Sunday, January 27, 2008

where i come home and my suitcase weighs too much

Kim Addonizio

Thoughts from my week, gems I gleaned:

- memorizing a poem is like standing behind it, allowing you to see how it all hangs together
- when writing something wild and expansive, keep it centered somehow, an organized chaos
- unmoor a poem from the conventional
- when writing about another poet or artist, consider directly addressing the poet, artist, etc.
- the importance of lines mimicking the moment--the long lines of the boisterous funeral, tangled up vs. the brief lines after reading ancient Chinese poets
- write a poem that has at least three textures in it and at least one metaphor (closeness to the world)

Kim Addonizio & Claudia Emerson

Kim & Tom's reading:

We've just come from the gala, a three hour long affair with great sprigs of palm and orchid, with an open bar, with an array of food. We sat a table away from the clumps of great poets--Sharon Olds, CK Williams, Kim Addonizio, Malena Morling. I sat and stared, as if gazing at strange creatures in the zoo.

- "keep a knitting light"
- "dizzies up the brain's back room"
- "all of the oceans suddenly realized they were one ocean"

To exist at all, to exist in such a whole way, in this room, the fullness of fans, the amazingness that is being in a room full of poetry fans. This is how I want everyday to be.

- Thomas Lux: "Apologies to My Neighbor for Beheading His Duck" (hilarious!)

Major Jackson & Thomas Lux

In workshop, some thoughts:

As a student, I prefer to be the least advanced. This wasn't always so--I liked being able to boast and puff up my chest and hear my teachers' praise me at conferences. But I was still learning, still progressing. In this sort of environment, which seems to be where I most frequent, I learn just as much from my peers as I might from the teacher. I want to gather up little parcels, little snippets, and I am annoyed at anyone who is taking up space and cannot give anything. This doesn't seem fair, but I find myself glomming on to the best, the ones who critique most clearly and write in ways that I admire.

Campbell McGrath

I wonder what would have happened if you told me a decade ago, when I first received the handouts of Sharon Olds' poetry for the academic contest, when poetry came to life to me, became a place where I would want to always live, I wonder what I would have said if I were told I would one day meet her, one day unravel and the contents of my bookcase would continue to unspool, would rearrange from favorites, from books I read to that special growing place of signed books, of books passed back into the hands of the writers, the words trembling beneath the sweat of their creator. Would I laugh, ridiculous? Would something so good be so true?

Malena Morling & Sharon Olds

Leaving this was so sad for me. I wanted to dig my heels in, refuse to leave, but everyone else was going too; I'd be alone in Palm Beach in the tangerine room. I kept telling myself, over and over again: don't forget this moment, don't forget.

Sharon Olds & CK Williams

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