Also, had a recent blast to the past via my friend and fine poet Alan Berecka. Alan was kind enough to recently post some short clips of me reading at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas back in 2016. Here are the links should you care to check’em(me) out:
Ani pointed out that this was in the last days of me reading with “wild eyes” — which was really my hard-headed attempt to “make eye contact,” ha. These days, I’m inclined to take a performance as an opportunity to serve the poem. Like, that’s my job at a reading, to make sure you hear the poem.
Lastly, the election. It’s been happening and keeps happening and it’s stressing all of us out, no? And that’s not the only stressor, not the only public one, nor private one. I’m hoping y’all are being kind to yourselves still. Here’s a poem by Matthew Olzmann, “Letter to a Bridge Made of Rope” that I’ve been sharing at readings. As the speaker hears from the rope bridge: here’s to all of us making it across.
As many of you know, I’m a board member of CavanKerry Press, and I’m excited about the work done by this literary organization. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve managed to maintain their staff and publishing schedule, while conducting various community outreach events virtually. They are currently doing a fundraiser which I encourage y’all to check out at their site along with their current collections. They also have some of their literary anthologies available for free electronically.
One win for the week was getting the laundry done just before the machines were replaced in our building. And when I say just before, I mean JUST before–like, I came back to get things out of the dryer and the washers were gone. And if this doesn’t seem like a win to you, we’re not living in the same pandemic.
Spent some time discussing Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet “What lips my lips have kissed…” with my students this week. I shared my would-be-in-conflict-if-it-wasn’t-me ideas of needing to look into the tradition of the sonnet while also subverting it for their own contemporary ends–like seriously let’s shut down the tradition of sonnets centered around the male gaze and the needing to sound clever and Shakespeare-like and have sonnets about chanclas!!! One student contributed to the spirit of this by making us aware of a volta before the volta–volta meaning the turn in argument that a traditional sonnet has. While the standard volta happens at the line “Thus in the winter” where the poem’s image parallel of the lone speaker and lone tree comes into play, there is what I would term a minor turn earlier at the line “And in my heart…” where the speaker goes from looking outside to looking at what she feels inside. Check it out and see what you think 🙂
Been sharing the meme below with students. I share it with you hoping that if you feel called out, know that you matter. Let’s keep keeping it together together.
Ran across this square in one of R.O. Kwon’s tweets (her novel The Incendiaries is dope, btw!!!) and due to the moment time of time I came across it, “exhausted seltzer” is what you can call me. In true poet luck, I’m charmed by the combination of words. I mean, seltzer when exhausted is flat, technically–which applies to how I’ve been feeling lately. Mind, I’m not feeling this when doing readings or when teaching–those are spaces where the energy I put out is given back, conversations and events that give back some of the fizz (oof, rough metaphor, I know). Rather, it’s the weight of ALL THE THINGS going on, all at once, and constantly happening.
If you can at all relate, please be kind to yourselves. Maybe have a seltzer, ha.
Been missing posting, but also been exhausted, so will be here in shorter posts as a compromise. On that note, here’s the last poem I recommend, Garrett Hongo’s “The Legend.” It’s a powerful elegy that in its scope pays tribute to the memory of Jay Kashiwamura, managing the humanity of the life lost against references to Descartes and Rembrandt.
It’s the latter, the line “There’s a Rembrandt glow on his face,” that guided my recommendation–specifically to my poetry workshop students. The ability to borrow this aspect of Rembrandt’s work and connect it across time and space in this poem is powerful. May we all be able to find some of this glow in our lives.
Just a quick post to share about two virtual poetry readings I’ll be a part of this weekend!
Friday, October 9th @8pm EST: “A Virtual Reading to Celebrate Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s ‘Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved’ featuring José Angel Araguz, r. erica doyle, and Adeeba Shahid Talukder“