25 April 2011

Don't call it a comeback

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I want to use this space. It occurs to me that I’ve done what I too often do: overthinking, doing nothing. So, at least for now, I’m going to be more active around here and see what happens.

So, a quick highlight reel from the past three months.

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Trying to catch up on some reading. Most recently: The Day Underneath the Day by C. Dale Young, Underlife by January Gill O’Neil, News of the World by Philip Levine, The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson, Even the Hollow My Body Made is Gone by Janice M. Harrington, Holding Company by Major Jackson.

I also reread One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and was surprised to discover how much the film version had taken over my memories of the novel. In my mind, the film is a Jack Nicholson movie, but the novel is far more interesting—and moving—because it’s really more concerned with the first-person narrator Chief Bromden. Anyhow, it got me thinking a lot about the (unfortunate? necessary?) changes that literature undergoes when it’s adapted for the screen. It also got me thinking about how literature changes over time, how our memories of texts can replace the texts themselves, how our reception of a text changes every time we come back to it.

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A good friend received some amazing news. Lory Bedikian, an MFA classmate at Oregon, won the 2010 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry for her manuscript, The Book of Lamenting. Check out the announcement and find more information here.

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I had the chance to see The Low Anthem at the Old South Church in Boston. Strange as it felt to sit in a pew on a Friday night, I can’t think of a cooler place to see a show. Also: they were awesome. They played most of the new album (Smart Flesh) and lots of earlier stuff as well. My favorites: “This God Damn House” (featuring a chorus of feedback from what seemed like every cell phone in the audience), “To the Ghosts Who Write History Books,” and an astounding cover of “Sally Where’d You Get Your Liquor From?”

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My manuscript was named a semi-finalist in two contests. I have two manuscripts looking for a home, so I’m keeping fingers permanently crossed. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I very much believe in jinxes, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.

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We’ve been spending a lot of time at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston. My two-year-old daughter is obsessed with Copley’s Watson and the Shark. Sometimes for thirty minutes at a time, we just sit on the bench in front of the painting while she studies it closely. She asks lots of questions. She tells strangers about it when they walk into the gallery. She demands that I tell her the story of the painting at bedtime. She’s very excited that I’m trying to work on a poem about the whole experience.

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I’ve been very fortunate in the past couple months to publish a few poems and to have a few more accepted by journals.

“To the Guy Who Stole My Bike” appeared in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, a fantastic collection put together by the editors of Linebreak. The e-book includes audio recordings of each poem, including my reading of Margaret Walther’s poem and Angie Macri’s reading of mine.

I’m also thrilled to have a new poem in the April issue of The Collagist and one in the current issue of Waccamaw. And I’m excited to have poems forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and North American Review.

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I’m currently addicted to playoff hockey. My dad got me hooked on the Bruins when I was a kid. Again, because of the possibility of jinxes, I’ll say nothing more.

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Last week I had the chance to meet Major Jackson when he came to my school to read and to meet with students. It was great to meet him, to hear him read some of his work, and to talk about writing with him over lunch in the cafeteria. The best part, however, was that my daughter came with me. She was too sick for daycare, and I didn’t want to miss the day. So she and I sat on the floor and listened to his poems. She drew a picture of him and gave it to him as a present. He let her play with his iPad while he and I talked. And later, when we came home, she asked me to read his poem about jump rope and monkey bars: “Urban Renewal XVII” from Hoops. That’s about as good as a day can be.

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Music at the moment: Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, Dear Companion

1 comment:

  1. Some terrific poets here--nice to see this blog! Keep up the good work! TL

    ReplyDelete