Monday, February 26, 2007

My apologies

I had listed Nick Flynn as appearing at Reed on Thursday, March 1st, but apparently he was at Reed on February 22. Either I noted it down incorrectly in the first place, or there was a change, and although I regularly check the readings, I missed this one.

Too bad, as I was looking forward to hearing him read again. Nick Flynn was at Tin House last summer, and I always enjoy hearing his work.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ogden Nash


Whenever I behold an asp
I can't suppress a prudish gasp.
I do not charge the asp with matricide,
But what about Cleopatricide?

(from Versus, 1949)

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Auden quiz

Auden Quiz.

My results were:

You scored 7 out of a possible 15
Not bad. Even Rakes may make some Progress.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Robert Frost 1874-1963


Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Charles Baxter on poets and prose writers

Every so often I need to re-read this essay. I write prose and poetry, and probably (undoubtedly!) suffer from the worst of both worlds. Here's the beginning of Baxter's essay:

"For the last three hundred years or so, prose writers have, from time to
time, glanced over in the direction of the poets for guidance in
certain matters of life and writing. Contemplating the lives of poets,
however, is a sobering activity. It often seems as if the poets have
extracted pity and terror from their work so that they could have a
closer firsthand experience of these emotions in their own lives. A
poet's life is rarely one that you would wish upon your children...

Prose writers, however, are no better. Their souls are usually heavy and
managerial. Prose writers of fiction are by nature a sullen
bunch...Fiction writers cluster in the unlit corners of the room,
silently observing everybody,including the poets, who are usually
having a fine time in the center spotlight, making a spectacle of
themselves as they eat the popcorn and drink the beer and gossip about
other poets."


Friday, February 16, 2007

Introducing the Book

again, YouTube has me in their grasp...

Introducing the Book.

Love the Norwegian sensibility, and the HelpDesk aura.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

March of the Librarians

My favorite line is from the end of the mockumentary: "In six months, they will descend on a new city, and the strange ritual will unfold again."

March of the Librarians at YouTube.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Stephen Dobyns

"Structure always reflects the writer's view of the world and is tied to the writer's psychology. Whenever we write, we describe ourselves."

-Stephen Dobyns Best Words Best Order

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart will be at the mother ship of Powell's on Monday, February 12th, at 7:30pm, to read from and talk about her new book, Flower Confidential, a look inside the flower industry.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Dawn Upshaw

I heard soprano Dawn Upshaw last night at the Newmark Theatre. She sang songs by Schuman, Hugo Wolf, Mussorgsky, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Kurt Weil, Golijov, Stephen Foster, William Bolcom and Alban Berg. This was her first concert after the chemotherapy, and she was her usual frank self, her bald head shinning, black chiffon dress floating as she moved. At first her voice was tentative, I thought, but by the third Stephen Foster song she was back in control. To say that the audience loved her would be an understatement. She was embraced and supported. Her sister lives in Portland, which was partly why she has started her new tour here.

Welcome back, Ms Upshaw, we're glad you made it.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mabel's Cafe & Knittery

I'm taking a class at Mabel's Cafe & Knittery. Stranded Colorwork is the official title of the class, which I think sounds like skeins abandoned in a parking lot, but actually it means knitting in more than one color, and not just stripes, mind you. This is the real deal, Fair Isle and Scandinavian patterns.

A friendly group of women gathered at a table, lattes nearby, wool on the table, all knitting and asking questions when we get stuck. Because writers need hobbies. I find knitting relaxing, especially when I am learning something new and complicated.

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor is an excellent source of charts, and the color photos are pretty good. It's a Dover reprint of a classic. I wish someone would reprint the Alice Starmore books.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Mary Akers & Joy Hagy in Brevity

My pals and Queens classmates Mary Akers and Joy Hagy both have essays in the new issue of Brevity, a journal of creative non-fiction.

Mary Aker's essay is On Receiving Notice of My Step-Daughter's Pregnancy.
"I want you to hear the voice of an angry stepmother as you read this, so go ahead and settle into it."

Joy Hagy's essay is The Poet Visits Her Father-in-Law.
"Scum on the handle of the refrigerator and a giant greasy handprint on the glass kitchen table. He has turned his cup upside down again and a pool of orange juice coagulates on the clear surface."


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Stephen Dobyns

"A novel creates an alternative world; a poem creates a metaphor for an aspect of the existing world."

-Stephen Dobyns, Best Words Best Order: Essays on Poetry

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Jude Siegel

I am taking a Nature Journaling class from Jude Siegel at the Multnomah Arts Center. I'm learning pen & ink techniques, and watercolor methods.

Jude is a good teacher, as she understands how squeamish adults are about being beginners. Children are used to learning; adults are often experts, and therefore find it disconcerting. (At least this is true in the art classes I've taken. )

If you live too far away to take a class from Jude, her book is an excellent introduction to Nature Journaling. She sets out her method in easy-to-understand steps, explains how to choose and buy paper, paint & brushes, how to set up your palette and make a palette map.

The book explains how to draw and paint the oceans, coastlines, islands, rivers, mountains & deserts of the Pacific Northest, and the illustrations are Jude Siegel's own vibrant drawings and paintings.