Sunday, May 31, 2015

Teacher Fired over Allen Ginsberg poem Please Master

photo © Mark Butkus 2011

A Connecticut teacher was forced to resign for reciting the Allen Ginsberg poem Please Master to his class of high school seniors.

One of his students asked to share the poem with the class and after some trepidation, David Olio — a former teacher of the year — recited the poem. Some students were left feeling uncomfortable which in turn lead to parents becoming infuriated that their children were subjected to the poem.

We present Please Master in it's unadulterated entirety for you for the sake of discussion. If you are offended by poetry, art, rights and freedoms then stop reading now because you will no doubt be offended.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tomatoes and Doves

photo © Mark Butkus 2009

There is a tomato plant on the table
emerging from the shadows
and sunlight is catching
the yellowing leaves

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Death is Nothing at All

All is Well.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Alice Notley Awarded 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize


Award recognizes lifetime accomplishment with $100,000 prize.

CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is honored to announce that Alice Notley has been awarded the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which recognizes the outstanding lifetime achievement of a living U.S. poet.

Presented annually to a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bendición del hogar

photo © Mark Butkus 2012

Dios mío bendice mi casa,
para que sea el hogar del amor
y de la paz.

Bendice la puerta abierta
como dos brazos extendidos
que dan la bienvenida.

Monday, May 4, 2015

First Lines Second Thoughts — Finnegan's Wake

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
A river runs through it...

First Lines Second Thoughts is an occcasional look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, we look at the opening lines of James Joyce's classic Finnegan's Wake. Published this day in 1939 after 17 years of writing and rewriting.

The first words are a sentence fragment which continues from the book's unfinished last line. This has the effect of making Finnegan's Wake a never-ending cycle.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Legend of Cassius Clay

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
On the night of the greatest fight...a poem from The Greatest!

This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.

He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y.

The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Joe Hill's The Preacher and the Slave

May Day without remembering Joe Hill and the Wobblies? Unthinkable!

To call Joe Hill a rabble-rouser would be an understatement. To say that he was a hero of the working man would also be an understatement. An immigrant from Sweden, Joe Hill came to America during difficult times, when companies were known to use violence to keep their overworked and underprivileged employees under thumb.

Joe Hill would take popular songs, change the lyrics and come up with working man, pro-union tunes. One of his most famous reinterpretations, The Preacher and the Slave is remembered today for giving us the phrase, "pie in the sky."