Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 Irascible Baseball Preview

Recently on the ESPN Baseball Today Podcast Eric Karabell and Company told an English potential fan to root for the White Sox. We of course welcome this fan and I have offered to take this new White Sox fan around Chicago if he ever comes to Chicago. But as the White Sox Poet Laureate it is my duty to keep poetry and the White Sox in check. So now we must preview the 2011 season with a dry eye remembering that there are no more dastardly words than Cubs Win or Twins Win Again.
As we look at 2011 however here are my Irascible Predictions. Invite comment but know that any Cubs propaganda will be deleted. Twins' propaganda is welcomed but will be refuted.
Lets start with the National League
2011 was a good year for the small ballers. I think that 2011 however will be a different year for many reasons.
In the NL East I think that it will be a two team race. The Braves and the Phillies will fight it out until the end. I think that the Mets turmoils will become acute and the team will be sold by September. Florida will face in the humidity.
The NL Central will be moribund. I think that the Cardinals, Reds and Astros will stumble through the summer. The Cubs will lose 95 games and the Brewers will be the biggest disappointment as there risk on Zack Grenke will result in nothing.
The NL West will be all Giants all the time. I think that the Dodgers troubles and the fact that Don Mattingly will fail as manager results in a boring summer with the Giant's repeating.
Now on the Major Leagues
In the American League East I think that the Red Sox will run away with the division. The Yankees are too old and have no pitching and Tampa will not do much. Look for the Blue Jays to have a good year winning at least 87 games and watch for the Orioles. Buck Showalter is a good manager and he will do something for the O's.
The AL Central will be a death cage match. The Twins, Tigers, and White Sox will fight it out all summer in a death spiral. The Royals will win 83 games and the Indians will lose 100 games. I do think that the White Sox will win out but I think it goes 158 games and the three division leaders will tear each other apart. Our Sox win it with 90 wins.
In the AL West this is Oakland's year. Their pitching looks good. Now if they could just fill up there stadium. I wish the A's (or Ray's) would move to New Jersey they would fill up stadiums there and would be welcomed.
In the playoffs I see in the NL
St Louis
San Francisco
NLCS Philadelphia over San Francisco
In the Playoffs I see in the AL
Boston over Chicago
World Series Philadelphia over Boston
Happy Spring.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

1929 a Hinge in History

My sister's friend is in the process of putting together photos from Vestone, (BS) Italy. What separates this group of photos from so much of the geneology bric a brac that now fills so many websites is that this little town sat at a various nexuses of the 20th century while remaining until recently a small mountain town. The fact that the photos include my Grandmother and Great-aunts makes for more interest for me as well.
Vestone, where my mother is from is one of those places where big things and small things seem to meld. It sits on the road from Austria to the Po Valley. It is a place where Gallo-Italian culture meets German Culture and you can see in the faces the many people who have moved up an down the valley's walls.
For me it has always been the place that I am from. I was born in America but my history for years is from this little place. In fact my family owned the same Albergo from 1413 until 1976. Often today I think kids are taught the kind of platitudes grandparents share.
The stories I heard from these people where of great things. Wars, Art, Literature and great meals and I am thankful that I knew them and carry their images inside of me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sounding Like Bill O'Reilly

Downloaded a Poetry Reading by Charles Bernstein. Does anyone else notice that Charles sounds like Bill O'Reilly when he reads?
Also downloaded a poetry talk with Al Filres and other Kelly Writer's House Grandee (great place where Michelle Taransky works). Totally interesting but mind candy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Black Swans and Poetic Mirrors

As a poet who also works in the business world I have had a unique perspective on what has happened to America and the world over the past three years. I have often wondered what it would be like to live at a time that could be termed a hinge of change and now I know. You can see the signs everywhere of decline. And yet no one who caused this destruction has really had to pay.
Recently, I read a Book by Professor Nassim Taleb called the Black Swan Theory. His thesis, which by the way was put forth in 2007 is that predictions are mostly bunk and that random events, like the discovery of the internet or the black death or other things cause us to be fooled by the randomness.
In the end what Taleb is arguing for is what America was about until 1980. Starting in 1980 risk became part of our lives in a way that it was not for many years. This was exacerbated by avarice and greed on the part of many people- not just the rich. We all remember the million dollar mortgages to people making $ 70,000 a year.
We are now reaping the whirlwind yet where is the art and poetry reflecting this Black Swan moment?
Not much has changed for poets and poetry While the Black Swan had decimated so many those who dwell in poetry's establishment on campuses and within the Poetic Industrial Complex (this runs from Berkeley to Iowa City, to the Poetry Foundation, to Penn, to Wesleyan, detours at Brown and ends at the Poetry Project in New York) may have seen their funding drop but the conversations seem numbingly the same.
There is no urgency.
Poets in America have never been very political but they have been mirrors of their times. From Whitman t0 Sandberg to Williams to Ginsburg there has been a sense that in our Poetry you could sense America .
I read contemporary poetry from the Post Avant to the Neo Formal and I see the same conversations and same kinds of work as three years ago. The work is aPolitical unless it is about sexual or gender issues.
Vallejo's Book of Spanish Civil War Poems were published in 1937 . Guernica by Picasso was in the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 World's Fair. Literature has encapsulated moments in our history. I am looking for that synthesis and cannot find it in Poetry.
Are there any poets that want to encapsulate this period or is that too much to ask of the ironical poets of our time?