Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun weekend. Had a lovely poetry lunch Saturday with K at the new Macrina in SODO, which is my new fave place to read and write and have soup & bread or a pastry. Yesterday, we had an AMAZING cream of tomato soup with bacon (a little bacon really does make everything better). I showed her my favorite book of the last few months: D A Powell's Chronic, and had her read "he's a maniac, maniac" and she was won over to read more.


Went out that night to The Garage on Cap Hill for bowling with friends K & B. What a hoot! Cocktails and strikes and spares (and a fair number of gutterballs). We all chose bowling namesL K was Flo, Dean was Madge, B was Bobbi, and I was Loretta. I haven't laughed so hard in weeks.


Today the friggin' sun came out, believe it or not, and D & I were able to get a little bit of work done in the yard. Took a trip to City People's Garden, and got a bare root espaliered apple (three levels, Spartan, Akane, and Liberty), and got it planted. It will probably take a year or two to get established. But that's OK. I know how to "prune for fruit" and gently finesse it to my will.


Watched the NCAA basketball regional finals on and off. Except for the Michigan State-Louisville game, these were not too exciting. But I love all the alliteration the sportscasters use: March Madness, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four. My pick: Villanova to go all the way baby! (Though Michigan State would be fun to see win at home, and bring some hope to that city).


Friday, March 27, 2009

A great tempest in a teapot, shitstorm in a seashell, going on at Poetry Foundation, over Matthew Zapruder's essay "Show Your Work." I love what these two people wrote:

Angela Sorby wrote:
Would that critics had the power to create poetry readers. But MZ's initial anecdote disproves his point: he learned to love the Velvet Underground because 1) a cool girl gave him the record; and 2) he listened to it over & over. Likewise, I fell in love with poetry because 1) cool people gave it to me; and 2) I read it over & over. This was a private, ecstatic, non-intellectual process. It could not have been, and cannot be, a matter of didactic instruction. That said, I'll take the Velvet Underground over Sonny & Cher, even though Sonny & Cher (like Mary Oliver & Billy Collins) had a bigger fan base.

Tony Tost wrote:
Poems are pretty easy to get and understand, and most readers don't need a critic to understand them. As Robert Frost said, the best way to understand a poem is to read other poems. You can start anywhere.

I like critics who can make the case for what a poem or poet or poetics has to do with my life, or how I live it.

(I would also just like to say that Roseanne actually was a way better television show than Twin Peaks.)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I've been reading My Vocabulary Did This to Me: the Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, new from Wesleyan. I was not familiar with his work or life at all. There's a great long introduction, and a chronology of his life, which were really interesting. He was part of the gay rights movement way back in the 50's, when it was certainly very uncool, and dangerous. Worked for the Matachine Society. Taught at several universities. Started Gallery 6 where Ginsberg eventually read "Howl." Unfortunately he died pre-maturely (of alcoholism) at age 40. The book's title, "my vocabulary did this to me" were apparently his last words.

The work, the poems and other writings (poem-plays, poem-essays, poem-letters, poem-manifestos, poem-lists, etc), for the most part, are very experimental. Not a lot of singular "great poems" here, but I don't think that was his point at all. He was interested in something more interesting.

My favorite section of the book is "After Lorca." Some wonderful short lyrics (faux "translations") interspersed with "letters" to and from Lorca (who ghost writes a blurb from beyond the grave),that are really mini-essays and manifestos about poetry and the true calling of the poet.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March Madness: It's Heeeere!

Stayed up late last night to watch the exciting simultaneous overtime games in the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. On one channel, Sienna and Ohio State, on the other, Wisconsin and Florida State. Switching back and forth every few seconds not to miss a thing. Great stuff. I tried to explain to Dean that this was what March Madness was all about. The sacred mystery, the holy grail, the agony and the ecstasy, yadda yadda. He was not impressed.


This story is full of all kinds of crazy: A transgender woman faces sentencing in Ohio for making her 73-year-old husband exercise to death in a swimming pool She looks oddly familiar . . . has she been on TV before?


