Monday, April 30, 2007


On Saturday, we met up with some friends in Davis Square and watched "Strange Culture," which is about artist/activist Steve Kurtz. It was part of the Boston indi film festival.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Jefferson Carter and Glenn Mott

Right now, I'm reading Sentimental Blue, by Jefferson Carter, and Analects on a Chinese Screen, by Glenn Mott. Charles (Alexander, of course :) ) sent me a nice bunch of new Chax books, so I guess they will be my summer reading. Right now, I've read half of both Sentimental and Analects.

One thing I'm especially enjoying about Analects on a Chinese Screen is the... flow... for lack of a better word. My own poetry tends to be so confined, in a way, so it's refreshing to read poems that don't seem to have rigid edges. By "edges," I think I mean a number of things: one obvious agenda; a beginning and ending on every page, though there are both on some pages; every grammar rule abided, etc. I don't know who wrote the book's description on the back cover, but it says, "Analects on a Chinese Screen is a collection of selected writings, miscellany, and passages whose subject is China," and that "the 'I' of Analects refers to a protean self." In the last few years, I feel like my poetry has been relying heavily on delivering a message, and my writing process has been about "supporting an argument"--that is sooo messed up. I mean, I write poetry, not essays!

Teaching at Northeastern University is great. I agree with the philosophy of the program, and the director of the Writing Program and director of the First-Year Writing Program are so supportive and also very down-to-earth. I sooo enjoy teaching, and my students have been great. Our text and the essay prompts that are included in it challenge the students to reflect upon their own presumptions and biases--about writing, reading, people different from themselves...

but the GRAMMAR is getting to me! And the ESSAY form is getting to me. I've been branching out, having them read Gloria Anzaldua's "How to Tame a Wild Tongue," and having them right hybrid texts (for one essay), but I still need to teach grammar rules... and I LOVE GRAMMAR, it seems. It appeals to some part of my mind that yearns for the simplicity of black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. And yet, that way of thinking is so hurtful to my process as a poet.


I'm enjoying the wit and sensitivity in Jefferson Carter's Sentimental Blue. I'm also loving the vivid images. The second poem in the book, "Strep Throat," depicts his dog as it "scuttles/ down the hall," wondering where he is. It made me think Apollo, our little one-year-old black cat, who we found sitting on Dale Ernhart, Jr. Blvd. in North Carolina. Apollo--he was so lost and so little. We had to feed him with a syringe at first. And now, he thinks I'm his mother. He's always looking for me. Carter also has this great image of... you know, it would actually be really lame of me to talk more about his images. I mean, it would do the poems a great disservice. And I ought to actually go read more of them, instead of writing about my memories of them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Favorite Poetry Books (National Poetry Month)

It's National Poetry Month, so I thought I ought to start blogging again. Lists sound do-able right now, so here it goes:

10 of My Favorite Poetry Books of ALL TIME
(from off the top of my head)
in no particular order

1. Shakespeare's Sonnets

2. Unbearable Heart, by Kimiko Hahn

3. The Tyrant of the Past and the Slave of the Future, by Christopher Davis

4. Paramour, by Stacy Doris (krupskaya)

5. Ring of Fire, by Lisa Jarnot

6. Poeta en San Francisco, by Barbara Jane Reyes

7. Dictee, by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

8. Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple, by Frances Chung

9. Tremble, by C.D. Wright

10.Selected Poems, by Alice Notley