Tag: poetry reading

  • Currents and circuits

    I’ve been revving high without going anywhere for a while, having entered the work-around-the-clock part of the term, so I’m going flat-out all day and it’s hard to calm down at night, much less write poems or do other creative work that makes me feel peaceful. Thinking about how to manage my energy better made […]

  • Post-poetry-reading rituals (AWP Prep Pt. 2)

    When people talk about writing rituals, they usually mean the behaviors that get them primed for focused composition. For me, that’s a pot of tea and a laptop in a quiet corner, with email notifications turned off. If I still can’t get my head together, reading helps. Or I write informally or in another genre […]

  • Literary Lexington in the 1920s

    “First came Vachel Lindsay and gave a ‘reading’ (if you could call it that) of his poem in the Washington and Lee Library. One of them sounded to me like a hog calling. Then came Carl Sandburg whom I liked much better.” This is from an obscure memoir called Mrs. Ecker’s Lexington, 1918-1929, edited by […]

  • High school, the best poetry audience ever

    One way to tell the story of how I came to read poetry desperately and constantly would be: early. I still know by heart a book of nursery rhymes I used to own, with Richard Scarry illustrations. A lot of us, though, had our first serious poetry crushes in, or at least during, high school. […]

  • “Douchebag” and other rude, not-seasonally-festive epithets

    The one time I tried to smoke a cigarette, my friends mocked me: “Cut that out. You look totally ridiculous.” By common consensus, I couldn’t pull off foul language either. I thought the problem might have been some crisp Englishness lingering in my elocution—my mother’s British and allegedly I started kindergarten with an accent. I […]

  • Poems and chapels

    When Alice Te Punga Somerville walked out of Lee Chapel a week ago Sunday, she looked around for water and ended up rinsing her fingers in a puddle, flicking the water back over her head. “Don’t want to take anybody with me,” she remarked. I had forgotten that traditional gesture upon leaving a burial place. […]

  • Travel dictionaries

         That’s how it goes some days,      don’t you reckon.      You wander the streets of a city      that’s no longer your own.      You look at a map      and all the words are in German.      You ask a stranger      where the hills have gone      and he bursts out […]

  • Writers’ notebooks

    I returned to Wellington yesterday from Auckland where, during the wonderful “Poetry Off the Page” course she co-teaches with Helen Sword, Michele Leggott presented me with a Tapa Notebook. This practice is a part of an ongoing nzepc project: visiting writers are presented with an empty, unlined spiral notebook and asked to fill up the […]

  • Myself the only kangaroo among the beauty

    Researching poetic networks is making me feel anomalous. Partly this is just the familiar unfamiliarity of living in a different country, where every friendship is new and you’re never quite sure whether you understand people or they understand you. Some of my disorientation is minor and funny, like realizing in the middle of reciting “Spring-Sick” […]