Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our Beloved Blog

Despite the many fascinating things happening in our department—including last weekend's undergraduate literature symposium (congratulations to participants and award recipients!) and yesterday's double feature (a lecture by Elaine Treharne and a poetry reading by yours truly)—our blog has, um, come to a bit of a standstill. Hence this shabby little sabbatical update.

I can't explain where our other bloggers have wandered off to, but I've been in Palm Springs (see citrus-y photo!), where I sat in the very same pedicure chair as Angelina Jolie! I know! And now, next time she goes to the Parker Meridian, she can say she sat in *my* chair! That lucky girl. And of course while in the desert I did jot down many Very Important Notes for Poems and have returned to Morgantown where I promptly and dutifully began writing.

Let's see... what else... well, I did read books while sitting by the pool. Impressive, huh? The best was Donald Revell's latest book of poems: The Bitter Withy. I said "wow" a lot. Out loud. By the pool. And did I mention that this was just one of 41 pools at the very lovely La Quinta? As Dennis said, "41??" Yep. Anyway, I was so taken with this book that I emailed Revell to say so. His work has gotten more and more stripped down and he's so good at saying devastating things clearly. Just a wait a minute, and I'll leave you with a poem of his.

I also read (lots of) Paul Muldoon's The End of the Poem. I got a little impatient after a while (enough word play already... I don't know how much stock I want to put in the "near-perfect rhyme... between Yeats and Keats" though, yes, their work is interestingly linked) and I'm now convinced that Plath and Hughes were just plain nutty with that ouija board, but Muldoon is a good reader (and a good poet, of course) and he strikes just the right "walk with me a minute and chat" tone. The chapters on Frost, Bishop, Dickinson, Moore, and H.D. are especially good.

Finally, a little David Sedaris helps pass the time in the airport. I read When You are Engulfed in Flames but any book of his will do in a pinch.

OK, from Revell, from part V of "Long Legged Bird," some lines to break your heart:

Overhead, a long-legged bird
Circles my sweet house. I feel
He is waiting for me to join him,
To find real wings and rise out of my own mind
Into his air.
What would I find there?
Portals and invisible heavy traffic...
My mother as a baby, my father a cowboy,
My sister, finally, after so much heartbreak,
A girl.
The body travels inside the soul.
The body's a passenger.
This has nothing to do with Jesus
Though he is right here beside me.
He is unhurt.


  1. Yay! A post to revitalize our sagging blog! I'm glad we could send a representative faculty member to attend those very important Planning Committees in Palm Springs. Maybe the department can set up an exchange program with the Parker Meridien. Or Angelina can endow the MaryAnn Samyn Chair of Beauty. Many of us could certainly use manicures, at the very minimum.

    I do like the Revell.

  2. Welcome back to the blog. I actually do read it. And I really like that picture.