Thursday, July 10, 2008
47: In the Morning
This morning, there was no alarm, my battery dead. I rose at the sound of another pounding on the door, scrambled out of bed, and midway through my shower, the bleeping of the smoke alarm. I had only just soaped my hair (isn't that the way?) and decided I refused to wander out of the building with gloppy hair and clingingly damp pajama pants. It was only in my room of the cabin anyway; the steam from my shower, despite flung-open windows, had startled those bits of plastic into action. But the morning has begun, and now, post-lunch, it is time to finish my shower. Conditioner. Soap. A shower in two parts.
Yesterday was a glorious tour of this part of the northwoods: Knife River to Gooseberry Falls to the Split Rock Lighthouse to Duluth, where we met the poet Louis Jenkins and ate at the Lake Avenue Cafe. I am still percolating, a few tidbits wending their way into my notebook.
This morning we watched a video on Anna Akhmatova, one I had seen before in MDB's class titled The Poet in the World where I first learned of Neruda and Milosz and so many other poets I consider old standards now. After, we met up to discuss my evolving chapbook, which is still, for the most part, first drafts with a few tinkered half second drafts. I confessed my fear of moving past the first draft (I don't know which darlings to kill sometimes), and he gave me very solid suggestions on experimenting with stanza breaks and lineation. Muscularity too, though these are words echoing back to conversations with Eireann and Karen--but how to trim away the too much detail. I am swamped with so many things I ought to be doing (oh, M.Ed how I've begun to despise you), but all I can think of, at this very moment, is that I want to tinker, to break out something a bit larger than the putty knife.
There has been a bit of muttering, a bit of conversation about how poetry can be under-appreciated in this country--how in other countries, poets like Neruda and Akhmatova and the Polish poets can be jailed, can be ousted, can make such a huge difference. At their funerals, people flock; at their houses, inspiration is found. MDB spoke of how it is said ours is a country of greed, that our news comes from an urgent media. It was also brought up--the wee money, the sad publication, the feather-in-the-Grand-Canyon-echo it is. And we spoke of how we write what drives us, and we write because our heart tells us to. We write out of compulsion.