Sunday, April 06, 2008

taste: as noun, as verb

Taste: To have the experience of something, no matter how limited or slight.

An installation at the Open Book: The Face of Poetry. We wander the halls, three floors of photographs of poets, names of poets whose words have guided me through my own education, the school of books. Academia too. Li-Young Lee, Czeslaw Milosz, Lyn Hejinian.

A class in the early afternoon: Exploring the Very Short Poem. Finding ways to cleave the adornments, to tell the story without the childish adjectives and adverbs. To grow as a poet, to condense, to hold the poem in the palm of my hand.

I picked up a copy of the book, a catalog of the show. It's what I've always wished a poetry book could do--an image of the poet, an introduction, exploration of the poem, poems themselves. I want to pare down the adornments in my poems, but I love to hear the stories behind the poetry. Footnotes. Peer behind the curtain, so to speak.

Taste: To examine by touch; feel. To test or try.

I love these bits captured beneath the glass--each visit to the Open Book there is a new selection, a new display of the book as art. A quiet museum.

The ideas of aesthetic excellence or of aesthetically valid forms prevailing in a cultural or personal to an individual.

Ryan accompanied me to a book launch at Bryant Lake Bowl last night. Alex Lemon, his hands subtly trembling, some part overwhelmed by the support in that audience, the expanse of people, the traveling, his voice telling the stories of the places his poetry took him. The atmosphere seemed so fitting--the theatre larger than the bowling alley, the audience wearing those thick black glasses (ah hem), thirtysomething, the squirming of newborns (and he bashfully smiled at being able to swear for the first time in front of them; later he made a reference to House of Pain--Jump Around, showing our age). It was good and I am so pleased.

Teresa, who was also at the reading, has posted on her blog that Milkweed has an open reading period in June. I am not in any way ready to put a manuscript into the world, but it is good to know that reputable publishers sometimes open their doors. Some day, a thick stack of words, mine, will linger there.

Taste: To distinguish the flavor of by taking into the mouth.

After: Greek. Good friends. Oopah! Hands held beneath the table, spanikopita, flaming cheese, potent drinks. Giggling, octopus hanging on a line, the warmth of a full evening, a dinner as it is meant to be spent--not the swift movement through time, but mingling over conversation, lingering over wine and adorable martini glasses. Our palms and hearts full of love and words.

1 comment:

Nikkita said...

I was at the reading too. I meant to look for you, but it was quite crowded as you know! Also, Milkweed also has an open reading period in January for poetry. Manuscripts can be submitted anytime, but January/June are the times more devoted to the reading of them. (Thought they extend into the months following because of the great amount of them.)