Image result for yone noguchi

Yone Noguchi and Joaquin Miller: How curiously they would gaze on us today!

This latest Hot 100 List is mostly comprised of very brief quotes from poems in BAP 2015—now the most collectible volume in David Lehman’s “best” anthology series, due to its Yi-Fen Chou controversy.

The “molecular” display presents fragmentary glimpses of “hot,” and we must say it is an interesting way to see the poets—can we know them by a few of their poetry molecules?

We may be living, without knowing it, in the Age of the Fragment.  The best prose-poems often produce dull fragments. That’s the bad news. The good news is that fragments from dull prose-poems may intimate genius; if future ages can only read the fragments we produce today, some lucky poets, who wrote mediocre prose poems, may be hailed as geniuses. Since the lyric of unified metrical accomplishment is really not our strength today, the Fragment may be our era’s ticket to lasting fame.

Is it the goal of the fragment to be fragmentary?  Is it ever the goal of the poem to be fragmentary?  Are there different types of fragments?  Is there not a rush to completion by every poem itself that makes even a fragment seem complete, beyond even the knowledge of the poet?

Getting to know David Lehman on Facebook…he loves rhyme, especially the rollicking sort, and we believe those sorts of poems in BAP are his selections.  Lehman is also a ‘free-speech-er;’ he sanctions the racy; the BAP poems often strive to be popular in the attention-getting sense, which I suppose is admirable—or not.

The non-poem exceptions in the Scarriet list are recent remarks by the hot Alexie, Lehman, Perloff, and Mary Karr. We are proud to include the quotation from Perloff—who chose to break her silence on the “racist Avant-garde” controversy by addressing Scarriet—on Facebook!—as she admitted her book Unoriginal Genius and its final chapter on Goldsmith’s Traffic may have had a part in bringing on the racist label. Are we not interested in my discussion of Yoko Tawada in Unoriginal Genius, Perloff asked, because she’s Asian-German, rather than Asian-American? “What xenophobia!”

The question we asked Perloff was, “Is the non-creative nearly racist by default?” The question was not meant to put Perloff on the spot; it was as much about the current race-conscious atmosphere as it was about Perloff, or the avant-garde. Were an avant-garde poet to tweet “red wheel barrow beside the white chickens” enough times, just think what might happen. And speaking of Williams (and Pound) and their Imagiste schtick: Scarriet, in its five year assault on Avant-Garde Modernism as a reactionary clique of white men, should get some credit for opening up this whole discussion.

Scarriet has written of Yone Noguchi (1875-1947) in the context of Imagism ripping off haiku, the importance of the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese war, and Noguchi’s important contacts: Yeats, Hardy, Symons, and John Gould Fletcher—the Arkansas poet who, along with Ford Maddox Ford, was the connecting link between Pound’s circle and the equally reactionary and highly influential circle of New Critics—the group of men who brought us the Writing Program Era—and its “difficult” Modernist flavor.

Scarriet, which trailblazes often, found the secret to the Red Wheel Barrow poem: WC Williams had a brother, Edgar, who married the woman he loved, Charlotte (Bill married her sister). “So much depended on” this: and Ed can be found in “red,” Charlotte in “chickens” and “white” symbolizes the bride.

But here we go. Controversy and hot go together; let’s get to the hot list. No mention of awards this time. Enjoy the list—and the poetry.

1. Yi-Fen Chou –“Adam should’ve said no to Eve.”

2. Derrick Michael Hudson –“Am I supposed to say something, add a soundtrack and voiceover?”

3. Sherman Alexie –“I am no expert on Chinese names…I’d assumed the name was Chinese.”

4. David Lehman –“Isn’t giving offense, provoking discussion…part of the deal?”

5. Terrance Hayes –“Let us imagine the servant ordered down on all fours”

6. Marjorie Perloff — “Scarriet poses the question…I have so far refrained from answering this and related questions but perhaps it is time to remind Scarriet and its readership…”

7. Amy Gerstler –“…live on there forever if heaven’s bereft of smell?”

8. Jane Hirshfield — “A common cold, we say—common, though it is infinite”

9. Mary Karr — “[John Ashbery is] the most celebrated unclothed emperor…an invention of academic critics…the most poisonous influence in American poetry”

