Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mary Szybist in town

Poet Mary Szybist will be on campus for a couple of days this week: we had scheduled a visit to my intro creative writing class, but because my class meets at noon, we were able to book a larger space for a Writers at Work talk up at the Writing Center (my class will attend but there will be room for others, too). Mary is also giving a public reading on Tuesday night at Bucknell Hall.

I've been re-reading Mary's book, Granted, and I'm struck again by her poems' inventive engagement with their subjects, and with their structural suspension (I don't know what else to call it): she uses the colon and dash to create connections and extend possibilities. I'm not sure I even have the capacity any more to write critically about so much of the poetry I genuinely like (I'm not sure it's wise to make this confession, but really, my brain feels tired lately), but reading this book makes me want to go back to my desk and try writing something new.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

World AIDS Day: searching for poems

Randy, who faithfully reads my blog (dear man), has pointed out that I haven't been posting lately. Things are busy-busy around here, and the November Madness of--well, everything, it seems--takes its toll. I thought it couldn't hurt to ask for a little help with one of my projects:

I'm helping to organize a reading on December 1 to commemorate World AIDS Day. Two years ago, we did this during the noon hour in conjunction with a display of panels from the NAMES Project, and it went really well: lots of folks came through the campus gallery on their lunch breaks to look at the quilt panels, and stayed for the reading. Next year, we're bringing the quilt panels back. But this year, we are trying to present a reading that showcases a multiplicity of voices: some of the multicultural student groups have volunteered to read poems or prose excerpts, and we're doing our best to find material that represents a range of voices.

Here's where I need some help: does anyone out there have any recommendations of where to find some decent-quality writing that presents a multicultural perspective on AIDS and HIV? I thought I was pretty familiar with the literature (duh) and I've been writing about the subject myself for a good long time, but finding poems that voice, for example, the HIV experience of women is proving difficult: what I continue to find are poems by women about gay (white) men. Any help is appreciated; I will track down any leads that you can suggest.