reshaping manuscript

At the Spalding Con manuscript workshop, let by Kathleen Driskell, she had us do many exercises to revise our poetry manuscripts. One of them involved cutting a list of our titles into separate strips and arranging them in sections with our strongest poems as bookends. The workshop has been so helpful in making my manuscript stronger. Paper and scissors – still useful tools in this technological age.

manuscript workshop Spalding 21 Nov 2015-3

manuscript workshop Spalding 21 Nov 2015-2

“Mantua, 1606” – 2nd Place, Raynes Poetry Competition

  • Mantua, 1606” Second Place, Raynes Poetry Competition judged by Joan Larken. Published in Jewish Currents, Spring 2015.

jewish currents raynes contest copy
“Mantua, 1606”
2nd Prize, 2014 Raynes Poetry Competition, Joan Larkin, Judge
Jewish Currents, April 2014

His Grace, Duke Gonzaga, exempted

Salomoni Rossi Hebreo,

respected court musician and composer,

from wearing the mandatory Jews’

Yellow Badge of Shame

Rossi always kept tucked

in his sleeve as he walked

from Mantua’s ghetto to the court

he fingered it like his viol,

polyphonic voices winding

in his head singing

the badge of shame was pride

no badge of shame was shame

no badge of shame was pride

the badge of shame was shame

as he walked

the no-man’s land between

the ghetto and the court

© 2013 Michael Jackman

“Abandoned Barns”

Abandoned Barns
by Michael Jackman

This barn was newly raised, once. This patch
of ground was hallowed by its arching ribs,
aromas of the earth rose through the thatch
of sweet straw quilted over new-made cribs.
The hay-loft pulley, swaying in the sun,
was an eternal lamp, the double-doors,
an entrance to a tabernacle one
approached to worship during morning chores.
And now the roof is broken. Now the rain
pours through the holes and floods the hallowed ground.
Wind blows among wood skeletons, the stain
of rotting hay, its protest made, a sound
raised up to summon us to patch the roof.
Far from abandoned barns, we stand aloof.

Thomas Merton Poetry of the Spiritual Contest (Runner up, 2001)
Thomas Merton Seasonal (2002)

Buck Owens – “Act Naturally” – cover

Buck Owens – so underrated as a wonderful songwriter, picker, performer. Here’s one of his clever songs – at-home recording. These are bare bones – just enjoy. My music feeds into poetry and vice versa. So I do this. Garage band, home studio, usb mic – and minimal digital editing.

getting tarnish on the fingers

Guitar CornerAfter playing the flute again yesterday I pitied my poor 1970 Guild D-35 sitting in our “guitar corner” gathering dust for a few weeks – this absolutely wonderful acoustic that I had rebuilt a few years ago, that I bought with Bar Mitzvah money 45 years ago when I was 13, with it’s great varied intonation…we missed each other, so while Sarah Dugan worked hard on her facebook updates in her livingroom corner office, I grabbed the guitar and sat on the couch tinkering around with it. Before any time had past I was lost in airy extended major chords, riffs, playing around with 5/4 time, which Sarah really dug. Then I closed the session with one of the first songs I learned for her, “Winter’s Come and Gone” by Gillian Welch. Always nice to get tarnish on my fingers and keep the calluses hard. It makes any day worthwhile.