10. Mary Oliver — “June, July, August. Every day, we hear their laughter.”

11. Rowan Ricardo Phillips — “It does not not get you quite wrong.”

12. Lawrence Raab — “nothing truly seen until later.”

13. Patrick Phillips — “Touched by your goodness, I am like that grand piano we found one night”

14. Dan Chiasson — “The only god is the sun, our mind, master of all crickets and clocks.”

15. Willie Perdomo — I go up in smoke and come down in a nod”

16. Katha Pollitt — “Truth had no past. It was wordless as water, a fall of shadow on stone.”

17. Tim Seibles — “That instant when eyes meet and slide away—even love blinks, looks off like a stranger”

18. Marilyn Hacker — “You happened to me.”

19. Charles Simic — “I could have run into the street naked, confident anyone I met would understand”

20. Louise Glück — “…the night so eager to accommodate strange perceptions.”

21. Laura Kasischke — “but this time I was beside you. …I was there.”

22. Michael Tyrell — “how much beauty comes from never saying no?”

23. Susan Terris — “cut corners    fit in     marry someone”

24. Cody Walker — “Holly round the house for a Muhammad Ali roundhouse.”

25. A.E. Stallings — “the woes were words,     and the only thing left was quiet.”

26. Valerie Macon — “coats fat over lean with a bright brush”

27. Jennifer Keith — “…bound to break: One the fiction, one the soul, the fact.”

28. Ed Skoog — “Its characters are historians at the Eisenhower Library.”

29. Terence Winch — “I’m in the emergency room at Holy Cross hoping all is not lost.”

30. Chana Bloch — “the potter may have broken the cup just so he could mend it.”

31. Natalie Diaz — “Today my brother brought over a piece of the ark”

32. LaWanda Walters — “And we—we white girls—knew nothing.”

33. Raphael Rubinstein — “Every poet thinks about every line being read by someone else”

34. R.S. Gwynn — “How it shows, shows, shows. (How it shows!)”

35. Robin Coste Lewis — “how civic the slick to satisfied from man.”

36. Andrew Kozma — “What lies we tell. I love the living, and you, the dead.”

37. Melissa Barrett — “—lines from Craiglist personal ads

38. Mark Bibbins — “He’s Serbian or something, whole family wiped out”

39. Chen Chen — “i pledge allegiance to the already fallen snow”

40. Patricia Lockwood — “How will Over Niagara Falls in a Barrel marry Across…on a Tightrope?”

41. Ron Padgett — “Old feller, young feller, who cares?”

42. Bethany Schultz Hurst — “Then things got confusing for superheroes.”

43. Natalie Scenters-Zapico — “…apartments that feel like they are by the sea, but out the window there is only freeway.”

44. Sandra Simonds — “Her little girl threw fake bills into the air.”

45. Donna Masini — “Even sex is no exit.  Ah, you exist.”

46. Dora Malech — “paper mane fluttering in the breeze of a near miss, belly ballasted with…kisses”

47. David Kirby — “Pets are silly, but the only world worth living in is one that doesn’t think so.”

48. Ross Gay —  “One never knows does one how one comes to be”

49. Meredith Hasemann — “The female cuckoo bird does not settle down with a mate. Now we make her come out of a clock.”

50. Madelyn Garner — “working her garden…which is happiness—even as petal and pistil we fall.”

51. Wendy Videlock — “like a lagoon, like a canoe, like you”

52. Erica Dawson — “I knocked out Sleeping Beauty, fucking cocked her on the jaw.”

53. Hailey Leithauser — “Eager spills eel-skin, python, seal-leather, platinum and plate, all cabbage, all cheddar.”

54. Monica Youn –“the dead-eyed Christ in Pietro’s Resurrection will march right over the sleeping soldiers”

55. Tanya Olson — “Assless Pants Prince High-Heels Boots Prince Purple Rain Prince”

56. Jericho Brown — “But nobody named Security ever believes me.”

57. Danielle DeTiberus — “In a black tank top, I can watch him talk about beams, joists…for hours”

58. Rebecca Hazelton — “My husband bearded, my husband shaved, the way my husband taps out the razor”

59. Dana Levin — “I watched them right after I shot them: thirty seconds of smashed sea while the real sea thrashed and heaved—”

60. Evie Shockley — “fern wept, let her eyes wet her tresses, her cheeks, her feet. the cheerlessness rendered her blessed”

