Thursday, April 09, 2020

My Reply, His Reply, My Final Reply

Read the last post for the previous posts I was reacting to.
My name is Chad Parenteau. I have been writing poetry for over thirty years. I hold an MFA. My work has appeared in a variety of publications both in print and online. I have books and chapbooks published and forthcoming. I have published other poets aside from Oddball. I have attended and held various workshops. And I host a weekly poetry venue.   None of this is relevant to your deliberate bad behavior, but you asked.  I am responsible for the posting of content at Oddball. I created the concept of the "poet columnist" on this site. I have worked with previously unpublished artists and writers to become regular contributors. I stand by all my contributors and every decision I've made with regards to publishing with Oddball.   I'm not here to defend any of my contributors. They do not need defending.   I'm here to tell you this: Go away.  I could say, "If you don't like what you're reading, leave." But this not the case of a lone critic.   I know who your are. I see your posts. I see who you've been attacking specifically. I have your comments regarding "Literary Justice Warriors" both in our feedback box and screen-captured.   By the end of this week, I will be deleting your comments, as well as my reply on this post. The poet here has suffered enough from your actions. Go and soil our pages no further.

His reply: Hey, Chad, I really enjoy adult discussions like this about poetry. Thanks for responding so maturely to my legitimate but admittedly personal opinions about the quality of work you publish in “Oddball.” Whatever your qualifications, your taste is pretty feeble.  And as far as my comments about “Literary Justice Warriors” go, instead of covering your ears and squealing, “I can’t hear youuuu,” why not consider the issue like a grown-up? I stand by my observation that today poets of color, women and LGBT poets are no longer being marginalized. My final reply: Mr. Carter, I stand by the fact that this is not your forum to attack other poets because of how they identify themselves.  I’m no stranger to so-called “free speech” issues such as yours. It’s not worth having you attack my poets.  You don’t like the state of poetry, I suggest you do what any of us should do: Go away and write more poetry.  You are not welcome here. In any capacity.

Or you can read the original post before I delete it all.

Edit: Never mind. I've deleted them all.

This is What I've Had to Put Up With This Week

From Oddball's Feedback: A poet-friend wrote: “It was good to receive…the holiday Poets & Writers “Inspiration Issue,” which includes inspiring interviews with seven established poets, NONE OF WHOM LOOK ANYTHING LIKE ME (instead, I sadly look like the Powers That Be I loathe in Washington Swamp, making me feel like an Ugly Duckling….” One of my hobby horses these days is opposing the wide-spread canard that poets of color, women, and LGBT poets are still being “marginalized.” I don’t deny discrimination against such poets in the recent past; I do believe that discrimination is if not dead, then dying. This sounds perilously close to the lie told by the right wing, that prejudice against minorities is a thing of the past, but I’m talking about so-called LITERARY discrimination, not social justice. Observations like my poet-friend’s are based on evidence. Count the publications, grants, prizes, invitations to read at festivals, teaching positions, acceptance to MFA programs, and you’ll conclude the poetry “playing field” has been leveled. Please note I’m NOT complaining about “reverse-discrimination”; I’m not even being critical of this trend. I support it, feeling it’s about time po-world has become inclusive. I enjoy much of the poetry composed by formerly marginalized voices. What I’d like is for our Literary Justice Warriors (Amy King and the VIDA group among them) to admit the battle has been won. Perhaps now we can stress the quality of the poetry instead of the identity of the poet.

First comment at bottom: This is a pretty lame poem, graceless and talky.  When there's no reason for or effect from a poem's form, it's a sign of the piece's failure. This piece fails. Editor, where do you find these things?  There are so many really fine poems available online or published by excellent poets. Maybe raise your standards and start searching for better work?  Second comment on top: AND I've been wanting to ask this site's editor a question.  Do you have any background at all in literature or poetry? A degree?  Taken classes?  Studied poetry widely and deeply on your own or formally?  I see no evidence of any knowledge of the art in the poems you choose to publish.


I am not bored.

I am having a hard time getting around during my downtime. But that's not out of boredom.

I am depressed. There is a difference.

Boredom comes from a lack of imagination. Depression comes (for me anyways) from a feeling of powerlessness.

I'll get through it. But never mistake what I'm going through as boredom.

Don't...Just Don't

Liza Zayas is back with The Underground Garden at Oddball Magazine.

Looking to Someplace to Submit Your Poetry?

You have until tomorrow to submit to Kissing Dynamite Poetry's next regular monthly. They have other calls out due later in the month, like the PUNK anthology.

Guerilla Theater Put Onto Page

James sent me this week's column with a quick message:

"Amazing what happens when sheltering in place."

Read his latest It's All One Thing column at Oddball Magazine.

NaPoWriMo, Day Nine, Poem Nine

Used Gloves


put fun in

Morning Surprise

Last night while I was sleeping, Politics Means Politics published my recent editorial. Read it here.

Thank You

Thanks to everyone for another great open mic at Stone Soup Poetry. So glad to see both returning and new faces. Hope to see you all (and more of you) next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Sweet, Sweet Finish

I'm so pleased to be featuring high school writer Yejin Suh and pair her lively work with the work of Ira Joel Haber.

