Friday, November 25, 2011

{This Moment}

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day of gratitude, warmth, and love!
source: NYPL Vintage Holiday Postcard Collection
 I've been so thankful for the ways in which my life has changed in the past year: for being in school; for our new apartment and all the moments I've spent with Roger in it; for movement in my career; for my parents and their incredible relationship (they're celebrating 32 years of marriage today) and, as always, for my family and friends and the myriad ways they support and love me everyday. Thanks also to everyone who is reading this today - I've so enjoyed being a part of your community.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Big To Do

Isn't it amazing how things always take longer than you expect?  I took this week off to catch up: to comment on the month's worth of poems that I haven't written on yet, to edit the semester's worth of poems that I've written and received feedback on, to update this blog and Call & Response, to send out a ton of submissions, to organize my papers, and to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.  So far, it hasn't gone so well.  I can say honestly that despite having five straight days in a row off, I haven't actually accomplished a single one of those goals.  Cue loud, sad sigh.

I have gotten a few things I set out to do done: running a little, taking a master class on the sonnet, sitting in on a Comp & Lit class for observation, sleeping enough, cooking a bit, visiting Shelby for a bridesmaids weekend, seeing lots of James and Emily who are visiting from upstate, keeping almost up-to-date with my work email, updating my amazon wish lists for the holidays, discovering a mouse that lives in our apartment, and, perhaps most impressive, actually getting almost back on track with C&R (seriously, check out the link.  We even have new work up!). 

But, you know.  Almost none of those things were what I'd set aside all this time for, and I'm feeling a little guilty about it.  I'm going to push through tonight and tomorrow morning to see what I can get done.  Make some lists.  Try not to worry too much about what isn't done yet (holiday cards, Shelby's bridal shower plans, the syllabus I'm supposed to edit), and focus on the important things (as listed above) instead.

What's on your to-do list this week?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

{This Moment}

A weekly ritual inspired by Amanda Soule. Please feel free to leave a link to your moment in the comments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekend Wanderings: Homeward Bound

A good weekend, with too much running around:  Friday, after post-work drinks with some of my favorite ladies, I headed down to the Emerging Writers Series at KGB Bar.  It was the first time I've been there for that series, and it was a really great experience.  All the readers were phenomenal, and of course now I'm terrified for when I'm reading there next month (December 2nd, if anyone is interested in coming).  I know, though, that everyone will be supportive.  I'm so grateful to have found such a kind, supportive community in what I know can be a competitive field.  Everyone from NYU has been so great.

Saturday, I headed back upstate for Liz's 50th birthday party, meeting up with my mother for a little shopping and lunch at the new complex at Ridge Hill.  The mall is nice, and fits my Westchester aesthetic (LL Bean, Sur La Table, and Whole Foods? Yes, please.), but parking there is an absolute nightmare.  I went for a run, and realized I actually really, really prefer running at home to running in the city, even if Central Park is wonderful.  After watching the marathon last weekend, I'd like to be able to run it myself in 2013, so I'm back on the running bandwagon, in between the poetry bandwagoning and the work bandwagoning.  And, of course, Liz's party was wonderful.  Liz has been my mother's closest friend since a few months before I was born, and so I've grown up really idolizing her.  The friends and family that come to her parties feel like my friends and family, and so it was really great to catch up with them.

And on Sunday, I went for half a hike with Cece and her boyfriend, Justin.  I say half a hike because we never actually made it to our destination.  Apparently we could have parked at the halfway mark, and gone up from there, but we didn't.  When we did reach the parking lot, though, we (okay, Justin and I) were so demoralized, we couldn't go the rest of the way.  While we didn't quite get the scenic views we were hoping for, I had a great time, and felt incredibly sore the next day.  The soreness is how I judge a good day.  And now we have plans to do the second half over Thanksgiving weekend.

