Friday, April 25, 2008

Poem du Jour

Okay, I am now completely and officially mad. I have created a second blog -- and it's about poetry!

Here's the story:

Several years ago, my son Sean complained that, despite having graduated from Central High (which periodically swaps the distinction of being the best public high school on the East Coast with Boston Latin), he had no familiarity with poetry whatsoever. So I began to email him a poem a day, along with a few helpful comments about things that might not be obvious to the untutored. The intent was to demonstrate that there's nothing mysterious of intimidating about poetry -- it's just words.

Really, really good words.

After a while, some of Sean's friends asked if they could receive the emails as well, creating a de facto listserv of five to eight recipients. Most of those emails have been long lost, but my friend Benjamin Davis recently uncovered a cache of them, to which I was able to add a few of my own. Marianne and Sean both thought I should turn them into a blog. To be perfectly frank, I thought they were nuts. But, as I frequently tell Marianne, "I am the most obedient of husbands."

I don't know why she snorts so derisively when I say that.

Anyway, I'll be posting one letter every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. These posts are not in any sense systematic. But if you're interested, I've started the blog with the first five surviving letters at

And in perfectly unrelated news . . .

I made it onto the Locus Awards Finalists list twice . . . Once for Short Story ("A Small Room in Koboldtown"), where I'm up against Peter S. Beagle, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, and Ken MacLeod, and once for Collection (THE DOG SAID BOW-WOW) where I'm up against Jack Vance, Cory Doctorow, Howard Waldrop, and Connie Willis.

I mention the competition so that, should I lose, you'll understand why. That's a pretty damned distinguished lot! It feels great to belong among them.

You can check it out here.



gg said...

That Connie Willis collection is worth the purchase price just for the introduction. Got me and the wife reading Agatha Christie.

tz said...

poemdujour: "This blog is under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations and is open to authors only"

That sounds ominous. Will the patient live?

Michael Swanwick said...

I just got that message myself. It was generated by robots because they'd automatically determined that my blog "has characteristics of a spam blog."

I think that means the poetry.

A lot of spam does of course contain poetry in an attempt to fool spam filters, and I'm guessing that big chunks of "The Windhover" automatically identifies you as spam nowadays. So Gresham's Law apparently applies to language as well as currency!

The automated system assures me that a human being will look at the blog within four business days.