Ecological Extra Innings: Part Two (Early Earth Day)

Monday, April 5, 2021

EARLY EARTH DAY EDITION

Earth Day is coming up but the idea occurred closer to Opening Day of this year’s baseball season and I would rather have the idea in circulation as soon as possible, since it’s likely to take several years to bring it about. As everyone knows, or should know, airplane travel is extraordinarily damaging to the environment. The carbon footprint is more like a stampede of jackboots.

Obviously, no matter how much lingering guilt we may feel about this erosion of the planet’s capacity to sustain itself, the entertainment lifestyle of the U.S. economic engine is not going to change that much, no matter how many electric cars get driven. Other changes are needed, too, and each of us should be trying to think of ways to reduce the impact of our national amusements on the environment.

I was looking at the schedules of various Major League Baseball teams the other morning and noticed that the San Diego Padres had a rough April in store. They will play a day game in Pittsburgh and then fly six hours to San Diego to play their arch rivals, the L.A. Dodgers, the next evening. Health and performance issues aside, could we stop for a second and ask ourselves if this expenditure of our natural resources can really be justified?

If the goal is to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel, then we must reduce that which requires its use.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that MLB split into two leagues, a National League consisting of teams east of the Mississippi, and an American League of teams west of the Mississippi. During the regular season, teams will only play other teams in their half of the American professional leagues.

I will leave it to someone with more time than I have right now to do the math, but I bet this realignment would reduce the carbon footprint of professional baseball by at least 25 percent, especially if high-speed rail encouraged a return to teams moving between cities on railroads.

By the year 2030, there is no reason not for MLB not to have had the courage to do the right thing as an example of the MINIMUM changes that are immediately needed to regain some equilibrium in the climate crisis.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

New York Yankees
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays

Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds

Washington Nationals
Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta (Rovers?)

American League

Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Oakland As
Seattle Mariners

Colorado Rockies
Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland (Catamounts?)

Ecological Extra Innings: Part One

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I detest the new rule about extra innings in MLB games. If you haven’t heard, it goes like this: in the top half of the tenth inning, a runner is placed at second base with no outs. The result is obscenely predictable: the winning run can score without a single hitter reaching base safely. If the score is still tied after nine and a half innings, the home team can win with a sacrifice bunt and a fielder’s choice ground ball that never leaves the infield.

Is this some perverse kind of nostalgia for dead ball era offense?

“Did the fans vote for this?” Paul Vangelisti asked me the other day.

I don’t think so.

Since those who own the game believe they have the right to change the rules, I certainly have at least an equal right to propose more interesting variants of the rules.

Thought Experiment:
If you are (out of some unforgivable affront to Baseball Tradition and the Individual Talent) going to change the rules about extra innings, at least make it require some choices on the part of managers that will make for an interesting conversation after the game.

The tenth inning should be played like any other inning. It should remain the purest continuation of “extra innings.”

The eleventh inning, should it be required, gives the manager of each team a choice: play it “normally” (hitter at the plate, no runners on base, no outs) OR start with a runner on first base and one out.

The twelfth inning, should it be required, gives each team the same choice: play it “normal” OR with runners on first and second base, but with TWO outs.

The 13th inning, and every subsequent inning, should they be required, gives each team the same choice: play it “normally” or with the bases loaded, and TWO outs.

The idea of the increments is to provide the defense with the maximum possibilities for force-outs. I believe the goal is to eliminate games that last past 15 innings. My proposal would accomplish that goal and provide far more drama and debate as to the wisdom of each manager’s choice.

Opening Day, 2021 — Beyond Baroque Reading with P.V. and D.P.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Supposedly, the past week has been “spring break.” I get emails with requests from students that start, “I hope you’re enjoying your spring break.” I usually reserve that sentence for the end of my response. In all fairness, most of my students are not exactly lounging around. Many of them work at least 20 hours a week while also taking classes.

