April 19, 2011

Some Thoughts in April

It's April 19th (my father's birthday, in fact) and I woke up to freezing rain and a layer of snow. Apparently, spring will never arrive.

After 15 days of participating in the poem-a-day challenge without fail, I've hit a minor wall, which is due to two things: 
  1. My teaching responsibilities suddenly spiked at the same time my short story was due for fiction workshop, and
  2. I wrote a beast of a poem (1300+ word, three-page draft) on Saturday that I'm excited about and all I want to do is chisel at it and revise and not draft new work. So I don't feel too badly about the challenge. It's not as if I'm watching youtube videos all day long instead (although, I am fond if this one). Since Saturday, I've winnowed the poem down by almost 200 words. I worldled ( this newest poem and the three words that appeared the most often were: doe, father, God. Sounds about right. 

Kay Ryan wins the Pulitzer, as did one my favorites, Jennifer Egan. Also, last night Billy Collins came to Madison to read and I am endlessly charmed by him. 

Things I'm looking forward to: 50 degree weather; farmer's market; books by Lauren Berry, Seth Abramson, and Tracy K. Smith to drop soon; student presentations; and collecting signatures to recall Scott Walker this fall. 

A tremendous number of people also write poetry. If you want to determine how many, simply let the person sitting next to you on an airplane know that you write poetry. If you make them feel comfortable enough, you can bet they'll regale you with some of their own verse. Of course, these poets are "untrained," so they're probably not worth listening to--which might be an attitude you'd find inside the academy, where training is the necessary credential for access. Outside the academy, nobody cares. Those people aren't writing for audiences and adulation; they're writing for themselves, maybe their families, maybe some friends. And that is awesome.
--Charles Jensen, "The Lost Poets," Dream of the Unified Media
Can I hear an Amen?

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