Thank you for stopping by for an exciting Wednesday of poetry at Oddball Magazine.

New Voices, New Work

Today we feature poets never seen before on our site. Let's welcome both new poet Yehya Barakat and new contributing artist Amy Donnelly. We're making every Wednesday count during National Poetry Month. Thank you for visiting Oddball Magazine.

American Haiku: Trump to Boris

When I started my Sarcastic Haiku series, I wrote my first American Haiku. You can read my first one, and others I've written since, by clicking here.


American Haiku: Trump to Boris

Five-seven-five awwww!
Malaria got you down?
Get well soon! Get well soon!

NaPoWriMo, Day Eight, Poem Eight

Yellowed Scrub

This day
divides unite

foxholed ground
disbelievers quelled

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

New Series on Oddball

Introducing Michelle Hammer's video series on mental illness. Watch Schizophrenia Caught on Camera over at Oddball Magazine.

The Lost World

Thomas Gagnon's delves into the 1992 movie based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book. Reel Talk is up now at Oddball Magazine.

Damn Trolls

Jason Wright, along with myself and many others, were the recipients of a Zoom Troll attack during last week's Stone Soup open mic. Jason caught some video and recited a poem he wrote right after the attack. It's this week's Jagged Thought, up now at Oddball Magazine.

NaPoWriMo, Day Seven, Poem Seven

Week-Old Mask

Empires do
crumble, sure

Let's Go

Pleased to have another photograph published alongside a poem returning contributor Sam Silva. Welcome to Tuesday at Oddball Magazine.

This Week's Distinguished Network Name

It's amazing what people will name their online networks. I'm always trying to hijack wifi when I'm commuting, so I often come across a number or interesting names. Every Tuesday, I post the most impressive and/or cringe-inducing names.

Obvious inappropriateness aside, this doesn't demonstrate good social distancing.

Blast from the Past

Here's a birthday poem I did for Jason back 2014 just before a Stone Soup feature. It's based on one of his signature pieces. He would have had a Stone Soup feature this month if not for the current pandemic. It' will happen this year, but for now enjoy the poems. We'll all be back soon, I hope.

Happy Birhday Jason Wright

Read the text of the poem here. 

Catching Up

Working on my next poem for this month's challenge. Oddball is squared away, thankfully. More coming.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Always Working

​My erasure poem "Post-Atkinson" is now up at Headline Poetry & Press.

A Flying Finish

We finish our first Monday of artist/writer spotlights with poetry and photography by Jennifer Matthews. Thank you so much for reading Oddball Magazine during National Poetry Month.

Let the Spotlighting Begin

Every Monday during National Poetry Month, Oddball Magazine will spotlight writing and visual art from one of our many art contributors. First up for today is Luis Lázaro Tijerina.

Sick of It All, Part Two

Not Your Typical Motivational Cat Poster

Geoffrey Fallon is back, delightful plague mask and all. Catch his comic strip "The Secrets of Skinny People," up now at Oddball Magazine. 

From Picture to Page: Wayside

Photo from Friday commute. Starting to get tired from writing over and over about the one topic dominating my mind. Go figure.


Empty barrels
escape curb.

What will be
inside next week?

Happy Birthday Nina LaNegra

April 8: And Stone Soup Goes On​(line)...

Download the Zoom App for free, and Join me Wednesday April 8 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM for an online open mic via this link.

The meeting ID is 762-459-026

The password: stonesoup
Thanks to everyone for their continued support during these times.​

NaPoWriMo, Day Six, Poem Six

Morning Sweats

Does anyone
dream of flight

or are we
staying low
with our monsters

NaPoWriMo, Day Six, Poem Five

Clean Break

Someone challenge me
to survive,

head bent over toilet,
tongue inside.

The Ice Cream Man (stop 'im when he's back in town)

Drawing of ice cream cone, close-up.

Can we talk about this Ice Cream Man guy? I want to bring up some graffiti I've seen for a while.

First of all, I call this artist Ice Cream Man even though I don't know if this graffiti artist even identifies as male. If someone else knows this person, let me know. I can change to Ice Cream Queen. I just chose the name Ice Cream Man for the song reference.

Spion Thrives

I haven't seen any new Spion stickers, but at least the stickers he has are still up. That includes this one in Andrew Square.

I saw it at the end of April. I just checked it. I can call it now: This sticker has gone over sixty days without some a-hole tearing it up.

This Week's Friendly Reminder

More COVID-19 info. This one came from work. Again we live in a new world now.

Wash or sanitize your hands often, get a flu shot and encourage family to get one too, disinfect frequently touched objects, cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or tissue, stay home when sick and avoid contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your face with unclean hands

Someone Had Bacteria on the Brain

Saw this graffiti around Mission Hill. Maybe someone had COVID-19 on the brain not realizing the virus isn't bacterial.

I'm rooting for bacteria next year.Kinda.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Other Sunday Sights

For everyone who thinks voting for Bernie will lead to breadlines, here's an example of the lines that have been forming since the spread of the pandemic.

