Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Poem Out

New poem out in Molly Bloom. This one is an avant cousin of the poem in Long Poem Magazine (see post below), but it does its similar doings in different ways. And though it's a
Joyce's Molly Bloom, in The New Yorker
little long, it’s not nearly so long as the Long Poem Mag poem. Thanks again to Molly Bloom editor Aidan Semmens for his receptive interest and for his adventurous mag.    

Monday, March 9, 2015

Molly Bloom

Thrilled to have a poem coming out in the next issue of the exciting and still fairly new poetry magazine Molly Bloom. (Now that's a great name for a poetry magazine, and especially for one with this magazine's avant taste in poems.) Many thanks to the editor, Aidan Semmens, an extremely interesting and provocative poet (check him out here), for taking an interest in my work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New long poem in Long Poem Magazine

The monster (meaning long) poem, called "O Josephus: Seventeen Theses on the Philosophy of Intuition," is now out in Long Poem Magazine 11, Spring 2014, 25-36. My copy arrived from
London today, twelve days after friends got their copies. Maybe the post office wanted to read the magazine before delivering it. Regardless, I'm thrilled to see this poem in a great magazine among great company.

Alas, the poem's formatting seems to have mystified the typographer, even though I corrected proof, and so the layout came out wrong. Readers can probably still follow the poem, but it is probably best, and much easier, to read the poem with the right layout. So go HERE for a pdf copy with the right layout.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Monster of a new poem

Good news: an acceptance today from Long Poem Magazine. The poem lives up to the magazine’s title. I worked on this long poem for a long time. I am grateful for the editors’ generosity of imagination in considering such a long and avant-quirky poem.

I haven’t had new published poems to announce lately, because I was working on such a long poem, and because I’m working on more long poems (though they might end up shorter), and because I had a lot of things accepted so that I didn’t have as much to send out, and yes, because other commitments kept me from writing or finishing poems or submitting them to journals as much as I wanted to. That may be changing now. Stay tuned.

This new poem is a monster. It’s due out in May. If you haven’t seen Long Poem Magazine, check it out. Try buying a copy. They don’t put much online, but it’s worth buying, and they make it easy to buy online. Most journals can’t support long poems, but long poems deserve our support. And so does a magazine dedicated to long poems.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I liked Leveler even before they had the kindness to publish one of my poems and to accompany it with such an astute reading. Of course, I submitted to Leveler because I liked it. Now the Poetry Society of America has given Leveler a little much-deserved web publicity. Let’s hope that leads to even more readers. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Decline of American Poetry?

So now we have a new eruption of an old ruckus. Is the present only a degraded version of the past? In this latest outburst, the present = contemporary poetry, and the past = pre-contemporary poetry, yet again. Ah, the Golden Age has galloped over the horizon once more, or so Mark Edmundson proclaims, in an article only partly available online. Other poets and readers have started to respond to Edmundson, and of the responses that I’ve seen, two stand out. Julia Cohen offers a wonderfully rigorous, passionate, point-by-point blog-post rebuttal that almost (almost) makes you pity Edmundson for sitting himself down like the proverbial ducks in a shooting gallery, and Seth Abramson responds exuberantly in the Huffington Post. Edmundson seems not to consider the possibility that some readers might find the lines he quotes from Robert Lowell cliché and self-important, just as he seems not to consider the possible suggestiveness of the poems he decries, poems that he misrepresents as too understated or too merely Wordsworthian. Meanwhile, I give Cohen credit for taking down all those ducks and Abramson credit for what amounts to an exuberant manifesto for contemporary poetic enthusiasm.

For a rejoinder to Edmundson, I return to the statement on my website: “I like the dogmatism that theorizes a style. I do not like the dogmatism that scorns the potential pleasure, however rejected, of another style.” The styles and poems that Edmundson rejects can serve the purposes he calls us to as well as they serve the supposedly smaller purposes that he fears they limit themselves to. For all the reasons that Cohen lays out, I’ll go with Abramson’s exuberance instead of Edmundson’s sad-faced jeremiad of Bloomian decline.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Death of the Journal

Not the death of journals in general—far from it—but the death of the journal > kill author. By riffing outrageously off Roland Barthes’s notorious essay in provocation, “The Death of the Author,” > kill author seems to have doomed itself from the get-go. Now that it is dead, I am sad to see it gone, sad to see another journal go down, and sad to see a good journal go down, but you can hardly blame the editor for not wanting to keep at it. Journals are hard work. In any case, > kill author may be dead but it is yet unburied and still unkilled, still available here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Poem in LEVELER

My new poem is out in LEVELER. Along with the simple, elegant visual design, the editors of LEVELER go to the length of providing a reading of each poem (see the link on the right called "how this poem works"), and they do a great job with mine. Check it out!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good News

Just got word that a new poem will come out in LEVELER. The editors of LEVELER have managed the difficult task of coming up with a distinctive concept for a poetry journal, and they’ve also managed to shape their concept into a simple, elegant design. I’m grateful for their receptiveness to a new poet.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Abjective and Marginalia, May They Rest in Peace

So sorry to see that two journals I really like have bitten the dust. Abjective and Marginalia were nothing alike except that both were independent-minded, fun, and courted risk. Marginalia was a print journal, Abjective an online journal. Marginalia published work that made sense, and Abjective published quirky work that made no sense: two different aesthetics. Thanks to the editors for their years of work and imagination. (And in my case, thanks for their receptiveness to a new writer.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poetry stamps

The U. S. Postal Service has new poetry stamps! Yes, some of us might gripe that we’d want this or that poet instead of that one or this one, and I myself might gripe, against an American grain, that I’d rather spotlight the poetry, or spotlight something about the poetry, than the poets. But that’s not the way it goes, and it’s still great to get what we got.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's in a line? That which we call a line
By any other view might look less sweet.

For example, if you're reading this post on a phone or some other small screen, then you might not see the line break that falls between "call a line" and "By any other," and you might see other line breaks that aren't supposed to be there. That's a bigger mess when the poem gets longer than two lines, as in electronic books of poetry. Publishers Weekly has an excellent article by Craig Morgan Teicher about the difficulty of showing poetic lines in electronic books.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

AWP—Installment the Third, and the Last: Journal Design

           I won’t name titles, dear reader. When I started this blog, I thought I’d go over things that I liked about this or that journal, but when I tried that it sounded sycophantic. A lot of blogging and commenting on blogs sounds sycophantic, even though some of it must just be meant as chatter. So I ended up not blogging about one of the things I wanted to blog about most. But now the AWP exhibits give me a way to talk about journals, a little, without naming them.
            A journal doesn’t need to be beautiful, though if it is, that’s cool. It just needs to look interesting, to look as if someone cared. Anything beyond that is cool too, but more than the minimum journal requirement. As I went from table to table at AWP, two kinds of ugly journals stood out. When the bright white paper is so overly white and bright that it shines like an interrogation lamp, then it’s a loser in my eyes (or blog). A journal also falls apart, in my eyes (or book or blog), if it looks like an ordinary computer printout. You can do any kind of design with a Mac, or so I suppose, and I love Macs, but the hard work of writing and editing can go for naught when a journal looks as if were made by an unadventurous amateur on a Mac—in 1995.
            That’s not to say things have to get fancy and pricey. Imaginative designers sometimes do just as well on a small (or smallish) budget as on a big budget, and sometimes they do better, since big budgets can lead to overproduction.
            Apart from the way bright white paper and the unwittingly vintage Mac dullness, things looked eclectic, and some of the journals were gorgeous or epi-cool. They ranged from handmade to glossy, but usually they came in at dozens of quirky or tastefully understated places between those extremes. I also got a kick out of the t-shirts emblazoned with expressions like “Forthcoming” or “Pushcart Nominee.” I got a kick out of talking with editors and running into friends. But I didn’t wear my nametag. I don’t like trying (or seeming to try) to push myself on editors. I’d rather let the work make its own path (or cul de sac). I’m not sure I got a kick out of the poetry readings on little video screens in the Hilton elevators, but I got a kick out of watching people in the elevators listen to them or mock them or try to ignore them. Some of the elevators gave people a scare by wobbling. Maybe some of these things will end up in a story or a novel (or a blog).
            Many editors or their assistants worked hard to drum up interest or conversation. I had fun with the banter. But at one journal I like very much, the lone person behind the table buried their head in a book. Even when I stopped at the table, they didn’t look up. I was so stunned that I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt their reading and say hello. Maybe they were just filling in while the actual editor headed to the washroom or a panel or ate lunch. That would explain it.
            Here’s an idea. I’ll dig up the editor’s name online and Google image them to see if it was the person behind the table, and surely it won’t be. Here goes: Suspense.
            Did it. And it really was the editor of the journal. Maybe they were under the Chicago weather. Why travel a long way at great expense and set up a beautiful table (and it was a beautiful table) to show your wonderful journal and then work so hard to avoid all contact with people? I’m not trying to be flip: I really wonder what this person was thinking and bet that it would be interesting to hear this person’s off-the-track perspective. I should have asked if it was a good book.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

AWP, Installment the Second: The Exhibits

            When we parted ways at the end of our previous installment of the AWP saga, dear reader, we were, as you may recall, about to blog about the AWP book and journal exhibits.
            No room at the Chicago Hilton was big enough for the several solar systems of exhibits, so you had to move from giant room to giant room through a warren of stairways and halls that kept me wondering whether I’d really found all the rooms. One enormous room of exhibits looks pretty much like another enormous room of exhibits, and one row of exhibits looks pretty much like another row (until you look at the individual tables, of course), so you find yourself accidentally circling back to places you’ve already circled through. But I just flew with the flow, going up and down every row and letting myself wander this way and that way until I felt pretty certain I had joined the crazy few who actually saw the whole thing.
            I loved the exhibits. I focused on looking at journals. Usually, I passed quietly by journals I already know well, even when I subscribe to them. I was looking for journals I didn’t know at all or didn’t know well. It amazes me that people still keep inventing new paper journals. When editors asked “How you doing?” and I said I was having a great time, some of them expressed surprise. I guess some people felt overwhelmed and answered the question with moaning and whining. Maybe the moaners worry about what they see as competition from such a horde of other writers, or maybe they can’t handle crowds, writers or not, but I found the crowds exhilarating. All those people who love reading and writing—how can you beat that? I truly did have a great time, even though, as the journal editors chatted, now and then I had to force myself not to say what I really thought.
            So here’s what I didn’t say. Some of those journals—they’re ugly.
            Some people must think it doesn’t matter what a journal of words looks like, but I love looking at journals as well as reading them. I didn’t see other people (though there must have been some) standing at the booths and actually reading the journals, but that didn’t stop me, and sometimes it was fun to chat with editors about the poems they had published. They work so hard on their magazines that sometimes they seemed to get a kick out of seeing a live reader reading and then hearing what that reader thinks. And it’s just as interesting for me to hear how the editors think.
            Anyway, I’m not alone in thinking that it matters what a journal looks like. Some of them are ugly, but lots of them look great, in all sorts of ways. Since I didn’t see anyone else standing at the booths and reading, that indicates all the more how much difference the look makes, because the look is all you get if you don’t read and until you do read. The reputation of a journal, and even its self-definition, often depend on its visual design more than on the words on the page or screen. Some of the supposedly edgiest journals, both in their self-proclamations and in what others say about them, turn out to read like fairly ordinary or traditional stuff, but they look snarly or cool, artsy or au courant, and that makes their buzz.
            Next installment: how some journals muff their design.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

AWP, Installment the First: 10,000 Writers

            I had the chance and so, why not, I took the chance and went to AWP this year. Now—and as promised the other day (below)—I’ll blog about it. What’s AWP? It may look like a barbaric yawp from Whitman, but as some readers may know it’s the contrived but conveniently simple acronym for the Association of Writers andWriting Programs. They do an assortment of things that associations do, and they hold an annual conference. So for here and now, at least, “the AWP” means their big conference of writers, publishers, editors, and other people interested in writing. This year they met in Chicago. The AWP hosts readings as well as panels for writers and others to talk about more or less anything related to writing or, more specifically, to so-called creative writing. Or so you might hope—though I was disappointed to find no panels (at least this year) on avant-garde (or whatever you want to call it) poetry (or whatever you want to call it).
            What do 10,000 writers look like? I was surprised not to be surprised. They looked like anyone else. On the street, I couldn’t tell who were the writers and who were the ordinary Chicagoans, unless they sported AWP paraphernalia (a book bag with advertising, a name badge that too chummily put the last name in smaller print, making the badge more or less useless, a program that weighed too much). I expected lots of showy dressers, but nope. Also, the writers came in every age, but disproportionately they were older than I expected. Maybe when you come in all ages the now grey boomers overwhelm the series of post-boomer boomlets. Maybe boomers more often had access to the moolah it might take to go to a conference, especially during the recession.
            I could talk about the panels, but that might get more personal about the panelists than I want to get here (fun though it might be). Some panels were good, some were bad, some were in between—no surprises there. For me, the surprises came in a torrent at the amazing book and journal exhibits, and that’s what I’ll take up in our next installment, forthcoming soon (as they say in book and journal lingo). Check back in a couple days or so.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Goodbye to the Old Grey

Without changing a word, I redesigned the blog layout. The new design is more contemporary. Maybe it’s a bit less edgy, but it’s readable and eye-friendly. Many of the best newer web designs seem eye-friendly, and that’s what I went for. Here’s a screen grab of the old grey design. It was cool, understated, but blocky and bland.

AWP teaser

I think I’m going to blog AWP. In installments. Unless I change my mind, since I’m not an AWP type, whatever that is. What’s AWP? If you have to ask, then you’re not an AWP type either, but I’ll explain. So check back before long—lots of  good stuff coming soon.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh obvious

Just now live (rhymes with jive, not with sieve) in > kill author, a new poem about the too obvious (or about whatever, or about nothing). It has turned into the first of a series that I’m now working on and that I'm psyched about. It’s fun to see the ideas change as the poems emerge.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hungry? Try Readsfeed.

