Friday, December 28, 2007

website under construction thanks to Jesse

Today Jesse and I set out on the work of the website. He's really great at this. Asks me all kinds of questions about what I want and what I might need. Sometimes I just don't know the answer but he's patient and smart about this kind of thing, and he has ideas about design that I really like. I've asked him to experiment with things, and he's done some things I'm not sure of, he is really good at thinking up new ideas and is good at showing me the different possibilities and doesn't make me feel like an idiot for not knowing all the stuff that goes into this kind of work. It impresses and humbles me a little--here he is, at the age of 14, and he can do web design like a pro (and I mean pro--I've been looking at lots of web designs and they look so trite and thoughtless next to what he wants to do for me). My problem is, I didn't know how much work I'd have to do in the process!

There are a million ways in which I'm grateful to him as a son; he's a wonderful writer, artist, filmmaker, photographer, a good guy to go out and talk with about almost anything in the world. But mostly what's special about Jesse is that he's a real mensch. I'm not sure he knows it, but he is and I feel blessed.

At any rate, for the moment, will re-direct you to this blog. But one day (soon) it will be its own site and you will be able to pick up the blog from there. There will be some similarities (the website will have poems and links), but photos and just more--I'm excited about the whole thing.

Thanks to Jesse. Abrazos a todos.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

post Christmas, a poem, and a Moleskin for Mark

It was a fine and pleasant Christmas, morning of stocking presents, champagne, salmon, olives, nuts,and so on (for photos, go to the BOTL Triangle link on the right). Reading out loud from Ron Padgett's new book, then giving David Shapiro some equal time from his Selected (these from the pile of books by friends that sits on the coffee table.

Then the goose (stuffed with fresh sage, tarragon and rosemary) went into the oven, Karen came over, more stocking presents, more champagne (oysters this time), and lots of salads, breads. Presents! Too many to speak of but one that interested me in particular since the subject of of moleskins has previously been on this blog. Jesse gave me a moleskin New York, which in some sense is a moleskin for someone visiting NY, a way to keep a journal of one's trip. It has maps, places to record where you ate, where you shopped, what were exciting encounters and when. and so on. So what I've decided to do is go on that trip, to be a tourist in NY for a while, not in the style, though of the tourist who who goes to the Statue of Liberty (which is a fine thing to do), but in the manner of a poet in NY, that is to see the city in a new way, to like Lorca, think of "New York in the poet." It will be interesting, I foresee a constant shifting of moleskins, from the one I use for writing to suddenly taking out my New York one to record a place I want to remember (what is the name of that wonderful tapas restaurant on 9th Street? What did I stop and read in Madison Square Park?). So it will have a sense of journey, giving me a place to re-see and re-think a place most familiar.

(I even made a small copy of the cover of Poet in New York , which today I pasted and laminated to the cover).

Then dinner, of course, goose and wild rice, roasted vegetables (zucchini, squash, onions, garlic, turnips). Katherine made a cranberry sauce, Karen cabbage with chestnuts. A nice rasteau (heavier than a rhone wine, just right for goose), chocolate and fresh fruit for dessert. Then the happy collapse of a meal well-done.

A poem from Celia Cruz:


I don’t want to translate
it’s too pretty as itself
in the market in southern Mexico
in the warmth and crowd
was an old woman
selling so many kinds of flowers
yellow, white, purple, orange,
red, blue, scarlet, violet, black
surrounded by them
she sat
maybe the way
the older Mary would have
beatific, the grief and sadness
of her life drained away
by time and hope
grief and sadness replaced
by an infinity of flowers
whose names she made up
perritos (puppies)
conejos (rabbits)
and alegria mia (my happiness)
depending on the day
ay joven, she said to me once
and I wonder who she saw
when she spoke
ay joven (youth), she said
ten cuidado (beware)
pointing out at the world
beyond this small town
with its pottery, its clothing, its food
Mary was transported to heaven
one day
to sit with her son at the throne
she sat on earth
in the market
one day
black and gold huipile (dress)
azucena in her hand
and waited

Friday, December 21, 2007

Interesting discussion on translation and a poem

There's been an interesting discussion on translation on the Bemshaw Swing blog. It's linked to the right so check it out.

