Birthdays

My blog is officially three,  Aidan is officially 2, and the New Year will be here in a day or so. What a year. Thank you for reading, expanding life’s circle, and making my life richer in the process. Happiness, good health, and all the blessings of the New Year to you, my friends!

Blowing out candles is what brothers do best.
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Let it snow! (Baby, it’s cold outside…)

Finally, the day after Christmas, we’re having our first real honest-to-goodness snow storm! There’s nowhere we have to be, plenty of milk, cream, cocoa, tea, and coffee (covering the holy trinity of hot beverages) on hand, and thus we can hunker down and enjoy the view.

With me and the boys down with colds, visiting my mum and her chemo-depressed immune system for Christmas was out of the question. So we had a quieter sort of holiday. Which is the sort of holiday our economic reality is happiest with anyway. Though not the kind of quiet that means silent — my stepsons brought fireworks. Rather a lot, actually. Because nothing says Christmas like explosives.

I’ve packed a bunch of reading into this mini-break — I tend not to use the computer much on weekends if I (and my Duotrope addiction) can help it — while the boys have been deeply attentive to creating art and play-doh wall stucco. Where it used to be I couldn’t read more than one book at a time, I seem to have a compulsion these days to hoard a disparate pile of library books along with my usual supply of literary journals:

I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (an interesting follow-up to my reading of The Emperor of All Maladies — the writing’s less elegant, the science less difficult, but the story of the Lacks is utterly heart-rending), the new issue of Poetry Northwest, an urban fantasy novel whose title I won’t mention because I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it but which held my attention, and I’m 440 pages into The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I really love and I’m trying not to rush through. Without re-reading something from my shelves (which is not out of the question by any means) I’m currently without a volume of prose on poetry, having returned Mentor & Muse to the library — any suggestions, anything new out there I may not have heard about or read already?

Between reading jags I’ve baked blueberry muffins, picked up various wood blocks and legos, and joined my sons with their crayons. Vincent was drawing an elaborate series of small rectangles, something that resembled a spread-out brick wall, and then below them at the bottom of the page, he drew a single small rectangle off by itself, and announced, “This is the lonely one.”

“And why is he lonely?” I asked.

“Because his parents are gone,” Vincent replied mournfully.

“Where are his parents?”

“I think they went to the bank.” He looked up. “And then they went to a poetry reading.”

I told Lance how delighted I am that our not-yet 5 yr old’s world includes the idea of a poetry reading.

He raised an eyebrow. “Oh? And how about the fact that he equates poetry readings with loneliness and abandonment?”

Criminy.

Vincent’s beautiful mind

  • Vincent is still telling his Syllabo stories, but they’ve taken on a darker cast: expanding the family even further — “Syllabo has another mother and father, and two sisters…” —  he stopped short…”but actually she only has one sister now. The other one died.” Oh. Let’s not explore that.
  • He fiercely resisted bedtime the other night. Fiercely. Extravagantly. “I can’t go to bed yet, I need a bath! I really need a bath! I’m dirty! I have mushrooms growing between my toes!”
  • When he and my husband returned from a long walk yesterday, Vincent announced excitedly, “Mommy, we saw Daddy’s father! We did, we saw him! Only he’s little right now.” Come again? Oh. He met a little boy with the same name as his late grandfather. Same name ≠ same person.
  • Late-breaking addition: “Vincent, please stop jumping and settle down!” “But I can’t! I’m out of control! My heart’s telling me so!”

Favorite Lines from The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (get it? Lines!)

  • “I’ve always felt that line breaks would destroy the drifting and circular intelligence of these poems, the way they move through thought and into silence, from rumination to description and back again. For lack of a better term, they feel horizontal in their rhetorical designs, like waves rushing up the beach, slowly flattening out into foam and a thin sheet of water, then receding back into the depths.” — James Harms, on Killarney Clary
  • “For me, the prose poem is capacious and interior. Like a mirror, it holds as much as the world it reflects. I love to step inside. Things are a little strange in there, yes. But you don’t have to stay in that one room, or even that house. You can keep walking, and find all manner of thing. The ocean, for example, is right outside the door.” — Jeffrey Skinner
  • “…form and voice within the prose poem are not separate; they are seed and tree.” — Alexander Long
  • “If for human beings the most crucial division is that between life and death, and the original genre division is that between poetry and prose, then matters of life and death must lie very near to what makes the prose poem. …The prose poem sits close to the rot.” — Mark Wallace
  • “I tend to head instinctively into prose when a poem has become too much about line breaks or some insisted-upon metaphor keeps shrugging its shoulders. There’s something about the writing of a prose poem that seems to promise open land and distance in which you can lose yourself.” — Nancy Eimers

 

    Aracelis Girmay & Ross Gay (via The Collected Poets Series)

    Aracelis Girmay & Ross Gay Thursday, December 2, 2010, at 7:00pm, poets Aracelis Girmay and Ross Gay will read as part of the fourth season of the Collected Poets Series. ($2-5 suggested donation)   Aracelis Girmay writes poetry, fiction, and essays. Her collage-based picture book, changing, changing, was published by George Braziller in 2005, and her book of poems, Teeth, … Read More

    via The Collected Poets Series