Sunday, June 29, 2008

Poetry as "Wise Pictures"

I’m in Pennsylvania for another week. And I’ve already taken my daughter, Natalie, through her homework that her First Grade teacher sent with her, so we decided to try writing poetry.

She said she wanted to write “wise pictures.” I decided that was the one of the best descriptions I’ve heard of what poetry can do.

Here’s her first try. (She wrote all the words, but I helped a little with the order of the sentences.)

The Snow Falls
by Natalie Gallaher

The cars are talking about snow
in the other room.

We all come down to this moment
with snow.

The snow is talking too.

I wish for snow
inside my head.

The snow looks like shining glazing
of glass.

The trees have no leaves
all afternoon.

I am cold.

The winters are wise
in the future.

Friday, June 27, 2008

John Ashbery on Video

Just because you might stumble across it or not. And just so that I can come back and watch them again later.

Much On The Cliffs: The Philosophies of John Ashbery

The Poet’s View – John Ashbery

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Joe Cocker - With a Little Help From My Friends

Joe Cocker!

OK, so if you’re like me, you might have always wondered what Joe Cocker was singing during his version of “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

Here you go, thanks to YouTube.

I don’t understand the birthday wishes at the end, but leaving a little bit of mystery is always a good thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four Way Books June Reading Period!

2008 Four Way Books
June Reading Period

Submission Dates: June 1 - 30 2008
by email or regular mail

Short Story Collections

For Complete Guidelines please visit:

Four Way Books
Celebrating 15 Years

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Issues: Day 4,982

Here are a few of the things dogging me these days:

Follow this link to Justin Evans:

So, what is the issue here, really? Is it knowing one’s own value as an artist? Well, no, not really. It’s more trying to figure out this world of writing and publishing. What is there to say about it? One writes. Yes. That is the important thing. But then what? One thinks about publishing. One has to think about publishing. One cannot not think about publishing. But, thinking about publishing is potentially very bad for one’s art, right? Because it makes one think about audience? But what if thinking about audience makes one write better? And who is to define “better”? Charles Wright once remarked that when he writes a poem he thinks of writing it for his friends, the poets Charles Simic and Mark Strand. Is there a difference? These days, whenever I write a poem, I write it to send to G.C. Waldrep. Is that any different than thinking about “audience” as, say, some journal or press? Does this mean one is “selling out” in some fashion, or to some fashion?

Perhaps a strategy would be to think of sending one’s poems to Vladimir and Estragon? They seem to have a lot of time on their hands.

Speaking of G.C. Waldrep. He’s a friend of mine, and a person whose poetry I admire. We’ve been writing poems back and forth for a few months now. Long enough that we both have well over a hundred poem each. Waldrep was calling it his pile, in conversation, his “Accidental Book.” I’m thinking of it as a very large pile of things on my desk. As many of our poems riff off each other’s images and poems, it makes me wonder what we’ve done, and what we might possibly do with these things in the future. Are they one huge book together? Are they an “experiment”? Are they an interesting accident that we’ll each take in other directions?

As artists, we all follow whatever thinking occurs to us, but then what? What do we do with all these things? Well, back to Justin’s questions, perhaps . . .

All of this leads me to Jorie Graham. I’m currently reading her newest book, and I’m having a difficult time. Jorie graham used to mean just about everything to me, circa 1990 – 1995. What has happened since? I think it was while reading Swarm, that I began to find myself arguing with the poems. Perhaps this is a mark of strong work. I took the time, and I still take to time, to buy each new book, and then argue my way through it.

Does she see the world differently than she used to, or do I? I think that is the question. That is my argument with her recent work. And who prevails? Or is prevailing the wrong question?

For whom is she writing? Is it no longer me?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thank You George Carlin

George Carlin liked to stir things up a bit. He was one of my favorite comedians.

We Like War

On Common Experiences

On Things You Never See

Seven Words you Can’t Say on Television

On Religion

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Front Porch 7

OK, so here I am, doing the old “hand-clasp-at-the-podium” trick. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have been there while John Gallaher is actually waving those hands all about? Well, as this picture was taken in Lincoln, NE, you’re out of luck, but, as luck would have it (and oh yes, luck, my friends, would have it), you’ve a second chance, no matter how far you live from the Midwest epicenter of all things:

Front Porch 7: When I Catch Her!

Is live!

