Apology to Alan and a big DUH to Me!

In Alan's 9/25 post about Donald Hall and poetry.scam, I totally missed the word "inadvertent" and was off and running when I posted my 9/26 response, and I just caught it today.

So, Alan, I offer you a public apology. Hope you can forgive me for being such a dunderhead.



Donald Hall's Words Twisted Around by Poetry.scam?

I had a scathing post all written up, and I was ready to hit the "publish" button, but I decided to take another look at the press release.
Yes, that "lovely" piece of prose is not a real journalistic piece, but a poetry.scam press release that was designed to make it look as though Donald Hall is endorsing poetry.scam, when, in fact, he merely says that children should submit their poems to publications. Notice that he doesn't specifically refer to Poetry.scam at all; the writer was very careful NOT to state explicitly that Donald Hall was referring to poetry.scam; otherwise, Donald Hall could possibly sue them and cause all kinds of grief for that company; this company is known for operating just inside the law.
However, the authors of that press release want the reader to make that association. Evidently, poetry.scam has hired a fine rhetorician who knows how to plant associations, where, in fact, there may not be any, into the reader's mind through insinuation and juxtaposition of two slightly related facts: Donald Hall's take on children writing and submitting poetry and poetry.scam pushing their bogus contest. It is a well known fact that if two instances are placed side-by-side, without a bridge or explanation, observers will assume the two are related, when, in fact, they may not be. Poetry [dot] com wants you to believe that Donald Hall has endorsed them, but they haven't overtly stated this, which leads me to believe that Hall has NOT endorsed poetry.scam. Otherwise they would have trotted him out big time. Hall may be totally unaware (and, perhaps, even horrified) of how his rather benign words to school children were appropriated and woven into that insidious text.
In addition, the press release appears on a valid site--in this case, the KCRA 3 website, offering it yet another level of respectability.
This company plasters the dunderhead media with its press releases, which gives the impression that this company is a non-profit that has only goodwill toward small children and old ladies, when, in fact, it is a multimillion dollar for-profit shark corporation.
I don't know why the media continue to give this outfit free advertising, but they do, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to deflate my students' egos when I tell them they have been scammed.
Because we are a bit of a watchdog site (perhaps a lot more tepid version of Foetry), we do have to weigh our words carefully; we should not hurt anyone needlessly. I can see how the press release could be interpreted in the wrong way; I, too, had my finger triggered on that "publish" button.
So based on what I read in this press release, I have no reason to believe that Donald Hall has endorsed poetry [dot] com.
If there is evidence to the contrary, send it to me tomorrow; I have saved the other post on my Word Perfect.

Kick an Ex-Laureate When He's Down

Donald Hall's become an inadvertent shill for Poetry.com. Check it out.

Spam Lit Poem: In Winter Haven, the Baseball Players are Stretching

In recent days, I haven't felt much like posting here--maybe it's because I have been busy, but mostly I'm just tired of griping.

I need some positive forces in my life, so I felt it was a good idea to chill for a few days, which I did.

In fact, tonight I logged onto my email, intending to email the team that I was going to take a break from this blog for another week or so, but then I found this Spam Lit poem that is somewhat extraordinary, at least as Spam Lit poems go. Our spammer went to great lengths to cobble together a "poem" that actually has merit. In fact, I'm going to cut this person a break and not nark him/her out.

This poem reminds me of Cal Ripken, Jr. I'm not an avid baseball fan, but I adore Cal and go to great lengths to attend Oriole games when I know he will be there. My husband and I were there when Baltimore honored him on his last day as an Oriole (October 6, 2001). We were there when Baltimore sent him off to the Hall of Fame last July, and we got an unexpected treat when B.J. Surhoff was inducted to the Baltimore HOF: Cal showed up to deliver a speech in Surhoff's honor. Shortly after his speech was delivered, the heavens opened up, and it rained for two solid hours--the rain wouldn't dare crash down on Cal...

Quite simply, Cal is a class act, who always makes an effort conduct his personal and professional life in the right way. I have never heard the word "scandal" connected to the Ripken name. All of his charities have something to do with kids--his literacy foundation helps inner city kids to cultivate a love for reading, and he also runs various baseball camps for kids. As a ballplayer, he always signed autographs for the kids and never copped an attitude like some ballplayers.

