lost 20: shrewbots

this tool has no options. fartlek fatuous filibuster firkin quarter barrel small cask; get hold of a skull; describe the tongue of a woodpecker and the jaw of a crocodile the flying fish so popular it knocked principia mathematica off the production line inspiration no laws of motion or gravity. fagotto bassoon the reed chorus, extremely soft stop delicate, airy tone single, or double-rank aéoline celeste string, and the salicional future celibate salacious gelatinous ocean and cretaceous of 600 million years ago wind chests enter stage right no, left, you little etruscan shrew divisions back to 1425 – 1430 there’s more to nothing than we know why is there something rather than nothing at all? 68-year-old patricia tabram- the cannabis grandma – charged with intent, viewers shocked by rhoda morgenstern’s abrasive tongue, oh morning star, who why ironically buys vintage star wars figurines, or i’m the type of person who appreciates homemade lamps made from mason jars, william and kate go plastic will and kate go wax the duke and the duchess go all in the family, a catalogue of mary tyler moore abdomens, extremely rare albino ruby-throated limited edition barbie collection in white feathers, pink bills and legs. the red eyes. there’s just no accounting for happiness or the way it turns up like a prodigal ghost ants translucent shrewbot those synthetic whiskers work in the dark like the real thing, catch the moon drifting darkly, city chicken. as billy wilder called it (in the closet) magniloquently, van gogh’s ear for music. those armoured catfish wreaking havoc in the south – we were once published in an anthology together. i’m the type of person who. and american nuns chastised chastitized charitized shafticized satirized listen to the rattle of old bones the colour of the food you eat their fusiform gyrus and inferior emporial appeal.

there’s just no accounting… from ‘happiness’, by Jane Kenyon, Poetry Foundation blog

Also, this week on the BBC you can listen to Jane Kenyon, from Scotland, talk about a trip to the Arctic: Thank you Ray Battams for the tip. It was a good listen.

From Grant Savage: These new poems, well I’ve been enjoying them.

Juxtapositions IX


half full
half empty

in or out
of tune

with/in my mouth
throat singing

for my supper/eat
off the fat

of the land

is it these pills

with my/your

long hair

of lilies
in the breeze


the outward

curve of hips
of flowers

sacroiliac/liliums kiss
sex to sex

for the moments’
summer of flesh

in the mind’s …

rain’s decomposition
these lines

young and gleaning
but the sadistic

the astringent
and the favourite vintage

the black bottles of Samos Naxos
vintners to the gods

sweet since
one thousand B.C.

sex of american novels
the libraries

the couplings
on and beneath

the covers
of paperbacks

the whips on
or the corsets containing

either spill
or prevent

the jiggled

sharp or flat

or full/round

of milk
and honey

via Zach Wells on facebook (no pun intended, Zack works for ViaRail) here is Kay Ryan, former Poet Laureate of the United States.


Nothing whole
Is so bold,
we sense. Nothing
not cracked is
so exact and
of a piece. He’s
the distempered
emperor of parts,
the king of patch,
the master of
pastiche, who so
hashes other birds’
laments, so minces
their capriccios, that
the dazzle of dispatch
displaces the originals.
As though brio
really does beat feeling,
the way two aces
beat three hearts
when it’s cards
you’re dealing.


The Poetry Conversation:

Continuing the conversation with Shai Ben-Shalom:

Shai: Susan’s words (See ynklings April 22) resonate with me, as my writing is often in an attempt to deliver messages. If I don’t have a message, I don’t usually have a poem. Only on rare occasions I may play with words in order to come up with something that sounds good, or reads well, without including some messages in it.
In this regard, most of my poems are built around narratives and I view them as tiny vehicles of communication. Whatever they carry could also be carried by other vehicles, such as short stories, short films, etc. Perhaps my limited command over the English language does not allow me to truly enjoy poetry that revolves around shapes, sounds, tongue-twists, etc. Perhaps my training as a scientist is reflected in my poems, as if I am on a quest to formulate a new hypothesis and support it with data with each new poem.

I don’t know if poems need to be overly balanced. There should be room for personal variations, in a sense that one may write primarily with his ‘logical tools’ whereas another one may be more attentive to his heart, but the two may still live side by side, even within the same poetry collection or during the same open mic session. I don’t see a problem with a poem that is too clever, or too sentimental, although I may wonder about poems that sound too stupid or too disconnected from emotions…

Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking piece!