How Bad Are Things?

So bad that the Andrew Square 7/11 stopped selling $1 coffee!

It's like they don't want the usuals coming in for constant refills and filling up the sto-ohhhh!

Something from the Weekend

Saw this yesterday during a walk. A nice moment of kindness. I hope the pass went to someone who needed it.

For anyone who may need it. This is valid for April 2020, Zone 1A T Pass: bus, T, commuter rail * Unlimited, stay safe and healthy

Will Work for...

Bill Harvey's "The Odds" speaks for us during the pandemic. Welcome to another week of great content at Oddball Magazine.

A Little Weekend Archiving

Now that I'm less busy on the weekends, I've resumed my ongoing project to electronically archive my magazines and articles for research. This one oddity I've kept for a while.

Before I knew the Out of  The Blue Art Gallery, I knew it as this zine Out of the Blue written by by one Brian Rust. I likely picked it up at Newbury Comics, given that there's a price label on it. I don't remember the exact year, but t would have to be sometime in the late 90's given that there's a section in the zine that discusses upcoming episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. Featured on the first issue cover was a performer known as The Eight Foot Bride, who I used to see in Harvard Square. Today, we all know her better by her real name, Amanda Palmer.

Is this the first published interview of Palmer? It would take a better than me to know that. But you can read the interview today. I've temporarily included the zine as a PDF file, which you can now download here.

Your Weekly Dose of God

Took this at the end of March. I recognized her from a while back. This was the woman who I later dubbed the God Warrior because she was brandishing a (hopefully fake) ax at the time.

Getting Ready

I have posts to prepare for here tomorrow.

I have photos and artwork to schedule for Oddball this week. Some of the photos might even be mine.

I have poems to write, edit and submit.

I have articles to write.

I was too tired to work yesterday. I think I'm getting over that now.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Over 2,000 Hits

My Medium article on Alan Moore just hit 2,000 views.

Thanks to everyone for helping that to make happen. It's a nice milestone for me.

Read it here if you haven't already.

NaPoWriMo, Day Four, Poem Four

Inspired by this story.

Chekhov's Knife

Knife left
point-up in glass

in your lazy
kitchen sink

Happy Birthday April March Penn

Friday Night

Almost nine o'clock at night, and only four people waiting for the red line at Park Street, including me.

Smokey Call

Mom Facetimed me last night while Smokey was resting.

I was wearing my mask at work. My mom says, "You look good!" Ah, moms.

Friday, April 03, 2020

SAFE DISTANCE EDITION: Stone Soup Croutons, 4-1-20, At-Home

Stone Soup Croutons is a weekly poem I write using lines and impressions picked from Stone Soup's open mic readers and features. I figure out a title (and sometimes the rest of the poem) later. You can read the other ones I've done since 2015 here. To paraphrase Lorne Michaels, this poem doesn't go up because it's ready, it goes up because it's Friday morning.

This Wednesday Stone Soup celebrated it's second ever online open mic. Stone Soup also experienced our first online trolling via Zoom trolls. Fortunately, between research and much needed help from Tim Gager (thank you so much, sire), we have learned how to prevent similar attacks in the future.

My crouton poems are still coming out quarantine-themed. Which is weird because I am still going to work and making occasional supply runs.  Maybe I'll stop this trend if I'm actually sent home, but for now, this is another quarantine-themed poem. This was also (for me at least) an exhausting beast of a poem because I haven't had this many readers to Stone Soup in any way, shape or form in a long while. With each participant reading two poems apiece in a round robin, it was a little exhausting to write. Good thing I appreciate a challenge.

Hard to imagine I wrote long poems like this every Thursday night and Friday morning for years while Stone Soup was still in Cambridge. And in a few months? Time will tell. Thanks for reading.


You neither know who you are
nor want to say where you're from,
afraid to be sent back to start.

They try to deport the elephant
in your own room, take blue
pencil to face, edit name.

First Fridays Going Online Tonight!

Hosted by Kaleigh O’Keefe. Ryk McIntyre featuring. Check out the event description here for details of how to sign up and read online.

First Fridays Open Mic, Now Online, Featuring Ryk McIntyre, Join us on Zoom, April 3

Some Wisdom Before You Go Out Shopping

Thanks to Bruce Wise for his weekly Wise Words column. Thanks to those of you who chose to read Oddball Magazine this week. See you on Monday.

What Do You Remember?

Janet Cormier's latest Bamboozled No More! is up now at Oddball Magazine.

Trudging Along

I submitted to Mad Kane's latest limerick-off. You have until the 11th to submit your own. You either have to use the words "ring" or "wring," or write on the theme of fear. I somehow did all three.

NaPoWriMo, Day Three, Poem Three


Come back
like you left,
in the rain,

under blanket,
no bother

Holy Hell

I have so much to write this morning. And later tonight.

My GF just gave me a challenge to write a COVID-19 vs. anxiety poem in a Shel Silverstien syle. 
That might break me if I try it today. 


I finally created a banner I like. Click here for the saga of getting here (as well as the other banners by D.L. Polonsky.

Inspired by DL Polonsky.