Friday, May 3, 2013
You know how there is always some great book or work that you have never read, feel you ought to read, never quite get around to reading? Some work that everyone around you has read, so that you are reluctant to admit that you never did read? I have in fact read Moby Dick, Ulysses, War and Peace, Tristram Shandy, and Part 2 of Faust (auf Deutsch), but until last week I never had read A Room of One's Own. I'd seen so many references that I supposed I had already got its goodness, basically. Wrong Wrong Wrong!! I had utterly forgotten how sly Virginia Woolf is, how deftly she builds up the bits of evidence, emotional as well as physical, that will lead you cleanly grievously to her conclusion. I had never heard anyone allude to the Manx cat, a perfectly good cat, complete even without a tail, that strolled calmly through the quad of the men's college where she was lunching. I had certainly never heard anyone mention the poor dinner of the women's college, and how it must contribute to the scope of work that can be produced. And when she mildly but inexorably adduces the circumstances that must obtain in order for a woman to sit herself down and gather her thoughts and have the mental room to let them mingle and speak--well! No wonder this work is a banner and a mantra for women who write. Just from reading it, I feel that space has been cleared in my own crowded head.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Two years ago I attended a writing conference at Esalen in Big Sur on the Central California coast. I do want to say that it was a magically beautiful place, and that I took home a lot of ideas and writing oomph, to say nothing of a renewed appreciation for whole grains. Tonight, however, I am also remembering the graffito dashed on the fence that greeted us as we drove up to the entrance: "Jive shit for rich white folks." Just saying.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Vieve Kaplan, friend, colleague, and poet, invited me to join The Next Big Thing, a cascade of promoting myself (read: my work) and inviting others to do the same.
My tagged writers for next Wednesday are: Judith Terzi, Richard Garcia, Dale Wisely, Nickole Brown, Cati Porter, and, Maria Andrade. I haven’t collected their URLs, but when I do I will post those here. Check them out too!
What is the working title of the book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Sammy Greenspan of Kattywompus Press challenged chapbook submitters to offer her unusual collections, such as a chapbook of prose-poems. I just so happen to write a lot of those, thanks to Richard Garcia’s mentorship.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry chapbook, I guess…maybe weird fables, or dream book.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Robert Downey Jr., Tina Fey, Angelica Houston—those people who can play anything and anyone they want, and no one at all.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Apparently, I look at the world in strange, or at least unique, ways, and my sense of humor also is tweaked.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
To write the poems, a span of four years; as we all end up saying, to perceive the poems, many more years than that. When I write, I continue to be surprised how drifts from so many different things in my life enter my words.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Immediately, Richard Garcia, for introducing me to the notion of the prose-poem form; more broadly, the Brothers Grimm, my dreams, German Romantics, Kafka, shaggy-dog jokes, Dada, Mitteleuropa humor, and people who speak in code because they are in danger.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
When I’m being serious, I’m pretty funny.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither; Kattywompus Press has picked it up (after inspiring it) and tells me that it should be published sometime in 2014.
Friday, February 22, 2013
I am amazed again and again at how hard chamber music groups work. They play ambitious programs, and when the greedy audiences ask for encores, they comply! I kind of wish they wouldn't, because they've done enough and they've already assembled a musically coherent program. The fine musicians of this group gave us:
- Martinů—Piano Quartet No. 1, H. 287
- Mozart—Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478
- Schumann—Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47
Monday, February 11, 2013
Some of you may remember a post from last year:
It discussed the vexing considerations involved in hitting someone with a fish.
It turns out that hitting someone with a fish has a literary history. While Verlaine was living in London with Rimbaud, Rimbaud saw Verlaine walking up the street with their supper, namely, a bottle of olive oil in one hand and a fish in the other. Rimbaud thought Verlaine looked silly, and was immature enough to say so. (I mean, really--the guy leaves his wife and child to be with you, and you mock him when he goes shopping for dinner??) Verlaine was incensed, or at least touchy, and smacked Rimbaud in the face with the fish. I don't know yet what kind of fish, or whether they cooked dinner that night.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Lately I've been immersed in an oral history of Reed College, of which I am a proud and grateful graduate. I loved, and love, Reed for the larger world that my time there opened up to me, for the entirely unconscious acquisition of the ability to go to the heart of an argument, and for the great pleasure of being with others who thought it was fun to know things.
Since my time, Reed students have developed the Hum 110 play (pronounced Hume, as in Humanities), a quick and tricky take on the entire year's coverage of 2000 years of Western civilization, starting with the Greeks and moving on through the Middle Ages to fetch up against Dante. Five-unit course, big old deal. Greg Lam, '96, offered:
Shit happens, then your armor clatters thunderously.
Such was the battle of Hector, breaker of horses.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I discovered just today that two found poems I had submitted to Verbatim Poetry had indeed been accepted, even published last May and June. (See links at left.) This caps off an amazing run over the last two weeks, including six at RiverLit, one at Mom Egg, one at Parody, and one at Centrifugal Eye. My poems seem not to get accepted in any steady sustaining way, but rather like giving birth: much waiting, then big result. Come to think of it, that's how I write. As above, so below.