About the Author

CW buildingRaising a heavy teak sao in Chiang Mai with Saman and Kanit Chaleekanha (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.
You can click on it to see everybody better.

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 can continue to read backwards from there, or just start straight off with the earlier series of Asian threads he wrote with his friend, W.F.Kammann, beginning with Barabar and the Mystery of the Marabar Caves.

At present Christopher Woodman is working on an Annotated Index & CoverPage to the site as a whole, and if you didn’t come here from there it’s obviously the best place to start.

Christopher frequently writes  not just about poetry but about how he writes it himself. Last spring he finished a very personal, 4 month long thread called “In Praise of the Still Unweighed: off the Record at 80” which revolves around his book, GALILEO’S SECRET: Two Decades of Poems Under House Arrest. The initial poem, “Gravity’s Rainbow,” is followed by 50 Comments in which he develops the theme with a little help from his friends.

For commentary and background information on his 2nd book, La-Croix-Ma-Fille: Hexes, Ruins, Riddles and Relicsyou should go to the thread by the same name.  For his third and most recent book, Fig Leaf Sutras: A Memoir in Poems, 1990-2020, you can have a look at the photo below which tells the whole story. If you want more, just click on it!

Bon Voyage!

Photo C & H Darwin 2007With Homprang in the Gros Ventre Mountains in Wyoming (2014).

Whoa! ‘Cowpattyhammer?’

It’s an odd history, not to mention an odd name.

It started 12 years ago as an Archive of Scarriet.com, a site which a small group of poets 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 Scarriet Posts for January and February 2010 a few of which I have preserved in the Cowpattyhammer Archive. To this day some of them make me feel extremely uncomfortable.

In March 2010 I began to distance myself from Scarriet, and despite all the hope, effort, and good will I had put into it everyday for 6 months, I parted company with it forever that spring.

And now, much to my amazement, another 10 years down the road and all of 80, I’m Cowpattyhammer!

ChristopherResident Plumber, Chiang Mai — photo by Sharon Camhi, March 2nd, 2018.


  • You will find the origin of the name itself 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, though it’s still pretty bumpy.
  • Posts before April 2010 can be accessed in the Archive on the left, most of which consist of original 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 like Franz Wright, Dawn Potter, Diana Manister, and Alan Cordle. 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).
  • For the sort of Scarriet dirt you may have come here to find, you can click on the photo of me with my brother Tony at the Gran Prix of Czechoslovakia in Brno in 1964. (You can see how grease-stained we were, and also how closely we were watched by the iron-curtain goons behind us. And you can’t imagine the noise!)

    Brno with Tony 300
  • Now you can return to the Cowpattyhammer Homepage where you will find what I’m up to right now: putting together an Annotated Index for all this. And do feel free to leave a comment anywhere — almost all the threads are open, and I’d be delighted to discuss any of it with you.

………Christopher Woodman

1 Comment

  1. James Pettigrew said,

    April 11, 2022 at 8:19 am

    Happened upon your blog looking to find out where Delia might be these days. It was helpful that an image of you on a sail boat resembled the man I knew briefly in 1989 or 1990? I had a wonderful time on the slow moving sail with your amazing daughters Delia, Sophia and Unity. I look back on visiting Delphi with you sharing an abundance of information and not really appreciating that these moments are not to be taken for granted. I didn’t even keep a journal on that trip! Delia and I had a brief stay in Amsterdam and I never saw or heard from her again. I would be happy to hear from her if she likes. Look me up if you come through San Francisco. James Pettigrew

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