Foggy this morning. Gray and wintry. I ordered a eucalyptus glider/love-seat from Plow and Hearth and we put it together Thursday. It was really interesting that it shipped from Vietnam. It's quite sturdy, and the wood is amazing. Can hardly wait for spring to get here so we can enjoy it.


The new Poetry Bestseller list is up at Poetry Foundation. Does Mary Oliver really have another new book out? Does she ever rest?


There's a great essay by Fanny Howe in the latest issue of Poetry.
"One way to understand your own condition is to write something and spend a long time revising it. The errors, the hits and misses, the excess—erase them all."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snowing again?
We woke up this morning to huge flakes coming down, 2-3 inch huge fat fluffy flakes, not really wafting down (they are too heavy) put splatting down. It's starting to stick already, even though it will be too warm for it to last, we may have an inch or so soon. Don't get me wrong. It's beautiful. Really beautiful. But when will it end? I'm sick of winter. I want it to be spring.


Dean and I took a drive to Gig Harbor yesterday, for the 50th birthday celebration of one of my old grade school friends. He and I grew apart after grade school. But we have been aware of each other's lives, oddly enough, through his mom, E, who happens to be one of Dean's oldest and best friends. (They were nurses together at Cabrini and later Group Health. It's a small world). Saw several of his sisters there. Also his step-dad, who was our PE teacher in grade school, and used to seem so large and imposing, and is now an 80 year old, slightly stooped, white-haired guy. My how time flies.


I'm waiting for the NCAA tournament seeds to be announced later today. I hope hope hope UW will get a 3. We'll see. Going with friends to see The Wrestler tonight. Fun fun!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Had a great time at the Frye Thursday night at the book release party for the Rebecca Brown and Mary Jane Knecht edited Looking Together: Writers on Art. It's a wonderful collection, with writings from Jonathan Raban, Melinda Mueller, Christine Deavel and others, and art from Willie Coles, Henry Darger, Gabriel von Max, and others. I am very honored to have been included. And I love how my Willie Coles-inspired "High Heeled Shoes" poem turned out, paired with the image of his amazing "Sole Protector."

From A Word a Day: dermatoglyphics

(duhr-mat-uh-GLIF-iks, -muh-tuh-)

1. The ridge patterns of skin on the inner surface of the hands and feet.
2. The scientific study of these skin patterns.

The term was coined in 1926 by Dr Harold Cummins (1893-1976), from Greek dermato- (skin) + glyphein (to carve). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart) that is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, and clove (garlic). And that's also where we get cleavage, cleft palate, and cloven hooves.

"What makes dermatoglyphics important as markers for disease and traits is the fact that they develop at specific times in the foetus. Fingerprints, for example, begin to form at around the 13th week and are completed around week 18 - the same time that critical growth in the brain is taking place."
Roger Dobson; Scientists Say Palm-reading is True Guide to Intelligence; The Sunday Times (London, UK); Dec 9, 2001


Sunday, March 08, 2009


What a great last game of the regular season. I was so happy for our guys, especially Jon Brockman and Justin Dentman, who really gutted it out through the lean years. And Coach Romar, who is such a class act. Dean and I went out to dinner in the U District after the game, and it was flooded with people in purple celebrating.

Then we met up with friends for the UW World Dance series: a great show from a West African/French Dance group called Compagnie La Calebasse. An amazing group of eight guys, all very fit and muscular, doing a blend of traditional African dance and modern dance, with video, drumming, vocals, and a good amount of humor. I loved it.

Check out some video here:


This was too funny: Elizabeth Hasselback groping W's ass.
Can you tell the difference between the real ass and the fake ass?


On call again this week. Quiet so far. Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I love this translation from Verse Daily by Greg Delanty. His book The Hellbox is one of my favorites.

Dropping Names

To go unnoticed is good, though mostly we forget
and silently crave attention, fame,
the need to be seen, to be adored even, above all others—how
stupid, how vulgar. Listen to rain's patter on your hut
away from everyone. If you have any need to drop a name,
rub elbows, hobnob with the likes of demigod Solitude
or the clement deity of the rain. Such company is fit
for a king or some unseen local god
whose name's long forgotten or, thankfully, never known.

George of Corkus (TRANS)

Copyright © 2009 Greg Delanty All rights reserved
from The Raintown Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission