Saturday, October 17, 2009

LIVE at the Poetry Foundation!

Well, not LIVE exactly, but close enough. A column of mine, "Ten Poems I Love To Teach," has been published by the Poetry Foundation, and last week I was interviewed for about an hour for a possible podcast about two of the poems, "The Sun Rising" and "Wild Nights," to be hosted there as well. When it goes up, I'll post the link. In the mean time, you might want to take a look at the new Learning Lab the Poetry Foundation has set up, especially if you're a teacher. Lots of resources, some of which I was a consultant or editor for.


(A twinge: not that this will count for my promotion. But compared to the colleagues I have who were passed over for tenure, for flimsier reasons, I don't have much to complain about--and unlike some of my colleagues at other schools, especially public universities, I haven't been asked to teach for free or even cut back on travel. From now on, when someone asks me whether the glass is half full or half empty, I'm going to tell him, "Dude, I have a glass." Pollyanna, c'est moi.)


This is the first time I've posted anything here in several months. As I wrote last year (last school year, or Jewish year, take your pick), I find Twitter and Facebook now do the job of social connection that this blog once did. I'm not sure whether I'll have the time to post here with any regularity, or to do so particularly thoughtfully. But the mood struck, and the computer was on, so here I am.


The picture I've added above is of the late, great poet Ronald Johnson in his kitchen, back in San Francisco, I believe. The book I co-edited on Ron--the link is to your right--has sold perhaps a hundred copies so far. A labor of love, as they say, as was Ron's work, so I don't feel terribly bad about the slow sales. As the poem says, I never expected much!


Tonight is the Sharing Fest at my wife's church: a fundraiser for parishes in Haiti, Nigeria, and Mexico that she's run for the past seven or eight years. Last year, as usual, this was a terribly stressful time for her, not least because she was heading for Haiti herself soon afterward. This year, someone else is finally running the show, and there's no trip to follow. Much calmer, chez nous, but a real sense, also, that a year has passed.

It's as though I've had three or four New Years in a row: the school year starting, the Jewish holidays, now this. I have such vivid, horrid memories of the time when R was away: sleeplessly grinding out an overdue essay on the poet Lawrence Joseph, taking care of the kids and R's father, who was staying with us at the time, hearing from an editor that my piece was simply too late to use. It all worked out, in the end--but not without some anguished phonecalls back and forth to the tropics (Blackberry works in Limonade!) and a flurry of groveling emails.

Now that piece is out, and the Parnassus essay on Darwish and other Palestinian poets that followed, hot on its heels. I have several projects in motion--books, a new journal, classes, new committee work--but nothing that has me as unhappy as I was a year ago.

As good a time as any to return.


Laura Vivanco said...

"I have several projects in motion--books, a new journal, classes, new committee work--but nothing that has me as unhappy as I was a year ago."

This, from the man who was calling himself Pollyanna only a few paragraphs ago! Where's the cheerful "at least I have several projects in motion!"? ;-)

"I find Twitter and Facebook now do the job of social connection that this blog once did"

I'm sure that's true. But not all of us are on Twitter and Facebook, so we miss out on some of the social connectedness. Still, I'm glad I can read the tweets via a feed!

E. M. Selinger said...

Ah, the Freudian slip--or at least, the Freudian "as"!

I meant to write, of course, that there nothing "that has me unhappy, as I was a year ago." Not AS unhappy.

That reminds me, though--I should add that Twitter feed to my blog again. Hmmm... How did I do that? A few minutes to check, before the Fest begins.

Ross Brighton said...

I am still meaning to get a copy of the Johnson book, but, alas, that's going to have to wait for grant money I fear. the intention may not pay the bills, but it's there none the less.
The new Journal sounds interesting. If you want anything from me, or have open subs, let me know!

Mark Scroggins said...

Welcome back, old man! & I took yrs & Joel's urging to heart & had the liberry here order a copy of the L&W the other day.

A lovely, lovely book, even if I'm in it! Spent a bit of time caressing it this morning, in the interests of my RJ/LZ/IHF/Swensen gardens essay.

Ross Brighton said...

That sounds like an awesome essay Mark - let me know where it's going to appear. I'd love to read it.