Well after a series of somewhat contradictory e-mails, I accepted the offer to teach my "Poetry, Identity, Community" course again this fall at Bucknell. On the plus side (believe it or not), the class meets on T/R mornings at 8:00, so I'll be done at 9:30 and can hole up in my office (wherever that may be) and grade papers. Of course I'll revise the course this summer (I always do), but I need to select books very soon. I'm thinking I'll use chapbooks again, along with some online essays and audio.
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I saw a beautiful ribbon snake this afternoon on campus: it was sunning on some rocks along the creek that runs past Bucknell Hall. Maybe 16 inches long, a bit muddy. Taking advantage of the yummy warm temps and sunny day. I knelt on the sidewalk and talked to it for a while as I fished in my bookbag for the camera. It raised up, swiveled its head and opened its mouth in a kind of hacking gesture, all the while flicking its tongue to gauge my scent. I took only one photo--too far away--and before I could zoom, la serpiente threaded down between some stones and disappeared beneath the leaves.
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New favorite workout song: Joan Osborne's "Hurricane." I remember being totally bummed when Joan's "Relish" was eclipsed by Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill" at the Grammys (way back when). To tell the truth, I haven't kept up with her music, but I recently downloaded some tracks from "Righteous Love" and can't get enough of this song (or of her ass-kicking "My Love Is Alive" cover). My girl is hot!
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Re-reading Mary Ruefle's Indeed I Was Pleased With the World (new from Carnegie Mellon). I can't think of another living poet whose vision is so acutely attuned; she just blows me away time and time again. I can't put this book down; I drink from it and want more. Here is "My Timid Eternity":
I am thinking how lonesome it will be in Heaven
with only George Washington and me there.
I suppose we will recite the Beatitudes
and wonder when they are coming--
the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers,
those who are pure in heart.
Roasting marshmallows in the evening
I will broach the subject of lies.
He will hand me a wig
and some leeches, which I will decline,
still thinking about the others--
if they went to the Babies Camp by mistake
we could maybe get a letter out.
Heaven should not be full of worry
but if anyone knows more about it than this,
if you have your own version--
leafy, airy, full, fountainous--
bless you, you are more lonesome
than either the General or I.
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And here are the concluding lines of "Quick Note About the Think Source":
The rest is almost history: volcanic holes, small
French paintings, one-eyed bats, a handwritten note
wedged between the doors of a church. And oh, one
more thing: when asked, if you say "I do not dance,"
the next day an infant is born without feet.
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Boyer Rickel, Musick's Hand-Maid
11 hours ago