Monthly Archives: August 2012
“That’s so gay” has been part of the adolescent lexicon for some time, but a new University of Michigan study has revealed the phrase could have deep consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
Source: Huffington Post (Gay Voices), “‘That’s So Gay’ Impact,” by Curtis M. Wong
America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.
Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world
you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.
People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.
Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back
what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.
|From Selected Poems by Robert Creeley.
Copyright © 1991 by The Regents of the University of California.
All rights reserved.
Used with permission.
Originally published in Pieces (1969).
For a biography of Creeley, click “read more” below.
Creeley was born in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1926. When his father died in 1930, he was raised by his mother and sister in Acton. An accident when he was four left him blind in one eye. He attended Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on a scholarship, and his articles and stories appeared regularly in the school’s literary magazine. Creeley was admitted to Harvard in 1943, but admitted later that he had felt discouraged by “the sardonic stance of my elders.” He left Harvard to serve in the American Field Service in 1944 and 1945, and drove an ambulance in India and South-East Asia. Creeley returned to Harvard after the war, though he never graduated. He began corresponding with William Carlos Williams, who seems to have put him in touch with Charles Olson, a poet who was to have a substantial influence on the direction of his future work. Excited especially by Olson’s ideas about literature, Creeley began to develop a distinctive and unique poetic style.Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much imitated, often diluted minimalism, the compression of emotion into verse in which scarcely a syllable is wasted, has decisively marked a generation of poets.”
Throughout the 1950s, Creeley was associated with the “Black Mountain Poets,” a group of writers including Denise Levertov, Ed Dorn, Fielding Dawson, and others who had some connection with Black Mountain College, an experimental, communal college in North Carolina that was a haven for many innovative writers and artists of the period. Creeley edited the Black Mountain Review and developed a close and lasting relationship with Olson, who was the rector of the college. The two engaged in a lengthy, intensive correspondence about literary matters that has been collected and published in ten volumes as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence (Volume 1, 1980). Olson and Creeley together developed the concept of “projective verse,” a kind of poetry that abandoned traditional forms in favor of a freely constructed verse that took shape as the process of composing it was underway. Olson called this process “composition by field,” and his famous essay on the subject, “Projective Verse,” was as important for the poets of the emerging generation as T. S. Eliot‘s “Tradition and the Individual Talent” was to the poets of the previous generation. Olson credited Creeley with formulating one of the basic principles of this new poetry: the idea that “form is never more than an extension of content.”
Creeley was a leader in the generational shift that veered away from history and tradition as primary poetic sources and gave new prominence to the ongoing experiences of an individual’s life. Because of this emphasis, the major events of his life loom large in his literary work. Creeley’s marriage to Ann MacKinnon ended in divorce in 1955. The breakup of that relationship is chronicled in fictional form in his only novel, The Island(1963), which drew upon his experiences on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, where he lived with MacKinnon and their three children in 1953 and 1954. After the divorce Creeley returned to Black Mountain College for a brief time before moving west. He was in San Francisco during the flowering of the “San Francisco Poetry Renaissance” and became associated for a time with the writers of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, and others. His work appeared in the influential “beat” anthology The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (1960), edited by Donald Allen.
In 1956 Creeley accepted a teaching position at a boys’ school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met his second wife, Bobbie Louise Hall. Though Creeley published poetry and fiction throughout the 1950s and 1960s and had even established his own imprint, the Divers Press, in 1952, his work did not receive important national recognition until Scribner published his first major collection, For Love: Poems 1950-1960, in 1962. This book collected work that he had been issuing in small editions and magazines during the previous decade. When For Love debuted, Mobilio wrote, “it was recognized at once as a pivotal contribution to the alternative poetics reshaping the American tradition. . . . The muted, delicately contrived lyrics . . . were personal and self-contained; while they drew their life from the everyday, their techniques of dislocation sprang from the mind’s naturally stumbled syntax.”
