Love Is All Around

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brooklyn morning, 10 a.m. writing project
a car alarm somewhere on the block behind
a quasi-desperate tiredness

I look at the job ads and think

"If I carry me off to Iowa," I think

Here's the pie chart of my mind:
big slices of I'm sick of your insane demands
of gratitude gratitude shakti shakti

I'll rest my mind upon the vari-colored
terra cotta tiles
brick-red painted house shingles
white trim, green leaves all light
and dapple dapple through the window

(Since I was a kid, if I let my mind go quiet:
particles moving in the trees)

What is this realm I've come to,
its leaves, its constant jostlings?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

I have been following the blog of Bhanu Kapil.  She says things like this on her blog:

Teaching has a lot of shakti.  Writing has shakti. September is for balance, the mediation of all this voltage, and the pleasures of the color gold.  I invert myself, with others, above the river in early Fall, or the first day of Fall, then go home.  Last night, I dreamed of a tree that was filled with eight or nine mountain lions; they were three-quarters mountain lion and one-quarter hawk. 

I thought I might have a dream like that last night, but I only remember dreaming that I told some man that I needed to lose 10 pounds and he said, "No, you need to gain 10 pounds."   So, there's that.

One image that came up when I Googled "Poet Headstand."

But there's also this:  I woke and thought, "A book called Spells."  Like, "Here are some magic spells," but also like, "Joanna's having one of her spells again."  The thought pleased me.

At brunch, C. and I talked about serving the poetry/art/music, instead of using the poetry/art/music to serve your ego.  Tapping into a water table of poetry, etc.  We kept extending the metaphor until it became pleasantly absurd, and C. ended up telling me not to make poetry smoothies that would poison people.  (I won't.  Hopefully.) 

I'm feeling the need to invert myself.  I will work up to that again.   

New York Penn Cooper

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last night as I came back out of Penn Station after teaching poetry in New Jersey, I saw Jesse Eisenberg ride by on a bike.  Where were you going, Jesse Eisenberg? 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

[Under the High Line is where I ate lunch with some of my family; my brother met up with a "couple friends," and I walked them through Prospect Park; David Byrne put this globe here; my brother made a plum cake, and I made a cake with the leftover plums, which sunk into the cake, but were still good.]

A. R. Ammons

Monday, September 19, 2011

I tried to read Ammons years ago, and didn't get it.  But just today, I get him, like him.

This is just a place.

J. Hope Stein

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My friend J. Hope Stein, a wonderful poet, has a blog here.  Be sure to read About her and to watch the excerpts from her short film, "The Inventor's Last Breath."  It is all very wondrous.   

Quiet weekend

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday I took a cab to a 9/11 memorial poetry reading (because the two subways I needed to get there weren't running), and everything just seemed so quiet in Brooklyn.  Very quiet.  The reading had entrancing moments.  My former teacher Malena Mörling read her poems in English in her Swedish accent.   I've heard her read several times now, and in my mind the voice of her poems is so tied to the lilt of her accent, the way the English runs over it so that it's plucked at in a lovely way.  Nicole Peyrafitte started her performance piece by saying something like, "Remember.  Reflect.  Mark."  And then she rubbed a bunch of charcoal across a huge sheet of paper.  It went on from there.  There was chalk dust on her head and French lilting singing and marking on her body and more singing.  And, of course, given her presence and her voice, we marked and reflected.  It's amazing to me when people can do that kind of thing and pull it off.  And Dorianne Laux held us all.  Rapt.

What else?  Clif and I ate Tibetan food on Saturday.

On Sunday, we sat in our offices for most of the day, and still I have more to do on my syllabus for tomorrow's class.  Well, I've been mulling it over and making notes on possibilities for about three days.  Yesterday I read some poems and thought about them, the kind of poems that lull you and knit you into them.  The lulling and knitting distracted me from finishing culling down the list and fitting the poems into categories and boxes of time on the syllabus.

We also finally got my tall bookshelves upstairs.  They wouldn't fit up the stairs when we moved, and we (well, mostly he) had to take them apart and put them back together.  Now I have a tiny library room attached to my office, in addition to the built-in bookcases downstairs.  Yay.  But, you know, I still need to arrange the books.  Here is the Collected Frank O'Hara looking lonely.

