Friday, August 19, 2016

Now Available in Paperback!

Henry David Thoreau and Two Other Autistic Lives: before the diagnosis existed is now available in paperback format!  It also has a new Facebook Book Page packed with information on Henry David Thoreau, Algernon Charles Swinburne, the great British chemist Henry Cavendish, and Autism!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Apology to Jeffers

by Jared Carter



Better invent than suffer: imagine victims
Lest your own flesh be chosen the agonist . . .



                     Robinson Jeffers,
                       “Apology for Bad Dreams”



Ah, but I have had enough of your beauty,
            your granite headlands’ iterative shuddering,
            your solitary watch above the sea’s dark curve.
Still, in the east, Venus emerges in nacreous weeds,
            trailing soft garments, still you look out on
            indecipherable gyre of hawk and buzzard.
But we are focused elsewhere now, we gather
            by no rock-walled river, no desolate shingle.
            We hover instead before lighted screens.
We no longer experience beauty within, but rather
            confirmation of narcissism.  It is our own gaze,
            looking back, that works its transient charms.
Nor is there beauty in the pole-barns strung together
            out of wire mesh.  They have been engineered,
            made efficient.  There is only cage after cage.
Once you spoke of the grandeur of savage places,
            of Aldebaran, and the surpassing splendor
            of Andromeda, and their unending majesty.
Man is nothing alongside them, you proclaimed.
            He is insect, he is worm, he is bacteria.
            And now I am tempted to believe you.
About depravity you were right, about the horror
            of two wars, and a thousand little wars,
            wars swarming out of earth’s proud flesh.
But you were wrong about beauty.  For it, too,
            can be cuffed and led away, and stubbed out.
            It too can be submitted to profit-and-loss.
And when that happens there is only desiccation,
            only a great darkness amid artificial light,
            and murder, though small, committed by millions.
You were prophetic about the horrors still to come,
            that humans would turn and rend themselves.
            But you did not understand the craving to rend.
Yet all of this is hidden away, far from your shores,
            your headlands, your single promontory
            lost in the swell of stars and the night wind.
We live now so that the privileged might be insulated,
            and never encounter the blasted appendage
            or the surge of innards suddenly skewered.
We conduct our affairs far from the lone dog barking
            amid the ruins, we have outsourced the sound
            of the rifle butt banging against the door.
In this way the privileged may linger by their pools,
            or stay cocooned in air-conditioned rooms,
            unvisited by conscience or by troubling dreams.
Ah, but I have had enough of your beauty,
            your granite headlands’ iterative shuddering,
            your solitary watch above the sea’s dark curve.
Still, in the east, Venus emerges in nacreous weeds,
            trailing soft garments, still you look out on
            indecipherable gyre of hawk and buzzard.
But we are focused elsewhere now, we gather
            by no rock-walled river, no desolate shingle.
            We hover instead before lighted screens.
We no longer experience beauty within, but rather
            confirmation of narcissism.  It is our own gaze,
            looking back, that works its transient charms.
Nor is there beauty in the pole-barns strung together
            out of wire mesh.  They have been engineered,
            made efficient.  There is only cage after cage.
Once you spoke of the grandeur of savage places,
            of Aldebaran, and the surpassing splendor
            of Andromeda, and their unending majesty.
Man is nothing alongside them, you proclaimed.
            He is insect, he is worm, he is bacteria.
            And now I am tempted to believe you.
About depravity you were right, about the horror
            of two wars, and a thousand little wars,
            wars swarming out of earth’s proud flesh.
But you were wrong about beauty.  For it, too,
            can be cuffed and led away, and stubbed out.
            It too can be submitted to profit-and-loss.
And when that happens there is only desiccation,
            only a great darkness amid artificial light
            and murder, though small, committed by millions.
You were prophetic about the horrors still to come,
            that humans would turn and rend themselves.
            But you did not understand the craving to rend.
Yet all of this is hidden away, far from your shores,
            your headlands, your single promontory
            lost in the swell of stars and the night wind.
We live now so that the privileged might be insulated,
            and never encounter the blasted appendage
            or the surge of innards suddenly skewered.
We conduct our affairs far from the lone dog barking
            amid the ruins, we have outsourced the sound
            of the rifle butt banging against the door.
In this way the privileged may linger by their pools,
            or stay cocooned in air-conditioned rooms,
            unvisited by conscience or by troubling dreams.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Review of Edward de Vere was Shake-speare


A customer review for Edward de Vere was Shake-speare that I like to think nails it.


http://www.amazon.com/review/R3K0CIRO31E5C5/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00H0L2758&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=


This review is from: Edward De Vere was Shake-speare: at long last, the proof. (The Collected Poems of Edward De Vere) (Kindle Edition)

I've read numerous "Oxfordian" books but nowhere have I read such a clear identification of "Labeo" or explanation of what the "purge" Jonson was given probably was.

