Links: Stimulus $ to Gay Cop Ban to Liberty College & More!

recovery.GOV vs recovery.ORG

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Peru has announced that it will ban homosexuals from the police force for damaging the image of the institution.

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A May 28 press release from Housing Works alerted the media that as many as 60 Canadians had been turned away from the U.S. border in spite of “stated U.S. policy that foreigners living with HIV would no longer be barred from entering the country.”

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A survey of dozens of women who fled violence in Darfur found that a third of them reported or showed signs of rape, and revealed a widespread fear of sexual violence in their refugee camp in Chad, a human rights group reported Sunday.

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Taking a semester off to travel and focus on writing isn’t that unusual for a student at Brown University. But instead of studying comparative literature in Europe, Kevin Roose decided to go to Lynchburg, Va., and enroll at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

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General Motors’ bondholders finished voting Saturday on the company’s plan to exchange their debt for an ownership stake as high as 25 percent in G.M., the final obstacle to an orderly bankruptcy for the ailing carmaker.

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Tony Awards: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre. My Dolly is nominated!

Denise Duhamel Comments on Light Verse

Denise Duhamel at Books and Books from Andrew Hevia on Vimeo.

Over at Fans of Denise Duhamel OR A Group of Duhamalites, Denise answers a question a month from a member of the FB Group. I’m sharing the May question and answer.

Question from Dustin Brookshire:
Recently, Steve Fellner (poet and critic) wrote an entry in his blog, Pansy Poetics, analyzing some of your poetry. His blog entry led to a series of great comments from his readers and a discussion on Light Verse in your work. The comments have led me to ask this: What role do you think Light Verse plays in contemporary poetry? (Click here for Steve’s post on Denise’s work.)

Denise Duhamel’s Answer:
I saw that. At first, I must admit that I was horrified that Steve Fellner—whose work I love! I chose is first book for the Marsh Hawk prize—thought some of my poems were “light verse.” In my mind, light verse was synonymous with silliness. I guest-edited an issue of a literary magazine Ocho called “Florida Funnies” and I am now co-editing an issue of essays about humor in contemporary poetry for a linguistics magazine Humor. I hadn’t really even brought up the term light verse. I think, as Sean points out in one of the blog comments, “because of consumer culture, light=less than? Less calories, less fat, less flavor?” I thought that too. I even thought “Lite Poetry.” But researching light verse, and seeing its long and proud tradition, I am happy to be included. (Puns? Guilty as charged. Alliteration? Guilty as charged. Wordplay? Guilty as charge.) A lot of poets feel similarly afraid of the term “confessional,” which has recently gotten a bad rap. So poets with confessional leanings might deny they are writing confessional poetry or try to call it something else. In any case, in the end, I am happy that Steve associated my work with light verse—or even camp. While Steve is perfectly correct in quoting Sontag, she also says that camp is a way of consuming or performing culture “in quotation marks.” And I really do feel I try to do that, so I’m no longer leery of the labels light verse or camp. I like Steve’s blog for the questions it raises about contemporary poetry and trying to categorize it. Do you remember that clapping song? Categories, names of…Colors…Then each child would clap and say a color until they couldn’t think of any more. We could do the same for Poetry.

Child one: Categories.

Child two: Names of.

Child one: Poetry

Child two: Light verse.

Child one: Confessional.

Child two: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E.

Child one: Formal.

Child two: Post-confessional.

Child one: Transgressive.

Child two: Of Witness.

Child one: Neo-formal.

Child two: Feminist.

Child one: New York School.

Child two: New York School—second generation.

Child one: New York School—third generation.

Child two: Oulipo.

Child two: Harlem Renaissance.

Child one: Nature.

Child one: Surreal.

Child two: Beat.

Child one: Romantic.

Child two: Modern.

Child one: Post-modern.

Child two: Dada.

Child two: Prose poems.

Child one: Haiku.

Child one: Pansy Poetics…

Having said that, I think Light Verse may play a part in contemporary American poetry in that it’s a way to fight back against the jingle, the slogan, our consumer culture. Maybe we need tee shirts? Heavyweights of Light Verse.

Brenda Lee’s Letter to President Obama

Here is the letter written by self-proclaimed Catholic Priestess Brenda Lee:
Dear President Obama,

I am praying for you. You are the most powerful man in the world and GOD placed you there to do HIS WILL. On March 18th, you mentioned that you would rather have one good term than eight mediocre years as president. You will always be the first African American President; the challenge is for you to be A Great African American President, but to become a great president you must keep your hands in GOD’S HANDS.

I am begging you, as a father of two daughters, to establish America as a GOD fearing country and to stand against the gay life that threatens to tear America apart.

Same sex marriage is a GOD ISSUE not a Civil Right Issue. The pursuit of happiness and safety in the context of the law protects the human race not only individuals. GOD’S WRATHS, Aids and VD threatens the population at large. There has never been and never will be total happiness.

No one has addressed the abused children who were given to gay couples in the State of California or the breaking of the law by California Attorney General Jerry Brown and the five justices when they lifted the ban on gay marriage without due process of the law, which they swore to uphold. To the American people, it appears that they are above the law.

No one has spoken of the ramification of the gay life style. How will children be conceived, how much will it cost, who will be able to afford it and who will over see the doctors? Which races will disappear? These are only a few of the complex questions that must be answered.

