Back from Bemidji

I had a wonderful week in Northern Minnesota, and heard many new poems, I’m sure I will be posting some soon. But this one has been on my mind for awhile, by Louise Glück.


My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer
I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar
Like what I remember of love when I was young—

love that was so often foolish in its objectives
But never in its choices, its intensities.
Too much demanded in advance, too much that could not be promised—

My soul has been so fearful, so violent:
forgive its brutality.
As though it were that soul, my hand moves over you cautiously,

not wishing to give offense
but eager, finally, to achieve expression as substance:

It is not the earth I will miss,
it is you I will miss.

Louise Glück

from A Village Life, 2009

You can hear her read it here.

Cluck and Glück

I didn’t know that Louise Gluck pronounced her name to rhyme with “click,” but that’s how it is. She read on Thursday night at Moe’s (yes, we still have a few bookstores in Berkeley!). It was a pleasure to listen to her read though she announced at the start that she doesn’t like to read. I had to strain to hear, but it was worth it. She read from her new book, A Village Life.

The NY Times review mentions “her signature desolation,” and there is certainly a generous measure of pain in her work. I don’t find this off-putting.

My favorite of the poems she read was “The Crossroads.” You can hear her read it–the poem starts about one minute in if you want to skip the pretentious intro. She’ll be reading again as part of the Lunch Poems series at UC on March 1.

Earlier that day (here is the cluck part) my wonderful friend and expert builder, Jeannie, finished creating a set of plant protection boxes for my garden. Now that it’s planting season, I’d like to let the chickens out to weed and fertilize, but you may remember what they do to anything that grows.

So we created a set of 2′ x 4′ boxes with bird cloth stapled around the sides to put around various areas where things are growing. They are lightweight and transportable. We painted them with camouflage paint so that they blend into the landscape (Jeannie’s idea).

Now the plants can thrive, and the chickens can do their work: