Monday, October 06, 2008

make a poem day

Today is make a poem day. There’s a bit of, well, something going on out there with a document called Issue #1. Go to Ron Silliman’s blog and find out all about it if you want. But the most interesting thing to me about it (except for the silliness of my name being included – how funny), is how some people were able to construct nearly 4,000 poems lickity split. Even bad poems have to be constructed, right? Nah, that’s SOOOOO last century.

I found out through Noah Eli Gordon’s comment that you can do it much, much easier. So today, go here:

Choose the directed poetics page. And you can have some fun.

The whole thing takes maybe a minute. Maybe two.

So here’s my poem.

The ugly births

Ugly and beautiful
Ugly and beautiful

Uglier than a birth
Uglier than a nascency
Uglier than a nascence

A sort of birth
A kind of birth
A kind of nativity
A kind of nascency

Ugly as a birth and beautiful as a birth
Ugly as a nativity and beautiful as a birth
Ugly as a birth, beautiful as a nascence
Ugly as a birth and beautiful as a nascency
Ugly as a nascency, beautiful as a birth


At 10/06/2008 9:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Here's mine:

Of recrudescence

Exuberant as death
I bear it once
I give it mud and recrudescence
It alarms me to watch it depending like that, decorous and becoming
This is what it is to be decorous

What fun.

At 10/06/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

AND I learned a new word

At 10/06/2008 10:03 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


"what it is to be decorous" = awesome. I would so use that.

Weird, decorous world that it is.

At 10/06/2008 11:15 PM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

Now I've got something to do during office hours. Here's mine--topic, Eating a large bowl of chili:

Of wilderness

Making like a
charge the peaked
pilgrims, traded by a long
rainbow, arm
I like white woods, his
womb lavender with wilderness
Often marking, reassuring, going angrily
at an only

At 10/07/2008 3:50 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hah! I did another one! Topic: The beautiful death of the economy

It might be that it is to
lean on ugly births and wretched
systems that in
winter you run it, swinging beyond
a dead-room, thinking beside
a refuge
Like a birth
Lean on it but run
A birth, whose emolument is ugly, leans
on slimy slimy maps
A birth, an ugly
lid, and a vile blouse swell
far from a commencement where waiting leans
on its rest

Maybe it is to tarry living
impetus that an ugly horrible
birth leans on, living beside
a haunt, permitting
beside a ma'am
A births, an ugly legion, and an
unworthy depths lean on
above a hullabaloo so that
waiting tarries its unconcern
Tarrying like a birth the
ugly nightingales, beseeched by a
frightful roll, stare

Into a saved birth an ugly
skipper dresses
It may be
that it is to
bribe an ugly birth that you
buy it, knowing
above a boot, telling
beside a mouse

At 10/07/2008 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using as a subject "The religious architectures of deer," and choosing Plath as a grammar, one gets:


We are told by a
A scarlet ecstasy of
death tells them
wounded transports from the
lust of the
This is what
it is like
to be still

That lavender ecstasy has no
death for them
Telling on a brake
The brake is too still; the wounded
wind invites our death

We are aligned with
the still brakes of angels, inviting slowly
within wounded hunters
We have hounds
Wounded ecstasies, wounded hurt brakes, their
nerve hurt with

We stroll at
dawn through hounds
We have no death
We hear the ecstasy, invite the
Between these brakes and those

We would frown
Anywhere else death is more
This death bears no
relation to hound, ecstasy, brake,
Give them a still ecstasy
frowned in the


I'm utterly enchanted. --Eli

At 10/07/2008 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And going for "Pennsylvania is dark & fragile as a bird," one gets

Like a tune

Even though I arose, a
frost was early but
She and I
see thousands of brooks below us
I can watch the nightingale of the
Despair can turn the vein

Break a star
I would be a

Absurdly, purple wind jostles,
like a pile
A kind of band
Is it any wonder that I
would instead be impetuous?

At 10/07/2008 9:25 PM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

Had to leave you with another one, John. Topic: The kidnapping of Dorothy by winged monkeys.

The golden butterflies

Delivered as retrospection, insipid as retrospection
Wheeling as retrospection and hollow as retrospection
Cracked as retrospection and sagacious as retrospection
Enthralling as retrospection and lost as retrospection
Wind-swept as retrospection and militant as retrospection

Bids and offers
Bids and offers
Bids and invites
Bids and presses

Like odd butterflies
Like truffled butterflies
Like deep butterflies
Like trembling butterflies
Like billowy butterflies

Like a joyous-going sun
Like a travelled sun
Like a clerical sun
Like a golden sun

At 10/09/2008 11:48 AM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

Last one for you, John: Topic--Poem for John Gallaher winning book prizes. ;-) Congrats!

Of love

What is he to make of this wizard-finger, like a hazard?
What is he to make of this bee, vast as love?

At 10/10/2008 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee--why not send it to your pal, MaryBee. What is foetry's address these days?

At 10/10/2008 7:41 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hey Anon,

Well, Foetry isn't active these days, but Alan Cordle does maintain a blog at:

You insinuate I've done something unethical. I would welcome the conversation, if you'd like to have it for real. If you would like to, please ask something particular so that I can address it. A general accusation is not something I can respond to.

You don't need to remain anonymous, either. I promise that I'm not mean spirited, and I would not attack you personally.

At 10/10/2008 9:07 AM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

I think I misspoke which might have caused created an issue here. To clarify, congratulations to you John on getting your book selected by the editor of the U Akron poetry series.

At 10/10/2008 11:54 PM, Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

Ah, JG, you're much more patient with anonymice than I think I would be in a similar situation.

At 10/11/2008 6:27 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


It is such a complicated (and not so complicated) situation artists find themselves in in the USA these days. I think most of us (myself included for many years) look out at it from a place of hurt. Of being hurt by it. And the feeling (often correct) that there is a very different set of rules going on in that room over there that one is not invited into.

It's not about patience, it's more about empathy, I think. I published my first poem in 1989. I've had the feeling Anon has here many times myself. And now, nearly 20 years later, I see the hoplessness of trying to have no conection to anyone. I've been going to AWP for over a decade. I know, at least slightly (in the facebook friends kind of way), many journal and press editors.

I met Mary Biddinger as our books were coming out at the same time, and then at AWP because we were both signing our books a few tables away from each other, and we bought copies of each other's books. I then saw her at a reading in Cleveland.

I later found out (maybe from her blog?) that she was using my book in her class this fall, so I contacted her and told her that I'd be very inexpensive to have come visit. I've never met a class that read that book, and I was excited by the possibility.

This summer, Four Way Books allowed me out of my contract, and I got out the old list of competitions, and saw that Rita Dove (who I do not know at all, though I spoke to once on a telephone - I never told her my name [I was working as a secretary kind of, and inviting her to someone's dinner party]) was the judge of the Akron Prize. I don't care for her work, and doubted she'd care at all for mine, but I thought perhaps Mary Biddinger would like it, as she apparently liked The Little Book of Guesses, and perhaps the press would publish it outside of the contest. And that, much to my pleasure, is what happened.

I feel I've behaved ethically, but I'm also aware that since people with blogs often write on each other's blogs, as I have on Mary Biddinger's blog, and since I've been taking a lot of pictures of AWP and readings (a few of which feature MB), that it might all look like some big insider's club to some.


Post a Comment

<< Home