September 30, 2007

yes and beloit

You can go here to purchase your very own copy.

Limited edition (100 copies); poem permanently linked here.

In addition: I received a lovely rejection from Beloit, who told me I had an almost-poem and explained why it didn't make it, which just blew me over. Handwritten, even.

Said poem, along with the others they didn't want, are going back into the mail on Monday. Not sure where just yet, but the boomerang is the way to go.

And one more thing: Am working on applications for graduate school. Making lists, checking them twice. Have a GRE scheduled for November 3rd, just before my birthday. Gulp. It's all happening so fast, but it's good. I feel good about it all.

Happy nearly-October. It is rainy here in Red Wing, but I love thunderstorms, especially when I can read in bed through them, occasionally spotting a flash out the window.

September 18, 2007

From Milwaukee

It's good to hear everyone's news. I check the Poetry Daily website each day. On September 4th, there was a great poem by Thom Gunn called "A Sketch of the Great Dejection". Then, on September 5th, a great poem entitled "Sale" by Mary Kinzie. I'd never heard of her, and have purchased one of her books, which is sittng in the stack of books I plan to get to.

I'm finishing up a biography of Lyndon Johnson, which is fascinating. I'm very preoccupied, in my reading and plans for poems, with putting myself and my experience in historical context. Possibly that's a common phenomenon for a person into their fifties..... any observations on that from my fellow poets?

Other than that, my days are full of work, union related concerns, yoga, sinus trouble and a class called "Spanish For Restaurant Staff". It's just once a week but I'm trying to get in a little study with the CD's. Working Milwaukee's South Side, I get to practice everything I learn immediately, so it should stick! All my best... Sue

September 16, 2007


What is everyone finding about Shakespeare lately?

I've only just gotten the sonnets book; I ordered it before the wedding, and this is how long it took to finally arrive on my doorstep. It's heavy and beautiful--exactly what any adoring reader would want, especially one who thinks explication is something fun to do on an autumn afternoon.

I am currently teaching literary theory to my British and Western Lit students, and it's going really well. We're using children's books to start; they seem to be more willing to do anything that involves colorful pictures. We may also do magazine ads, especially since the critical lenses seem to be needed most here.

And in my ALC (Alternative Learning Center--this is the opposite end of the spectrum from the Brit Lit kids, who are, in some ways, the smarter kids of the school--the ALC kids are the ones who need lots of extra help) classes, we are doing poetry. Francisco Aragon has a residency at the Anderson Center, and whenever a writer is there during the school year, they come to the high school to work with the kids. I'm looking forward to his being in my ALC classes; we're having tons of fun reading and writing poems and simply enjoying them.

Sometimes we explicate. And sometimes we read simply for the sheer joy of it. I'm trying not to stifle them with poetry--so many people cite their high school English teacher as the one who ruined poetry for them.

How is everyone doing? What's going on with you this fall? Any good books read? Good magazines to submit to? New poems being written? Poetry adventures on the horizon?

PS: Teresa, I've been reading your "back issues" of your blog, and I am absolutely in love with it.

September 11, 2007

What I share with my students on the 6th anniversary of 9/11

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,

let's not speak any language,

let's stop for one second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,

without hurry, without locomotives,

all of us would be together

in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea

would do no harm to the whales

and the peasant gathering salt

would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,

wars of gas, wars of fire,

victories without survivors,

would put on clean clothing

and would walk alongside their brothers

in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn't be confused

with final inactivity:

life alone is what matters,

I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren't unanimous

about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,

perhaps a great silence would

interrupt this sadness,

this never understanding ourselves

and threatening ourselves with death,

perhaps the earth is teaching us

when everything seems to be dead

and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve

and you keep quiet and I'll go.

-from Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

September 8, 2007

Left Boob

I read this new poem by Sinan Antoon in World Literature Today and thought it was brilliant. Actually I said out loud in the bookstore—I’d give my left boob to have written this...

A Letter

I address them
The dead Iraqis
Where do we stand now?
Give or take a few hundred thousand?

Had you been birds,
Your disappearance might have caused some outrage
you could have flown en masse
over the metropolis,
clouded its skies for a few hours
in protest.
Meteorologists and bird-watchers
surely would have noticed
Had you been trees,
you would have made a beautiful forest
whose destruction would have been deemed a crime
against the planet.
Had you been words,
you would have formed a precious book
or manuscript whose loss
would be mourned across the world
But you are none of these
And you had to pass quietly and uneventfully
No one will campaign for you
No one cares to represent you
No absentee ballots have been issued or sent
You will have to wait decades
for a monument,
or a tiny museum.
If you are lucky
in provoking retroactive guilt
your names will be inscribed on a wall somewhere
But until then, you may welcome more to your midst
and form a vast silent chorus
of ghosts,
condemning the spectators and the actors
Exeunt Omens!

September 6, 2007

Nice Rejection

Just wanted you all to know, I got the nicest rejection from a publisher ever. I got an honorable mention for my chapbook called "Dwelling in the desert" and a particular notice for the poem 'Martyr" from the publisher- all handwritten. I thought it wqas nice he took the time to write about my poetry even though I did not win. I"ll keep on. I wrote a complete service for Selichot, which is a preparatory service before the High Holy Days. I wrote it in free verse. I lookeed at the services and thought I could say something more contemporary. We'll see how the congregation reacts. Now I am working on a poem on the effect of "Words" since so many of the sins we talk about on Yom Kippur are sins of the tongue. I have not given up. I think the name of my first book of poems on growing up, etc, will be called ' Masquerade" . Any Thoughts. The second one is still in development. And I have two more sermons to go....

September 3, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't been posting...I've been enjoying my dog and the tail end of summer. Also reading quite a bit, particularly some of the things recommended to me during our wonderful workshop.

I love this bit from Montale's "Motteti":

La vita che sembrava
vasta è piú breve del tuo fazzuletto.
The life which seemed so vast
can be spread out on your handkerchief.

Molly -- the Yes Press postcards are *beautiful*! Congrats.

Theresa -- you can come over for a beer any evening! I have no life and never go out, so just let me know when you can escape from the fam for a spell.