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Monday, December 31, 2012

No, Thank You for A Very Successful 2013

I just wrote the poem below in response to a really annoying email I had received from Copper Canyon Press.  With this posting I begin a new collection of poems called Spampoetry -- it will be a collection consisting entirely of my responses to unsolicited emails that I have received from time to time, a new digital take on an old Dadaist theme.  So here is the first poem I have written for the collection and below it is the annoying bit of spam that inspired it in the first place. 

No, Thank You for A Very Successful 2013

Dear George -

This is the third solicitation
Email from Coppery Canyon
I've received in as many days
Lighten up will you please
If you don't mind my saying

Poetry is really not such
A very big deal after all
Having given it my all
All year long with
More than 100 new poems
To show for the effort
Now on New Year's Eve
Won't you please
Give it a rest

With warm regards
Joe Lamport
PS - please note that my new
Website address is

From: "George Knotek, Copper Canyon Press"
To: josephlamport@yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2012 4:53 PM
Subject: Thank You for a Successful 2012

Dear Joe,
On behalf of Copper Canyon Press, I want to thank everyone who has responded to our call for support—or gave earlier in the year. It is gratifying to work for a nonprofit publisher that enjoys the support of so many dedicated poets and readers.
In these days of tumult in the publishing world, poetry needs your help now more than ever. In order to keep the Press running, and our poets in print, we have to raise a dollar in contributed income for every dollar we earn in book sales—which means we need to raise $600,000 in contributions this year. Thanks for doing your part to help.
If you are still considering a gift to Copper Canyon Press, you may be encouraged to know:
  • Any size donation is welcome
  • Copper Canyon enjoys support from nearly 1000 contributing readers from 48 states
  • All financial gifts are tax-deductible
  • You can make a secure donation HERE
  • You can contact me anytime at 360-385-4925 x 103 or george@coppercanyonpress.org
We will be grateful to receive your tax-deductible donation before the end of the year. For a gift of $50 or more you can select your choice of a book by Lucia Perillo, Dean Young, James Arthur or Brenda Shaughnessy as our gift to you.
With appreciation for all you do for poetry,
George Knotek
Development Director
PS: Thank you for helping us start the New Year with the funding we need. As we all reflect on beginnings and endings at this time of year, I hope you will enjoy the following poem by Dean Young from his book Bender: New and Selected Poems.
A Beginner’s Guide to Endings
So some mice decide to try climbing a mountain.
An unexpected wedding guest leads the dance.
Nothing pleases your father.
A bundle of letters is found deep in a trunk.
The soul of the old dog won’t leave her master.
The last task is to bring back a burning branch.
A jug comes out of the darkness; take a swig and pass it on.
The entrance is guarded by a beast that can take many forms.
And this is why willow trees bend down.
People say they saw worms crawling from the ground.
In the courtyard, next to a beggar, an eagle drops a crown.
The horse can go no further.
The god has to be tricked to take the world back on his shoulder.
It follows then that reality is intermittent.
Goodbye mother, farewell home.
And that is why the girl put on armor.
And you and I have always known each other.
And that is why the stars are drunkards.
Dean Young, from Bender: New and Selected Poems.

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Copper Canyon Press | Port Townsend Office: P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368 | Seattle Office: 216 1st Ave S. | Seattle, WA 98104
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A few questions for this year-end's check up

Do you think it
more or less likely
that Enlightenment
possesses mass and
should thus be
considered similar to
particulate matter
such that it may be 
consumed and exhaled
in a cloud?

Or does it seem
more plausible yet
that it better resembles
a wave shape as
it propagates forward
being in that way 
fundamentally more
akin to sound and light?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ode to the Truth

Poetry does entail
A spiritual practice
If nothing else as
The accidental byproduct
Of the relentless pursuit
Of a full and fair description
Of simple but ineffable truths

Which may be found
In the oddest places
Quite unexpectedly and
By the most ironic of means

Though sadly it may end up
Cutting us most deeply
If we should fail to realize
In our admiring gaze
It’s a two-edged sword
We hold aloft in our hands

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Points Beyond

Just recently
I emailed April
To ask for help

Why is it
I can't even
Seem to buy
My way into
And friendship
With another
Living poet

Writing in 
Isolation means
I've been assigned
To tack in the harbor
And run with the current
Only so far down as
Outerbridge Crossing
Not even reaching 
Sandy Hook
To say nothing
Of straying to
Points farther south
And beyond