Further adventures with eczema.

I took Aidan, now nearly 4 1/2 months old, to the dermatologist today, and he was duly impressed by the baby’s poor scaly state. It’s really awful. He’s not sleeping more than 2 hours together, he’s so uncomfortable. And he looks dreadful. Except for those brightly serious blue eyes of his — when you look in those eyes you cease to notice all the scabby patches in which they’re set.

We now have a game plan, a course of action, and the tools with which to proceed. Which includes a shower cap. I’ll try to post a picture soon, because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a baby lounging in a shower cap.

He already looks better tonight. But I hold out not an iota of hope for a good night’s sleep.

Last night’s reading was fantastic. Standing room only. Kerry, a former blues singer, read with a formidable confidence, and even treated us to a snatch of song. Joseph interspersed serious and affecting poems with hilarious entertainers like “Throne”, about sharing a bathroom with a woman.

Then Genie took the microphone and shifted the tone again — my favorite poem of hers dealt with her fall from a window as a youngster — she was saved by the belt of her robe! And finally, Dorianne. When she read the title poem from her collection, Facts about the Moon, the room was riveted.

And we sold every copy of that book, too. In fact, we sold a lot of books last night for the poets (poets bring the books, we handle the sales) — which makes me very happy. We don’t have the funds to pay our readers yet, so it’s nice to be able to make them money in that capacity at least.

The following poem is from Kerry’s chapbook, From a Burning Building, published by March Street Press — dealing with motherhood, a disastrous marriage, it’s one little firebomb of a book!

To One Six Month Old,
Then Another

You are now expected to know what I mean,
and do not need to answer in plain English.
Understand, it’s time for you to speak. Our bodies
barely disentangled, we will throw our hearts
into call and answer. Not thinking of a future
where your love of me becomes a skin
you will shed and grow again one thousand times.
I will follow you, hunting wildly for traces.
I will lead, leaving my own markings for when
you cry out, as you will, and singing softly,
I come back to carry you along.

Collected Poets Series, May Ed.

The Collected Poets Series is throwing a Post-Poetry Month Bash!  On Thursday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m., award-winning poets Dorianne Laux from Raleigh, NC, Genie Zeiger from Shelburne Falls, MA, and Kerry O’Keefe from Northampton, MA, plus special guest, Joseph Millar from Oregon, will read from their work at Mocha Maya’s Coffee House in Shelburne Falls, MA.

A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Dorianne Laux’s fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon (W.W. Norton), is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award.  It was also short-listed for the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for the most outstanding book of poems published in the United States in the previous year, and chosen by the Kansas City Star as one of the ten best books of poetry published in 2005.  Laux is also author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Awake (1990) introduced by Philip Levine, reprinted this year by Eastern Washington University Press, What We Carry (1994) and Smoke (2000). Red Dragonfly Press released Superman: The Chapbook, in December. Co-author of The Poet’s Companion, she’s the recipient of two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Genie Zeiger, a frequent commentator for NPR, including All Things Considered, is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for poetry. She has published three collections of poems, Sudden Dancing, (A.W.A. Press), Leaving
and Radio Waves, (White Pine Press). She is a creative writing workshop leader in Shelburne, and the poetry editor for Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s magazine. A regular contributor to The Sun, her poems, stories and personal essays have also appeared in dozens of magazines including The New York Times Book Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, and Tikkun.

Kerry O’Keefe grew up in Connecticut on the Long Island Sound.  She received a B.A. from Trinity College and was a professional singer for a decade before turning her attention solely to poetry.  Her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The South Dakota Review, canwehaveourballback, The Atlanta Review, Paragraph, and others.  Her chapbook, From A Burning Building, was published in 2006 by March Street Press. A full length manuscript, Sleeping Dogs, is underway.   She is currently a staff writer for the Berkshire artzine, The Artful Mind, and lives in Northampton with her daughter, Grace.

Joseph Millar is the author of Fortune, from Eastern Washington University Press. His first collection, Overtime (2001), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area, working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including TriQuarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, DoubleTake, Ploughshares, New Letters, Manoa, and River Styx. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in Poetry, the Moncalvo Center for the Arts, and Oregon Literary Arts and is the recipient of a 2008 Pushcart Prize.

For more on this month’s poets as well as selected poems, please visit the Collected Poets Series website.