Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mirror - A Poem by Mark Strand

Self PortraitImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr An exemplary poem by Mark Strand, a poet whom I had the opportunity to meet while bussing dishes at the Broad Loaf Writers Conference when I was 18.

A white room and a party going on
and I was standing with some friends
under a large gilt-framed mirror
that tilted slightly forward
over the fireplace.
We were drinking whiskey
and some of us, feeling no pain,
were trying to decide
what precise shade of yellow
the setting sun turned our drinks.
I closed my eyes briefly,
then looked up into the mirror:
a woman in a green dress leaned
against the far wall.
She seemed distracted,
the fingers of one hand
fidgeted with her necklace,
and she was staring into the mirror,
not at me, but past me, into a space
that might be filled by someone
yet to arrive, who at that moment
could be starting the journey
which would lead eventually to her.
Then, suddenly, my friends
said it was time to move on.
This was years ago,
and though I have forgotten
where we went and who we all were,
I still recall that moment of looking up
and seeing the woman stare past me
into a place I could only imagine,
and each time it is with a pang,
as if just then I were stepping
from the depths of the mirror
into that white room, breathless and eager,
only to discover too late
that she is not there.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Detroit Lives, A Documentary by Johnny Knoxville

Polka Dot House, Heidelberg Project, Detroit
Image by cleopatra69 via Flickr
I just returned from my hometown, "Motown" - Detroit. While there, I came upon this documentary produced by - who knew? - Johnny Knoxville. He said that in his view, the media always portrays Detroit as a place where people are murdered every hour on the hour by drive-by shooters and he wanted to see if this was true.

He meanders through Detroit in his convertible, meeting artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and long-time Detroiters to show us all that hope is indeed flourishing in Motown, in its art, music and youthful exuberance. Check it out.

Detroit Lives

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - by Patty K Mooney

The last page of every issue of Vanity Fair features a celebrity who answers a set of probing questions. I have always enjoyed this feature and often thought of how I would answer these questions myself. So today I decided to do it.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being in the arms of my husband while picnicking and drinking a great bottle of wine at our favorite place on the planet, where we got married, next to a running stream about an hour from where we live, that is populated by hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies and the occasional timid gartersnake.

Which living person do you most admire?
My husband, Mark Schulze.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Those human pigs (with apologies to actual pigs) who leave their cigarette butts, beer cans and other human detritus in otherwise pristine wilderness areas.

What is your greatest extravagance?
From time to time, at the local farmers market I purchase a few chocolate truffles hand-made by a Peruvian chocolatier.

What is your favorite journey?
Mountain biking at the Laguna Mountains, Cleveland National Forest

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

On what occasion do you lie?
By omission.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I don’t dwell on dislikes; I enjoy my good health, energy, and positive traits.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Cool” and "Wow"

What is your greatest regret?
Breaking the hearts of past boyfriends.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, Mark Schulze.

When and where were you happiest?
Sleeping beside my husband last night.

What is your current state of mind?
Positive and anticipatory.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m so in concert with who I am right now that I wouldn’t change anything.

What is your favorite occupation?
Making love with my husband and soulmate.

What is the quality you most like in a person?

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite writers?
Anais Nin, Anne Rice, Billy Collins, Tony Hillerman, Dostoyevsky, D.H. Lawrence and me

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A grizzly, a puma or a shark

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A ruby-headed hummingbird

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Martin Willitts Jr., a Poet and Artist From Syracuse

Hummingbird feedingImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr One of my oldest friends is Martin Willitt, Jr., a poet, artist, librarian and editor. I've always appreciated his work. Today I found an interview with Martin appearing in a poetry ezine called Flutter.

What I find interesting is Martin's process of writing and revising his poetry.

His advice to other poets:

Be willing to edit your poems. If an editor gives a comment, be thankful. I saw thousands of poems, and commented on everyone until I started getting the rants. You can either revise or not get published; or, you can send to another magazine and hope they like that same poem. There are thousands of magazines and each one probably sees thousands of poems, and they only publish 10 to 20 poems. The odds of rejection are high.

Go to Flutter to see the interview in full.

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