61. Alan Michael Parker — “Rabbi, try the candied mint: it’s heaven.”

62. Aimee Nezhukumatahil — “I wonder if scientists could classify us a binary star—”

63. D. Nurske — “Neils Bohr recites in his soft rapt voice: I divide myself into two persons”

64. Afaa Michael Weaver — “inside oneness that appears when the prison frees me to know I am not it and it is not me.”

65. Marilyn Chin — “She was neither black nor white, neither cherished nor vanquished, just another squatter in her own bamboo grove”

66. Candace G. Wiley — ” My dear black Barbie, maybe you needed a grandma to tell you things are better than they used to be.”

67. Joanna Valente — “Sometimes, at night, I wish for someone to break into me—”

68. Jeet Thayil — “There are no accidents.  There is only God.”

69. Kate Tempest — “It gets into your bones.”

70. Alice Notley — “To take part in you is to die is why one dies Have I said this before?”

71. Eileen Myles — “Well I’ll be a poet. What could be more foolish and obscure.”

72. Major Jackson — “When you have forgotten the meaningful bop”

73. Dawn Lundy Martin — “And Olivia, the mouth of his children from the mouth of my vagina.”

74. Kiki Petrosino — “We sense them shining in our net of nerves.”

75. Jennifer Moxley — “How lovely it is not to go. To suddenly take ill.”

76. Juliana Spahr — “There is space between the hands.”

77. Ada Limón — “just clouds—disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.”

78. Kevin Young — “I want to be doused in cheese and fried.”

79. Dodie Bellamy — “what is it have I seen it before will it hurt me or help me”

80. Juan Felipe Herrera — “Could this be yours? Could this item belong to you? Could this ticket be what you ordered, could it?”

81. Joy Harjo — “The woman inside the woman who was to dance naked in the bar of misfits blew deer magic.”

82. Saeed Jones — “In the dark, my mind’s night, I go back”

83. Sarah Arvio — “The new news is I love you my nudist”

84. Desiree Bailey — “how will I swim to you when the day is done?”

85. Rachael Briggs — “Jenny, sunny Jenny, beige-honey Jenny”

86. Rafael Campo — “We lie and hide from what the stethoscope will try to say”

87. Emily Kendal Frey — “How can you love people without them feeling accused?”

88. James Galvin — “Where is your grandmother’s wedding dress? What, gone?”

89. Douglas Kearney — “people in their house on TV are ghosts haunting a house haunting houses.”

90. Jamaal May — “how ruined the lovely children must be in your birdless city”

91. Claudia Rankine — “What did he just say? Did she really just say that?”

92. Donald Platt — “Someone jerks his strings. He can’t stop punching.”

93. Denise Duhamel — “it’s easy to feel unbeautiful when you have unmet desires”

94. Jane Wong — “A planet fell out of my mouth”

95. Derrick Austin — “Will you find me without the pink and blue hydrangeas?”

96. Dexter L. Booth — “The head goes down in defeat, but lower in prayer”

97. Catherine Bowman — “From two pieces of string and oil-fattened feathers he made a father.”

98. Jessamyn Birrer — “Abracadabra: The anus. The star at the base of the human balloon.”

99. Julie Carr– “Can you smell her from here?”

100. Mary Angela Douglas — “music remains in the sifted ruins”


  1. Surazeus said,

    September 30, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    No 57 has a very common grammatical error. Even though it is possible the female persona intends to indicate that she can gaze at the man in a black tank top for hours, grammatically the sentence has the speaking female persona herself wearing a black tank top.

    Perhaps she should have worded it like this:

    “I can watch him in a black tank top talk about beams, joists…for hours”

    • thomasbrady said,

      September 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Simon, I don’t have my BAP 2015 with me. I’ll have to look at the poem again, published in the ‘form’ of a ‘black tank top.’

  2. noochinator said,

    September 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    10. Mary Oliver — “June, July, August. Every day, we hear their laughter.”

    For those toiling in the fields of the education-credentialing complex, this is very true. I’m a full-time student who dreams of summer 2016 every day…

  3. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    September 30, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Hello, Tom. It’s been a long time. I have been off the web for about a year and a half now. My wife signed us up for a less expensive digital plan and it appears to work.
    Just thought I’d say hello. No comment on the 100 list but it appears you’ve left at least one poet out. (punctuation smiley face HERE)

    • thomasbrady said,

      September 30, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Gary!! Good to see you.

