Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ecstatic Destinations

What a lovely book, a chapbook by Keith Taylor, Ecstatic Destinations (Alice Greene & Co., 2018). The title phrase ends up in the last words of the last poem, foretold by the epigraph (spoken by a bus driver!). The book is dedicated to his neighbors, and the poems recount his daily journeys through his own neighborhood, a triangle of three streets.

As I know Keith Taylor is fond of birds, I hoped to do a little bird watching in these pages. I found vultures (more than once), chickadees, jays, starlings, and even skateboarders on gossamer wings! Other wildlife included white-tailed deer and a monarch butterfly. Trees: spruce, maple, hickory, redbud, mulberry, box elder, wild cherry, ash, elm (dying), sumac. And grapevines.

Alongside the nature, townspeople, town things. And paintings. Here's a poem that gives you the sweetness and summarizes the adventure:

     To the Muse

     On my daily walk
     around this triangle
     of crowded streets

     occasionally someone
     passes by carrying
     grocery bags filled
     with peaches and milk.

Makes me want peaches cut up in milk. And I am glad to say a goldfinch came to own my back yard today, to feast on the seedhead of a purple coneflower.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Falling Off the Empire State Building

Today's #SealeyChallenge book is Falling Off the Empire State Building, by Jimmy Pappas, the 2020 Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner. Pappas's book grabbed me today for its somehow darkly comic yet patriotic title, the day Biden has announced his running mate, Kamala Harris. The title captures how I've been feeling lately, with America having reached great heights only to fall off its own pedestal. Yet here I can celebrate something.

And I am certainly enjoying reading a poetry book or chapbook a day on the advice of poet Nicole Sealey, a good literary citizen. I wanted to tell you yesterday about that moment in the "Document/ed" chapter of Brian Sonia-Wallace's book, The Poetry of Strangers, but I am telling you today: "A mentor had been talking to me about 'literary citizenship' as the obligation that writers have to support each other's work and work to elevate each other's voices." Brian was thinking about it in the context of citizenship itself, "in an age of immigration terror and child detention." Paying attention to poetry was something he could do. And it's something I can do, as a poet and a reader of poetry.

So let's visit the Empire State Building together! Pappas's book starts with an "Invitation" to homemade organic pancakes sprinkled with blackberries picked in the rain. I'm in! The second poem, "Creation," creates the [poet's] world and the theme of falling via "the man across the street / who fell off a ladder / to the cement sidewalk." (This reminded me of the guy who fell off our roof and broke both wrists, repairing our home after a house fire, a fact we learned much later from the neighbors, as we were living elsewhere during the repair. I hope compassion after the fact still counts!) 

Here are Jimmy Pappas's "four Noble Truths:"

     Life is suffering. People fall
     off ladders. Love ends.
     Nothing has any meaning.

The title poem is a father poem, and also repeats an urban legend. There are unsentimental and deeply human tributes to stepmother and mother, noting "the massive indifference of the universe" and a plethora of shoes. A father poem of love and guilt, deathbed poems of pure love for various people, a lovely poem where his sister, ready to die, signs, "Sleep."

     She took the open palm of her right hand
     and dragged it down her face. Sleep. Sleep. 

I, too, would have let her sleep. And then, in "Mourning," taking the poet Sappho's advice, Jimmy Pappas keeps

     jotting down
     notes

     for my next
     poem.

A poet's gotta do what a poet's gotta do. And that takes me back to The Poetry of Strangers again, something Brian Sonia-Wallace says in one of his own unsentimental poems, how he's

     always rooting for the monsters
       who are at least honest
         to themselves, at least
     not pretending altruism.

Jimmy Pappas, who has a poem about putting his screaming father in a nursing home against his will, might agree. And "rooting for the monsters" takes me all the way back to My Favorite Thing is Monsters, by Emil Ferris, and now you've come along with me on a Random Coinciday in the blog.


Monday, August 10, 2020

The Poetry of Strangers + Delicate Thefts

Brian Sonia-Wallace was a writer-in-residence for Amtrak and the Mall of America and has his own small business called RENT Poet, and, you guessed it, he writes poetry for strangers on a typewriter! His book, The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America With a Typewriter (Harper Perennial, 2020) was, I have to say it, a great ride. It's got lots of poems in it, including translations, so I was going to count it toward the #SealeyChallenge, but I also read another Debra Kaufman book, Delicate Thefts (Jacar Press, 2015), and there are tiny stolen things in both books, both concrete and abstract.

