Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This morning I will be immersed in other people's poems: I'm judging a contest, and I'm beginning a new copyediting job for CavanKerry. Meanwhile, the 40-degree rain will continue to fall, and our dank green spring will hover in suspended animation.

I continue to muse over the peculiar narrative voice of The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania, as in "It is doubtful if the earliest settlers were much concerned about the 'balanced rations' that play so large a part in the the food planning of the modern household." I am also continuing to think about Sunday night's reading. My friend Elizabeth (the poet and memoirist who features with me in this Maine Humanities Council podcast) sent me a note about it, which I think I'll share with you. I feel somewhat self-conscious about doing this since it looks like crowing, and I don't like to look like I'm crowing; but what I really want you to see is her comment about the improvisational link between two readers who know each other's work very well and the audience's awareness of that improvisation, though the readers themselves did not preplan any kind of interlocking performance.

The reading was rigorous, made for poets, strong well muscled lines, phenomenal leaps of imagination. Hearing the poem, "Peter Walsh," out loud was like entering someone else's dream written in a modern echo of Virginia Woolf's musings (yes, at 20, I was a addict of Virginia's prose). We were transported, the audience breathing out at the end at the same time. It was a powerful rare moment of shared dream traveling. It was also a delight to see a such a close mentor and student, now colleagues, who have written and read each other so long, that there are echoes of each other in the work.

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