Monday, August 18, 2014

From "The Edith Wharton Sentences"

The First of November

“I shouldn’t have had to ruin this umbrella by using it in the rain. A frying pan, or cookie sheet is never more perfect than when it hangs on a shelf in some kitchen notion shop. An umbrella in its stand is the idea of an umbrella, while the same object, flecked with sleet and turned half inside-out in a rough onslaught of November wind, is that idea put forth and the argument lost. Weather and time together win every debate they have ever staged, even against hearty teams such as steel, concrete, brick walls, and hope.”
The shop girl looked at me as if I hadn’t spoken. “Do you want this wrapped as a gift,” she said. So I suppose we understood one another after all. We lived on the borders of the wicked city, it was the first of November, and the weatherman’s promised gale had only just arrived.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

About Time: Thunderbird, Little Red Riding Hood, and Edith Wharton, among other things.

It flows, apparently, and runs, and gets away from me like a horse might get away, by swimming into the ocean.  I haven't been blogging, at any rate.  But rather than offer excuses or explanations I think I'll just start again. And say that I have read a lot of things, young adult novels I read for my day job, and novels and nonfiction I read because reading is what I do.  And poetry, always.  The last book of poetry I read that made me want to right away respond by writing my own poems was Dorothea Lasky's Thunderbird.  A couple of weeks ago I sat on a bench at the Chicago lakefront on a beautiful day.  I read a poem from Thunderbird, and then write a poem in my notebook.  Rinse, repeat.  It was a really good morning.

I also recently read an anthology forthcoming from Viking in March 2015, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation.  Dorothea Lasky is represented, and other poets I've long admired, James Allen Hall, Mark Bibbins, Timothy Donnelly, Matthew Zapruder, Melissa Broder, Matthew Dickman, Ocean Voung, and Michael Dickman, among others.  It's the kind of anthology I wish I'd had when I was 20, and all the anthologies seemed to be filled with poets that were either dead, or, to my 20 year old self, yes, unforgivably old, so much older than I that they seemed to already belong to history rather than the now.

Now, of course, I am older than poets who seemed so old to me then. Still and all it's valuable for young people to have an anthology made up of contemporary voices.

In my own work, I'm writing 3-4 new drafts for my Edith Wharton Sentences each week, and also typing already-written pieces into the growing document. Finishing one manuscript this year has whetted my appetite to complete more, and I think I have a very good shot at being done with the project before 2014 is over.  I've also being working on a series of new spider poems, probably prose poems, if they remain in their current form. I did a mash-up of spider imagery combined with exercises from a textbook on the Little Red Riding Hood story that I found in a thrift store. I go back and forth on thinking they are really great to seeing them as just exercises that should not see the light of day.  Lucky for me they can hang out in a notebook and marinate for a while.