I just noticed that Readsfeed has picked out “Stillness,” published in PANK, for a link, the electronic analog (I won’t say equivalent) of a reprint. There are no equivalences. Paper world: eat your hungry heart out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beware of reading

Five (that’s right, halfway between four and six) crazy poems just came out in the new blue & yellow dog. Four of these poems epitomize what I think of as my crazy poems. So beware of the dog: read at your own risk. Thank you again to editor Raymond Farr.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New in Innisfree

Two new poems are now out in The Innisfree Journal of Poetry: “The Face in the Mirror” and “Invisible, Treacherous.” They have moderately different though not opposed styles; the first is more narrative and the second is in my spare style. Thank you again to editor Greg McBride.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Not Dead in December

Thanks to the mysteriously anonymous and allegedly not dead editors of > kill author: a literary journal for the mostly alive, who accepted a poem today. It’s the first poem in what seems unexpectedly to be turning into a series of poems, which makes me even more grateful for their encouragement, though I’m way grateful regardless. Look for it in Issue 16, early December, and expect the unexpected.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More poems for the fall

Today, The Innisfree Poetry Journal took two poems for their fall 2011 issue (#13). Many thanks to Greg McBride, the editor, for his receptiveness to a new poet. Check out The Innisfree Poetry Journal. You'll see lots of good stuff. These two poems come in completely different styles from the other poems coming out this fall (described in the blog post for April 24). 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Around the place

A journal sent this interesting turn-down for a group of poems that work in my spare, understated style (which differs from my other styles):

We enjoyed the four poems you sent us – in particular for their powerful, evocative language and the crystal-clear images they conjured up in the reader's mind.
            Unfortunately, we're not especially enamored with poetry that contains a lot of nature imagery, as these do, mainly because we see so much of it around the place. Though not an absolute rule, it tends to be a topic we shy away from. So on this occasion we're going to pass on these pieces, but we'd certainly be interested in reading future submissions if you think you have something suitable.
I admire their willingness to tell me their thinking, to turn down poems they seem to like, and to hold to an aesthetic, even if I’d rather they went with their likes. Some of these poems work variations on the usual nature thing, but maybe that didn’t come across. And even those variations—let's call them non-nature nature poems—have a history within so-called nature poetry. (In another sense, I also believe that at some point it’s all nature poetry all the way down.) Anyway, it was generous of busy editors to take the time and trouble to say what they’re thinking, including its mix of nerve and vulnerability.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dog days coming in the fall

Alas, long time no blog again. It happens. But this time I have a lot of excuses, stuff (including other writing) that kept me from writing poems or sending them out. But I’m back to it and delighted to say that a cool, not yet well enough known journal called blue & yellow dog just took five way crazy poems for their fall 2011 issue (#6). (One is so crazy that somebody I sent it to thought it must have been the result of a formatting glitch and asked me to re-send it as a pdf.) Check out blue & yellow dog. Cool stuff, and many thanks to Raymond Farr, the editor, for his receptiveness to a new writer.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New poem in decomP

Check out this new little poem just out in decomP, "After the Snake Has Passed."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Changing the website

Revised the opening words on my website. Changed them to more of an introduction. Now maybe I say too much. Before maybe I said too little. Caught between two styles yet again. Anyway, here’s the old, shorter version: “R. D. Parker began writing poetry in 2009. He writes poems in more than one style. Here you can find a list of his published poems and a link to his new poetry blog.” Maybe the new version will clear up confusion when people expect one style and then, to their surprise, find links to another.

Monday, November 8, 2010

decomP in December

Long time no blog. Sorry. Anyway, decomP has taken a poem for their December issue. Thanks to editors Jac Jemc and Jason Jordan for their receptiveness to a new writer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The glow of the second quotidian

My interview with PANK is now up on the PANK blog. J. Bradley, the panky PANK interviewer, usually asks clever-silly questions. I can go clever, maybe. I can go silly, maybe, too, though I usually try to trim the silliness from my drafts. But I’m no good at clever and silly together, so I didn't go that way. My favorite J. Bradley interview is the recent one with Victoria Lynne McCoy. McCoy’s poem made me think of Martha Nussbaum’s fascinating and provocative Sex and Social Justice.

(What in the world is the glow of the second quotidian? Read the interview and you'll find out.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Can you have a good poem without ideas?

There’s an interesting discussion on Elisa Gabbert’s The French Exit about whether good poems must have ideas. Darby Larson, energetic and risk-friendly editor of the terrific web journal Abjective, proposes my “Aquamarine” in Caketrain 7 as an example of a poem so radical that it has no ideas. That’s a smart thought. I don’t know Darby, but I appreciate that he reads enough stuff to have read my stuff. More recently, he commented on “Stillness” in the PANK blog. Be sure to check out Abjective.


Welcome readers, whoever you may be. This blog doesn’t have much on it yet, but it will grow (slowly). Looking forward to my interview with PANK, which I expect will take place some time soon.