This Week’s Top Ten Poetic Picks

The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

We’ve been painting in very specific poetic hues this month, promoting poetry written around the colors purple, plum, and indigo. Needless to say, there’ve been numerous references to Prince’s 80s classic hit, “Purple Rain.” But did you know that Prince’s famous album was inspired by a pulp science-fiction novel?

Well… it wasn’t. Not really. But that didn’t keep Christophe Gowens from asking, “what if best selling albums had been books instead?” Gowens has created a series of hypothetical book covers, each relating to a classic album. And for each fictitious book, he’s created a brief synopsis, too. Consider his blurb for the “book” Bad by Michael Jackson:

Gruesome schlock from the prolific Jackson. In this relentless stalkerfest, private eye Dwight Blackman takes on the ‘Shamone’ Killer for the 3rd time. Will the psycho slip through the dick’s fingers yet again?


You’ll have fun perusing this artistic collection from Gowens. What album do you wish he’d have stylized?

News by Claire Burge

2 News

Rudyard Kipling, the prolific poet, short story writer, and novelist, is perhaps best known for his novel, The Jungle Book. But this week, it was announced that American scholar Thomas Pinney, a professor emeritus of English at the University of California, has uncovered fifty new poems written by the renowned British author. As reported by the Huffington Post, these lost poems are to be released along with 1,300 others in a new complete edition of Kipling’s poetry.

That’s a lot of poetry. I wonder if this verse will be included in the collection?


Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

Remember Google+, that social media outlet that was to give Facebook a run for its money? Google+ got a slower start than expected, but those who stuck with it were rewarded yesterday as Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison participated in a digital book signing via a Google+ Hangout. The live Hangout celebrated the paperback release of Morrison’s newest bestseller Home, and allowed viewers to submit real-time questions and comments.

Did you attend? If so, share your thoughts about the event in the comments below. And if you’re a regular Google+ user, make sure to add Tweetspeak to your circles!

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Business

Speaking of social media, have you considered the price of social media? Have you considered the reach of your social media presence, even when you’re not online? In this piece for CNN, Douglas Rushkoff explores the vast amount of free marketing information we’re sharing with corporate and government researchers. Rushkoff states, “[t]he true end users of Facebook are the marketers who want to reach and influence us. They are Facebook’s paying customers; we are the product.”

We are the product?!? And all this time, I just thought I was promoting a burgeoning writing career.

If you’ve ever thought about reconsidering your social media engagement, or if you have a latent hint of conspiracy theorist in your DNA, you won’t want to miss this piece at CNN. 


5 Creativity

I love Kurt Vonnegut. Witty, oddly-charming, bizarre—these are all apt descriptions of his work. I contend that the pace of his story-telling is among the best, and that his penchant for a memorable twist is other-worldly. So when I stumbled upon this quote by Vonnegut on creating art, I knew I had to share it.

“Go to the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.”

For the rest of the quote, visit Andrew Zahn’s blog.

Want a bit more Vonnegut to round out your day? I’m here to oblige.

Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

It’s said that our ancestors used to write-it with chisel and stone. We’ve advanced, though, now opting for ink and paper. In fact, we’ve become such prolific users of paper that each year, around 4 billion trees are cut down to satiate our need for the stuff. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Let’s go back to writing on stone.

Thanks to Adele Peters for introducing us to paper made from stone, the revolutionary new product from Italian Company Ogami. Made from a byproduct of limestone, this revolutionary product doesn’t require bleach or the other pollutants generally associated with making paper. And you won’t need a chisel for scribing on the stuff, either. No, a pen will work just fine.

Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

A proud Arkansan, I am a man well-acquainted with a purple cow.

The Purple Cow, that classic Little Rock diner, has been serving patrons its signature purple vanilla ice cream soda since 1989. So you can imagine my reaction when I received Galett Burgess’ poem “The Purple Cow” in my inbox this week. Burgess writes:

I never saw a Purple Cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

Had Burgess ever wrapped his lips around the straw of a purple cow, I bet this poem would have been written differently. And if what they say is true, if you are what you eat, I suppose I might actually “be one.”

Would you like to receive a poem in your inbox every day? Sign up to receive Every Day Poem for only $5.99 per year. You won’t regret it. 

People by Claire Burge

8 People

Good narrative, whether in poetry, prose, or music, draws the observer in, leaves an impression on the reader or listener. Yesterday on my morning commute, I caught NPR’s “Heavy Rotation” interview of David Brown, executive producer and host of Texas Music Matters. Brown believes that good music comes from good story. He says:

“We do artist interviews and artist profiles, where we’re telling stories and we’re telling it in that kind of informal way, in hopes that, even if you are not a music fan, you’re going to find something that, kind of, connects to you.”

Illustrating the point, Brown shares a snippet of Miranda Dodson’s story, how her song “Try Again” rose from the ashes of two separate miscarriages. The song is heart-breakingly beautiful, poetic, and haunting.

How does Dodson’s story end? Check out NPR’s Heavy Rotation interview for more.

Book by Claire Burge

9 Books

Initially, I was drawn to this article because of the photograph of the psychedelic suit-wearing Kenneth Goldsmith holding court before President Obama and the First Lady. The picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps words like this:

President Obama: Kenny… umm… what happened to the rest of your pants? I can see your ankles. And what about those shoes? I mean… look at them.

Kenneth Goldsmith: Hey President Obama, check out my Pee Wee Herman impersonation! Back stiff. Right arm raised at a right angle. What’dya think?

President Obama: Kenny… uhh…

Kenneth Goldsmith: Thank you, sir.

But after playing out the hypothetical awkward conversation, I began to read The Awl’s interview, in which Goldsmith was asked about his new book Seven American Deaths and Disasters. The book comprises “transcribed radio and television reports of national tragedies like JFK’s assassination and Michael Jackson’s Death.” As you can imagine, this interview is equal parts sobering, thought provoking, and absurd. Make sure to take it in slowly. Goldsmith’s recollection of a private poetry workshop held for Michelle Obama is classic.

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

I leave you today with an interview of Colin Huggins, a New York City pianist who plays a grand piano in the park every day. You have to admire this fella’s determination.


Cover photo by schvin Creative Commons license via Flickr. Article photos by Claire Burge.  Used with permission. Post by Seth Haines.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In February we’re exploring the theme Plum, Purple, Indigo.

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  1. L. L. Barkat says

    that Google+ signing is a pretty cool idea. I would love to hear from anyone who attended it.

    Loved that voice you found (the NPR bit).

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