Monday 29 October 2007

Irish Poetry Night, 11 November (or, A Great Excuse to Change the Subject)

I am happy to announce two more confirmed readers for the Irish Poetry Night. Along with me, Karen Hoy, and Donald Gibson, David Hale and Susan Mackervoy will be reading. Don't let the unfamiliarity of the names influence you: neither of these poets seems to know the strength of their work, so they have yet to even submit (see, I'm worked up, a split infinitive) to journals fully deserving of them. Both also read very well, as I can attest to from personal experience.

That's 11 November, 7 p.m., at The George on Woolley Street in Bradford on Avon. Come one, come all! It's always a jubilant night!

Sunday 28 October 2007

The folks

are recovering nicely, I understand (no thanks to me). Last night, two days after his biopsy and apparently high on morphine, Dad phoned Mom and thought he was calling from an insurance company office in downtown Bloomington. She says he was like that a lot in the weeks just after his coma. It sounds funny here, and I laughed when Mom told me the story, but I remember seeing Dad in April, when his thinking was starting to clear but he was still very confused, and in person it's distressing, disarming.

Saturday 27 October 2007

Uncollected Poems: 1992

History of Western Civilization, Part I: Final Exam

for Elliott Kai-Kee

In 399 B.C. Socrates drank hemlock
What significance does this have for you?
Because, like Petrarca, you pursue the sanctity
of your soul through a modified form of dialectics,
the questions more or less exacting on different days
dependent on an infinite number of variables
(i.e., lust, humidity, familial concerns)
Because you burn without consequence

In Alberti's On the Family, why were you humbled
and somewhat despondent when reading his discourse on idleness
and his claim that it is the fountain of all sin
when you are uniquely compelled to cultivate enlightenment
and how does this relate to the question on Socrates,
in particular to the aim of dialectics,
and your faceted identity as a student

In conclusion, write an essay on your identification
with Diogenes, with references to the wine cask
he slept in, his matted hair, and rapturous diatribes
Consider Hector's speech to Andromache in Homer
and her plea for mercy; and do not begin
without pondering the "covenant of the heart"
Jeremiah prophesies in the Old Testament
and its importance in the interpretation of your goals
Find your elusive desire in precise terms

written 17 August 1992
published in Poet & Critic

Thursday 25 October 2007

Two days, two surgeries

At last I/we have some concrete information: Dad has a new abscess, lower on his spine, on a disc in his lumbar region. Later today it will be biopsied so the doctors know which antibiotic is appropriate to administer, and apparently they'll clean the area as well, somehow--and I don't understand this--clearing away some of his arthritis? The outcome should be that he will be better off than he was before the abscess.

And tomorrow Mom will have her gall bladder removed in an outpatient surgery, my sister Laura taking her to the hospital and staying with her, my sister Joanna bringing her home, and my sister Nancy spending the night to see to Mom's care. My sisters' attendance makes me feel a little easier about being away in the midst of this.

So I'm hoping that this time next week, both my parents will feel better than they have in some time.

Early in my father's illness, I ran a sort of postcard campaign for him, with friends sending postcards from places as disparate as Seattle, France, the Czech Republic, and, of course, Bradford on Avon. As I've received several queries about sending postcards again, here's my family's address: 220 Arlington Drive, Normal, IL 61761-2749, USA. If there are any Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Trek fans out there, mentioning it will immediately increase my father's esteem for you!

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Let me (us, them) out of here

Dad's back in hospital again. Apparently he was at one (for which I still remembered the number, sadly), then moved to the other hospital in town because the MRI was broken at the first. He's in so much pain, I'm told, the strongest pain meds aren't doing much for him. I spoke to my sister Nancy, and we began discussing plans for how we'd handle Christmas if he were still in hospital or rehab. Amid all this, my mother can hardly bear eating because her gall bladder is only six or seven per cent functional; she's due to have it removed Friday.

I was about to say, "When will this horrible year end?," when I stopped myself with the thought: this could go on a long time after the switch from '07 to '08. Oh, please, no.

Saturday 13 October 2007

Uncollected Poems: 1991 (2)

The Staged Confession

Here, have them. I have polished the words
I do not say until they gleam too brightly.
They are yours because I will not own them.
Patience is in the next room, she has
been waiting for this respite. There's dignity
in this awkward generosity, though diminished
(I stare at the flutter of my useless hands.)
Come on, say something. Love? Love?
I did not say that. Gracious, it was
Patience in the next room, crocheting,
yelling it out like an auctioneer, it's her way
of saying, Damn you, I'm not getting up again.
Okay, already. Here: Love. Love.

Carrie Etter
written 28 November 1991
published in West Branch

Tuesday 9 October 2007

My upcoming readings &c.

17 October, 7:30 p.m. Shearsman Books reading series at Swedenborg Hall, London. Shearsman launch with Claire Crowther and Rachel Lehrman and launch of ErĂ­n Moure's translation of Chus Pato's Charenton.

5 November, 8 p.m. Alchemy reading series at the Globe Cafe, Prague.

11 November, 7 p.m. Irish Poetry Night at The George, Bradford on Avon. Other readers include Donald Gibson, Karen Hoy, and Bronagh Slevin, with additional readers to be confirmed.

16 November, time tbc. Lecturers vs. Students Poetry Slam at the Newton Park Campus of Bath Spa University. Other lecturers reading will probably include Lucy English, Tim Liardet, and Gerard Woodward.

31 January 2008, 9-10:15 a.m. "The Transatlantic Writer: Challenges and Strategies" (panel) at the Associated Writing Programs conference in New York City. The other panelists are Mairead Byrne, Anthony Caleshu, Benjamin Markovits, and Lytton Smith, with Tim Liardet moderating.

23 February, 7 p.m. Launch of Yet (Leafe Press) at Crockett and Powell Booksellers, London. Wendy Mulford is also reading.

Sunday 7 October 2007

The work of dreams

Last night I stayed the night with my dear friend Claire Crowther. We'd been to a tenth anniversary party for The Poetry School and returned to her and her husband Keith's flat in Kingston, where they'd bought cava to celebrate the acceptance of my book (such a kindness). Claire and I stayed up a while talking about poetry and romantic relationships.

Which is why I find it especially strange I dreamt of my father, among, presumably, other things.

I dreamt I saw him walking. I stood in the doorway of my parents' bedroom and saw him walk slowly and stiffly across the room, slightly dragging his right leg.

I am a naturalist. I believe dreams are a process of consciousness, not insight into the future. And yet I want to believe that's what this was, that I can will him better through the force of my unconscious and conscious drives combined.

Wednesday 3 October 2007

The Tethers

I am delighted to announce that my first collection, The Tethers, will be published by Seren Books in 2009.

But it's even better than that--I have a whole publishing schedule.

January 2008: Leafe Press publishes my pamphlet, Yet.
Late 2008: Shearsman Books publishes the anthology of innovative UK women poets I'm editing.
2009: The Tethers.
2010 (about a year after The Tethers, but date tbc): Shearsman Books publishes my second collection, Divining for Starters.

It's like I have two first books--more or less "mainstream" work in The Tethers, avant garde work in Divining, and Yet is a selection of poems from Divining.

My great thanks to everyone's who supported me and my work over the years!