Like me, Brian is an actor, too. Unlike me, he approaches his poetry writing, as well as his reading aloud, as performance. Like me, he connects poetry with attention and listening.* He actually composes poems after listening to his customers' stories, writing the poems they need. Vending his poems across the country, he has worked with all kinds of interesting performers, including clowns and witches, and has appeared at big corporate events, malls, music festival, and, interestingly, a detention center to document (in poems) the undocumented.

*Debra Kaufman dedicates Delicate Thefts "to listeners everywhere." I sense she's done her share of the kind of listening that results in poems, too. In "The Receiver" she's listening at a bar: "When I...look straight / into a stranger's eyes, / always he will tell me his story."

Brian Sonia-Wallace experiences that intimacy, too, in talking to strangers. They will tell the deepest things. Back to Kaufman's poem: "Two drinks in I have taken / the gift of his loneliness." Here, the loneliness was a gift, not a theft, but the stolen things in Kaufman's book include a locket, a wallet, stolen innocence, pride, self-image. All, yes, with a delicate touch.

Stolen lives. In "At Duke Gardens, After Another School Shooting," there is nothing to do but seek solace, remembrance, and "peonies you can wash your face in." In "Trying to Find a Way," sometimes the heart is too full, with "no room for another's story." 

And sometimes it's "A Perfect Day to Hang Out Laundry" and let a memory waft in as a comfort:

     His first day at kindergarten
     Danny said, My shirt smells like wind.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Next Moment

As with so many books of poetry, here's a beautiful cover that draws me in, with cover art by poet and publisher Richard Krawiec, and cover design by Daniel Krawiec. The book, on Day 9 of the Sealey Challenge (where I should be saying #sealeychallenge except I am hashtag challenged), is The Next Moment, by Debra Kaufman (Jacar Press, 2010). Lots of beauty and empathy in this book, speaking directly to me in poems like "The Drought Speaks," naming flowers I love, dry spells I've known, and things I now know to be true:

     ...it's the wildflowers that prevail,
     their ragged foliage
     still green in the heat,
     new blossoms about to open.

As I read this one, on a cool morning after enough recent rain that my husband is mowing, our devil's strip is wildly blooming with Queen Anne's Lace. I've got some in blue water on the kitchen table because my friend Kristi said she did this as a child to watch the white blossoms turn the color of the water. They did, after a week or so. Blue lace!

I love this first couplet of the poem "Cul de Sac,"

     Everyone still wants to live in a cul de sac,
     says tonight's hostess, a dancer turned realtor.

..the beautiful, cautionary claustrophobia of it. Plus, I've got a dancer turned realtor in the family, my nephew!

How about this, from "After"?: "The road to hell, / she'd said, is curvy." Funny, wonderful, all too true. Is "falderal" a word? I've written in my notebook. Yes, a variant of "folderol." ["Dated: a showy but useless item"] As in "her nightgown, / silken falderal, / dances on the line." Gorgeous!

Kaufman's poem "The Rushing Way I Went," which ends the first section, Too Late, reminds me of Emily in Our Town, coming back to her life after her early death on one special day that goes by too quickly. Debra Kaufman is also a playwright!

Part 2, We're Never Ready, starts with a diagnosis, dire. A middle stanza resonates with Midwestern me:

     The river murmurs, we have questions.
     Corn stands upright in its close rows.
     The wind stops repeating itself.

"Cemetery Drive" is just so darned beautiful, ending, "Clouds the color of bruised peaches drift east. / So much sky it hurts my heart.""Last Words" is a gorgeously brutal poem of famous and not-so-famous last words and undying love. "We're Never Ready," as you might guess, is a funeral poem, on the facing page of "Receiving Line," about handshakes, something we're not doing now, or shouldn't be.

In "Forty Days After His Death," I found another reference to pecans--"pecans pummel the roof"--which like the Tayari Jones sentence from The Untelling makes me long for the geography of pecans. In "March Blackbirds," mostly about starlings, I also found a reference to the "brown-headed cowbirds" I've heard and seen in my own back yard. I love the closing lines:

     Daylight savings has sprung too soon,
    she says to Jesus or no one.

Oh, the joy in the middle of "Summer Solstice" (with its accidental Covid moments of solitude and vulnerability):

     To crave solitude like a new lover
     you can never get enough of---

     is this good?
     Love can die and even if born again

     is weakened by the wounding
     and resurrection.