This is far from a rehash of old Oxfordian arguments. Purdy gives us a concise biography of the Earl, which may be of interest to readers new to the Shakespeare authorship question, but he goes beyond that into the realm of what contemporaries were writing. There's a dash of history as well. We learn about Pembroke's role and, for those who think Ben Jonson was merely extolling the virtues of a common player out of the goodness of his heart, we're reminded of Honest Ben's association with the Herberts. The incomparable pair of brethren went to quite a bit of trouble to secure control over literary works. Why?

I found the format with its numbered paragraphs a little disconcerting at first but once I got used to it I found it an easy way to get around. I do have a quibble with a repeated myth but it's a Stratfordian myth; pay no attention.

This book may not answer ALL the questions (which one does?) but it certainly raises a few. Since there's disagreement on which poems are Oxford's I don't see their omission as much of a flaw. Most of what survives was written when de Vere was a young teenager and were lyrics, meant to be sung. What was new to me was the discovery of three poems in Latin overlooked by history. How many more by the top courtier poet have been lost?

I'll be reading this one more than once and following up via the bibliography. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

American Life in Poetry #216: Judy Loest.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Judy Loest lives in Knoxville and, like many fine Appalachian writers, her poems have a welcoming conversational style, rooted in that region's storytelling tradition. How gracefully she sweeps us into the landscape and the scene!


Faith

Leaves drift from the cemetery oaks onto late grass,
Sun-singed, smelling like straw, the insides of old barns.
The stone angel's prayer is uninterrupted by the sleeping
Vagrant at her feet, the lone squirrel, furtive amid the litter.

Someone once said my great-grandmother, on the day she died,
rose from her bed where she had lain, paralyzed and mute
For two years following a stroke, and dressed herself--the good
Sunday dress of black crepe, cotton stockings, sensible, lace-up shoes.

I imagine her coiling her long white braid in the silent house,
Lying back down on top of the quilt and folding her hands,
Satisfied. I imagine her born-again daughters, brought up
In that tent-revival religion, called in from kitchens and fields
To stand dismayed by her bed like the sisters of Lazarus,
Waiting for her to breathe, to rise again and tell them what to do.

Here, no cross escapes the erosion of age, no voice breaks
The silence; the only certainty in the crow's flight
Or the sun's measured descent is the coming of winter.
Even the angel's outstretched arms offer only a formulated
Grace, her blind blessings as indiscriminate as acorns,
Falling on each of us, the departed and the leaving.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2007 by Judy Loest. Poem reprinted from "After Appalachia," Finishing Line Press, 2007, by permission of Judy Loest and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Miami Cult Member Selling Ruhama Canellis Dot Com

Someone has registered the domain name ruhamacanellis.com and is offering it for sale. The contact email address listed on the site belongs to a high ranking member of a Miami based religious cult that has been openly going after Alberto Cutie and the Roman Catholic Church for years.

by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.


On May 8th ― the day that Ruhama Buni Canellis was identified by the UPI as the love interest in the life of Roman Catholic priest Father Alberto Cutie ― the domain name ruhamacanellis.com was registered through the internet provider GoDaddy.com. The domain was purchased under a program GoDaddy offers to maintain a domain owner’s anonymity. The listing for ruhamacanellis.com at GoDaddy’s WhoIs search page reads the following in lieu of the registrant’s name:
Registrant:
This domain is for sale
Miami City
Miami, Florida 33015
United States
A gmail contact address (twittersdomain@gmail.com) is provided. The address does not have a searchable internet history.


At the site itself, however, (just below a picture of the cover of a tabloid newspaper featuring photos of then Father Alberto Cutie involved in love play on the beach with Ruhama) the contact email address provided for those who might be interested in advertising on the site is alvaro@aposmail.com. The site is laid out on a Google Blogspot template, features Google Adsense and advertising from unspecified sources and is called simply “Ruhama Canellis”. The articles and links portray Alberto Cutie and Roman Catholicism in the most unflattering possible fashion.

