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editor's notes

I was led astray, because of unconsciously successful work, into conceiving similar ones consciously and deliberately: this was a mistake that I was to make again and again, until I understood it and was able to avoid it. -- Paul Klee (Journals)


This issue of Hole In The Head goes live just as the Charles Simic Memorial Prize for Poetry closes for submissions. The response to the contest has been stunning, more than 320 submissions as I write this just 10 hours before closing. The task of selecting the poems that will be passed on to David Rivard, who will select the winner, is formidable.

I was lucky to study with Charlie in the Master's program, pre-MFA, at The University of New Hampshire in the mid-1970s. It was a small group of student-poets at the time, fewer than the fiction writer students. At parties though, the poets were loud and dancing and smoking whatever was on hand and drinking whatever was on hand and, well, you get the picture. While the fiction students stood quietly by the walls, taking notes for the next great American academic novel...or so I believe.

Charlie was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend. He was quick to laugh; equally quick to make it known when you submitted a clunker to the workshop, gently (mostly). He was a master poet and brilliant essayist. It's been an honor to create this prize in his name.

We'll announce the winner in late October.


It's been a wonderful summer here in Maine...if you're a slug or moss. The slugs have been climbing to the bird feeder outside my office window on the second floor as I write this. Impressive, right?


Some Hole In The Head Statistics for the last 365 days:

  • total site visits: 16,417

  • total unique visitors: 11,138

  • Most popular day to visit: Thursday between 6 am and 3 pm est

  • Most visitors come by way of Google and stay much longer than those who arrive through Facebook

  • Most visitors (6,219) connect with the homepage first; no surprise there, then move to the table of contents or submission page.

  • Finally, here's the map that show where are readers checked-in from:

Sorry, I love this stuff.


We're dedicating this issue to Bob Herz, poet, essayist, translator, editor, business visionary, and man of letters, who died on May 28 at age 74. Bob was the editor of Nine Mile Magazine & Books.

Bob was an early and constant supporter of Hole In The Head. His essay, "A Role for Poets: historian of the present," follows these notes.

You can read samples of Bob's poetry here: Robert Herz ( and here: Bob Herz (


My travel companion in Italy, Jere DeWaters and I were prowling the alleys of Cortona when we came across the studio of the artists Kate Bray & Luigi Agnelli, an airy, light-filled space that is part of the Convent next to the Church of St Francis.

Luigi and I talked while Jere continued to search for the perfect Cortona photograph. I was knocked over by the incredible detail of their drawings and asked if they might consider submitting work for Hole In The Head. Within a week of my return, Kate sent me the images that are included in this issue, including Bird Song - il cantico delle creature, which is on the cover of this issue.

Bella copertina! Grazie mille, Kate e Luigi!


And thanks to the entire hard-working staff down at Hole In The Headquarters - Bill Burtis, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, Jere DeWaters, Michael Hettich, Marie Harris, Peter Johnson, and Tom Bruton.

We’ll be back with this hole thing again November 1.


What I'm listening to:



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