     But sometimes--surprise!--
     joy flies in like a jay.

And in "Autumnal Equinox, on the facing page, as a "boy leaps into leaves," a joy coming all too soon. I'm glad to find in Debra Kaufman a shared love of Rumi and, in the last poem, Leonard Cohen. Hallelujah!

     


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Patricia Dobler: Collected Poems

Today I sat outside in the beautiful breeze on a mostly sunny, partly cloudy day and read Patricia Dobler's Collected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2005). It's sort of a three-in-one, as it collects her last set of poems, Now, finished, it seems, just before she died, and two earlier books: Talking To Strangers, Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry (University of Wisconsin Press, 1986), and UXB (Mill Hunk Press, 1991). I'm lucky to have it, as I see it's currently out of stock and out of print at Autumn House, but it was sent to me this year by administrators of the Patricia Dobler Award. I was this year's winner--a great honor--though the part of the prize that was a trip to Pittsburgh for a reading, scheduled for April 3, 2020, was, of course, cancelled. And that's not the only coincidence here. Far from it!

First, it contains many mother poems! (My winning poem was a mother poem.) And these connect with the mother/grief poems mentioned yesterday as well as earlier in the blog, as I read a poetry book or chapbook a day for the Sealey Challenge in August. Here are some lovely lines about her mother in "On the Way to a Meeting":

     If she had known what I was doing*
     she would have been happy for me,
     my mother, her one talent was loving.
     Mine is grieving.

*...drinking wine in Naples. My own mother is quite alive, has the talent of loving, and many more, and also approves of wine drinking. Sadly, Dobler's mother "was dying while I was moon gazing, / the wolf moon was already eating her." Other beautiful poems, such as "Persephone's Blues," mourn the mother and bring her to life or bravely accept her death. I particularly love this detail from "Body Secret":

     In the morning I went to her bed and found
     the still body, the little foot stuck out of the sheet.

So tender, so real.

Though Dobler has been gone since 2005, her poems feel relevant, even prescient. Her "Rich and Poor" sees the great economic divide clearly, the gated communities, and predicts the walled mansions to which the rich might retreat from global warming and social unrest.

     As the rich become supremely rich
     they disappear
     invisible in their silences
     they could be doing anything
     behind their great walls.

There's the coincidence of a monument controversy in "Upended Monument," which, all too perfectly, shows us the bronze monument, half buried, of "a horse's ass."

In an eerie, sectioned, dream poem, Dobler recreates her own birth: "Meanwhile, my mother struggles to birth me through the early morning hours, I twist, my wee collarbone splinters..." Scary! And on the facing page, still in the same poem, the delightful line "what would Nancy Drew do." 

In a darkly funny parody, "The Penelope Interview," Penelope, wife of Odysseus, famous in Greek myth for weaving a tapestry she unravels at night to fool and fend off suitors, is a fiber artist with a new show up, "Seduced by Color," at the Ithaca Center for the Arts. 

Another favorite is "Your Idioglossia," about a private language shared between two sisters. No wonder one of them grew up to be a poet (the creator of the private language) in this bittersweet story of speech therapy and the loss of the "idioglossia," twisting in the water with orange carp.

But I was struck by the random coincidii of personal connections here. Dobler is half Hungarian and her immigrant grandparents settled in Ohio. That's true of part of my family, too. She ended up in Pittsburgh, where my dad was born. In "False Teeth" her mother (or grandmother) has lost all her teeth at age 30, just as my grandmother had lost hers at age 16. Something about the soil/water in Ohio... 

And then the astonishing coincidence of the poem "Forget Your Life" dedicated to a woman poet who would die too soon, right before her first (and therefore only) book of poems was published. That poet is Michele Murray (1933-1974), about whom I wrote my master's thesis at DePaul University, after meeting her son when we both worked at the City New Bureau of Chicago! When I found that poem, that connection, I gasped, and was all the more grateful and glad of the Patricia Dobler Award! (And Patricia Dobler had also lived in Chicago for a time.) 

The coincidences continued--to translations, as UXB contains Dobler's translations of poems by Ilse Aichinger, the UXB being "an unexploded bomb / asleep in the old airfield more than 40 years" outside the window where "you and I were slugging it out / at the table" (the process of translation),..." a link to you / that I could understand." You can bet I felt a link to Dobler with Murray that was as powerful as the link to Aichinger that Dobler felt here. 

