Today’s Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor features a poem by my friend, Tim Mayo, who I shall henceforth refer to as “Superstar!”
Check it out here.
Last weekend was incredibly full: fun and hijinks with Galway Kinnell and Cinnamon the Horse within days of each other! Can you see how frighteningly fearless Vincent is and why I lay awake at night?
The pictures below are of the Collected Poets Series reading with Galway. Directly below, his grandchildren perform with him. Then, there’s Lea Banks, CPS’s founder & impresario, with Tim Mayo, poet, previous CPS reader, and committee member. Finally, there’s me, Lea, and poet Susie Patlove. All of the pictures were taken by Laura Rodley, who is a wonderful poet in her own right, and whose chapbook is now available for pre-order at Finishing Line Press! But more on that later…
Labor Day weekend in 1998 I was in Montreal. As it happens, that’s also the weekend that they have a film festival every year, which I discovered accidentally walking down Elizabeth St. in the evening: a film was being shown against a building, just beginning, actually, and people were sitting all over. So I sat down too, not initially realizing that not only would the film be in French, but there’d be no subtitles.
But it was exciting, suspenseful, Daniel Auteuil and Vincent Perez were in the cast, and though I didn’t follow the finer points of the plot, I was completely swept up.
About a half hour before the movie ended, we were drenched by a raging thunderstorm. Big thunder booms, flashes of lightning. But no one moved. Not a single person. We, all of us, had to see how it ended. It was that good.
For all these years, I’ve been longing to see this movie again, this time with subtitles, so I could understand what the stakes were, the story beneath the action, but the only thing I could discover was the title, Le Bossu, which translates to “The Hunchback.”
But thanks to the miracle of the internet, I have at last the information I needed — and I know why I couldn’t find it before. Literal-minded me, I was looking all this time for a movie called, “The Hunchback,” but the English title is “On Guard.” Stupid title, but there it is. Anyway, I shall have it safely placed inside my DVD player tomorrow night, and all its secrets shall be revealed….
Tim Mayo read last week as part of the Collected Poets Series, and I wanted to post one of the poems from his new chapbook, The Loneliness of Dogs (Pudding House, 2008) for those of you that weren’t able to come, a taste of what you missed:
Confession to the Dark Lady
Now I am an old man touching desire
like the nombril of my body,
picking lint out of the center of my being,
folding myself to sleep like a towel.
I dream of your lips red as welts
against your white face, and I cannot
imagine your teeth, because the redness
of my dream blooms so vermilion–
but you must have smiled at me, once,
making the measured grimace of my face
relax its muscles, letting something,
hard as a pearl, go limp in my brain.
Oh, the reading last night with Pat & Tim was just great. Tim was so genial & at ease as he read, his commentary spare, the verbal equivalent of white space on the page for me, gave his poems air to breathe. And Pat reads with this little smile on her face, like she can’t wait for us to hear what’s next, mischievous & delighted. And rightfully so: “roly-poly cross-eyed baby” indeed! I’ve been a fan of Pat’s poetry for a long time, but I never knew how funny she is!
After, we walked across the bridge to the West End Pub, who kindly feeds our poets each month, where we interspersed poetry conversation with movie talk. For the record: I know it was revolutionary when it was made, some men in my life consider it one of the best films ever, but “2001” is the most tedious & long-winded & self-indulgent film in creation, and could’ve begun & ended in 20 minutes to no ill-effect. Seriously.
The March issue of Poetry came in the mail the other day. A new feature this month: after each selection of poems by a poet, there’s a Q & A with the poet regarding those poems. Interesting in theory, but I haven’t read it yet.
I’m actually happy that Poetry has expanded its prose section, even if sometimes the reviews feel more snarky than substantive. But I could do without the letters section. This month, a few folks wrote to disagree with Clive James’s piece on Ezra Pound from a previous issue– I enjoyed it, but I’m not a big Pound fan — and I thought they were very thoughtful responses. Then, there was the obligatory retort by James — and I was disappointed. I found his tone disrespectful and slightly offensive. Completely unnecessary and jarring after the considered quality of the letters.
Reviewers/Critics: unless there’s a point of fact to be made, resist the urge to respond to those who criticize you — let your piece stand as its own defense, it’s far better equipped for the job.
That’s plenty of grandstanding for one evening. Get thee to Ross White’s for some lol poet hilarity!
It’s that time again: Patricia Fargnoli and Tim Mayo will read this Thursday night at Mocha Maya’s Coffee House in Shelburne Falls for the March installment of the Collected Poets Series.
Patricia Fargnoli is the current Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and the author of five collections of poetry. Her latest book Duties of the Spirit, (Tupelo Press, 2005) won the 2005 Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Poetry. Her first book, Necessary Light (Utah State University Press, 1999) was awarded the 1999 May Swenson Poetry Award judged by Mary Oliver. Pat, a retired social worker, has been the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship. She is published widely in literary journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, North American Review, Mid-American Review, Cimarron Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She’s received the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award and has been twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A member of the NH Writer’s Project and a Touring Artist for the NH Art’s Council, Pat resides in Walpole, NH.
You can read an excellent consideration of Duties of the Spirit at the Valparaiso Poetry Review.