Double Ds: David Trinidad


David Trinidad joins the Double Ds!

Trinidad is a member of the Core Poetry Faculty at Columbia College Chicago. His most recent book of poems is The Late Show, published by Turtle Point Press in 2007.  His other books include Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse (Turtle Point, 2003), Plasticville (Turtle Point, 2000, finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets), Answer Song (High Risk/Serpent’s Tail, 1994), Hand Over Heart: Poems 1981-1988 (Amethyst Press, 1991), and Pavane (Sherwood Press, 1981). Trinidad has been called “a master of the postmodern pop-culture sublime.” His work is also associated with the innovative formalism of the New York School. Alice Notley has written, “There is an unwavering light in all of Trinidad’s work that turns individual words into objects, new facts.”


Denise asks:
While your poetry is formal, I think you are a Reform School poet, meaning that you use form in truly unexpected ways.  Of all the “received” forms, which are you most comfortable writing?

David Trinidad:
The haiku is the first form I played around with, in the eighties, and is the one I return to most often.  I like the tininess of it (haikus are the miniatures of received forms!) and the obsessiveness of counting syllables, having to compress everything into so little a space.  Yet a good haiku opens up, makes it seem bigger than it is.  I guess that’s the payoff.  And being able to use the form in an unexpected way.  At heart I think forms are pretty silly.  That puts me in Reform School for sure.  I’m currently working on a piece called “Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera.”  I watch an episode of PEYTON PLACE (the TV series from the sixties) then write a haiku about it.  The only rules are: 1) I can’t watch the next episode until I finish the previous haiku, and 2) Every time Ryan O’Neal takes off his shirt, I have to mention it.  There are over 500 episodes of PEYTON PLACE.  Can’t you see it: a pop haiku epic!  Wonderful, but ridiculous too.



Dustin asks:
If you were in charge of selecting People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who would you pick?

David Trinidad:
If we’re talking pure testosterone, I’d have to say Jon Hamm of MAD MEN.  (If he can do a Yorkshire accent, don’t you think he’d make a perfect Ted Hughes?)  But if we’re talking about the whole package, I’d have to say that I always react quite favorably to Justin Bartha (of NATIONAL TREASURE fame).

Project Verse: The End!

Emily and Kathi, you’ve both worked so hard to get here.  The weekly judges, as well as the guest judges, have consistently enjoyed your work.  Thank you for your hard work that not only entertained us but enlightened us.


Originally, there were four judges reading the Final Assignments; however, when the voting was over, it was a tie.  Two judges voted for Emily, and two judges voted for Kathi.  Isn’t that a nice unexpected twist to the first season of Project Verse!?!   


I could write for hours about each of you.  You’re both extremely talented poets, and I know that we’ll continue to see both of you working your magic in the poetry world for a long time.  And, I wish there could be two winners for Project Verse, but there can be only one.


As a reminder, the winner of Project Verse receives the following prize package:
 a contract for a limited edition chapbook published by Limp Wrist
 a weeklong residency at Marilyn Nelson’s Soul Mountain Retreat* (for the poet to revise and finish his/her chapbook)
 an interview with Joe Milford of “The Joe Milford Poetry Show
 a review of the chapbook that will be published in ouroboros review and Limp Wrist
 a year subscription to the Naugatuck River Review
 a copy of Best Gay Poetry 2008
 a copy of the 2008 Squaw Valley Review



The winner of the first season of Project Verse is…..








“Lillian Harvey” by Gerald Stern

Lillian Harvey

This is lovesick for you–Charles Koechlin
covering his paper with tears, he shushes his wife
and his children, he is crying for Lillian Harvey–
or this is lovesick–sending his wife to meet her,
he is too shy to go, and he is married;
when she comes back he asks a thousand questions:
What was she wearing? Does she like his music?
How old did she look? Was she like her photograph?
But he never met her, she whose face haunted him,
although he wrote a hundred and thirteen compositions
for her, including two Albums for Lillian,
and he wrote a film scenario and score,
which he imagined, fantastically,
would star the two of them. He was himself
twice in America, both times in California,
but they couldn’t meet–it would be a violation.
I know that agony myself, I stood
on one foot or another four or five times
and burned with shame and shook with terror. You never
go yourself. I know he must have waited
outside her house, a crazy man, he must have
dialed her number a hundred times, even risked
his life for her. But you never go, you never
stand there smiling–he never stood there smiling,
he never reached his hand inside her dress,
he never touched her nipple, he never pressed
his mouth against her knee or lifted her thighs.
For she was the muse. You never fuck the muse.

~ from Lovesick


***Many thanks to Julie for turning me on to this poem!