About a year ago, Dennis Overbye wrote a beautiful obituary and a separate appraisal on Stephen Hawking in New York Times called “Stephen Hawking Taught Us a Lot About How to Live.” I took his words and ideas, pared them down, moved them around, and mixed in my own to create this poem, “North of the North Pole” (the phrase Hawking used to describe the absurdity of trying to understand what came before the Big Bang). For a few lines, I also adapted a tweet of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s and took two lines from Ezra Pound’s “E. P. Ode Pour L’Election de Son Sepulchre.” The last line is adapted from a sentence in Mark Mirsky’s essay, “The Novel: Dead or Just Difficult?”
You can read “North of the North Pole” on Medium here.
When I wrote this lyric/personal essay back in February, I didn’t have W.S. Merwin in mind. When I heard that he died yesterday, I went back and read his 1967 poem “For a Coming Extinction” and realized it must have been in the back of my mind. So I’ve decided to dedicate the essay to him and to go ahead and publish “Bird Feeder Simulation” on Medium instead of waiting around to get permission from the journals I submitted it to.
You can read W.S. Merwin’s “For a Coming Extinction,” here.
And you can read my essay, “Bird Feeder Simulation,” here.
It’s not 63 degrees now, but it was when I wrote this series of haiku a year ago. Poetry in Form just published it in their Medium publication.
Meanwhile, my mother tells me the daffodils are already sprung and pollen is spreading in Georgia.
I wrote "'Gainst Mine Own Good Nature (lycanthropy)," a narrative series of sonnets, as the final project of an Elizabethan literature class I took this spring (in lieu of an analytical paper). The lycanthropy references in "The Duchess of Malfi" intrigued me as a potential metaphor for current political and cultural trends (lycanthropy at the time referred to the phenomenon of werewolves and was also the medical term used to describe the delusional condition that one was capable of werewolf transformation). These sixteen sonnets were developed with this theme in mind and by mixing original lines with lines lifted from poems and plays in the course reading.
Poetry in Form picked up the series. If you haven't had enough Shakespeare/Trump mash up yet this year, read it here.
I have a small part in this show featuring new work by Steve Ellis in an outhouse at The Church of the Little Green Man in Glen Wild, New York. My satirical article, "Mr. Ladybug Sues State Over Outhouse Bill" will be featured in The Crapper Chronicles. Come out for art, performances, and food.
Show: Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29.
Performances: Sunday, May 28 @ 4pm
Just in time for your summer lounge chair, this collection of six character-driven novellas and stories is now available.
“The Nose” When thirty-year-old Lenny falls for a guy with an elephantine nose, his musical theater career suddenly seems pointless and his social life, superficial. His friends are concerned.
“Meeting Sanchez” The little league football team of a predominantly white, wealthy suburb is nervous about playing an inner city black team on their turf. But for twelve-year-old Marcus, it’s meeting the nephew of his family’s maid after the game that makes a bigger impact.
“The Final Plan” Cameron Payne, a retired caterer and resident of Pleasant Meadows nursing home, tries to come up with the best scheme for his remaining days before Alzheimer's sets in.
“The Dried Plum and the Envelope” When twenty-six-year-old Donny Patterson, a self-described "floater," is forced to join the law firm proofreading department's off-site team-building karaoke event, his relationship with his boss gets strange, office politics get messy, and power dynamics shuffle.
“Whatever Makes You Happy” Interracial marriage, a gay grandson, gender neutral pronouns, and polyamorosity aren’t the most confounding things that Pupa Jackson has to face at his granddaughter’s wedding.
“The Prince and the Executioner” Prince Claude of Facedom is certain that love will be at the end of his fairy tale—even if that means becoming a princess. The King is not happy.
"Troy Ernest Hill has a way of looking at the world that is sharp, well-observed, and just a fraction off plumb in a way that is endlessly entertaining." – Meredith Sue Willis