Here's a poem from Celia Cruz:

neutral location

what you
make this
city you
make half
in love
half in
its music
is beating
out windows
out doors
its trucks
its trains
its cars
from bridge
to bridge
from street
to street
from one
more body
we take
up space
that isn’t
really there
that really
hasn’t been
for ages
our time
tom toms
and streaks
by it
shakes, thunders
glistens, parades
you wonder
what the
city you’ve
made is
made of
language you
think maybe
that nothing
more you
wonder how
to explain
to someone
far away
how to
get there

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holding Poet in New York in my hands

Just came from Grove where they gave me copies of the book which, yes, is really now out. Review copies started going out today, as did copies to the stores but many won't get it to their shelves until after Christmas. Some of the smaller independent stores may. Anyone on my review list, look for a copy. If you are not on my review list and can actually write a review, let me know as soon as possible.

The book really looks good. I'm one of those who usually hates how his work looks--maybe this feels different, maybe since it's Lorca (through Medina and Statman) that I can feel this way. Still, the old fear that having done something won't change the world. And yet, to feel a small part of literary history--for the moment, I'll take it.

As for events, I'll try and do some updates but the old list still holds (starting with the New School party 1/31, the first Thursday of AWP--I'll be doing a big e-mailing of the e-card in early January). We're taping a 10 minute segment for City Voices for PBS on January 18 (an all day affair) but I don't know when it will air. Info to follow. Also, let your West Coast friends know about the February appearances in SF and Santa Cruz. And St Marks here in New York on 3/26!

The semester is over. Which means a little rest and a chance to post more in the days ahead and in the next semester when my teaching load is considerably lighter (fewer students). It also means that my website should be up in the next three or four weeks (Jesse's help is critical here).

Have been writing a lot lately and may post some of the new poems for comments, though I think I'm interested still in hearing responses to the Celia Cruz poems.

A note from Lynn Chandhok, who gave a wonderful reading last week in Brooklyn:

• The poem "Muharrum at 203 Jor Bagh" will be the featured poem this Monday, December 24 on Poetry Daily (
• I was named a runner up for the 2007 Paumanok Poetry Prize, and as part of the prize, will read at Farmingdale State University next spring.
• Seven of the poems from The View from Zero Bridge have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.

You can go to her website by clicking the link to the right.

More soon.

Abrazos a todo!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

So it was that kind of week

Really it was. A lot of work (teaching) and a lot of work all weekend (student work) and so now I'm finally getting to the blog and I'm almost too tired to type (and it's only 7:30 on a Sunday night). But a few things:

--went to Cue yesterday for the Ashbery/Padgett book signing. John translated Reverdy's Haunted House and Ron Reverdy's Prose Poems, which was the poet's first book. Both look very good, nice work by Brooklyn Rail Black Square Editions. Had a chance to chat for a while with Anne Waldman, Trevor Winkfield, and Eugene Ritchie (who I hadn't seen in a very long time) for a little while.

--Publishers Weekly review of Poet in New York is out and okay. They called it "a worthy new version of a 20th-century classic." What's too bad is that the review has some major errors in it (a misreading of the Ode to Whitman for example that kind of undermines the reviewer and thus the review). Sigh.

--The New Yorker got it right when it mentioned Ron's new book of poems. The gods are sometimes on our side.

--There are some beautiful photos on BOTL Triangle and Sunny Side Up (see links) that are worth a good long look.

--The February book trip seems to be finalized. February 21 at City Lights in SF, February 22 at New Cadences in Santa Cruz. We'll also be taping for the Poetry Show on the 22nd for a broadcast on the 24th.

