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June 24, 2008


I met Richard Garcia a couple of summers ago when we were at the Idyllwild summer program. He students agreed that in addition to being a wonderful poet, he is a gifted and generous teacher. I love his recipe and the poem it generated. I wish I had taken his class. Thanks, Jenny.

Richard Garcia has some spectacular poems in a hard-boiled idiom. It's nice to see him in my inward eye -- and to encounter a simile as inspired as a body in bed likened to a pubic hair on a cake of soap.

Thanks for the comments! Yes, it's true: I too am a Garcia fan.

Have you seen or heard his poem to "Louie, MD, PhD"--a dog trying to serve as his owner's psychoanalyst? (it's on the last link in the blog entry)?

Richard reads at the Antioch Residency tonight...(and Hilda Raz and Aaron Link are up tomorrow night)

Looking forward to hearing more about Richard's reading and the Antioch residency. Any interesting new exercises or "poetry assignments"?


Garcia is among the best teachers I've ever encountered.

He was a mentor of mine at Antioch in 2001-2003,
and his prompts were responsible for many of the poems
in my second book, including the title poem.

He has not forgotten how to PLAY, and that's a major secret
he imparts. His craft is impeccable, and he takes it seriously,
but his process is predicated on play, randomness, chance,
synchronicity. If you don't get a full poem first time out
(and many times I DID), you'll get notes toward a poem that
are well worth returning to.

He has a genius for teaching, and whenever I'm within 100
miles of a Garcia class, I'll go. I snuck into the same class
you attended at the Antioch residency here in L.A., and even
came away with some proto-poems, ending a six-month
drought. Hallelujah.

He gave the class Jim Simmerman's Twenty Little Poetry Projects exercise, which offers twenty prompts to do in order, not in order, in pieces, etc., and even *I* wrote something:

Simmerman Poem for Garcia

Life is a three-legged dog on a waxed staircase
negotiating with the president to achieve peace
while each smells the other's privates, watches

for tricks, listens for subtext, touches the heart,
tastes blood like gunmetal, hears red. It's a D.C.
kinda moment, making Miles kinda blue, 'cause

maybe the dog has only two legs—did I tell you
'bout my beach trip to Aruba, on the down-low?
The sun was out so, of course, the plane stayed up,

the pilot soothing us all with his South Texas drawl,
"The whate zone is for passenguh loadin' & unloadin'
own-luh." The slippery head of the brave, bald nun

in the next seat nodded over her Braille issue of
Hustler, fingers lightly caressing the bumpy text,
the other hand buried at waist level under her

habit. Mr. Small Bladder got up again to use the
lavabado; someday his simple-minded urologist will
simply tie it in a knot for him. Modern medicine

is the opiate of the masses. C'est vrais, oui?
My tray table, stowed in its upright position, clapped
in happy agreement. The flensed dog wheeled by.


There is a reason we worship at the feet of Garcia.
--Richard Beban, Playa del Rey

Hello Jenny!

Missing Antioch already. Unfortunately, I can not take credit for the similes you were provided, if I remember correctly my similes included, "like getting a boil lanced at Denny's" and "like a dead kitten on the side of the road". I think you'll be glad you didn't get these ;). Wonderful poem, there's no smothering the Jenny Factor voice!

Wow! Richard Beban. Hi there--you're a wonderful poet and creative person yourself! Aren't you in fact the very person who handed me the "like a public hair on a bar of soap" slip? Was that yours?


Hi Miss Allison T. I know precisely what you mean! I too am already missing the energy, cameraderie, and sheer creative chaos of our residency. Weren't all the seminars this time sublime? (and yes, Richard is something else! I loved his reading too!)

Hi Miss Allison T, Stacey, and David. I know precisely what you mean! I too am already missing the energy, cameraderie, and sheer creative chaos of our residency.

A.T.: Weren't all the seminars this time sublime? (and yes, Richard is something else! I loved his reading too!)

It may take me a few more days to catch my breath, but then yes I do plan to share more about the readings and workshops.


I wish my prompt was that bizarre. I think Clarence Thomas slipped you that one.


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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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