I'm currently engaged in a quixotic project, an idiosyncratic history of jazz in the 1950s and 60s through the prism of indie jazz label Prestige Records. Quixotic because it will cover several volumes before I'm through. You can find it ongoing at my blog, opusforty.blogspot.com. My most recent novel is Nick and Jake (Arcade Publishing). Recent work in anthologies includes Villanelles (Pocket Poets) and In Like Company (MadHat Press). I also contributed examples of several verse forms, including at least one of my own invention, to Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms. I am artistic director of Opus 40 in Saugerties, NY.
NICARAGUA, WHALES AND BODY PARTS
From Poet's Market:
HELLAS: A JOURNAL OF POETRY AND THE HUMANITIES...wants "poetry of any kind, but especially poems in meter. We prize elegance and formality in verse...no ignorant, illiterate , meaningless free verse or political poems...If I don't understand it, I don't print it.
Hellas is ...a lively and provocative assault on a century of modernist barbarism in the arts. A unique, Miltonic wedding of paideia and poesis...
Lines should not end arbitrarily, diction should be precise; we suggest that such principles can appear 'limiting' only to an impoverished imagination. To the contrary, we encourage any conceivable boldness and innovation, so long as it is...not a masquerade for self-indulgent obscurantism...we do not print poems
about Nicaragua, whales or an author's body parts."
I was sippin' rum and agua
With a lady from Managua
As we shared a book of verses which had lines that didn't scan;
'Twas "The Country That's Between Us,"
And the bookmark was my penis,
As we watched the whales cavorting in the bay of Yucatan.
But I soon went limp with terror
When I realized my error,
A revolting modernism, self-indulgent and obscure;
Sure, I felt a certain tristesse
As I dropped the Sandinistas
In the garbage bin of history, with Ginsberg and McClure.
But, since I embraced mimesis
Of paideia and poesis,
Tossed barbarism over to the dugongs and the whales,
Now my private parts are private,
and my meter--I derive it
Half from Guido Cavalcanti, half from ancient Bards of Wales.
Oh, my figures are Miltonic
And my rhyme scheme is Byronic,
And of verbal imprecision you will never find a trace,
As to discipline, I'm zealous,
But when I'm reading Hellas,
I still utilize my penis when I need to mark my place.
© 2018 Tad Richards
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