Alvaro@aposmail.com, as it turns out, is a very interesting email address. It is one of the many email addresses of Alvaro Albarracin, a close associate of Miami Cult leader Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda. De Jesus Miranda is the head and founder of the Creciendo En Gracias (Growing in Grace) church. The web site features links to a number of De Jesus Miranda’s and the church’s web sites including a site called “VaticanCrimes.US”. One unsigned post, dated May 28, 2009, reads “Father Cutie Will Marry Me Today, Thursday!”


De Jesus Miranda has declared himself both the second coming of Christ and the first coming of the Antichrist. In his theology both are the same person. In the words of Dan Matthewson, associate professor of religion at Wofford College:

In addition to its Latin American churches, the movement has also spread into the U.S., Spain, Italy, Canada, and Australia, with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Total, the group claims 300 congregations with more than 100,000 members, in addition to a 24-hour cable channel based in Columbia that purportedly reaches two million homes. Telegracia, as the channel is called, airs talk shows, music videos, and sermons in English, Spanish and Portuguese. It also broadcasts a news program, which is taped in the Miami headquarters.
De Jesus Miranda preaches that the Roman Catholic Church is evil and that there is no such thing as sin. (Actually, if pressed he adds that he finds all Christian denominations pretty much equally evil.) He has taken the number 666 and the letters SSS (which he claims stands for “Salve Siempre Salve,” but, of course, just might stand for “Six Six Six”) as corporate symbols of a sort. They appear on his backdrops, his pulpits and elsewhere. His followers often sport 666 tattoos.

According to a February 2007 Fox News article, Alvaro Albarracin, whose email address appears on ruhamacanellis.com, “oversees corporate donations to the church and holds the title 'Entrepreneur of Entrepreneurs.'” Albarracin has many business interests himself and among them is buying internet domains for resale. This might seem to explain his interest in the ruhamacanellis.com domain but there is much more to the story.

It seems that Alberto Cutie and De Jesus Miranda had a heated exchange of words in early 2005. Cutie had begun preaching that De Jesus Miranda was “ignorant,” “crazy,” “schizophrenic”. The founder of Creciendo En Gracia did not take the comments well and began counter attacking Cutie on his television station Telegracia. In December of 2006, well after the war of words had ended, De Jesus Miranda suddenly brought Cutie up again. The priest, he said, was going to fall due to a scandal.

Those who have been following the Alberto Cutie stories, since he was discovered on a Miami beach in love play with a then unidentified woman, will remember that Cutie admits that he has had an intimate relationship with Ruhama Canellis for “about two years”. That would mean that the relationship began at about the same time that Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda predicted that he was going to be the subject of a scandal. The cult leader is presently circulating a video claiming that he “prophesied” Alberto Cutie’s fall. A copy has been uploaded to YouTube by Creciendo En Gracias.

While Alvaro Albarracin is a notoriously fast operator, he does not seem the type to try to sell an internet domain that seems certain to be the subject of a lawsuit against whoever might buy it ― a lawsuit that would seem just as certain to succeed. And then there is the question of just who he might be selling it for. If he himself owns the site why pay a fee to mask the fact and then list his own personal email address on the site? If he is selling it for someone else then who is he selling it for? The answer to that question might be the answer to many of the mysteries surrounding the Alberto Cutie scandal.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BBR-1

News:

Alberto Cutie Enters the Episcopal Church with Ruhama Canellis by his Side (Article, 5/28/09). "As I write this, the various television crews are still shooting their “fake live shots” inside the cathedral, with the Cathdral's Italian mosaics for backdrop. The CBS truck is outside my window, camera mounted on its tripod and 30 foot transmitter deployed waiting for its reporter."

New Poetry:

For the Tattooed Man by Sharmila Voorakkara
Fried Beauty by R. S. Gwynn
Seeing the Eclipse in Maine by Robert Bly
Dead Butterfly by Ellen Bass
Go to the Poetry Index >>>



New Book Reviews:


Never Far from a Breakdown. Collected Poems: With Notes Toward the Memoirs, by Djuna Barnes. Reviewed by Brian Phillips.

Thrills and Chills and Home Movies. Strong Is Your Hold, by Galway Kinnell. -and- Interrogation Palace, by David Wojahn. Reviewed by Peter Campion.

