Saturday, March 31, 2012

This Week in Soap Opera Summaries


Days of Gertrude Stein

Alice was distressed to find out that she isn't pregnant, and a cyst is a cyst is a cyst is a cyst that needs to be removed to rule out cancer. In Gertrude’s hospital room, Alice and Gertrude agreed to a truce, which they acknowledged would be up to them to maintain. Later, rejected by a girl, Alice blamed Gertrude and vowed to get back at her. Alice and Gertrude forgave each other and made cake. Gertrude blackmailed Alice into protecting her while doing her new job at the police station. Someone stole Alice’s needle-pointed chair designed by Picasso, and returned it with R.I.P. carved into the arm. Gertrude and Alice had second thoughts about being together after they made love. Coming: Alice has a long-held secret to keep covered up.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Cauliflower's Last Known Whereabouts

General Vegetables

Following the turnip’s visit, the kohlrabi left a mysterious message in the soup, which the radish found and gave to the head lettuce. The rutabaga came up with a shocking explanation for the chard’s recipe and what needed to be done. Chard agreed to the trimming, but the procedure did not go well, leaving his stem on the line. Spinach returned to himself for a moment when the melon took him to the compost pile. The cucumber concealed the cauliflower’s whereabouts from everyone. The cucumber found the cabbage trying to cover her tracks with string beans and had a chat with the pumpkin, when the onion entered and overheard them.  The beets were stricken when arugula decided to side with watercress. Coming up: Goat cheese offers the beets the support they need.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reading at The Book Cellar

This will be the fourth or maybe even fifth year that Suzy, the owner of The Book Cellar, has invited me to read at the store during National Poetry Month.  Each time there's been a variety of poets on the bill, but always I am delighted to share the stage with my good friend, the amazing writer Richard Fox.  This is one of the readings I look forward to from year to year, and I'd love to see folks there.  I'm busy reading kid's books for a committee I am on for the American Bookselling Association, so I've not been composing a lot of new things, but in the fairly short time I'll have I promise to read at least one brand-spankin' new poem along with some oldies.

I walked in Rosehill Cemetery today. Well over 80 degrees in mid-March, and the robins were delighted, the crows were calling, two hawks circled, and the lion stoically looked off into the distance.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Notes on a Reading by Jeanette Winterson

                                                                                         (photo from the Guardian)
I saw Jeanette Winterson read from her memoir tonight. She was jet-lagged, witty, intense, and could answer a question like "Where do you get your ideas," with a three paragraph spoken essay that was cogent, entertaining, and meaningful.  Here is what I wrote in my little notebook as I listened to her speak. Much of the longer phrases are direct quotations, the individual words are all ones she used:
I was like a flare. Disaster. Phone booth.
  Copper--plate handwriting.  Loomed up. Uncarried
  Shut yourself up in your grief.  Duffel-coat.
I was selling my story against hers--part fact, part fiction is what life is.
When you are a solitary child you find an imaginary friend. I thought
the measure of love was loss. Gap. Opening.
Version. Silence, burden, grave. Wait
until the dead were gone. Promise
  box. Words become clues. Both of us endlessly
     the house.  The night bus. Coarseness
for my own sake.  Secrecy. Brilliance--unravel
     it. The words are there. How
do we make sure we are people worth knowing?  To say
that art is a luxury is to say that being human
   is a luxury. Begin
with a sentence and go on.

Monday, March 12, 2012


from the stairwell of the Hyde Park Art Center:


Orpheus, Descending