Friday, July 25, 2008

Final Words from Maine

Tonight was the lobster/steak dinner and show at the Maine Media Workshop and it did not disappoint. We saw work from a number of the artists, from the older (mid-career folks) and their documentary and multi-media work, to the younger artists, black and white photographers, screen writers, etc. The food was good fun (how can you ignore a freshly steamed Maine lobster? Fresh corn? Baked potatoes? A good white wine?). The media work we saw was, for the most part, very impressive. It was clear that these folks had worked hard over the last two weeks and I felt kind of privileged to see so much good work (okay, there was some stuff that wasn't much, but not from the youth program folks, who were quite talented). Jesse had five prints in the slide show from his group (I recognized three, thought maybe a fourth) and look forward to seeing his portfolio tomorrow. We learned tonight that his teacher, a very good photographer, Isabel Foley, lives only about ten blocks from us in Brooklyn, and I hope that means that he'll be able to get some good feedback from time to time on what he is doing.

On the whole, I think a really successful trip. Jesse did some great work, met some good people, and I think learned a lot. One of the things that Katherine and I both noticed from the dinner time and the presentation of work was that it reminded us of places like the VCCA and Byrdcliffe; in other words, it was a real artist colony even as it had this strong teaching element to it. But there was kind of mutual respect in conversation about work (even between the older artists and the younger) that impressed me. If Jesse decides he wants to return next year, I say yes! Compared to SOCAPA, well, there is no comparison so I won't bother.

For the cottage couple, I finished a new poetry manuscript Invisible Man (at least a good draft that is now an intense working period away from being done), got some good work done on Hinojosa, and also thought a lot about my teaching for the fall. Katherine did some beautiful work in water color and oil pastel and pencil, and gave her a sense of some good new ways of working. So art prospered at the sea side cottage, as did the Cannonball, who got to roam the grounds, go to the beach, play endless games of stick.

We leave tomorrow for a meandering trip down to Framingham, MA where we stay for the night before getting back to Brooklyn. Then we have some days for Katherine to be in the studio, for me to do some revision on Celia Cruz (more later), and work with Jesse on footage for his documentary of the Poet in New York tour. A lot to do and a lot more to come. But two weeks that were really quite special. And have us all moving forward.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Report from Maine (7)

Only a few days left. Today I finished the new draft of Invisible Man and now I know it needs to sit for a while. Which is a good thing because things may be happening on the Celia Cruz front (more later on this) and so I have to go back and do some serious thinking about that. Some more revision.

Got a chance today to go up the workshop and see some of what Jesse has been doing, contact sheets abound, but he showed me some of the prints in his portfolio and they look really nice. Friday is the big show day, first a lobster and steak dinner and then a slide show. Based on what I saw today, I'm looking forward to it. I think his plan was to spend all day today and night and all of tomorrow in the darkroom. Very cool.

Katherine continues to do some beautiful work, is now using oil pastels as well as pencil and water color. Really beautiful Katherine Koch stuff--the fields of intricate color, appearance and re-appearance of form (Cannonball gets some time in pencil here).

The Hinojosa work also goes well and I think that will be my focus for the next day or so, that, fishing (went to Holsner Lake yesterday, fooled with some brook trout but it was late morning-early afternoon, got there late for dumb reasons, but tomorrow!) and a little work on the Guggenheim application.

We had dinnerout tonight (our first one since getting here, usually we've gone out for lunch and cooked dinner at the cottage). I had a seafood paella, Katherine had some salmon with Maine shrimp, a little prosecco, all very delicious at Amalfi's in Rockland.

More later but I'm beat from a long day, exhaustion and satisfaction of having finished a manuscript (while seeing the work it needs).



Monday, July 21, 2008

Report from Maine (6)

I realize our days here are slowly (too quickly) coming to an end. Friday is the day of the exhibition of the work done by the artists at the Maine Media Workshop (with a lobster dinner to follow). Saturday we leave the cottage, pick up Jesse and begin the trek back home. We'll do it in two days because I think all of us will be a little worn out.

