Dispatches from the Sickhouse

After a remarkably healthy winter our luck ran out: last week Vincent came down with the flu — and believe me when I tell you that this skinny skinny boy really should not do without food for any length of time — and then, as I suppose was inevitable, on Saturday night, Aidan woke up crying:  as soon as I picked him up the generous boy shared the entire contents of his stomach with me.

All of which is to  say that I will continue to be behind and neglectful of my reading & writing on the interwebs for the time being.

Quick list (which is all I have time for): Not-Necessarily-New Books I’m looking forward to reading:

  • Just when I thought I’d reached the end of my Lowell/Bishop jag, I discovered Helen Vendler’s newly released book of essays from Princeton University Press, Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill.
  • Pulleys & Locomotion, by Rachel Galvin (Black Lawrence Press).
  • Black Leapt In, by Chris Forhan (Barrow Street Press).
  • Tulips, Water, Ash, by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet (Northeastern University Press). I’ve been wanting to read this since I read Emma Bolden‘s terrific review in the fall 2009 issue of Poets’ Quarterly. This collection was the 2009 Morse Poetry Prize winner. I tend to really like the winners of this prize: Chris Forhan’s The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars, the 2003 winner, is one of my favorite books. I was disappointed when I heard they’d suspended the contest.
  • Garnet Lanterns, by Sally Rosen Kindred (2005 Winner Anabiosis Press Chapbook Contest). I love the cover of this. Don’t hate me because I’m shallow. I’ve read her poems in various places, so I’m sure I’m going to love the poems, too.
  • Flood Year, by Sara Tracey (Dancing Girl Press).
  • The Traffic in Women, by Kristina Marie Darling (Dancing Girl Press).
  • A Classic Game of Murder, by Katie Cappella (Dancing Girl Press).
  • How to Study Birds, by Sarah Gardner (Dancing Girl Press). Yes, someone took advantage of DGP’s awesome winter sale. Great stuff! And great covers here, too.

Friday Miscellany.

The Marine Honor Guard attended Uncle Joe’s funeral — “Taps” is the most devastating music — you respond viscerally, instantly. Even as we mourned, though, I was glad that they came, that they honored him, that he was remembered.

Funerals, memorial services — they’re important. That kind of communal grief is comforting, the communal recognition that this person’s life mattered. Funerals dredge up old griefs as well, as the new loss comes to stand for and encompass all the losses that came before. But that’s not a bad thing — we carry our griefs just below the skin every day — it’s a relief to wear them freely, to cry and feel freely, once in a while.

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The Collected Poets Series reading last night with Kimberley Rogers and Ellen Doré Watson was tremendous and also cathartic — while their styles are different, they both write passionate, forceful poems. I hope to be able to share one of Kimberley’s poems before too long, so check back. She’s a voice not to be missed.

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I finally have my copy of Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play, and I’m happy to report that while many of the essays are reprints, they’re reprints from a variety of journals, and there are original essays also, so I’ve only previously read one essay, Tony Hoagland’s, out of the bunch. I’m especially excited to see Chris Forhan in the table of contents — his book of poems, The Actual Moon, the Actual Stars is a favorite of mine. It came out 5 whole years ago, practically a lifetime! I’ve been wondering what he’s up to — while a new book is my heart’s desire, I can settle for an essay on poetry. For now.

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Vincent is officially 2 — we did have a cake at my mother’s yesterday after the funeral, but it was a very small affair. This Sunday we’re going to have another, because you can never have too much chocolate cake, and though Vincent has very specific ideas about what’s good, he most wisely concurs. And he sings a sweet Vincent-y version of “Happy Birthday to You” sure to cure whatever ails you!