Dreams may also have supplied inspiration. When asked how he came up with some of his ideas, McKillop is reputed to have said, “Well, you just eat a big mess of fatback and go to bed and go to sleep and dream how to do it.” - Jack L. Lindsay on Edgar Alexander McKillop, a N.Carolina wood carver ca. 1930’s.
Man & Snake - Edgar Alexander McKillop
18 x 10 x 14" Wood with glass eyes
Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York
Gift of Jerry and Susan Lauren, 2006.5.3
Photo by Gavin Ashworth
I recall three dreams from last night:
burying cardboard boxes full of books and planting a garden over them;
playing basketball but not like I do today, like I did 50 years ago;
writing the title of a poem,"12 trails for 3 eyes," but not the poem.
I was under the influence of leftover Easter candy, not fatback and that, I guess, makes all the difference.
How are your dreams these days?
In which I intend to comment on the weather in Maine and end up declaring war
Spring is slow to arrive in Maine this year. Morning temperatures are still in the 30s and I heard that some towns in northern Maine, what we call "the county," saw eight inches of snow last week. Covid numbers are growing again. In bizarro world, Mickey Mouse and Goofy are under attack from the state of Florida. Thousands of miles away, real people are under attack from a madman sitting at the end of a 20 foot long table. The governor of Texas packs people who have traveled thousands of miles looking for a chance at a better life into a bus to drive them to Washington to put them on display like animals to...to...prove something that isn't really all that clear, clever or humane. Truck caravans are traveling in circles, getting lost in a city near you. I read that one caravan got lost in Oakland and Berkeley and couldn't understand why they got no support from people on College Avenue. Forest fires are burning across the western states. Firing squads are a thing again so anyone given the death penalty in some states can choose from a veritable smorgasbord of death.
I could go on.
It's a small, small (sometimes puny and pathetic) world after all.
Poetry? Art? Beauty?
Yes. Yes. Yes. We wield them with the power beauty has always had to counter ugliness. This tiny weapon, this absurd Hole In The Head, with its miniscule yet mighty arsenal of poetry, art, and beauty...we do hereby declare war on ugliness and acts of aggression and inhumanity.
We place sanctions on the frauds, the liars, the greedy, the ones who abuse and weaponize language, and those who prey on the vulnerable, the joyful, the peaceful and playful. And we call on the spirits of Don Quixote, Frodo, Ginsberg, Dickinson, Whitman, Gandhi, Yoda, Frida, Van Gogh, Sondheim, Mother Teresa, Lennon, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Pete Seeger and all the saints and sinners of beauty and peace to join us.
Are you with us?
"But what you want to say–the business of wanting comes from the outside, like it wants five dollars being ten–that kind of want is the kind of thing which is the real thing–the thing that you didn't want to say in terms of your own ego–in terms of your image, in terms of your life, in terms of everything. And I think the second step for a poet who's going on to the poetry of dictation is when he finds out that these poems which say just exactly the opposite of what he wants himself, per se, poet, to say, the poems that say just exactly the opposite–if you want to say something about your beloved's eyebrows and the poem says, the eyes should fall out–and you don't really want the eyes to fall out, or have even a vague connection–or you're trying to write a poem on Vietnam and you write a poem about skating in Vermont–these things, again, begin to show you just exactly where the road of dictation leads." - Jack Spicer, on June 13, 1965, speaking to a group of poets on the 100th anniversary of Yeats' birth.
Diana Roper McDowell provided our cover art. Diana is a Maine artist who lives and paints on MDI, Mount Desert Island. You'll find more of her work inside the issue.
We don't usually DO reviews in this review. But Associate Editor, Bill Burtis, was moved to write one after reading Pamela Sumners' new book, Etiquette For a Pandemic (& Other Social Distancing Protocols.
I'm especially excited (and honored) to present new work from David Weiss, a cycle of 23 poems, Getting The Bird Out. The language of these poems will challenge you perhaps more than any other work we've published in Hole In The Head. Take your time, read it out loud, and lose yourself in the world Weiss creates.
Charles Simic, whose brief bio could easily stretch to 500 pages, opens the issue with a kind of Spring poem, Saturday Night Fever. There is no Travolta, no Olivia Newton John and no dancing to speak of.
As always, thank you to the entire staff here at Hole In The Headquarters: Tom Bruton, Bill Burtis, Jere DeWaters, Marie Harris, Michael Hettich, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, and Peter Johnson.
And thank you to everyone who submits work to Hole In The Head.
Comments, questions, personal declarations & sanctions should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's what I've been listening to while writing.
P.S., have you read the special Ukraine issue we published with our friends at Nine Mile Magazine? You really should. Go to the Archives and look for
свобода freedom an anthology for Ukraine
We'll be back in August with another hole in the head.