Saturday, November 24, 2018

Poetry (re) Views . . .17 years later . . .

For the past month, I have been rereading some poetry reviews by David Orr that appeared in Poetry magazine in 2001. Orr is a tough critic. Much like Dorothy Parker.  Not afraid to say: ' Antony and Cleopatra travel on the Nile on a barge, and the barge sank.' Orr makes me a bit nervous. In one review, he considers the mundane and the concept of what is publishable;that is, poems that are thoughtful, polished, and  unsurprising.  Unsurprising = competent =  in his words 'eminently publishable.' I continue reading and realize his point is not all published poems deserve to be collected into a volume of poetry. He detests 'wise' poems and prefers short lyrics. He wants verbal facility, but sneers at poetry professionals. He thinks these poets and their wholly publishable poems are foolish; at best offering the reader a metaphorical muddle, rather than something that moves beyond its gesture. Orr seems to be quickly bored by the perfected endings. Most often, couplets, which aren't incompetent, and  most often are effective and moving, but have become the poet's formula-- the "Wait, for it, big ending." Obviously, in 2001, he was hell bent on putting the spotlight on the seven steps to writing the essential "Workshop Lyric Poem." He had had enough of the same old, same old  life lessons.  He wants something more.

It must still be true.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018! Is the Coast Clear?

Photo: P.Tonery, taken several years ago,on Red Rooster Farm.  I love this picture.

Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the the farm, with 18 family members!  It's been fun having my adult children home for the holidays.  I am feeling particularly blessed this year. We had a great harvest. Our root cellar is full of many jars-- all lined up and ready to make something delicious on cold winter nights.  Ah, when we open those jars, we can smell and taste the best days of summer.  Have given a lot of our efforts away, and still  we have an abundance.

It literally took more than 10 weeks to do all the processing, which was right in sync with the Fall semester and grading, grading, grading. And on the eighth day, they rested . . . No such luck.

So it's onward.  Now we have a few quiet days before the real marathon begin. The end of the semester is always a wild whirlwind. I have many conferences scheduled for next week. Looking forward to talking to my many creative writers about their work, which should strike terror into many writers' hearts, because they are the new batch of competition.  I have some exceptional writers at both colleges.  All of my classes have been going well this semester.  I have 5 in total.  147 students. All writing. I grade approx. 294 papers per week.  I have a batch to do this weekend, and then the final portfolios. We only have  two weeks left of school, then finals, and once I cross the finish line: Jingle Bells!

Enjoy those leftovers!