“Christmas At The Orphanage” by Bill Knott

Bill Knott’s poetry collections include The Naomi Poems, Book One: Corpse and Beans (1968), Becos (1983), Outremer, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize (1988), Laugh at the End of the World: Collected Comic Poems 1969–1999 (2000), The Unsubscriber (2004), and Stigmata Errata Etcetera (2007), a collaboration with collages by the artist Star Black.

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Top Five Fun Facts About North Korea


  5. Everyone is subject to daily “self-criticism” sessions in which they must describe all of the ways that they have failed in their duty to Kim Jong-Il   4. Kim Il-Sung has been dead for 16 years but is still the head of state, having been “elected” “eternal” leader   3. Everyone must wear a pin with Kim Il-Sung or Kim Jong-Il’s face on it, and keep it spotless at all times   2. Kim Jong-Il kidnapped a famous South Korean director (and his wife) and forced him to make movies. When the director refused, he was sent to a concentration camp for 5 years and eventually complied. He and his wife finally escaped, eluding guards while in Cannes for the premiere of one of their films   1. Even at the height of the North Korean famine in the 1990s, Kim Jong-Il was still the largest consumer of Hennessy cognac.

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Cleaver Magazine Selects Ernest Hilbert’s All of You on the Good Earth for its Small-Press Lover’s Shopping List


Many thanks to Cleaver magazine for selecting my latest collection of poems for their annual shopping list. Head on over to check out some of the other selections made by the poetry editor as well as lists from the fiction and graphic novel editors.

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“Christmas in Black Rock” by Robert Lowell


Christ God’s red shadow hangs upon the wall . . .

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“Remember the Telephone Book” by Geoffrey Nutter


Geoffrey Nutter was born in Sacramento, and attended San Francisco State University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is the author of The Rose of January (Wave Books, 2013), Christopher Sunset (Wave Books, 2010), Water’s Leaves & Other Poems (Winner of the 2004 Verse Press Prize) and A Summer Evening, winner of the 2001 Colorado Prize (Center for Literary Publishing, 2001). His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 1997, The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Poems by Younger American Poets. He currently teaches in New York City, where he lives with his wife, daughter and son.

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“Presents will rain from the sky!” Just What We Were All Waiting for: Black Metal Sock Puppets Singing a Song Called “Immortal Christmas”


They really nail it untl they figure out they were supposed to be singing “Satan,” not “Santa.

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“Mill at Romesdal” by Richard Hugo


“Richard Hugo was a poet of the Pacific Northwest, yet his renown attests to a stature greater than that of most “regional” poets. He is noted for the tight, rhythmic control of his language and lines and for the sharp sense of place evoked in his poems. Hugo’s images are urgent and compelling; he imbues the many minute or seemingly irrelevant details found in his poems with a subtle significance, thereby creating a tension between the particular and the universal. This tension is considered central to Hugo’s most powerful poems.” – Poetry Foundation

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“Foxhunt” by Ted Hughes


“The rural landscape of Hughes’s youth in Yorkshire exerted a lasting influence on his work. To read Hughes’s poetry is to enter a world dominated by nature, especially by animals. This holds true for nearly all of his books, from The Hawk in the Rain to Wolfwatching (1989) and Moortown Diary (1989), two of his late collections. Hughes’s love of animals was one of the catalysts in his decision to become a poet.” – Poetry Foundation

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Top Five Anti-Christmas Christmas Songs

Christmas has more songs than any other holiday, maybe all the others combined. That means it also has the most songs written against it. Let’s have a listen.

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“By the Time Everyone Shows Up, I’m Hammered”: Comedian Paul F. Tompkins on a Disastrous Christmas Party

You may know him from Best Week Ever or There Will Be Blood, but I used to stand behind the counter at a book store with him in the 1990s and got a free show all night long. One of the funniest people I’ve ever known . . . no, THE funniest, Mr. Paul F. Tompkins.

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“I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” by Wizzard


Remember when rock was fun and weird?

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“Waterfall” by Ex Hex

Ex Hex

Power pop!

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“A Christmas Sonnet (For One In Doubt)” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

From the publisher: Edwin Arlington Robinson’s finely crafted, formal rhythms mirror the tension the poet sees between life’s immutable circumstances and humanity’s often tragic attempts to exert control. At once dramatic and witty, his poems lay bare the loneliness and despair of life in genteel small towns (“Tilbury Down” and “The Mill”), the tyranny of love (“Eros Turrannos” and “The Unforgiven”), and unspoken, unnoticed suffering (“The Wandering Jew”, and “Isaac and Archibald”). In addition, the fictional characters he created in “Reuben Bright”, “Miniver Cheevy”, “Richard Cory”, and the historical figures he brought to life—Lincoln in “The Master” and the great painter in “Rembrandt to Rembrandt”—harbor demons and passions the world treats with indifference or cruelty.

