At midnight November the 7th, Don Harington became his admirers.
I have sad news and better news. The sad news is that the great novelist Don Harington has voluntarily entered hospice care, turning down an operation that might have marginally extended his life. His wife Kim is staying with him at the hospice. This is pretty much it, admirers. He’s frail but reasonably alert. He could linger or go suddenly. Write him c/o Kim at the address I listed originally.
Don’s email address is also usable, and I will publish it here soon as I can.
Larry Johnson, the splendid lyric poet, has published a volume of poems, Veins, that I highly recommend. The poems range from personal sonnets to longer poems on people like Weldon Kees and Ezra Pound to formal lyrics spoken by various ancient Romans, including Nero’s mother and several emperors. Not to be missed! Available at David Robert Books.
For those who are interested, I will be featured poet in Town Creek (the online poetry magazine) in their fall issue.
Uttboro, Indiana: Grammatists at the famed University of Indiana at Uttboro Institute of Grammatical Underlined Physics (UIUIGULP) have announced startling new discoveries in the farfetched realms of extreme grammar.
Somebody else post something, please. I’ve read all my stuff already. I need something new to read.
Found the following attempt at humor pretty typical, and am attaching my letter of response. I’m not giving the name of the friend who copied it to me (from something a friend sent that person), because I am quite certain no insult was intended. I don’t care whether you side with my detractors. I just feel this sort discourse deserves wider exposure.
And I did, in the heat of the debate, commit one untruth. I HAVE driven a $60,000 car. Just never bought one or owned one.
At about the same time my son-in-law and I were watching, for the first time, Kill Bill, the second half, the scene where Bill finally gets it from the Five-Palmed Strike Point or whatever, David Carradine was dying in Bangkok.
Don Harington, the great novelist, is in the hospital with pneumonia and a broken hip. If you’ve read his novels and admired them (and I frankly do not see how you could read them and not admire them), you might wish to send him a note at kimharington
at sbcglobal.net. Kim is his wife and will deliver the messages. If you don’t know what to say, put yourself in his place: You suffer from diabetes, in the last ten years you’ve had throat cancer, a broken ankle from a disastrous auto accident, a broken hip, pneumonia twice, you can’t eat or drink (because of the throat surgery), but have to take glucerna several times a day, and although you are one of the most brilliant and beautiful writers this country has ever had, all your life you have been routinely neglected in favor of fakes, frauds, wannabes, also-rans, incompetents, and suck-ups.
Not that you have to address all of that. Hell, one line will do. Just tell the man what his writing means to you. Just say something, anything.
This culture is so obsessed with the new that we neglect the true achievers. Harington’s not just some factory process to produce stories. He’s a human, and right now a human in pretty serious trouble. He could use a bit of encouragement.
More political verse. Been calling them octals since they have eight lines. Now I am considering referring to them as, since I send them to the White House by email, dottawa rima. I know, I know, that’s terrible, and an insult to the form used so well by Byron in Don Juan or Yeats in Sailing to Byzantium.
What can I say? I have terrible taste. You knew that already, right?
Maybe the tone is a bit combative in these. So? Obama’s not a wuss. I am greatly disturbed by Geithner’s Wall Street insider blinders, and when Obama went on Leno the other night, he seemed more interested in coming across as plausible and in charge than he did in actually confronting the problem. In my opinion we have had way way more than enough of officials telling us to keep quiet and trust them. It sounded like he was still campaigning. I DO trust Obama, sort of. But campaign strategy aint gonna cut it, and I think the citizens in a democracy are obliged to keep an eye of their choices.
Besides, who pays attention to poets? We may be the unacknowledged legislators of the world, but in my experience most of the emphasis in that phrase goes on the word “unacknowledged.”
The Secretary of the Treasury
paid off his friends first. Why should you be
defending this turkey? We believe in change
all right, you need a little time. Not strange.
But it doesn’t take time to begin, and you began wrong.
Same old greedy story, same old song.
I voted for you, but now you must get rid
of the “expert” crooks: We’re counting on you, kid.
6. YOU ASKED FOR IT
Listen, I hate to break the news to you,
but after the idiot self-righteous clown and his crew
did all that damage to our country, we need
a hero, a Lincoln. Don’t let it go to your head.
The heroes always have to pay a price.
It isn’t rhetoric, but sacrifice.
What’ll it be? Smooth-talking also-ran?
Or do you have the guts to be the man?
7. ON THE REVERENCE WE OWE ELECTED OFFICIALS
As far as I’m concerned, the president
is just a man, not some divine advent.
He campaigns well, and maybe, just maybe,
can throw out the bathwater but not the baby.
I’ve spent nearly fifty years on what I love,
and I’m better at it, when push comes to shove,
than he is at his job. So should I bow
and bend the knee? No way, no time, nohow.
Like everybody else, I’ve been using the whitehouse.gov contact function. Sending comments to political types makes me feel helpless, so I made a sort of sport of it by coming up with rules. I wanted my comments to be short (under their word limit) and figured there was no point trying to talk about more than one subject at a time.
Since I’m a poet, I naturally thought of a poetic form. What I came up with is a variation on an old standard, the heroic couplet (two lines of rhyming pentameter). My variation is eight lines or only four couplets long, way under the limit, but who wanted to say that much anyway? Naturally, I use the movement of speech to jazz up what would otherwise be the monotony of meter.
I’m writing them whenever the mood strikes, whenever a subject coalesces from the general furor and seems to merit a comment. A bonus: Though technically speaking I am sure I am just as powerless, the act of construction required to put my thoughts into a form, even a slight one, has done away with my sense of helplessness.
Here’s the first four. There will likely be others. (more…)
There’s a reminiscence on Swamp Thing in the March 4 Salon at Salon.com, and an interview with Alan Moore (tied to the release of the Watchmen movie) in the March 5 Salon.
Professor Fury: Moore, in the interview, does not appear to care for Veidt, either. It had occurred to me that Veidt is the perfect type of the Aryan self-made superman and that that treatment had to be satirical.
Reading V for Vendetta for maybe the fourth time. Such detail. The eponymous hero of the soap-opera Storm Saxon. The preposterous vaudevillish black dialect used by the “villains.” The tedious sniggering double entendres of the supposed comedy show.
Bonus with the interview: a recent photo of Moore, showing a pale-whiskered aging gent who nevertheless bears a strong resemblance to the blackbearded rogue peering out of most of the jacket photos.