Barnes on Fire. A Word Like Fire: Selected Poems, by Dick Barnes. Reviewed by Peter Campion.

The Cosmic I. Present Company by W. S. Merwin.
Reviewed by by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.









Go to full Poetry Review Index>>>
Go to the Book Review Index>>>



New Interviews:


Translating Poetry into Poetry. An interview with C. K. Williams.
Nature Poems in a Post-Natural Age. An interview with Gary Snyder.
The Poet of Green Bananas and Baclao. An interview with Victor Hernández Cruz.

Alberto Cutie Enters the Episcopal Church with Ruhama Canellis by his Side.

I received the call at 10:00 last night. The Roman Catholic Priest, Father Alberto Cutie, would be arriving at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral today to formally join the Episcopalian church. I was given a short list of additional work items for the morning. Nobody had much of any idea what is done on such occasions, least of all myself.

The media began to show up in force at about 11:30 this morning. All instructions I’d been given as to how to handle them were countermanded almost immediately. New instructions were given and abandoned about once every half hour.

Alberto Cutie and Ruhama Canellis were accepted into the church in a ceremony that began at 1:30 p.m. It was a small private service attended by approximately 50 Episcopalian clergy, staff and guests. The service was presided over by the Right Reverend Leo Frade, Bishop of the Diocese of Southeast Florida. Cutie is awaiting ordination as a Deacon, as well, but will be allowed, in the meantime, to preach in Episcopal churches but not to officiate over any of the rites of the church.

A luncheon followed in the cathedral hall. As I was lunching apart, myself, I do not know for sure if Cutie attended but it is unlikely. The media was waiting impatiently outside in the breezeway between the north parking lot and the garden, the Diocesan public relations staff not quite sure, at that point, what to do with them. The former Catholic priest was kept in seclusion until the press conference that had been scheduled for 2:30.

All instructions for preparing for the press conference were, of course, repeatedly countermanded, and, as the result, the news crews had to break down and set up several times. I was to keep them strictly back behind the second row of pews, then the first, then in front of the first. No one was supposed to stand on the pews but then that too was abandoned as the cameras and reporters slowly inched their way forward in spite of all attempts to prevent them.

The conference finally began at about 3:00 in the cathedral transept. Bishop Frade first read a statement in English then Spanish. He introduced Alberto Cutie, “his fiancée,” Ruhama Buni Canellis, and family members. About 20 clergy were also squeezed into the little space we’d managed to keep clear for them.

Cutie wore a simple but well cut dark suit with an open-collar white shirt and was impeccably groomed. He also read a statement in English then Spanish. At the end of his statement the reporters began calling out questions in Spanish. He was immediately ushered out via the south transept, per plan, and into the church office questions being yelled out behind him.

Bishop Frade answered questions for nearly an hour until the crews slowly started drifting away, during which time we spirited Cutie and Canellis out a side door in a pouring rain (I’m just now drying out) and into a vehicle with tinted windows. As the vehicle with couple slowly exited the property, and I closed the gate in order to prevent it being followed, one reporter who had managed to discover our plans, and had parked just outside the gate, pursued them up the street and past the television equipment trucks and four police cruisers.

As I write this, the various television crews are still shooting their “fake live shots” inside the cathedral, with the Cathdral's Italian mosaics for backdrop. The CBS truck is outside my window, camera mounted on its tripod and 30 foot transmitter deployed waiting for its reporter. I will hope to find an embeddable video of the press conference to back fit into this later. I’d better go check how matters are coming along.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

American Life in Poetry #215: David Wojahn.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

To commemorate Mother's Day, here's a lovely poem by David Wojahn of Virginia, remembering his mother after forty years.


Walking to School, 1964

Blurring the window, the snowflakes' numb white lanterns.
She's brewed her coffee, in the bathroom sprays cologne
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,

The rose-colored birthmark on her shoulder.
Then she's dressed--the pillbox hat and ersatz fur,
And I'm dressed too, mummified in stocking cap
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus stop

Where she'll leave me for my own walk to school,
Where she'll board the bus that zigzags to St. Paul
As I watch her at the window, the paperback

Romance already open on her lap,
The bus laboring off into snow, her good-bye kiss
Still startling my cheek with lipstick trace.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)1990 by David Wojahn, whose most recent book of poems is "Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004," University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006. "Walking to School, 1964" is from the longer poem "White Lanterns," printed in "Poetry," Vol. 157, 1990, by permission of David Wojahn and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

POETS IN THE AGE OF OBAMA

Poet Elizabeth Alexander, who will read a poem at the 2009 Inauguration, discusses President-elect Barack Obama and his relationship with language.


