Thursday, June 27, 2013

Whammed Again

The fox kits and Mama Fox have moved elsewhere. 

I had the twenty-four hour stomach-flu yesterday.  I hate that feeling where the body is sick but the mind isn't so you're just laying there in bed, itching to do anything else.  I'd not move for awhile, feel better and roll over to get outta bed and get whammed again.  Today, it is such a joy not to feel the rumblings in my stomach and to actually eat something.

I'm reading Poetry As Survival by Gregory Orr, well, more accurately, I've picked it back up again.  There are so many things he writes that I agree with / feel strongly about, such as:

The jeopardy of poetry-making is deeply connected to the jeopardy of life itself (48)

...language itself is a form of sight (31) 

The essential point is that for a poem to move us it must bring us near our own threshold.  We must feel genuinely threatened or destabilized by the poem's vision of disordering, even as we are simultaneously reassured and convinced by its orderings (55 my italics)

But I'm not sure I agree with this statement:  "...poets have a higher threshold for psychic disorder than the average population, just as professional dancers have higher pain thresholds"  (57-58).

I think poets watch their mind and listen to it closely and try and tap into their emotions as honestly as they can.  Or at least some poets.  But this seems to me to be so close to saying poets are crazy and are comfortable with it. That just seems like such a cliché to me.  But at the same time, I know when my mom died, and we had to go back to the house and talk about when to hold the funeral, I totally mentally just checked out.  My sister even said to me, "You weren't there."  But I also was able to translate this into a poem--this mental check-out that I had. 

But I don't know now, maybe this is just confirming what he's saying. 

***Reviewing/Rethinking this at four in the morning:  maybe he's actually saying that poets can handle more challenging mental stuff and NOT go crazy.  I like that idea much better. 

What do you think?  Do  you agree with his statement?

The Major Subjects

Death is easier
than love. And true feeling, as someone said,
leaves no memory. Or else memory
replaces the past, which we know
never promised to be true.

Consider the sea cucumber:
when attacked it divides, sacrificing half
so that half
won't get eaten. Can the part left undevoured
figure out what to do?

The natural world is always instructive,
mysterious as well, but often
hard to praise. Love
is also difficult—the way it slides into
so many other subjects,

like murder, deceit,
and the moon. As my mother used to say
about anything
we couldn't find: If it had been
a snake it would have bitten you.

Fellow poets, we must
learn again to copy from nature,
see for ourselves
how steadfastly even its beauty
refuses to care or console.

Lawrence Raab

The Common
Issue 5

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

At Least A Curiosity

It is a regular menagerie around our house right now.  We  have three (nope, just saw another one--so four!!!) grey fox kits playing out around our shed.  They are so cute to watch--I positively squeal when I see them.  Hopefully, Mama Fox is somewhere nearby, although we haven't seen her and I'm getting worried.  Also, three baby red squirrels were tearing up my birdfeeders, doing all sorts of gymnastics to get to the seed.  They are a noisy group but very cute as well.  I've had to honk at little finches trying to get whatever on the road that's apparently fit to eat, or at least a curiosity and yesterday on my run I scared Mama Duck and her ten or so ducklings right next to the path. 

I have two more Wife with her Mid-life crisis poems up at Noctua Review you can read here.  I also got my proof copy of my chapbook Her Vena Amoris with the most exquisite cover--I'm very thrilled with the book. 

But I've  been getting my fair share of rejections as well.  Bleck.  And I've got about 14 poems for this month but these past two days have not produced anything.  I could blame it on a thousand things, but it's possible I'm just done for right now.  We'll see. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reminiscences Of My Father

Happy Father's Day!  So what made your dad your dad?  My dad used to be a hunter and a general out-doors man.  We grew up hearing about all kinds of hunting adventures he had.  He was tri-state area champion in target shooting and there were always guns around our house, although usually locked up.  I went skeet-shooting a few times with him and enjoyed shooting guns.  My dad was also an excellent fisherman and my favorite memories are being out on the boat with him and my mom and sisters fighting the stripped bass.  Those are fun fish because when they hit the bait they go deep and you really have to work at getting them on the boat.  Anyway, L. L. Bean would ask him to take certain clients out on his boat to show them where the best fishing was on the Kennebec.  Many of our summer vacations as young kids involved going to the Battenkill River in Vermont watching my dad catch trout with his Orvis fly rods.  We would always have to visit that store, or at least drive by.  I also learned to bird-watch from him and now that he can't get out as much, we chat about what interesting birds are around.  Here's a poem of mine about all of this sort of thing:



I don’t know what to cast toward today

to catch whatever’s swimming

inside my tide-turning mind.

The diving terns and skimming seagulls

have no need for rod and reel.


The Battenkill River holding my

childhood in its swirls and eddies:

Little girl listening to lectures on

nymphs and pupa chasing spotted

salamanders and her father’s attention

in shallow ponds. 


Listen:  the mayflies are hatching even now

their curved backs like elegant commas

and my father hunched over in his blue

leather chair all alone in what was once his

fairy tale house of forty five years.


If I strain, could I hear the practiced

back and forth swish of my father’s fishing rod flying

in our backyard? Only the small incandescent insects

dance in this late afternoon light. 



Heron Tree

I have so enjoyed working as an editor for the Heron Tree volume 5 edition.  I learned so much from reading submitted poems!  And realized w...