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Monday, May 23, 2016

One For All

Richard Krawiec has put out another dazzling issue of One, the journal that features one poem each by twenty-one poets. I'm thrilled to be in that number this issue, alongside talented poets such as Rachel Dacus, Jen Karetnick, Anita Olivia Koester, Renee Emerson, Cynthia Huntington, and more.

The accompanying artwork by Maria Kreyn is haunting.

Please take a moment to check it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

English Lessons

My sons go to a private Japanese school (in Japan). They are required to take English classes, and the fact that they are fluent in English is not taken into consideration; they take the regular class with the other students. This leads to some funny and many frustrating moments for all of us, for example when my sons are marked incorrect for not using exactly the same wording provided by a teacher, although they are nonetheless equally correct. It drives them crazy, having to memorize the one and only way they can respond in order to do well in class--a kind of unlearning, almost.

But there are the funny moments as well. For example, this week my son in junior high is learning about the passive voice. He brought home a worksheet with the title "Let's Speak Passively!"


Recently I re-read the following:

"Fear is the greatest motivator of all time. Conflict born of fear is behind our every action, driving us forward like the cogs of a clock. Fear is desire’s dark dress, its doppelgänger. “Love and dread are brothers,” says Julian of Norwich. As desire is wanting and fear is not-wanting, they become inexorably linked . . . "

~ Mary Ruefle in “On Fear” in Madness, Rack, and Honey

And I thought to myself, Fear is often for me a huge de-motivator. I become absolutely paralyzed by it. It drives me around in circles, never going forward at all, like the cogs of a clock.

And yet we are both correct.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Collision with Coins

I'm working on a poem about Audrey Munson, an artist's model from the early 20th century with a tragic story. Among many other things you very well might have seen, she posed for two different US coins, as the face on  Mercury Dime and the figure on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

My younger son is a coin collector, so I asked him if he had either coin, and he said he didn't think so. "Can you check anyway?" I asked him, knowing that since we live in Japan, his US coin collection is less robust than some of his stashes from closer countries.

But he checked, and he did in fact have a Mercury Dime. And I held Audrey Munson's likeness in my hand, and my son and I marveled as our passions collided.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Work in The Baltimore Review

The new issue of The Baltimore Review is out, featuring work by Leila Chatti, Peter LaBerge, and me. Editor Barbara Westwood Diehl has put together a gorgeous issue with poems that are spare and lovely. Check it out.