The very first poem in For Love, “Hart Crane,” with its unorthodox, Williams-like line breaks, its nearly hidden internal rhymes, and its subtle assonance and sibilance, announces the Creeley style—a style defined by an intense concentration on the sounds and rhythms of language as well as the placement of the words on the page. In a piece for the London Review of Books, Stephen Burt wrote that “We recognise Creeley’s poems first by what they leave out: he uses few long or rare words, no regular metres and almost no metaphors,” and, noting how little that style changed, “Creeley kept for five decades a way of writing whose markers include parsimonious diction, strong enjambment, two to four-line stanzas and occasional rhyme. What changed over his career was not his language but the use he made of it, the attitudes and goals around which the small, clear crystals of his verse might form.”
Though For Love and Words (1967) both received critical acclaim, by the late ’60s Creeley was already abandoning the spare style which had made him famous. In Pieces, A Day Book, Thirty Things, and Hello: A Journal, February 29-May 3, 1976, all published between 1968 and 1978, Creeley attempts to break down the concept of a “single poem” by offering his readers sequential, associated fragments of poems with indeterminate beginnings and endings. All of these works are energized by the same heightened attention to the present that characterizes Creeley’s earlier work, and many of the poems in Hello (1976) refer to the last days of Creeley’s relationship with his second wife, Bobbie. That marriage ended in divorce in 1976, the same year he met Penelope Highton, his third wife, while traveling in New Zealand. For all of Creeley’s experimentation, he has always been in some ways an exceedingly domestic poet; his mother, children, wives, and close friends are the subjects of his best work. Because Creeley’s second marriage lasted nearly twenty years, the sense of a major chunk of his life drifting away from him is very strong in Hello. Creeley here conveys the traumatic emotional state that almost always accompanies the breakup of long-term relationships.
Creeley’s next major collection, Later (1979), is characterized by a greater emphasis on memory, a new sense of life’s discrete phases, and an intense preoccupation with aging. In “Myself,” the first poem in Later, he writes: “I want, if older, / still to know / why, human, men / and women are / so torn, so lost / why hopes cannot / find a better world / than this.” This futile but deeply human quest captures the spirit of Creeley’s later work. It embodies a commonly shared realization: one becomes older but still knows very little about essential aspects of life, particularly the mysteries of human relationships. The ten-part title poem was written over a period of ten days in September of 1977. The poem begins by evoking lost youth—youth, in later life, can only become a palpable part of the present through the power of memory—and presents a kaleidoscopic view of Creeley’s life, both past and present: a lost childhood dog and memories of his mother, friends and neighbors are all mapped onto the poetry he is composing in an attic room in Buffalo, September, 1977.
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975 was published in 1982. The poems Creeley wrote in the last decades of his life increasingly remember and reflect on memory and the past. As Stephen Burt described them: “The later poems are more traditional than their predecessors, in their sounds and in their goals. They rhyme more often. They have recognisable closure. Few are so short as to pose conceptual puzzles about what a poem is. When they are bad they are prosy or repetitive, not insubstantial or nonsensical. They never sound like Olson (much less like Ginsberg), and at their best they recall Thomas Hardy: they are, in the end, mostly poems of old age.” Life and Death (1998) examines the poet’s increasing age and mortality. Reviewing the book, Forrest Gander acknowledged Creeley’s lasting importance to American poetry: “Robert Creeley has forged a signature style in American poetry, an idiosyncratic, highly elliptical, syntactical compression by which the character of his mind’s concentrated and stumbling proposals might be expressed . . . Reading his poems, we experience the gnash of arriving through feeling at thought and word.”
Creeley was a prolific poet, even late in life: the volumes after Life and Death came in regular succession, including Loops: Ten Poems (1995); Ligeia: A Libretto (1996); So There: Poems 1976-83 (1998); En Famille: A Poem by Robert Creeley (1999); Thinking (2000); Just In Time: Poems, 1984-1994 (2001); and If I Were Writing This (2003). R. D. Pohl in the Buffalo News, praised If I Were Writing This, declaring that it “contains some of the starkest and most memorable poems Creeley has written.” Pohl and a Publishers Weekly reviewer both saw If I Were Writing This as a companion volume to Life and Death, each of them “composed primarily of poems dedicated to family and friends (dead and living), collaborative verses, and such poems as ‘For You’ in which intimacy of tone coincides with cryptic, lyrical abstraction.” Pohl noted that If I Were Writing This is the first major volume to appear since Creeley joined the ranks of such poetic giants as Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery by winning the prestigious Yale University Bollingen Prize in 1999. He continued: “The fragility of our common experience in language and the world resonates through every line of Creeley’s recent work.”