Today was one of those full of e-mail days, then a bike ride (which included going out to the breaker point light house in Rockland), then back to the cottage, more e-mail, a talk with Pablo, lunch (Maine fried shrimp, very delicate and sweet), then some shopping and back to the cottage to revise revise revise and work on a new Hinojosa poem which I solved in the way I'm learning to solve him, which is to do what we did with Lorca; I have to work both as a poet and as a translator. It won't work any other way.

A nice talk with Colette. More on that later.

Dinner of lamb rib chops with garlic and rosemary, pasta with shitake mushrooms, fresh Maine tomatoes. A good Chianti. Now a look at the paper and then sleep.

I know I haven't posted any poems for a while--I'm so in the middle of Invisible Man it's hard to do. But those poems come along and I want to re-think some of the Celia Cruz poems. As for the Hinojosa, I'm beginning to revise the ones I've translated, little changes here and there that are beginning to make more and more sense.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reporting from Maine (5) Another of those days desired

Jesse decided to spend the weekend at the workshop--the photographers went to Belfast and then they were supposed to come back to the dorm and then go out to a movie. We dropped by while he was away, picked up his laundry (the work of parents, we'll return the clean clothes tomorrow) then went into Camden where we had a wonderful meal at a lobster restaurant right on the water. Back at the cottage, read the Times, played stick with Cannonball, worked on Hinojosa for about three hours and then another two or so on revisions of poems for Invisible Man (I do think that's the title that's going to stick). Thunder storms moved into the area, which was fine--Katherine (who did some wonderful painting today) and I had gin and tonics on the covered part of the deck until the rain even came at us. Then inside for some reading, a dinner mainly of leftovers (burgers, dogs, a kielbas and yellow rice and peppers dish I made last night, salad) and a good conversation dealing with the rise of Europe (why Germany, why France, why Spain, why Italy, etc) until too weary and Katherine went to bed. Some play with Cannonball outside in the dark.

Being here reminds me of being at the VCCA--time spent working really feels important. I feel like I'm accomplishing things I won't be able to do during the school year, this sustained time for writing, translating and reading, away from the rest of the world, and then time to stop, disengage, knowing that tomorrow the space is set for me to work again, that's what I got from VCCA. Katherine and I get to spend some nice time together, and yes, I miss seeing Jesse (though we talk on the phone, just as at VCCA) but the amount of work I can do makes me wonder, as I did when I came back from VCCA last year and even this past March, how to replicate that in my daily life. Is it even possible? Have to figure out how to do that.

The revisions today on Invisible Man make me feel it is closer to completion than I thought even yesterday. Which probably means it needs tons of work but it wouldn't have happened without this time here.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Reporting from Maine (4) note the Advanced Learning Lab/NYU Child Study Center revision (since I obviously like revision myself)

Another one of those days: lots of revision of poems, reading, good cooking. Why isn't this the whole life?

Looked at Jesse's dvd draft of Poet in New York,some terrific footage that needs some stock and b shots and also some reduction (I think there's too much of me in it).

Some work on Hinojosa (mainly review and unhappiness with what I've done). Katherine did some nice painting (she demurs).

All set to go for a good bike ride and for the first time since we got here, the rain arrived and is supposed to continue for the next week. Meaning what? More reading, writing, more trips to beauty.

An update on the ALL/NYU Child Study Center: always interesting the way the world moves. Yesterday I noted that Dana Levy was still listed as the clinical director of ALL. Not anymore. I guess someone there is reading my blog. At least post! You are welcome to do so. But what about Barry Ehrlich? He's still listed as educational director. Webmaster alert! I like Barry a lot, he's a talented and smart educator, though ALL might not have been the place for him. I feel bad that he has been placed in the position he is now in, similar to Lynda? Harold and Glenn, any word here? I mean, you guys are in charge? When will there be a public explanation (considering the fanfare and publicity last year and the promises that were made, the money that you took)? Or do you guys just need a mulligan?

Colette wrote to say that Cannonball should guest blog. Here is his contribution:

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reporting from Maine (3--all the good things plus an NYU Child Study Center and Advanced Learning Lab note)

Another just right day. Slept late, then worked on Hinojosa for a good two and a half hours. I think I solved some problems by using a strategy that Pablo and I employed with Poet in New York which was to make the language as tight as possible--this seems logical for Hinojosa anyway because his syntax/language mirrors that. There's little excess, which I think is one of his strengths as a poet.

Played some with Cannonball in the yard (the famous game of stick). Katherine found Cannonball in Jesse's bed this morning, curled up the way he usually is when he sleeps with Jesse (except no Jesse, who we suppose is having a fine time at the media workshop because we haven't heard a word from him!). I think Cannonball misses Jesse some (as do we, even as we do other things).

Drove into Rockland for lunch at the Rockland Cafe which has wonderful fish cakes. Walked around and at the Farnsworth Museum, which is having a Will Barnet show, we saw in the window an Alex Katz print of Rudy Burckhardt. In the gift shop (it was too late to go to the museum) were some Fairfield Porter postcards/cards and one by Yvonne Jacquette. It was strange to see these--another part of one's life coming to the surface.

Back at the cottage, I revised a bunch of poems for Invisible, eliminated a few, and have a sense of how it can come together as a collection even as the revisions go forward. I don't want to rush things but I think it may be ready sooner than I expected. These days of just writing and reading, walking, eating, so wonderful.

Katherine drew while I revised--one of the drawings is of me on the chaise lounge on the deck working. A cover perhaps?

For dinner, grilled a steak, had potatoes and the left over Frankie corn salad. We watched the movie Vantage Point which was fun though I thought it a little too busy (maybe too many vantage points--and why does Sigourney Weaver completely disappear after the first half hour?).

NYU/ALL update: if you google "about our kids" or the nyu child study center (which will show you "about our kids") you'll get a response but if you try and get to the page, there is none! But go to the faculty and look up anyone who was part of it, say, Dana Levy, who was the clinical director who replaced Lynda Geller (no explanation ever provided for why someone with an extensive background in working with kids with Asperger's was replaced by someone whose background didn't include Asperger or Autism but did fibromyalgia, at least according to her bio on their site--an interesting decision by Harold and Glenn) and it shows that they are still part of ALL. But, surprise, click on Advanced Learning Lab on that page and you'll find, you guessed it, that there is no page for ALL. I guess someone forgot to tell the webmaster about these little things.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reporting from Maine (2), the demise of the Advanced Learning Lab at NYU Child Study Center

A short one--

stayed up too late last night watching the entire all star game--as a Met fan it was no surprise to see Wagner give up the tying run. Good to see David Wright get a hit. He is an all star.

Today, lots of work on the new poetry manuscript--working name now is Invisible and I think I may actually be able to finish it before the summer ends. Katherine did some nice drawing and painting. We went for a drive and saw some wonderful scenery, a pretty pond called Rocky Pond which I might be able to fish but may need to rent a kayak to get away from the public access. Pablo and I talked and he gave me some good advice on two Hinojosa poems. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, made corn salad a la Frankie at Nimrod. Nice walk on the beach at Clam Cove. Tomorrow we hope to get there early enough (the tides) to give Cannonball a chance to swim, ourselves as well.

Read Jesse's Cleaver and the Eye screenplay draft. It has some good stuff in it, some good writing, good drama. Made lots of notes on it.

The Advanced Learning Lab (at NYU Child Study Center) is closing down after all. It doesn't even appear anymore on the Asperger Institute website (which it did such a short time ago). No joy here. Yes, ALL failed Jesse, failed others, but it had the potential to do a lot of good for some kids who needed this kind of place.

Harold Koplewicz and Glenn Hirsch. E-mail them and ask them what happened. I'm sure they'll have some something to say, if they are willing to respond (they always seem to be away from their desks). . E-mail me and I'll have something to say as well.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reporting from Maine

Saturday we made the 400 mile drive up to Glen Cove, ME, a little hamlet between Rockport and Rockland and just south of Camden arriving at Anne's Seaside Cottage which looks out (some tree blockage) on Clam Cove that leads out to Penobscot Bay (memories of many years spent on Great Spruce Head Island). The cottage is just right, two bedrooms, a large living room with an open kitchen and a big deck. The yard is huge, full of gardens and flowers and Cannonball runs and runs. It's a short walk to the beach, all very pretty. I think I may have also found two ponds nearby where the fishing will be good. Just haven't had the interest (yet).

