Books and Articles of Note
This month's Poetry magazine. I do sit down when it comes in the mail and read it pretty much cover to cover. I don't love every poem I read and I sure as shit don't "get" every poem I read. But I do know reading poetry, daily and deeply, exercises my mind. In truth, poetry isn't hard if you let it read you back. Toi Derricotte's Speculations about "I" in this month's Poetry is worth the cover price alone. After she opens with an epigraph from Thoreau:
I didn't choose the word--
it came pouring out of my throat
like the water inside a drowned man.
Derricotte is nimble, readable, infinitely ponderable. My goal this semester is to do what I have been dying to do for the last three years: Take the Amtrak north 3 hours to Chicago, get off at Union Station, and hop on whichever bus takes me to 61 West Superior Street and attend free readings and programs at the Poetry Foundation. I think about doing things like that all the time. And then I don't do them. So I best get off my aging-ass and just do it. For poetry.
Also reading: Flannery O'Connor collection of occasional prose, Mystery and Manners. In On Writing Short Stories, O'Connor argues, "Of course, the ability to create life with words is essentially a gift. If you have it in the first place, you can develop it; if you don't have it, you might as well forget it. But I have found that the people who don't have it are frequently the ones hell-bent on writing stories." Not sure I have the gift, my dear Flannery. But yep, I'm hell-bent on finding that out.
Plays: This week's play (I read at least one play a week--because theatre matters) is Shakespeare's Cymbeline because the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is performing an adaptation of the play this summer and I am thrilled as this is one of my favorite "romances" and I enjoy seeing how writers and directors and actors adapt this fantastical work.