Franz Wright Responds to Bill Knott

As a reader of Bill Knott (his blog and before that his poetry), I have been somewhat unsure how to take his paranoid and self-pitying diatribes against a system that, whether he wants to admit it or not, he is very much apart of.  I mean I assumed he was joking, he has to be, as no one can be that self indulgently infantile, but apparently poet Franz Wright doesn’t see the tongue in the cheekiness and here is his response…I myself am going to stay on the fence still, and just assume that it is all a joke.

Quote removed by request


The following is clipped from Carolina Stompers a website that has given me much entertainment, some of it of the horror variety, the past few days.  Stop in and say hi, just don’t tell them you are a Liberal, or you will probably end up on some list for “re-education and containment”:

As I was pondering his words it occurred to me that more often than not the more plainly a person speaks, the better he articulates his feelings and conveys his thoughts. It also occurred to me that it takes a very small and selfish person so wrapped up in the perefection of grammar, style, and or dialect aka the vanity of their mind, that they can not see the forest for the trees.
It reminds me of a verse that says “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
Please listen to this young man, he has alot to say and I think it is absolutely worth hearing.images.jpe

She is referencing a “poem” that you can read here, along with the entire post.  While I am certainly not a grammar enthusiast, I at least understand that communication relies on clarity, which in the end, is what grammar is all about…unless of course if you believe it to be some sort of Liberal conspiracy.

wander around their site for awhile, and be sure to check out the forums…they are surely a bunch of true believers…

Excerpts from a Lost Notebook

 A gaggle of angry Seneca’s is circling the gates of the city.  The lead Indian has a flute on which he is playing the theme from “The Love Boat”.  The city is famous for its exports: Technology, cotton underwear, and melancholy.    This will not have a happy ending.  The walls will come down, there will be bloodshed.      

            The city is already erecting a memorial.  It will be made of concrete, glass, and unread Russian novels.   It will climb to heaven.  God will smash it down.  Everyone will be very confused, they will scatter, they will think of another idea.


            In the spring of 1142 a man showed up in our town with a piece of the true cross, but by the time we all got around to observe it,  it was already 1200, and we had moved on to more important things.  Jerusalem was abandoned to the second Intifata.   We knew this because a series of flags were raised over the city.  God was pleased by our decision to slink back into Europe, and continue our slaughter there.   

In 1356 Madame Curie invented a vaccine for traveling to into the unknown, for opening up boarders.   The vaccine tasted like a circuit.

Before the invention of the radio people used to have to put their ears to the ground to listen to what the earth had to say.   The news was always the same.


In 1511 a bird flew over the city, the shadow of its wings convinced everyone that the Dark Ages had returned.   We consulted the texts that had been hidden way in the labyrinth for just such an occasion, only to find that all the books contained were various recipes and commentaries on Germanic cooking.

At the beginning of the Second World War I was in my room listening to Johnny Cash, when I heard that the Germans had crossed into Poland.   Then the house across the street disappeared in a cloud of dust.  No one seemed to notice as house after house evaporated.   Then came Hiroshima.  It was all over very quickly, I never even had a chance to get out of bed. I felt like a telephone that was ringing, that no one would answer.

            At some point the city disappears, or changes its name, no one is sure which; all that remains is a man who goes from place to place putting up fence, he is re-erecting the monument.   This time, he has been assured—by someone—it will be indestructible.

Poet for a Tuesday

Charles Simic ( bio) has been named the new US Poet Laureate.  Simic has been my one of, if not my most, favored poets for years. He is a poet of immense imagination, humor, and talent.  He has had a profound impact on poetics and language itself, and is  a gracious and commited teacher.  Below are a few of my favorites of his poems (there are so many) and check the side bar for some links to a few of his interviews that are entertaining and informative…oh, and if you like memoirs read his A Fly in the Soup which details his youth in the former Yugoslavia during WWII, as well as his familys escape to France, and the US, and his time as a young man in the US Army, among other things…Enjoy!

The White Room

The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees.

They had a secret
Which they were about to
Make known to me–
And then didn’t.

Summer came. Each tree
On my street had its own
Scheherazade. My nights
Were a part of their wild

Storytelling. We were
Entering dark houses,
Always more dark houses,
Hushed and abandoned.

There was someone with eyes closed
On the upper floors.
The fear of it, and the wonder,
Kept me sleepless.

The truth is bald and cold,
Said the woman
Who always wore white.
She didn’t leave her room.

The sun pointed to one or two
Things that had survived
The long night intact.
The simplest things,

Difficult in their obviousness.
They made no noise.
It was the kind of day
People described as “perfect.”

Gods disguising themselves
As black hairpins, a hand-mirror,
A comb with a tooth missing?
No! That wasn’t it.

Just things as they are,
Unblinking, lying mute
In that bright light–
And the trees waiting for the night.


Eyes Fastened with Pins

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death’s laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death’s supper table.
The neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting on the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
Someone with a bad cough,
But the address somehow wrong,
Even death can’t figure it out
Among all the locked doors…
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death’s side of the bed.


The School Of Metaphysics

Executioner happy to explain
How his wristwatch works
As he shadows me on the street.
I call him that because he is grim and officious
And wears black.

The clock on the church tower
Had stopped at five to eleven.
The morning newspapers had no date.
The gray building on the corner
Could’ve been a state pen,

And then he showed up with his watch,
Whose Gothic numerals
And the absence of hands
He wanted me to understand
Right then and there.


The Partial Explanation

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.

Seems like it has grown darker
Since I last heard the kitchen door
Behind my back
Since I last noticed
Anyone pass on the street.

A glass of ice-water
Keeps me company
At this table I chose myself
Upon entering.

And a longing,
Incredible longing
To eavesdrop
On the conversation
Of cooks.