By Elizabeth Alexander
Poetry Media Service

Poetry Media Service

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced on 12.17.08 Alexander's place in the Inaugural Program. This interview is transcribed from a Poetry Foundation "Poetry Off the Shelf" podcast which aired on 11.25.08. Listen to the podcast at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audioitem.html?id=643

Curtis Fox: Elizabeth, where were you on election night?

Elizabeth Alexander: I was with my family, with my husband and my nine year-old and ten year-old sons, and two families--lovely friends with their young children as well--and we all let our kids stay up until midnight, because this is their reality and nothing could be more powerful than that. It was beautiful.

CF: How do you think the election of Obama, who seems to have gotten a lot of support from intellectuals and poets, is going to affect poetry?

EA: From the very beginning, in his public utterances we've seen that Obama is someone who takes great care with language, who understands that language is the medium that we travel in--it's what we have to communicate with each other. And so his words have always been unusually precise, unusually careful, and certainly beautiful, but not for beauty's sake. So I think that there's something that he really understands in his rhetoric about the twinning of form and function that has made him an extremely effective communicator.

CF: Do you think that this respect for language, which seems to be new in the political sphere, will take some of the edge off of poets' attitudes towards political power?

EA: I don't think so, because that is in part the very essential work that poets do. Poets are always looking from the outside. Poets are never in any significant way the center of power. Poetry is an art form that is not well compensated, which leaves poets in a wonderfully free place to be able to criticize constructively without any kinds of economic ties or incentives.

So I think that's where poets always reside in the society. But I think perhaps what I hear is a lot of poets taking heart, in that not only is this someone who takes care with his language, not only is this someone who is evidently a thinker--certainly we haven't had a president who's been a professor, that is to say, someone who spends at least a part of his professional life thinking about complicated ideas and trying to make them comprehensible and working them through with students--but also, this is someone who appears to care about poetry itself. As many people have noted, he was photographed three days after the election carrying Derek Walcott's Collected Poems. I mean, the inbox went wild!

Poets just absolutely couldn't believe that, with that gesture, he was saying that a few days after being elected president, [he was able] to find the time for the contemplation that poetry provides, to read one of the great poets of world poetry, Derek Walcott; that is to say, not to have a strictly nationalist view of where important art is found . . . it is utterly extraordinary.

We heard one of his refrains, "We are the ones we have been waiting for"--that's a line from June Jordan's "Poem for South African Women."

(From Barack Obama's acceptance speech, 11.04.08: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for.")

CF: Do you think he self-consciously quoted that? Or is that just a coincidence?

EA: Well he certainly didn't invent it out of whole cloth; at least that's my guess. I think that there are probably other moments [from which] we could parse little hidden gems that suggest to us that this someone who appreciates the effective distillation that poetry offers.

CF: Can you imagine how it would electrify poets in this country if they thought that not only Barack Obama but other political leaders actually read what they wrote?

EA: Well, that would be electrifying indeed, and again not just because we don't sell very many books and we like for people to pay attention to our words; but rather, because we think what we do is important. Because we struggle to be precise and that is how human beings communicate across divides, communicate across difference. We take that work dead seriously, and that is the work that we want our leaders to be engaged with, with equal care.

CF: I think this particular cultural moment is pretty exciting for a lot of people; a lot of people have a sense of the country that's dramatically different. Do you have any recommendations for a poem that reflects that spirit?

EA: Yes--I have truly in my head been hearing lines from Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing."

I Hear America Singing
By Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

EA: So I think this campaign truly belonged to an extraordinary cross-section not only of Americans, certainly as a campaign to Americans, but of the world over. Everyone from their own particular is finding a way to sing of what this moment can be, to sing of what their hopes and aspirations and frustrations and needs are; and somehow, that can come together in one leader's vision.

Elizabeth Alexander is a professor of African American Studies at Yale, and her latest book of poems is American Sublime, published by Graywolf Press. This interview originally aired on the podcast series "Poetry Off the Shelf." Distributed by the Poetry Foundation. Read more about Elizabeth Alexander, and her poetry, at www.poetryfoundation.org

© 2008 by Elizabeth Alexander. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 04, 2009

MICHAEL ROSEN

An interview with the Children's Laureate of Britain.