Closing with a poem from Celia Cruz


night extends itself
dark and blue
the piss smell of boxwood in the air
I held your hand
as tightly as I could
not out of fear or love
though both were there
but the comfort
that I could
you would let me
and not say
and walk away
I remember how much
I couldn’t say
I’m sorry
I couldn’t say
I remember how
under bridges
there are boats
that move jewel-like
over water
for a minute I wanted you
as completely and as fully
as wanting can be
not flood or storm but web
for a minute
I was afraid
this wouldn’t happen again
maybe I didn’t mean it
or maybe because it was real
or maybe
after a minute
you weren’t there

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fall turns into winter, another poem

A nice couple of days--a good mountain bike ride with Jesse (go to to see some of his photos, Katherine and I had dinner with Pablo Beth, Aristides and Maria at Pablo's and Beth's with much toasting of Poet in New York. Review copies should go out next week, as will copies to stores. So go in to your local bookstore and start asking (support the local stores)! Or just order on Amazon and get a discount (support your pocket book).

I'm looking forward to the semester winding down. I love my classes, the students, but it's been a long one and I'm looking forward to the break when my focus will be on preparing for two new courses in the spring, Advanced Poetry and Spanish Surrealism.

Another poem from Celia Cruz

from the dead

an inconclusive silence
the tyranny of uncertainty
we live with the knowledge
of our knowledgelessness
and so we place flowers and keepsakes and stones
on graves, at candles, at trees
thin clichés take over thought:
the horseless rider
the sword and outworn sheath
belief and hope
that on the wind will come these voices
which call us to light, a beckoning
the termination of suffering into void
the pause in cycles
the dead waiting in Homeric clusters
for their chance
to drink from Lethe
into forgetfulness
and toward their chosen new life
I wish them not to be reborn
I wish for better than that
some final party
at the end of grief
Hey, says a soul you know
have a drink.
Someone else tells a joke
an old one you’ve always known
and it’s funnier than ever
laughter fills us
an old joke and laughing for eternity
sometimes life was like this
but enough?
over here
another old friend
shows photos
remember this?
you do
an album full
of everything you ever did
that made you happy

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Poem from Celia Cruz


habia un milagro, she said,
a miracle
but in such a quiet voice
you had to ask her
to say it again
which she did
she didn’t like it like that
a voces (loud)
it didn’t seem as true anymore
she looked at you
it seemed just then
she must hate you
must hate anyone like you
she pointed down the road
curving, dusty
she said it was the way to the ruins
you didn’t know
if you wanted to go
you already knew
you wouldn’t see what she had

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Celia Cruz

Somebody asked so here it is, the title poem (sort of) to my new manuscript, Celia Cruz fue la voz tropical and Other Poems

Celia Cruz fue la voz tropical en mis sueños

in a dream once
the band arrived in New York
tired, out of sorts
a long road trip
bad weather, bad clubs, bad food
a bus that kept on breaking down
no one wants to play this night
except her
she sings
she always wants to sing
scent of sugar and sweat
of lips, fields, waist, sun
with a voice so like fire
everyone who hears it
wants to make love
and make love the most with her
I am everyone
from the nightclub floor
she points
and in sleep and dream
I follow
oye amor
the band plays, she sings
oye amor
I follow

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Weeks Ahead

So walking into too many different stores and they're all playing Christmas songs (can I get "Christmas in Killarney" out of my head?). I know some places were playing them before but now they seem everywhere and so the whole Christmas season starts which I suppose I don't mind. I like some of the bustle of it, the barber shop on 7th Avenue that has the running train and the skaters in a wintry setting, Union Square converted into a great outdoor bazaar. Of course Chanukah comes first, so there'll be lights and trees and it will all seem, well, like holidays. It will bring back memories and for another year, even though Jesse may feel he's too old (but Katherine and I are not) we'll read Night Tree by Eve Bunting and Ted Rand which I think is one of the best Christmas books ever (I remember once many years ago that Kenneth read it to Jesse before Jesse went to sleep and he came downstairs and talked about how wonderful and surprising it was as a book. Of course, it isn't Somebody Spilled the Sky by Ruth Krauss, but that's just on another level.

