One of my students observed this: it is like we are actually in Purgatorio right now. The pandemic worries them deeply, and the time we take reading and discussing literary work is not exactly a break from that; it is a productive way to process it. Dante is more hopeful about human capacities than you … Continue reading English and literary studies
It had been too long, and the dhal needed stirring. So yesterday I invited another vigorous stir -- Saturday night salon, with readings and a round of "exquisite corpse" poems after the feast. What happens in the simmer except cinnamon-clove exhalations, flashes of coriander starlight in couplet after couplet. Here are excerpts of the beast … Continue reading Salon and vegetables
One of my students sent me some snow-day poems. And that has made all the difference. We work on some images, phrases. While storms rush through and it becomes increasingly painful to read the newspaper every day, one wonders how else to support the growth of love and hope in this world. And then through … Continue reading Pure poetry
I call this walking off a cliff, knowing that a helicopter is right there to catch you. Knowing, but not seeing it in your conscious mind. Some of us write ourselves off the cliff and in that moment of falling, catch the void in a turn of phrase, in a poetic twist, or a sudden … Continue reading Writing the present
While walking around and talking with writers and poets for a few days, I could see the silky new dreams rolling out. This is just to say to you: keep watching, keep loving, keep singing your poems, friends. It will work. So grateful for everyone I met at AWP's annual conference in Washington, D.C. All of … Continue reading Re-dream
Try to get to the poem underneath a day, and the words just float on the surface sometimes. Then, it's better for me to revise and read and wonder. I'm thinking of my teen students who are sending their final submissions to Scholastic Art & Writing Awards today--our regional deadline. Those hours over the line breaks, word choices, image... … Continue reading Unfiltered
We dismembered poetry and created some Franken-verse, as a little break today from revising work for the end of winter session at Writopia Lab. Reminding them (and myself) that cutting up the writing is still fun, startling, and rewarding.
It had not acquired one permanent wrinkle after all its ripples. ---Henry David Thoreau In poetry, circumambulating an object is the same as walking into the center of it. These two---poetry and walking near water---are my favorite ways into the deeps. And keeping a poetry notebook next to my busy life has become that necessary shortcut to serenity.
I hardly remember this---photo of a recent high school graduate and her younger sisters, visiting India in 1992. A past life, it seems. I've been reading high school seniors' writing portfolios as a volunteer juror in the Scholastic Art & Writing awards this week. I'm remembering, and happy to support those purer ideals growing into the future, … Continue reading To judge
The holiday catalogues have started to arrive in my mailbox. And while I'm admiring how pretty they are as decorations for my recycling bin, I felt the need to write a little guidance on surviving this annual season of materialism. Here's my top-20 list of reasons to make it easy on yourself --- buy poetry books for everyone on … Continue reading Top 20 reasons to give poetry books as gifts