Monday, May 08, 2017


My creative writing prof back in the dark, dim days of college had a pretty basic setup.  Youd grab a handful of mimeo sheets on your way out of class (information on mimeo sheets can be found on the internet) and work on your story/poem/whatnot for a few days.  Youd type up your final version on the mimeo sheets and hand them in to the English dept secretaries, whod crank off copies for everyone in class.  Then, when class time rolled around, youd all read your work, have it savaged by the others, then get your turn to savage everyone elses.

Good times.

I was still a year or so away from developing a poetry style at this point, so most of what I read was short stories, little O Henry-ish nuggets of suspense and surprise.  One guy wrote pretty decent poems that were pretty much Raymond Carver knock-offs, but at least he had good taste in who he borrowed from. The best poet at that point was a girl who wrote whimsical, longish poems in the style of Lewis Carroll or Dr Seuss, but then sometimes shed get confessional and radical and read uncomfortable pieces about her sexuality that no one wanted to hear.  Still, it was a good way to kill three hours before dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it gave you a chance to figure out what you wanted to send into the student lit zines.

And the prof had a good angle he was working.  We had no texts to read from in these classes, but hed always list some obscure contemporary poetry books on the syllabus that we had to buy for class, and they were always the most recent collections by his friends and acquaintances.  So, hed drum up some sales and put these books in the hands of people who, theoretically, might appreciate them.

Richard Martin was my fave, mostly because he was a local boy at that point, liverd a few towns away from me.  I think hes out in Boston these days.  Dream of Long Headdresses: Poems from a Thousand Hospitals is the book we bought for class, its quite good.  I picked up White Man Appears on Southern California Beach a few years later, not quite as good but still not too shabby.  Never bothered buying anything else by him, but these 2, I can state for a fact, are worth looking into (both available at Amazon, I think).

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