Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April, We Hardly Knew Thee

So April's pretty much done with. Bad news: National Poetry Month is coming to an end. Good news: so is the school year. And don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware how lucky I am to be paid to talk about writing all day, to get to interact with kids and endeavor (usually, in vain) to get them to care about a poem or story; but, that said, I'm eager to get to this summer. Why? Well, I'm starting to get excited about this move; about my east coast farewell tour (oh yeah, it's happening); about the possibility of the idea of maybe one day writing another poem; about the prospect of trekking across these United States with my Redbone Coonhound in the front seat, windows cracked, u-haul trailer clonking along behind. Is that so bad?


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Even with the aforementioned excitement, I'm genuinely digging teaching my 12th graders The Things They Carried. For starters, it gives me a chance to closely read a book I love and try and figure out just exactly why I love it so damn much. Also--it's really illuminating to teach this book to the handful of students I have who are headed for the armed forces. In general, they seem to really be loving it, though I wonder sometimes if that's more posturing than anything else. Lastly (but not least-ly), the book says so much about the nature of story-telling and, perhaps, why we writer-types are so driven:

"And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

I was lucky to have dinner with Tim O'Brien when I was a student at Elon. Not sure how finagled that, but it was cool. He mentioned, more than once, that he always writes wearing nothing but underwear. He signed my copy of his book right underneath a big stamp that says "Property of Lansing High School."


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Killer first line of the moment:

"Shall the water not remember Ember"

from Fred Chappell's "Narcissus and Echo"
(Shadow Box, LSU Press, 2009)


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via Slate

Half-interesting, half-terrifying.


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via NYT

On the real, though, this whole thing in Arizona seems surreal. I have a hard time understanding how anyone can not see this legislation as anything but hateful and dangerous. Hey, people of Arizona, remember when your state was, um, part of Mexico? But the immigrants are the interlopers, right? Unbelievable...

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Whoa. Calm down, Eminem. Nonetheless--crazy. Definitely not a freestyle...

1 comment:

Keith said...

I just laughed so hard at the Lansing High School comment that Jess, two rooms away, said, "What's the matter? You OK?" Amazing.

I'm glad you have a funny story about that, though. I had Levine sign What Work Is, and he looked at me like I just kicked him in the balls, and said: "This is a LIBRARRRRRY book," and almost didn't sign it. Luckily I didn't say back what my dumb 22 year-old self was about to say... though I don't exactly remember what it was.