Jan 30

Who Called "@" "The Strudel"?

Received an eccentric little book of poems from Tim Leach, Corncurls for the Medulla Oblongata (Word Tech Editions, 2016), mostly poems of three or four lines, called aphorisms, and what charmed me is his short poems about punctuation marks. Although it’s only part of our job, editors have intense relationships with punctuation marks, and people think editing is a very dry business and that editors are dried-out and irritable nitpickers precisely because we used all our juices tending to proper punctuation.

It was refreshing to find in the middle of the book this untitled poem about commas:typewriterkeyboardtop

 Commas are tadpoles
 that surface for breath
 when read.

and then a poem titled “&”:

 Asking for more,
 the ampersand is a squatting monk
 who holds up a begging bowl.

 He sits in for “and,”
 who always wants more too.

Leach looked closely at the punctuation marks’ appearance and function and gave them life. Corncurls includes more punctuation poems, including the @ (“at”) which came out of utter obscurity—it wasn’t even on typewriter keyboards!—to rule the digital age. I used to work with an Israeli engineer who called @ the “strudel.”
Jul 21

Midweek Delight

15 January 2009

Two outstanding poets I know and admire, Pam Garvey and Tim Leach, will be reading at The Pointe on Sutton Ave. in Maplewood, Mo., Tuesday Jan. 27, 7:00 p.m. Tim's public appearances are very rare. Don't miss him. He's the best unrecognized poet in St. Louis.

Last night after work instead of TV I drove to the Chesterfield Arts Center to hear poetry from Niki Nymark, and Steve Schreiner. I'm a fan of both. I bought Niki's new chapbook, I'm a Stranger Here Myself (Cherry Pie Press) and had her sign it. Steve's book is Too Soon to Leave (Ridgeway Press, 1997) and I wish he'd publish another. So does he. He said publishers don't like the title he gave his new manuscript. Poets' books should be what the poet wants.

It was a very intimate reading in an art gallery rather like a living room. The poets made us laugh, sigh, blush. Both Niki and Steve write good love poems. (Something I can't do.) What a delightful place to have spent a Wednesday night. St. Louis has many great poets. Give up "the media" one weeknight and hear them for yourself.