It all means that the semester is also rushing to a close and I'm worried if we'll get to everything I'd hoped. Not with my writing fellows students, who seem on track, nor my Poet in New York students who seem the same, but my Intro to Poetry students. I think I always feel this way, though, and then it gets done. My mind is already drifting to next semester and teaching Spanish Surrealism and Advanced Poetry, both for the first time. It will be an interesting spring, after all, with new classes and a new book (and hopes that Celia Cruz will find a publisher.

What to do for Christmas break? Travel? Stay home and ready for the spring? "Oh must we dream our dreams and have them too?" (Elizabeth Bishop).


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh Thanksgiving

Long time between posts with so much going on. Karen has been sick (in the hospital) and while I've made a few visits, Katherine has been the person to really help out. Karen is home now, somewhat better but not very happy. The recovery is always slow but a ton of people have been going to visit her (including Katherine) so hopefully that helps. I would be, but I've been fighting some sort of bug that seems to have been going around Lang and the last thing I want to do is give her anything that would hurt her recovery.

Thanksgiving dinner was sweet and low-key. The Wednesday before I marinated the turkey Cuban style in lime, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, sliding it all in under the skin (between flesh and skin). Not easy, so you don't tear it. Pablo tells me this is how his mother made it, except she used to stuff the bird with rice and beans--I just put in more of the marinade. Katherine made a cranberry and orange sauce and a pumpkin pie and all in all it was a nice meal. Since then it's been turkey sandwiches and today I made a stock and used some of it for a turkey/leek/potato soup. rica!

This has been a real Lorca week for me, looking at lots of student critical writing on Poet in New York, on their poetic responses to Poet in New York. Some of the work has been quite good, interesting responses to In the Farmer's Cabin and Introduction to Death. These are important points in the book and many of the students seemed to really see the changes in the character of the poet as he readies himself to return to New York. This coming week we'll look at the two Odes, for me the dramatic high point of the book (the text we'll read with it is "Howl."

So, some writing, some reading (went a little bit into Luis de Gongora, who I've only looked at a little and should know better but he's always been just a little outside my period range, but so contemporary in many ways). There are some new links on this blog that I like a lot so I hope folks will check them out too.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Events for Poet in New York are beginning to schedule

Okay, so far what I know is that there will be a book party at the New School sponsored by Lang Writing on either Thursday, January 30 or Friday, February 1 during AWP. More on this when the date is firm.

The Poetry Project will have an event for the book on Wednesday, March 26 at 8 PM. Scheduled readers include Ron Padgett, Jaime Manrique, Bill Zavatsky, Jane Lecroy, Pablo, and myself.

The Brooklyn Public Library will have an event on Sunday, April 27 at 4 PM..

We have a tentative date of Thursday, February 21, 7 PM at City Lights (San Francisco). This should be confirmed in the next day or so.

Anyone out there looking to book myself or Pablo, just give send the word!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Few Things

Hectic week. Monday at the ICP reading, Wednesday a book party for Arthur Goldwag's new book, 'Isms and "Ologies which is quite good, like Arthur very smart, witty, a good read. The same night a terrific reading at the Poetry Project. Suzy Timmons read some wonderful work and Ron Padgett read from his new book, How to Be Perfect (Coffee House), and then two new poems for his grandson, Marcello. The church was packed and it was nice to see a lot of old friends. I feel like I don't get to readings there or anywhere as much as I'd like (Ii'm really tickedoff at myself for missing the Alice Notley reading last week) but life has this way of invading. Because aside from these events, it's been all about teaching, writing (a little) and falling asleep exhausted, waking up exhausted. The life.

Monday, November 12, 2007

long time away

Okay, so a lot has gone on since the last time I made an entry. I guess I need to get better at simply blogging on a daily basis but that isn't my habit. I guess if I have the choice of writing a poem or writing on a blog I'd rather work on a poem.

But I am just back from the ALTA conference in Dallas and it was really more than I expected. Good conversations with Stephen Kessler about translating in general, about Lorca in particular. He's a good poet (been reading his book After Modigliani, some nice stuff, check it out on Creative Arts Press) but he's also done some important translations, a selected Cortazar with City Lights and Cernuda's prose poems.

Also saw C.M. Mayo (her blog is Madame Mayo and should be looked at) who, like Stephen came to the panel I was on on translation and collaboration and is a wonderful translator. Other folks I got to spend good time with were Alexis Levitin, Aliki Barnstone, Douglas Unger, Esther Allen. Alexis and I were walking along, ran into Gregory Rabassa and Willis Barnstone and Alexis had to race off and I had a good 25 minute conversation with these two about Garcia Lorca that made the whole conference in itself worth it.

But that seemed to be the strength of the conference: conversation. I went to a number of panels, bi-lingual readings, but it was really something to just sit and talk with people whose appreciation for literature matched my own. I've felt humbled often by the privilege of translating Poet in New York, given how little translating I've done compared with some of these other folks (maybe that made me naive enough to not realize what I was getting into--why others have not done it). But I had no sense from anyone other than support, that they were as excited about this as I was.

So the work will go on. People have been writing and commenting on the translations in APR. Thank you. Some comments at ALTA about the ones in Subtropics.

And I've even been getting more of my own poetry written, which is hard given all the Lorca work. Tonight I went to a reading at ICP which was tied into the current exhbit on photos of the Spanish Civil War. Phillip Levine read from Orwell, as did one of the other readers but for me the highlight was Monica de la Torre reading from Cernuda and Guillen (too often forgotten from the Generation of 27) and Margo Jefferson (Lang colleague) read two Neruda poems inspired (?) by the murder of Lorca (whose assasination Willis Barnstone had an interesting take on, which Margo and I talked about and has appeared in the writing of Jaime Manrique--that Lorca was murdered because he was gay, for no other reason, and that he was shot from behind and up his backside).

In the days to come I plan on posting links to sites I like--not sure how to do this so anyone out there who knows, give a helpful holler.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

long sunday

A lot of time spent with student work, good short critical responses to Lorca, good and interesting poems responding to same. It's time consuming but important work.

The local farmer's market actually had fresh poblano peppers! A few weeks ago they said there'd be no more for the season (I've been making chiles relllenos as our Sunday dinner for a good part of September and October, playing with different fillings). But Jesse and I walked over this early afternoon, wonderful fall day, and there they were, a little small, but just right anyway. The day went long and so I won't make them until tomorrow. But that will be fun. They are a lot of work but worth the time (the charring/sweating process can be tedious, so you need some good music and a drink). Looking at a ground beef, black bean, garlic, onion, tomato, sliced steak, various spices filling.

The Lorca heirs were satisfied with our responses to their questions. Too much slow down on production of book may be avoided. Hope so. But the Medina/Statman translation of Poet in New York should be out in January, which was always the plan. I fear the pre-Christmas appearance that was promised may not happen. Reviewers can contact me through this blog and let me know if they haven't received review copies by mid December.

Okay, Bama lost. But it was a good game. That fumble on the sack was a killer.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lorca all day long

Spent most of today working on the responses/questions of the Lorca family, sending them to Pablo, getting his response to my response, then getting back to him so he could send it off to Sr. Montesinos along with a note thanking him and telling him how much we've appreciated working on the book. A lot of work, but worth it.

Half-time Alabama 20, LSU 17. Roll Tide.

(I've been asked why I'm a Tide fan--I actually have no idea but it's been for so many years--and for some reason I'm partial to the SEC in general. Really messes me up during March when I make my brackets and go for the teams I hope will win over the teams I know will win).

but listening to Ruben Blades makes it worthwhile


dealing wih a lot of late e-mail, some wonderful and some disappointing, comments to follow in blogs to follow, listening to old Ruben Blades cds (Buscando America) this is making me feel happy. So who cares.
abrazos amigos


Friday, November 2, 2007

okay, it's been a few hectic days

Finally got to see the new APR and really like the way it looks--they have us listed on the cover and the poems read well. APR generously sent me a whole bunch that I can bring to the ALTA (American Literary Translators Association) conference next week in Dallas and Grove has made up the cards for the book, so I'll begin doing the book promo for real next week.

