Tuesday, June 20, 2017

G Is For Gravity

I think the kid in this illustration by Jenny Mathews from our new book Atrocious Poems A To Z looks like a recurring Norman Fell character that is in A Is For Artichokes and C Is For Crayons, butJenny says it is me. I insist it's Ella because she almost literally makes a similar argument every day of her life and looks exactly like this when she is doing it.
Illustration by Jenny Mathews poem by Thomas L. Vaultonburg
G Is For Gravity is an example of the literary device apostrophe, where one addresses a thing or force that is unseen by the audience. 

It could also be said that it is an example of sprung rhythm. 

I tried to incorporate multiple layers of meaning and message into the poems, as I always do, but sometimes the seeming simplicity belies that finesse. I hope some of this will be brought out in the exhibition the book is in at the Rockford Art Museum where I was invited to write all 26 poems from the book on the wall next to Jenny's illustrations. 

The exhibition, titled Bittersweet Observations, runs through October 1st. What a thrill it was to write my poems on the walls of a major American museum. I doubt any other poet has a show anything like this right now.

I sit here now with not much to do except talk about my last project.  

F Is For Failure  
H Is For Haircut

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dog Poop Poetry Book Gets Museum Show

Atrocious Poems A To Z, a new book of children's poems quickly becoming notorious for its poems about dog poop and urine, has gotten it's own museum show at the Rockford Art Museum

Running through October 1st, Bittersweet Observations is an exhibit dedicated to the darker side of children's stories and fairy tales.

Exhibiting artists include Shark Girl Casey Riordan MIllard, Sarah Reed McNamara, Jenny Mathews, craftsman Jeremy Klonicki, and author of Atrocious Poems A To Z Thomas L. Vaultonburg, who was invited to scrawl each of the 26 poems from the book on the wall of the museum in his own handwriting.

Outsider Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg writing poems from Atrocious Poems A To Z on the wall of the Rockford Art Museum when no one else is looking

For those who don't care to count, the poem he is writing in this case is about urination.

 The curator was so impressed she went over the poem in her own handwriting to make it extra bold and yellow. 

The opening of the show was a huge hit with kids, many writing their own poems on antique typewriters provided by Zombie Logic Press. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Outsider Poetry At Midnight

It's after midnight now and I'm still trying to suck something out of this day that will send to bed feeling happy and not so defeated. 

I don't really have any good reason to feel defeated. I just finished my yoga and cardio workout and turned on the dishwasher, and I had the choice of watching a bad movie of attending to one of my long ignore blogs.

I suppose this means I'm choosing blog.

If anything Atrocious Poems A To Z has been a bonus book for me. I never expected to finish it, let alone see it in print, and now it will be on the walls of the Rockford Art Museum June 9th. The curator wants me to come in and write it all down so they can plaster it on the wall. 

Jenny refuses to send me any more of the panels that will be in the art show to help promote our crowdfunding campaign, so I just have my words here. May has been a blur as she finishes her final painting for the exhibit. She has been working on it since January. I'm tired. 

This beautiful Hot Wheel came in the mail today. I'd been watching it for over two years on Ebay. Finally I decided I should just get it because I only saw one other one come up for sale in that time and it went for even more than I paid, so we live only this one time.

I saved this very computer from a cyber attack last week by disabling the directory with Rkill and running several malware programs. I hadn't even visited any questionable sites, but I insulted the Turkish government and I have a feeling that may have done the trick.

I'm going to try another blog somewhere else tonight. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Outsider Poet Writes Second Children's Book

"It's hard to tell people what you meant when you didn't mean anything at all," says Outsider Poet and two-time children's book author Thomas L. Vaultonburg when asked about his latest book Atrocious Poems A To Z. "Children understand this instinctually," he goes on to say, "It's only adults who have this mania to make sure everything is defined and orderly." 

"Most of it doesn't mean anything at all," says Thomas L. Vaultonburg about his book Atrocious Poems A To Z. 

The art from the book, done by Vaultonburg's co-creator and real life partner Jenny Mathews, will be included in an exhibit at the Rockford Art Museum beginning June 9th and running through October 1st. "Maybe Jenny's art has some meaning. That's probably why it's going to be in a museum and I'm here talking to you," he says with a benign snarl. He isn't enjoying our interview at all, and tells me why...

"Ten years ago I might have had rehearsed answers to your questions about what something means, or what message I was trying to convey, but I gave up on having answers to those questions long ago. The only real and true answer I can give you is that I've been throwing shit at the wall so long I don't know how to stop. If any of it stick you get to decide what it means. I certainly don't know."

Atrocious Poems A To Z is at the printer and can be ordered here 



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Outsider Poetry By Thomas L. Vaultonburg

It's early voting day here in Illinois. It's after midnight and I'm not nearly done with my day. I have yoga left and I'm waiting for the fantasy football waiver wire to come through and then I'll shower and get ready for bed. 

Later today I'll vote for Hillary Clinton. 

Earlier in the week I tried to organize all the poetry I had written since my last book, Submerged Structure, which I finished writing over ten years ago. I had to go through old computers and blogs to track down all the poems, and I'm sure I missed a few, but here are a couple I don't believe I have published anywhere on the internet.

