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Posts Tagged ‘reading out loud’

Slowly it dawns on me that writing is not easy, that all of the voices that say this is not real work deserve to be put to rest.

I’m not the first to say this, but it is my dawning. A mechanism turning inside of me, a key, letting me know what this is, my writing.

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a new poem.

I jotted down a dream a couple of weeks ago, a vivid dream of a thin emerald-green book of unusual size, leather-bound, the cover rich in color and texture.

But no poems per se and not much desire to share my thoughts here of late.

Sometimes the time quickens, sometimes it drags.

What is this calling? I appreciate silliness and I love to write nonsense. But I only want to write down the most important of my thoughts just now.

Yesterday, we drove from Massachusetts to Northeast Ohio. It had been a very long time since I’ve made this trip in the car—the last time was the summer of 2009. It is close to 600 miles.

I have never read Watership Down, but we have been listening to it in the car for long stretches on this trip. The narration is excellent and I am reminded of how much I love to be read to, how much of a pleasure to all humans this gift of stories being told aloud is. I feel thirsty for it now and I have decided that I will read at open mics even when I don’t have my own work to read.

Such is the thanks I would like to give. I love reading out loud as much as I like singing out loud. It is a great pleasure to me, like the emerald-green book from my dream. The richness of the color I can summon in my mind’s eye. How I would like you to know it, too, to take it from me. I will hand you the book so you can feel its richness, the animal skin, the creamy parchment of the pages, crisp and soft at the same time.

I want to leave politics behind, the truth of war and rape, the way humans have of tearing down what cannot be shared.

I want to take and drink and give back.

Thanks Giving and Thanks Taking

Peace

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IMG_5490 if you write poems about pomegranates, don’t bother submitting to us*

I’ll be a featured reader next month at Unbuttoned, Thursday, September 12, 7-8:30 pm. There are usually 6 open mic slots followed by one or two featured readers. I know I’ll be reading alongside another poet.

Luthier’s, Cottage Street, Easthampton

*roughly quoted from a literary journal on their submissions page. Why do I bother with fucks like these? Where are my people?

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1. I did read a bunch of my poems last Friday night. It was fine.

What do you want to know? I love reading out loud. I love reading in front of an audience. I love to talk. I love to be on stage. Is any of this a surprise?

2. I did see The Master last Saturday night.

What did I think? I loved it. I loved it while I watched it. I loved Freddie Quell. I love the name of the character Freddie Quell. I love the pun Fred Equal. I feared him. He seemed real to me. He seemed like people I’ve known. He seemed like ignorant, violent, scary men I met about a hundred years ago in Ohio and beyond when I was still drinking.

I thought the script was brilliant. I thought the lighting and visual compositions were brilliant. I thought the acting was brilliant. I sucked it all in, I drank it all up (like Daniel Plainview I drink your milkshake?). I liked the tension. I liked being manipulated. I liked that it was disturbing and hard to watch.

I liked the questioning of any human following anything or anyone who thinks they know more than anyone else. I liked that it explored, through character alone, certain ideas about ego and need and projecting outside of oneself what one can’t own or see in oneself. Denial. How some egos need constant feeding regardless of whether the food is bullshit or not. To constantly externalize and point a finger at someone who seems worse off than we are keeps us feeling superior, keeps us from owning our own shit (usually fear and anger). Scapegoating.

I thought it was pretty damning of modern psychology while at the same time coming out of a time when we all assume its merits. People were prepared to see something damning about cults or Scientology or L Ron Hubbard, but since I went into the movie not expecting that at all and since I am fairly ignorant of L Ron, I made a freer association with it being about relationships between therapists and “patients.”

Did Joaquin Phoenix go too far in his portrayal? Would it have been more effective, less distracting had he not? Just a question. I waver on the answer because in many ways he seemed completely believable. His physicality, the intersection, a la FM Alexander, between the way a disturbed body is inseparable from a disturbed mind was right up my alley.

Yes, Amy Adams’ character was almost more scary than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s or Phoenix’. I was ready to doubt her but she was very, very good. Creepy, controlling. Wow.

I love that almost all the scenes were interior scenes (not unlike most of There Will Be Blood) and that outdoor scenes were usually under porches or overhangs of some kind. SO FUCKING AWESOME! The vast outdoor scenes were in either of 2 places: the beach (wet sand) or the desert (dry sand). What does it mean? I have no idea. I liked the cramped feeling of the interiors, I liked the huge, windowed room that Dodd is in at the end of the movie. Why is the Fisherman’s Memorial on his desk at the end? This appeared to be a reproduction of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ guy. The sea, the beach, the sand, the ocean. Ships. What does it all mean to Quell? The sand woman.

It was odd, it was difficult, it was imperfect, but hell am I glad someone is out there trying, stabbing, attempting to give us something real and intense and troubling.

I felt so sorry for Quell by the end, he was so ground down. Tragic. The song that Dodd sings to Quell near the end of the movie was heartbreaking. The scenes where characters sing in the movie are some of the most stark and touching.

The final sex scene was also very touching to me. Beautiful, tense. I felt like Quell was finally redeemed a tiny tiny bit. Until the last shot of the movie. Then, not sure. More ambiguity.

