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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Denali Donation

My donation from my writer-in-residency at Denali National Park and Preserve is now available online at the park's website. Three of the poems will also be published in the park's Summer 2017 newletter Alpenglow.

I'm so pleased to donate this work to the park in gratitude for hosting my last summer, and for supporting my project to write about my uncle. Special thanks to Jay Elhard, Frank Soos, Cinnamon Dockham, and Don Striker of the park.

You can see the work from other artists-in-residence from 2016 here: Emily JanKathy Hodge, Sara Tabbert; the other writer-in-residence Kathryn Wilder; and the composer-in-residence Alan Chan.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Poetry Books with Long Names

Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides, Stephen Dobyns

You and Three Others are Approaching a Lake, Anna Moschovakis

People are Tiny in Paintings of China, Cynthia Arrieu-King

Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross, Mark Yakich

Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced, Catherine Barnett

Illustrating the Machine that Made the World: From J. G. Heck's 1851 Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science, Joshua Poteat

The True Calm Keeps Biding Its Story, Rusty Morrison

In a Landscape of Having to Repeat, Martha Ronk

Encouragement for a Man Falling to his Death, Christopher Kennedy

The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart: Poems, Gabrielle Calvocoressi

The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, Martha Silano

The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth, Joshua Marie Wilkinson

A Point Is That Which Has No Part, Liz Waldner

Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me, Mark Leidner

White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Collected Poems 1946-2006, Donald Hall

How to Dance as the Roof Caves In, Nick Lantz

Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems, Tony Hoagland

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, Ntozake Shange

Because the Brain Can Be Talked into Anything, Jan Richman

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Erasures in a Time of Loss

My mother-in-law is staying with us right now for some end-of-life care. Clearly this is a stressful time, and also a not-so-stressful time as there is nothing to do but wait and take as much care as possible. But there are bodily functions to deal with, and there are requests that need taking care of, and writing is something that has fallen by the wayside.

In the best of times, I prefer to write in isolation. Even though my teenage kids no longer need my constant attention, and I can tell them I'm going into my office for two hours and am not to be bothered unless there is an emergency, I haven't really been able write when they are home. Ditto for when my husband is home--a fully-functioning grown man. I just do not like to write unless I'm alone and can be guaranteed of no interruptions. I do manage to edit when people are around, but the genesis of new poems generally eludes me under these circumstances.

So here I am with my MIL newly added into the household mix, and in constant need of attentiveness. I've given up expecting things to go a certain way, and that has really decreased my stress--deciding just to be there, do what needs being done now, and not try to make schedules and plans. But still, I'd like to write as a way to manage my own needs, my selfhood. And I've found a way to do it--erasures.

I've never been good at erasures, but now, as I watch my MIL lose more and more of her autonomy, mobility, and energy, erasure has been the natural thing to do. Rather than generating new work, I'm erasing into the essence. It fits the mood of what is going on, and finally I'm getting the hang of it.

I'm using a book of Eudora Welty short stories. I chose it because of the rich vocabulary and also because the space between the lines is generous, the print not as tiny as that in many books.

I put this out there as an idea for poets who are in a space that doesn't give them much room to maneuver, a time of demands that take precedence over writing, and time of loss. Lean into it: lose more--erase.