Last Day!

How is it possible that tomorrow is May? The days seem to have accelerated, the year nearly half gone!

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month, which means it’s the last day to enter the Great Poetry Giveaway, dreamed up by the ever-generous Kelli Russell Agodon. Visit her blog, Book of Kells, to see the master list of blogs participating (55!), but, before you do, don’t forget to leave a comment here to enter in my giveaway: 2 books & a subscription.  You only have until midnight tonight (world time — your time — midnight wherever you are). Tomorrow I’ll post the names of the winners.

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Thank you, yes, I spiffed up the place: new theme, new header, new font thanks to Typekit.  Strange to say after two and a half years, but at last this virtual space is beginning to feel less borrowed and more mine.

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Yesterday was a windy day. When I say “windy,” I don’t mean easy breezy. I would say it was about a 7 on the Beaufort Scale. On the Bridge of Flowers, an 8 — that place is a wind tunnel!

Naturally, the boys wanted to be out in it.  They wanted it with the sort of unrelenting, irrational insistence that grew in direct proportion to my efforts to talk them out of it.

I woke up with a cold, so I was already more inclined to be a lay-on-the-couch-and-moan Mama. Stepping out into those gales wasn’t going to be a good time for any of us.

Where did we go? The Bridge of Flowers, of course, because it’s spring, and the tulips and hyacinths have returned the parade of colors to the Bridge after the long gray-scale drought.

It was awful. And even frightening. The wind was cold, unceasing, walking against it like carrying two times my body weight uphill.

But it was worth it. Took the starch right out of the boys — Aidan went right down for a nap when we got home, and Vincent was subdued the rest of the afternoon, playing with his crayons and coloring books when he normally would be wreaking noisy destruction.

This morning, it was actually eerie, walking out into a windless day. The quiet, the ease. The neighbor’s flowering tree had lost all its petals. I could feel the sun, yesterday reduced to light, memory, warm on my skin.

So on this last day of NaPoMo, this perfect spring day, I give you this poem, which feels spring-like to me, and captures both its brilliance and its transcience, its frisson of forboding. It’s by none other than Carmine Starnino, from his book This Way Out. Look for a longer treatment from me about this marvelous Canadian poet soon-ish. Till then:

The Butterflies I Dreamt in Childhood are Here

Look at you, blown in from Christ knows where.
Shoulder to shoulder, silk kissing silk against the asters
in a bunting of open wing and stem, dozens strong,
seemingly self-xeroxed, an apricot spree of yellow
sprayed on green, and lopsidedly clinging as you feed,

afterward ascending on pillars of altitude, a still life.
You have a week at best, and soon the almanac
will catch up even with that good bloom and leave it
twisted shut, like a burr. There’s something else
to consider in the barn-red, hay-green fact of this place:

a sparrow split open near the willows, in full sun.
But no. It’s you I’d rather watch. Heavy enough
to flag a flower, you are large cups of colour set on such
small saucers, coins to keep a child’s eyes closed.

–Carmine Starnino

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Paradise Regained

I’ve been using Apples in one configuration or another since 1989, and there’s nothing like a Mac.  I’m so appreciative of my friend Lea’s generosity in loaning me a laptop so that I could still get work done, but truly, there’s nothing like a Mac.

Budget constraints led me, nervous yet desperate, to eBay for my next laptop, and, badaboom, here I am, $109.50 + shipping later, sitting pretty with a refurbished iBook, leaving me some spare parts (battery, air port, power cord, etc.), plus extra memory from the old machine that I can install in the new, all worth more than my total cost.

Not an entirely seamless transition, unfortunately, as it turned out that when I cleaned up my thumb drive shortly before my old computer hit the skids, I accidentally “cleaned” it of my manuscript (among other things).  I have it in hard copy, but the prospect of typing it over entirely…! My right eye began to twitch.

Luckily, I’ve  begun submitting it to a contest or two, and at least one of them uses an online submission manager. Halleluiah! I logged in to my account and downloaded my ms. from there. I’ve already revised that version, natch, but the editing and work-time involved was much, much, less than retyping it from whole cloth.

Oh, what a (wondrous, useful, potentially addictive, definitely scary) thing is eBay! And is there anything more aggravating and soul-searing than the outrage of someone outbidding you? (WTF? Hey! I really need that, you *#&@$!)

Now April, National Poetry Month, is almost over, and I haven’t written a single poem. There’s much work to be done, rethreading the various scraps of my virtual life, but I’m hoping to fit a poem in before the week, and month, closes up shop.

In the meantime, you still have time, if you haven’t already, to enter the NaPoMo Poetry Book Giveaway, spearheaded by Kelli Russell Agodon over at Book of Kells — go on over to check out the 50+ blogs that are giving away free books. To enter mine, leave a comment here. It’s all over Friday at midnight, EST. On Saturday I’ll announce the winners.

P.S. I’ve been experimenting with Typekit fonts for the blog — feeling like it, too, needs some spring freshening up — but when I click “publish”, nothing about the blog seems to have changed. Either I’m doing it wrong, or there’s an issue with my browser. Do you, Dear Reader, notice anything different?

Technical Difficulties

I’m back on the borrowed computer circuit — my iBook has dug its little chiclet heels in & refuses to run. While I resolve this crisis I won’t be able to update much, if at all.

Please, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to leave a comment on my Poetry Book Giveaway post to enter in a drawing for free books. Your comments might not show up right away, as my computer access will be sporadic, but rest assured I’ll get to them and you’ll be duly entered.

In the meantime, if anyone has a free laptop of the Macintosh variety that s/he wishes to unload, let me know!

Poetry & Your Friendly Local Cable Show

Photo courtesy of Answers.com.

Mea culpa! I didn’t mean to disappear for a week, and I wish I could say it was because I was at AWP in Denver with so many from the poetry blogosphere, but alas, I was simply BUSY. I had every intention of updating yesterday, but the project I was hoping to post didn’t work out, and working on that ate up all my blog-time.

That project? Last Friday night I joined my friends Lea Banks and Susie Patlove on a local cable show, “Over the Falls,” hosted by the dapper James Sullivan, in a special program devoted to National Poetry Month and the local poetry scene.  We chatted about the Collected Poets Series, the Third Friday open mic that Susie and the Arms Library run, and the big National Poetry Month event we’re all participating in (with our other poet friends Laura Rodley, Jim Bell, and Tom Yeomans) at our local independent bookstore, Boswell’s Books, this coming Sunday. Then we each read for a few minutes.

It was enormous fun to do, and what’s more, we were each given a DVD of the show before we left! My plan was to share some of it here, but though I can watch it on our DVD player fine, it’s not opening on my iBook. I’ll have to fiddle with it some more and see what I can do.

We don’t actually have cable at home, so without the DVD I wouldn’t have been able to watch the show — though Susie tells me that they get copies in at the library, so patrons can watch them there — and let me tell you, I was bowled over by the production values and talent on display! This is not the local cable channels of my childhood! And it’s almost entirely volunteer-run! They do amazing work.

If you’re looking to get the word out about what’s going on in your local poetry world, by all means, don’t overlook your local cable channels — they’re always looking for show ideas, and I bet you’ll be as impressed as I was by the work they do.