Month: May 2020

  • It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall

    …The dark threw its patches down upon me also, Walt Whitman wrote in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Nearly as often as he reflects on his own tingling senses, Whitman, it turns out, writes about distance and solitude, sometimes expressing pain about it and reaching for touch across impossible gaps. “It avails not, time nor place–distance avails […]

  • Virtual Salon #12 with Ned Balbo

    …the landline’s cut & no one’s listening -Ned Balbo, from “Vortex” The imaginary book party below is the twelfth in a spontaneously invented series–how did this milestone come so fast? In March, events I’d planned to launch The State She’s In fell apart, which in some ways felt like the very smallest loss in an […]

  • Virtual Salon #11 with Martha Silano

    Dear Mr. Wordsworth, It turns out there is no tranquility. When you read any of Martha Silano’s books, all of them fizzing with brio and invention and awe, you want to start a salon just so you can invite her. As Diane Seuss says about Gravity Assist, Silano’s fifth poetry collection is “popping with kinetic […]

  • Rainbows, snakes, and book launches

    Among my latest thrills: nearly stepping on a hissing snake; a double rainbow over an empty Main Street; a frisbee arriving by mail; and, oh yeah, publishing my first novel. On launch day for Unbecoming, I was shut in my house responding to student project proposals; my March launch for The State She’s In came […]

  • Becoming Unbecoming

    My debut novel launches this Friday, May 15th, 2020. Here’s the story of how the book came to be. I was in my late forties in 2015, sending my oldest child off to college and feeling glum about the next phase of my life. Hormonal shifts were not helping. On a walk with my spouse, […]

  • Virtual Salon #10 with Ruth Dickey

    I mark up most of my poetry books–prepare to be shocked–IN PEN. I probably started in grad school, before sticky notes came in all those colors and sizes, and inked notes are more legible when you return to a text to teach or write about it. I recently went back to an old edition of […]

  • Hope, ambition, and other tricky green things

    “Let him who is without my poems get assassinated!” Walt Whitman wrote, when the self-published 1855 Leaves of Grass didn’t make much of a splash, despite the three glowing reviews Whitman himself wrote and published anonymously. I’m reading him for a 4-week, all-remote Whitman and Dickinson seminar I’m teaching right now, and bonus: it helps […]