Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour

I took a walk last night in the not-quite-rain during Earth Hour. We seemed to be the only house using candles. A loud concert near campus boomed and echoed through town--I could even hear it down by the river. The same cop drove slowly past at least three times as I made a vague loop: did I look like a troublemaker? True, no one else was out.

[Photo: candle on the kitchen counter.]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And another

Well now I'm on page 68, reading and re-reading the title poem, and just have to share it:


The Potscrubber completes a cycle
so vigorous the knives were rattling,
and pauses, waking Evan Michael,
who finds all silences unsettling.

There's no resemblance. It's too early.
Everything is still so round.
But we've occurred to him as surely
as silence has occurred to sound,

and when he's finished sharpening
into himself, and when we've blurred,
we're going to go on happening
in silence like he's never heard.

I wore him like a broken arm
all summer, slung
from my right shoulder in a paisley hammock
so deep the sides closed over him.
When I walked he swung, and slept,
kukked by the time his body kept
against my stomach.
When I stopped I had to sing.

An Eric McHenry poem

I EZB'd Potscrubber Lullabies because of the title, because I've got my radar out for poems with working-class themes (for the other blog), and of course the book is something completely different, but a fun read nonetheless. I'd never heard of Eric McHenry before. His book came out in '06 from Waywiser Press. I'm going to look up some more of their titles. Here's one poem:

"Larkin at Sixty"

I did the South Bank Show today. It went
no worse than I'd expected, though they spent
rather too much time talking
about four-letter Larkin for my liking.

What will survive of me will no more live
than an appendix in preservative,
and now it's clear to me
"They fuck you up" will be my Innisfree.

Hump Day

I threw nineteen students out of my working class lit course last hour: anyone who had not read the essay I'd assigned for today. The six remaining students and I had an engaging discussion, partly devoted to the reading material and partly assessing what was going wrong with the class and what we could all do to inject new life into it. . . Just two minutes ago, one of the nineteen came by with a two-page response to the reading and an apology for not being prepared. I nearly wept.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Opportunity to read: DC regional

[Note: I read in this series a few years ago with Jennifer Gresham; if you can make it to the DC area this summer, it's well worth attending (or participating: details below on how to apply)]

The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series is currently accepting applications.

  • WHEN: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park, Picnic Area Number 6, during June and July.
  • WHAT: Two poets are usually featured. The outdoor programs held next to poet Joaquin Miller’s Cabin are sponsored by The Word Works, and the National Park Service.
  • WHO: Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Rosemary Winslow and Deborah Ager are the co-directors for 2009.
  • IF SELECTED, you will read your work at the cabin and receive a small honorarium. Copies of a poster/flyer (self-mailer) will be available for you to send to friends and colleagues. If you have books published, you may sell them at the reception. If you live out of town and need a place to stay, we’ll do our best to help you find a place.

TO APPLY to the series, send the following:

  • 5 poems, typed, one poem per page. No one poem longer than two pages.
  • Name, address, telephone numbers, email on first page of the submission. Name on every page.
  • Brief biographical note, including publications, readings, literary studies, prizes.
  • Stamped, self-addressed envelope for reply (for return of poems, add sufficient postage as needed).
  • NOTE: All manuscripts must be typed. Any form or style of poetry will be considered; selection is made on the basis of the poems submitted. The biographical note is for information only. The director is assisted by a panel of writers in choosing poets.
  • SEND TO: Rosemary Winslow, Co-Director; Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series; Department of English; The Catholic University of America; Washington, DC 20064.
  • DEADLINE: Postmarked on or before March 31 of each year.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

New Ohio Review

Got a note from Jill Rosser that the New Ohio Review's contest deadline has been extended to March 15--check out the details here, and please encourage folks to enter their work.

Oh, and there's a new Mary Ruefle poem on their site: "Helium." Who else but Mary could say, to helium, "They gave you/ a dibble. They made you wrists."

[I have a dibble. I'm delighted to see one appear in this poem.]

Monday, March 02, 2009

CFS: qaartsiluni chapbook contest

The good folks over at qaartsiluni have just announced their first chapbook contest. The judge will be Dinty Moore.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Working class poems

I've been loading poems to a new blog that I set up as a resource for my working-class literature course. You're welcome to check it out & to suggest poems to add. A new poem opens every day at 12:45 (class time).