And I connect with the love expressed in Dobler's poem "World Without End." These words, nestled in the middle of the poem, I copied down as a weird array of sirens (a car alarm?) erupted in the neighborhood:

     ...When sirens warn, I want
     everyone I love gathered with me on a high mountain
     where we start over, all of us saved by a miracle
     because we are mild, intelligent and happy in our work.

Hmm, I guess I'm like the "supremely rich" here, wanting to hide away and be magically saved, though by mildness, intelligence, and happiness in work, not riches. And the last poem, "Whenever Someone I Love Gets Sick I Get Angry," all too perfectly fits our Covid times:

     ...So when I am angry with your fevers,
     when I say "don't die" so fiercely, I want you to hear
     "I love you," the full weight of those words.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Get Up Said the World

Today I read Get Up Said the World by Gail Goepfert (Cervena Barva Press, 2020). Isn't the cover excellent? So is the structure, each poem preceded by the dictionary definition of a relevant word.* The very first poem, "Speaking Up for Silent Eggs," gave me one of those Covid reading moments of pause:

     Masks applied,
     peeled off each night.

These are metaphorical masks, as the poem takes place before Covid, when people are "standing elbow to elbow" at a wedding. That did not console me, though, as my mind turned to worry: my daughter's partner needs to attend his sister's wedding in early September, and it won't be safe to stand elbow to elbow at a wedding then, nor to fly, and he'll be returning to her. "How do we persist in this living?" asks Gail Goepfert, innocent of my particular worries, but experienced in the world's yearnings: "I want together to be less lonely than alone--- / together, a small surrender."

*Example: You will (and you won't) want to experience the "deluge, noun... a large amount of thing that come at the same time; an overwhelming amount or number" of worries, burdens, and knowledge that comes in "Cold Calling," an account of a telephone call.

The random coincidii here include "While Spooning Jelly on Toast" (a poem that goes with "mettle, noun...vigor and strength of spirit or temperament") about a mother and daughter shopping for a bra, post-surgery--connecting to Yvonne Zipter's beautiful poem "Grace Lesson," written about here--and Erin Coughlin Hollowell's poems of mother grief in Every Atom

I loved finding the title poem and its facing-page definition ("revivify...to give new life to") as well as its epigraph connecting it to a poem by Louise Gluck, a favorite poet of mine. And I loved how Goepfert's "Ars Poetica" relates to H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, a book I loved.

She also provides the perfect final word--"plenitude"--and final poem, "Drinking It In." I look back at the delightful cover, its empty green bottle, propped against a window or door frame, telling me to "Get Up." "I drink from the lip of the bottle. Quenched."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Obscure Hours

Today, Day 6 of the Sealey Challenge to read a poetry book a day August, I read The Obscure Hours, translations by Richard Jones (East of Eden Press, 2018). East of Eden is the book division of Poetry East, and these translations were published in various issues of Poetry East, of which Richard Jones is the editor. I was once his associate editor, as a graduate student at DePaul University. I remember how much he has always loved poetry in translation and ancient poets of simplicity and wisdom, and I found plenty of that here! With various partners, he has translated the work of Rilke, Basho, Petrarch, Apollinaire, Hitomaro, Issa, Machado, Neruda, and several others, nestled in beautiful art.

Of course, I read the first poem, "Lament," by Rainer Maria Rilke, aware of the connection to yesterday's lamentations and my tendency toward Covid reading, alas:

     Oh how everything seems far away
     and long past.

Yes, it does, but poetry makes it eternal. Rilke is paired with pictures of Rodin sculptures from the Rodin Museum in Paris. Rilke worked as Rodin's personal secretary!

(Another random coincidence here is "Archaic Torso of Apollo," the Rilke poem that ends, "You must change your life," as quoted in my Blogger profile.) And I have discovered, thanks to this book, that "I love the obscure hours of my existence / in which my intellect is absorbed in deep thought."

Here's a Basho haiku that made me laugh:

     I forgot my hat
     And now the cold rain's falling.
     Okay. Whatever.

And here's one that made me mourn:

     Leaning on her cane,
     My white-haired sister still weeps
     Beside her son's grave.

Here is the childlike joy of Isso:

     Snail, you're my hero.
     You will give all of your life
     to climb Mount Fuji.

And here's wisdom in simplicity from Ryokan:

     Falling cherry blossoms.
     The remaining cherry blossoms also become
     falling cherry blossoms.

