There are a number of amazing, inexplicable, surreal things happening all at once: I had a poem accepted to appear in Southwest Review; I found out my book was the number 2 bestselling poetry title in February at Small Press Distribution (and, in turn, the Poetry Foundation's bestseller list for Small Press titles); an interview and review have been posted over at The Fine Delight featuring myself and After the Ark (Many thanks to Nick Ripatrazone for his excellent project and careful attention); and I'm preparing to fly to North Carolina next week, where I'll be reading and visiting classes at my alma mater, Elon University.
I'm not sure how I got so lucky--but I feel incredibly blessed to have such a warm and generous response to the poems. Wowzas.
His productivity, never high to begin with, has slowed with age. He finishes poems at the rate that Antonio Stradivari constructed a violin. "I often don't write more than a couple of lines in a day of, let's say, six hours of staring at the sheet of paper," he told the Paris Review in 1977. "Composition for me is, externally at least, scarcely distinguishable from catatonia."
Rhythm isn't just decorative. It serves a purpose even in a book like "Moby-Dick," which aspires to social realism. Melville could well have made his opening line "Call me Richard"—it was a popular American name then as now—but it lacks the tragic Old Testament resonance of Ishmael. It also doesn't sound as good as Ishmael, whose two gentler stresses balance out the sentence's strikingly stressed first word. What's more, "Call" and "el" chime off each other, resulting in a sentence that's as sonorous and inviting as "Call me Richard" plainly isn't.
Fiction-making media (not just movies and TV but, as Season Five makes clear, newspapers too) fumble into drippy sentimentalism or stiffen into overly righteous emotion when dealing with grief. The Wire contains moments of grief uncompromised by special pleading or “framing,” though the purity of feeling can’t be separated from ambiguity. Nothing matches the elegiac grandeur of the solo spiritual, “Jesus On the Mainline,” sung—fieldshouted—at D’Angelo’s funeral. Never mind it’s mourning for and by a drug-running society. The song doesn’t ask us to sympathize, only to witness grieving. And much later, the mere sight of the abandoned boarded-up houses where Marlo has stashed bodies is an image of loss, of houses not as beds of culture but dumpsters for dead human beings: the houses represent all the species of concealment, misdirection, and devaluation of the human that every social order in The Wire engages in.
-W.S. Di Piero writes elegantly about The Wire
Beyond stoked to see Macklemore tomorrow night--it'll be his last show in Seattle before he hits the national tour and blows up in the rest of the country.