Thursday, July 28, 2011

Storm Brewing

Photo: by K.Iuppa, Recent storm on Lake Ontario

I too am a storm brewing. Have been working on a poetry project that has made me think seriously about content. What makes a subject significant? If the poem is engaged in observation, how can you be sure that the content is more than a mere report? What gives the observation consequence? Can the consequence be subtle, rather than shaped by certain edginess? Who's paying attention to what's "worth it"? I think having a project makes me think deeply about my writer's craft. I enjoy the routine of a project. I look forward to each day's new work. Stunned by my constant fussing over the "small world" poems I've written, whereas the longer lyric-narratives and other forms (cinquain, triolet, pantoum and so on) have been holding up. I've been enjoying the process. It's a conversation that is allowed to travel through the past,present, future zones. I think the conversation is wrestling with memory-- it's vulnerable; it wants a cure. We'll see . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jam, Jam, Jam

It's been a month since our last rain. Past two days, thunderstorms have rolled in and out , too quickly~ Still rain is rain.

Our raspberry patch has been chock full of berries- plump and o so sweet, you don't even need a pinch of sugar . Thus far, I've picked over 10 pints and have made the following jams: raspberry, raspberry-red cherry and raspberry-apricot-pineapple. I love looking at the jars(12 oz and 8 oz) -- lined up in neat rows, they make me feel rich. Love hearing the intermittent pop of their lids sealing. This is one of the joys of summer.

These recipes are no pectin, less sugar. So delicious. But, of course, I had to get up early to get this underway. We're in the middle of a heat wave. Today, the temperature will rise to 90's. Tomorrow will hit 100. So making jam when it's that hot outside is a bit outrageous. Our farmhouse doesn't have central air.

Gardens are doing well. Spent two days weeding the carrots. We planted these directly, so it's pain-staking work-- taking only the weeds and leaving the delicate carrots. Today, I'm going to work on the baby beet area. All of my green cabbage came up, but not one red. I'm so sad about this. I love red cabbage.

Yesterday, I went to my sister's house on the lake with my daughter Meghan. We spent an hour or so, body surfing the waves. The water was warm. We sat on the edge of the water and talked after our swim. I rubbed sand and bits of shell on my feet, over and over. I think it did a great job on my heels. A natural pedicure!

Project tally: 16 poems.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This Summer Life

Have been working every day in the garden. Some of the honey bunch tomatoes are ripe!
Things are growing nicely, actually catching up after our late start.

Summer school finished, in what felt like an eye blink. I taught a Film and Society course and would recommend these films for summer viewing-- all available in the library system:

A Face in the Crowd: a 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan.[1][2] The screenplay was written by Budd Schulberg, based on his short story "Your Arkansas Traveler." Powerful film. Makes you think about the word: made.

Network: a 1976 American satirical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. The film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.

Both of these films work in comparison/contrast.

Tootsie: a 1982 American comedy film that tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to go to extreme lengths to land a job. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, with a supporting cast that includes Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, and producer/director Sydney Pollack. Tootsie was adapted by Larry Gelbart, Barry Levinson (uncredited), Elaine May (uncredited) and Murray Schisgal from the story by Gelbart.

The Betrayal-Nerakhoon: The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. (documentary). I'm still thinking about this film.

Gran Torino: Disgruntled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino.

Most of my class didn't know who Clint Eastwood was. How is that possible? In any event this tied with the documentary.

** All film blurbs gleaned from Wiki descriptions.

We viewed 13 films. This isn't the complete list.

Project: Currently working on a collaboration with a fellow Rochester poet. We've entered week four. To date, I have 12 new poems . I have been enjoying this challenge. Some of the poems have trigger some ideas for essays.

Going to a Red Wings baseball game tonight!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Othello at Highland Bowl

The Shakespeare Players, a program of the Rochester Community Players, is presenting Shakespeare's tragedy Othello this summer as our 15th annual Free Shakespeare at the Highland Bowl. The production is being directed by Stephanie Roosa and produced by Patrick White. This production is co-sponsored by the Monroe County Parks Department.

Twelve performances of Othello are scheduled, from July 1 to July 16. All performances are free (donations are requested) and start at 8:00 PM. The performance will take place at the Highland Park Bowl, 1200 South Avenue, Rochester NY (corner of South Avenue and Robinson Blvd.) The performance schedule:

Friday July 1
Saturday July 2

Sunday July 3
Tuesday July 5
Wednesday July 6
Friday July 8
Saturday July 9
Sunday July 10
Tuesday July 12
Wednesday July 13
Friday July 15
Saturday July 16


Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and settle in . . .

Yesterday, Peter and I ventured to Highland Bowl to see this year's Shakespeare Players, a program of Rochester Community Players production of William Shakespeare's Othello.

I thought it was a strong cast, especially actors: Jonathan Ntheketha as Othello, Jeffrey Jones as Iago, Philip Ortolani as Cassio and Jeff Siuda as Roderigo.

I'm always intrigued by Iago's motives. He is a true villain. His jealousy and retaliation is greater than what originally insulted him. The slight he suffers for being passed over festers and festers. His mind is consumed with his desire for revenge. And, it's at any cost.

They had a few trouble spots with audio/ microphones. And a threat of rain, just a few drops just before the intermission. Some people left, but we stayed. The show ended near 11 p.m. Or that's the time I noticed when we got into our car.

This group of players will be presenting Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Oct 27-Nov 19, 2011, at MuCCC. Something to look forward to in the Fall.