I am amazed that in all the years of posting poems, I’ve neglected Adrienne Rich. She was a big influence back in the 70’s:
I actually heard her read at Stanford maybe 10 or 15 years ago. She was very brusque and cranky and I think she said she wouldn’t be able to sign books. She seemed tired of being famous.
Whatever it was, the image that stopped you, the one on which you
came to grief, projecting it over & over on empty walls.
Now to give up the temptations of the projector; to see instead the
web of cracks filtering across the plaster.
To read there the map of the future, the roads radiating from the
initial split, the filaments thrown out from that impasse Continue reading “Adrienne Rich”
Tuesday night I heard a terrific artist talk at Arion Press. Ashwini Bhatt’s ceramic sculpture is compelling, but even more so when she relates it to her history in dance, to the body, and to Indian temple art. Here are a few photos from her talk:
I wish I’d thought to record it. And here is a recording of another, very different artist, Xylor Jane, explaining how she works.
I was lucky to see her show in New York at Canada, a gallery in Tribeca.
I like the specificity of this poem, and how it moves from the specific into the metaphoric and back. Nice work!
I was moving the herd from the lower pasture
to the loading pen up by the road.
It was cold and their mouths steamed like torn bread.
The gate swung on its wheel, knocking at the herd
as they pushed through. They stomped
and pocked the freezing mud with their hooves.
This was January. I faced backward into the hard year.
The herd faced forward as the herd always does,
muscling through the lit pane of winter air. Continue reading “Monday poem”
At the end of services last week, Rabbi Margaret Holub put out the sin buffet, which I have written about before. This is a ritual I love, taking breadcrumbs from the cup by the “sins” that seem relevant and then walking out to the ocean and casting them into the surf.
The idea is to reflect on these during the 10 days until Yom Kippur, so that you can atone for them effectively.
I see that I found more flaws in my character to reflect on this year, and share them here:
Of course, if these don’t seem to apply to you, you can always select “Other” and simply fill in what applies. Happy New Year!
Jericho Brown came to town to read on Thursday, and synchronistically, this poem appeared in the Sunday NY Times Magazine.
The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day grows dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.
We work, start on one side of the day
Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight
Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God Continue reading “Jericho Brown”
This year I was lucky to return to the Mendocino coast for Rosh Hashana services at the wonderful Mendocino Coast Jewish Community, led by the always inspiring Rabbi Margaret Holub. She invited me to do a teaching this year, and I responded with a poem I wrote on the coast about twenty years ago:
The Afternoon Before the Day of Atonement
I thought I was going to see the seals
asleep on the rocks, but it turned out
the cormorant was the real show, wrestling
a twisting length of eel, persistently
untwisting with its beak to swallow it whole.
Then, as I watched, uncertain whether
I’d seen eel or kelp straighten and slide
down the long bird throat, speared its beak
into the surf and did it again,
unmistakably eel, writhing
for its life, no match for the skilled
beak-tossing cormorant. Continue reading “L’Shana Tova”