My Favorite 14-Year-Old Interviews Me

September 6, 2013


  Last spring I was interviewed, rather informally by a 14-year-old boy, one I happen to know quite well, whose school project was to recreate a Studs Terkel “Working” sort of oral history, and who rather inexplicably chose me as his subject. I saved that transcript for later, and here, as I enter my 15th […]

Posted in: Poetry

Devotions of the Ear

January 9, 2013


This is the first installment of a three-part exploration that privileges the role that sound and silence play in making the poem. I mean most particularly to explore the sounds that sound longs for inside the poem – sounds of the outer world and, as well, those felt whirrings inside the body. This is all […]

Posted in: Poetry

The Singing of Birds

July 16, 2012


Last night I stood outside in the dark, the garden still hot from another day of drought, softly steaming with the good watering I had given it.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.  Where were the birds?  Where was the birdsong? Were they all bedded down for the night in the heavy branches of the lindens, […]

Posted in: Poetry

Put the Phone Down: On Lists and the Insolence of Loss

June 14, 2012


The breaking of so great a thing should make A greater crack Antony & Cleopatra (V.i. 14-15) [Many of the premises you find here will comprise the heart and soul of my Mentoring services. They will also be further developed in The Perfect Ten Seminar this coming October (26-29) in Truchas, New Mexico, where a […]

Posted in: Poetry

A Shadow’s Shadow: The Writer and the Writer’s Ambition

March 19, 2012


All things counter, original, spare, strange;     Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) Commenting on Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s “Tabula Rasa,” a work for two violins, prepared piano and chamber orchestra Wolfgang Sandner says in the liner notes: “What kind of music is this? Whoever wrote it must have left himself behind at one point […]

Posted in: Poetry

On Downton Abbey, House Parties, and Surviving AWP

February 28, 2012


A few days ago I went to a house party with poetry. The occasion was an incantatory reading by poet Karen Chase, start-to-finish, of her book-length poem, “Jamali-Kamali: A Tale of Passion in Mughal India” (Mapin Publishing, India 2011). As a starting point, Karen Chase knew only this: just off Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road in Delhi, India, […]

Posted in: Poetry

Grace Notes — Singing the Poetic Line

February 15, 2012


Each line a poem, each line reaching out beyond its line break into an uncertain endlessness – and so each line earning that sort of honor. Or not. In a sense, this installment is more impressionistic than specific. But its intentions nevertheless have to do with very specific qualities of attention and regard, somehow achieved […]

Posted in: Poetry