Category: teaching

  • She carries me

    In the Belly As a woman carries an insect, unconscious of the sign it shapes with diplomatic footfalls across her skin, she carries me. As a lake lifts the sky’s image, all burnished admiration, or proffers a crushed cup, a leaf, a rainbow slick of grease. As your network of neurochemicals and electricity carries, through […]

  • Easy poetry

    Easy poetry

    “Excitement comes from being lazy and fun loving. O’Hara worked hard, but he also took it easy. His Collected Poems are a manifesto of the high aesthetic rewards that accrue from a life—albeit a tragically abbreviated life—of taking easiness as the gold standard. Like Warhol’s professed love of easy art (or art that was easy to make), O’Hara’s […]

  • Haunted Matisse & packing light

    Haunted Matisse & packing light

    On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we visited the “Matisse in the 1930s” exhibit in the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, and there was plenty NOT to like. So many odalisques! The images that stayed with me in a more positive way did so because the way they reflected process struck me as appealingly uncanny. The […]

  • Five year writing plan for the witches’ new year

    Five year writing plan for the witches’ new year

    As Department Head, I’ve been reading colleagues’ Five Year Plans, which oddly enough are due around Halloween or Samhain (or however you think about this spooky midpoint between the fall equinox and winter solstice). I have an official Five Year Plan myself–I’m halfway through that cycle–but maybe it’s time for a weirder one. I’m a […]

  • Reading T. S. Eliot’s tarot cards

    I was talking to my British and Irish poetry class about the “wicked pack of cards” Madame Sosostris wields in “The Waste Land” when one person said, “There should be a Modernist Poets tarot deck.” My brain exploded: H. D. as The Star, Pound as The Emperor, Sassoon as the Nine of Wands, maybe Yeats […]

  • Countdown…and teaching ideas for Poetry’s Possible Worlds

    I’m getting very close now to the launch of Poetry’s Possible Worlds and therefore working hard on Poetry’s Possible Publicity. The task is a supermassive black hole tugging at my effort and energy, most of which will vanish without a trace–but I still believe in putting it out there. As Claudia Emerson framed it to […]

  • Mind of winter (not)

    For me, midwinter is a time of introversion. I’m three weeks into my university’s winter term, so I’m planning and leading discussions and meetings constantly, but they’re usually based on study and solitary thinking–not extroverted stuff, even though there’s a social, performative aspect to the work. The class based on NEW reading and thinking is […]

  • The work + worry equations of winter 2022

    The great thing about the first week of this year: I dedicated a substantial chunk to poetry. I discovered that although I’d revised older work, I hadn’t drafted a new poem AT ALL since summer 2021. That’s really rare for me. I tend to throw down drafts during spare hours and come back to them […]

  • Sacrifices, gifts, and a year in reading

    Fairies and gods haunted my last post, to which I have a couple of addenda: first, an English cousin spotted my story about my mother and her father propitiating the fairies with sweets and, bless him, he brought a matchbox full of sugar to Sefton Park in Liverpool and left it in Fairies Glen, pictured […]

  • Rereading Sedgwick, or, Oh Yeah, I Like Teaching

    The first paragraph from this famous essay by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick just stopped me cold: “Sometime back in the middle of the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, I was picking the brains of a friend of mine, the activist scholar Cindy Patton, about the probable natural history of HIV. This was at a time […]