The Dregs of Fame

I pass a sign outside of a business every now and then, and staring out at me beneath a bad logo is a caricature of Albert Einstein complete with mustache and wild hair. And I wondered if anyone who knew him, either as a lowly patent clerk or as the head of the Institute for…

David Cooke (6 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Gold Its lack of reaction has made it unique, that and the way it can magnetize fools: forty-niners, Midas, the futures mob— so gung ho, yet always dazzled by it, like urchins dreaming of gilded pavements. Locked in a vault, it validates paper. It’s what the rich cling to when…

What We’re Doing When We Think We’re Doing Nothing

I’ve always liked it that the actor Richard Burton could admit in his diaries: “I am fascinated by the idea of something but its execution bores me.” And this from the guy who played Hamlet (and whoever else) a million times. But there’s something to it for those of us who’ll never play Hamlet, or…

New Poetry Blog

I’m happy to announce the launch of a new poetry blog I’ll be editing, Underfoot Poetry. It will include original, unpublished work from poets around the world, as well as a series I call Forerunners, featuring influential poetry from the past. The first installments of both are up right now: six new poems from the…

Powerless But Free?

The image is a familiar one: an aging man or woman who becomes more and more bewildered and angered at the usual political corruption, or the pace of technological or social change. To protect themselves they become more and more strident and inflexible, and retreat behind whatever cultural or religious certainties they can. In the…

What’s a Genius to Do?

It’s been said of Picasso: “At the age of sixteen, he produced two paintings which were of academic perfection…. So what do you do with your life if you’re producing academically perfect works at the age of sixteen? Every step afterwards is an innovation.” Indeed, whether you like where Picasso went or not, it’s undeniable…

Recent Poetry

To the House of the Sun: Reviews and excerpts here. Autographed copies available here.   (forthcoming) Cumberland River Review: Burial: Oleneostrovskii Mogilnik Cemetery (6400-6000 BC) Burial: Skateholm Cemetery (5200-4500 BC) (forthcoming) Cider Press Review: Old Man’s Shed Missing Child (forthcoming) Albatross: Migrations at the End of the Ice Age Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Poethead: Song…

On Friendship

I’ve been trying for ages to write about a friend from many years and cities and jobs ago, and the questions that have always trailed out from his story are, What do we owe our friends and family? What do we owe to the people we love? What kind of difference can we make in…

Just Because it Works Doesn’t Mean It’s True

It’s always refreshing to hear a religious person, who is trying to convince you of the truth of their faith, suddenly realize the actually wonderful mystery of faith: they can’t actually prove it. And so instead they end up saying something like, “I can’t prove it, but it clearly works.” This is what they say…

Four Goddesses from Old Europe (New Poems)

Many thanks again to Chris Murray for featuring four new poems of mine over at Poethead: Song to Nehalennia (Netherlands, AD 200) Looking for Nerthus (AD 100) Song to Sequana (Burgundy, 100 BC) Song to Sulis (Bath, 100 BC)  

Consider the Lilies That We Aren’t

Over the past few years it’s been easy enough for me to notice how eager and energetic infants and toddlers are to know just about everything. What they don’t seek out themselves by clumsy curiosity, they are given and eventually take up in their own way, with guidance. At the same time, it’s been all…

How Best to Teach?

While I’m the only member of my family who isn’t a teacher, what it means to teach others has always been on my mind. And so, comments from recent posts make me ask questions like these: If we believe that something like rock music is clearly lesser than classical music; or that the likes of…