 Clif says our upstairs reminds him of the Millennium Falcon, and that he likes how we can both lean back in our office chairs and look at each other down the curved hallway.  That hulking black case there is a double bass.  

I have seven things to tell you

Sunday, September 11, 2011

1.  Ten years ago, it was a beautiful day in Philadelphia.
2.  The tv in the English Department hallway at Temple.  Lyn Tribble saying, "This is bad."  Knowing DC and New York had been hit.  Thinking at first Philadelphia would be next.  After teaching, a skittish drive through Philly with my friend and former student Walter, on our way out of town to be with other friends.  Feeling waves of grief and shock up and down the eastern seaboard.  
3.  I guess I moved to Minneapolis after that?  In part because of that?  To be near family?  I was in Minneapolis when the U.S. declared war on Iraq.  The war is ongoing.  The grief of the Bush years.  The numbness.  Eric saying something like, "That is how they want you to respond.  Don't succumb to the numbness." 
4.  A Facebook friend posts, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."  Yes, do that. 
5.  Another thing:  I am remembering the atmosphere in Nova Scotia, where I got to go for a week two years ago.  Where I was, the air had a lightness, but the atmosphere was also heavy enough to hold you.  That is what I remember or what I was feeling at the time, lightness and weight, the air and a holding.  May I be grateful.  
6.  This morning's email from my mom: "If u were little I would buy u these PJs and talk u into wearing the hat w them."  For the fact that someone sees me this way, may I be truly grateful.

7.  And: grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; 
to be understood, as to understand; 
to be loved, as to love.

Everyday Genius

Friday, September 09, 2011

I am pleased to have a piece of writing up over here.  Thanks, Everyday Genius people!


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Perhaps this drawing parodying pre-Raphaelitism will have a cheering effect. 

(Punch Magazine, 1866)


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Today I wrote road rode the bus to Montclair, NJ to fill out my HR paperwork.  I am teaching one class there this fall.  (American Poetry after 1945.)

Today I was very sleepy all day, and I ate dumb foods, like a croissant for lunch.

Today it rained and rained a lot at night just now, which is tonight.

Today I ordered Indian food from the place I like now, near me in Brooklyn now.  Gandhi Fine Indian Cuisine of Flatbush.  I have lived in my new place for a month and ten days, and I have ordered food from there four times, I think.  (Once for a visiting friend.)  The man who brings it said to me the second time, "I have been here before.  Do you remember me?" and he gave me a very sweet smile.  Yes.  Yes, I remember you.  Today we smiled sweetly at each other again, and I thought, "Please be careful on your way back."  Maybe he heard me think it.  It wasn't raining at that point.  Maybe a little miss. mist.  Careful.   

The rice pudding has a little tapioca in it, which I guess that sounds a little weird.  But so good.

This is how I sound at night after I was sleepy all day and it rained, and a croissant for lunch and a bus that sat there in the Lincoln Tunnel for a very long time (a short time, but an hour ride instead of twenty minutes, part of it in the tunnel).

This is what I look like when I'm tired like this.  (You don't want to see.)

But there was seafood korma and a salad we made at home, which someone cut up the vegetables for me for.  A few bites of rice pudding and the rest for tomorrow.

All of which sounds better if you think it over while you listen to this:

News and recent endeavors

Friday, September 02, 2011

1.  I'm excited to have a poem in the recent issue of South Dakota Review.

2.  Another piece is forthcoming (next week!) in Everyday Genius

3.  I realized that Bernadette Mayer and Donald Revell will be the Visiting Writers during my four-week writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center next May.  Hey!

4.  I've picked up some poetry teaching for fall, in addition to the research work I'm doing.  (I'm doing some paid research work for another writer, as well as some research of my own into late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century spiritualism.)

5.  Keep me in mind if you need someone to do paid research, editing, or writing work.  I'm hoping to get a simple website up this fall about the services I can offer along these lines.  Meanwhile, you can find my resume here and academic cv here.   

6.  Some of my research/celebration of the season change involved going to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp with my little brother last week when I was visiting Florida.  It was the site of a community of turn-of-the-century spiritualists, and now it's an isolated small town filled with psychics.  It is also, apparently, filled with spirit orbs that show up in photographs!  My brother and I tried unsuccessfully to photograph a spirit orb (see above).  

7.  Oh, dear.  Summer is ending.  But oh, my-- how I love fall. 
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground