Wednesday, May 31, 2006

more on google video
If you haven't yet seen it, check out Julian Grey's
video animation of "Forgetfulness" by Billy Collins.

It's well worth your time.

PS - If you found this delightful (as I did) you'll enjoy another animation of poetry produced by the same production company, JWTwo:

Juan Delcan's animation of Billy Collins reading "The Dead."

posted by Carl Bryant @ 2:32 PM   10 comments Literary Shirts

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

playing tag with myself
13 stupid things about me

1. I'm the general manager at work, but I get very dirty each day.

2. During a business meeting with the GM's of sister companies and the owner, I once declined an offered raise by saying "I didn't want to lose my foodstamps."

3. I have a too-powerful Jacob's Ladder in my office. It generates dangerous levels of ozone and UV, but I turn it on every now and then because I think it's pretty. I spend the rest of the day with scratchy eyeballs and a headache.

4. I was deaf as a child, but can hear fine now (out of one ear.) I still hate to hear poetry spoken. It should be crystallized on the page and silent.

5. I love dashes - I use them every chance I get.

6. Nearly everything I own is homemade, including my air conditioning.

7. I attend church twice each week because it pleases my Methodist wife, but I'm an atheist.

8. I once gave an interview to a trade magazine and made the poor freelance writer read several of my poems. Then I asked her not to include any in the article.

9. I spent four years playing lead guitar for a successful country band, but I detest country music.

10. I left school after ninth grade and went to work full time. I started college six years later. To get a dorm room.

11. I reached puberty and joined the army in the same year.

12. I once joined an IQ society and quit when I realized I joined for stupid reasons.

13. My ex is one of my best friends, but she likes my wife more than she likes me. They sit side by side in church and pray for my salvation.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 9:53 AM   21 comments Literary Shirts

Monday, May 29, 2006

finding fun on google video
This guy really gets Frost.

I hope he also gets an A.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 10:53 PM   3 comments Literary Shirts

Saturday, May 27, 2006

VCR Alert
I'm off to Little Rock for the weekend.

Would someone please tape the internet for me while I'm gone?

I'd hate to miss anything.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 12:58 AM   7 comments Literary Shirts

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Manliness, Navel Gazing, and My Weird Wife
On Wanting a Better Vagina

Over coffee, she recounts her dream:

I was going down on you,
but you had no penis.
You had a vagina.

It was small
- freakishly small.
There was no odor, no taste
- and I was not disgusted.

She adds the last
like it’s a compliment.
I won’t let it rest.

I want her running in her sleep
on four legs, growling;
sliding past, and clawing back
in animal fascination
to the strength of my sweat.
And if I must have a vagina,
I want a Big Manly Vagina.
She says:

It was only a dream. Stop
being a bitch.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 3:38 PM   11 comments Literary Shirts

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Because I'm lazy
And I feel I must post something...
Here's an old experimental page poem I wrote for Halloween:

posted by Carl Bryant @ 11:43 PM   5 comments Literary Shirts

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Recommended Reading
Are you interested in reading an attractive online poetry zine? Take a look at the seasonal-themed Winter 2006 Crescent Moon Journal.

Sarah Sloat (one of my favorite creative types!) served as art director for this issue. The photography is stunning and features work by Jill Burhans, Carlo Del Prete, Benoit Jolivet, Arnoldas Jurgaitis, and Stephen R. Ward. Look for poetry by Arlene Ang, Jude Goodwin, Bernie Henrie, Guy Kettelhack, and many others.

Here's my own modest contribution to the issue:

Photo by Jill Burhans

Signing a Watercolor, 3am

In the woods
there's a blanket - there
since September -

past my reflection,
my window, the garden
in winter, the gate to the grove.

Beyond the gate,
the moon holds onto honeysuckle
while hardwoods nod
a lullaby with butterscotched limbs.