I have never met Cal personally (I'd probably trip over over my own tongue if I did), but from what I have heard and read, Cal is genuine; what you see is what you get. Anyway, this one is for Cal:

In Winter Haven, the ballplayers are stretching
Standing in the way of the truth. A white
Rise, to the muffled chime of churchbell choir.
Only a fox whose den I cannot find.
A kind of snow, which hesitates
Out of the road into a way across
Only whirled snow heaped up by whirled snow,
What can we know of whatever picture-plane
Seen. What you know is only manifest
And trumpet at his lips; nor does he cast
Given by nature will soak into it.
"Be off!" say Winter's snows;
(The face of a Quos ego),
In search of brighter green to come. No way!
Comes up with as a means to its own end.
In realms of dingy gloom and deep crevasse
I've drifted somewhat from the distant heart
As it sits there like an eventual
Although December's frost killed the winter crop.
Life is good again.

A Million Little Lies Author to Publish Novel

According to Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - HarperCollins announced on Wednesday it would publish a new novel by James Frey, the author who admitted fabricating key parts of his best-selling drug and alcohol memoir "A Million Little Pieces."

HarperCollins, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said it would publish Frey's "Bright Shiny Morning" in summer 2008. It gave no further details about the novel.


Only in America would a disgraced faux memoirist be given another chance. In my opinion, readers should boycott this novel--hasn't this guy made enough money off the readers who bought his "memoir" and believed in it only to discover it was all fake? Yet, the masses, like a herd of bovines, will line up for this book.


After hoodwinking Oprah into featuring his book on her Book Club, she was absolutely right to drag him onto her show and spank his sorry posterior. I could never believe a word he wrote, even fiction.

I'm still muttering under my breath over this one.


A Wrinkle In Time


Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007)

My attempt at the link is playing with me, but you can find it.

Iowa Poetry Prize: A Warning

In case you didn't click on Alan's poster, the caption reads:

"Where everyone's a loser."


Iowa Poetry Prize: motivational poster

Hyena: the Iowa Poetry Prize
Originally uploaded by bluehole

See this earlier post for more details.

Block Island, Lisa Starr, &cet.

During my brief sojourn on Block Island, I called Lisa Starr, RI's Poet Laureate and an InnKeeper (sp?).[My attempt at posting a link to her project was unsuccessful and so I've deleted it...for now!]

It was during her inn's breakfast and there were interruptions on both sides. She sounded friendly.

Thanks to my earlier comments about her on Foetry, I had a brief exchange (by internet, of course) with a cousin of her husband.

Although my city is small by many standards, it is a metropolis compared to "the Island" and I cannot say how lovely the horizon was. How blue the water.

Spam Lit Poem: II. List of Franklin Search Parties

II. List of Franklin Search Parties

Sculpting each tree to fit your ghostly form
The weight of being born into exile is lifted.
Green lilac buds appear that won't survive
Glimmering of light:
Escapees from the cold work of living,
They move against, or through, or by, or toward.
In realms of dingy gloom and deep crevasse
The paths of childhood.
Not so much of place as of renewed hope,
To listen, by the sputtering, smoking fire,
When Arctic winds crack down from Canada
Where, as I discover as I go through
And half-starved foxes shake and paw
As if your human shape were what the storm
Is the moon to grow
I've drifted somewhat from the distant heart
What? What can you do?
What is there in the depths of these walls


Spammer: Vincent Barron andy@aktifenerji.com

Lexiconnist: A Spoof "New" Word

As I get older, my spelling deteriorates; as a child, I won plenty of spelling bees. As a college teacher, I see plenty of misspelled words; after a while, misspelled and misused words begin to look correct, such as "alright" for "all right," "loose" for "lose," and "there" for "their."

So I now keep my dictionary and spell check handy.

However, my misspellings still slip through.

My most recent misspelling cost me money--not a lot--but enough to make me more vigilant about spelling and usage.

As most wordsmiths know, a "lexiconist" is a writer of lexicon; for sure, the word is a bit fusty in that it's not commonly used any more. Now we simply say "dictionary writer."

But I spelled it "lexiconnist," after having already plunked down $7.00 for the dot-com.

So what does one do with a great big lemony non-word?

You make it a word; you assign a meaning to it, which is what I am about to do with "lexiconnist," which will also describe a person who misspells words and tries to weasel out of it by pretending the word has meaning.

Therefore, I'm fessing up and then moving on.

So, then, a "lexiconnist" is a writer who misspells, either by accident or on purpose, a word and then tries to con the world into believing that it has a real meaning. In other words, a con artist lexiconist.

This is definitely a spoof definition, one that is not likely to take the lexicon world by storm, but it is kind of fun to mess around with the English language. After all, if my students can do it, why can't I?

By the way, I'll be posting a version of this on my other blog, simply because it's relevant to the biz I'm in.