Friday, June 30, 2006

Things are better with my wife. We talked it out last night, but we are not exactly warm and fuzzy towards each other yet. It is work to be in a relationship. It forces you to stretch, grow, and acknowledge perhaps unflattering aspects about yourself.

My new local poet friend sent me and e-mail today after reading my blog and said this:

Couples fight about money, sex, drugs, attention/time and where it's spent, relatives, styles in raising children (and pets -- does the dog sleep on the bed? Yes.), sharing household chores/errands. This list reminds me why I live alone!

That last sentence made me laugh!

I’m feeling exhausted when it comes to writing poetry. I have so much left to do on my book manuscript, and the project seems so daunting. I’ve been holding at about 60% of a manuscript that I feel good about. The poems that I’m working on now all have unique and maddening problems that I have to solve. They are also ambitious poems, and I have a certain standard that must be met before I feel that I can put the poem away and consider it finished (finished at least until I look at all of the manuscript as a whole). On top of all of this I want to complete everything by the end of the year. With the way I’m feeling now, I may have to back off that deadline and give myself some space to recharge. Maybe I should just read poetry, poetic theory, and relax instead of writing for awhile. I’ve been afraid of doing just that because I will get out of the habit of writing regularly.


If the camel once gets his nose in a tent, his body will soon follow.

--Arabian proverb

Recent Fortune Cookie Fortunes:

You have an ability to sense and know a higher truth.

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

Many a false step is made by standing still.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The wife and I had a fight before we went to work this morning. I hate the unsettled feeling and tenseness you carry around all day when this happens. I also find myself thinking up defenses and ammo for future use. Mostly though, I’m trying to decide how much of this is my fault and what I should apologize for. We rarely stay mad at each other for more than a day or two.


Last Words

I hope for a happy exit, and I hope to never come back.

--Frida Kahlo

My son, may you be happier than your father.

--Sophocles, from Ajax

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On Sunday my new local poetry friend and I will be chatting about the poems we exchanged. She sent me some more to look at yesterday for a future discussion. I need to e-mail her a couple of my poems this week. Hmmm, but which ones…?


Style is the man himself.

--Comte de Buffon

Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience.
--Comte de Buffon

The original writer is not he who refrains from imitating others, but he who can be imitated by none.

--Francois-Rene Chateaubriand

Moments of crisis produce in man a redoubling of life.

--Francois-Rene Chateaubriand

Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.

--Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another One

I was given the slip yesterday by The Chattahoochee Review. As with Crazyhorse, it was a form rejection inviting me to submit future work but with no ink from the editors. At least I am hearing back from places now.

Strange. Last night when I went into my Excel submission tracking spreadsheet, I happened to have saved the document last on the row of The Chattahoochee Review.

I’m going to show my age with this one. I wish when I was an undergraduate student that we had laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, and most especially Starbucks. I would have loved to be able to go to Starbucks and study instead of studying in my room or going to the library. Plus, it would have been a place to go prior to being age 21 since I did not have a fake ID. Hell, today you can even scan into your computer text from a book using an electronic highlighter. Sigh. You kids have no idea how good you have it/had it. In my day I had to walk 5 miles uphill, both ways, with newspapers for shoes just to go to class. One day I even had to kill a bear with my 5.25 inch floppy disk.


All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

--Samuel Butler

The advantage of doing one’s own praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.

--Samuel Butler

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.

--Samuel Butler

The history of art is the history of revivals.

--Samuel Butler

An apology for the Devil: It must be remembered that we have only heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.

--Samuel Butler

Monday, June 26, 2006

On Friday after work I bought a new computer printer, a USB cable for the printer, and an online computer game: Star Wars Galaxies. As predicted, I’ve already started to waste some hours of my life. For example, I opted to stay home on Sunday rather than do my usual Sunday morning writing ritual. I think the initial thrill of the new game has worn off (some). I’ll be more sensible going forward and work the game into a balance with my other interests and responsibilities.

On Saturday I received a rejection from Crazyhorse. No ink on the rejection, but the rejection did invite me to submit again in the future. I really like Crazyhorse and would love to have a poem published there. I’ll try again in a few months with some different poems.


[T]he ear is a prime judge of what I’ve accomplished or have not accomplished. I wouldn’t even know whether a poem was finished or not unless my ear told me. I think music must be in the poem somewhere. Poetry is traditionally a musical structure….people who don’t hear the poems are missing a good deal, and a poet who doesn’t hear his own poems is missing everything. He’s got to hear his own voice saying it. It’s got to come off the page.

--Paul Blackburn

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.

--Charles Darwin

Man with all his noble qualities…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origins.

--Charles Darwin

Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equals.

--Charles Darwin

He who understands a baboon [will] would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.

--Charles Darwin

With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.

--Charles Darwin

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Feel Good

I feel very upbeat and optimistic about my life today. I’m not sure if it’s all the sunny weather we’ve been having in this part of Virginia (though it’s been hot as Hades with stifling humidity). It could be that I’m in one of the calmer periods of my work cycles at work. I’ve also had some time off from work lately. It could be the excitement of having a new computer. I guess I’ll just enjoy the feeling and try not to over analyze it.

This week my wife and I watched a good movie that she ordered through Netflix. The movie was Blink with Madeline Stowe doing an amazing acting job as the main character Emma. Emma was blinded by her mother when she was eight. Twenty years later she receives eye transplants and is plunged into a strange world of wavy faces, bright lights, hallucinations, etc. as her brain tries to adjust to seeing again. Then a girl is murdered in the apartment above Emma’s, and Emma believes she encountered the murderer leaving the scene couldn’t see him clearly. Enter a Chicago detective who believes he is after a serial killer and needs Emma’s help to catch him despite Emma being an unreliable witness. I didn’t do justice to the groundwork of the plot, but you get the idea. The plot is pretty good, though I balked a bit over Emma and the detective becoming romantically interested in each other. The best aspect of this movie though is the dialogue. Very clever, funny, and almost always interesting. Emma is a strong woman comfortable in her sexuality, and she is very perceptive, confrontational, and sharp-tongued. She meets her match in the detective. I also loved the Irish music in the movie. Emma is a musician who plays the violin in a band called The Drovers.


God is dead: but considering the state the species Man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.


Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.


The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.


The thought of suicide is a great source of comfort: with it a calm passage is to be made across many a bad night.


Master-morality and slave-morality.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

My new computer is up and running. My study is a mess with the old computer hardware on the floor. I suspect it won’t be long until I try one of those online games and waste hours of my life.

My new local poet friend and I traded poems and returned our comments to each other. I was relieved to see that poems that I think are pretty much done only seem to have a couple minor issues that I may want to correct. I enjoyed her poems. She tends to write shorter poems than I do, so I hope to learn something about economizing from her. We’ll probably chat on the phone this weekend about each other’s comments.

I worked on a new poem Tuesday that I think will be ready to show someone soon. This is one of two my poems inspired by a trip to Berlin and Dresden two years ago. This poem has been in my “in progress” file for some time, so I will be relieved when I feel that it is close to being done.


I teach you the superman. Man is something to be surpassed.

--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

What I understand by “philosopher”: a terrible explosive in the presence of which everything is in danger.

--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. 1844-1900. German philosopher who reasoned that Christianity's emphasis on the afterlife makes its believers less able to cope with earthly life. He argued that the ideal human being, the Ubermensch, would be able to channel passions creatively instead of suppressing them. His written works include Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-1892). --Nie“tzsche·an adj. & n.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I received a rejection yesterday from The Cincinnati Review.

To my surprise, my new computer arrived yesterday. I expected to receive it on Wednesday or Thursday this week. I’m kind of dreading all of the setup work that I have ahead of me. Last night I spend over an hour making backup files off of the old computer.


The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very comfortable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations.

--Isaac Newton

I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

--Isaac Newton

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.

--Tom Stoppard

Sunday, June 18, 2006

There ought to be moments of tranquility in great works, as in life after the experience of passions, but not moments of disgust.


