New Poetry From Colin James



On the theater’s door
a few written words,
“This Theater Will Be Closed
Until A Run On Sentences
Adequately Compensates.”
The leather chairs
varnish their legs.
A thick green compensates
carpets and cashier.
No coming attractions, instead a slat
beneath a portrait with one eye
missing occasionally.
No mints either,
just the smell of insatiable consequence.
As if the balcony stairs could be arrogant
or led away.



— by Colin James



Copyright © 2015, by Colin James. All Rights Reserved.


Colin James has a chapbook of poems, A THOROUGHNESS NOT DEPRIVED OF ABSURDITY,
out from Pski’s Porch Press.


New Poetry and the End of Purity

Spinozablue welcomes Colin James to its list of fine poets. Please send us your feedback regarding his poem, the site in general, the world as it is and ought to be, or whatever else is on your mind.

Garden With Courting Couples. 1887. By Vincent Van Gogh

Garden With Courting Couples. 1887. By Vincent Van Gogh

Finished Franzen’s Purity a few days ago, and was surprised at the sudden drop off in the quality of the novel, especially when the character, Tom Aberant, narrates in the first person. It was, frankly, agonizing to get through, and I couldn’t wait for the author to get back to the story of Pip (Purity) Tyler, but that didn’t happen until nearly the end of the book.

From this reader’s point of view, the problem lay in his decision to focus on the love/hate relationship of Tom and Anabel, diving into their respective neuroses to a fault. While deep psychology wounds, torments and a character’s way of coping with them can sometimes make for a riveting story, there is … Click Here to Continue . . .


Purity, by Jonathan Franzen

Purity, by Jonathan Franzen

I’m about 300 pages into Franzen’s new novel, Purity, and it’s truly hit its stride. It started out a little slowly for me, and I think he did too much telling, rather than showing, but readerly patience has paid off. At this point, and especially after his brilliant, almost ecstatic description of Pip’s sojourn in Bolivia, it’s more than clear that Franzen can build a compelling case for his world, its multiplicity of emotions, motives, betrayals and jealousies, and especially the internal twists and turns of his characters’ minds.

Even after 300 pages, it’s difficult to summarize the plot. But it’s basically the story of a young woman’s search for the father she never knew, and the search for metaphorical daughters by four slightly less central characters, two men and two women. Franzen’s larger context is our present day, with flashbacks to East Germany right before the Wall came down and its aftermath. The Internet, the Age of Leaks, Assange, Snowden, … Click Here to Continue . . .

Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers

Odessa Port. 1898. By Kandinsky.

Odessa Port. 1898. By Kandinsky.

Looking at an old poem from decades ago. Trying to see if it still holds up. Some poets, like Yeats, revised even published works, changing new editions of their collections over time.

This isn’t really like that. But it is a return to some dark cove, some ancient lough, for reassessment and advice:


Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers


Blindness and cacophony
Like time underwater

The yews tremble for their
Lovers on the mountain tops

Four beats to every heart
And roses for the poor

I believe the groans
Of doctors if
They’re out of work
Scrounging in the meadow

    For sustenance and rhubarb

If the play’s the thing
Why is the audience sleeping?

Give us reasons in the mist
To talk about the mail

Give us songs to sing
When supper is thrown to wolves and
Like twenty annual events

Some epiphany among the clowns
Before they taste their red makeup

    Before they fall off their red tricycles… Click Here to Continue . . .

4 Non Blondes: What’s Going On?

To avoid any conflict with the song by Marvin Gaye, Linda Perry and company renamed their beautiful, angsty, anthemic (1993) single to “What’s up?” But it’s all about that question from 1971, and about the knowing confusion, the justifiable frustration and alienation of the young. That’s at least how it sounds. One of the original 4 Non Blondes, Christa Hillhouse, says it’s a mistake to read too much into it. Linda was just playing guitar down the hall from Christa when she wrote it, and it was so good, Christa thought, she stopped having sex and ran down the hall to find her. It happened organically, naturally. The song writing. The questioning about that song. Linda Perry was afraid it had come from somewhere else, and asked Christa if she had borrowed some of it from others. And that’s a key. Good to great art often gives the appearance of pre-existence. That it must have always been, even to the author. This seems especially true with … Click Here to Continue . . .


Timbuktu. 2014

Timbuktu. 2014

One of the best films of the past year is Timbuktu, directed by Abderrahmene Sissako. Understated, beautifully shot and composed, it tells the story of a village, a people, caught in the arbitrary and repressive grip of a Jihadist takeover. The focus of the film, but never at the cost of the village’s story itself, is a small family on the outskirts of Timbuktu, making a life on the dunes. Kidane, the father, Satima, the mother, their daughter Toya, and the young shepherd, Issan. Perhaps because of their existence on the periphery, this small family had managed to avoid most of the cultural and social repression being arbitrarily imposed on those in the village, but a tragic accident changes all of that.

I was struck by the images, again and again. The incredible beauty of the desert, the dunes, the motion of people crossing them, running on the sand. But, especially, the scene of a soccer game, which is one of the most … Click Here to Continue . . .

Welcome to Spinozablue!

Joan Miró's Birth of the World. 1925

Joan Miró’s Birth of the World. 1925

The work is done. Rebirth is here. We’re ready, finally, to start adding again to this fine collection of poetry, fiction, reviews, art, photography and film.

Six years of excellent contributions. Then a pause. But that pause has been lifted.

If you’d like to contribute, please click on the submissions page and follow the directions therein. No previous publishing experience is required. All that matters is the quality of the work itself.

Spinozablue promotes an internationalism of the arts and knows no geographical boundaries. Actually, we’re not all that impressed with the idea of boundaries in general. When it comes to the Republic of the Arts, the world is one. We’re open to all of it.

A few notes about the relaunch:

Unlike the first incarnation of Spinozablue, we won’t have comments turned on underneath the articles, though a separate forums section is a likely addition in the future. Technical obstacles in the recovery period and overall site speed … Click Here to Continue . . .