All things wait to sleep,
and autumn is a persistent leaf -
brushing her name

with lips on my skin.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 1:16 PM   4 comments Literary Shirts

Friday, May 19, 2006

a new national language
President Bush opposes making English the official language of the United States.

In defense of George W. - he is very busy right now planning our "nucular stratagy for Eye ran" and hasn't the time to learn a new language.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 7:23 PM   2 comments Literary Shirts

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Extended Image
I've been preoccupied lately with the mechanics of message – how poets say what they have to say. What makes one image seem to "work" while another falls flat?

Ted Kooser is one of my favorite contemporary poets, so I decided to start my study with his poems. Today I'm studying "Mourners" from page 16 of Delights and Shadows, because it's deceptively simple, strongly image-driven, and succinctly powerful.


After the funeral the mourners gather
under the rustling churchyard maples
and talk softly, like clusters of leaves.
White shirt cuffs and collars flash in the shade:
highlights on deep green water.
They came this afternoon to say goodbye,
but now they keep saying hello and hello,
peering into each other's faces
slow to let go of each other's hands.

-by Ted Kooser

Delights and Shadows
Ted Kooser
Copper Canyon Press
ISBN Number: 1556592019

This poem leaves me introspective - thinking about people... how we need each other... how we're all the same... how the act of saying goodbye is an affirmation of life. There's a clear image in my head of a churchyard with rustling green maple leaves and milling mourners reluctant to go.

I'm studying how he delivered this message, taking it line by line:

L1: A rhythmic intro, setting scene and action (mourners gathering)
L2: An image: Leaves rustling in trees.
L3: A comparison of people to leaves on a tree (soft talk and rustling)
L4: An image: Cuffs and collars flashing.
L5: A comparison of one image to another (green related to leaves and life) implying deeper meaning.
L6: A statement in common language (nearly cliche)
L7: Contradiction of above statement, language chosen to echo the point.
L8: An action indicating recognition, and a need for community.
L9: An action indicating reluctance to separate.

Backing up from Kooser's lines and looking at the poem as a whole, I notice certain global relationships between images and comparisons.

The global extended image here seems to be a dappled surface:
1. rustling maples, clusters of leaves
2. cuffs and collars flashing from the shade
3. highlights on green water

The global comparison in this poem seems to imply that a gathering of people is a dappled surface - composed of individual elements, but all basically alike.

There's more going on in this poem than just a few related images, but I'm left wondering if this poem would have been as effective and immediate if the images didn't relate so strongly to the developing metaphor. How would this have affected my lingering introspection at the bottom of page 16, long after I finished reading?

** For those very few who don't own Delights and Shadows: Buy it. The imagery is masterful.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 1:39 PM   4 comments Literary Shirts

Monday, May 15, 2006

decoding the matrix


posted by Carl Bryant @ 1:16 PM   0 comments Literary Shirts

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Hallmark, Why won't you return my calls?
Butterfly Magic

Deep inside the woodland
in a meadow rarely seen,
she kneels beside a daisy
in a circling field of green.

My arm is soft around her
like a child with a butterfly -
afraid to stir the stillness
that keeps it from the sky.

A fragile spell holds her bound -
a fairy wreath of chance
that’s simple magic, yet profound:
I am the one entranced

in the middle of a moment,
in the promise of a vow
of rapture in the present -
an infinity of now

stretching on, slow as sunshine
in a meadow rarely seen
with a wandering daisy
stranded in the green.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 7:18 PM   7 comments Literary Shirts

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Must See TV

posted by Carl Bryant @ 12:46 PM   14 comments Literary Shirts

Sunday, May 07, 2006

say what?
Oh well... they can always read a transcript online...

STILLWATER, Okla. May 6, 2006 (AP)— President Bush advised college graduates on Saturday to use technology but not become enslaved by it.

"Science offers the prospect of eventual cures for terrible diseases and temptations to manipulate life and violate human dignity," Bush said during commencement exercises at Oklahoma State University. "With the Internet, you can communicate instantly with someone halfway across the world and isolate yourself from your family and your neighbors."

