Thursday, August 13, 2009
321: bread loaf, day one
Somehow, I've coaxed my camera to give me photos through the cord, but not to upload them permanently on my computer. I'm OK with that. Now, I can share a little bit through pictures, which is nearly all I can give you, as I'm directing my words to my writing notebook, to the margins of poems, to dance around (stomp around) in my brain. It's only been twenty four hours, thirteen of which I slept through, and I'm overwhelmed. Happily so.
Above: saying good-bye to the city as we fly to Newark. Little did I know, this would be the smoothest of the two flights, despite the smallness of this passenger plane, the way I was both aisle and window seat, the bumpy landing that makes sense for something without the width of planes I've grown accustomed to. And the next flight, Newark to Vermont, it wasn't really even that bad--it was the airport, which was so awful, with delays and delays and hearing them bounce around on the speakers for other flights, cancellations, and four planes later, we were in the air. I began to get to know the people around me and met Heather, who is studying non-fiction here. I've since lost her in the crowd.
Above: the propellers from our second flight. There, I sat next to a yoga instructor with a furious cold. We marveled at the swaths of trees, the lakes--you'd think it were northern Minnesota, but the mountains swelled, and I began to miss "home," as in the place of my childhood. (Chattanooga, Tennessee, for those who do not know.)
Above two: that's my room. I'm in a hall off the main inn, right above the dining hall. As I write this, I can hear the radio from the kitchen, listen to busboys pushing each other in the gravel teasingly, the clink of glasses and silverware. The room itself is typical of a dorm room: the bed juts into the tiny bookcase juts into the table juts into the closet juts into the dresser juts into the door juts into the bed. But it's a single, so I can keep my snoring and medical issues to myself.
Once settled, I stepped outside to the above sunset to the left of the main entrance. I'm always amazed at how sunsets translate on the camera; it's never quite what I see with the naked eye, but sometimes they're beautiful in their own way.
Oh, and I think I mentioned fog at some point--maybe in a previous jotted post, maybe in an email to my husband, but here it is--fog and trees and the mountain. Welcome to the mountain, they told us in the opening comments.
Full of vegetarian lasagna and spice cake, I headed over to the little theatre to listen to opening remarks.
Above: A glimpse in the dining room as I walked to the theatre. It's rickety and the food is decent. Everywhere is rickety though. This campus was gifted to the university, and the land cannot be developed. The buildings are old, wood planked.
There are so many of these Adirondack chairs spread across the campus. At some point, I'll end up in one, writing. Reading.
Michael Collier, who runs the program, gave the opening speech, which included speculation as to why Bread Loaf has the name that it does. One was the bread loaf shaped mountain; another was the bread loaf shaped bit of meteor discovered, part of which he "has here," which he wagged at the giggling audience.
Trish Hampl gave the first reading, and I cannot think of a better reader to do so. I've heard her read before, and last fall, had her as a professor for Reading Across Genres, the MFA class all first years take where professors visit and we get a taste of what it might be like to take a class from said professor. It was her that I fell in love with the most, and look forward to having her again for a memoir class in the Reading as Writers designation. Listening to her, I could hear how acute her word choice is, how precise her phrasing. It is no surprise that she started out as a poet.
Finally, Michael Collier came up again to read his poetry; Brigit Pegeen Kelly was supposed to read, but it sounds as if she was caught up in the airport nightmare half the participants seemed also to have been thrust into.
I'm still reeling. Still attempting to fall into the parceled schedule, the dips and peeks and find time to myself, to sleep, to understand where I am supposed to be and when. I have no alarm clock (no cell phone reception "on the mountain"), so a kind neighbor is waking me for tomorrow, and on Saturday, I'll buy the alarm clock the woman at the bookstore will bring from the main campus' bookstore.
I'll bring these posts a day after they happen--seems easier that way. And when I return, I will give you the rest of my Austin trip, since I can moderately access it, it would appear. Please also forgive the stumbling nature of my prose in these poets (or at any time)--I'm trying to save my best thinking for when I am outside this little room, my best words for my own work, my second best for the work of others, and when it comes to left-over, I'm plumb all out.
PS: For those of you interested in what I have to say about the poetry-side of things, I am writing about it on this blog, which is sort of my new space to keep me on track of being less lazy reader and participator in the writing world. This blog, of course, will be my center space, my everyday blog, my friends-and-family-and-welcome, stranger blog. But when I do want freedom to rhapsodize about, say, prosody, or parataxis, or the formal appetite, or figuration, and I don't want to worry about eyes glazing (too much anyway). I can't interest every reader, or even myself, all the time, but when I first started blogging, I did have an everyday blog, and I did have a professional blog (for teaching), so it only makes sense that when I finally feel confident about my place in this "profession" that I would find a space for that too.