Sometimes a song does it. I'll suddenly remember being together with a group of people, playing a game or writing some poems, sharing food and drink. We've been watching some classic musical films at my house for that very reason: nostalgia for the simple joy of just being together. Today, not one but TWO in-person … Continue reading Local water
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
It's as necessary to listen to rain, and then to go for a walk in it, as it is to sit down with pen and notebook. I'm writing a poem in hope of unraveling my thoughts about the shootings in Atlanta this week. Imagine how snarled up those thoughts are for many, between experience and … Continue reading Thought or bird
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
Saffron mood — Surprise flowers are a good strategy in love. A friend just reminded me of some translations I wrote a while back of Tamil love poetry. Maybe I’ll translate more this spring.
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
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.