Friday, January 29, 2010

Dean and I are in Guanajuato now. What an amazing city! It's like an old Italian hill town, located in a valley, high up in the hills north of Mexico city. We have the good fortune of staying in the home of some friends (who are now at our place in Seattle). It's a gorgeous home built inside the ruins of a 400 year old hacienda.

Yesterday was our first full day on our own here. We spent it exploring the old town, taking the funicular up to the monument to El Pipila (the young miner who helped storm the Granary and win the first battle of Mexican independence), and then visiting the Alhondiga museum (gawd those Spanish colonist-silver miners and Jesuits were cruel to the native people here).

Last night we had a wonderful dinner at Frascati off the Jardin Union. We had a table with our own little balcony above the street, where we could watch all the activity going on below: university students in medieval garb doing minstrel shows, mariachi bands, street mimes, vendors selling corn on the cob and other treats. It was quite a bustle of activity. Afterwards we were able to stroll the grounds for a while and mix with the crowds. So fun!

A few more pics:

El Pipila monument.
Such troubadors!
The steps outside the University of Guanajuato
One of H & A's wonderful folk art mariposa and sirena figures at the hacienda.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

This should be an amazing reading! I hear the new Ben Lerner book may be available as well. I wish I were in Seattle: I would so be there.

W.S. Merwin & Friends is a benefit reading in support of the nonprofit poetry publisher, Copper Canyon Press. The event features W.S. Merwin, who won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for THE SHADOW OF SIRIUS, as well as readings by a younger generation of Copper Canyon Press poets -- Erin Belieu, Ben Lerner, Valzhyna Mort, and Matthew Zapruder.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Anthologist

Having a great time in PV. I've been reading, among other things, Nicholson Baker's wonderful new novel, The Anthologist. What a delight. Funny, charming, witty, scholarly, sophisticated. He really truly understands poetry, the lives of poets, the often contradictory motivations, desires and sensitivities of poets, like an expert. Spot on. Nailed it. I was laughing so hard at some parts I nearly died. Other parts, more of pleasant smile of recognition.

For those who don't know the story, the narrator, Paul Chowder, has been tasked to write a 40-page introduction to an anthology of poetry that rhymes. But his life is a mess, his girl-friend has just left him, and he keeps procrastinating getting the essay started, all the while telling us the most fascinating tidbits and theories and manifestos about poetry.

And did I say it was a smart and subtle book, too? For instance, he has a part where he is talking about Elizabeth Bishop, and her poem "The Fish" and her love-hate relationship with the poem, and how it is really all about writing (catching) the big poem, and how she wanted to cast it all over as a sonnet late in life, how she drank "like a fish" and etc. And then in the next chapter, he quotes as an example a forgotten (but "very big a century ago") poem by Alice Carey:

One cannot make bargains with blisses
Or catch them like fishes in nets
And sometimes the things that life misses
Help more than the things that it gets.

I thought the resonance to the Bishop story was well-done. Bravo. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dean and I are "on retreat" at a lovely B & B in a rustic little fishing village about 12 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Roosters crowing in the morning to wake us up, chickens and puppies running loose on the street, kids playing soccer on the beach, little tiendas and restaurants -- you get the picture. We did a hike through the jungle yesterday, to see a secluded beach to the south. What a workout! Hoping to get some reading and writing done: we'll see what happens.

A few more pics:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long MLK weekend. There was a moving story on NPR this morning, a man who recalled a comment King made as he was watching someone light the gas lamps on a street one night; how he said he was watching him "bust holes in the darkness." Which is what King did with his life.


Had a lovely poetry lunch at Vios with K, hearing about Spain, and looking at the potential new poetry manuscript. I think I have a title now, and a vague outline of what poems go where. It's so exciting!


Dinner last night with L & S. I made a mushroom bisque finished with truffle oil, that I have to say was to die for! We had pan seared chicken breasts and roasted potatoes and vegetables. A yummy salad from L with a peanut oil and garlic vinaigrette. Scintillating conversation and laughter and carrying on. Lot's of talk about Haiti, and how helpless we are to do anything, or even know what is the best thing to do (give money, at this point, but long term???).


There are snowdrops and hyacinths and trillium starting to come up in the garden. Spring is in the wings!


Friday, January 15, 2010

In case you missed it: Lady Gaga (looking more than a little like the Statue of Liberty) interviewed on Oprah. She is donating procedes from her website and concerts to Haiti, and more . . . . don't you just *love* her?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rescue in Haiti

So sad about what is happening in Haiti. It really is a disaster. I admire how on top of it Bill Clinton seems to be. I agree with him, that the most important thing we can do now is give money. Dean and I donated today to the American Red Cross. If you are reading this, please consider doing the same. The website is very simple to navigate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poetry joke . . . .

Only a poetry reader would get this:

Q: What do you get when you cross a Whitman with a Dickinson?

A: A Dickman

or two . . .


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010