Friday, February 01, 2013


I am very grateful for this review by Tom Beckett of my recent book, THE AWAKENING. The review is HERE, but here's an excerpt which focuses on the book's first poem:

“The Erotic Life of Art: A Séance With William Carlos Williams is a marvelous meditation on art, artists and sex. Its cast of characters is large and its range of reference is wide. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Michelangelo, Pope Julius II, Da Vinci, Cellini, Dr. Williams, Titian, Jose Garcia Villa, Rembrandt, Li-Young Lee, Goya, Rodin, Delacroix, Jackson Pollock, Rimbaud, Wayne Thiebaud, Renoir, Seurat, Madeleine Knobloch (Seurat’s mistress who was anonymous until after his death), Tabios’ husband, Degas, Ezra Pound, Gainsborough, John Ruskin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Modigliani, Eluard, Duchamp, the Baroness, Dali, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and others constellate in its pages.

“The Erotic Life of Art” is a long associative poem of quick shifts, but there is nothing gratuitous about it. It’s incisive, sometimes humorous, and it bristles with energy and intelligence.

Thank you, Tom.  It's interesting that Thomas Fink also focuses on that poem in his blurb.  But I'm grateful for their focus because this poem made me sweat in its making (and spent an entire residency at MacDowell focused only on it).  I gave up on this poem more than once and actually lost it for several years.  Then I stumbled across a print-out of it, and decided to retype it (which irritated me) because it was the only long poem I had that I could think to submit to Octopus Magazine's Long Poem Issue (thank you editors Zachary Schomburg and Mathias Svalina for accepting!)

Anyway, that poem's sure come a long way since I "performed" it at MacDowell by, at one point, flinging colorful bits of paper up over the heads of the audience.  I had envisioned those colored papers to float up and down gracefully over the heads of the attending poets and artists.  Instead, the bits went up at the ceiling like mini-rockets and plummetted down  hard on the audience's heads like, uh, downed mini-rockets.  I couldn't find origami paper at the local store and I guess the papers I used were too hard. [Picture Moi rubbing my head here...]

So I thank Tom and Tom for their attention.

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