By Bruce Black
Poetry Media Service

Few of his legions of fans were surprised when Michael Rosen was appointed the fifth Children's Laureate of Britain--the first poet to win the honor. Adored for his tongue twisters, puns, rhymes, riddles, and nonsense verse, Rosen also subtly explores the emotional nuances of childhood, including its more serious subjects.

Bruce Black: It's the first time a poet has been selected as children's laureate. Why is this important?

Michael Rosen: I'm not sure that it's terribly important, but it does feel like an affirmation for poetry in general. The laureateship is becoming a post that is trying to represent different sectors of the children's book world. I thought it would get round to poetry one day, and I was a little surprised, but of course delighted, that it got there so soon.

BB: How does your post enable you to influence the attitudes of adults and children toward poetry?

MR: I'm not sure that it helps much more than before. That's to say, I spend a lot of time and energy expressing my point of view about the reading of poetry by children and have always done so. A really good thing coming up, though, is that Booktrust [the charity that administers the laureateship] is devoting a Web page to what I'm calling "How to make a poetry-friendly classroom." It's an extension of what I've been banging on about for some time. This time it will be a proper professional job, with the possibility of teachers exchanging views between each other.

BB: What's been your greatest pleasure so far as children's laureate?

MR: It's accelerated my thinking around using the Internet for the dissemination of ideas about children's books and the performance of poetry.

BB: How did you discover your own voice as a poet?

MR: Through reading D.H. Lawrence and Carl Sandburg in particular, but also the early pages of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. These were the voices that I was interested in at first. I then became fascinated by Gerard Manley Hopkins. However, there were the voices in my life from my parents, my brother, and the people at my schools in northwest London. These all contributed to how I wrote--and still do, of course.

BB: Did schooling impede or enhance your understanding of poetry . . . and your voice?

MR: In primary school I enjoyed what was called "choral speaking"--a kind of choir that got together in order to recite poems. I didn't like the poetry we did in lesson time. It always seemed so mournful and sad. At secondary school, something fizzed when a teacher in my second year introduced us to dramatic monologues--Browning, mostly. I thought that was brilliant. The next time I remember something good going on was when I did GCE [General Certificate of Education, a secondary-level academic qualification], as it was called then. For that, my father and I read A Pageant of Modern Verse, and it has poems in [it] by Lawrence, Housman, Hopkins, and others.

BB: Once you found your voice, how did you know it was suitable for children?

MR: I think that came about because the moment my first book was published, I was invited into schools, libraries, and children's book groups to read my poems. I quickly found out which ones interested them and which ones didn't. This was crucial.

BB: So when did you first realize you might write for children?

MR: When Pam Royds at Andre Deutsch said that a group of poems I had written could be published as a children's book. I had thought that they were "adult" but that children might like them. To tell the truth, I hadn't really thought it through. I lived in a house where "adult" poetry was repackaged in anthologies and radio broadcasts and given to children--poems by Dylan Thomas, James Stephens, Robert Graves, and the like. So perhaps I thought I was doing that--being an "adult" poet whose poems might be taken up by anthologists putting books together for schools.

BB: Is writing poetry for children different than writing for adults?

MR: I think adults who like poetry have tremendous staying power. They will read and reread poems because they enjoy the effort of untangling them. I think there is a tiny minority of children like that, but in general, poems for children have to sound interesting on a first reading.

BB: Do you have any suggestions for adults who want to help children learn to love poetry?

MR: Just read poems out loud to children. If you know any by heart, then say them at odd times, like when you're walking down the street or doing the washing up. Leave poetry books lying around the house. Take children to see poets reading their poems.

BB: Would you like to offer any words of encouragement for children who want to become poets?

MR: Read and read and read poetry. Keep a notebook for putting down ideas, thoughts, and "snippings." A snipping is where you see or hear something that you find interesting or odd. You snip it and put it in your notebook. One day, these will turn up in your poems, or you'll change one or some so that they can be in your poems.

Bruce Black is a writer and editor of children's books. His stories for children have appeared in Cricket and Cobblestone magazines. This article originally appeared on www.poetryfoundation.org. Distributed by the Poetry Foundation at www.poetryfoundation.org.

© 2008 by Bruce Black. All rights reserved.