You'll notice I didn't do much work this weekend, and also that I've been blogging at the fantastic rate of about 1 entry a week.  Ahem.  Yeah.  About that.  I have a lot to catch up on.  I've been doing some writing (not, unfortunately, at the rate of one poem a day in honor of Nanowrimo, but some), and I'm glad to be getting more out onto the page.  But, as a result, my editing (both my work and my classmates') has fallen completely by the wayside.  Luckily, I've given myself my first ever staycation for next week, and I've got big, big plans to get some work done.  Poem-writing, poem-revision, poem-commenting, poem-reading, in addition to getting caught up on C&R, visiting Shelby for a bridesmaid weekend, taking a master class on the sonnet, writing up some syllabi for my teaching seminar, sending our our three-month-old moving announcements, sleeping late, replying to about a million emails, and celebrating Thanksgiving: I cannot wait!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life List: Memorize & Internalize 10 Poems

I've always liked memorizing poems, and since memorizing 10 is on my life list, I figured I'd bring us on a guided tour through the ones I've already memorized, and how they've treated me through the years.

A Childish Prank from Crow (Ted Hughes)

Man's and woman's bodies lay without souls,
Dully gaping, foolishly staring, inert
On the flowers of Eden.
God pondered.

The problem was so great, it dragged him asleep. 

Crow laughed.
He bit the Worm, God's only son,
Into two writhing halves.

He stuffed into man the tail half
With the wounded end hanging out. 

He stuffed the head half headfirst into woman
And it crept in deeper and up
To peer out through her eyes
Calling it's tail-half to join up quickly, quickly
Because O it was painful. 

Man awoke being dragged across the grass.
Woman awoke to see him coming.
Neither knew what had happened. 

God went on sleeping.

Crow went on laughing. 

Crow is, in my opinion, one of the greatest books of poetry ever written.  It was the first thematic book I'd read that didn't feel trite (as themed chapbooks sometimes do), and so it made me feel that almost anything was possible (including, perhaps, a little book of astronaut history poems).  Crow was also one of my first introductions to really, really good creation of a new mythology.  It's something I went on to continue to study, the intersection between classical works and modern re-tellings, but Crow is still one of the most creative pieces I've read.  "A Childish Prank" is one of my favorite pieces from the book because I love creation-myths, and I love Adam & Eve, and the painful sexiness of it is just incredible.  It captures all my favorite aspects of Ted Hughes's poetry, from the powerful confidence and easy rhythm of his voice to the sweeping pronouncements throughout his work.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life List: Memorize & Internalize 10 Poems

I've always liked memorizing poems, and since memorizing 10 is on my life list, I figured I'd bring us on a guided tour through the ones I've already memorized, and how they've treated me through the years.

Everything from Facts for Visitors (Srikanth Reddy)

She was watching the solar eclipse
through a piece of broken bottle

when he left home.
He found a blue kite in the forest

on the day she lay down
with a sailor. When his name changed,

she stitched a cloud to a quilt
made of rags. They did not meet,

so they never could be parted.
So she finished her prayer,

& he folded his map of the sea.

"Everything" is probably my favorite poem of all time, and one that has had a profound effect on my work since I read it in 2004.  I read it in my first poetry class, my first year of college, and I feel like I've held it in my heart ever since.  Memorizing it brought every line into clearer perspective, and having memorized a few more poems since, I think it was the most pleasurable to learn.  I love "Everything" for the same reason I love Mrs Dalloway: the completeness of its brevity.  I think I will spend the rest of my career trying to create something as full as those two works.

Reddy is also a poet I deeply admire, and his entire collection is exquisite.  I hope this sampling* whets your appetite for more, because this is a book you should buy, whether you think you like poetry or not.  He works out of Chicago, so I've only seen him read once, but he's also an incredible reader.  You can hear for yourself at Poetry Foundation.  Plus, he did the Iowa/Harvard program that I think is the greatest thing ever, so that's pretty incredible.  I've been anxiously awaiting a second book from him since I finished this one, a few months after it came out.

Fun fact: I'm pretty sure that the ampersand at the end of this poem is where my tattoo comes from.  The poem played a major role in our relationship. I cannot imagine not carrying this with me everyday.  Without it, I would be a poorer human.

*I don't have permission to reprint this.  Srikanth Reddy, if you have a google alert on your name and see this, feel free to email me and ask me to take it down.  I can totally respect that.  Other, more likely readers, go buy Facts for Visitors to assuage my guilt for breaking copyright laws.  It's amazing.