Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm No Sharon Olds.

I was at Deborah Ager’s blog ( yesterday—checking things out. I got there because I was checking out my friend Mary Biddinger’s blog (

[This checking blogs out is something I like to do now that I’m officially famous for blogging (see my article about blogging:]

As I was checking out Ager’s blog, I noticed a letter from Sharon Olds. Deborah had found it somewhere and reprinted it at her blog. Sharon is a substantial poet and she had been invited by Mrs. Bush (wife of the Decider) to attend a Library of Congress poetry event and to have breakfast afterward at the White House.

Sharon’s letter was addressed to Mrs. Bush and explained why, although Sharon really believed in the good that events like the one at the Library of Congress could do, she wouldn’t attend because of her opposition to the undeclared and devastating war President Bush and America were waging against Iraq.

I read Olds’ letter, agreed with her completely about the war, and wrote a comment that I left at Deborah Ager’s blog.

Here’s what I wrote:

Hi, I just sent in an application to read a couple of my poems about my parents and love at the Valentine’s Day “poetry at noon” session at the Library of Congress.

(One of the poems is Why My Mother Stayed with My Father and the other is What the War Taught my Mother. My parents met in a concentration camp. It was never Romeo and Juliet for them. I figure I’ve got a chance as a novelty act! Not your traditional love poem!)

Anyway, I’m a long shot at best (the 500,000 poets in America who are better than I am would have to decline their invitations to read at the LC before I got a chance), but reading your post of Sharon Olds’ letter makes me think about what I’d if I were chosen.

Would I go?

I hate to admit this because it makes me seem petty and non-serious and a traitor to so many things I believe in, but yes, I would go. Absolutely.

The chance of me getting invited twice to the Library of Congress is about the same as the odds of me giving birth to the next Mother Theresa (I’m male and no longer Catholic and not even very charitable–lepers stay away from my door!). If I were invited, it would be a one time invitation.

Sharon Olds? She can turn down Bush and still have a chance of being invited by Obama or Hillary or John Edwards. Probably even a better chance. For weekly cabinet meetings maybe. Or brunch or something.

But me?

It wouldn’t matter if Barack or Hillary or John were in office. It wouldn’t even matter if my brother or sister in law were in office. I wouldn’t be invited.

So, I’m telling everybody now (and I hope they hear this at the White House and the Library of Congress!!) that if invited I will attend, and I will pay for my own carfare (from Valdosta, GA) and my own lunch!

John Guzlowski–poet-in-waiting


Sara said...

Hey, John, there's always a chance that the other "500,000 poets" will pull a Sharon Olds.

Marty said...

I don't think you have to worry, John. Since it's a library, I doubt Bush has ever been there, so you're in relatively safe political territory.

Urkat said...

Yeah, Bush fears books the way a slug fears a salt shaker.

John Guzlowski said...

I don't think Bush is afraid of much. He's got a 72% disapproval rate. He's dragging the GOP down to the grave. He's suffering in Iraq like a blind man in a hail storm, and still he walks like Rory Calhoun in a white hat in a bad western.

Bush has foolish courage to burn.