Sunday 31 July 2011

20 Things My Mother Loved (or Liked)

1. John Denver, the person and the music. All of it. She saw him in concert and met him several times.
2. Maeve Binchy novels. The Irish settings help (she was half-Irish and grew up largely with her Irish grandparents).
3. Melon, all kinds
4. Cats. The house on Arlington Drive, where she lived the last 37 years of her life, always had cats, and for a while, a dog named Buffy.
5. Panera Cafe in Bloomington.
6. Shakespeare. When my visits coincided with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, we'd attend one or two plays together.
7. Playing silly computer games, like Chuzzle
8. TV medical dramas: St. Elsewhere, ER, Grey's Anatomy....
9. Pizza with lots of vegetables, especially green pepper and black olives
10. Daisies
11. Cooking. Specialties included lasagna, beef stroganoff, and ham and bean soup.
12. Fish. She loved to eat all kinds of fish, every which way. I can remember dinners with her where she had catfish, tilapia, orange roughy, and salmon (not all at once!).
13. Sales. Garage sales.
14. The color blue
15. Her dark burgundy sofa with the recliners on either end
16. Strawberry daiquiris (not that she had them often)
17. Autumn foliage
18. Old James Bond movies
19. Getting her hair cut
20. Constant Comment tea

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Friday 22 July 2011

The Poetry Society's Extraordinary General Meeting, 22 July 2011

A Guardian report somewhat sympathetic to the Board of Trustees appears here, while a statement from outgoing Finance Manager Paul Ranford, about the events in question as he saw them, is on the alternate Poetry Society website here. As I did not attend, I'd be glad for others' comments on what actually happened in the meeting, written with due consideration for all parties involved.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Aidan Semmens' A Stone Dog (Shearsman, 2011), first selection


For the destroyer shall come suddenly upon us

that which is manifest begins
with the seed of itself

blurred stirrings
of whatever is new, may be invented

hard black buds of ash
embers of haw

osier incipient

we weep
on bairns' bones
in our own decay

a desert harvest

toxic growth

a language

Aidan Semmens
A Stone Dog (Shearsman, 2011)

You can buy A Stone Dog from The Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

Monday 18 July 2011

Gargoyles in Lisbon

Traveling among European cities, I find myself increasingly interested in and attracted to some of the more ornate elements of the architecture, especially gargoyles and balconies. Here are some gargoyles from the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon as a start. (You can enlarge any image in a separate window by clicking on it.)

Each one is unique. I love that.

The most unusual one I noticed, close-up.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Lytton Smith's The All-Purpose Magical Tent, second selection

The Tightrope Walker's Childhood

Fear of wheatfields. Fear of groundbeetles.
Fear of where the tree trunk disapppears

below ground. Fear of ground opening
to absence like the magician's trick cabinet.

She can sleep only on water and fitfully.
Footfall is an act of brevity then she is

soundlessly at your shoulder. From stilts,
rooftops, belltowers she studies faraway,

learns to think as a wing-walker, to harness
bird's-eye view: rivers are blue scarves,

an oxbow lake fits in the small of her back,
fields are a patchwork she can fold

about her at night. Here, afloat above
a sawdust ring, the audience's faces

safe as farms distance has made small, rope
is all the faith she needs. This is no feat

of balance. This is belief and aversion,
this is how earth becomes afterthought.

Lytton Smith
The All-Purpose Magical Tent (Nightboat Books, 2009)

You can buy The All-Purpose Magical Tent with free worldwide shipping from The Book Depository.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Divining for Starters, Review 4½

On Intercapillary Space, Michael Peverett has reviewed a number of Shearsman Books' PDF samplers of new titles, including Divining for Starters, thus commenting on just the first six poems. However, he's gone into more detail and analysis than many a review of a complete collection. You can read his review here.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Divining for Starters, the fourth review

"One might want to state that Etter's work could be viewed as establishing a phenomenological lyric, as well as a poetic framed by ecological concerns. Etter builds upon (and challenges) the experimentations of an earlier generation of women poets--such as Lyn Hejinian's strategies of defamiliarisation, or Jorie Graham's testing of the reader with her long modulated and errant lines." --Nerys Williams in Poetry Wales' new issue, where the whole of the appreciative review can be read.

Monday 4 July 2011

Torre de Belem, Lisbon, 1 July 2011

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

Torre de Belem

looking up from within

within the Torre