How Long is the Coast of Britain?
Eels loop frantic in buckets of blood,
the log aflame cracks as it collapses to ash,
but the shot doe slackens in silence.
It is the hour for farewells. It is the hour
for suckling the stray, for swaddling the runt,
a last chance to smooth back your hair...[Keep Reading]…
I’d left Havana when I was 12. After the initial excitement of landing in New York, I fell into a miserable nostalgia for a past that would never be again. Gone were the tropical gardens and blue skies, the labyrinth of streets and arcades, the allure of those soft, silky nights that I’d barely had the chance to experience. Over the years, 1950s Havana has been stereotyped as a sinful city, where tourists came to lose their money, drink good rum and have their sexual fantasies satisfied. But the Havana I experienced was physically beautiful — filled with sunlight and mystery. Three Trapped Tigers was the book I needed to show me that, if the past could not be recovered, it could be invoked through books...[Keep Reading]…
Pablo is the author of Cubop City Blues (2012, Grove Press).
A final shout-out, and then you won’t have me kicking you around any more: Final drop-dead end-of-the-line you’ll-be-sorry-if-you-don’t deadline to register for this year’s Goddard/Warren Wilson Post-MFA Writing Conference is this Friday, June 29. No late fee.
You’ve heard it all — the nightly readings, the good friends, the new friends, the new *readers,* the time to write, the workshops, Fiction Roundtable, Poetry Manuscript Reviews (yes, there are two of them this year), the dance, and so far it looks like: a caucus titled “The Writer who Loves Printed Books in the Digital Age,” a panel on doing (historical and other) research for fiction/non-fiction/poetry, classes “Creative Nonfiction: Boundaries and Ethics,” “Merry Christmas to Me: the Decision to Self-Publish,” one on Midwestern Gothic in poetry, and Marcia Pelletiere will be offering “more of an Experiment than a Class…I’ve worked with a group dream process for over 25 years, and it has occurred to me that some aspects of that process might provide an interesting way to work with imagery in a collaborative setting.” Have an image or character or setting you’re working on currently? Bring it on down to the rest of us, “Something like opening a window in a stuffy room….” And more in the works.
Don’t kick yourself for waiting till next year; email your intentions to firstname.lastname@example.org and then register and pay, electronically or by snail-mail. Info and links at:
Teach a class, take a nap, write a poem, get up too early and go bird watching, take another nap and then write another poem. And Dance, if you like.
See you there.
At a recent poetry reading, an audience member described poets as people who have a sixth sense, a kind of super-sensory power that allows them to detect things that are not readily apparent to others. I think that’s probably accurate—that poets possess a kind of hyper-sensitivity to people and places, to relationships and history, to language and its capacity to capture/shape/disrupt experience, and to the collision of imagination and perception in making sense of the world. So maybe it’s just that sensitivity that lends poets the kind of double vision you describe—permitting them to fashion, for example, from two unlike things a powerful metaphor that transforms understanding and helps us see the world anew, or to somehow stand simultaneously here and there...[Read the full interview]…
Dilruba is the author of Dhaka Dust: Poems .
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (fiction, ’01): Jasmine recently visited the White House for the third annual LGBT Pride Month reception.
It was a pretty incredible experience, and an honor, being in that space … the experience of having the doors of the White House not just opened to LGBT people, but so warmly opened, and saying, ‘You’re a part of this country,’” she said. “It left me with a lot of hope of what’s possible as we move forward.
Jasmine is Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
Catherine Barnett (poetry, ’02): Catherine’s poems “Categories of Understanding,” “From the Doorway,” and “Apophasis at the All-Night Rite Aid” appear in the Summer 2012 issue of the Kenyon Review Online.
Apophasis at the All-Night Rite Aid
Not wanting to be alone
in the messy cosmology
over which I at this late hour
have too much dominion,
I wander the all-night uptown Rite Aid
where the handsome new pharmacist,
come midnight, shows me to the door
and prescribes the moon,
which has often helped before.
Catherine is the author of The Game of Boxes: Poems (2012, Graywolf).
Muriel Nelson (poetry, ’06): Muriel’s poem “Borage” was recently featured in the Producing Poetry blog series at the Seattle Times:
Odorlessness of oxygen,
cold taste of cucumber,
touch of moth — tender,
barely felt, nearly
soundless in the mouth —
the appearance of borage in the garden is
like a multitude of eyes.
To eat or drink any flower is odd.
But to take this one in wine or salad
not for courage, but for color,
is to take this bloom forgetful
of its lore as it flies
on a breeze whole,
as eyes take eyes
with a glance,
particle by particle,
Muriel is the author of the poetry collection Most Wanted (2003, ByLine Press).
From Peter Klank (fiction, ’85), 2012 Post-MFA Conference coordinator:
As I hope you’ve all seen, we’ve got a fantastic group coming to the conference this year, with several more signed up since I sent out the list. However, we really hope to get a few more attendees (we’re at 33 right now), so I’m happy to announce that the Conference Committee has voted to waive the $100 late fee for this year. In addition, the drop-dead deadline of June 23 has been extended to (postmarked) Friday, June 29.
You know you’ve wanted to come; take the plunge. Where else are you going to get the kind of time, focus, and attention to your work that you’ll get here? We’ve got people signed up for Fiction and Poetry Workshops and Manuscript Review (longer poetry collections) and Fiction Roundtable (longer fiction works). Or just hang out with a bunch of writers, a bunch of Wallys, as a matter of fact.
If you think you’ll be signing up, it would be great if you’d drop me a line at email@example.com.
Really, are you seriously still sitting on the fence?
Good writing; see you in August.
What inspired you to write poems about the Pietà sculpture and Hawkman respectively?
The poem “What Is Revealed” is, for me, more about perceptions of mental and emotional stability than actually about the Pieta. But reading about how Michelangelo chiseled his name across the sash of the sculpture, something he had never done with any of his other work, is really what prompted me to start the poem. That behavior could be seen as either quite normal or completely mad. As for Hawkman, I always found the fact he had wings but didn’t really use them to fly a fascinating thing...[Keep Reading]…
C. Dale is the author of Torn (2011, Four Way).