I could say more and more and more. And c’mon. Real naked women’s bodies. Is someone taking notes? THANK YOU, PT Anderson. Thank you. Any movie needing to show a naked woman should use this as a guide. Quit fucking us up for chrissakes and show real bodies.

3. I have so far submitted to 17 different journals in 17 days. I have not hit a roadblock. I have hit a reality block. What am I learning in my 30 days/30 submissions? I don’t have enough really good (excellent) poems to submit to the journals that I want to submit to. So I’ve changed my plan a bit. I will still be submitting to 3 more journals/presses; 2 of these submissions will be chapbook-length manuscripts. Then? I’ll wait for rejections (presumably) or acceptances (hope). And now I need to write and edit more. Editing some of the poem images/starts that I have. Go back and hone. Finally admit that some things will NEVER be poems. Plan B, which was originally Plan A: start a writing workshop by the end of January. I’ve got 4 other writers lined up. Would like to add a few more, but time will tell. I’ve known I need this from the start of this blog. The need is not gone. There is a gap in my writing and it is support and feedback from other writers.

4. I am still bleeding, but have almost stopped as I am on progesterone now. The yunnan baiyao didn’t work so I have to go straight pharmaceutical for a while. I will see an OB/GYN this week. I am anemic as fuck (okay, not as fuck, but close). I am trying to ride my bike and hike, but I am breathless and gasping for air; more than that, my energy is subdued. I am tired when I move my body. No yoga, but maybe next week.

Apparently, I am one of those women with rebellious hormones. I don’t know why, but it seems I always have been. I am ready to stop. I am ready to never bleed again. I wasn’t before, I love my bleeding and my period and my hormones, but I can’t do this much longer. I can’t bleed out like this any more. Please. Does this make any of you uncomfortable, this talk of female blood? Get along little dogies, get along.

SO, here’s a crazy thing. I just read 20 minutes of poems and made a video in my iPhoto.

You get a private, twinkly reading. Good luck. You will need it more than I did!

P.S. I tried to make the video private on youtube. I am not sure what that means. I think you can still watch it here, but maybe can’t click through. And now that I see it here on my blog, I look sort of freaky and small. I’m haunted. I told you that the other day.

X O, twinkly

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I’m sure a formal save-the-date invitation would look something like this:

I will be reading some of my poetry on Friday, September 28, 2012, 8 pm at Rao’s Coffee, Amherst.

This will be my first reading at Rao’s and first time as a scheduled (as opposed to open mic) poet. I believe we are each allotted 10-15 minutes of reading time and I will be in good company alongside a few other Valley poets. I hope to find out who is on the roster soon so I can share that information with you asap.

I look forward to your presence even though something tells me I’ve got the whole save-the-date thing wrong—like I was supposed to announce it earlier and send each of you a tin of tiny mints. For now, you get this, right here on my blog, today.

I hope to see you there (triple exclamation points), Katherine

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I do feel like complaining a little and this is exactly the point of Thankful Thursday

So let’s have at it:

Last night, I went out. BY MYSELF. Yeah, me. What did I do? I went to a poetry reading held at the Eileen Fisher store in Noho (that’s Northampton to y’all who don’t reside in the Commonwealth).

Anyway, the space was lovely, all wood and white and brightly, yet soothingly, lit. Sumptuous colors and yummy textures of clothing. A spread of cheese and crackers and strawberries and little bottles of Perrier (I had 2 of those).

The reading was given by 2 local poets, Patricia Lee Lewis and Diana Gordon. I had seen the websites of each of them, but I don’t know them or their work. Now I know a little bit more. I even bought 2 books, had them signed (TO ME!).

While I don’t want to diminish the quality of the evening and of the poets’ work, because everything was truly wonderful, the thing for which I am most grateful, aside from the aforementioned just being able to go out on a date by myself, is that the second poet, Diana Gordon, finished her portion of the reading with Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat.

This is one of the earliest and most familiar pieces of writing of my life. It is like a part of me, my heart, by heart. My father gave me a few books of poetry when I was young, one an over-sized book of Edward Lear’s nonsense poems. Maybe he read the poem to me then, maybe not; I do not remember. I later lent away the book to my good friend’s daughter who was like a little sister to me and who I grew up with when I was 21 and she was 3 and my father was dying. I never saw the book again, as is the case with so many books we love and which we know are out-of-print. Even then, when I lent it out, the cover was coming away from the binding, I remember the gap and the white stitching, the blue pages at the front and back where there are no words.

When Diana was about midway into the first stanza, my eyes welled up. I do believe that in all of my years of reading this poem out loud to others—myself, my father, my two beautiful and amazing daughters at many bedtimes, this is the first time I remember anyone reading it out loud to me.

And that is why we keep trying one more day

I found this charming illustration on google images and with a little research, discovered that it is by Mary Ellsworth, from The Colorful Story Book (New York, The Saalfield Publishing Company, 1941).

This style of painting feels quite right to me for the poem. A little European, more detailed and grown-up and proper than later styles of children’s book illustrations, somewhat distancing, but simultaneously engaging, inviting the viewer to be right there on that hill in the bright day with the three of them; we are party to their wedding and so it shall ever be.

FIN

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