All Souls.

https://i2.wp.com/l.yimg.com/l/tv/us/img/site/18/90/0000051890_20080915124047.jpgSince we watched the first two seasons of the BBC series “Primeval” on DVD, the exclamation, “Oy! You!” has become a permanant addition to my lexicon.  I’d bet my books that not a single episode passes without the cute blonde zoologist, Abby, shouting this at least once.  It’s very endearing.  (Early episodes also inevitably included gratuitous shots of her barely-clad bottom as she padded around her flat in her undies, but those seemed to have tapered off by season two.)

Far better than other outbursts you might hear in our household, “Oy!” has become my go-to phrase of choice.  It’s quite versatile; a note up or down changes your tone from mild annoyance to I’ve-had-it-up-to-here!

Last night it was, “Oy! Would you look at that?”

Lance and Vincent carved a big pumpkin.  When asked if he wanted a scary or a friendly pumpkin, Vincent said, “Scary.”

Lance got to work — Vincent’s only real contributions were as critic and occasional picker-upper of a seed or two.  He did spontaneously strip off his shirt, but when asked to put his hand in and clean out the guts, he said, “Oh no, I’m too little.  Daddy will do that.”  Oy.

In the end, however, Daddy did too good of a job.  When he finished, lit the candles, and turned off the lights, the ta-da moment was interrupted by the sound of Vincent sobbing.

ScaryPumpkin
The Great Pumpkin scares the bejeezus out of Vincent.

“It’s too scary! It’s too scary, Daddy!”

Oy.

Not that I disagree entirely.  That’s one freaky pumpkin.

As I was putting Aidan in his pajamas, I heard Vincent rummaging in the silverware drawer. (Don’t talk to me about child-proofing. We did, our drawers are child-proofed.  Vincent conquered the contraptions in 3 weeks.)  When I went to check on him, he was about to deface the pumpkin with a butter knife:  he wants to add a second nose between its eyes, quite reasonably explaining that this will solve the whole “too scary” conundrum.

He’s not wrong.  But I still confiscated the knife. Oy!

Draft of the Week, #8.

I’m tired, still recovering from my run-in with the new world pandemic (though everlastingly grateful to have apparently not infected the boys), and cannot imagine spending one more minute on this poem this week.  I have no perspective on its worth at all right now, just hope it’s worth reading:

{poof!}

Bugged by a flu.

https://i2.wp.com/www.3dscience.com/img/Products/3D_Models/Biology/Viral/Influenza/supporting_images/3d_model_biology_influenza_web2.jpgMy second reading this week, this time without the 3-ring circus of my kids, was super.  Some friends who’d never been to a poetry reading before came, so it was fun to introduce them to the experience and demonstrate that it’s not that scary after all.  And I enjoyed the mix of themes and styles that resulted by reading with Kim Rogers.  (We’re doing it again in November, this time as part of the Green Street Poetry Series in Northampton.)  AND I sold a few chapbooks, to people I don’t even know, which is new and different and wild.

But all that public contact came at a price.  Starting to feel better today, definitely didn’t catch the worst flu bug around, but being sick and still having to be the mama doesn’t leave me room for anything else at the end of the day.  Especially when the kids zero in on my weakness and cling ever more, my pint-size personal Chinese handcuffs.

With a lot of luck I’ll complete a new poem this weekend along with some books.  And maybe that will prove to be not so far out of the realms of reality as it sounds.  Rain days are good for hunkering down and getting things done and we’re experiencing a monsoon of rain this weekend — some editor of some journal once said that every time it rained he’d end up with a slush pile of rain poems for days thereafter. So I guess the key is not not writing a rain poem, but holding on to it for a while and submitting it during a heat wave, when rain will seem like nirvana.

Weekend Recap, or, I am Launched!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!

Even though I was tethered to a table all day Saturday during the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, I had a grand time.  Unlike some literary festivals where folks ignore the book tables in droves, MassPo is all about poetry & poets, and poets love books, so I was able to chat with a number of interesting people, including

  • one poet who read a blog post I wrote last year about enjoying her book — what a thrill that was! I always think I’m sending these posts into the ether, so it never fails to surprise me when their subjects come upon them!  Which then makes me wish I had written more cogent & detailed posts re: my admiration in the first place.
  • two poets I know & admire from their blogs & ReadWritePoem — meeting online friends in person can be a gamble, but Carolee & Jill were every bit as wonderful & generous face to face as they are electronically.  I hope we can meet up again before too long.
  • Joan Houlihan, who is a HOOT!  I adore her.

Now I have to wait an entire year for the festival to come back around again…hopefully next October I’ll be able to participate a bit more.