And here's a short poem from Antonio Machado's Proverbs and Songs, that "gives the lie," as they say, to fake news:

     Your truth? No, the Truth---
     Come with me to look for it.
     Your truth's not even worth keeping.

And that makes it a Thor's Day (if I had a hammer...) as well as a Poetry Someday and, as it is so often, a Random Coinciday in the blog.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Every Atom

Today for the Sealey Challenge--read a poetry book or chapbook a day in August--I read Every Atom, by Erin Coughlin Hollowell (Red Hen Press, 2018).  I'm pretty sure my plan was to review this book for Escape Into Life back when it was new. To quote Hollowell, "It's not tidy, memory." Maybe I couldn't bear it. There is so much grief, including anticipatory grief, it breaks my heart. Grief for a mother, grief for a brother. What have I to do with lamentation? asks one of the poem titles. Oh, everything.

Look at these first four lines from the first poem, titled All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses:

     My mother asks me to call my father.
     Tell him to come and get me. My father
     is sitting next to her on the sofa as she says this.
     He is the one who handed her the phone.

See what I mean? Could you bear it? Yes, we can, and we have to bear it. Erin Coughlin Hollowell makes it beautiful and bearable. Her poems are emotional and philosophical at once, full of ingenious forms and layouts, full of gorgeous images:

     It's not tidy, memory.
     A house built straddling a chasm.
     The way drifting smoke disappears
     against the scraped palette of sky.

And look at this very precise image from a poem called The last scud of day:

     I brush away the hours
     like the smeary skids of eraser
     left over from a project that went
     from unwell to undone.

Alas, "undone" like my intended review! The poem continues:

                                            Words
     scrawled over the ghosts of others
     and then rubbed away again.

Can't you just see and feel those "skids of eraser" from childhood writing and drawing? Can you remember those ghosts of other words?

Random coincidii on a Wednesday, the hump of the week:

1) As I read the following lines from a prose poem called Hankering, gross, mystical, nude, I was sitting on a blanket on my glider, gray clouds swarming above me: "Maybe it's better to put a sweater on, better to gather blankets and tea. Hold our lovers close while we can still remember their names." I put a sweater on.

2) Resonating with A Slow Bottle of Wine by Katharyn Howd Machan: a difficult mother-daughter relationship.

3) Resonating with American Zero by Stella Wong: pineapple. Oh, when Hollowell feeds her mother a pineapple chunk "and she says / good" I smiled, just like the speaker of the poem.







Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Slow Bottle of Wine

Today I read the poetry chapbook A Slow Bottle of Wine, by Katharyn Howd Machan, winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Chapbook Award 2019. A fine book with a gorgeous cover that involves a self-portrait by the author's daughter, CoraRose Howd Machan, also an important figure in the poems. This is a book of 40 poems about a sad love affair that produced a beautiful daughter--see her here!--troubled by heroin addiction. Her mother is tortured by this, too, as you can imagine. The poem "How To Lose Your Perfect Child" is devastating. It's a set of instructions for how to live in denial while neglecting your child on a beach. It contains the guilt and the grief of a loving mother who knows and doesn't know what she did wrong, and almost accepts that there's nothing she can do it about it. Day Four of the Sealey Challenge breaks my heart on another beautiful day in paradise.

Random coincidii:

1) Today I drank a slow (half) bottle of wine, temporarily masked, and appropriately socially distanced, on my patio with my friend, Kim. This was a bottle of Firefly red wine, not the Pomelo announced/updated yesterday/this morning.

2) I was struck by these lines in A Slow Bottle of Wine in the poem "Tonight":

     I was sixteen when a man first trod
     that impossible place of sky and stars...

so soon after reading, in Bruise Songs, by Steve Davenport, in the poem "Dear Happy Ending":

     When I was fifteen,
     astronauts stepped
     down onto the moon,
     dividing it forever
     with a flag
     and some God.

I was a little younger when this happened but remember the moment, going outside, away from the TV, to stare up at the moon while a man was standing on it.

3) Halloween poems. Who gnu that two days in a row I'd read poetry chapbooks with Halloween poems in them? American Zero yesterday, and A Slow Bottle of Wine today. With a moment of inescapable Covid reading when I encountered the line "we search for weeks for just the right mask." Sigh...

