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 Bay Poets

Todd Hale

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Critical Review

February 9, 2006
upon wading up the Rubicon...

I read your poem once this morning and once this evening.  In between, I looked up Rubicon, and discovered that in addition to being a river, it also means irrevocable commitment. Now that I am deeper into the poem, I really like that title.  I don't understand the reference to Woolsthorpe Farm (I could look it up)  I like especially the phrases, "relentless as house cleaning"   and  "...clear the room like a bomb scare...."  It has taken me several readings to take in the action and the motion, and the fainting is beautifully described: "When all goes white and fades, and people talking indistinctly Turn your looks into a prayerful gaze that doesn't faze them, Doesn't alert them to your fainting til you hit the floor and even Then the amazement only grabs a momentary silence...." wow, its beautiful-- you make me wrestle, but then when I get it, it's beautiful.

I love "as long as you are able to confess that  Up til now, banality has been your savior and that the greatest Revival is yet to come."  That really speaks to me, and that "the heedless angel wants you to kiss larger larger mammals than you." To take on more than is easy.  And the final line is the grabber.  (There you are again with your threesome!)  I think I would like it best if ARTS were not capitalized.   I think its about spiritual awakening that is brought on by near-death, but the wake-up call is about not settling for the easy but reaching deep into the art.  Thank you for sharing that with me... it is a lot of work to get it, but so worth it.  Tell me which others are important to you that I would love to struggle with.... please.


JUN 16 2005

Until I read this book, Drowning Procedure, (Volume 2)
I had no idea how important your poetry was.  Jimmy, this is sublime stuff, and I don't mean "important" just to the few of us fools who gather down there at the Bottom from week to week; Beyond that, away from that.  This poetry is of the imagination and floats with the best of them, imagination being a quality too scarce in modern writing.  Or so I thought until I read this book.  I'm waiting for this flimsy, paper-bound book of yours to simply spontaneously combust in my hands and float off as ash towards the sky from whence it came.  If ever my poetry becomes so hopelessly passionate I will have achieved something. 

And with this I send you a few poems.  I was honored that you asked to post some of my stuff, though three favorites are hard to find.  I simply don't know what people like and fear it is different from what I like.   

Jeff Bunting

DEC 2002    §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§    More things I didn't write

From the editor:
Poems I Didn’t Write That Year

Roasted on the Dash

There were no 9-1-1 calls to all muses for inspiration when two local poets were nearly roasted alive while dashing to the Women’s Speak poetry reading back in May (02). Shann did publish her blaze orange chapbook, Dashboard Fire, though without any explanation of the title. The book also refers to drawings by Alia which I would love to see, but were strangely missing.

Art Center No Show

There were some poems I didn’t write based on things that didn’t happen although I alluded to the art center no show in a poem called No Show Gig earlier this year and dedicated it to Kelley for bravery in showing up even though the gig was cancelled.

Men and Women Didn’t Speak

One of the first things we talked about this past year was Janine’s wonderful idea to do a Men&Women Speak to Each Other, which has fallen on deaf ears. And, where the hell is Janine? Of course there aren’t enough women in the group to pull that one off anyway.

Feeling Like a God

My first invitational reading, MenSpeak at Artspace, would have been a poem about being on a high so exalted that I didn’t come down for a week, because I got to read with Richmond’s greatest men poets. Kelly can take that as a complement. In my reading I featured how Billy Graham upstaged me with his crusade at a gig in Boston – took away my mic, my show, my purpose and replaced it with another agenda, to bring the poetry of the spirit to the stage as I do now, albeit simpering and complaining as usual.

Weight Gain from a Steady Diet of Poetry

Yes, all that sitting in front of a computer, writing in my journal and pacing up and down when I should have been jogging or weight lifting taking more starry night walks and fewer Milky Way candy bars. When I stepped off the scale at 204 pounds I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Okay, no more Mr. Fat Guy”. 

© Jimmy Warner, 2002

*2007 - Janine is fine, we had dinner.

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