I’ve spent more time in the evening “at” Beyond Baroque than usual. On Wednesday evening Brendan Constantine led a workshop meant to spin the thread of 30 days into the web of 30 poems. He gave us several prompts, which I will not comment on, let alone post. “You can share these prompts with friends you trust, but please don’t put one of them on a FB post.” Since I have always regarded FB and “friends you trust” as an almost antithetical Venn diagram, Brendan needn’t worry about me to betray his prompts. Hmmm, perhaps that is what is needed in the world of prompts: a suggestion that addresses the pleasures and perils of betrayal.

The other evening at BB was on Thursday, April 1st, opening day of the MLB baseball season, in which the travesty of the extra innings rule (“a runner starts on second base, with no outs”) was on full display in Milwaukee. Sigh. Talk about betrayal of a tradition. The American ideal of meritocracy, which slowly crystalized over a century and a half into an imaginary utopia disguised as a bucolic pastime, is quickly turning into a dystopia of expedient entertainment.

Poetry has never been a social meritocracy, and never will be. Nevertheless, such friends as I have are often poets or friends of poets. Two of them, Paul Vangelisti and Dennis Phillips, read “together” “at” Beyond Baroque on April 1st. Here is a link to a video of that event:

Ralph Angel (1951 – 2020): Link to His Memorial at Beyond Baroque

Sunday, March 28, 2021

“Poetry is the language for which we have no language.” — Ralph Angel

Two weeks ago, Beyond Baroque sponsored a memorial tribute to the late Ralph Angel, a poet who may have resided in Southern California most of his adult life but whose poems reveled in embracing all the myriad ways that language can encounter the world and reveal the disguises of its underpinnings. The memorial was led by Ralph’s widow, Mary Angel, who told those in attendance that Beyond Baroque was the site of their first unofficial date. Mary has passed along the link to the memorial so that those who missed it can share in this celebration of Ralph Angel’s poetry.

I myself particularly recall a brief conversation I had with Ralph near the poetry section of Dutton’s Bookstore on San Vicente Boulevard. He had given a reading and I had purchased one of his books. I miss that bookstore, where I had the pleasure of hearing many writers over the years. But in the little time left to me, I will wince at not having Ralph as a poet to grow old alongside of.

Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/GNFEENHPX-g

https://ralphangel.com/ and/or https://ralphangel.online/

Some additional links:

https://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2020/03/on-the-passing-of-ralph-angel-1951-2020-by-richard-jackson.html

https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/article/attempting-to-live-inside-federico-garca-lorcas-poema-del-cante-jondo-for-a

https://plumepoetry.com/author/angel-ralph/

https://www.triangle.house/review/issue-twenty-one/ralph-angel-poems

Your Moon by Ralph Angel

My Body’s Devotion: Poems — Ralph Angel

Beth Ruscio — “Speaking Parts” (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2020)

Friday, March 19, 2020

Lynn McGee, Susana H. Case, Carolyne Wright and I have already lined up two of the readers for the next installment of the W – E Reading Series. In addition to Suzanne Cleary, one of the readers will be the actress and poet Beth Ruscio, whose first book of poems, SPEAKING PARTS, won the most recent Brick Road Poetry Press prize. By chance, the W – E reading that took place this past Sunday also featured a winner of that prize.

The next reading will take place on Sunday, May 16th, at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) / 7 p.m. Easter time.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at three recent poems by Beth Ruscio that have just appeared in CULTURAL WEEKLY’s poetry column, which is edited by Alexis Rhone Fancher. There is also a short review of Beth’s book by John Brantingham.

Beth Ruscio: Three Poems

Beth Ruscio’s Speaking Parts

***********

Two Poems by Beth Ruscio

LINK to Recording of W – E Poets Reading on March 14

Monday, March 15th

Yesterday, Sunday, March 14th, marked the annual shift of an hour forward on the clocks as a way of imposing “longer” days” on people. It certainly didn’t make waking up this morning any easier, since I felt as if was behind schedule the second that I roused myself from bed.

