A few things

It’s been months since my last post. Anyway, one would think that in our pandemic life that I should have more time to write things here, but I guess either I’m too easily distracted, or (more likely) the act of sharing news on my blog just seemed too unnecessary in the current climate. We also contracted covid earlier this fall, which set me and my family back quite a bit, so I’m trying to catch up.

So here are a few recent highlights. I hope you forgive me the self-indulgence.

New poetry video

My daughter and her boyfriend, both graduates of NYU’s Tish drama program, have started making their own videos (a pandemic is a lousy time to be an actor), and their most recent project was a video of my poem The Happiness of Dogs. I hope you like it.

Here’s the text of the poem:

The Happiness of Dogs

is not like the happiness of people,
clung with doubt and ledger,
accounts due and paid.

At the door or gate they’re all tremor
and wag, eye tooth and eye
for joy of green grass, frayed

energy, leash and lap, for
pat or play, games played out
into the pond, the stalk and chase,

instinctual as a grin, to catch or run—
because they know something
we don’t. They know it in their

bones, in the roots of their
teeth, the howl building in the back
of their throats all day, waiting

to signal the night to other dogs,
that the happiness of dogs
is life itself—every wet shake

after rain and every lazy moment
rolling on warm grass. What moments
not measured in time or money

are made of. The happiness of dogs
is why we keep them around us,
the animal we wish we could be.

New review of Muddy Dragon

Liz Chang wrote a review of my latest book, Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven, in Philadelphia Stories Magazine. Please read the review here.

New poetry prompt

My latest poetry prompt article is available on Philadelphia Stories Magazine. You can read it here. To see more of these be sure to subscribe to the magazine’s newsletter (it’s free).

Another poetry video

The same team who made the dog video, also made one from my poem Last, though they call the video Exodus. It’s a bit darker than the dog poem. I think their filmwork is damn impressive.

Another poetry prompt article

This one uses a popular internet meme style as a way to begin a poem. I hope you like it. Read it here.

Interview about my latest book

Curtis Smith interviewed me about Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven. The interview appeared on JMWW and you can read it here.


My poem Making Tomato Sauce with My Daughter was published by New Verse News way back in May. You can read it here.

RIP Jack Gilbert “Silent and wonderfully content”


One of American’s most beautiful poets, Jack Gilbert, has passed away. He was 87. He is easily the most important poet to me as a reader and as a writer.


The blue river is gray at morning

and evening. There is twilight

at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark

wondering if this quiet in me now

is a beginning or an end.

 (from The Dance Most of All)

Some links below:

Page on Gilbert by the Academy of American Poets

Notes from a Poet’s Well-Observed Life (NPR)

Chard deNiord’s interview with Jack Gilbert.

David Orr’s review of Gilbert’s Collected Poems

LA Times feature on Jack Gilbert

Poetry Foundation page on Gilbert

A Paris Review interview from 2005  (required reading)

Poem “A Brief for the Defense”