As for the book, the Lorca heirs have sent in some questions and Pablo and I have been working the last few days to answer them. Some make some real sense and some don't, but it's been interesting to get the take from the family on the work that we've been doing. Their questions may slow down production, but the book will still be a January pub--review copies will be a little latrer than expected (and there may be no copies in time for Christmas).

Managing the world: this is a hard teaching semester for me--teaching 3 sections on Poet in New York (as a reading/creative writing course) a sectrion of writing fellows (these four are all 2 credit, but they take up a lot of energy) and a regular 4 credit intro poetry writing class. Normally today (Friday) is a day I'd have to take a breath but I went to an all-day technology conference that was pretty exciting. The real problem is trying to figure out how to make it all fit into the kind of teaching I do. Blogs actually figure into it (have to figure out how). There was some interesting technology that I think might come in handy for a course I'm teaching next semester on Spanisg Surrealism (the big focus will be from the generation of 27 untuil 1938, though there will be some before--French surrealism, etc, and I'll try and focus on Lorca, Bunuel, Dali, and Miro--I'm still working it out in my head and asking folks for advice). The multi-media stuff will be interesting to work with. I can see maps of Spain with Miro paintings and Bunuel shots emerging out of a Google earth. How this all fits into teaching I've no idea, but I like the imagery.

Tomorow Alabama and LSU. That's a big one for the SEC fan in all of us.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


A small milestone today: normally I write most of the first drafts of poems in a small moleskin notebook (I always carry one around, something I learned from my friend and collaborator on The Alphabet of the Trees poet Christian McEwen--though I'm not sure she carries a moleskin--it's just the idea of always having a notebook handy). I've found what this has meant is that I write most of my poems someplace else and not in my study. In my study is where I revise, it's almost as though I need (or like) multiple places for beginning and then a central place for working to make the poems better and better.

So there are usually two notebooks that are active at once: the notebook I'm writing in and the notebook I'm writing from. I like to have that distance from the first version to the one I'm going to start revising. Mostly this is to make sure I think the poem is still worth working on. At any rate, as of today, I only have one notebook, the one I'm writing in because in a big push this weekend I finished typing and printing the poems from the notebook I started on 15 February 2007 and finished on 14 June 2007. Which means a nice pile of poems to begin seriously revising over the next weeks. Which is something I'm excited about because revision is something I really like (I'd say love but it's also sometimes so frustrating, but I suppose so is love). I have to say that when I had a residency at VCCA last March (I was on leave last semester) I got a chance to revise with an intensity I'd never had because I arrived with a over one hundred poems. Some I realized pretty quickly I didn't want to work on, but most I did. So for eight, nine, ten hours a day, that was all I did, revise, revise revise (of course I also worked on Poet in New York, sometimes talking with Pablo three or four times a day)., I might have started ten or fifteen new poems the whole time there. It was just working and re-working. What emerged was my Celia Cruz fue la voz tropical manuscript, which I continue to revise even as I'm working on new poems.

So the milestone is the retirement of this notebook, all these new poems to think about. The current moleskin I probably won't finish it for another month, maybe two (this has been a hard working semester) and it's unlikely I'll even begin typing out any poems that are in there until then.

I like when things like this happen, when I feel like I've accomplished something, even as I'm still in the middle of it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

APR is out but I haven't seen it

Found out in a backhanded way that the new APR with the four Lorca translations is out. Whimsy reported it to Bemshaw Swings (jonathan mayhew's blog). Wouldn't mind if they'd send them to the contributors and subscribers at the same time. Nice to know it's out there though.

The day has gone from rain to sun and I've been sitting indoors listening to cumbia and writing/revising.

