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Poetry Blather: William Carlos Williams’ Red Wheel Barrow

I am sometimes frustrated by poems that do not say what they mean.

Consider this.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

As an exercise in imagery, it works very nicely. You can see it in your mind. And as an exercise in rhythm, it’s nearly hypnotic.

But what
the gibbering hogwash
does it mean?

By which I mean, I need the first line explained to me. What depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens? What, and why is there so much of it? I get the whole “no ideas but in things” dictum, but we have the things. They are clearly spelled out. What are the ideas in them? That so much depends on them? But that doesn’t tell me anything.

Mary Oliver:

Perhaps Williams is implying that the imagination comes alive in the world of things–of objects. Perhaps he is saying that the poem, to become radiant, needs images, and images always involve things.

This is plausible. But only plausible. It is speculation. It is “Perhaps”. And that drives me back to non-communication. If you’re not telling me what you mean, implicitly or explicitly, while telling me that it means something very much indeed, then my instinct is to roll my eyes and proclaim you a purveyor of obtusity or offal.

And maybe the point is that the Great Something in Things cannot be communicated. That’s fine. But I hate guessing at it.

Poetry Imminent. Stir to be Released on Amazon.

I’ve made a decision to cut the cord on my ongoing poetry anthology, Stir, and release it for Kindle and paperback.

I’m going to finalize selections and upload in fairly rapid order.

I’m doing this in large part because I’ve decided I’m no worse at poetry than some of the things I’ve seen in lit mags. This stuff deserves to be seen.

Details to follow.

Changes in Tablo Prompt The Rise of Poetry

Since I last made updates, Tablo has made large structural changes to how it publishes and distributes books. Consequently, I’ve had to make some changes as well.

The big takeaway is paperback publishing and retail distribution is now available. Given that the prices seem to be per year, per book, rather than a one-time fee, I’m not certain whether it’s worth the outlay (even if I just do the e-book distribution, if I have 5 books published there, that’s $500 per year. I’ve got that many titles on Amazon right now, and it doesn’t cost me a dime).

However, the more important change to me right now is the update to the Writer Software. It’s fancier now, but it’s lost a feature that I used to quite like: the ability to manually select to have some chapters of a book available to read and other, unfinished chapters, not. Now anything you upload and update is available for viewing, as a whole.

Which is fine. But it does change my small works-in-progress. Consequently, I have ended the availablity for Chemical Angel, which was just posted. But I’ve added something new…


It’s not all of it, but it’s the first few from the years 2005-2106 that made the cut. I’ll be adding some more recent works over the course of the next year. Consider it an ongoing project. Click here to read some of my more experimental scribbles.

A St. Patrick’s Day Poem by Jim Brennan

I had the opportunity to meet Jim a few years ago at a reading in a pub. I bought a copy of his collection, After Work, which he signed to “the American who looks like a Paddy” (guilty – I’ve practically the map of Ireland painted on my face). Normally I quote Yeats this day, but Yeats has been dead a few years. New Blood enlivens.

Anyway, here’s “Crucifixion – M.S.J. Roscrea”

Here’s to Bro Peter’s corner
Of the world
With broken pieces
Old thrown out clothes
Cardboard faces
He praises God.
And turns over to us
The things that we find hard
To understand
His right hand nailed
His left hand also
Both feet
With a fertiliser bag
His wrapping cloth
Here in Bro Peter’s world
He is
Collecting everybody’s
Lost dreams
And broken hearts.

You can find After Work on Amazon. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Another Creation in Embryo…

Why I might:

  • On the DL, I’ve been sketching pieces of verse. I’ve got notebooks full of them. I’ve even laid them out in Scrivener. In the last year I’ve done maybe ten or twelve. There’s enough for a short paperback volume, anyway.
  • They’re always saying, get the content out. It would be nice if some of these saw some eyes.

Why I might not:

  • I don’t know if any of them are any good. I mean, a few definitely are. But all of them?
  • Nobody reads poetry books. Especially not self-published ones. My sales don’t justify it. It has Vanity Project written all over it.

Still, though…