Monday, September 28, 2009

Poems started this week but as yet unfinished: An Index of first lines

  1. My bones are not bones but bee swarm...
  2. Since last we spoke I killed two more crickets and a fistful of birds...
  3. When I discover my dinosaur I will name it after you...
  4. I’m still trying to figure out your occasional beard...
  5. It’s Armenian in the most actual way...
  6. I was born a deciduous boy...
  7. Before there was fear, there was the scarecrow...
  8. First and foremost, you will have a heart and it will beat, though, slightly irregularly, you see, your heart will be pumping spiders...
  9. Adventures are non-native speakers of English...
  10. I trained 1000 spiders to kiss you...
  11. He squeezes his his fingers through bird throats, wearing them like rings...
  12. Last Friday, I pulled out all my insides...
  13. In the notes section of my hospital body you wrote, “this boy is not a scarecrow...”
  14. I killed the mouse with my tongue...
  15. And look! where your heart once was...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here are a few things I've been doing and/or want to do instead of reading more French poetics:
  • Nate Slawson has a chapbook and it is the most fun thing I've done today.
  • Issue #3 of FOU is up, though a little hard to navigate through...there are no names on the lilly pads and you have no idea whose poetry you've just clicked on, which I'll admit is, in turns, both exciting and time consuming (if you'd much rather be reading someone else).
  • Next Wednesday Kate Greenstreet and Elizabeth Robinson are reading at Prairie Lights, I'm seriously considering canceling class for this one...worth it, totally. What if I gave the students a chance to make-up an absence by going to it? Yea/neigh?
  • The very next night I'm going to see Wilco, which, currently, is a band I've only heard (they were playing at the Pritzker in Chicago and I sat nearby and listened.
My spider bites have turned scabby and occasionally bloody, but then they usually just go scabby again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My blog is old and dusty. I think it may even have swallows living in its rafters. If blog's were children, this blog would probably be in foster-care right now.

These are things that have happened since my last post:

  1. I purchased two copies of "Scary, No Scary." One is a collector's edition. The other, I've read 3 times in the last week. On my uncle's farm there is a pond completely surrounded by corn fields. By this pond there is a small shack with broken windows and a rotting porch. Inside the shack there is the skeleton of a baby crib that my cousin and I were frequently placed in when my family would visit theirs. This book is just like every dream I've had of that place.
  2. The class I'm teaching has turned into a totally awesome example of what I want every class I teach to be like. Seriously, these kids are of them even hops trains in the summer.
  3. I've seen a black squirrel, but as of yet, have not been able to capture it.
  4. I watched John Koethe read at Prairie Lights and I'm glad I didn't make a special trip to do so. He only read like 5 poems and they were all about famous people/poets he once knew, and were too prosey for my tastes. I was happy to have to catch the bus back home.
  5. I've been readying the new Further Adventures chapbook. Not only is the content totally sweet, but the package will be a major step forward for the press. Pretty psyched.
  6. I've been reading and writing a ton and want to write a long-ish poem titled, "Your New Anatomy," but so far, just have the title typed onto a blank document.
  7. I'm being slowly eaten alive by's an itchy process and I look forward to its conclusion.
  8. A and I decided to stop loading up our Netflix queue with every new movie that comes out and just watch what we have on there already...this has led to the viewing of some real shitty movies and may be a factor in why I'm not all that concerned with spiders eating me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tonight, I am made to unforget the awesomeness of Squirt.

So I bought a new computer the other day. It wasn't exactly a necessity, but I think good times to buy computers are when that happens to be the case. Anyway, it's a Mac Book and I haven't yet grown comfortable enough looking into it to believe that poetry will eventually be staring back at me. In the meantime, I've found, or re-found, I guess, writing with pen and paper to be a good time. Like taking your dog to the dog park good time; you just feel better afterwards knowing you made someone really happy by both letting them play and by taking them with you when you went home. I've talked with people extensively about this, me being, primarily, an on-screen composer and a good chunk of folks I know using the pad. Previous computers I've owned had essentially become poetry machines capable of untold evils, meaning, writing on them had become a fluid process in itself...I could type, look up words, research anatomy and reformat virtually all at once. Seriously. Anyway, I'm finding a real genuine pleasure in writing in notebooks or paper scraps again, and though I can't speak to one method being better than the other, the physicality of dragging that pen across the paper has, in turn, added a deeper sense of the physical in my poems.

I am 31 years old and by the time I turn 35 I want to have my first full-length book published. When I'm 32 I want a chapbook.

I realized today that I'm the kid who never wants to be a club that's willing to have him. I lusted after Iowa for years. Now that I'm here, I'm like, "meh." I feel like an asshole. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather be doing this than working, but the reality is that, after 6 months of anticipation, nothing was going to be as awesome as the Iowa I had pieced together in my head. I think feeling a little let-down is natural, I just hope I can control it so that it doesn't deteriorate into distaste or, even worse, angst. I'm far too old to be angst-ridden. It would probably give me shingles or something...

So today is a day off...for everybody but those of us fortunate enough to be poets at the University of Iowa. Though Labor Day, Monday is also workshop day and thus, far too important to skip, even on the event of a federal holiday. This fact upset my father-in-law yesterday, and he kept coming back to it while we spent a Sunday at his house. "So wait, you're really going to school tomorrow?" And then when I'd nod "yes," he'd look away in disgust. This disgust, though, was focused on many things and not just the fact that I had to go to school; it was also the nail in the coffin for school being a waste of time, it was the fact that we drove all the way up there just for the afternoon, it was that, in no possible-to-imagine way, was poetry more important than a day the man was willing to give you off from work.

A few additional things that happened yesterday:
  • I realized that reading Oppen in bed is a horrible place to read Oppen.
  • I fixed a bike.
  • I ate awesome chicken parmesan with homemade marinara sauce that used garden tomatoes and freshly picked green pepper. Awesome.
  • I got two phone calls from McNally after 2am. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and believing that he had no idea I would be in bed then...I'm usually not, but as I mentioned, today's a work day.
  • A friend of my dad's told me how he was going to kick his son's ass, "but maybe I won't...he thinks I will though, so that gives me the advantage, right?"
  • There was a totally wicked harvest moon in the early evening. Pictures of which turned out looking like nothing more than an orange dot and not at all like this other picture of a harvest moon, which would be okay, this picture looks pretty professional, but c'mon camera, you gotta do better than that if you want to stick around here.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Our apartment is full of bugs. Crickets, mostly. But also spiders. And flys. There are many things one can do to eliminate bugs from an apartment. I do none of those things. Though, sometimes, I do their opposites. There are open doors. Dishes in the sink. A log of one day old goat cheese. I once woke up with an indiscernible dead bug stuck to my hand. This was yesterday. It was gross.

I've had two classes now, with Elizabeth Robinson. She is a very rad lady, who writes some very rad poetry. You can listen to some of that here. There's something to be said about a teacher who kicks off class by having her students fill out the Poetry as Magic Questionnaire. Rad.

Workshop is going alright. I feel, but am certain that it's all in my head, that my poetics and ideas about how poems should and can work, are different than all the other kids in my section. Week One was a bit of a disaster. I opened my mouth at completely inopportune times and most of what I said was unfortunate, at best. I am looking forward to this week's poems, though, as my first run-through of the material appeared to be a lot more interesting (which isn't to say, that I believe my poems to be more interesting than anyone else' fact, I don't believe that all). A few of the poems have stuck with me for few days now, which I think is a good sign.

In order to celebrate the weekend I'm going to my in-laws house to bbq. While all the other people I interact with became displaced when the moved to Iowa, I came home. That excited my family tremendously and to an extent, me.