Life Drawing

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reported to my brother that I went to life drawing this morning.  His response:  "Stop living the life of a Victorian ill person and get back to writing."  Fiine.  But I'm going back to life drawing at least once.  And I will be sunning myself in an Adirondack chair and taking in a slide lecture later, in addition to writing. 

Jenny Schade

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here is a slightly blurry photo of a painting-in-progress by one of the amazing artists here at Vermont Studio Center this month, Jenny Schade.  The red square signifies solidarity with the students in Montreal.

[Side note:  Jenny also has some amazing karaoke skills.  Her rendition of Nena's "99 Luftballons," the German version, translated from the English version on the fly . . . was pretty inspiring.]


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Five from today

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

1.  Heavy thunderstorm.  Atmosphere suddenly electrical and ship-like in the studio building.
2.  After the thunderstorm, reading Tranströmer.
3.  After Tranströmer, a nap on the studio floor.
4.  Attending a reading in an old white clapboard structure.  White plank ceilings, balcony area.  Podium in front of a stage hung with a theatrical backdrop of a turn-of-the-century street scene.
5.  Coming back to studio to listen to Talking Heads on headphones and think.

Notes on the Movie "Contempt"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

by Joanna Penn Cooper and Todd Colby

I let myself into your house and wrapped your family portraits in muslin. There wasn't a lot I could do with images of fetid life.  I don't really want to hear about your nostalgia for summer telephone poles sweating creosote on dirt roads, either. Or the movie lot with the dust bunnies or some palace on a peninsula. I'm done with glitz, for the time being.  Please meet me in the creek where my project begins, something about mud, something about, oh here I go again about mud.  You know that feeling where you've been thinking a lot about the appeal of French New Wave cinema, and you don't even really like French New Wave cinema?  I mean, I did spend a year of my life pretending I was Jean-Paul Belmondo and/or Jean Seberg, but that's between me and my shrink. Did I say "shrink?" I meant I'll be back in just a second.

[Note:  Ideas from a slide talk I saw by the painter Hanneline Rogeberg-- such as family portraits being wrapped in muslin-- have been finding their way into my poems, but they are, of course, out of context and get further pulled in strange directions when collaborating.  But Rogeberg's work, and how she talks about her work, are my new art crush.  Also, the image above is from the movie Breathless.]  

Where have you been, my blue-eyed son?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've been on a Dylan kick for a couple days, compulsively listening to the Rolling Thunder Revue version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."  Found out today's his birthday.  HB, Bobby Z.

Drawing-poem blog

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hey, have you seen the blog of collaborative drawing-poems my brother and I keep?  (It's his drawings and my words.)  We called it Malfeez, a reference to a German board game and an archaic word in German that means "misdeed" or "bad action."  We will be updating it more this summer.

Down by the Riverside

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

by Joanna Penn Cooper and Todd Colby

It is a vulgar error to assume the things you see there
were put in the mud just for you.  You'll be dead soon
enough, and you can think about it then, how a certain
percentage of the population walks around reading
your mind like it was an ad for laser surgery on the A train.
I won't even mention the ghosts who wait for you outside
the bathrooms of historic homes, but I just did so: there
are ghosts outside bathrooms of historic homes waiting
just for you. Go to them but come to me first: I have the drugs,
the good ones for your alienation. But don't be alarmed, you
have the option of paying a different fee, like joining a cult
to help you with your thinking or playing the hero and feeling
your feelings all the time. But I digress; in fact, I'll be frank
and positive. I'll be so frank and positive it will mildly terrify
the people around me who don't quite see things my way.
That's what the river is for: wrapping my friends
in light gauze and tossing them into the water.

News from here

Friday, May 18, 2012

1.  I wrote a short piece on Will Oldham for the music issue of Poetry Crush.  I'm glad to be included with these contributors writing interesting pieces on some of my favorite musicians and songs.

2.  Love for Donna Summer, who was (strangely?) important to me as a child.

3.  I'm working on more collaborative poems with Todd Colby.  TC is back in Brooklyn, and I am here in Vermont, but through the magic of technology, we can quickly send each other lines.  I am also working on some other writing.  And I'm surrounded by visual artists and starting to get to see their work (and will get to see more in the next few weeks).  I've been thinking a lot about paintings.

4.  I'm at a residency in VT until 6/8.  If you'd like to send me a postcard or good old-fashioned handwritten letter, here is the address:  Joanna Penn Cooper c/o VSC, PO Box 613, Johnson, VT 05656.  


Thursday, May 10, 2012

My little brother is a whopping quarter century old today.  I hope  he stays sassy as he moves firmly into adulthood.  Here are some highlights of his visits to New York since I've lived here.

Japanese snacks.

 His notes from a poetry reading I made him go to.

Pretending to be a "Brooklyn hipster."

Hanging around.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Well, National Poetry Month is over, and with it poem-a-day April.  As usual, it was challenging and gratifying and a little scary to post a new draft every day.  I will take my April drafts down in a few days, in order to work on revising them.  But thank you to my friends who read them.  And to my friends who wrote them.  Here's Annmarie O'Connell's amazing poem for the last day of the poem-a-day challenge.  It is strange and moving and beautiful, as the best poems are.

And thank you again to Maureen Thorson for featuring my blog on the NaPoWriMo site and to Jennifer L. Knox for featuring two (!) of my poems on the Best American Poetry blog.  Wow.  (By the way, check out Jen's desert island music picks on over at the Poetry Society of America.)

I can't believe it's May already, and that my Vermont writing residency is coming up.  eep.  I'm grateful to everyone who's donated to my fundraising page for the residency.  And sincerely grateful for the wonderful writing community and support system I have in general.  Truly.

Happy second day of May, everyone.  Allons-y!

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