Commentaries - December 2008

memoir of a lost mother

Yesterday Jessica Lowenthal and I spent some time talking with Jamie-Lee Josselyn about the (first) book she's writing - a memoir of her mother, who died when Jamie-Lee was just 12. And we recorded it for the Kelly Writers House Podcasts series. It's 45 minutes long, so you'll, I hope, want to download it to your iPod and listen en route to your holiday destination, on trains, planes, cars.

Links:
[] directly to the downloadable mp3 LINK
[] to the Kelly Writers House Podcasts series page LINK

snoozing over Eliot

Q: Robert Lowell wrote a poem called "Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid." What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?

Ron Silliman: The Four Quartets does it best, since it makes dreaming impossible. But most anything by Lowell will do just fine unless I've had tea after 9 PM.

Q. What poem do you love, love, love, but don't understand?

Ron: Hart Crane, The Bridge. Or (which I love less, but also understand less) John Berryman's Dream Songs.

Q. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?

Ron: No, thank heavens. I can't memorize haiku. But Vance Teague in fifth grade made us write for an hour every Wednesday and never told us what genre. He made me a writer as much as anyone.

These are just three of many questions Ron Silliman has answered. See the rest.

a blog for the "Best"

Philip Metres, the author of To See the Earth (2008) and recent co-editor of Come Together: Imagine Peace (2008), was asked to contribute to the "Best American Blogs" gathering and I'm delighted to say that when asked "What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?" he suggested this one--this one right here--yes, mine. What nice affirmation. Keeps one going. And here's the Best American Poetry blog version.

Above you notice the wording is "What other....?" Of course the one besides which this is the other is...Ron Silliman's great blog at http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/.

old man look at my life

My son Ben and I saw Neil Young here in Philly at the Spectrum last Friday night. Wilco, warming up, was terrific. Jeff Tweedy astounds, is downright experimental with lightning-fast register and genre shifts. But Young: he was really young. "Heart of Gold," "Old Man," etc., but also some raw new political (economic) anthems, such songs seeming to us rusty even though weeks or even days since written and scored. My former student and former Writers House regular and staffer Nate Chinen reviews Young in concert at Madison Square Garden in today's New York Times, page 1 of the Arts section.

More about Nate: here's a link to Nate-only entries in the NYT Arts blog.

now twittering

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