Thursday, July 29, 2010

The new season of Project Runway starts tonight. I can hardly f-ing wait!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interesting brief article over at Huffington Post:

Poetry and Medicine: Keats Was an Apothecary


What a weekend! Seattle finally has some summer weather. Spent a lovely Saturday on Vashon Island with old friends: dinner, fellowship, the garden, nature. Ahhhhhhh . . . . it's so good to get life's priorities in order. To discover again what is most important, what really matters.


Poetry group tonight at Sylvia P's. Not that Sylvia, of course, but a living Sylvia P. *wink*


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some recent poetry I've been reading. . .

Romey's Order, by Atsuro Riley. I'd seen his poems the last few years in Poetry, and liked them. And this book is a delight. His poems are dense and sonically packed with scrumptious thick hyphenations like "gloam-knelling," "spawn-floss" and "ditch-jellies". There is definitely a bit of Gerald Manley Hopkins here. There is also a fascinating family history in the background, with Riley (and the semi-autobiographical poems' speaker: Romey) being a child of an American soldier and a Japanese woman, who make their family home in the South (South Carolina, in fact). The mix of Southern Gothic images, and Japanese sensibility (he spies images of Mt Fuji one day in a book of his mother's) are wonderful. Highly recommended.


Bar Book: poems and otherwise, by Julie Sheehan. I picked this book up blind off the shelf at Elliott Bay a few weeks ago. What a hoot! It's the story of a marriage, the birth of a child, and a bitter divorce, told through drink recipes and bar tending stories. There are prose poems, poem poems, poem recipes, a bit of a scene from a play-poem, numerous footnotes and asides. It's really a fun and varied collection. Here's a taste:

How to Make a Slow Comfortable Screw

This cheap date of a cocktail wears too much makeup. Even the name is fake. What masquerades as sexual innuendo turns out to be the recipe for the drink: "Slow" is for slow gin, "Comfortable" is for Southern Comfort -- tell me if I am speaking too shrewdly, too lewd-ish -- and "Screw" is for screwdriver, that most common of beverages. . . . . (pg 62)

The divorce poems are a bit spiteful, vindictive, and painful to read -- and her ex sounds like he deserved every bit of it. Still, I would not want to ever be the next person to cross this woman.

Read the Bar Book if you dare . . .


My Kill Adore Him, by Paul Martinez Pompa. Chosen by Martin Espada for the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. This was a really good read. I liked the Chicano-identity displayed here. These were assertive poems, that pulled no punches, whether it was about homophobia in grade school or the NBA locker room; sexism, racism, transvestism (a fun poem about a bar where straight men dance with chicks with dicks), or police brutality. Here is a taste:

Exclamation Point

Exclamation Point -- a punctuation mark that indicates strong feeling in connection with what is being said. It serves as a signpost to a reader that a sentence expresses intense feelings. An exclamation point may end a declaratory statement (Put your fuckin hands up!), a question (Do you want me to put a cap in your Mexakin ass!), or a fragment (Now asshole!). It may express an exclamation (Your ass is going to jail!), a wish (If you move, I'll shoot your fuckin ass!), or a cry (Okay, okay, take it easy, officer!). As these examples show, exclamation points are commonest in written dialogue. They should be used carefully in any writing and very seldom in formal writing. (pg 43)

Recommended, yes.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New compost bins, virtual garden tour

Here is Dean, smiling beside our new compost bins, built by Johnny Guerrero. Nice job Johnny! If you want info for him to build some bins for you, just let me know. We're pretty happy with the job he did, and how they turned out.

And please join me on a virtual tour of our garden: how it looks today, July 13th, 2010.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Colton Harris-Moore Caught?

Oh no! Say it isn't so . . .

"Harris-Moore, who has been running from American law enforcement since escaping from a Washington state halfway house in 2008, gained fame and thousands of fans who admired his ability to evade arrest. He is suspected of stealing cars, boats and at least five planes - including the aircraft he allegedly lifted in Indiana and flew more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to the islands off Florida's coast, despite a lack of formal flight training."

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

From The Whitman Archive: a recording of Walt Whitman Reading "America." Apparently only the first four lines are captured. And there is some controversy whether the voice is truly Whitman's.


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear'd, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair'd in the adamant of Time.


And, personally, I prefer Simon and Garfunkle's song "America:"

"Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together"
"I've got some real estate here in my bag"
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America

"Kathy," I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now"
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I've gone to look for America

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said "Be careful his bowtie is really a camera"

"Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat"
"We smoked the last one an hour ago"
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
All gone to look for America


And while we are at it, here's something of mine from a long long time ago . . .

On First Hearing a Newly-Discovered Recording Believed To Be of Walt Whitman Reading “America”

Six lines, six long breaths:
could this be your ripe tenor
seething beneath the rhythmic thunking

of a chipped wax cylinder,
emerging from the radio's static
like a phone call from the dead?

Grandfather of American poetry,
lover-nurse of fallen soldiers,
tree hugger, imp — is it you?

We may never know
for sure, but goose-bumps
covered my flesh as I listened,

imagined your beautiful blue
eyes, your white beard, your mouth
making love to each word.

Chiron Review Winter 1992

Thursday, July 01, 2010

This looks like an interesting book — from an English teacher turned Nurse:

In the new book, 'Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between' (2010, HarperCollins Publishers), Theresa Brown examines life as a first-year nurse in medical oncology after leaving her life in academia to become a registered nurse (RN) in a field that she describes as "just feeling right."


Great reading at Hugo House Tuesday night. Standing room only! For Elizabeth Austen's new book The Girl Who Goes Alone, from Floating Bridge Press. The title poem is a long (3 page or so) narrative piece about what it means for a woman to hike alone. It's pretty moving stuff. Check it out here.