If you have some quiet hours this week, I hope you’ll read the amazing poems in the new issue of Shenandoah. Hot-flashing in your Thanksgiving kitchen? Ann Hudson has you covered. Missing green horizons? Look at Oliver de la Paz’s Diaspora Sonnets. Craving something funny-dark? See Kelli Russell Agodon and Julie Marie Wade. Want a poem that’s a doorway, a dream, a marathon, a shopping expedition? Step into Jesse Lee Kercheval’s “Coronillas,” Akhim Yuseff Cabey’s “Complex,” Lucien Darjeun Meadows’ “Mile 11–,” or Jane Satterfield’s “Errand Hanging with Emily Brontë.” Ned Balbo’s poem talks to a firefly. Emily Pérez recreates a writer’s desperateness to produce-produce-produce and illuminates what a mess that mindset can make. Grief poems by Leona Sevick and Destiny O. Birdsong just devastated me. There’s more in the buffet, too, as many poems as we could cram into one issue (and pay authors for).

As far as my own literary news, this little plot of earth is dormant. I have one lyric essay I’m nudging along, but mostly I’m feeling uncomplicated happiness over others’ success. Just in my English department last week, a student won a Rhodes, a colleague published a short story, another colleague won sabbatical funding, and yet another was offered her first book contract. Term is winding up and it looks like a few of my students have learned a few things. I was very worried about overseeing registration with terrible new software and a recent history of low enrollments, but I didn’t screw it up! Our winter enrollments look pretty damn robust.

I’m savoring some quiet hours of my own, too, and I’m grateful for them. My campus is closed for a week now, which gives me a chance to read, think, and catch up with life stuff like ordering sneakers to replace my shredded pair. Tuesday through Saturday we’ll be at a rented apartment in West Philadelphia to hang with our kids, and we’ll make a one-day trip to New Jersey on Thursday to eat the big meal with my sister’s family. Otherwise, restaurants, museums, city walks, and maybe more reading. Yeah, I’m still pecking, here and there, at grading and email. And after the break come more of the spreadsheets that checker a Department Head’s nightmares. Having a brief window of comparative peace still feels like a gift. There’s nothing like a stint as Chair to make the rest of academic life look sweet.

The picture above is of more books on my menu, this pile harvested at the C.D. Wright conference, mostly traded for copies of Poetry’s Possible Worlds and The State She’s In. I’ve also been spending time with Allison Adele Hedge Coke’s Look at This Blue, Camille Dungy’s Guidebook to Relative Strangers (she visits campus this winter), and Barbara Kingsolver’s powerhouse of a novel, Demon Copperfield. As preface to whatever feasts await you this week–something tasty, I hope–an amuse-bouche of poetry is below.

jump-started    or just woke when unexpected to
always returning to the beauty of this world
abject misery layered                still splendor despite
-Allison Adele Hedge Coke

but what did I really know of suffering?
Like, I backed my nine-seater wagon

with the sweet wood paneling
into your sister's car and cried
-Lauren Goodwin Slaughter (riffing on Auden)

                                                                        I want 
domino suitcases, toothbrushes the size of rice grains,

all of us reduced to our smallest, most exact selves.
-Anna V. Q. Ross

5 responses to “Word-feast”

  1. Thanks much for a peek into your world/life. Enjoy the week. Sounds luxurious to me, the walks into and out of city life. I enjoyed those bits of poetry shared, esp feeling that “reduced to our smallest, most exact selves”, to be honest. Happy Thursday.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: