Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Libra Horoscope for week of January 1, 2009
"God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet," wrote Frederick Buechner. You're free to ignore that call, of course. You can pretend that you don't really know what brings you deep gladness, and you can act as if the world's deep hunger is of no concern to you. But if you hope to be proud of the life you have lived when, many years from now, you shed your mortal coil, I advise you to at least experiment with using Buechner's formula as a working hypothesis. The coming year will be en excellent time to do just that.
Don't know about the god part, but I like the thought of next year/tomorrow being about experimentation, about collaboration, about constructing hypothesis, about work.
There's an urgency now too that needs attention. And possibility, always!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It's been fun to post videos. There are tons out there of course, though I wish there were a better way to search and sort. Dr. Atomic opened this fall to acclaim. I've not seen it. One review commented on the thinness of his libretto. Still, the "conversation" between music and word, not to mention history.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I'm excited to see Anne Carson's latest collaborations, Stacks and Bracko, with sculptor Peter Cole and choreographer Jonah Bokaer. I've admired Carson's work-- The Glass Essay, Plainwater, Autobiography of Red and The Beauty of the Husband have been important. I return often to her translations of Sappho, If Not Winter, and Grief Lessons, four plays by Euripides. The reading/performance is to be staged at NYU later in the week.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
from Edmond Jabes
The Book of Margins
...as if all the truth transported by the book--this
portion of dark where the light wears thin--
were but an approach to death, for which
writing is both a piece of luck
and a misfortune; a death becomes ours
through every word, every letter, through sounds
and silence, where sense is only what makes
sense of the adventure.
As if, moreover, in order to make sense,
this adventure needed the deep sense of words,
their multiple meanings,
which are but focal points of their radiance.
The point here being that I've accumulated work enough for another book, dare I write this, world, whoever you are...and so the work begins again, with the point also being that there's sorting and re-reading and assemblage and revision/ new understandings--an adventure for sure--courage, roll up the sleeves.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I is other said Rimbaud, and why not add I is other is I, which leads me to the mirror neuron. The empathy neuron. This cell located deep in the brain, in the premotor cortex, the insula. Also found in a place I'd like to be right now (rain pounding all day) -- the superior temporal sulcus.
Smile and the whole world smiles too, but the rest of the song (cry and you cry alone) may not be accurate. As they probe, neuroscientists learn we're all lost in the looking glass when the mirror neuron fires. I look and imitate. You raise your hand to wave. I lift the soup spoon. Let's share a meal.
Such tree-like structures -- these neurons of pigeon and chick drawn by the great Spanish Nobel neuroscientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal. Did he find his way out?
I am musing on mirror neurons. Especially the delicate rendering by artist Judy Moonelis. I appropriate in language. My muse is about breaking and entering. "Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys," said Homer. "Tell me the causes, now, O Muse," writes Virgil as he opens The Aeneid, "how galled in her divine pride, and how sore at heart from her old wound."
Who do I invoke? Is it inspiration or simply the excitement of looking? A synapse fires. I'm obsessed. My mirror neurons tingle, awed by representations of cells. Wire and bead collaged in air, or branchings penciled on paper -- all such beautiful construction work. Everything rising, converging. And my small heart running to catch up.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Week of October 16, 2008
Describing the poet Kenneth Koch, his colleague John Ashbery said that his work "gives you the impression that you are leading an interesting life; going to parties and meeting interesting people, falling in love, going for rides in the country and to public swimming pools, eating in the best restaurants and going to movies and the theater in the afternoons. By comparison, most other modern poetry makes me feel as if I were living in a small Midwestern university town." In the coming weeks, Libra, I exhort you to have an impact on people that's like Koch's poetry. Here's the best way to do that: Live the most interesting and imaginative life you can dream up.
What a hoot -- and under a full moon even.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
My neighbor drained his pond. The muck and mud-covered boulders are visible, the silt that has built up along the edges. There's the man-made dam that slows the stream, which creates the pretty lozenge of water reflecting tree branch and sky light.
A few years ago, the Met had an exhibition of prints by Chuck Close. It included proofs and woodblocks and etching plates of his work. There on the walls were the drafts, the carved out spaces, rough, unfinished. Work in process. Remains of ink.
I've been thinking recently about beauty and memory. How we remember and especially how I look in order to remember. The link between memory and what is beautiful as well as ugly and why I remember what I remember and how looking informs all of this.
I like the grid, the horizon line, the fragment, the shard. I like Rothko's blocks of color. And Diebenkorn's cartographies of blotched and colored land mass. I adore Agnes Martin quilted grids. I don't mind at all if a poem is broken. I can sometimes knit the poet's language together, or not. I prefer it when a poem isn't made neatly, even though I do this myself occasionally. I am not an orderly person.
