The world’s going to hell, but my writing is going well…Mostly revising and submitting, these days. I now have THREE projects under submission: 1. Taking Poetry Personally: Twenty-First Century Verse and the Multiverse; 2. a chapbook-length long poem, Propagation; 3. and a first novel, The Changeling Professor, although that one is just at the beginning-to-query-agents phase. Meanwhile I’m keeping poems under journal submission, and in the process I keep finding verses I drafted quickly and then forgot about. Whenever you put together a poetry book a LOT ends up on the cutting room floor.
I think the poem below was just too specific to my life at that moment–it didn’t seem inclusive enough of readers outside my bubble. I’d just attended a memorial service for Severn Parker Duvall III, the grand, legendary, reportedly cranky old poetry professor whom I’d replaced at W&L (I say “reportedly” because the man left behind some astonishing stories, all of which I believe, but he was always beautifully genteel to me). The immediate scene is the lawn in front of Lee Chapel on campus, where I was leading a workshop in a writing prompt (and doing some drafting myself, obviously). Like a lot of poems, though, this one has a heterotopia, an other-place: I’d been back from my Fulbright in New Zealand for less than a year and clearly missed it.
I’m looking forward to reading from Radioland at Washington College in MD next week. In the meantime, a poem for the road. Maybe it’s about running out of time and not entirely minding.
The Opposite of Elegy
The shadow of a chapel spire ticks over
my shoulder; the students write. Severn said,
“Do you mean of my departure?”
when his granddaughter asked, “Are you scared?”
Struck like a bell but finally amused
by the notion of fearing death.
Last night’s dead-hour dream fused
everything I’ve been thinking of: I
visited an old hotel, beachy views,
near Nelson, New Zealand. Bill Manhire
was running a poetry conference
that was really the afterlife.
When told I had to jump back over the fence,
return to the living for a while, I cried…
My students are still writing. Present tense
continuous, sprawling all over a spikily
germinating lawn. Younger and smarter
every year. Sere leaves brushed aside.
I guess that’s spring for you. Clock for a heart.
April 2, 2012
I make photographs and poems to please myself (and share them to please you).
pages from an unbound book
a poetry blog & online home to the work of José Angel Araguz
book blogger & reviewer
Poetry, haiku, tanka, and micropoetry
Art. Disability. Writing.
Place, Poems, Practice
Poetry and what-not
(because compost happens)
The work wants to be made
Writing from both sides of the brain
"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty
Mundane musings from a collector of the quotidian
Writer. Surrealist grrl.