Kenneth Koch reading “You Want A Social Life With Friends" (2000)

This was recorded by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Here’s what she has to say about it:

One of my favorite poems appears in the book on page 144. It is called So You Want A Social Life With Friends, and it is by Kenneth Koch. In the fall of 2000, I had the privilege of recording Mr. Koch reading this poem in his Upper East Side apartment for an audio magazine project I was working on. I used a tiny Radio Shack tape recorder, and take full responsibility for the lack of high sound quality. (But I do admit I like the crackling and soundproof-lessness.) He was an impeccable, flawless reader—we were finished in two or three takes. Though he had been reluctant to agree to our session, once underway, he was a gracious, charismatic host. He had set up a nice tray with glasses of grapefruit juice. Fitting, because the whole thing was bittersweet. Mr. Koch died a year later. I believe this is one of his last recordings.

Amazing! One of my favorite poems, too.

The curious came from far away. A traveling carnival arrived with a flying acrobat who buzzed over the crowd several times, but no one paid any attention to him because his wings were not those of an angel but, rather, those of a sidereal bat. The most unfortunate invalids on earth came in search of health: a poor woman who since childhood has been counting her heartbeats and had run out of numbers; a Portuguese man who couldn’t sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him; a sleepwalker who got up at night to undo the things he had done while awake; and many others with less serious ailments. In the midst of that shipwreck disorder that made the earth tremble, Pelayo and Elisenda were happy with fatigue, for in less than a week they had crammed their rooms with money and the line of pilgrims waiting their turn to enter still reached beyond the horizon.”
BLP » National Poetry Month: Elizabeth Cantwell


Black Lawrence Press (publishing my book early next month!) featured me in their National Poetry Month series yesterday. I think y’all have read this poem before, but it’s one of my favorites.

Go take a look - and stay tuned for chapbook AND book updates from me very soon!

Go! Read! Pre-order!

EDIT: ok, so it doesn’t appear pre-ordering is an option yet. So in place of that last one, let’s try this instead:

Bookmark for eventual exchange of money for poems!

Not quite the same ring to it, but the sentiment is right.

Update résumé:

achievement unlocked.

A bit of Roald Dahl after dinner.

A bit of Roald Dahl after dinner.

(Source: endiness)

Some truth, because alliteration

This week marks six months with my current employer. I was super unhappy during the final few months at my last job, so I more or less ran out the door and grabbed the first well-paying life raft away from that office. I’ve never been entirely comfortable here either, but I rarely am anywhere, so I didn’t think much of it. About two months ago (so, four months or so into the new gig, if you’re playing along at home and are bad at math), the structure of the company and the specifics of my job description were changed over the course of a weekend, causing my position to move from something I enjoyed, was very good at (I am confident about few things in life but that’s for sure one of them), and allowed for advancement opportunities, to something I’m about average at, find intensely boring with bright flashes of extremely frustrating thrown in for good measure, and will be stuck doing until I die or leave the company. And to gild that metaphorical crap-lily, I’m far less comfortable with the company culture the longer I’m a part of it as well. I no longer like my job as a(n obvious) result. 


Tonight I am blowing off a rare solo night out to stay home, rewrite my resumé, and start hunting for the next boat out. The prospect of freelancing again is unappealing for a whole host of reasons, so I’m looking for another design agency, web development shop, or other company in need of front-end work. There’s no real shortage of these positions from what I’ve gleaned doing cursory looks over my usual job boards, though I’m committed to being pickier about where I end up than I was last time. Mostly I hate that I’m doing this only six months in. It’s my choice, sure, but so much has changed since I was hired to now that I don’t feel like I’m even in the same position.

So it goes. I am for sure happy to be employed in the interim; I know that’s nothing to complain about and I’m just grumbling for quality of life concerns, which in the larger scheme of things…Anyway, giddy up, Job Search, giddy up.

(If you know of one of these places, especially if they’re remote or here in sunny Portland, Oregon, high five the info into my askhole. Are we still saying askhole? Did we ever say askhole? Is an askhole something one could effectively high five? How’re you enjoying this string of questions? Should I stop?)

Aaron Sorkin’s “The Foodroom”

It’s a fast food Newsroom/West Wing/Sports Night (even starring Josh Charles) and it is perfect.

(via Kottke)

Now that we’ve established that poetry is work, let’s move on to questions of productivity. How much should a poet produce, ideally? As much as one half-assed garden, planted by a person with a drinking problem, who did not read the directions on the seed-packets very closely. Elizabeth Bishop only ever wrote one poem, a villanelle about an elk breaking up with her (“The Elk Breaks Up with Me”), and if I may say so she did very well with it. Wallace Stevens only wrote five poems, and every one of them was insured for one million dollars, like a famous pair of legs. The greatest living poet, Nicolas Cage, continues to amaze us by never having written a poem at all.”