Monday, 30 July 2007

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Yes, another one

This is Andrew Ross Perschal, the third child of my youngest sister, Joanna. He was born on the 23rd.

Now each of my four younger sisters has three children. I hope they won't have any more--it's become rather expensive to be The Aunt Without Kids.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Current Issues

Poems appear in the current issues of Aufgabe, Poetry Ireland Review, The Reader, The Warwick Review, and other journals, while others are forthcoming in The Liberal, The New Republic (US), Poetry Review, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics (US), Shearsman, and Stand (including the first publication of one of the "birthmother's catechisms" from Imagined Sons).

My review of Maurice Riordan's The Holy Land and Padraig Rooney's The Escape Artist appears in the current Warwick Review; reviews in progress include Chris Greenhalgh's The Invention of Zero (for TLS) and Tony Curtis's and Matthew Sweeney's latest collections (for Poetry Wales).

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Friday, 13 July 2007

Welcome to the World, Miss Casperson!

I have a new niece, born 12 July. Her name is, as yet, undecided, but despite her being premature, she's strong at 3 pounds, 10 ounces. My sister Sandra was induced about a month before her due date, on account of complications from her MS, and she sounds remarkably well.

There was talk of my sister Joanna also being induced today, but fortunately that did not happen. It's expected that within a week or so she'll be giving birth to a boy.

Once Joanna gives birth, I'll have 12 (we should have a word for nephews and nieces collectively)--5 nieces and 7 nephews. I've no idea how I'm going to manage Christmas.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Breakthrough: advance, gain, improvement, progress, amelioration, betterment, enrichment, furtherance, headway

Breakthrough by itself sounds too hackneyed to express what's happened, so I've included appropriate synonyms as well (that's what you get on a poet's blog).

The breakthrough the doctors have been waiting for for months has finally come: yesterday Dad stood entirely on his own, bearing his own weight.

When I visited him in April at the last rehabilitation centre, this was the milestone the therapists and doctors were all talking about and working toward, and such has been the case since then. For so long I have heard of good but essentially small measures of progress, nothing that suggested this might happen now.

Yesterday Dad talked about walking, about cycling, as though they were inevitable. Now his walking seems within the realm of possibility. I don't know about cycling, but how I want to feel half as confident as he sounds! It's the best news I've had about his condition since we realised his cognition was returning to what it was originally.

I think he's going to walk again. I wasn't sure before, but now it seems real--and realistic.

Would you believe one of his physical therapists is named Zeus? This feels almost as grand a metamorphosis as those I've read in Ovid. The man three-feet-ish, in bed, occasionally on wheels, is now risen to five-foot-four with two legs. Thank you, Zeus, Miriam (yes, I remember you), and all the others. Thank you.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

The poetry of Peter Sirr

On a friend's recommendation, I looked into Peter Sirr's work when I was in Dublin, and greatly liking what I saw, I bought his Selected Poems (Gallery, 2004). I could hardly put it down. Here are some quotes (note, the placement of the lines over one another can't be shown). The poems are richly, densely lyrical, deftly interweaving the common and the metaphysical.

the wrecked sun
creeping to its hut, the night hugging and hoarding

its secret alphabets


(speaking of a newsagent's)

the whole shop a shrine to the sustenance of desolation


I see a little man dragging over a great space
a wagon filled with goods. Or it may be
gods he brings, who knows? Whatever it is
is heavy and his progress across what surface
has been imagined is slow.


What if
the language slips like water through our hands
there are
liquids more surprising


I'll stay a long time here,

erasure's emperor


I was trying to be exact, I was trying to lean
a little farther in.


I stare for hours at water
an infinitely concentrated carelessness
begins there
in which I may be learning
to lend myself to myself
to lodge and withdraw like the sea
or be the beach ignorant of its own account