At the end, he was just face, mostly mouth. That's what I memorized. The twitch of breath on lip and lid. The pale canvas of his cheekbones. Half-closed eyes. The cell phone that rang, or sounded. Step back from the blank page and fill it with a block of images, or a shadowy line. Draw up close. Pull back. Look at the years. There are waves, not just blocks, of color and story. Or words. Do I remember what is ugly better than what is beautiful. Does my recollection of anguish become lovely in the recreation.
Oh but we wanted to paint what is not beauty, how can one paint what is not beauty...? (and you must learn to feel shape as simply shape whispered the wind, not as description, not as reminiscence not as what it will become)
from her book The End of Beauty
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow
by Robert Duncan
as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,
that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein
that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.
Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.
She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.
It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun's going down
whose secret we see in a children's game
of ring a round of roses told.
Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,
that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.
I admit to having a thing about meadows, fields. This evening I went for a walk in one of my favorite fields. The air was cooling off. A breeze stalked me and I let it get snagged in my hair. There was a kind of returning, when I returned to this place "of first permission," the field folding into me.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I've been gone but here. Thinking and losing thought. Losing has been happening. Still, lots of reading. Also I've considered this space. But that's for another day.
quote/unquote/Where I'm At
an elsewhere falling apart from its lack
even then, another's body was both landmark and landscape.
the thing is a form desire takes
I'm calling up the tongue-and-groove gestures, the hook-and-eye moments of the day, so they might again spend themselves freely, mark the layers of events en route, classify the waiting.
how the notion was forming, with hawklike curves
See how the moments go layering up
I am tied to the sight of the world, to things burnished and scoured by use, and by their diminution loved.
indulgence, a failure, partial sight
--from a collection of essays by Lia Purpura
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The other afternoon I went to the fifth floor at MoMA to see Monet's waterlilies. It was packed naturally. July in New York. But I managed to get close. Next thing I know, I'm getting choked up. Something about the intimacy of his hand. And the age of the paint, the age of his strokes. The colors. The panels. I guess the deep effort, the work and how Monet seemed to be there in the crowded gallery, full of tourists sprawled on the benches. Folks posing before the painting as their friends snapped photos for the album. Like we were at the Grand Canyon.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Are you looking for something to read as summer winds along? Thinking about poetry, perhaps, especially contemporary poetry? Would you like some assistance in knowing what's out there? Poet and publisher Eileen Tabios offers an amazing service on her blog The Blind Chatelaine's Keys. Every few months she pulls together an online journal full of book reviews on poetry. The journal, Galatea Resurrects, features books by poets from the post-avant to the school of quietude, to use terms coined by the don of the poetry blogging world, Ron Silliman.
This is an amazing endeavor and I've had fun contributing reviews to Eileen's journal. For me, it's an exercise in close reading and thinking. As I write about collections like Bone Pagoda by Susan Tichy or The Marvelous Bones of Time by Brenda Coultas I have a chance to study technique and voice and style. When I read Child in the Road by Cindy Savett I see again how it is to write from the dark center of powerful emotion and how language guides me through. When I return to Brigit Pegeen Kelly's The Orchard to write about it, I push myself to examine the work of the line, particularly the densely laden line. I learn from my reading and then from my writing. And hopefully I carry that back to my own work.
My reviews are among 68 postings on the latest issue of Galatea Resurrects -- a record. There is a healthy selection of work by poets who won't get ink in the Sunday book review sections or in establishment journals like Poetry. Often collections are reviewed multiple times, so you, dear reader, can have additional perspectives. Along with my review of Brenda Coultas' book, poet Patrick James Dunagan writes about it too.
Thus, this is a rich feast arranged by Eileen Tabios. I marvel at her diligence and thank her. She has other projects you'll learn about if you visit her blog. And do roam around the reviews at Galatea Resurrects. You'll find it a great mix of books to savour as the summer declines toward the dog days.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
by Louise Glück
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I've been pretty remiss about posting here recently. Lots going on family wise that intervenes as it must. And summer is whirling past me in sad and good ways. And always too fast. So it goes, Billy Pilgrim wisely pointed out.
