wife and a guitarist friend, in a cave in the Gypsy part of town Lorca visited so often while he lived, the Sacromonte.

On the occasion of his birthday, here is my translation of his poem, “La Guitarra,” which was used by Yale Prof. María Rosa Menocal in her lecture and monograph, “Poetry As An Act of History.” (She is also the author of the extraordinary book, “The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians, and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” which I recommend without reservation.) Read the rest of this entry »

Lost Bob Folder Poem Rediscovered

In Bob Folder, Dream Teens, Poetry, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on April 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm


Employing the literary archaeological technique of musico-textual analysis, the Center for Folderian Studies has reconstructed a lost poem by the master-poet Bob Folder. Among the poems lost in the infamous Max’s Bob Folder Folder Incident, this poem has been resurrected from a Dream Teens song that used his words for lyrics. (Listen to the song here.)

There was some contention as to whether the song’s lyrics come from a single poem or are the result of merging several together. Dr. Taylor said he believed the lyrics to come from a single poem with the LBaB reference being a list item; this led me to speculate that TtA was also perhaps a list item. Research is ongoing.

Read the poem after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

My Poems in

In Poetry, Publications on October 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm

amsterdam,canal has published three of my poems, The Burning City, A Dream of New York and House of War.

The editor, Richard, said it was the first time they featured three poems from the same poet at once, so it’s quite an honor.

Autumn Day

In Poetry, Publications, Translations on October 11, 2010 at 2:01 am


By Rainer Maria Rilke (Herbsttag)
Trans. Curt Hopkins

Lord, it is time. The summer was enormous.
Lay your shadows down upon the sundials,
And cast loose the winds upon the meadows.

Command the last remaining fruits to ripen,
Give them just two more southerly days,
Press them toward their resolution, chase
The last sweetness into the strong wine.

Anyone who has no house now will not build one,
Anyone alone will remain alone for a long time,
Shall watch and read and write long letters
And will wander aimlessly down the lanes
In vague disquiet when the leaves fall.


Photo via Wikimedia