Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Equinox as Harbinger of Doom

No need to panic. Though my title may be hyperbolizing the situation, I do think Fall is upon us. While I'm thrilled to be wearing a fleece during my short walk from house to school-building, I'm less-than-thrilled by the mountains of work. We just finished our first interim which means grades are due, which means mountains of journals and quizzes on my coffee table. Real mountains good. Figurative mountains bad.

Fortunately, this first fall weekend brings with it my first real weekend since school started. We've had classes on Saturday morning for the past three weeks, so needless to say I'm excited about the prospect of two consecutive days sleeping past 5 a.m. (though not much later as Boone starts getting restless around 8). Parent-teacher conferences on Friday--I'm hoping these will be interesting: how much more you understand about the way a child behaves after meeting their parents.


Lots of new string-oriented music in my life. Bought the Monsters of Folk record, after hearing all the hype--haven't yet given it the time it deserves. Also picked up the new Yonder, the new Avetts, and the Grizzly Bear CD. With road-trips in my future, I'm happy to have some new tunes. Also have a stack of music from Lisa Fay--so the road-trips are necessary to make sure I get to listen to it all.


More rejections. Though, I did get a strange bit of inside information that has me grinning. More on that front once I get the official word. Can hardly believe how quickly some of these magazines move.

In other publication news: check out the newest RATTLE e-issue. It's humbling to see the other folks who will be included in the upcoming issue. Nice to see that helladocious cover, too. There's also an interesting first book interview in there with Bruce Cohen. Makes me that much more excited to get my hands on the damn thing.


Killer opening line of the moment:

"A shilling life will give you all the facts:"

from W.H. Auden's "Who's Who"
(Penguin Book of the Sonnet, 2001)


Usually spoken-word/SLAM poetry is extremely hit-or-miss for me, which is odd as I have such an interest in poetry and rap both (those 2 rap albums I recorded in undergrad serve as evidence of the latter). But I stumbled across this video and was heartened, moved even:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spontaneous Awesome

The rain is creeping in. Every so often you feel a chill crawl down the collar of your shirt and you wish you had a sweater on, sitcoms are reappearing on network television, the equinox is tomorrow and from tree-top to tree-top leaves are contemplating a change of wardrobe, but most importantly, most essentially and obviously heralding an encroaching autumn, flag-football has started here in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. I'm proud to announce our faculty team trounced a team of tenth graders 40-20. Yeah, that's right. We're those guys.


Yonder Mountain has a new album. For me, the jury is still out, though I'm happy to have some new tunes to rock to while I grade.


Killer first line of the now:

"Like battered old millhands, they stand in the orchard—"

from the W.D. Snodgrass poem "Old Apple Trees"
(Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems, BOA Editions, 2006)

I love this poem. There's so much to be learned from the way Snodgrass turns the poem. I tried to find the full-text so I could post a link, but it turns out the only one that seems to exist is to the New Yorker, where the poem was originally published, but access requires a subscription, which I have, though I bristle at having to prove this. Regardless--a great poem that closes with these lines, made all the more powerful after the giant leaps the poem manages to navigate (from orchards to dive bars to ancient Thebes):

Soon, each one of us will be taken
By dark powers under the ground
That drove us here, that warped us.
Not one of us got it his own way.
Nothing like any one of us
Will be seen again, forever.
Each of us held some noble shape in mind.
It seemed better that we kept alive.

Please. Find this poem. Read it. Eat an apple. Stir.


This. Video. Rules. Make sure you hang in there until a little after a minute...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teeth and Nostalgia

"For, though he did not know it, and despite the Hoover tube that lay on the passenger seat pumping from the exhaust pipe into his lungs, luck was with him that morning. the thinnest covering of luck was on him like fresh dew. While he slipped in and out of consciousness, the position of the planets, the music of the spheres, the flap of a tiger moth's diaphanous wings in Central Africa, and a whole bunch of other stuff that Makes Shit Happen had decided it was second chance time for Archie. Somewhere, somehow, by somebody, it had been decided that he would live."

From "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith

I'm teaching this book to my 12th graders this year. Reading it for the first time just now, and feeling silly for not having read it before...


This may be the finest craft talk I've ever seen...


Boone has sharp teeth. He made my father's hands bleed last weekend. Despite all of the toys scattered around the living room, Boone's favorite things to chew on seem to be empty Gatorade bottles, the hem of my khakis, and geriatric hands endeavoring to pet him.


J-E-L-L-O--responsible for the presidency?


Back on the rejection train (not that I was ever off of it) as the first of my most recent batch of submissions came back with an unmarked form slip. 13 days. Those poems must have been stinking up the office...


I need to see John Legend in concert...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Funday

Well, I survived my first week of teaching, including Saturday morning classes. Needless to say, one day was not nearly enough to recover and do the whole thing again, but let's hope that I start to fall into the rhythm of this schedule. I had big plans of sleeping-in this morning, though Boone decided he needed to go to the bathroom at 6. He pawed the back of my neck until I complied. The good news: I got my long-run in early (in preparation for a half-marathon in Raleigh). The bad news: until Boone outgrows puppydom, there will be no languishing beneath the covers until the afternoon.


I've always thought I was a pretty good blogger, maybe it's time I go pro...


Killer opening line of the moment:

"It came with the osprey, the cormorants, the air"

from Eavan Boland's "How the Dance Came to the City"
(A Fine Statement: An Irish Poets' Anthology; John McDonagh, Ed.; Poolbeg Press, 2008)


Boone's new favorite hobby is dragging my underwear from the laundry pile to the living room rug. This is problematic when I have guests.


In honor of MJ's induction into the Hall of Fame (apologies for the gratuitous shots of Eminem):

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lessons in Maintaining

School starts on Monday, and I can't help but feel dreadfully unprepared. The super-sweet posters I ordered for my classroom won't arrive until the second week of school. My teaching load did get slimmed down to six sections of four different classes (2 sections of English 12, 2 of English 10, 1 of Creative Writing, 1 of College-Credit English). So that's a good thing, I'd say. Any suggestions for a good novel for the English 12 class (it's British Lit.). Last year's class read 1984, but that doesn't feel meaty enough for the modern novel portion of the class. Any suggestions would be much appreciated...


Made an emergency trip to the vet two nights ago. At the faculty/staff picnic, Boone somehow got himself some meat which conveniently lodged itself in his esophogus. After a terrifying 40 minute ride to the vet, we got everything taken care of and he's back to his wagging, chewing, barking-self. Much trouble as he's been, I wouldn't trade this dog for anything. He sleeps in the bed these days, watches television on the couch, and will sit if you give him a treat.


I'm not the biggest fan of twitter, but I have found one that I think is pretty funny...


Congrats to Keith for all his recent poem-publishing ass-kicking. Though, I have to say, it does make me anxious about all the poems I currently have out in the wind. Ever notice how hearing about others' acceptances makes you remember how long it's been since your last one? But it doesn't make me any less happy to hear about good people (and good poets) getting their work out there...


My latest obsession: Sarah Jarosz. In this video, she's 17. Since, she's turned 18 and released a CD that has yet to leave my stereo...


Killer opening line of the now:

"The knives are calling"

from Aaron Baker's "Spirits of the Low Ground"
(Mission Work, Houghton Mifflin, 2008)