Monday, August 3, 2020

American Zero

Today I sat down in the shade on my patio to rest and re-hydrate after transplanting some yellow lilies from the library to my own back yard, and to re-read American Zero, by Stella Wong, a fabulous chapbook from Two Sylvias Press, for the Sealey Challenge, Day Three. Isn't this a great cover? The cover photo is by Elaine Dong, and the cover design by Kelli Russell Agodon, poet and publisher. I love this little book. It doesn't take long to read (I'm still drinking that Raspberry Lemonade Gatorade G2) as it's only 10 poems long, but each one is a zinger--powerful, full of word play, and teaching me new things, even in the re-reading because I always need to re-learn things. Sigh...

The random coincidence today is the color yellow. The lilies, the pineapple of the first poem, gold medals, golden skin, a "yellow skin- / tight suit" (perfect line break), a pomelo, Katy Perry's "yellowface / and Hello Kitty obsession," beer, pee, and Halloween pumpkins. Also, speaking of Halloween, today feels like fall.

I love these poems. I love the last poem, "While I'm Not a Heroic Couplet," how it contains the book's title, and how it begins:

     America, I am not a negative
     nor a positive. I am your zero

     sum game...

And I love the poem "Everything About You is Offensive Except Your Cat" (the one with the Katy Perry incident in it) for its wonderful title and how it ends:

          What is more
     sacred than

     a thousand arms
     born gold

     like me,
     dancing on

     one hand,
     playing

     myself with
     all the rest.

UPDATE: The next morning, during senior shopping hour at Jewel, I got wine! ("Dry July" is over!) Its name: Pomelo! Random Coinciday wins!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Bruise Songs

Today I read Bruise Songs, by Steve Davenport. It's a book I'll be reviewing later, so I'll say more about it then. Today I offer it for Day Two of the Sealey Challenge to read a poetry book a day. I had started to read around in this book when it first came, but today I read it straight through. Well, I read the first poem, "Dear Horse I Rode In On," and then the note about it in the back, which I knew was there from my reading around, and the note mentioned the last poem, "Soundtrack for Last Words," so I read that, and then the actual last poem, "Moon Aubade," and then I went back to the beginning. That's my nonlinear way of being linear.

Speaking of the moon, my husband just came in and said to go out and look at it. So I did. It's full on this beautiful clear night. And, hey, I started this book in the morning and finished it at night, so I am linear, after all.

I'm thanked at the back of this book! I think it is for encouraging Steve to write poetry and for reviewing two of this other books, Uncontainable Noise for RHINO, and Overpass for Prick of the Spindle, back when I was the Poetry Cheerleader. Gosh, I loved being the Poetry Cheerleader.

Speaking of sports, I know Steve from volleyball. Our daughters played (in separate towns and school systems, so sometimes against each other), and my husband coaches, so I saw his girls through the years. They turn up in this book, too! They are with me now as I quote these words from "Love's the Boy" (p. 61):

Thank you for the language
you gave back, my daughters,
their names. Love's the boy
whiskied, stuttering, tossed.
And love's the boy returned
like dice, finite.

He lost the names of his daughters and his wife during a stroke, and those stroke poems hit hard. There's whiskey and music, too. And monsters: "'Mack the Knife,' a monster improved by song." Of course, this connected in my mind to my recent reading of the graphic novel, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, by Emil Ferris, which muses on good and bad monsters, how life can make monsters of us, how we can live with our own monstrousness, and sometimes transform ourselves again, becoming hugely human, lovingly human. Yes, "love's the boy returned."

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Sealey Challenge, Day One

It's August 1st, and thus Day One of the Sealey Challenge to read a poetry book a day in August. Thanks to Sarah J. Sloat for alerting me to this fun dare. Not sure if I can keep it up, but I'll try. I will be re-reading some books, joining some in progress, and reviewing some for Escape Into Life, as in today's pick: Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, by Yvonne Zipter, just out from Terrapin Books. Here's my review at EIL. And here's my stack of books, which may 1) change 2) fall over.

See that black shelf unit my stack is temporarily sitting on? That arrived today, used, rescued from a house my husband is fixing up. Today I had planned to go out and hang doorhangers for a local candidate, a no contact distribution of campaign literature; I don't knock or ring the doorbell, and the doorhangers have an ingenious slit in them which means I can slide them onto almost any doorknob without actually touching it! But it clouded up just as I was about to head out, and my phone told me it was going to rain. So I stayed in. And did the thing I had been avoiding: cleaned up my office! So, once again, even though it is Slattern Day in the blog, I was accidentally not a slattern.