The past couple of weeks Doris’ family has been visiting. Her sister and niece were here for a week. Her mother was her for ten days. It was great to have them. And I got to take each of them out on the motorcycle.
Udella is eight years old. This was her first time on a motorcycle.
I went on my first motorcycle ride when I was three years old. My father and uncle wielded foot-pegs onto the frame of a Kawasaki so my feet would reach. I rode with my father from Evansville, Indiana to Lexington, Kentucky. (That’s about 200 miles!)
Udella’s first ride was a little shorter than that. We went to the comic book store and got a copy of Wonder Woman and HiHi Puffy Ami Yumi. [...]
I have a couple of weeks before going back to Lexington. I’ll be starting a new job tomorrow (as a ranch hand!) and moving to our new apartment on Tuesday. But I’ve decided to use this time to work in getting published.
A friend and classmate at Naropa got some incredible news last week that has inspired me. I don’t want to say what the news is yet because I don’t think the official announcement has been made. But he already said he’d give me an interview, so I’ll post one pretty soon.
I have a few stories of my own that are ready for publication. I sent some out last year, but this year I’m going to make an even bigger effort. I’m using the Writer’s Database to track them. In the next week I’ll send my story July 5th [...]
The opening panel for the final week of the Summer Writing Program was on Performance. Anne Waldman chaired the panel with Fiona Templeton, Karen Finley, and Miguel Algarin. Although I am not interested in performing in front of an audience like many poets are, when I am writing it is a type of performance. Sometimes when I am writing my body moves and my head nods as the words come out of me. The words are like footprints left behind from a performance in front of my computer screen.
Miguel Algarin’s comments were brief but to the point. It’s not what writers like Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez leave at home that matters, he said, it is what they choose to bring out into the public. Don’t get up on stage unless you can stand behind your work, he added. Poets who bring less than their best to a reading support the [...]
In the third week Mark McMorris gave the lecture titled Ah Noh Music Dat: Speech in the Discourse of Nationalism. The title for the lecture came from a conversation he overheard between two Jamaican workers outside his home in New York. The two workers discussed the musician Yellow Man and one of them proclaimed, “Ah no music dat.”
McMorris quoted and critiqued T. S. Eliot on his statements about poetry and nationalism. Eliot believed that the core of a nation was it’s language and that the language was harbored and harvested in it’s literature. The situation can be represented by this equation:
Nation = Language = Literature
The quote by Eliot that “No art is more stubbornly national than poetry” caused several in the audience to gasp. It [...]
Fiction writers that have come to Naropa are often looking for that poetic influence we won’t find at more traditional writing schools. Poets have a passion and care for their words that is inspiring. But fiction writers have much to offer one another and even to poets, a passion and care for telling stories.
This is why I was surprised that Tuesday’s panel of the third week was called “Telling Stories”, yet the only fiction writer on the panel was the chairperson Samuel Delany. It wasn’t a surprise that he made some of the most profound statements about stories. During his remarks he talked about story being the very foundation of the universe. Einstein’s theories, for example, are merely complex and intricate stories. The world, he said, is made up of stories. This reminded me of two quotes I keep in my mind all the time:
During Week 2 of the Summer Writing Program I attended a lecture by Donald Preziosi called “Art and / or / as Religion”.
He talked about the different concepts of art in time and place. For example, in the ancient Greeks did not have the same concept of art as we do. Also, historically in China the distinction between painters and poets was not established the way it was in Europe.
The differences between art and religion are not a “what” but a “when”. The question is, when are there differences between art and religion. And for whom are there differences? What does art do? What does religion do?
Because I am now attending these lectures in pursuit of my MFA degree, the most pertinent questions are: What does my [...]
The opening panel for the second week of the Summer Writing Program was titled: “Poetic Function of Philosophy”. Anne Waldman chaired the panel of Elizabeth Willis, Ron Silliman, Chris Tysh, and Donald Preziosi.
Ron Silliman’s talk is available on his blog. While listening to him I noted the following statement:
“a poet should know as much about linguistics and philosophy as possible so as not to be a fool with a pen.”
This statement expressed my own approach to writing. Although I grew up poor in this country and I write in ways that I believe are accessible to people I grew up with, I am also able to understand (somewhat) the “academic” language that most linguistics and philosophy is written in. I learn from these academic texts and apply [...]
The second week of the SWP I took a workshop with Donald Preziosi. The first assignmment for the class was to go out into Boulder and for no more than thirty minutes notice what the city was saying and who was saying it. The city is always speaking, through its buildings, its green spaces, its people, its streets, its signs, etc. Everything speaks.
Where ever you are, its a good exercise to try. Go out into the city. Sit down somewhere for half an hour and listen. What is the city saying? Who is speaking?
Boulder has an incredible amount of green space. On my block is a small public space, about fifty square feet of grass with a couple of trees, a picnic table, and a bench. On the other side of the block is another public space about the [...]
During the first week of the SWP, a student panel was posed a question from Joan Retallack’s The Poethical Wager:
“…given the troubles of our society in the world right now, shouldn’t we be devoting ourselves entirely to direct social action rather than the ‘luxury’ of poetry?”
The responses of the students on the panel ranged from asking “Where poetry isn’t?” to quoting Salman Rushdie saying: “We are all in the position of Shaharazad in 1001 Arabian Nights, having to tell stories all night to make it to the next day.” Another student deconstructed Retalak’s question by asking if there were really a difference or contradiction between poetry and action (or between talking and doing).
Each of the speakers seemed to agree that poetry/stories/art are essential. But agreed that direct [...]
This weekend Doris and I took my motorcycle up into the mountains. First we drove up Canyon to Nederland then we took 72 over to Estes Park. We stopped on the side of the rode and took pictures. The sky was bright and beautiful but soon it started to rain. In Estes Park we got pizza and waited for the rain to stop. It still rained on us on the way back. But we dried off quick on the bike. It was a nice break from reading and writing.