Yesterday was all about Carruth and Kenyon, and I think I'm now ready to teach. Next weekend's writing retreat will focus on three themes: place, voice, and the bardic urge--and I spent much of the day sitting on my bed, surrounded by poetry books, working out conversational relationships among poems and composing simple writing prompts that might arise from those conversations. I try to use prompts that don't impose rigid requirements ("do this, this, and this") but allow for flexibility of reaction. It was lovely to have my son around while I was planning. I kept reading him poems, and he kept responding with smart, curious observations, particularly as regards the shift into prophet register that both poets do so well and so differently. He had a lot to say about how that tonal shift has become an inherent part of video games and sci-fi media . . . an interesting thought: that even in our largely secular, non-Bible-reading society, the bardic cadence--the lineage of Baldwin, Whitman, Bradstreet, Milton--remains powerful.
This morning a thick fog drapes the city by the sea. I am the only person out of bed, though Tom is awake, and drinking the cup of coffee I brought him. I don't have any particular plans for the day, other than to pick up my seafood order at the fish market. We'll have yellowfin tuna tonight, coho salmon tomorrow.
I'm ready for Monday's Byron chatter with Teresa; I'm caught up on editing; I've prepped for my class. I might work on some poem revisions today. I might set up the class blog, where we'll share our drafts. I might take another look at the afterword I wrote for the NPS manuscript--it used to be a preface but I decided to move it to the end of the book. In a busy talky house, I find it easier to write prose than to write verse, where the rhythms rise in my mind as I write, which are so damaged by exterior sounds: other people's music, phone calls, podcasts, chatter. Maybe that's why I wrote my prose memoirs and essays while the boys were young and at home.
What I'm doing here, at crowded little Alcott House, seems to bear no relation to the terrible news. I read and cook and clean and garden. I walk through the cemetery. And yet everything I do in this bubble is infected by dread. I know I use that word too often. But is there a synonym?