Ink's Blog

(sorry, couldn't resist the pun)

End of this line.
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Time for a Change is losing favour with many, mostly since they implemented a pop-up ad that either makes viewers wait to load a page or refresh to avoid waiting. Both options are equally annoying, not to mention the fact that having ads on a blog immediately calls into question the notion of whether or not the advertiser has any influence over posted reviews. I understand the need for revenue generation, but being forced to transfer from a blog without any ads to one with them seems unscrupulous.

So, while I am sad to be leaving, I’ve very happy to announce my new aptly named and more stylish blog, Affairs of Ink over at

I’ve already copied some book reviews, a few posts dealing with my own poetry, and the coverage thus far of the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival. The only other content I’ll be transferring from the account will be the rest of the book reviews and the coverage from the 2008 Dodge festival. All new posts will be strictly on Affairs of Ink, starting with an introductory post and followed by the next Dodge poetry panel review. So reset your bookmarks, and my continuing thanks to those who read and comment.

Dodge Poetry Fest Panel - Poetry and Class
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Panelists: Bob Hicok, Martín Espada, Dorianne Laux

Cited in the schedule as addressing educational, socioeconomic, and cultural issues, Poetry and Class was quite possibly the panel I was most looking forward to seeing at this year's festival. It did not disappoint, as the panelists presented experiences and talking points with the passion and intelligence one would expect from renowned poets. The discussion started with a focus on work/jobs; moved on to language; and finished up with stylistic prejudices before an equally thought-provoking Q&A.

I've been trying to review this 90-minute panel for about a week now and could not bring myself to summarize too much. You need to hear Espada, Laux, and Hicok fervently detailing their arguments and reading poems. Despite there being no chance for direct interaction now, it is a conversation you can take part of none the less by listening and thinking. Likewise, this may not be a perfect summary, but it is a bridge for you to get somewhere worthwhile. And in the end, that is the purpose of a poem.

If you just want to listen to the full audio recording* of the panel and not bother with any of my own summarization/interjection (no offense taken), click here. To continue reading my summary and interjections (with a link to the audio at the end): click here.Collapse )

Dodge Poetry Fest Panel - Poetry Across Borders
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Panelists: Nancy Morejón, Dunya Mikhail, Kwame Dawes, Malena Mörling

What could've been a very insightful banter between four poets whose nationalities differed as much as their relation to the United States did turned into more of a reading than discussion. In this all too short session, the poets, with the exception of Kwame Dawes, spent most of their time reciting poems instead of articulating their points. Of course, one could argue that, being from other countries originally, the poets felt more comfortable reciting what amounted to the passive haven of scripted lines as opposed to the daunting task of taking part in unpredictable banter. One could also argue that, hell, these are poets. They speak through their work, so why not let the work speak? I'll answer the latter: because audible ingestion of poetry takes a quick wit and unflinching concentration. In short, speaking in poetry, while a wonderful exercise, does not make an accessible argument. It's reflective rather than provoking. It ended up that Dawes read one poem to kick things off, and then the effect snowballed thereafter, with one poet reading as many as 5 poems. I believe Kwame's heart was in the right place, and truly set a stage for great discussion, but his setup was foiled by the egos and anxieties every poet shares.

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2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival Summary

In 2009, the powers that be solemnly made it known that the feasibility of funding the biannual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival was sketchy at best. Finances had dropped, and creative responses to a very depressing problem were needed. How like poetry to find a way to exist when predatory circumstances seem so collectively oppressive. It can even triumph over the number 13.

Lovers of poetry united, sending bittersweet letters of support and gifts of greenbacks. Like freshly adolescent teenage boys would a well-developed classmate, several cities in New Jersey saw the festival's relationship status change to single and started wooing its producers for the chance to host the festival's thirteenth incarnation. Newark triumphed over all suiters however, and its winning pledge brought pleasures that were as unimagined as they will hopefully be sustaining. My own personal joys were the location itself, easily accessible via mass transit, and the diversity of presenting poets.

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Party Over Heeeeyaaaaa! (Finalized)
Word Nerd
Are you ready for an all-weekend poetry intensive? I am too. The biannual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, instead of being scrapped this year due to lack of funding, has relocated to the city of Newark. It looks to be a grand resurrection, with the return of Amiri Baraka and the usual A-list of poets (unfortunately, Billy Collins will also be there). Below is my schedule for the weekend. Expect some write-ups of the panels/discussions as well as select poets in the weeks to follow.


When What Where 9:00 to 10:00 am Poetry Across Borders Victoria Theater 10:30 am to 12 pm Poetry and Class Trinity & St. Philips Cathedral 12:20 to 1:20 pm Festival Poet Readings (specifics undecided) 2:00 to 3:10 pm Tell All the Truth, But Tell it With a Slant Newark Museum 3:30 to 4:45 pm Poetry as Prayer/ Poetry as Curse Chase Room 7:00 to 10:00 pm Main Stage Readings Prudential Hall


When What Where 9:00 to 10:00 am Silence is Become Speech - The Emergence of Women's Voices Prudential Hall 10:30 to 11:40 am From Homer to Hip-Hop Chase Room 12:00 to 1:00 pm The Poet as Citizen Victoria Theater 1:30 to 5:30 pm Main Stage Readings Prudential Hall


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