Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

The "centrist" Blue Dog Dems (read: Conservative Dems) are aligning to obstruct the budget and climate change legislation.

Let's say this as simply as possible: if a financial institution is too big to fail, it's just too big.

In light of the AIG debacle, it's time to reform off-shore banking and go after corporate America's hidden billions. Wall Street is already using the bailout to solidify its grip on power. Here are nine reasons that Obama's current financial moves aren't enough. This crisis is already bigger than anyone cares to admit.

Private insurance is squeezing the American worker like never before.

Lastly this week, our universities are turning into corporate drone factories.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

It's official: a new Red Cross report details how the Bush CIA tortured its prisoners.

How many of your favorite "organic" brands are owned by giant corporations?

Milan Kundera's hypocrisy?

Beer brewers in Oregon are going solar.

Lastly this week, in the wake of its Gaza invasion, Israel grapples with newfound isolation. Israeli soldiers coming out and saying they deliberately targeted civilians doesn't help.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

Is the economic crisis going to kill 100,000 non profits?

In the upcoming health care debate, single-payer healthcare
needs to be on the table.

Here comes socialism: some banks may need to be nationalized. It would serve crony capitalism right; Alternet brings us a story on $5 billion dollars spent lobbying for twelve corrupt deals that caused this crisis.

Conservatives have always been blind, deaf and dumb to class warfare.

The cost of war: can we afford so many overseas bases.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

The jobless rate hit 8.1% this week. If part-time, discouraged workers and the under-employed are factored in, the unemployment rate would have been 14.8 percent in February, the highest on record.

New memos revealed this week show the dictatorial scope that George W. saw in the executive branch. Essentially, a police state.

The Nation has a great article on Photography's ghosts: image and its artifice.

Alternet reports that zombie banks are devouring our money with no end in sight. In fact, we taxpayers own 80% of a worthless AIG. It's time for a bank bailout that actually works.

In environmental news: how can we avoid a world without water and, California's own water wars are not exactly what they seem.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

20 Books

There's a meme going around the internets right now about re: the 20 Books that caused you to love poetry. Donna DeLapierre sent it to me, and then I came across it again on Ron Silliman's blog, and decided to give it a go myself, regardless of how potentially embarrassing it could be. I also decided to break mine out semi-chronologically.

I didn't read much poetry beyond school assignments, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, at least until high school. At fourteen or fifteen, I first really sat down with poetry beyond school reading, and, being the post-punk/nu-metal goth kid that I was, fell for:

1. Edgar Allen Poe Collected Poems
2. Stephen Crane Collected Poems
3. Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy

When I was seventeen, two important things happened: one was that I got my license and two was that our town got its first book store: a Barnes and Noble. For the first time in my young life I had somewhere to hang out that wasn't the mall or the Newbury Comics. Browsing in poetry section I discovered the books that first started my poetry awakening:

4. Charles Bukowski Love Is A Dog From Hell
5. Lawrence Ferlinghetti A Coney Island Of The Mind
6. John Ashbery Wakefulness
7. Allen Ginsburg Howl

When I started at Emerson, I was originally a film student, but later changed over to both photography and writing. In the writing program was when my eyes were finally opened to a wider range of poets, beyond high school lit and the chain book store select. The most important poetry book in my development was given to me by Jonathan Aaron, if I recall, after we sat down to talk about my own writing. He mentioned several poets he thought I was reading, based on my work, and I said I had never heard of any of them. He then handed me:

8. Federico Garcia-Lorca Poet In New York

and I never looked back. During workshops and classes in the writing program, I was exposed to more poets whose work would both influence my own, but whose work I actually *enjoyed* reading. It was during this time that I discovered the bar down the street did something called a 'poetry slam' and that the 19th century was more than Walt Whitman:

9. Tristan Tzara Chanson Dada
10. Russell Edson Childhood Of An Equestrian
11. Frank O'Hara Lunch Poems
12. David Berman Actual Air
13. John Berryman Dream Songs
14. Jeffrey McDaniel The Splinter Factory
15. Arthur Rimbaud A Season In Hell
16. Charles Baudelaire The Flowers Of Evil

Finally, when I moved to San Francisco following undergrad, at twenty-two, and decided to pursue an MFA at California College of the Arts, my poetic mind was finally completed. Mostly through vanity, though. In my first workshop at CCA my friends started tossing around the names of poets and critics I'd never heard of, discussed movements I'd never heard of. I was so embarrassed that I read dozens upon dozens of books on top of our course load. It was also when I first read:

17. William Carlos Williams Spring And All
18. Guillaume Apollinaire Calligrammes
19. Leroi Jones The Dead Lecturer
20. Bob Kaufman Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness

So those were the 20 books that caused me to love poetry. I'll say that very few of these are currently listed in my favorite books of poetry, or even on a list of favorite poets. But without these books, my life would have been very different, and I'm better because of them.