Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slightly Mesmerizing

Still trucking out here in the Northwest. Working, writing, and revising. For the first time in what seems like ages, not submitting relentlessly. It feels good to let the poems breathe a bit, to let them shift and speak and grow. I'm writing 7 poems in 7 days with some tremendously talented folks, which has me energized and writing forward.


For me, beautiful poems (or stories) are as we are all describing them: volatile examinations of the world. I don’t especially care what corner of the world is being examined, or in what tone or style or vernacular. The crucial thing is my unconscious sense that the speaker cannot stop herself. Whenever I have occasion to teach, I always inflict on my students stories and poems that reinforce this urgency, and broaden their sense of how language can be used. Barry Hannah. Emily Dickinson. Stephen Elliot. The freaks and obsessives who run howling toward the shame, with only their precision as a shield. I love to reach those moments in a piece where the reader is suddenly implicated in the madness. To be joined to the reader, made more common, less alone. It hardly ever happens for me, and never as a poet. But it does happen.

-Great conversation between Steve Almond, Timothy Donnelly, Matthew Zapruder, and Ange Mlinko over at APR




Mr. Gilbert’s career-embracing “Collected Poems” is, however, a revelation, almost certainly among the two or three most important books of poetry that will be published this year. His poetry is helped, not hurt, by this context and relative abundance. Around this book’s margins a scruffy and blood-warm autobiography emerges.

-Heading to Open Books this week to pick up my copy...


Is there anything worse than watching yourself talk? Seriously mortifying. Still, huge thanks to 32 Poems for allowing me to read with such a stellar line-up, and to Smartish Pace for co-hosting and making the video. AWP was awesome and exhausting.

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