Government needs both shepherds and butchers.


The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third.

--Attributed to Voltaire

The best is the enemy of the good.

--Italian proverb

Friday, June 16, 2006

More Quotes

You may be tired of the quotes that I’ve been posting, but I don’t have much to say lately. I’ve been working and revising some poems. I ordered a new desktop computer from Dell this week to replace my dinosaur 1999 desktop at home. My laptop will probably be a fossil in another two years, so I imagine I’ll need to replace it eventually.

My wife’s niece introduced me to an older local poet this week. We corresponded via e-mail and have decided to trade poems and comment on them. I hope it works out. I’d like more local poetry friends.

More quotes:

Why don’t they knead two virtuous souls for life
Into that moral centaur, man and wife?

Society is now one polished horde,
Formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and the Bored.

What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate’s sultry.

-- Excerpts from Lord Byron’s Don Juan


Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

The fate of love is that it always seems too little or too much.

--Amelia E. Barr


And, after all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but
The truth in masquerade.

--Lord Byron, from Don Juan, Canto II, St. 37


Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did.

--Lord Byron, from Don Juan, Canto I, St. 83


Sorrow is knowledge; they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.

--Lord Byron, from Manfred, Act. I, Sc. I, Line 10

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I wish I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.

--Bernard Berenson

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I started to come down with a cold Thursday afternoon. I thought at first it might be allergies until I started to feel achy. I dragged myself into work on Friday, but by noon I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went home. I’m about 80% now. My nose is still a bit runny. I HATE being sick. It is so inconvenient. I hate being sick on weekends.


[Poetry] aims…at the reformation of the poet, as prayer does. In the grand cases—as in our century, Yeats and Eliot—it enables the poet gradually, again and again, to become almost another man; but something of the sort happens, on a small scale, a freeing, with the creation of every real poem.

--John Berryman

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I received yesterday the premiere copy of the literary magazine that the faculty advisor sent to me. Wish my poem was in it. I can’t believe I have to wait until April 2007. I sent the email below to the faculty advisor this morning. I wanted to feel out if I need to continue worrying about this, or can I just forget about it and know that the poem will appear next year. I received a reply back from the faculty advisor this afternoon.


As a fellow writer I understand your concern, but as I'm the faculty advisor, I can tell you it's going in.

I'm glad you received the inaugural issue. Keep in touch and we will be also.



I received the premiere issue of XXXX yesterday in the mail. Thank you.

How certain are you that my poem "Drive" will in fact be in issue # 2? With April 2007 being so far off, it seems like a lot could go wrong between now and then. I would be quite upset if something goes wrong, and my poem is not in issue # 2. That would be a loss of almost a year to send the poem around to other literary magazines. Do you recommend that I check in with the XXXX editors at some point later this year, or is this a done deal, and I can rest assured that my poem will appear in issue # 2?

I feel like I am being obsessive-compulsive about this whole issue, but when you are just starting to accumulate acceptances as a writer, every one of them is important.



Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

Roethke’s father owned a sprawling series of greenhouses, and the young Theodore became intensely interested in the wonders of the natural world, including its harsh realities. His early poems reflect his awareness of an inherent terror in nature. The death of his father, his uncle’s suicide, and the loss of the greenhouse during a short time when he was 14 years old triggered several mental breakdowns and life-long battles with alcoholism and manic-depression. He became obsessed with the notion of loss, as seen in his work. Roethke was a romantic poet, influenced by Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas, Emerson, Whitman, and Dickinson. His innate love of nature was reflected in his admiration for Emerson and Thoreau. He was an equally skilled poet and teacher—his students included Carolyn Kizer, David Wagoner, and Richard Hugo. As a poet he won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards. Roethke said about identity, “The human problem is to find out what one really is: whether one exists, whether existence is possible.”