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Bethany’s Top Five World War Two Leaders Back When They Were Young and Cute


Can you guess who’s who?

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Number 14, from the Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Robert Temple


We make our way midst flowers, vine leaves, fruit . . .

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“Coming to This” by Mark Strand


“On practically every page, one can be dazzled by Strand’s language.” – Village Voice

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“Early Elegy: Headmistress” by Claudia Emerson


“Like the estranged lover in one of her poems who pitches horseshoes in the dark with preternatural precision, so Emerson sends her words into a different kind of darkness with steely exactness, their arc of perception over and over striking true.” – Deborah Pope

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Top Five Wealthy Scions Who Were Kidnapped


You know how the super-rich have bodyguards? Well, do they really need them? Here are five kids of the rich and famous who say yes, body guards are needed pretty much all the time.

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“Wanderers”: A Short Film About Deep Space Exploration by Erik Wernquist, Narrated by Carl Sagan


“Wanderers is a vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.”

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“Urania” By Ruth Pitter

Ruth in garden

Ruth Pitter (1897-1992) lived a life of quiet dedication to her art not unlike that of her more famous contemporary, Elizabeth Jennings, who wrote the introduction to a Selected edition of Pitter’s work. Highly regarded critically at the time, Pitter’s reputation deserves to be rescued from the comparative obscurity into which it has fallen.” – PoetryArchive.org

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Top Five Props Used by Sociopaths to Gain Trust


Sociopaths, also called psychopaths, have a diminished ability to feel empathy or guilt. They also lack fear. A key trait of the sociopath is a superficial charm used to manipulate and get his way. Many try to blend in and appear normal, study people so they can learn how to fit in or get what they want. One technique some of the most sinister have adopted is to incorporate props into their routine to gain sympathy, so they seem disarmingly unthreatening or even sweet. Here are a few of the props psychopaths have used to make themselves appear normal and safe.

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“Minnesota Thanksgiving” by John Berryman

“The frankness of Berryman’s work influenced his friend Robert Lowell and other Confessional poets like Anne Sexton. The poet’s lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression ended in 1972, when he jumped off a Minneapolis bridge in the dead of winter.” – Poetry Foundation

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“Thanksgiving” by Kenneth Koch

kenneth koch

“The funniest serious poet we have.” – David Lehman

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Top Five Least PC Things in Disneyland


Bethany explains: “Recently, I went to Disneyland, having not been there in years. In some ways the place is a time capsule—there are rides that are unchanged from 50 years ago, though they do update some other things. Some things just are jaw-droppingly offensive. Such as . . .”

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Top Five Interesting Facts Learned from the Graphic Novel My Friend Dahmer


Graphic novelist Derf Backderf was a friend of Jeffrey Dahmer’s in high school. He wrote a graphic novel called My Friend Dahmer about the boy he knew in junior high and high school, growing up outside Akron, Ohio in the 1970s. Dahmer wasn’t a serial killer in high school—he was an outcast, odd, troubled kid. Here are the top five anecdotes from the book.

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“387” by Edward Clarke


Edward Clarke tutors visiting students in English literature at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University, UK. He has published work in the Wallace Stevens Journal and contributed to Essays and Reflections on John Berryman (2006). His most recent book of literary criticism is The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry (2014).

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Ernest Hilbert Reads with Daniel Tobin at the Cambridge Public Library


Ernest Hilbert Reads with Daniel Tobin, Thursday, November 13th at 6:30PM, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, Hosted by Daniel Wuenschel, introductions by Bill Coyle

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Top Five Falling Whales

Falling Whale

You know what I hate about whales? It’s that they’re always falling from the sky. Am I right? Don’t believe me? Here are the top five.

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“Irish Bar, Philadelphia” by Justin Quinn


Justin Quinn has lived in Prague since 1992. His most recent collection is Close Quarters (Gallery, 2011) and he has translated the work of Czech poets, including Ivan Blatny, Petr Borkovec and Bohuslav Reynek.

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E-Verse DJ Keith Sends in “Skull a Day”

A classic from the vault: The site gives you a new skull every day.

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