After a good lunch in Camden at Cappy's (named for Cappy Quinn, of the Quinn family that has run the mail boat to GSHI for years), we dropped Jesse off on Sunday at the Maine Media Workshop (in Rockport) where he is studying black and white photography as well as how to use a darkroom. He seems to be doing well, though we haven't seen any of the work. He's living at a motel converted into a dorm, four to a room. Room-mates seem like good people.

Meanwhile, Katherine and I have been doing a little of this, little of that. Lunch in Camden yesterday where we set on a deck and looked out at the harbor.Katherine has been drawing and painting, working both indoors and on the deck. I've been writing some, a new poem, work on my arts of sport course for the fall, work on Jose Maria Hinojosa. I've printed Jesse's screenplay Cleaver and the Eye which I expect to do some work on in the next couple of days. I also want to start screening the rough draft of his Poet in New York dvd which I can do in short bunches but want to have some things to say about it before I see him (hopefully this weekend, though he may decide to stay at the dorm over the weekend--last night when we talked he said it was a possibility).

We were finally able to figure out a way for me to get the Hinojosa books from Spain: wire transfer. The whole thing was a little nutty because the books are 17 euros a piece and the postage is 21. Add the wire transfer cost and the postage and it's 39 euros and the books are only 34.

Meanwhile the Hinojosa poems do make me a little nuts. There are all these wonderful lines and images and then he adds one which in Spanish makes perfect sense but in English just becomes strange and even bad (a wonderful poem about the amazon and the andes ends with the question why he wears no loincloth!). It's a challenge, too, because there are times he seems to be fooling around with syntax that looks simple but is really complicated and all meaning gets messed up. Since he is caught up in the surreal the question of meaning is blurred anyway, but still...

Mid-afternoon. Clearly time for lunch. More later.



Saturday, July 5, 2008

In the country and happy

July 4th weekend in Bridgehampton. Have done a ton of work--on my own poems (only three poems left in the old moleskin!), on Hinojosa (nine first draft translations), and wrote about 1500 words of a review of a Garcia Lorca book I'm doing for Performing Arts Journal. I think I need to cut it a little and the deadline is soon but I like how the piece looks. It's a very good book by Maria M. Delgado. One of the strengths, I think, is her discussion of Garcia Lorca's impossible theater. Although she doesn't make this argument, I do think it helps to refute critics who see the surreal nature of Poet in New York as an aberration. These plays, written during and after the period of Poet in New York are very much in the spirit of the surreal that informs that book. She also does a very good job, in general, of describing the plays, the various productions both during his lifetime and after his murder. It's a book I recommend and I'll post when the issue of PAJ appears.

Also, a nice long talk with Pablo today about the problems we encountered in translation (the question had somehow come up) and we came up with three. One is the question of meaning: when Garcia Lorca is at his most surreal the critical question of what does the poet mean by this is practically unanswerable. The second is the issue of biography. The poet of Poet in NY is not Garcia Lorca but a construct who looks like Garcia Lorca and experiences New York much in the same way Garcia Lorca does and is changed by it much the way Garcia Lorca was. But it is not autobiographical (for example, Garcia Lorca goes to Vermont and upstate NY before he begins his studies at Columbia; he visits Coney Island in December but describes the place as though mid-summer). The third is the Whitman poem, which shows how nuanced and eccentric Garcia Lorca was about his own homosexuality and what I think is a desire to claim Whitman not as a homosexual poet but as an American poet (in the same way that Garcia Lorca, finally beginning to come to terms with his own sexuality, wanted to be claimed as a Spanish poet).

So being in the country is more than just writing. There are flowers everywhere. It's swimming (fun with Jesse yesterday playing some kind of water football),playing catch with Jesse (who nearly took my head off with a 65 mile an hour fastball the other day) and watching Wimbledon (bravo Williams sisters), the Mets, eating good food, having good conversation with Katherine, Jesse and Karen. Katherine was working on a pretty little water color of the yard. Jesse has been working a lot on his screenplays. Karen plays piano and since our room where I work is above the piano room it's really nice when she practices. Of course, Cannonball loves it here, being able to run around the yard, chasing frisbees and sticks. Somewhere there were 4th of July fireworks but we didn't see them (nor, I admit, was I wearing my American flag pin). The weather could be nicer. Sag Harbor (where we went for lunch today) could be less crowded but on the whole, all satisfying. Mahi mahi on the grill tonight for dinner, corn, potatoes, maybe some pre-dinner mojitos (the mint is overflowing).

Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend. We return Monday to Brooklyn where I hope to be as productive. We leave the following Saturday for Maine for a few weeks where I hope to take all these drafts I've been working on and make something happen.



Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hinojosa day and some more NYU Child Study Center and Advanced Learning Lab stuff

One of those good translation days-worked through some difficult poems--they seem so simple and then he uses words that one knows but he isn't using them for our time--they are locked in the 1920's. So how to make that happen? And how to not lose his very delicate music in Spanish to English? Talked with Pablo for a while about this tonight. He had some thoughts but essentially this is one I'm going to have to work thought and then depend on advice,

And got some good work in on some new poems. And a new essay on Lorca.

Sadness for the Eugene Lang family--Theresa Lang died the other night--a very good woman married to a great man. Our condolences.

Heard through the grapevine that the NYU Child Study Center is going ahead with ALL for next year and that contrary to what they told the initial group, now there will be a 9th and 10th grade (could it be that at least half of the first group mysteriously stopped coming?). And are they yet in compliance with the DOE (don't think so--be careful if you think your kid will actually get hs credit for attending)? And now they offer scholarships? Boy, we could sure have used those last year when they took our money and gave us nothing. Again,. be careful. They are giving scholarships because they know that you won't get anything from the DOE, so if you have been from other schools, don't count on a cent from the DOE (as the parents this year learned). Ask questions about what happened in the previous year. Ask me why as soon as my son left for another school he began to have a successful academic and social year. Don't let them song and dance you. They did it to us--we have all these documents about the amazing things the program would do in the coming year. Advanced math. Foreign languages. Social excursions with kids from other schools. Whoops.

Ask questions. Don't be satisfied with assurances. Harold is known as having an inflated ego and Glenn is known for being, well, Glenn. You should see the ridiculous e-mails he sent me about my son, who he never of course actually met. I think the word pompous here is very useful (I wish I could take credit but it's a word his current employees have used to describe him--I will protect my sources--the plural matters here). The NYU/ALL people will tell you it's all confidential but that is actually legally untrue. They just say it and think that we parents who want the best for our kids will take their word and will jump at the chance for this. Well, jump, if you must, but swimming out of the muck took us a long time.

We're clean now. At least on the outside. But our kids keeps asking why they did this. And we have to bear the responsibility for having allowed it to go on for him for as long as it did.



Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Advanced Learning Lab at NYU Child Study Center

So hard to break though the google noise they create for themselves.

Better at politics than helping kids, Oh boy, And look who is on the board!

As if they care about the kids. Well they are very good at collecting the money (no doubt shaming my father, an NYU graduate).

Good luck to all. We've found the school for our son and thank God it has nothing to do with their uninformed work. He may have lost an academic year but not his academic and social life, after they shut the program down and we were smart enough to get out, before they resumed with their outmoded behavioral models and their surprisingly inadequate staff.

For those who need more info, feel free to contact me. If you want to hear how nice things will be, contact them, but I can tell you who they won't let you speak with because those people don't count anymore, even though they were the ones who came up with the idea. Call Glenn Hirsch or Harold Koplewicz--they are behind the disaster.


NYU Child Study Center and the Advanced Learning Lab

If you are a parent or guardian who has a real interest in learning more about the work of the NYU Child Study Center and the Advanced Learning Lab, please feel free to contact me. I have extensive experience with what they do and who they are and I'm also happy to put you in touch with parents who have things to say about their work. As I mentioned in a previous post, please go in with your eyes open: these folks are not the people they appear to be. Some people there are gifted professionals-this does not include the people who actually are running the program, so very sad to say.

And so very sad that the administrators at NYU have chosen to ignore this sad sad situation. Perhaps they don't know or they themselves are to blame? It cost us 30,000 to find out!

If you see this blog please pass it along. They don't deserve our time, our money, and, most of all, our children.