Sunday, December 22, 2013

Well, for the moment the electricity's still on, but the weather is frightful. Thick sleet is noisily coating a glaze of frozen rain and several inches of new snow. My bathtub is full of buckets of emergency water, and the kitchen counter is lined with more. In the meantime I am doing laundry like crazy. Ostensibly we leave for Massachusetts tomorrow, and it would be nice to arrive clean . . . if we arrive at all.

I've received a number of notes about my poem "Coal Act (1969)," which I posted a couple of days ago. People seem to like the mixture of primary source and invented voice, a reaction that continues to give me hope that the western Pennsylvania collection will eventually come to some sort of complicated fruition. But it is such a slow project; I've never undertaken a writing task that's taken so long to finish. I am nowhere close to being done: all I see are more gaps to fill.

So it seems I will spend my Christmas holiday reading an eye-squint history of the Whiskey Rebellion. Fortunately I also have Baron's new novel to read, which is not only interesting but also printed in regular-sized type. [Dear Oxford University Press: Who prints an entire history book in type the size of a footnote? Is this some kind of attempt at a David Foster Wallace joke, or were you really short of paper or perhaps trying to discourage near-sighted poets, or do whiskey fans in England write in and say, "Dear Oxford University Press: I would buy more copies of your books if they were printed in 6-point type so that my friends and family who drink whiskey could imagine they were reading a book about whiskey instead of a book about taxes"?]

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