I am enjoying my first day off in almost two weeks. How liberating it is to not wear that silly pager! And now I have a whole week off, including the President's Day holiday & a little trip to Arizona for the ASU Writer's Conference. I am really looking forward to some sunny warmer weather, and to meeting the students and other faculty, and seeing our own Charlie Jensen. Not to mention getting to read from the new book for the first time!
I want to go see the new movie Breach, with Chris Cooper. Also The Lives of Others, the German movie about Stasi spying on the private lives of an artist couple. It's fascinating to me that both of these movies look at the mid-1980's end-of-the-cold-war era. Which now seems so peaceful in comparison to the current hot-war era.
What I've been reading:
Domain of Perfect Affection, Robin Becker. My favorite poem so far is "Head of an Angel" where she meditates on a very androgynous-looking angel in an engraving by Durer, and sees a bit of herself.
No Sweeter Fat, by Nancy Pagh. I saw part of this book as a chapbook when Nancy was a finalist for the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. The full-length collection won the Autumn House Prize, and it is a really brave and moving and funny book. Pagh takes the self-consciousness and self-loathing of being "a fat lady" and turns it into a joyous meditation on the self. Truly remarkable.
Out of Silence, Selected Poems, Muriel Rukeyser. I've been focusing on her long poem "The Book of the Dead" from her book US 1 (1938). It's a non-fiction poem way ahead of its time, about the cover-up of unsafe working conditions in a silica mine in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia in 1936. It's a pastiche of lyric narrative, interviews with patients, doctors & families, excerpts of court testimony, newspaper articles, statistics, and more. I read it years ago, but am really appreciating it now.
Collected Poems, Stevie Smith. Lovely poems, with little pen & ink illustrations by the author.
Teahouse of the Almighty, Patricia Smith. Winner of the NPS. Def performance poetry that works on the page as well.
All Clear, John Mifsud. A memoir of his family's life in Malta during WWII, and their life after immigrating to the US.
Men in the Off Hours, Anne Carson. I am not getting into it as much as I did Decreation. Hmmmm.
Latest issues of Poetry and Field.
Would love to get to work on some of my own projects over the next week. We'll see how it goes.