Listicle

The one thing you should never say to someone with OCD

Three easy styles when you don’t have time to blow-dry

Four pieces of priceless advice from the cast of “Orange is the New Black”

Four possible futures for Earth if global warming keeps up

Five things super successful people do before eight AM.

Five things you need to know about NYC’s next possible first lady

Five foods you should never eat again if you’re trying to lose weight

My five golden rules for being a writer on Twitter

Six things your hairstylist wishes she could tell you

Become the CEO of your own brain in six easy steps

Here are seven dog beds your furry friend is going to love

Seven breathtaking sunsets from around the world

Seven reasons To never drink bottled water again

Eight items that will completely transform your wardrobe

Nine questions answered: Impact of government shutdown on travelers

Ten things all singles should celebrate

Ten celebs we never knew would go from child stars to sex symbols!

Ten celebrities who are difficult to work with

Ten gorgeous, energy-efficient homes you’d actually want to live in

Ten past Republicans who’d never make it in today’s GOP

Eleven drinks that are destroying your health

Eleven lessons every woman can learn from Disney princesses

The eleven best universities in the world

Twelve celebrities who say they don’t want children

Thirteen “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” dance moves

Fifteen African American art world game changers

Fifteen perfectly awful ad placements

Fifteen reasons why the world looks better in black and white

Fifteen amazing facts that you didn’t know about unicorns

Seventeen pics that show how much time has changed

Seventeen bizarre sex facts you probably didn’t know

Nineteen things you wish weren’t true but are

Twenty things all women should do before getting married

Twenty-one golden rules from one wise grandmother

Twenty-five best art exhibits to see this fall

Twenty-five pics that will make you say “AWWWWWW”!

WATCH: the fascinating origins of forty-two idioms explained

David Bowie’s seventy-five must-read books

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This is a found poem I wrote by collecting listicles over the last week or so. I limited myself to listcles that appeared in my Facebook or Twitter feeds. I did not read any of the articles. The only changes to the text that I made were making the capital letters of a headline lower case and writing out all numbers. I stopped collecting the headlines when I reached the footer of my word processing program.
I was tempted to add this last listicle I just found when I looked up the wiki link to “listicle,” but it would have meant breaking my rules for the poem, so I give it to you here: “Eleven reasons why we should still love listicles.”

A Spectrum of Aesthetics, Part I

I’ve decided to post part of the final paper I wrote for a contemporary American poetry course. There’s a huge debate these days about academic writers versus those who write independently, but in my mind the rift is more about aesthetics and publishing trends. It’s also about, who owes us a favor, who wants to curry favor with us, how eager we are to have our work published, and the circles we travel in.

Unfortunately, the best art is not always discovered within the artist’s lifetime, as we all know.

To get an idea about what some critics are saying, read Anis Shivani’s review of The Best American Poetry, 2010. Be prepared for some harsh statements! Also relevant is The New Math of Poetry by David Alpaugh. Thanks to poet, novelist, journalist and all around brilliant writer Collin Kelley for posting these links and keeping me abreast of the controversy.

I.

Like the polarization of values found within the U.S. political system, the poetry world also disagrees about aesthetics: the New York School sometimes conflicts with Southern narrative poets; New Formalists  shake their heads at those who cling to Walt Whitman and the rule of free verse.

With the growth of the Internet and the ability to write and share poems by merely lifting the lid of a laptop, poetry, the people’s art, reflects the diversity of those who write it. Academic poets compete with coffee house, spoken-word artists for readership and attention.

Nature poets espouse a return to the woods for inspiration, writing haiku and renga in the manner of Basho; other poets have embraced a postmodern ethos that reflects a strong sense of irony. The latter express an art form that some identify with an outgrowth of a scientific worldview that rejects religion as an answer to life’s mysteries.

Some literary theorists, philosophers, and even poets would go as far as to argue the irrelevance of the question “where did we come from and where will we go when we die?” But as Edward Hirsch explains in How to Read a Poem, even poetry of despair is a calling out to humanity, and signals a kind of hope. When he claims that “[d]espair is a turning away from human commerce, it is silence” (157),  he defends the act of writing about despair as a signal of wanting to connect with the other.

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View of the Hudson (photo taken by my husband)

View of the Hudson (photo taken by my husband)