Yesterday’s reading was exceptionally lively, though the unusually low attendance made us wonder if holding a reading on the day that daylight savings shifts is one of those days that one should avoid in scheduling public events (along with Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day).

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the link to the reading:

featuring

SANDY YANNONE — GRACE BAUER — ERIN MURPHY — CAROL ELLIS

*. *. *. *. *. *

Bill Mohr’s revised, slightly expanded revision of his introduction to Carol Ellis, on March 14th:

I first read some of Carol Ellis’s poems back in the early 1990s, when she was living in Southern California at the first of several academic appointments. The brushstrokes of her imagery immediately impressed me back then with their luminous subtlety of detail and I kept track of her writing as she moved further north in California and then on to Portland, Oregon, and I moved first to San Diego, then Long Island, New York, and finally to Long Beach, California. Among my projects since starting work at CSULB, my blog has been the thing that surprised me the most. I never thought it would keep going for more than five years. It turns out, however, that one of the advantages of sustaining a blog is that one’s reviews stay public long after being posted, and I like to imagine that my review of Carol Ellis’s collection from Finishing Line Press, I Want a Job (2014), helped encourage the readers at Beyond Baroque to take notice of the manuscript that won its 2019 poetry book prize.

In reading LOST AND LOCAL the other night, I realized once again the inadequacy of my blurb on the back cover, but how can one sum up even in a single paragraph – let along a single sentence — work that is as intimate as it is shy? I recollect that the original full-length version of my blurb spoke of how the graceful rhythms of her prose poems in particular quietly transform the quotidian with their slow-motion syntax. One finds oneself within her poems as if at the center of a somersault that is not aware of its illuminating trajectory and the radiance that lights up what appears to be beyond its circumference. No matter how often one of her prose poems turns within our consciousness, we only gain a surer footing in the permeating orientations of its metaphors. I have yet to write a full-length review of Lost and Local for my blog, and it is my expectation that I will soon do so with her voice reading poems today that linger in the ear of my mind. I present to you, the poet Carol Ellis.

*. *. *. *. *. ****

GRACE BAUER’s latest collection is Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press, 2021). Previous books include: Mean/Time, The Women at the Well, Nowhere All At Once, Retreats & Recognitions, and Beholding Eye. She is also co-editor of the anthology Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She is the Aaron Douglas Professor Emerita at the University of Nebraska, and facilitates workshops and manuscript consultations through Larksong Writers’ Group.

To buy Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems, please visit:

https://bookshop.org/books/unholy-heart-new-and-selected-poems/9781496225948

_______________________________________

CAROL ELLIS was born in Detroit, Michigan and lives in Portland, Oregon. She’s been around the academic block with her Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. In addition to two chapbooks: Hello (Two Plum Press, 2018), and I Want A Job (Finishing Line Press, 2014), a full-length collection Lost and Local won the 2019 Beyond Baroque’s Pacific Coast Poetry Series award. Her poems and essays are or will be published in anthologies and journals including ZYZZYVA, Comstock Review, The Cincinnati Review, Saranac Review, and Cider Press Review. In 2015 she spent time in Cuba writing a book and giving readings.

To buy Lost and Local, visit:

https://www.spdbooks.org/AdvancedSearch/DefaultWFilter.aspx?SearchTerm=lost+and+local

_______________________________________

ERIN MURPHY is the author or editor of eleven books, including Human Resources (forthcoming from Salmon Poetry) and Assisted Living (Brick Road Poetry Prize, 2018), a collection of demi-sonnets, a form she devised. Her most recent co-edited anthology, Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), won the Foreword INDIES Gold Medal Book of the Year Award. Her awards include the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, the Foley Poetry Award, the National Writers’ Union Poetry Award judged by Donald Hall, a Best of the Net award judged by Patricia Smith, and The Normal School Poetry Prize judged by Nick Flynn. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Penn State Altoona. www.erin-murphy.com