Friday, October 26, 2007

La muerte hoy da presencia a la vida ayer

A lot happening this past week:

Yesterday there was a nice exhibit of paintings by Lang students on the Skybridge at Lang who had gone to Sri Lanka with Pamela Lawton as part of Teaching and Making Art Everywhere/Sri Lanka, a good crowd, Sri Lankan food. This is a part of the educational partnership that Lang has with Making Art Everywhere, which I'm on the board of, and which should be expanding its work beyond Sri Lanka in the coming year or so (thinking about Nepal).

The night before Jeff Wright, who I haven't seen since the Cover magazine days (ten years or so ago?), when I was a Contributing Writer, invited me to a reading he was giving with a few other people at the Education Alliance in Chinatown. It was a small setting, small library and the readers got the other people in the room involved by having us read from their work, round robin, all good fun.

Today, broadsides that Ryan Burkhardt did of mine and Pablo Medina's translation of Lorca's Waltz in the Branches arrived, very pretty and simple. It's one of the poems the Florida Review is publishing. The broadside is in an edition of 100 so I have a lot of signing to do.

New poem today, inspired by the line from Fuentes "La muerte hoy da presencia a la vida ayer." Poem had nothing to do with the lines, except that it got me thinking about the present and the future in this way that made sense to me and was also a little frightening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interesting teaching day--reading Lorca in conjunction with O'Hara, Bishop, Rukeyser, Corso and Crane. The latter is obvious, but it's interesting to see how O'Hara and Bishop can be like Lorca in their rivers of words but with such different intensities, tonalities.

Hemi-synch on the ipod is the ticket for the train--instead of music replacing subway, surf took away subway. Completely unexpected and very welcome.

The new Subtropics (University of Florida) has two of the Lorca translations (Dawn and City Without Sleep).

Have actually in the last two days received two fan letters. Is this a silly thing to put on a blog?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

odd day

I'm told that people who start blogs often don't make it past the second day. So here I am on day three.

A strange one, reading lots of student writing on nyc, responses to Grand Central and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, some very good.

Watched the football Giants win, which is what's left for a New York fan in this moment.

A quick open to the 75-2005 Creeley randomly finds these lines:

The stars stay up there where they first were.
We have changed but they seem as ever.

Sometimes I don't think I've changed enough. Sometimes I'm glad of it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

20 October 2007

Day two of blogging, what does one say--worked/revised two poems (measuring, power play--still need some work) but happy with them--it's a funny thing to write about the poems without showing them but if they're not ready? And since what they're about is themselves (one is about travel? about understanding and not understanding? the other is about how to see those who one doesn't want to be affected by as powerless?).

Long walk with Jesse and Cannonball, Jesse helping out because I think I bruised or broke some ribs a week or so ago and they really hurt if I exert myself (a sneeze when we got back doing me in).

Also wrote to Jonathan Mayhew jonathanmayhew's blog because he sent me his chapter on Koch and Lorca and it has some very good work in it. It reminded me of the work that Pablo Medina is right now doing on Octavio Paz, Paz's idea of the problem with North American poetry being that it lacks a certain quality due to the loss of (the eradication of) Native American culture. Williams and Crane, I think, try to do something about this, but it does suggest why North American poetry owes so much to European poetry (despite Whitman?) and why there's a different kind of rootedness (secretas raices, as Paz puts it) in Latin American poetry, though less so in places like Argentina which has a similar problem with Native American culture.

Here is something that makes me happy (it arrived yesterday):

Friday, October 19, 2007

First post 19 October 2007

So this is my entry into the world of having my own blog and I'm holping that after a while there are lots of responses and lots of comments on what I have to say, what other people have to say.

I admit to feeling a little out of my element, but having started this, it's something I'm going to try and make work.

So a couple of things to start:

I expect in the coming days I'll be writing about what it says on the top of the blog: poetry, teaching, New York, politics, and everything else that actually matters.

So start today by advising whoever reads this to see the new issue of Teachers & Writers magazine ( which includes a series of tributes to Grace Paley (okay, I wrote one). The one by Herb Kohl seems particularly moving because it gets at what Grace stood for, that sense not of what it means to be a writer in some isolated way but of what it means to be a writer in the world.