Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Of Nonets and Rhopalics

State Fair Photo
Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

it’s great
look at those
golden earrings
everyone should know
her signature color
she is always pleased to wear
never ever give her silver
silver is for people with dark clothes
she turns and twirls her yellow dress around.


Thanks, Richard, for the poem using Joyce Odam's form that we posted yesterday for our Seed of the Week. Essentially, it starts with one syllable on the first line, two on the second, etc. Word on the street has it that it's an etheree—except it has eight lines instead of ten. Hmm. By the way, I found a website I like that talks about the etheree: According to them, there's also a reverse etheree (counting backwards from ten) and a double etheree, which goes up to ten, then turns around and comes back to one. (That website also has a TON of poetry journal listings!) Pat Pashby mentions that there is also a "Nonet", which goes in the opposite direction: nine lines, beginning with 9 syllables and ending with one on the last (Richard Zimmer sends us one of those). Anyway, enjoy the form, whatever it's called (etheree or not; maybe an octeree?). And thanks to the other poets who are giving it a shot, including Carl Schwartz and Tom Goff, who writes: Seeing Joyce's form, I was tempted into making up a sort of form...we visited Point Reyes on Saturday, so that got in as well.

Taylor Graham went a little nuts with the SOW, in fact. She says the form is "some sort of rhopalic", which is a new word to me. Judy Taylor Graham is a very diligent, hard-working poet who's an inspiration to all of us! She also has a shiny, new, refurbished website: check it out at, and be sure to catch her reading at Sac. Poetry Center on Aug. 16.

In other news, James Kaelen, whose Zero Emissions Book Tour was in the area this Monday and Tuesday, is trying to get booked on the cable TV show, The Colbert Report. For info, go to (For info on the Zero Emission tour, go to Why should we support James? Because he's a poet with the gumption to go for such a thing—which would be good publicity for all of us, yes?

And photos from the State Fair continue to come in; today's dandy is from Michelle Kunert. The photo at the bottom of this post is not actually a snake, by the way, but a rolled-up sandbag thingie on the rock wall behind Buttercup Pantry in Placerville. Katy Brown spotted it when she and I visited Retiredice Alpacas last week. I've looked at it a hundred times and never seen the snake before...


—Richard Zimmer

The vast panorama of the sky
an infinitude none can grasp
the mind’s not up to the task
things we can comprehend
all have beginnings
all have their ends
we’re finite
and quite


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Help but cry
What with all our
Credit now wiped out
And oh! the disgrace of
Losing great state treasures as
State workers must sacrifice for
the world’s eighth largest economy,
While the governor lifts his veto pen.

Saw the light
Bombastic hit
And make a crater
Where people of wisdom
Had peacefully assembled
To ensure that all our voices
Would be counted in the debate, but
Today television polls rule everything.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

man starts
dancing in
the train station –
a small girl joins in –
another, another
taking up the beat and soon
the whole be-drudged world is dancing!


—Taylor Graham

in shadow
in the window
of the general store –
what memories does it hold
of seamstresses passed away?
Whose calico frock does it dream?


—Taylor Graham

hour drive
mercury hits
106 degrees.
Let’s find a cheap motel
that has functioning A/C.
Just for tonight, let’s call it Home.


—Taylor Graham

stretch of creek
below the road
in deep late-summer
shadow, sudden color –
tall cascading spikes of pink
where foxglove puts on shafts of light.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

branch like trees
this was suggested
in Poetry: octave
the leafy top, the bottom
sestet-with-volta the firm trunk;
or was it the reverse order? I
forget) who are you, then, Form? A wind-lashed
ground-bedded Point Reyes crossbreed, part shrub, part
cypress? How low must you stoop to kiss the coast bush

lupine? Don’t your boughs
shroud black, black ravens?
Knowing what you are,
claim to be that. Proud
bastard, stand up! for
halfbreeds, mixes, mutts.
Let paprika-tinged
lichen whisper soft
mendacities to
guano-stinking rock…


Today's LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

first love
was the word
God spoke to Man:
peace on earth, goodwill,
brotherhood among all
people speaking every tongue
in every dialect of song.



Big Snake
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis