Day 272 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and, after last night's release reading, I know a number of people are reading the new issue of Fifth Wednesday, published in Lisle, Illinois. The reading at the Book Cellar in Chicago was well attended, and the store has a charming cafe, with coffee, wine, and pumpkin soup.
Susan Hahn read an excerpt from her novel, published as the story "If I Set Up the Chairs," Barry Silesky and I read poems (with the coincidence of whales in them), and editor Vern Miller read, to relate to yesterday, a "redneck" short story by Jonis Agee, who was not present. This issue has a feature on Illinois poet John Knoepfle, a nice interview and several poems. Knoepfle's bio at the back says, "Right now he is writing a series of poems about the world he sees from his window."
Here's what I saw out the train window on today's pleasant ride home in the fall sunshine: several hawks soaring over the harvested fields, those long golden stretches of field with sharp broken stalks of corn, and beautiful white wind turbines, turning.
And I was reading. I had taken some poetry books, and I had Fifth Wednesday, but I was reading Saving Jesus from the Church, by Robin Meyers, discussed here in the past, as so many local people were reading it. Now I can, having borrowed my mom's copy, with her underlining and brackets, serious question marks, rare exclamation points, and excellent questions in the margin.
I like this book. It's down to earth.
And I wrote this, in pencil, on ruled paper.
On the Road
I don't know if I resembled
the one they loved
or if the tremor in my voice
from hunger and fatigue
reminded them of the one they missed
but two travelers on the road
fed me, and were kind.
And now, wherever I go,
I remember this kindness
and how the simple breaking
of the bread made a sweet plenty
for us all.
And, speaking of whales, that's Mr. Splashy Pants, from Greenpeace.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.