just this:

We are as forlorn as children lost in the woods. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours. And if I were to cast myself down before you and weep and tell you, what more would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to Hell.
—Franz Kafka

With thanks to the poet Francesca Bell.

friday roundup, vacation edition #2: views, skirts, and poetic citizenship

summertime and the living's easy

summertime and the living’s easy

Reader, don’t tell: I’m working on vacation. Yes, for the last few hours, I’ve been reading and writing poetry. That’s because vacation is about the only time I have built-in child care and also because for me poetry is a vacation. Here’s to vacation! Today we have another vacation edition of the roundup. Let’s talk about views, skirts and poetic citizenship.

views  When you tell people you’re going on vacation in Michigan (especially if it’s right before or right after you tell people you like to go rock pickin’ while you’re there), they usually look like they feel sorry for you. I think they’re thinking of Roger & Me and the worst stories you can imagine about Detroit. But Reader, you should see (what I think of as) my little corner of Michigan. Here, I’ll show you:

IMG_1603

See what I’m sayin’?

Today I’m working at what I consider to be my Native Library, even though this library didn’t come into my life until I was 20. On the porch that runs along its side and looks out over the bay, I am as much at home as in my mother’s kitchen. This library is in a house built on an island, and I’m quite sure there’s no better place for a library than in a house built on an island. My view as I work is the bay under sunlight, a thousand shades of blue, green and even gold somehow. This is much better than my view as I work in writing studio 5.0. I’m loving every minute of it. And yes, I’m now going to make you sit through a slideshow of my beloved Native Library. Forgive me. P.S. Click on one of the photos to scroll through in closeup.

skirts Reader, you have to buy one of these skirts. If you’re the skirt-wearing type. They are the very thing in my (okay, it’s really not mine) little corner of Michigan. You might think this has nothing to do with poetry but actually it does, it does! Because if you, like me, found out that you’re going to be reading at LitQuake, San Francisco’s literary festival, and if you, like me, did a five-second happy dance and then plunged into the bottomless pit of despair about what on earth you’re going to wear when you read at San Francisco’s literary festival, and if you, like me, are a forty-something mother of three who has never been one of the cool kids (or even any other, any aged person, mother or not, who has never been one of the cool kids) and are quite sure you have nothing you could ever possibly wear to read in San Francisco’s literary festival, well then, despair no more: these skirts are for you. And me.

Here’s why you want one: They are flattering, versatile, comfortable (I mean, so comfortable that I wore one all day yesterday instead of giving up, as I usually do, on the skirt, as soon as I’m in range of some yoga pants), reversible — yes I said reversible — two skirts for the price of one, and affordable — about $50, and that’s technically for two skirts. And you can wear them when you’re giving a poetry reading! That last reason is obviously the most important one. If you have an army jacket and some kickin’ boots to throw on with it, so much the better (sadly, I do not). Okay, enough of my little foray into fashion. Let’s talk about…

poetic citizenship  A few weeks ago, Drew wrote about poetic citizenship on her blog. She asked, What have you done to nurture the literary community? Part of the reason I started this blog is that I think it’s very important to shine a light (in Drew’s words) on the work of other poets and writers. So, over the next [oh no, it’s summer, do I really have to make a time commitment?] few weeks? couple months? little while? Let’s say little while. Over the next little while I’m going to be posting a few more “next big things” and a few author interviews. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed preparing for them and gathering them up (a process that I’m still in the midst of).

Meanwhile, happy Friday, happy weekend and thanks, as always, for reading.