* why america needs better poets and the countdown begun

This morning at breakfast I shared this following anecdote about Pablo Neruda:

“To decorate his houses he has scoured antique shops and junkyards for all kinds of objects. Each object reminds him of an anecdote. “Doesn’t he look like Stalin?” he asks, pointing to a bust of the English adventurer Morgan in the dining room at Isla Negra. “The antique dealer in Paris didn’t want to sell it to me, but when he heard I was Chilean, he asked me if I knew Pablo Neruda. That’s how I persuaded him to sell it.” ”

– this excerpt is taken from here: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4091/the-art-of-poetry-no-14-pablo-neruda

I remarked on how great it was to be so representative of where you are from that you get associated with the country.  Do we have that here these days, I asked, to which my girlfriend responded with a story about her time in Spain, how when she was there she was often asked if she knew George W. Bush.  There came a point where she was even asked this question in front of a class of thirty students while doing a presentation.  She told them: yes, I know him, we have tea every Thursday.  They believed her for a second.  Then she drew a map of the States, pointed where the president lived in comparison to where she lived at the time (Oregon).  She gave me the impression that the vastness of our country blew their minds even more than the possibility of the president having tea with my lady.

And that blew my mind.


“The countdown begun” is in reference to my upcoming reading at Page One Books on May 8th.  I will be the feature during the Adobe Walls open mic run by Kenneth P. Gurney, a generous human being and an outstanding poet in his own right.  His website is: http://www.kpgurney.me/Poet/Welcome.html

In preparation for this feature, I went to the East of Edith open mic last week.  The poems I read were well received.  It had been years since I read in public – almost three.  Felt good.  Spotlight still blinds.  And the sound of your own voice always surprises.

I will periodically post about what the countdown means: the psyche out, the preparation.  Of the three poems I read this week, only one didn’t work live.  You want to talk about sensitivity to language, there’s nothing like reading something out loud.


p.s. the reason america needs better poets is, of course, to haggle at foreign antique shops…

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