“Dans la poésie c’est toujours la guerre.”

– Osip Mandelstam

“A poet is not a cable car.”

– Jack Spicer

Defend Poet Allan Monga against the Trumpist NEA

This extraordinary case has been all over the national and international news for close to a week now. All the major television outlets have reported on it; dozens of leading papers have covered it; and prominent political and activist figures have expressed their outrage about it.


But apparently, not a single member organization of the so-called “Poetry Coalition” (https://www.poets.org/academy-american-poets/poetry-coalition) has even noticed, much less come to the support of the young poet, Allan Monga.

Why has the Poetry Foundation, for instance, not said a word about this on its “poetry news” Harriet Blog? Is this issue not major poetry news?

Or is it that it’s just too “impolitic” to call out and embarrass the NEA?

How shameful is that?


Cherished DPW Readers, Who Do Swell with Fine Increase by the Season,

At start of National Poetry Month, and, none too coincidentally, the 2ndanniversary of Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, we share with you what has been revealed at Dispatches over a very busy March. Because there is so much, we’ve taken time to list all new contents from the past four weeks by category, and with direct links to each item.

We want you to know we have labored away, this past fortnight and more, in midst of sudden financial crises for both DPW editors: Fric flipped into the air and fell on the ice, breaking two ribs, then lost a crown of gold to a plum seed; Frac bought a fine, signed first edition of Marianne Moore’s Collected and lost it at a bar, then also lost a bumper, grill, and lights in a rear-end on a bridge. Each has been set back a bundle. So if you feel some sympathy for a couple of gimpy, increasingly toothless poets struggling to keep their website going, please feel free to write the Poetry Foundation and encourage them to send us some of their dough. Maybe just one day’s interest from the dragon’s hoard stashed in their numbered Swiss accounts. And Fred Seidel, fellow geezer, now is the time to slightly postpone the purchase of your twelfth Ducati.

Someone wrote us recently and claimed he was challenging us on our “tactics.” We found that amusing since the only tactics we are interested in are syntactics. Or is that sin-tactics? In any case, we see ourselves as more tic-tactic-toe kind of guys, eager to put down the next X or O, always hopeful the game will turn out differently. Poetry does make a difference, on many of the multiple levels we wander in and out of every day. Of course we know that as soon as we say poetry makes a difference, some smartass out there will go, Yeah? Is Poetry going to bring world peace? Can poetry defeat a national army of racist cops shooting unarmed black men? Can poetry end hunger? Can it end hemorrhoids? And of course the answer is no, it can’t do those things. Because nothing can do those things. We learned some time ago, hunkering in the Nicaragua rain forest to teach peasant soldiers to read and write, or preaching the gospel of utopian economic justice in union halls and on shop floors, that you can’t fix the world. It is, as Robin Blaser liked to emphasize from his reading of Agamben, irreparable. So get over it.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. The world’s whirlswirl is a dynamic emerging of complex entanglements, and little things here and there end up later magnified in ways no one can predict or even imagine. Poetry has the capacious capacity to open the heart, mind and soul to the tremendum as it vibrates in language composed to maximize acoustic and sub-acoustic vibratory gnosis which itself can set off morphogenetic resonances that profoundly affect the forms of emergence. It offers a jail break in the midst of the Administration’s Detention Centre. And it has the capacity as well to convene synergetic gatherings of the different minded in being-together in poetry’s work. That’s something.

We could and want to say more. We will, of course. There is still time. We hope. May God(s) &/ or Goddess(es) Bless and Protect Us All. Happy or angry reading. Thank you for being there, camerados. Down with all poetry institutions. Long live the poetic resistance.

Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, a veritable barrel of apples on a pirate ship (Yo ho ho . . .

For the new content, see the index below the news feed. The pdfs are easier to view if downloaded.


Dear Emily Post-Avant

Dear Emily Post-Avant, I just saw the photograph of the Paris Review Spring Revel and your commentary about it. I like Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, but I really think you should tell the editors that they went a little too far this time. I mean, isn’t it a bit...

A Spring Revel

Dear Readers of DPW: Take a close look at the above photograph, taken a couple days back, at the Paris Review's "2018 Spring Revel." It is featured today, April 11, on the journal's website.   Isn't it nice that all of the many dozens of writers getting drunk and...

Roberto Bolaño on Pablo Neruda, from an interview in 2000, proving himself quite a bit more principled about certain elemental things than many “liberal-left” U.S. poets

Q: Which authors would you number among your precursors? Borges? Cortázar? Nicanor Parra? Neruda? Kafka? In Tres you write: “I dreamt that Earth was finished. And the only human being to contemplate the end was Franz Kafka. In heaven, the Titans were fighting to the...

A setting of Frank O’Hara’s “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island,” the final movement of the song cycle “Algebra of Night” by Eugene O’Brien.

https://soundcloud.com/lgebraofightroject/a-true-account-of-talking-to-the-sun-at-fire-island-frank-ohara/s-Zh1vP A setting of Frank O'Hara's "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island," the final movement of the song cycle "Algebra of Night" by Eugene...

Lost & Found

Rain Taxi

Rain Taxi cover

Chicago Review

Chicago Review Ad

Lana Turner Journal

Lana Turner Journal

Category Index








Index – 1 April 2018 Update

Click a box below to view the full upload list for that category.