The Fat Lady Sang

Another year done gone by.  I want to do justice to how kick ass in all ways this year’s Literary Connection was, and that might take me some time.  I would love to hear from other folks that attended.  What did you think?  What did you like best?  What did you think of the addition of the singer/songwriter, Jeff Bullock, to the program?  I should probably clarify that rather than well intentioned, constructive criticism, I am looking for people to wallow, just a few moments longer, in the sustained joy that listening to Kim Addonizio’s brave a tremulous singing, or Myla Goldberg making the noise that the pneumatic tube  made when it delivered her unexpected trove of Naval newspapers from 1918 into her hands.  And the list goes on.

I will write this up better, soon.  Until then, what about you?

Published in: on May 3, 2007 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Countdown begins

I apologize for being a bad blogger.  There has been heaps happening and I haven’t kept you caught up.  The nicest surprise was the great turnout for “the Poet’s Companion,” discussion at City News.  It was a diverse mix of people: students, kids, retirees, folks who had the love of poetry kicked out of them when they were kids and kids who wrote and read their own poetry fearlessly.  It was a nice day.

So tomorrow, out at LCCC is the workshop with Shacochis and Bullock.  Please note I have refrained from making any obvious Sex Pistol references, for now.   David Romtvedt, our poet Laureate will also be attending and I don’t want to get everyone all het up for naught, but I am hoping that David brings his accordian, Bullock a banjo and Shacochis brings some radical Sage Francis- style wordsmith rapping into play.  This, reader, is how I get my heart broken; expecting too much.  It is worth noting that in addition to writing some kick ass books of poetry, David is also in the band the Fireants.  I went looking for a mp3 or video clip of the band but came up with nothing.  That’s not true, I came upon a band named the Fire Ants that have an album titled, “Indian Transvestite.”  Imagine my chagrin.

Saturday at 10:30 is the big, big event.  As always I am going to practice deep breathing and repeat my steadying mantra, “you will not get kicked out of this event for inappropriately touching the guests.” Say it with me.  The closest I’ve ever come to breaking this rule is the year Honoree Jeffers was here and in fairness to me, she was wearing a very sparkly gold shirt that anyone in their right mind would have wanted to caress.  While muttering how sublime you found her poetry…

I am feeling like a lucky, lucky duck to be surrounded by such world class literary stars in good old Cheyenne. I hope to see you all there.  I’ll be the idiot grinning like the Cheshire cat and trying to look casual, by turns.

Published in: on April 26, 2007 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Subversive Poetry Reading at the Local Library

Mother and DaughterSo it wasn’t a great turnout. I believe there was a fish fry/ revival that pulled a lot of our regular members away…or not. However some folks showed up and we talked poetry. We read Elizabeth Bishop’s In the Waiting Room and then Addonizio’s Salmon. Had a nice discussion about that sweet moment where we are the fish, we are the ceiling, we are Teddy pouring the milk and the milk being poured. Why are some poets successful in getting us to make that leap, to see ourselves in other people or other objects even, and others…not? We read the Red Dress poem and I think that was a favorite. Talked a little Literary Theory and then we all went home. I kicked about reading more Elizabeth Bishop for the rest of the day and dreamed about talking fish that night. Another day in Cheyenne.

Published in: on March 20, 2007 at 4:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Kim Addonizio, Elizabeth Bishop and Fugazi

Why talk about Salmon, In the Waiting Room and exclude Fugazi’s excellent paean to straight-edge angst, The Waiting Room?

Published in: on March 3, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today is the Day

We meet.  We discuss poetry.  We kibbutz.  I take pictures.  I post them so our far flung readers can see what a hip group of square-staters look like.  Black turtleneck sweaters and rectangular glasses are no longer de rigueur  for these events, although a beret is still considered wise.  Lets people know you’re serious.

I don’t want to give too much away because I want to write lots after the discussion but I am, as ever, in awe of good writing and how it leads us to discover new meaning in texts we’ve read a million times and every poem that is added to our conscience (well, not every poem; every good poem,) seems to deepen our understanding of even the most mundane daily activities, and fleeting emotions grow concrete and real when named so perfectly.  I am thinking of Elizabeth Bishop’s In the Waiting Room which is about waiting for an aunt to have her teeth fixed at the Dentist’s office.  If you write to tell me that no, it is about death, Zen existentialism and rebirth I will agree but will also insist that it is very much also about waiting in a dentist’s office for your aunt to have her teeth fixed.

We will be reading the Bishop poem with the Addonizio poem, Salmon.  In this way we can establish our high minded literary credentials before we go crashing headlong into all of the explicit sex, drinking and carousing of her other poems.  If you write to tell me that sex, drinking and carousing are base and have no business in poetry I will remind you that they are metaphors for death, Zen existentialism and rebirth.

Oh! Don’t I sound serious?  “I will remind you”?  Well, being defensive on behalf of poetry is probably the least of my sins and since we know that no less a figure than Stephen Dedalus  gets the snot beat out of him for defending that decedent atheist, Lord Byron, in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, we are in good company.

Hope to see lots of you this afternoon.  Hope to read lots of your brilliant comments later. Click below for a link to In the Waiting Room.

In the Waiting Room 

Published in: on March 3, 2007 at 5:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Salmon

Salmon  
by Kim Addonizio
 
In this shallow creek

they flop and writhe forward as the dead 

float back toward them. Oh, I know

what I should say: fierce burning in the body 

as her eggs burst free, milky cloud 

of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand

on the bridge with my camera, 

frame the white froth of rapids where one 

arcs up for an instant in its final grace.

But I have to go down among 

the rocks the glacier left 

and squat at the edge of the water

where a stinking pile of them lies, 

where one crow balances and sinks 

its beak into a gelid eye.

I have to study the small holes 

gouged into their skin, their useless gills, 

their gowns of black flies. I can't

make them sing. I want to, 

but all they do is open 

their mouths a little wider

so the water pours in 

until I feel like I'm drowning. 

On the bridge the tour bus waits

and someone waves, and calls down 

It's time, and the current keeps lifting 

dirt from the bottom to cover the eggs.
Published in: on March 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Saturday

I tried to pick up a copy of Tell Me at the Library and…they were all gone.  I think Troy said they had 12? in stock so our Saturday discussion at the library will not be me reading to the wall.  While I can not hope to compete with say, the Union Pacific train watchers, I do hope to compete with the Humanities book discussion series…we can do better than that.  In my dream, we form two rival gangs, Humanities Book Group on one side of the street, Literary Connection on the other.  We eschew their 80’s ripped jean, dangling bandana effect for a more classic Ponyboy cum Brando appearance, all silent elegance and deadly cool till you catch the  gleam of our blades under the dim glow of the one streetlight that’s not been smashed out…No.  We won’t, positively won’t rumble with rival book discussion groups.  We may whisper though that we have a lovely turnout at ours.  I’ll put more Kim poems up and if you can’t make it on Saturday, post comments regardless.

                        

Published in: on March 1, 2007 at 1:34 pm  Comments (1)  

The Mermaids Sing to Me

Mermaid Song
by Kim Addonizio
         for Aya at fifteen 

Damp-haired from the bath, you drape yourself  
upside down across the sofa, reading,  
one hand idly sunk into a bowl 
of crackers, goldfish with smiles stamped on.  
I think they are growing gills, swimming  
up the sweet air to reach you. Small girl,  
my slim miracle, they multiply. 
In the black hours when I lie sleepless,  
near drowning, dread-heavy, your face  
is the bright lure I look for, love's hook  
piercing me, hauling me cleanly up.
Published in: on February 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Do Women Want?

“What Do Women Want?”  
by Kim Addonizio
 
I want a red dress. 

I want it flimsy and cheap, 

I want it too tight, I want to wear it 

until someone tears it off me. 

I want it sleeveless and backless, 

this dress, so no one has to guess 

what's underneath. I want to walk down

the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store 

with all those keys glittering in the window, 

past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old 

donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers 

slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, 

hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. 

I want to walk like I'm the only 

woman on earth and I can have my pick. 

I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm 

your worst fears about me, 

to show you how little I care about you 

or anything except what 

I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment 

from its hanger like I'm choosing a body 

to carry me into this world, through 

the birth-cries and the love-cries too, 

and I'll wear it like bones, like skin, 

it'll be the goddamned 

dress they bury me in.
Published in: on February 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Let’s go on a Date

While it probably doesn’t need to be pointed out, I am new to the world of blogging and computer programming. That’s really no good excuse for not posting the dates of the book discussions that we are ostensibly here to discuss, but there it is. Here for your edification are the dates and locations of our book discussions. The time for all of them is 2 pm. Sharp. Oh, who are we kidding? 2 pm-ish.

Library:
3/3: “Tell Me” by Kim Addonizio

3/24: “The Immaculate Invasion” by Bob Shacochis

4/14: “Bee Season” by Myla Goldberg

City News:
2/11/07 Wickett’s Remedy ” by Myla Goldberg

3/4/07 Creatures of Habit by Jill McCorkle

4/1/07 The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio

Published in: on February 27, 2007 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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