John Gallaher
Reading at the KAP House

And what’s especially interesting about this number of Front Porch? Well, this is the first time I’ve ever seen me read. What an odd thing, to see oneself read. What an odd, odd thing. I’m, as they say, embedded, here:

So what do I have to say about me? Hmm. I dare you to watch the whole thing. If you do, and can somehow convince me you have, I promise you great rewards. What rewards, you ask? Ah, I reply, that would be telling!

So anyway, if you find it enjoyable, or somewhat interesting, maybe you would like to have me come read where you are? And if you find it insufferable, well, remember, if you can’t say something nice, then don't say anything at all.

And then it turns out I'm wrong anyway, and look, a little video snip exists of that reading in Lincoln, thanks to Mathias Svalina and Zachary Schomburg:

Black Ocean

Publisher’s of Zachary Schomburg’s The Man Suit, and several other things, including Handsome, a journal edited by Paige Ackerson Kiely, is in the midst of their open reading period.

Check it out. It’ll be well worth your time.

PS. Speaking fo the black ocean, has this ever happened to you? If so, you know how difficult things become when it does:
Dear John Gallaher, Thank you for contacting Sprint.

I apologize, we are experiencing an outage. I was going to enter a network trouble ticket but the engineers are aware of this problem and trying to get the service back up to par. We have 3 outages in your area reported at this time with unknown time for resolution. I went through something similar once and it was sporadic service for a week. I would say if you do not see an increase in service within the next 3 days reply to this email again. I will check the network events to see what progress is being made. This is hard on the customers and Sprint is very aware of the impact. We are working diligently to restore your service.

Thank you again for contacting Sprint. We appreciate your business.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Road Books (Poetry)

So anyway, I’m going to Indiana, Pennsylvania, for a month, and I don’t have much space to bring books with me. I know I’m going to take my Complete Stevens, and I just bought the newest books from Dean Young and Jorie Graham

(Side note: I used to, back in the early 90s, go crazy for Graham’s work, but I’m finding myself arguing with her work as time has dragged us along – I just read the first poem in Sea Change, and I’m already having a discussion with myself about whether to continue . . . I decided to continue.),

but what other books to take along?

Suggestions please.

I think what I’ll want to do is bring a dozen books, tops, and I’d like them to be books I’ve read that I’d like to read again. Things like Sarah Manguso’s Captain Lands in Paradise. And I’d like to give another go-through with Mary Jo Bang’s Louise in Love.

What else should I smuggle?

I’ll read yours if you send it to me real quick!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

But I'm going to be where the lights are shining on me.

It’s one of those “but I’m going to be where the lights are shining on me” mornings. So here you go:

There was a promo clip that I wanted to embed, but You Tube wouldn’t let me. So here goes with what came in next:

Glenn Campbell. The most interesting thing about this live clip (where otherwise he flattens all the subtle despair behind the lyric) is his gender switch at the end. Very inclusive. Very bender, if you follow the sentence logic.

And then, as all things go that come and go, it comes back as a third thing. You have to be strong to watch this one.

And then, well, there’s this one:

David Hasselhoff, in a perfect television moment.

What else should any of us really expect? There’s a heaven of surfaces out there waiting.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Four Way Books June Reading Period

2008 Four Way Books
June Reading Period

Submission Dates: June 1 - 30 2008
by email or regular mail

Short Story Collections

For Complete Guidelines please visit:

Four Way Books
Celebrating 15 Years

Harvey Korman (1927 - 2008)

One of the silliest highlights of TV comedy from my dim memories, from the Carol Burnett Show:

Gone with the Wind, Part One

Gone with the Wind, Part Two

Elemental Perception of the Day

From Joyce. Ulysses, Chapter XVII – Ithaca:

What parallel courses did Bloom and Stephen follow returning?

Starting united both at normal walking pace from Beresford place they followed in the order named Lower and Middle Gardiner streets and Mountjoy square, west: then, at reduced pace, each bearing left, Gardiner's place by an inadvertence as far as the farther corner of Temple street: then, at reduced pace with interruptions of halt, bearing right, Temple street, north, as far as Hardwicke place. Approaching, disparate, at relaxed walking pace they crossed both the circus before George's church diametrically, the chord in any circle being less than the arc which it subtends.

Of what did the duumvirate deliberate during their itinerary?

Music, literature, Ireland, Dublin, Paris, friendship, woman, prostitution, diet, the influence of gaslight or the light of arc and glowlamps on the growth of adjoining paraheliotropic trees, exposed corporation emergency dustbuckets, the Roman catholic church, ecclesiastical celibacy, the Irish nation, jesuit education, careers, the study of medicine, the past day, the maleficent influence of the presabbath, Stephen's collapse.