To buy Assisted Living, visit:

_______________________________________

SANDRA YANNONE grew up in Old Saybrook, CT, where she daily viewed Long Island Sound from the end of her street. She published her debut collection, Boats for Women, in part about the Titanic disaster of 1912, with Salmon Poetry in 2019; Salmon will publish The Glass Studio in 2022. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in numerous print and online journals including Ploughshares, Poetry Ireland Review, Prairie Schooner, Women’s Review of Books, Impossible Archetype, and Lambda Literary Review. She also has written essays on the intersections between poetry and social justice for Olympia, WA’s Works in Progress. She hosts Cultivating Voices LIVE Poetry on Facebook via Zoom on Sundays. Visit her at www.sandrayannone.com

To buy Boats for Women, visit:

https://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=488&a=331

Cody Lusby’s Rose Park Project

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Cody Lusby’s success in getting an alley-length mural of roses painted in the summer of 2019 has extended into another project in which the street-side portions of sidewalks in front of several houses in this vicinity now have a stenciled escutcheon. It was a pleasure to welcome Cody this morning to the front of where we live.

(Photograph by Linda Fry)

And this is the view of one of our neighbor’s front foliage across the street; she also has roses painted on the walk in front of her house.

(photograph by Linda Fry)

The W – E Poetry Reading — Sunday, March 14th

The W-E, West-East, Bicoastal Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond

SUNDAY, March 14, 2021 – 4 p.m.

GRACE BAUER — CAROL ELLIS — ERIN MURPHY — SANDY YANNONE

DATE: SUNDAY, March 14, 2021
TIME: 4 p.m. (West Coast DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME)

(NOTE: Set your clocks ahead on Saturday night, March 13. Sunday is Daylight Savings: Spring ahead an hour.)

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:

Please click this URL to start or join:

https://nyit.zoom.us/j/95399– —-

Or, go to https://nyit.zoom.us/join

and enter meeting ID: 953 99– —-

IF YOU WISH TO OBTAIN THE FULL SET OF NUMBERS FOR THE URL OR MEETING ID, PLEASE WRITE:
William.BillMohr@gmail.com

Join from dial-in phone line:

Dial: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 953 99– —- (Write William.BillMohr@gmail for the rest of the Meeting ID.
Participant ID: Shown after joining the meeting
International numbers available: https://nyit.zoom.us/u/aS9nO0TmF

************************************************

GRACE BAUER’s latest collection is Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press, 2021). Previous books include: Mean/Time, The Women at the Well, Nowhere All At Once, Retreats & Recognitions, and Beholding Eye. She is also co-editor of the anthology Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She is the Aaron Douglas Professor Emerita at the University of Nebraska, and facilitates workshops and manuscript consultations through Larksong Writers’ Group.

To buy Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems, please visit:

https://bookshop.org/books/unholy-heart-new-and-selected-poems/9781496225948

_______________________________________

CAROL ELLIS was born in Detroit, Michigan and lives in Portland, Oregon. She’s been around the academic block with her Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. In addition to two chapbooks: Hello (Two Plum Press, 2018), and I Want A Job (Finishing Line Press, 2014), a full-length collection Lost and Local won the 2019 Beyond Baroque’s Pacific Coast Poetry Series award. Her poems and essays are or will be published in anthologies and journals including ZYZZYVA, Comstock Review, The Cincinnati Review, Saranac Review, and Cider Press Review. In 2015 she spent time in Cuba writing a book and giving readings.

