Listen, Hobby Lobby. You know how I feel about you. But you have GOT to stop trying to make the Thanksgiving Tree a thing. I mean, at this point, it’s just embarrassing.
This blog has been on hiatus. I’m sorry. There have been circumstances.
I’ll be back from hiatus very, very soon, but in the meantime, here’s a poem of mine published in B O D Y. The poem is about houses and how they know way too much about the people who live inside of them. I’m really happy to have this poem published because it’s one of those gifts, one of those poems that feels like it comes out of no where, a poem that’s completely unplanned but alters the course of your work. That’s absolutely true of this poem. Though it was the first poem in what would become a lengthy series, which then became the backbone of the manuscript I’m putting together, I have no idea where it came from.
I mean, I really have no idea where this poem came from. It just appeared. I suppose that my mind has been working on it for quite some time. I’ve always been fascinated with houses — I’m not sure how anyone who’s driven around at night and accidentally looked into an accidentally-still-standing-with-the-lights-on-and-without-the-blinds-drawn window isn’t fascinated with houses. They seem like such solid, impenetrable structures by day — they seem trustworthy, willing and able to keep all of your secrets — and then, by night — no way. Leave a single one of them without the blinds drawn, and that house is telling everyone what you’re doing inside. This is a problem, obviously, because I think it’s pretty obvious that we as a species began building and living inside of houses so we could walk around at night in extra-extra large t-shirts, knock-around-shorts, and knee socks, singing songs with lyrics
altered to feature your cats’ names and hobbies, eating frosting out of cans and watching Snapped marathons (all of that is completely hypothetical, of course. Completely, totally, absolutely hypothetical. I mean, who would do any of that? Certainly completely, totally, and absolutely not me).
It’s possible that my mind has been rock-tumbling these ideas around for a while, without my knowledge, and polished them into a poem. Much as I’ll never know the source of most of my ideas and decisions, I’ll never really know. All I know is that I was in the middle of a Grind and wondering if I’d actually be able to finish the month, and then the poem appeared to answer my wondering. It was a pleasant surprise, and I’m happy to have received it — and happier still that the good people at B O D Y liked it and wanted to share it.
(While you’re at B O D Y, by the way, you should check out fellow Grinders Ross White and Matthew Olzmann, two incredibly talented and all-around awesome poets whose work has inspired me and then inspired me again.)
People of the Interwebs:
It’s April fourth. I live in south Georgia. Like, coastal south Georgia. And it’s cold. It’s cold and awful and rainy and generally so terrible weather-wise that Gertrude Stein has been inspired to spend all day and night singing her “Cold and Awful and Rainy and Generally So Terrible
Weather” aria, which is the saddest song in Gertrude Stein’s entire repertoire, besides the “You Didn’t Set You Alarm and I Realize You Want to Sleep In But Hey, Treats?” aria.
However, it’s April. It’s National Poetry Month, and if poetry celebrates anything, it’s anything that’s cold and awful. Therefore, I’m making the best of the weather and looking for the best in today — and one of the best things is this announcement: I’m going to be on the radio tomorrow.
No, really. Someone is actually going to let me talk on the radio without the FCC present.
That someone is the wonderful and talented and generally amazing Katrina Murphy, who’s invited me to join her on her wonderful and talent-filled and generally amazing radio show, Questions That Bother Me So. The show will stream live tomorrow from 1:00 – 3:00 Eastern time (I think — Eastern time, right? Like the one that the East coast is on? Time zones are confusing and I can’t think about them too much because I start thinking about how time is just a construct and then I get confused). You can listen along here (go to “shows,” then “Questions That Bother Me So”), and I’ll be live-Tweeting the experience from my Twitter feed. There will also be a chat room. It’s going to be totally meta. Topics to be discussed may or may not include poetry, National Poetry Month, Maleficae, witches, witch trials, witch burnings, writing poetry about witch trials and burnings, cats, velociraptors, sloths, and more poetry. It’s going to be awesome. The last time I was on the radio, I had pink eye and a kidney stone, and I still managed not to drop an F-bomb, which was a major triumph, as you know if you’ve ever had a kidney stone or, like, been in a room with me. This time, I probably also have a kidney stone, but hey, no pink eye. Let the F-bombless awesome commence.
