About the Author

CW buildingRaising a heavy teak sao in Chiang Mai with Saman and Kanit (2002).

This is the blog of the poet, Christopher Woodman — you can click on his name for some of his published work. There is also a Bio , contact information, and a brief introduction to his poetry on the same page.

For more on his life in Chiang Mai where he has lived for over 25 years, and specifically for a glimpse of the work he is doing there with his Thai doctor-wife, Homprang Chaleekanha, and her family, you can go to www.homprang.com.

Songkran 1500+Christopher with the whole Chaleekanha family, Songkarn, April 2016.

For writing on what might be called his ‘extra-curricular life,’ i.e. beyond the walls of Baan Hom Samunphrai, you might begin with his description of a visit to his favorite temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Pha Lad — it’s on the jungle trail up Doi Suthep, the holy mountain that hangs over the city. If that sort of reverie interests you you might want to continue to read backwards from there. If it doesn’t you should probably give up on Christopher Woodman…

If, on the other hand, you are up for more, and the author sincerely hopes that you are, his most recent writing on poetry starts with his very newest post on Cowpattyhammer, La Croix Ma Fille, and continues on backward from there.

For more continuous writing on his life in poetry you might go first to Why I Wrote How Bad is the Devil. You will see that the introduction is an essay in itself, and that the development continues for 3 months in the 57 Comments that follow, some of which are essays in themselves too. And How Bad is the Devil with its 70 Comments continues on from there for another 3 months.

There used to be more autobiographical links in “About the Author,” but there were so many high jinks, and the musical accompaniments so compelling, Christopher felt they were beginning to distract from what he was trying to say. But not so with Under House Arrest — Galileo is a risk he’s willing to take any time, he says, and the music is the soul of the argument. And it’s extremely personal as well — “a very quick way to get to know me,” is what he says.

You can also have a look at “And What Then?”  later on the same thread to see where that goes. The two graphics, Winslow Homer’s engraving of a lifeline in Maine and the photo of a peat-stained pool near Garwald in Scotland, are among Christopher’s favorites  (be sure to take the time to click your way into those worlds as far as you can go).

Photo C & H Darwin 2007In the Wind River Mountains with Homprang (2014).

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A Note on the origins of ‘Cowpattyhammer’

This site has an odd history, not to mention an odd name. It started 8 years ago as an archive of Scarriet.com, a site which a small group of activists had set up six months before as an alternative to yet another site which had recently been started by The Poetry Foundation of America — ‘Blog: Harriet.’

On September 1st, 2009, four of the most active members of the Harriet community woke up to find that they could no longer access Harriet, and soon realized that they had been banned.

Unknown to each other in person and indeed posting from 3 different continents, we had in common only our love of poetry and aversion to the special interests that seemed to distort so much discussion of it at the time. We were followed in our exodus by a number of regulars,  and in just six months Scarriet had established itself as a popular site all on its own. And the final irony was that the Poetry Foundation closed Blog:Harriet to outside commentary altogether on April 1st, 2010, and I still miss it!

Yes, the four of us were certainly  mavericks, and yes, we did speak out where angels hardly dared to whisper — and that’s not always a wise thing to do, needless to say.  On the other hand, we always hoped that as we became more a force on our own the ability to talk about poetry without fear or favor might be possible. We hoped we might recreate what we had so valued the summer before on Blog:Harriet, an open forum free of snark and critical posturing, but unfortunately Scarriet stumbled on its own freedom. History repeated itself, and we ended up just as narrow-minded, cantankerous and intolerant as the community we were fleeing!

So I moved on. At 70 blogging hardly came naturally to me, and I found the increasing noise and insensitivity on Scarriet impossible to live with — you can read how my sense of frustration grew in the Posts for January and February 2010 in the Cowpattyhammer Archive.

This is why I began to distance myself from Scarriet in March 2010, and why, despite all the hope and effort I put into it everyday for 6 months, I parted company with it altogether that spring.

And now, much to my amazement, another 7 years down the road and all of 77, I’m Cowpattyhammer!

Christopher Woodman.………………
Chiang Mai, Sept. 28th, 2017.……
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ChristopherResident Plumber, Chiang Mai — photo by Sharon Camhi, March 2nd, 2018.

  • You will find the origin of the name ‘Cowpattyhammer’ in the July 2009  Blog:Harriet thread called “Keep the Spot Sore,”   a passionate, no-holds-barred discussion of Robinson Jeffers led by Joel Brouwer. You can scroll down to my July 6th, 2009 Comment for the origin of what became my nickname. That was painful, needless to say, but in the end my own poetry along with writing about it in some detail in Cowpattyhammer brought me back to the greener grass that was promised in the original image, one which I am now proud to own.
    …..
  • The first dedicated Cowpattyhammer thread is The Adoration of Anything You Think You Own is Fire (April 11th, 2010). That might be a good place to start.
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  • The remaining 164 posts before April 2010 can be accessed in the Archive on the left, most of which consist of the original, almost daily Blog:Scarriet threads from September 2009 to April 2010.  Loosely overseen by the joint editors, Thomas Brady and Christopher Woodman, there are  substantial contributions by Desmond Swords from Dublin, Ireland and W.F.Kammann from Mexico as well as a number of very striking visitors. The mix and the wonderful in-your-face muddle is well-illustrated in Scarriet’s longest ever thread, Pop Goes the Weasel (February 21st, 2010). The sensitivities that culminated in the rupture,  largely my own, I freely admit, are expressed more forcefully in  Poems That Have Spoken to Us in the Past (March 11th, 2010).

  • The Categories to the left can be used to access the vast amount of interesting but often ephemeral material in the earlier threads in some detail.
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  • You can now return to the Cowpattyhammer Homepage where you will find what he’s up to right now. And do feel free to leave a comment anywhere — almost all the threads are open.

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