After the speech, some graduates said they couldn't make out clearly what Bush said because of an echo in the audio system at Boone Pickens Stadium.


"Enslaved by Technology?" Not as long as we're protected by the genius of Bill Gates.

Thanks to Windows, computers will never get too powerful and take over the earth.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 9:31 PM   0 comments Literary Shirts

when in doubt... shake it out

posted by Carl Bryant @ 8:30 PM   2 comments Literary Shirts

brought to you by the letter S
her breath as she sleeps
swoops like a seagull
feeding by starlight
on diamonds of deep

posted by Carl Bryant @ 5:36 PM   0 comments Literary Shirts

the pope game
For some reason, my eleven-year-old son is interested in Catholicism – in particular, how one becomes pope and how popes get their names.

I explained the whole thing to him, then we spent the rest of the day deciding what name we’d choose for ourselves if we were accidentally voted "Pope."

My son decided he would be “Pope-Daddy.”

My daughter got dibs on “Pope O’Gigio.”

I’d like to be “Pope Alishus”

My wife wants to be “pOprah.”

posted by Carl Bryant @ 12:34 AM   8 comments Literary Shirts

Friday, May 05, 2006

Internet Paper Poetry
As one of the few active poetry enthusiasts who did not major in the liberal arts, I’m often consulted for technical advice on website coding – particularly with respect to e-zine publishing. One thing that strikes me odd: Why must our e-zines be so stale and lifeless? Why are my e-zines stale and lifeless?

Am I trying to emulate the classy feel of a print magazine?

One of these days, we’re going to realize that we’re in a different ballgame here, and the internet poetry scene will quit trying to publish print periodicals online. The internet is now – real time, in motion - and growing rapidly. Imagine what we could accomplish if we allowed our craft to expand in ways that could never be expressed on paper.

Imagine a page poem presented as a sound file, with two alternating voices in different rhythms. Imagine one voice replacing the line breaks. Imagine poetic “bridges” where the spoken rhythm varies from the established pattern. Imagine words as a stream of video – paced exactly as the poet intended. Imagine faded visual refrains dispaying related metaphors in the background of a central image.

Be sure to check out beau blue's cafe at to see what he's doing with multimedia poetry.

Imagine saying something in a completely new way.

That’s what poets do.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 4:18 PM   3 comments Literary Shirts

Overcomplicating the blog
In my neverending quest for cuteness, I've converted a free css file from css zen garden into a blogger template.

Anyone with an eye for design care to comment?

Too un-bloggy?

posted by Carl Bryant @ 1:16 PM   11 comments Literary Shirts

Thursday, May 04, 2006

programmed for plagiarism
From an article in Thursday's Harvard Crimson:

If several rounds of editors at Viswanathan's publishing house, Little, Brown, couldn't weed the words of other writers from the sophomore's novel before it went to press, how can professors and teaching fellows at Harvard expect to police plagiarism in coursework?

An Oakland, Calif.-based software company says it has a solution.

The company's anti-plagiarism system, TurnItIn, scans student papers for similarities with previous work.


I bet if you fed TurnItIn a hundred MFA workshop poems, it would explode.

What I found most interesting was this oh-so-subtle question:
"If an editor of a crappy teenage novel can't do so... the heck can we expect this of a mere Harvard professor?"

posted by Carl Bryant @ 11:11 AM   2 comments Literary Shirts

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

writer's block

A Poetry Book

It's a ragged thing with a bad spine
and torn ears, listening to every click
and tap of the typewriter, looking over
now and again in the pauses, begging
for attention - to have the commas
scratched from its fur.

posted by Carl Bryant @ 10:14 PM   2 comments Literary Shirts

fun with microsoft paint

posted by Carl Bryant @ 12:25 PM   2 comments Literary Shirts