      Surely you have an opinion on the philosophy of the fragment…?

    • noochinator said,

      September 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Come back to the Scarriet & Dime, Gary F., Gary F. — please!

      • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

        October 1, 2015 at 2:59 am

        Hey, Nooch! How are you? I’ve missed you guys.

        Tom: all things are meaningless when taken out of context, whether history, philosophy or poetry. What would “Once upon a midnight dreary” mean without the bird showing up?



        • thomasbrady said,

          October 1, 2015 at 12:17 pm

          The bird shows up for the “weary” and the “dreary,” just like we do. In heaven, every brick is a house.

          • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

            October 2, 2015 at 12:59 am

            Aw, Jeez! Don’t tell me you got religion.

            Poets don’t get religion because then they’d be prophets.

            Hope all is well with you.


  4. thomasbrady said,

    October 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Heaven means “ideal state.” Religion is just shorthand philosophy, among other things. I haven’t “got” religion, but I don’t study to be antireligious, either. It’s starting to get cold in Salem.

    • noochinator said,

      October 4, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Two of the quotes above from the 2015 BAP mention heaven — I was going to type in at least one of the complete poems, but I didn’t like either of them enough to do so….

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 7, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    It’s an interesting and I think valuable idea to focus on fragments in poetry, to notice what shines, signals out to you from it. I recognize this is something you think about a lot, Thomas Graves or it seems to me that you do. At first (I mean when I first read about your idea of this I was upset thinking that each poem should be considered as a whole, but now I can see value in both ways of seeing. When I think of fragments remaining in the future unfortunately, uncontrollably the last line of Shelley’s Ozymandius pops into my mind. To have a fragment remain only to create a mockery of the builder is terrifying, better to have everything swept away than for that to happen. But then Ozymandius was a tyrant, not a poet, though he did long for his works to remain perhaps. Thanks for mentioning Valerie Macon, John Gould Fletcher and myself (or rather my fragment). Music does remain in the ruins. That’s the whole history of poetry to me. I would like that idea to remain. It makes me happy to think of it: I mean, the reality of that, not that it was a line in my poem. Anyway, THANK YOU.

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Mary, THANK YOU.

      “Fragment” is an interesting thing to ponder, isn’t it? It does make me a little sad. I would rather think of the beautifully complete.
      Anyway, congratulations. Your poetry is beautiful. And I’m happy you made our list!!

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        October 7, 2015 at 10:13 pm

        I hadn’t thought of it [the fragment] as being sad, although I think I would have once. I think it may be because in my later years it seems like I feel the whole in the fragment almost like a kind of poetic gestalt or perhaps it is a habit of mind or heart I have acquired in recent, relative poverty (externally, not internally) where I have become much more accustomed to making do and being happy with the least trace of things.

        And there is a joy in trying to accomplish something more whole in each poem even though of course we miss the mark, well, I do, and sometimes I feel like it’s that words cannot be like music and flow. In English there is so much beauty but I sometimes wish there was the kind of flow built into the language the way there is in Italian or Spanish. I sometimes feel weighed down by articles and prepositions in English in a phrase or in the way they seem to limit the way the phrase floats yet the great poets overcame this so that you aren’t even aware of anything pulling at the ropes of the balloon so to speak. But then when I see poetic perfection as in Shakespeare’s sonnets I have to hold my breath for sheer happiness to suspend the moment a little and all my temporizing is meaningless!

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          October 8, 2015 at 3:08 am

          P.S. Another “fragmentary” attempt (from today)…


          I wanted china the colour of geraniums.
          teacups with golden rims.
          a small porch.

          so many books that people passing by
          would say, oh, that’s the book house;
          isn’t it lovely?

          come and read the sunrise here.
          the sheer winds
          I would say to my soul-

          the sheer winds that blow only,
          through the high trees.
          fear no disease;

          breathe freely the words on the page
          whether ornamental or plain spoken.
          and within your heart keep silence

          in the rains.
          these and many other things
          I dreamed as many do

          though Grandmother said don’t dream,
          but do.
          yet I have seen in daylit hours

          and no mistake-

          wild angels on their sorties
          mending the breached realms
          of Poetry.

          mary angela douglas 7 october 2015

          • thomasbrady said,

            October 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

            Thank you, Mary. You have the true poetic spirit, which creates a heaven from the simplest things:

            “so many books that people passing by would say, oh, that’s the book house; isn’t it lovely?”

