don't be that guy

After the poetry reading he asks the poet to sign his book with an obvious remainder mark.


handed a parachute

Here’s your parachute, Poet, wonderful as the charms of the chasm.

Vincente Huidobro, Preface to “Altazor,” trans. by Eliot Weinberger, Pinpoints in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), selected by Raúl Zurita and edited by Forrest Gander.


lewd or lame

Limericks are either lewd or lame.


drop dead backdrop

I swear if an author were brought before a firing squad the background would be shelves of books.


linear sense

You write word strings. A poet writes lines.


need to know, paid to know

He knew more about poetry than anyone who wasn’t getting paid to be in the know.


repeat and change

According to the critic Bob Thompson, one of the criteria of Yoruba art and sculpture is “repetition of changes.” This is significant to “For Our People” as well, for the poem does not repeat monotonously but moves unexpectedly, piling on moments and incidents authentic and sensitive to the Black experience, gathering momentum until it reaches a crescendo.

—Angela Jackson commenting on her poem “For Our People” in The Eloquent Poem (Persea Books, 2019) edited by Elise Paschen.



His favorite artist is KAWS,
doesn’t that say it all?


particle poem

A poem in which almost nothing happens: a glance, a gesture, a lilt, particle of a larger world.


tell it

Necessarily the times had shifted poetry toward rhetoric.


pamphlets, chapbooks, books

Remember that your words don’t create a recycling problem until they’re physically printed.


can you hear me

Poets in those times were too busy giving readings. In fact most of the poetry they’d ‘read’ was what they’d heard at readings.


general or particular

What has reasoning to do with Art or Painting?

The difference between a bad Artist and a Good One Is: The Bad Artist Seems to copy a Great deal. The Good One Really does copy a Great deal.

To Generalize is to be an Idiot. To Particularize is Alone Distinction of Merit.

—William Blake, annotations to Sir Joshua Reynold’s Discourses.

From May to September, 1809, Blake held an exhibition of his works at the house of his brother James on Broad Street. He had advertised it with the motto, “Fit audience find tho’ few.” The catalogue was included in the half-crown admission. This exhibition was Blake’s “one great effort to secure recognition as a representative of imaginative art,” and it ended in comparative failure.

Artists on Art: From the XIV to the XX Century (Pantheon Books, 1945), edited by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves


empty space

As he was reading he found that his eyes drifted to the blank spaces.


head above

As it turned out the title was too good for this poem.


two ways to get there

A poetry of method, a poetry of material.


bi-directional imagination

Memory calls up experience in an imaginative act, while fantasy carries forth experience in an imaginative act.


no audience

Still waiting for that single Klieg to step into.



And what else is handwriting but the concentrated expression of the personality of the individual? Of all the sciences or pseudo-sciences which presume to interpret the character and destiny of man from signs, graphology is surely the one which has the soundest foundation. Handwriting is taught, and certain of its characteristics belong to the general style of the period, but the personality of the writer, if it is at all relevant, does not fail to pierce through. The same happens with art. The lesser artists show the elements common to the period in a more conspicuous manner, but no artist, no matter how original, can avoid reflecting a number of traits. In terms of handwriting one can speak of a ductus, or hand, or style of writing not only in actual handwriting, but in every form of artistic creation, which is to an even greater extent an expression, something pressed or squeezed out of the individual.

Mario Praz, Mnemosyne: The Parallel Between Literature and the Visual Arts (Princeton U. Press, 1974)


come round again

I must reread poetry because poetry always has more to reveal.


high standard

I ask only to write a poem like Leonard Cohen’s song “Famous Blue Raincoat.”