Who is qualified to take GOD’S PLACE and who will rule in Truth and Fairness? Once people can decided which sex they would like to be listed as, chaos will follow.

Your daughters and my grandchildren may not have the legal right to know the true sex of their potential spouses. You cannot image the opening of Pandora’s box. I pray that moralists will come to your aid in the coming months and let you know how they feel about these issues

I will continue to pray for your family, America and the world.

GOD BLESS You,
Rev. Brenda Lee

I’m going to write more on this topic, and I plan to share Brenda Lee’s response on what happened!

Why I Write ~ Randall Mann

WHY I WRITE ~ Randall Mann

I write because I am an addict, addicted to (say it) negative capability; to the strange engagement of the mind and simultaneous self-forgetting. To that fuzzy coming to after hours of wordplay.

I’m no theorist, but I suppose I write to hold fast to yet hold at bay the minutiae of world, to make some sense of the nonsense.

(I live in San Francisco, which provides endless bewitching non-sequiturs. “Look out,” a young woman warned me in front of Dolores Park a couple weeks ago, “there’s killer tofu about.”)

(I am drawn to words like oral sex or good shoes, like a Prather Ranch burger at Slow Club or a dawn walk on Ocean Beach.)

I write for much the same reason I sleep on one side of the bed only: I am pitilessly shaped by my past; I love constraint; I am, god help me, hopeful.

Obama to Craig Arnold to Auschwitz & MORE

Usually, I just post the title of articles and link the titles; however, for today, I am going to do it C. Dale Young style.

Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and officer in the Army National Guard who is fluent in Arabic and who returned recently from Iraq, received notice today that the military is about to fire him. Why? Because he came out of the closet as a gay man on national television.

Some readers might think it unfair to blame Obama. After all, the president inherited the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law when he took office. As Commander-in-Chief, he has to follow the law. If the law says that the military must fire any service member who acknowledges being gay, that is not Obama’s fault.

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It continues:
The Miss California saga started as a serious and compelling drama about personal expression, equal rights, and the tone and tenor of public debate in contemporary America. But in recent days, the story has transformed into something less admirable.

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Award-winning poet Craig Arnold, who went missing in Japan in late April, is presumed to have died after a fall, his employer, the University of Wyoming, announced Friday. The university had established a fund to try to find Arnold after Japanese authorities ended their search.

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I think one of my favorites comments from Sykes at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is: “I know Governor Palin, she’s not here tonight. She pulled out at the last minute. Somebody should tell her that’s not how you really practice abstinence.”

Sykes dropped her sitcom impishness and was all-Wanda, all the time. In the line that drew gasps from the posh crowd, she attacked Rush Limbaugh for saying he hoped the President’s policies would fail. “That’s treason,” she said. “That’s not saying anything different from what Osama bin Laden is saying… I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight.” Yow. “Too much?” she asked rhetorically.

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Sixty-five years ago Waclaw Sobczak hid a message in a bottle between the bricks of a wall in a building of the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, a last sign of life as he prepared to die.

“I put the bottle in the wall,” Sobczak, 84, who survived Auschwitz but still bears the ID number — 145664 — the Nazis tattooed on his forearm, told AFP via telephone from his home in Wrabczyn, western Poland.

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National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Why I Write ~ Amy Pence

WHY I WRITE ~ Amy Pence

When I consider the question: “Why do you write?,” a spiral comes to mind. I grew up among humid courtyards and peered over balconies in the French Quarter: Chartes, Bourbon, Barracks, and Decatur. There, I sought to stay small, and so, unnoticed, I could observe. Like Oskar in the Tin Drum, I remained small (with much regret now). Walking the Quarter’s maze of streets—because we could even walk alone by ourselves then—meant that I could keep going into the interior— to find what was hidden: those talismans of value, beauty, and terrible isolation. There were lives lived on street corners, artists hanging their wares, musicians toiling alone; there was a thick history (and energy) ensconced in an object—spectacles, a photograph, a handkerchief; there was the foul smell of watermelons split open and rotting on the pavement, the low throaty sound of arriving ships at night. As I grew older, writing became a mysterious spiral that could enfold detail, figure, sensation, memory. I wound somatically inward. Writing—at first just keeping a journal—helped me—like many writers and artists—to track what felt intolerable in my home life. It enabled me to cope with the contradictions of my adolescence in Las Vegas. Through writing, I could begin to grasp meaning, identity, and essence. Poet Jane Hirshfield understands that “The writer reaches by means of language into the outer world—the world of things, and also of words themselves and their storehoused wisdom—in order to question and discover the texture and substance of being.”

Now in mid-life, I’ve found that the way in is also the way out. Writing non-fiction, and now fiction, means that I can better find my way out of the labyrinth. Beyond the centered minotaur, worlds appear, and lives radiate from this one. While the poem distills, the story opens a vision that encompasses as much of other lives as I can imagine. It is essential as an artist to find the way out of the spiral. Even more, such fruition is essential to evolve as a human and to know compassion. My favorite quote from Adrienne Rich is “Human eyes…[see] resemblance in difference—the core of metaphor, that which lies close to the core of poetry itself, the only hope for a humane civil life.” For me, writing can bring all of us closer to this metaphor: life lived in & out of form.