Sunflowers always seem to me to be announcing themselves in a beautiful, satisfying way.
Write, damn you! What else are you good for?—James Joyce
I find it utterly unsettling to have to announce: this is a little of me for you to look at, but that is what I will do today. Here are links to…
— a review of The Dailiness by the editor of the journal Halfway Down the Stairs
— a post I wrote about teaching, to accompany two of my poems in The Quotable (you can also navigate to the two poems, if you’re so inclined)
— and, between the scholarly articles in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, a persona poem of mine in the voice of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone.
Now I’m going to pull my sunflower self back down, and rejoin the masses doing quiet work to make the world glow.
Midsummer stretches beside me with its cat’s yawn.
Trees with dust on their lips, cars melting down
in its furnace.
—Derek Walcott, “Midsummer VI”
And here it is, full-on summer, and I seem to be in that summer-sluggish mode. More hours, and what I want most is to sit and read, sit and write, sit and drink iced tea.
I learned about oppressive heat in Belize this past March. People hardly moved. I was told that the country’s motto translates to “In shade we prosper.”
But look at what Caribbean poet Derek Walcott does with heat…! Continue reading
“The Emerger” by Diana Cooper (acrylic, ink, acetate, felt, paper, foam core, map pins)
As a teacher, I have ways to gently pull you out of your shell, to widen your voice (both internal and external), and to give you new writing tools. I am offering a few of these possibilities this summer.
You might be saying, who has time in the summer to write, but… I’ve figured out a way to take just a little bit of your time while the sun is up high and too hot. Join me, and some enthusiastic others, for three afternoons in July and/or three afternoons in August. Continue reading
Virginia poet Charles Wright has just been selected the new U.S. Poet Laureate. He succeeds Natasha Tretheway.
He’s very honest about many things, perhaps most impressively, how difficult it is to keep writing. In an interview in The Paris Review, winter 1989 — now already 25 years ago, Wright states, “The problem with all of us as we get older is that we begin writing as though we were somebody. One should always write as if one were nobody, for that’s what we are…”
Portrait of Virginia Woolf
A solid week at 8,000 feet, and I’m sitting again in this chair — only this time I’m saying goodbye. I’ve begun packing, and stopped to sit and write this. Stopped to read more of Virginia Woolf’s At the Lighthouse. Stopped to look at the light landing on the floor.
I keep stopping, but I’m also ready to go back to my world, where I’m much wanted.
I did as much revision as I thought possible, which also was much more than I thought possible. Being alone with oneself is an interesting experiment, especially when that one is creating. There’s nowhere to escape… the voice is always there, following.
Donald Judd’s boxes at Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas
I worked all yesterday on an old poem about Donald Judd’s installation of 100 steel boxes in Marfa, Texas. I took the poem from a single stanza to four pages, making it a sequence of a sort. I shaped and reshaped, looking for boxes… and reshaped within that, sometimes minimalizing punctuation because I thought that would suit it.
All of which leads me to share a poem that isn’t mine but one that I’ve liked for a while… Continue reading