--From Poetry Speaks


Beware of Things in Duplicate…

Beware of things in duplicate:
a set of knives, the cufflinks in a drawer,
the dice, the pair of Queens, the eyes
of someone sitting next to you.
Attend that empty minute in the evening
when looking at the clock, you see
its hands are fixed on the same hour
you noticed at your morning coffee.
These are the moments to beware
when there is nothing so familiar
or so close that it cannot betray you:
a twin, an extra key, an echo,
your own reflection in the glass.

--Dana Gioia

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I contacted the anthology contest and explained the situation to them. The editor graciously offered to swap out “Drive” for another poem, so I took him up on it and sent a new file. I had a devil of a time figuring out which poem to replace “Drive.” I narrowed the list down to two poems; one of them is a five-page poem, and the other is a two-page poem. I think the five-page poem is the stronger poem of the two, but the two-page poem has a better chance of getting into the anthology because of its shorter length. Hence, I sent the two-page poem.

I keep thinking any day now that I will receive some acceptance/rejection news. It’s been awfully quiet on that front lately.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Latest

I’ve pasted below the e-mail correspondence between one of the faculty advisors of the literary magazine and myself. Start at the bottom of this post and read your way up. I deleted the identifying information. I am annoyed that I did not receive a letter notifying me about this, and now I have to wait another year before the poem sees the light of day in print. Hmph! To complicate matters, I’ve entered this poem into an anthology contest that accepts previously published poems; I am wondering what I will do if this poem is selected to be in the anthology. The anthology is slated to be published later this year. I’ll have to withdraw the poem from the contest if it comes to that because I signed a contract to have the literary magazine publish it first. I should probably notify the anthology contest about this issue and avoid a possibly awkward situation that may or may not happen in the future.

No other real news. I finished a major work deadline last week and took some time off. I think that I am close to finishing the first drafts of two new poems.

Sent: Mon 6/5/2006 6:29 AM


Yes, your poem will be published in issue #2, which will come out in April of next year. The current issue will go in the mail out to you today.

Again, thank you for your patience.


Sent: Sun 6/4/2006 2:03 PM


Thank you very much for the reply. So, if I understand you correctly, my poem "Drive" will be in the second issue of XXX, right? When is the second issue slated to be published?

Here is my home address:



Gerald Huml
Sent: Sat 6/3/2006 9:14 AM

Gerald Huml,

I'm glad you emailed me. As a writer I know how frustrating it must be not to hear back in a timely manner about your work. Our editors dropped the ball in not emailing you about your poem. I apologize. Once the semester ends, they run out of this place like the building is on fire.

You should have received a letter saying your poem is being published, but was pushed back to our upcoming issue. The current issue is two hundred pages long and we moved a fair amount of work (including yours) back to the next issue.

If you send me your surface mail address I'll get a copy of the current issue out to you and again, my apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:19 AM

Professor XXXX1 and Professor XXXX2:

I noticed that you are the faculty advisors for XXXX, so I am hoping that you can assist me. My poem "Drive" was accepted in December 2005 for publication in XXXX's premier issue. One of the managing editors informed me that contributor copies would be mailed out in April. I have since inquired twice by e-mail about when I can expect to receive my contributor copies, but no answers have been forthcoming.

I recently noticed that XXXX has a new under construction web site. The link below looks like a list of contributors for the premier issue of XXXX, but I do not see my name listed (Gerald Huml). I am beginning to wonder if something happened, and my poem was not published in XXXX. I inquired about this with one of the managing editors, but I have not heard back. Perhaps the managing editors are gone for the summer.
(link deleted)

Would one of you please e-mail me back and let me know if my poem "Drive" is indeed in the premier issue of XXX? Also, if you know anything about when I may receive my contributor copies, that would be appreciated. If there was some kind of a problem and my poem has not been published, I would appreciate knowing that as well and learning the reasons why if you know. I would like to send my poem to other literary magazines ASAP if it has not been published by XXXX.

Thank you in advance for you assistance.


Gerald Huml

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How Birds Sing

One is not taxed;
one need not practice;
one simply tips
the throat back
over the spine axis
and asserts the chest.
The wings and the rest
compress a musical
squeeze which floats
a series of notes
upon the breeze.

--Kay Ryan