            Without having to *describe* a house, or books, or anything (!)— your words conjure up a scene that the eye not only sees, but wants to see, and longs to see…so a picture is not needed, so simply transcendent, your poetry.

            Bravo. This is *genius.*

            You are a true poet.

            • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

              October 9, 2015 at 1:53 am

              I agree. An excellent poem. Thank you Ms. Douglas.

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 10, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you very much, kind friends. I know I am highly colored, influenced by fairy tales I heard like all of us so early on where so many things are not greatly described, not even that clearly defined in terms of time, space, or history (actually, outside of history, being almost, legend or fragments of a dream) and yet, emotionally so moving, even over a lifetime. I would like very much in my poems, at least some of them to create (recreate?) this consoling, magical effect. A poem from a few minutes ago…


    sleepers as they dream
    glissanding through pure violet canals
    displace their own weight

    in music; in the silks of the soul
    raging, racing toward a moon that vanishes
    and then reappears, but differently-

    as you may appear to yourself
    not as yourself exactly, occasionally-

    as though it became
    a cloudy room,
    a lopsided night.

    the glass bells rung.
    the honey thread spun.
    and will they go- will they surpass

    all earthly sight one day-
    where God Himself cries “Stay!”
    etching the stars like a heartbeat

    floating free from sorrows?

    or knotting the golden thread
    before they awake,
    lest it all unravel.

    mary angela douglas 10 october 2015

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 11, 2015 at 1:44 am

      Thanks, Mary! This is a good one!

  7. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm



    ours were the emerald currencies of Oz
    the slipstream of the fairy tales regained
    the loop through time

    of the fanciful,
    barnstorming over
    spent fields of grain.

    I have saved the paperbacks from school fairs
    the books redolent as apples.
    and cloud filled music:

    tree filled, with birds
    singing without stint
    and mother-of-pearled

    for these relentless hours.

    and vivid flowers in
    fading precints
    yards and yards of

    the home flowers
    that I might be cut from
    that pattern only

    and all the neglected bowers of Keats.
    against the dream quenching-
    this laborious world

    a faery bright defense;
    the arc of infinite colour

    the kingfisher flash and burn
    of God
    whose phoenix Name-

    who, o who dares tarnish.

    mary angela douglas 8 october 2015

  8. noochinator said,

    April 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    28. Ed Skoog — “Its characters are historians at the Eisenhower Library.”

    Speaking of Eisenhower, here’s an oldie but goodie:

    The Gettysburg Address in Eisenhowerese (written by Oliver Jensen):

    I haven’t checked these figures but 87 years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental set-up here in this country, I believe it covered certain Eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, civil disturbance you might say, although I don’t like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental set-up with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity and find out whether that dedication by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values and things of that kind.

    Well, here we are, at the scene where one of these disturbances between different sides got going. We want to pay our tribute to those loved ones, those departed individuals who made the supreme sacrifice here on the basis of their opinions about how this thing ought to be handled. And I would say this. It is absolutely in order to do this.

    But if you look at the over-all picture of this, we can’t pay any tribute—we can’t sanctify this area, you might say—we can’t hallow according to whatever individual creeds or faiths or sort of religious outlooks are involved like I said about this particular area. It was those individuals themselves, including the enlisted men, very brave individuals, who have given this religious character to the area. The way I see it, the rest of the world will not remember any statements issued here but it will never forget how these men put their shoulders to the wheel and carried this idea down the fairway.

    Now frankly, our job, the living individuals’ job here is to pick up the burden and sink the putt they made these big efforts here for. It is our job to get on with the assignment—and from these deceased fine individuals to take extra inspiration, you could call it, for the same theories about the set-up for which they made such a big contribution. We have to make up our minds right here and now, as I see it, that they didn’t put out all that blood, perspiration and—well—that they didn’t just make a dry run here, and that all of us here, under God, that is, the God of our choice, shall beef up this idea about freedom and liberty and those kind of arrangements, and that government of all individuals, by all individuals and for the individuals, shall not pass out of the world-picture.

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