Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nearly Done . . .

Classes have completed at St John Fisher. Thursday was a whirlwind-- my last classes and final event Celebration of Words. Everything went well. Great crowd at Celebration of Words. I'm so glad that the semester is over. This week, grading, and then graduation, and then . . . a quieter life.

Friday was a glorious day here. So warm, and the lawns looked so green and inviting. Students starting to study outside. I hope they have nice weather for Senior Week. With the past two days of warm, balmy temps, the magnolias have popped. My favorite tree. So lovely. Seeing those luscious pink blossoms, some as big sugar bowls full of sunlight, just thrill me. It's better than Christmas lights; and let it be known, I really love looking at the lights during the holidays. It's funny, my children, when they were little used to really listen to me talk about the magnolias, and ever since those first conversations, they're on the look for them too.

One of my minimal stories was picked up by a new online journal called
Check it out. I'm under the story index. Maybe you have some flash fiction that is 250 words or less.

Looking for a summer reading list. Please send or post on your own blogs, top books. I can't wait to just have some book time of my own.

It's raining right now. I think I will spend some time writing this morning, and maybe some domestic maintenance; then go out for a bit. I want to see The Soloist. So far, the reviews have been strong. I like Robert Downey Jr.

I heard Susan Boyle sing and she made me cry. I hope she wins the talent contest.
What pipes.

Be well and enjoy your day of rest.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Last week of classes . . .busy, busy, busy

At last, we're rounding the corner, the finish line in sight. All of my students are anxious for the semester to be done. I don't blame them, the weather has been so inviting. It's hard to concentrate when the sun is so bright.

Last week went well. Managed to go to Linda Allardt's and Kathleen Wakefield's poetry reading in The Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books. So good to see & hear both of them.

At St. John Fisher, we launched the Art Show 2009 on Tuesday April 14 in Lavery Library. Over 100 students and faculty came to the opening. The artist talk session inspired my students who are in my 20thcc Literature & Art class. This core course has a project requirement, which has intimidated the majority. It's been terrible watching their discomfort for the past 4 weeks. Their faces look like they're trying to locate a bad smell. Most likely me, who assigned the project. Sometimes I think I'm teaching "Stone Soup," conning my students to put something in the pot. . . something we all can share. . . something to nourish us. . . . Why are they so afraid of being themselves? Why do they have to have only one answer? It's really annoying. It's hard being around "stick in the mud" attitude. They're so afraid of being foolish. HOWEVER, something wonderful happened at the Art Show and they were inspired.

Went to see Celebration of One Acts on Friday. Nine short plays, two of which were written by my students. So exciting to see their plays acted out. It was fun listening to the audience's spontaneous laughter. Must have made them (my students) feel like a million bucks. Both were grinning, ear to ear. The show was quite long. Over two hours. And the auditorium was really warm. The heating/cooling system at Fisher is always a bit wonkie when the seasons change.

Received Blueline, a literary magazine dedicated to the spirit of the Adirondacks (SUNY Potsdam). My poem "Ladybugs live among us" appears in this issue, along with poems by Karla Linn Merrifield, Claudia Stanek, and Adam Wilcox to mention a few of my poet friends and neighbors.

That's all for now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Morning, April 13, 2009

A Perfect Holiday.

My sister Karen made a beautiful brunch yesterday. It was so delicious! Must have told her at least 100 times. So happy she invited us over. We laughed a lot and took our time. It was a very colorful and peaceful meal. The lake was very rough. I sat looking out her front window, watching the white caps roll in. It hypnotizes me. The next two weeks are going to be absolutely wild. I dread this high gear, end of the semester whirlwind. I'm looking forward to the calmer pace. I know don't wish my life away, but. . .

Today, I set up an art show with my faculty and participating students. It should go along smoothly. So far, so good. The adage many hands makes light work is very true.

Nearly done with the VITAL residency too. Everything is rushing to its close. Like the waves.
Watched Sound of Music on Saturday alone and my daughter Meghan watched it yesterday. I listened to it from the other room. I think I know all the lines by heart.

So here I am standing at the brink, ready to fly . . . Hope everyone has a decent week. If you're in the same boat as I am, make sure you remember to breathe. I forget all the time and end up
dizzy and a bit flustered by it. Then I realize I'm not breathing properly.

Watching Waking Ned Devine in one of my classes today. It's such a terrific movie.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Do you know where your poems are?

Well, the April calendar has rolled into double digit days. I do not have ten new poems.
I could lie and tell you, writing these poems has been as easy as cracking an egg. Every time
I sit down to write, I whip up one fabulous poem after another-- souffle, strata, lemon cake, egg drop soup. So fluent, the poems are light as biscuits-- they float right out the window. I read them to family on the phone and they ooh and ahh and say they can't wait for more. Lies, I tell you-- all lies!!!