On the Idea of the Perpetual 
Virginity of Mary

How satisfied Mary found herself
In the days and years after the son of
The only male lover she had ever known
Left to work in his real father's company
Having her virginity confirmed over and over
Before softball practice and after knitting sessions
By the respectful but cunning finger of Salome
While Joseph and his flock
Of bastards were out salvaging copper
And tin from the abandoned summer
Homes of the Pharisees.
How Mary trembled and convulsed each
Time her maidenhead was re-established
By Salome's expert fingers, and later in life
Her quick, darting tongue.
Meanwhile Joseph kept up the ruse by bedding
Every loose Jezebel in Nazareth and continuously
Adding to his construction crew of bastards.
They were by all accounts a model family
And fully comfortable knowing they were establishing the
Precedent for conservative family values
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg


Redefining Luxury

I shook my
Money maker
And your momma's
Hearing aid
Fell out


Made In Taiwan

as a poet 
i am a maker
of trinkets
but at night
the Chinese
see me working
under the light
of my green lantern
and pine


I don't know what any of those poems mean. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Outsider Poet's Thoughts On the 2016 Fantasy Football Season

The fantasy football season officially starts tomorrow night, but for many Americans the nightmare has been going on for weeks now. I promised myself I wouldn't do any early drafts this year after the Jordy Nelson fiasco last year, but as August got here it just became very difficult to think about anything else. Us outsider poets are funny like that.

Another complicating factor is that fantasy football had been made illegal in 23 states, including the one I live in, so the platform I have been using since I started playing fantasy, CBS Sports, wasn't offering games in my state. In the past I had also used CDM to do a few drafts just for variety, and because I liked their platform, but I chose to do all my drafts on Yahoo this year just so I could have them all in the same place.

I drafted in 12 leagues. or I will have after my final draft of the season tonight. Like most fantasy players, I decided to go wide receiver heavy in the early rounds, and Jordy Nelson was a big part of that push. I wasn't able to get Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Jr., Julio Jones, or DeAndre Hopkins at all, but I did upset the apple cart for some in my earliest draft by taking Allen Robinson in the first round, a move so audacious it upset many of the other drafters, even though Robinson is now considered a solid first rounder in most drafts. Lot of Jory Nelson in the second round. Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Brandon Marshall. followed in a lot of drafts by snapping up Lasean McCoy where I could get him, then back to the wide recivers with players like Jarvis Landry, Golden Tate, Jeremy Maclin, Eric Decker etc then stacking up a few bum running backs like Ryan Mathhews and Rasheed Jennings, though I started to feel really good about Melvin Gordon and Gino Bernard early on. 

In terms of quarterbacks in the half of my drafts that were live drafts I waited. A long time, and took a combination of Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, even Osweiller. It remains to be seen if this tactic will be successful, but it allowed me to add Delanie Walker and Zach Ertz in a lot of leagues where I might have taken a Tight End later.

My revelation this year was that auction drafts rock. In fact, after discovering auction drafts I doubt I'll ever do another live draft. Being able to bid on any player at any time allows you to really shape your team exactly the way you want it. For instance, I don't even like drafting in the first two rounds, and in an auction draft I don't have to. I can watch everyone else overspend (in my opinion) for players that aren't twice as good as the players I will eventually pay half as much for. Sure, they're better players, but not twice as good. It's just a blast to wait and have that bankroll when the players that pop your cork come up and no one can take them away from you just because it's their pick.

It remains to be seen if I do better in the live draft or auction leagues, although I suspect I did much better in the auction drafts. It was a fun drafting season, and I'm glad Yahoo was doing drafts, even though their platform is slow as molasses, and I know Sundays will be a nightmare if I have to do last minute changes. Such are the trials of an outsider poet playing fantasy football.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

No Dogs, Drunkards, Or Outsider Poets Allowed

Every year we go to a folk festival over the weekend in August. My partner has been going for over forty years, and her father has been to every one for fifty years. The weekend is kind of his father's day. He arrives first, and usually has the whole campsite set up before any of us get there. Some years it has been freezing, literally, in August, and most years it's unbearably hot, as it was again this year, but we look forward to it every year.

The festival is in the middle of nowhere, and is used to fund a church, so the stage is on church grounds. The campsites are in a cow pasture. And setting up your tent, you have to avoid piles of cow manure. 

A couple of years we never even have gone over to the stage to hear the music. But in the basement of the church they have food, sloppy joes, chili, a stew, all kinds of pies, and milk, so we always manage to get down there. I've seen performers have the mic turned off on them for using profanity, and dogs are not welcome. I figure if dogs and profanity aren't welcome, I probably wouldn't be, either, but for this one weekend I bite my tongue and respect their holy ground.

There aren't any pictures from this year because an older family member got sick and the weekend turned out to be a rather painful ordeal, but the kids still got to do what they do, and Jenny bought a bottle of Rasberry wine. We left as we always do, wondering why we ever do this in the first place, but I'm already looking forward to next year.

In the church they have pictures of some of the prvious performers, including Ravi Shankar and Avery Schreiber. I hear at one time both banks of the stream were packed, and bikers showed up, and it was mayhem, with 10,000 people showing up. Now it's usually 500-1000. Quite a successful small village springs up, and musicians wander around from camp to camp sitting down and playing. 

I just stay silent, because there's a sign and everything that says no dogs, drunkards, or outsider poets allowed.