Creeley also wrote a considerable amount of prose and was editor of a number of volumes, including Best American Poetry 2002. Creeley’s prose includes a novel, essays, and short stories, as well as a play, collected letters, and an autobiography, published in 1990. Creeley taught for over 30 years at the State University of New York-Buffalo, helping to turn its English and Poetics program into one of the most famous havens for avant-garde writing in the world. In 2003 he was appointed distinguished professor of English at Brown University. In an appreciation of Creeley written for the Poetry Project Newsletter, Peter Gizzi said, “He was a devoted teacher, undeterred by the persistent critique of the role of poets in universities. Conversely, on the Black Mountain model, he was more interested in bending institutions to support poetry. That was one of his labors.“Also noted for his enthusiastic support of other poets, Robert Creeley served as a mentor and friend to many, many poets. Charles Bernstein, a colleague of Creeley’s at SUNY-Buffalo wrote in the Brooklyn Rail: “So many poets had an intimate relation with Creeley; he had a way of connecting with each of us in particular and, through that connection with him, to a company of poets in the U.S. and around the world.” Creeley died in 2005 in Odessa, Texas, of complications resulting from lung disease. He had been completing a residency for the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas.
Don Byrd quoted him in Contemporary Poets: “I write to realize the world as one has come to live in it, thus to give testament. I write to move inwords, a human delight. I write when no other act is possible.” Asked about “good” poems, Creeley, who had written in the introduction to Best American Poetry 2002 that the poem is “that place we are finally safe in” where “understanding is not a requirement. You don’t have to know why. Being there is the one requirement,” responded, “If one only wrote ‘good’ poems, what a dreary world it would be.”
(Biography updated by the Poetry Foundation, 2009)
One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening. Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself. Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.
So this week, let’s step back and get back to the basics.
If you’re frustrated in your life, confused by issues, or way too busy for your own good, take a moment to relax. Take a deep breath. Ask God for a refreshing spiritual breeze in your life.
Then read the following two passages for a reminder of why we’re Christians.
1 John 4:7-19King James Version (KJV)7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
1 John 3:1-3King James Version (KJV)3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
You are a child of God.
May that be the single thing that sticks in your mind as you tackle whatever life throws at you this week.
God loves you, exactly as you are. So take that love and share it!
New Exhibitions at GLBT History Museum to Highlight Queer
Asian/Pacific Lesbians marching in the 1989 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. Photo: Cathy Cade at www.cathcade.com; courtesy of the Bancroft Library.
Produced by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in 1982, the “Play Fair!” brochure launched the safer sex movement. Photo courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society.
– Cornell University
– Emory University
– Indiana University
– Ithaca College
– Oberlin College
– Portland State University
– Stanford University
– The Ohio State University
– The Pennsylvania State University
– University of California, Berkeley
– University of California, Los Angeles
– University of California, Riverside
– University of California, Santa Barbara
– University of Chicago
– University of Illinois at Chicago
– University of Maryland, College Park
– University of Massachusetts, Amherst
– University of Michigan
– University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
– University of Oregon
– University of Pennsylvania
– University of Utah
– University of Vermont
– University of Washington
Full story here:
For five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world’s richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell. His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed—and then crushed when Zach shuts him out. Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.
Finding Zach is a novel that pulls at your heart strings. This novel takes you through a roller coaster of emotions: sadness, lust, love, frustration, etc. In parts, the book is very erotic, but not pornographic. In an article I recently read, the author Greg Herren (one of my absolute favorite writers) wrote about the difference between erotica and pornography:
To me, pornography is writing about sex itself; the characters really don’t matter, the setting doesn’t matter, and there really is no story. Two men (or two women) meet, are attracted to each other, have some blistering hot sex, and then go their merry ways. We don’t know anything more about them than we did when we first met them.Erotica, on the other hand, is about the characters; and needs to actually tell a story. Erotic fiction, to me, has to meet the standards of fiction—there has to be a change of some sort in the main character by the end of the story; the sex itself needs to be revelatory to the character in some way. (When I teach workshops, I say “If you can change the sex scene in your story to nothing more than and then they fucked, and the story still works, then it’s erotica.”)