Read last night at Writers & Books. A warm crowd. Enjoyed listening to George Drew's poetry.
Glad to meet him. I sold a bunch of chapbooks. How exciting is that! Read quite a few new poems from this crazy challenge(who really thinks this poem a day is a good idea) and recently published work. Afterward, Peter and I went out to a little bistro in Village Gate. It was perfect.
We had a chance to talk about everything, without the listening ears and running commentary from our adult children. It's hard living in a democratic household. If you have younger children at home, enjoy it, because the older ones are really nosy and noisy.

I'm going to spend the weekend puttering . . . The end of the semester is just around the corner.
Amazing, just three weeks left.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's snowing (again!)

The wind is running its fingertips under the clapboard. Tremors and snow. The last storm of the season. A coughing fit. It's going to rough travel tomorrow. I woke up and have started to putter.Not a good idea. My youngest son is sleeping on the couch with all the lights burning. He just returned from a weekend of playing rugby in Virginia Beach. He must be exhausted.

Today is my mother's birthday. If she were still alive, she would be 99. I wonder what she would think of all the changes, in the world, in our family? I always associated her birthday with spring and bouquets of daffodils. Yellow everywhere. The cold rain yesterday left the crocuses flat. Their tissue petals look like drips of purple and yellow paint on the ground. Now snow. I told the second graders about the crocuses. The blooms are literally outside their school and not one of them saw the sad little blotches in the flowerbeds. What does that mean?

On the weekend I was driving the parkway, past ponds and marshes and saw a Canada goose with a Mute Swan swimming together, behaving as a couple. I wondered if there was inter-breeding with these two species, and sure enough my sister said she saw a Swan with Canada goose wings recently. What would we call this new bird? Can-Mute Swan or Mute Goose, Nada Swan? Hmm.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Trying to Keep Up . . .

All week, I've squirreled the writing prompts away, so I could catch up later. I confess, I'm doing the weekend "bundled" version of this challenge. Looking at the prompts, I've been thinking about the meaning of prompt-- that little spark that either burns out or catches quick. I've had a bit of both going on. Some fizz, some whoosh.

I do feel so much better writing. Sometimes I think something is lodged behind my third eye. It's all the muck of my day to day, which most certainly is deadly and pointless. When I start to do my own work, whether it's writing or drawing or baking or whatever, it feels solid, like I've found my place. Too often I'm complicated by my teaching schedule, which is an outward motion. Whereas, writing requires an inward motion. It's diving deep to discover things in the near dark. I say near dark because my eyes like that kind of light. I actually can see better.

"We are but a moment's sunlight fading on the grass" name that tune!

Upcoming events

Writers & Books hosts
National Poetry Month Readings
George Drew & M.J. Iuppa

Thurs., April 9 7:00 pm
In the Verb Café at W&B
Free and open to the public

GEORGE DREW was born in Mississippi and grew up there and in New York State , where he currently lives. Toads in a Poisoned Tank , his first book, was published in 1986. The chapbook, So Many Bones (Poems of Russia ) , was published in a bilingual edition by a Russian press in 1997.

A second collection, The Horse's Name Was Physics , appeared in 2006 from Word Tech Communications, under their Turning Point imprint. One of George's poems received an Honorable Mention in the Robert Frost Foundation's poetry competition, 2002, and another in the W.B. Yeats Society of NY's competition, the same year. He was awarded a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2004, and that summer he was a Guest Poet at The Frost Place in Franconia , NH . He was the winner of the 2003 Paumanok Poetry Award. Most recently George won the 2008 South Carolina Review's 40th Anniversary Poetry Contest, which will be announced in the fall 2008 issue.

George has published in such literary journals as Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Connecticut Review, Hollins Critic, Mississippi Review, Poetry East,Quarterly West, Salmagundi, Southern Poetry Review, Sou'Wester, and The Texas Review.

M. J. Iuppa: Since 1986, local poet and writer, M. J. Iuppa has been successfully teaching poetry and creative writing workshops to students ages 8-89 throughout New York State. In 1996, she was the recipient of the Writing In Rochester Award, honoring a teacher of writing for adult students who has impacted the creation and appreciation of literature in Rochester; and, at St. John Fisher College, she has received the Part-Time Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, May 2000; The Father Dorsey Award, 2000-2001 and 2002-2003, and a Certification of Recognition from The Monroe County Legislature, April 2003. Over 200 of her poems have appeared in small press, university, and national publications, including Poetry, Yankee, Press, and New Letters. Her chapbooks, Sometimes Simply,(Foreseeable Future Press, 1996), and Temptations (Foothill Publishing, 2001) and Greatest Hits 1986-2001, (Pudding House, 2002); and her first full-length poetry collection Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing)November, 2003. Her creative nonfiction is included in the collection: In Brief, edited by Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones, ( Norton) and in Chelsea 67. Presently, she is the Writer-in-Residence at St. John Fisher College, and also teaches creative writing and poetry workshops at Writers & Books, Young Audiences, Project U.N.I.Q.U.E., Rochester City School District, Genesee Valley BOCES ,Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and BOCES 2. Since 1990, she has been the curator of the Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Award 1998, 2001, 2002; and in June 1998, her play This Heat was selected as one of the seven plays read in the American Voices Regional Playwrights' Festival sponsored by GeVa Theatre and Writers & Books.