Just up on PopMatters: “Midnight Oil’s Time Has Come Again.”

Check out “Midnight Oil’s Time Has Come Again,” just up on PopMatters.

I’ve been meaning to write about Midnight Oil for a long time.

Then I bought my tickets to see Midnight Oil a couple months ago on their first world tour in 15 years, and it got me thinking about my long history of loving the band’s music, and how particular their music and appeal was back then. Now, of course, with Trump in office, the band’s political bent is an absolute tonic, and I’ve had a long time to appreciate the depth of their catalog.

Anyway, read the article! I put it a lot better in this piece than I do here.

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Three disaster movie poems on Barrelhouse.

Three–count ’em three–poems are up on the website of the illustrious literary juggernaut that is Barrelhouse today. It’s part of their National Poetry Month celebration, in which they are running poems each day that are movies- or TV-inspired.

The poems, “Rescuing Bobby Brady from a Disaster Movie,” “Jack Lemmon Rewinds His Misanthropic Dialogue from a Disaster Movie,” and “Gleaning Dean Martin’s Chivalric Role in a Disaster Movie,” are inspired by, respectively, The Towering Inferno (1974), Airport ’77 (1977), and Airport (1975).

Thanks to all the Barrelhouse crew, especially Sheila Squillante, who’s one of my favorite people to see each year at AWP (as well as, you know, non-AWP times as well).

The poems were written, truth be told, more than 20 years ago when I was in grad school. I brought them into my workshops from time to time, and Sharon Olds and Galway Kinnell had no clue how to even respond to them.

“I have no idea who Dean Martin is,” Sharon Olds said at one point.

Back then, I was all like, “really?” But I think she was just saying that, as if to say, “how would people who have no idea who Dean Martin is respond to this poem?”

Which makes sense.

These three poems are part of a sequence of at least four poems. I worked really hard on these, from what I can recall. I began each poem with the last line of the one preceding it, and used the old William Carlos Williams triadic stanza thing and, what I regarded as my own innovation, staggering the stanzas in cascade fashion so the poems looked like they were falling from the sky. Those were heady times at the writing desk, I said, self-deprecatingly.

(I notice Sheila did what I have to do sometimes publishing poems that work away from the left-side margin: she took a screenshot and published it as a graphic. WordPress and other CMSs can be a cruel mistress sometimes.) (UPDATE: The screenshot formatting was too much of a pain, and it wouldn’t be read by, like, mobile devices and tablets, so after conferring with Sheila, who is a saint, we went with a flush-left margin.)

The poem that comes after this, “Leslie Nielsen Signs Autographs, Comments on His Disaster Movie,” was published in Painted Bride Quarterly a couple years back. (They put the epigraph, The Poseidon Adventure, into the title, which I guess was their editorial prerogative, or perhaps a mistake? I just noticed that.) It’s the last poem in the sequence, and it’s a story I stole from my old friend and now award-winning film director Kevin B. DiNovis.  I think that whole event took place that the B. Dutton store in the Cherry Hill Mall.

When 9/11 happened, you would be accurate in guessing that I took these poems out of submission circulation because duh. In recent years, I’ve turned into my own personal archivist because who else is going to do it, and took another look at some old poems to revise and revisit them. The disaster movie poems didn’t much more work and they still kinda-sorta hold up. It’s nice to see them out into the world.








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Hey Albany, NY: I’m reading for St. Rocco’s Reading for the Falsely Accused on Feb. 18.

People of thestroccos Capital Tech Tri-City Valley Region District! On Sunday, February 18, I’ll be reading work as part of the St. Rocco’s Reading for the Falsely Accused series.

Hosted and curated by Aimee Harrison, Kenyatta Garcia, and Douglas Rothschild, St. Rocco’s is a super-cool salon-poetry reading series. This installment features Buck Downs, Tara Needham, & Daniel Nester.  Reading begins at 8pm. The location is 58 Philip St, Albany, NY 12202-1715. Enter at the corner of Philip and Elm. Pre-reading hang is at The Excelsior Pub at 6pm.

Facebook event page

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I’ll be going to AWP in Washington, DC. Perhaps I will see you there?


AWP, that annual meeting of the writers, teachers, publishers, and MFA programs, takes place in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Like many others, I feel conflicted even entering the area code of the Orange-Headed Fascist, but perhaps there is strength in numbers. There better be.

I’ll be doing the Spinal Tap-style book-signing thing at the 99: The Press table (414-T) on Friday, 1-2pm. Buy a copy of SHADER, get some extra goodies from me.

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Shadercast Episode 18 Keytars and Open Mic No-No’s

It’s a mixed bag this time out, with a cold open featuring none other than Eric, the UrbanSurfer himself, interviewed out in the wild (i.e., a basement studio in North Jersey). I ask him about keytars that just popped into my head. Great interviews work that way sometimes. After that, we feature a 25-year-old field recording of speeches made at a union holiday party in midtown Manhattan. Then our centerpiece: a dramatic reading of “20 Things Not to Do at an Open Poetry Reading,” which originally ran on the Best American Poetry Blog back in November 2015 and was shared widely throughout the Poetryland universe. And, before you know it, the Shadercast episode is over, and you’ll have to go back to your regular, workaday lives, trying to forget how the American left couldn’t get it together to hold back a totalitarian fake-billionaire from being elected president. We’ll be back sooner, rather than later, to help you keep up your diligence to preserve our fragile republic.

Listen using the link below, or listen and subscribe on SoundCloudStitcheriTunes, and lots of other places.

Shadercast Episode 18 Keytars and Open Mic No-No’s

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