Monday, April 11, 2011

National Poetry Month: Featuring Grinnell Poet Mark Baechtel


By Mark Baechtel

If I watch long enough, the pencil will give up its soul.
in this it is like any thing: it has its ways, and observation
cuts down into them, a killing knife.
What can I look at without dismembering it?
The day limps home after I’m done with it, weeping,
wanting kisses and protection; the night has a long list of grievances
it wants to lodge with someone. I am guilty; greed is a sin, 
and I walk into the room like the Golem—paper in my mouth, famished eyes
peeled permanently open—whispering “Indulge me,
Indulge me, indulge me…”

Books by Mark Baechtel
Shaping the Story: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Short Fiction
Burling 3rd floor PN3373 .B135 2004

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Mark Baechtel has been Director of Grinnell's Forensic Activities since 2006. Writing has been the focus of his professional career. He writes and publishes poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, and has worked in various capacities in journalism since his graduation  from The American University in Washington, DC. Baechtel is also a graduate of the  Iowa Writers’ Workshop  and he has taught writing at Grinnell in the English Department  and the Writing Lab. He had a two-year stint  in Alaska working as Arts Editor for the Anchorage Daily News. In addition to publishing his journalism in newspapers and magazines nationwide, Baechtel's poetry and fiction has appeared in journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary, The Grinnell Review, Lip Service, Poet Lore, Sou'wester and three anthologies—Open Door: A Poet Lore Anthology, Baltimore: Poems About A City and Aspects of Robinson: Homage to Weldon Kees, which is forthcoming from The Backwaters Press. His book on short story writing, Shaping the Story, came out in 2003 from Longman Publishers. Baechtel recently finished a novella which was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition, and is at work now on a novel entitled Renovation.

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