I know, that’s backwards. It’s usually “effortless effort,” the Zen approach to living. But I think it may be more realistic and compassionate to say that putting in a focused effort upfront pays off in the practice of most things. One of my friends asked me when I’m going to add “watercolorist” to my profile … Continue reading Effortful effortlessness
pi day song - Observing sometimes means counting. How many times over, or how many iterations, repetitions in a pattern—these details are necessary to an act of keen artistic understanding. Time spent observing, letting the eye circle its shrine while interiorly circumambulating the heart’s concerns, isn’t counted. In fact, it puts time back into your … Continue reading Beautiful numbers
Tea is the least of it -- Subscriber Content Milk to water, one to one-and-a-half, inseparable friends in the cup. Thick as a half-inch slice of ginger peeled and rough minced, mixed with eight cloves and an inch of cinnamon. Round as a mortar, the earth, moon and sun. Nine, ten green pods of cardamom. … Continue reading Chai for two: a recipe-poem
Afloat together - I like accident in creative things. For example, this is one of the reasons I choose to know very little about jazz. Names of musicians, dates, recordings... blurrily. The music sneaks up on me. And I don’t consciously remember things when I’m creating. The sudden synchronicity of image, voice, a boat on … Continue reading In process
Riverside high tide It’s a state of mind. Empty and ready to face the don’t-know-what’s-next feeling with patience. My students have written some amazing poems so far this year. Maybe it’s because feelings can’t be helped these days, and a creative opening can help.
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
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