Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pop Quiz Answers

Here are my answers to the currently circulating meme:

1. When was the last time you wrote a poem?
Yesterday afternoon.

2. What was its title?
"Robyn, Love You Buckets Miss You—Eric" -- but dunno, it might change slightly.

3. What was one image from the poem (if applicable)?
Graffiti on a lampost that marks the spot of a fatal accident.

4. Do you currently have a poem percolating in your brain?
Just the usual peat bog where who knows what is buried. I'm actually trying to write a memoir/essay.

5. If you answered "yes" to number four, what is one image from that poem?
The guiding image from the memoir/essay is EK walking around my husband's flat in nothing but bikini underwear with "Home of the Wopper" on the fly and also an Italian Beretta in a shoulder holster.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bit to be thankful for

Apparently, the Pushcart Prize has given my poem "Conjugated Visits" (published by Field and Poetry Daily) a "special mention" at the back of the book.

They publish 30 poems of the approx. 4,000 poetry nominations they get each year and give "special mention" to 30 others. And I'm there, along with John Ashbery, Jane Hirshfield, and so forth.

This makes me very happy. That, and the fact that I have been accepted to VCCA for 2 1/2 weeks in February-March.

And four days off! Four days in which I can sleep in!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quick now, here, now, always—

I really liked this piece about TS Eliot by Jeanette Winterson.

So when people say that poetry is merely a luxury for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn't be read much at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language - and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers - a language powerful enough to say how it is.

Let's not confuse this with realism. The power does not lie directly with the choice of subject or its social relevance - if it did, then everything not about our own contemporary situation would be academic to us, and all the art of the past would be a mental museum. Art lasts because it gives us a language for our inner reality, and that is not a private hieroglyph; it is a connection across time to all those others who have suffered and failed, found happiness, lost it, faced death, ruin, struggled, survived, known the night-hours of inconsolable pain.

Also, couldn't agree more with Cathy Park Hong of Harriet Blog about serious unproductivity during the days (weeks, months) leading up to the election.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gray Saturday

It's a quiet, gray day here. Although I hear City College's marching band playing, it looks like rain. John has already gone downtown to work on a reshoot and won't be back until maybe 5:00. Greta is patiently waiting for me to finish with this post and take her for a walk. (Would be good idea to get out there before the rain starts.)

The house is a bit worse for wear -- everything stopped this week as we obsessed over the election. Now, change will come in Washington, but I still better wash the kitchen floor!

In the office, I have papers spread all over the floor. I'm going through my big wicker picnic basket full of old poems, printouts, old versions of my manuscript. I don't really know what I'm looking for.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day

After all this time. One day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Three More Days

I am obsessed. I can't think of anything else except the election -- even though John and I already voted today. We stood in the rain and we voted early. For Obama, of course. Is there any doubt? And against California Proposition 8 and against Proposition 4. Talk about the audacity of hope. If President Obama can accomplish even a small fraction of what this country needs, it will be wonderful. It will be a start.

The thing is: I had been obsessed with my manuscript, how close it's come so many times, the totally specious reasons for which it has been rejected, the less worthy books that have been published… But this election, this campaign has really made me understand how trivial my concerns about the manuscript are in comparison -- in comparison with the bigger cause that has involved us.

It's Saturday night and it's raining. I've been soaked twice today. John is out finishing some prints he owes people. I've had a large glass of red wine, so forgive me. The wine: free, Argentinean, "tannat," 2005 vintage. John is a photographer -- you know, if he shoots it, we drink it.

So, we're going to win, aren't we? In 1968, when I graduated high school, I was named "most idealistic." But even I could not have imagined the possibility of a win on Tuesday. Not just a win -- a landslide.