One more small headline -- another poem accepted by the online journal qarrtsiluni! Do visit and read some of the work there. The latest issue on water has been compiled as a podcast. Take a listen and you're bound to feel as if you've had a nice long swim in the surf. Good things happening there, so I'm pleased to have my poem, "Anecdote of Air," included in the upcoming issue on "transformation." I'll note its posting here.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
|THERE is no frigate like a book|
|To take us lands away,|
|Nor any coursers like a page|
|Of prancing poetry.|
|This traverse may the poorest take|
|Without oppress of toll;|
|How frugal is the chariot|
|That bears a human soul!|
Monday, June 23, 2008
I'm looking for poems about reading, about books.
Even about specific books.
Thomas Lux has one.
Any other suggestions?
The Voice You Hear
When You Read Silently
is not silent, it is a speaking-
out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It is the writer's words,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her voice, but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling,
having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word barn
that the writer wrote
but the barn you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally -- some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation
is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows...
And barn is only a noun -- no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
A Map of Broken Glass
Language operates between literal and metaphorical signification. The power of a word lies in the very inadequacy of the context it is placed, in the unresolved or partially resolved tension of disparates. A word fixed or a statement isolated without any decorative or "cubist" visual format, becomes a perception of similarity in dissimilars - in short a paradox. Congruity could be disrupted by a metaphorical complexity within a literal system. Literal usage becomes incantory when all metaphors are suppressed. Here language is built, not written.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Reading with me is a poet I don't know -- Frank Messina.
We'll read with saxophonist Erik Lawrence
for an evening of poetry and jazz entitled "Mellow Declamations."
Should be interesting, especially as it has been awhile since I've
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Posted most of the new work and some older, but barely revised,
work at the private blog. It's a curious sensation to put the poems
there, leaving me with the mini-sensation that the work is in some
kind of completed state -- lulling me. But I know there's
work to be done.
I'm clearing space in my head and, poem by poem, I see and see again
the crevices, the rough places that must be made plain, the plain
places that want messiness. Oh it's all a walk on the wild side.
And a brain shift is necessary. So many words, so little time.
Sometimes I want them to just go away.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
These amazing lilacs are blossoming now (later than others). Their scent permeates the house, the street, me. I've not written in a while, taking a break to sort through the writing I did in April. I've been reading over the poems and other gorgeous junk (garbage becoming compost). I recently decided to manage the revision process by stealing an idea from RebeccaLoudon. In her interview with Kate Greenstreet, Rebecca says that for one of her books she used a private blog for document control, revising on the blog and giving access to a select few.
I revise a lot. And my drafts tend to get scattered the deeper I go. Usually I keep track by putting dated drafts in notebooks. But sometimes I'm lazy about printing out. And, true confession time, I don't back my files up. Rebecca Loudon's idea seemed to make good sense.
I started a private blog last week and have begun putting poems there. So far I'm leery about sharing that work. In point of fact, I have never even posted my own poems here. Yes, readers can follow links to previously published work, but I've not posted works-in-progress. Maybe I will. We'll see how it goes. Also, I decided to do the private blog in Wordpress, which is also free. Just to see how things worked over there. My plan is to get an accumulation of poems up and then roll up my sleeves. In fact, as I move the drafts over to the blog, I start to fiddle. Revision is deep, important work for me. So I'm excited about this format. I'll keep you (whoever you are) posted.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
So the cruelest month is nearly over and I'll admit a certain rebellious disdain for napowrimo but fact is jumping part way on that bandwagon is yielding work or at least words, pages of them, all marks, some showing sudden places, which is a good thing, and when courage comes time to read, perhaps there'll be marks worth another look, then more work. This mark-making/type-making has been a relief.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
|We Are Ready: Petition to the Chinese Government|
| On August 8, 2007, China launched a publicity campaign proclaiming “We Are Ready” to host the Olympic Games in August 2008. We, the undersigned members of PEN American Center, are writing to ask you to show the world that China is in fact ready—not just to stage the Olympics, but to acknowledge, protect, and celebrate the full rights of its citizens.|
PEN believes there are currently 38 writers and journalists imprisoned in China for exercising their right to speak and write freely, as guaranteed under Chinese and international law. We are concerned that, despite official pledges to respect essential rights in this Olympic year, Chinese authorities continue to harass and detain writers in violation of their right to freedom of expression.
In order to fulfill the promises China made in securing the Olympic Games, and to ensure that the rights of our colleagues are fully protected in your country, we therefore urge you to:
• facilitate the immediate and unconditional release of all writers and journalists currently imprisoned and end the practice of detaining, harassing, and censoring writers and journalists in China
• abide by China’s pledge that “there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games”; and
• end internet censorship and reform laws that are used to imprison writers and journalists and suppress the free exchange of information and ideas on the internet.
ACT NOW: sign the petition
Visit the PEN website