In a further email, he adds:

 I looked at ynklings; an interesting site that offers plenty of food for thought! I had a special interest in what Grant wrote about homeostasis in nature and the need to have some imbalance in order to preserve life. How true!

As far as your own thinking goes, well, I have had the opportunity to listen to you on Open Mic sessions, and to read a few of your poems in chapbooks, and my impression is that a lot of thinking goes into your writing! You may avoid the formalities of putting down your thoughts on a paper for all to see, but this is different than avoiding the thinking…

I hope the discussion will continue. I was just starting to get engaged…

From Pearl Pirie’s Pesbo blog:

What’s the use(fulness) of poetry?
At best it may bump and knock loose something else in someone else that dislodges a hidden brick of meaning. Then their chimney falls in and there’s a house fire. Then you get on like a house on fire. No, that’s not it.
A poem is a synthesis of all that’s come before. Copy, combine, transform. It’s remixing and perpetuation of some part of something. It’s the outcome of perceptions.
I like the idea of poem as by-product, like paper scraps cut off after the real product of text is printed. It isn’t useful as by-product, if not used. Unless it existing is a use. Which it is. Is it sufficient leveraging of the gift of living? Poetry is a thankfulness, a paying back, the gift of being alive.

Yeaayyy!!!! Carol A. Stephen and Luminita Suse!!!! Finalists in the 2012 Canadian Authors National Capital Region Poetry Contest!!!!

A last note: Tomorrow’s ynklings will be posted late as I will be in Montreal. My overnight holiday!


One thought on “shrewbots

  1. Thanks for the shout-out about the NCWC contest. I wanted to post a comment I had sent to Claudia by email, and then perhaps clarify/modify them. Here is what I had said:
    “with your shrewbots post. This sounds like the kind of poetry you used to dislike and not understand when you encountered this style. Have to say not my favourite. Have you come round to the way of thinking that language is for its own play and does not need to have any meaning? I know many poets do this kind of writing. Not sure it’s for me though. Maybe that’s why I am where I am and you are where you are.”
    So where did that come from? (Perhaps I am thinking that I’m not an “early-adopter” and may end up picking up on something just when everyone else is moving on to the next great idea!)

    The blog posts are starting out with strings of words containing archaic words as well as nonsense words along with other words that are quite clear. I didn’t recognize the archaic words but I did note the nonsense words. So I assumed (shame on me!) that they were all made up. I think if the lack of understanding for a reader goes on too long (and that is not very long with today’s attention spans) he/she will give up before getting to the wonderful images you have mixed in there too. (Here I am guilty…I did not take the time to really read it all. I apologize for that.) FARTLEK was to blame. I didn’t take the time to go look it up. I might have done in an otherwise understandable line. But the string of four words together that didn’t spark understanding for me, and right at the start of the piece, threw me off.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that poems always have to make sense in the usual way of sense. If a phrase or an image pops and sparkles, I love it. I don’t always have to understand everything in a poem, nor what the writer means. Often I can take my own meaning. It’s when I can’t find the hook that takes me inside the writing, that’s when I have a problem. If the reader finds their own interpretation in a poem, even when unintended by the writer, the poem lives and evolves. to me, that’s part of the poem never being finished. It’s why the poem is no longer the writer’s but now the reader’s. (I suppose I am talking about the common idea of leaving room in the poem for the reader.)

    So the discussion referred to above was about emotion in poems at the beginning I think. I believe I had said that perhaps that is a direct result of the tendency for a lot of poets today to play with language and words, riffing off sounds, stringing them together, but they don’t together actually mean something. Without meaning, I the writer will not have emotion in the poem, nor will the reader have an emotional reaction to the poem. The words just stay flat on the page. Not fully 3D if you will.
    If the writer hasn’t given a hint of what he/she is trying to achieve, I’m probably lost in my own faulty opinions about it.

    So then the question becomes, who is the writer writing for? Him/herself or for the reader? I think the answer to that question evolves over a poet’s life. (If it doesn’t it probably should!) I think we start out writing for ourselves and slowly come to the idea of writing for “audience” because we think we have something to share.

    Forgive me. I am late to the discussion that is taking place, and may be just reiterating what has already been said.


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