Saturday, January 30, 2010

Such a peculiar day yesterday, as I said to the many people who told me they'd listened to "Wednesday" on the radio. As soon as I heard my name on Garrison Keillor's lips, I started to cry. I don't know why. I rarely listen to that show, unless I happen to be in the car. I don't have a great attachment to him . . . except that he is the Big Voice on the Radio. And there was my name. I'm not sure I can explain my feelings here. All I can say is that it was strange.

I'm also not sure I'll bring myself to listen to "Lullaby" tomorrow. That was the very first poem I ever brought to a workshop. I was beyond scared. Here I was, caretaker of two babies in the woods, thinking I could write poems. The idea that it will be that poem, of all others, that will be featured on a national radio show. . . . Clearly, I probably won't be able to listen.

On top of all this, I received an email from a New York agent. A couple of months ago I sent her "Self-Portrait, with War and Peace," and now she wants to see the rest of the obsessive-rereading manuscript. Being a poet, I don't know anything about agents, but Charlotte, who does, assures me that this is an excellent development. Sheeplike, I bulge my eyes and race optimistically into the next field. (Pardon the sheep metaphor, but I'm reading Thomas Hardy. All sheep, all the time.)

So it will be good for me, in a rigorous and self-cleansing sense, to shovel out the barn, which is wretchedly in need of shoveling--except that the temperature is below zero and it's too cold for both me and the animals. Weather-enforced procrastination, once again. I think I will let Tom take me to the movies instead.

Anyway: updates: I'm hoping to post the next Winter's Tale comment cue tomorrow, so catch up with your reading. (Full disclosure: I haven't even started that scene yet.) On another note, I've got a couple of new poem recordings up on the Poetry Speaks site, if you want to hear me instead of Garrison Keillor.

Dinner tonight: Frittata? Ziti and meatballs? Ham and eggs? We seem to be overrun with leftovers, which is a rare occurrence in this household. Of course, they could all have vanished by dinnertime.

5 comments:

Mr. Hill said...

I just listened to "Wednesday" and it was so nice. It is a challenging read for him, though. I am a fan of Keillor's in general, and some of the choices he made in the reading were really interesting.

"Wednesday" is one of the poems that has had a check by it in my copy of Boyland since the first time I read it, so I loved hearing it and you get such attention.

Dawn Potter said...

Tom thinks that GK included too many gratuitous pauses. I wasn't in a critical-thinking mode so can't comment one way or the other. But it's interesting that you also noted some challenges. I wrote the poems in that book before I did many (any?) public readings; and one thing I've discovered via the poems in the forthcoming collection is the influence that more frequent public readings make on my revision choices--specifically, punctuation--which is such an important part of oral presentation.

Lucy Barber said...

The interest of the agent is excellent, if for nothing else testing how you want to walk on that ice. If you want me to check the name with my co-worker who is novelist with some superstar agent, I'd be happy to. He's rather in the loop. (Keith Donohue, A Stolen Child was his first published novel).

John M said...

I heard "Wednesday" and burst out laughing! The poem is soft with very strong imagery, bringing back sighs of childhood.

I'm thrilled to find you and you work. Words, and poetry, I'm just beginning to fully understand how wonderful they are.

congrats on the agent!

Dawn Potter said...

Thanks for the agent-checking offer, Lucy. If anything comes of this, I'll let you know. Just as likely, once she sees the ms, she'll decide she can't sell such book.

And John, thanks for listening and visiting here. Yes, words are an infatuation; no doubt about it. Welcome to the club.