To buy Lost and Local, visit:

https://www.spdbooks.org/AdvancedSearch/DefaultWFilter.aspx?SearchTerm=lost+and+local

_______________________________________

ERIN MURPHY is the author or editor of eleven books, including Human Resources (forthcoming from Salmon Poetry) and Assisted Living (Brick Road Poetry Prize, 2018), a collection of demi-sonnets, a form she devised. Her most recent co-edited anthology, Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), won the Foreword INDIES Gold Medal Book of the Year Award. Her awards include the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, the Foley Poetry Award, the National Writers’ Union Poetry Award judged by Donald Hall, a Best of the Net award judged by Patricia Smith, and The Normal School Poetry Prize judged by Nick Flynn. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Penn State Altoona. www.erin-murphy.com

To buy Assisted Living, visit:

_______________________________________

SANDRA YANNONE grew up in Old Saybrook, CT, where she daily viewed Long Island Sound from the end of her street. She published her debut collection, Boats for Women, in part about the Titanic disaster of 1912, with Salmon Poetry in 2019; Salmon will publish The Glass Studio in 2022. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in numerous print and online journals including Ploughshares, Poetry Ireland Review, Prairie Schooner, Women’s Review of Books, Impossible Archetype, and Lambda Literary Review. She also has written essays on the intersections between poetry and social justice for Olympia, WA’s Works in Progress. She hosts Cultivating Voices LIVE Poetry on Facebook via Zoom on Sundays. Visit her at www.sandrayannone.com

To buy Boats for Women, visit:

https://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=488&a=331

“Beds Are Burning”: Terry Braunstein, Victor Raphael, and Cultural Weekly

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Australian band MIDNIGHT OIL had a great song in 1987, “Beds Are Burning.” I had been working at Radio & Records for two years at that point and was pleased to see it listed on the charts we published. As the industry’s most reliable newspaper (and our chart rankings were not for sale in any way), it felt like a tiny moment in which the cultural work of planetary protest over climate change was part of my day-to-day work, too. One of the artists in Long Beach who has long been concerned with the transmogrification of the planet is Terry Braunstein, whose work I first became familiar with around that time. She recently sent out an announcement about a project that the artists Victor Raphael and she have been working on for the past few years.

The online publication CULTURAL WEEKLY will be featuring their series of photomontages during the next few months, one image each week.
The first work, from our Climate Change series is “House on Fire.” If you would like to see it (and the ones that will follow), the links are below.

House on Fire

Home

Cultural Weekly was founded in 2011 to be “a working example of culturally-centered participatory civic media — an opportunity for diverse voices and perspectives to be shared from our curated platform. ….. Each edition is a hyper-curated and eclectic mix to stimulate your cultural passions. Cultural Weekly is a “digital magazine”: we don’t kill any trees, but we do inconvenience trillions of electrons. Cultural Weekly posts late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, depending on your time zone.”

Cultural Weekly is published by Next Echo Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization. We welcome your tax-deductible donation to continue and expand our work. In fact, we need your donation to survive, especially now, when the need for strong creative voices has never been more important. Donate here: https://www.culturalweekly.com/donate/

Cultural Weekly is the proud home base of the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, which accepts submissions June through July.

A Garden Visitor

Saturday, March 6, 2021

I only have an old-fashioned flip phone that barely functions enough to have conversations with other people. When it was updated a couple years ago by Verizon because their technology required me to shift to a different platform, it eviscerated my message service and now the phone’s ringer doesn’t even work. Of course, I have long wanted to get all this rectified, but the pandemic kicked in just at the point when I had conceded that it was time for a more current model.

I got my second vaccination shot this past Tuesday and hope to feel safe enough to visit a store by the end of month. I’ve heard of course that I could order a phone online and set it up myself, but I would have a chance to take a look at various models and ask questions about them face-to-face. I am looking forward to having a bit more capacity to take photographs and post them to various outlets.

In the meantime, I asked Linda this morning to use her phone to snap a photograph of a neighbor’s cat that occasionally visits our garden. It’s been at least a month since we’ve seen Minnie Mooch, as Jill calls this feral cat who hangs around their house across the street from us. It was lovely to see her again. She reminds me of Rupert, of course. How I miss him, and Cordelia, too!

Post-Script: By the time we left for a walk, she had enjoyed at least a two-hour nap in the sun.

Copyright (2021) Linda Fry