Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Redwing Blackbird, Click & Clack

Day 198 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and I was reading outside today, because it was such a gorgeous day, and fall is coming, followed by winter, and I am getting in all the outside time I can! And a busy time is coming, too, so I was finishing up various books:

I finished In the Next Galaxy, by Ruth Stone, which I have also written about here. Poetry by a wise old woman. Title sounds kind of scifi, but it isn't really, though alien things happen.

Even this title is a sort of poem: "The Electric Fan and the Dead Man (or the widow as a useful object toward the end of the century)." And has alienation in it. Plus this:

What is imperative is the Off switch:
which he, at one point some time ago,
opted for himself.
Tied a silk cord around his meat neck
and hung his meat body, loved though it was,
in order to insure absolute quiet,
on the back of a rented door in Soho.

But I also read much of A Civic Pageant, by Frank Montesonti, available at Black Lawrence Press, which made me laugh out loud in various kinds of delight. "Piranha" is a good one to read before you start teaching your Creative Writing class this fall:

Frank, do all our poems have to be about piranhas?
a student asks--the piranha.
No, no, not if you don't want them to be about piranhas,
I tell her, of course
I really don't see the point
of not writing about piranhas......

And then the poem has a fabulous climax, but you'll have to read the book to find it out! I have to set it aside for a while, or all my new poems will be film voiceovers or somebody else's dreams, that is, Frank's. And I need to go back and read or re-read the long poems, but I was thrilled that "Film Noir" appeared first in Poems & Plays, where I have also appeared.

I laughed out loud at the epigraph to the poem "John & Mary" by Stephen Dunn, from What Goes On (New and Selected Poems 1995-2009):

John & Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who also had never met.
--from a freshman's short story

Likewise, on Creative Writing class.

The other day Click & Clack, the brothers on Car Talk, were reading aloud that short story based on an in-class writing assignment to write a short story in tandem--you know the one, supposedly a real story, but probably made up, where a woman keeps trying to write a romance and a man keeps writing a scifi adventure, and pretty much they kill each other. The Car Talk guys were discovering it and laughing in disbelief, and I almost wanted to call and say, "You know, it's a fun assignment, that can produce some really creative stories that actually work, like the time you advised the guy to, sure, go ahead and use oatmeal to fix his radiator leak." Which is a traditional fix, it turns out.

Ah, Click & Clack. Which brings me back to Ruth Stone, her "Mantra":

When I am sad
I sing, remembering
the redwing blackbird's clack.


SarahJane said...

I hope you like "A Civic Pageant." I really did.

Kathleen said...

Loving it, yes!