*

Also this weekend, last night in fact, was my chapbook release party.  Wow.  I’m so thankful for the nice crowd of good friends that came out on a cold & wet autumn night at the tail end of a busy weekend to help me celebrate.  And I’m grateful it was a patient crowd:  I brought the boys for this first big event, and that added quite the element of unpredictability to the poetry reading!  I’m pretty sure none can say they’ve ever been to a reading like this one before…and nor will they ever again.  Look for some photographs of this singular evening soon, right here, and you’ll see what I mean!  Too bad I didn’t think to have the reading filmed for posterity — with Aidan & Vincent’s assistance, it was, um, quite a night.

In the meantime, I have another reading this Wednesday night, with the ferociously talented Kimberley Ann Rogers…this time sans children.  Because we all could use a night off from time to time.

Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

MassPoFestAccording to their website, 178 poets and presenters are reading, leading workshops or performing at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival this coming weekend, with simultaneous launches all over the state.  There’s a High School Poets Program, a huge slate of workshops, many many readings — and it’s free!

If you’re attending on Saturday, come look me up.  I’ll be at the Small Press Fair, staffing the Tupelo Press table –stop by, say hi, and buy a book or three.

Please note, they’re encouraging all Saturday attendees to check in at Festival Central, and everyone who does will be entered in a raffle. The Poetry Box, according to the website, will contain:

  • A gift certificate from Grub Street entitling you to attend one of their courses.
  • A gift certificate to attend one session with PoemWorks and Barbara Helfgott Hyett.
  • A gift certificate from Grolier’s in Harvard Square.
  • An assortment of poetry books.

Free books?  I don’t need to be asked twice!  There is just an outrageous number of events happening — I hope you’re able to participate. This is the only the second year of the Festival, and this year’s even more ambitious, so here’s hoping it’s wildly successful and sure to return for years to come.

And to whet your whistle, ReadWritePoem, in partnership with the Festival, is running a special series, wherein featured readers at the Festival were asked to answer the question, “What is poetry?”  The results are as varied and intriguing as the poets: a wordle from Joan Houlihan, a pastiche of quotes & frank ruminations from Jeffrey Harrison.  Take a gander, and offer your own thoughts, too — no grades allowed, but class participation is highly encouraged.

Digging out from Under.

Have I ever neglected my blog this long before?  Apologies!  At last I have my beloved iBook back — well, a refurbished clone of my beloved, actually, but it will most certainly do — and I’m so backed up and behind that I’m simply choking out here in the weeds.

It was an interesting couple weeks without a computer.  I didn’t care for it.  I read some novels I’d been meaning to read (The Magicians — enjoyable, despite the protagonist being a bit of a whiner; The Codex — same author, also fun, again despite a lackluster protagonist; The Anthologist — I loved this: the poet-curmudgeon-narrator really grew on me, the po-biz barbs were well-shot, and Baker has some true insights into form; now reading Freddy & Fredericka, which I resisted, though I love Mark Helprin, because I have a hard time sympathizing with privileged characters, but I’m glad I gave in because I’m being swept up).

And of course I read tons of poetryThen, Something (Tupelo’s fall books, so different from each other, are so great in their various ways: Pat Fargnoli’s Then, Something gorgeously meditative, Joan Houlihan’s The Us strange, new, yet accessible, and the lush language of Jennifer Militello’s Flinch of Song).

So far, so good.  However, being cut off from my computer meant being cut off from my poems, all the things I hadn’t yet printed out in hard copies, my manuscript-in-process, the revisions I was working on.  In short, my writing was stymied.  I didn’t write a single new poem during my sojourn in laptop-limbo.  No Draft of the Week this week, I’m afraid.

That said, I still shuffled around with the print-out of the MS I had, and came up with an organization and order and even section breaks that please me, and spent most of last night working on the computer adjusting the file, and just printed out the new version a little while ago.  Flipping through it in its little black spring binder, table of contents and all, is almost as delicious as my chocolate birthday cake.

Yes, I’m a year older now, with vastly more wrinkles.  The sweetest, smilingest part of the day: the boys’ birthday card to me, as dictated by Vincent and transcribed by Lance: “Happy Birthday to the best old Mommie we’ve ever had.  We’re going to share your birthday cake.”  And we did.

Lastly, if you’ve been waiting and wondering, I just received word tonight:  Hunger All Inside shipped today! So look for your copies to arrive in the mail next week — hooray!  If you didn’t order and would like to, you can either go here to order from Finishing Line Press, or contact me directly at mgauthier [dot] hunger [at] gmail [dot] com.  That goes also if you’d like an autographed copy.  I’ve picked out a proper writing implement and am practicing my signature even as I type…