And there are other exciting things afoot, so please keep your eyes on this small section of the Intertubes. In the meantime, here are some pictures of how I tried to make the best out of this gray and cold and awful day.
* Bonus points to anyone who catches the reference in this post’s title!
… and when things are exciting, dear denizens of the Blogosphere, I like to share them with you. One of the best things about the Internet, besides the seemingly endless and ever-regenerating number of photographs of cats wearing fruit on their heads and of sloths Photoshopped into the middle of the Crab Nebula, is that the Internet gives us the ability to share in IRL experiences we wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend IRL. For people like
myself, whose bodies periodically refuse to work and who are, let’s face it, always like two and a half at the most seconds away from dressing all in white and living in somebody’s attic (because really, what’s the fun if it’s your own attic?), this is the definition of a blessing, a word that can so often feel insincere and general gives me a queasy case of agita, but which, in this case, absolutely applies.
Another part of The Great Blessing of the Internets (ugh, there’s the agita again) is that it allows people whose bodies periodically refuse to work, perhaps because they’re never much more than two and a half seconds away from Emily Dickinsoning up some unsuspecting nuclear family’s attic, to share with others the times they make appearances In Real Life. Such is the case with my reading in the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series, which you can hear here.
The first reading in the recording isn’t mine, it’s Kate Greenstreet‘s. If you listen to it, you’ll see why my knees were positively shaking because, seriously, how do you follow that? You’ll also see why I’d ordered a copy of Young Tambling, her newest collection from Ahsahta Press, before I’d even left the building that evening. I’ve been hungrily devouring the poems and people, this is one of Those Books — by that, I mean this is a life-changing book, the kind of book that leaves a reader wowed and restless and with a completely new way to look at poetry, books, art, life, everything. That’s because, in many ways, the book isn’t really a book. I mean, yes, it is a series of pages with words printed on them sewn together and bound. But it doesn’t solely exist in that form, in that bound structure. Greenstreet’s reading shows this: she re-orders the text and the text slips seamlessly into a new narrative, a new sequence of development. Each re-ordering creates a new story, a new series of images, a new work of art. Like she writes in the end of the collection, next to an insanely amazing oh my God seriously photograph of this book in a different incarnation, as pages of
typeset and photographs arranged (and, presumably, re-arranged) on the wall:
Although I was thinking in two-page spreads, at some point I realized that I wasn’t actually (physically) making a book. I was making a
big rectangular piece of temporary art.
Which is SO RIDICULOUSLY INSANELY AMAZING OH MY GOD I CANNOT EVEN TALK ABOUT IT. It’s like she’s created a work of code-based electronic poetry without the code. Which, seriously. AMAZING.
And there are MORE EXCITING THINGS, the first of which has to do with my actually leaving the house and going to another location, specifically Boston, where I will be talking about writing and working and how those things go together at AWP 2013 (HOLLAH). I’ll be moderating a panel on the academic job market with three lovely friends and colleagues, Hannah De La Cruz Abrams (you should totally read her book, The Man Who Danced with Dolls, which is so beautiful I can’t even talk about it and is one of the few books I immediately read again after finishing), Sarah Domet (author of 90 Days to Your Novel) and Jared Yates Sexton (author of An End to All Things). The panel’s called Navigating the Track: The Writer and the Nontenured Position. It’s at noon on Saturday in Room 104 and should be pretty awesome. You can find more information about it on the AWP Website, here. Keep scrolling ’til you find it. I’ll also be a’signing books at the Toadlily Press Table in the Bookfair on Friday at 11:30 am. Come and find me and say hello! I will probably desperately need some coffee too, so if you’d like to bring some my way, that would be great.
See? EXCITING THINGS. And God bless Al Gore for inventing the Interwebs so we can all share in them.