Me, Reading Here

The Collagist recently published five poems of mine. Here's some audio of me reading. If you listen closely, you might hear our neighbor's rooster.


Last day at the Camano Island Residency for this week. I'll be back one more time. I'm finding that I can only really sustain short spurts without absolutely going loopy and wanting to scrub floors or something (I am, in fact, currently doing laundry). I'm wired like my mother. I have to be constantly moving--constantly busy. Even when I'm writing poems, as I've said previously, I need to be doing something else while writing poems. That's why I listen to music when I write.

Can you imagine me at a meditative retreat? I'd drive everyone mad.


I'll be looking at a friend's manuscript today as my "book." I've read two books so far. Vijay Sesshadri's THE LONG MEADOW and Sean Singer's DISCOGRAPHY. I'll be reading V. Penelope Pelizzon's NOSTOS before I leave here and then my friend's "book". I've read individual poems from each collection before, but this really was the first time I've sat down and actually read their books from cover to cover. It's interesting to see how each of them have shaped their manuscripts. Vijay has a very long memoir in the middle of THE LONG MEADOW which is interesting, but for me sort of cut the momentum of the book. I loved the poems in the first half of the book, but after the memoir my attention sort of waned. It may be because I picked it up late in the afternoon. I was also surprised by how formal the book was. Lots of perfect rhyming couplets and staggered rhymes throughout the book.

Where Vijay's book was very formal, Sean's book was improvisational. Throughout he's got these wonderful dramatic monologues which remind me of my former teacher Norman Dubie. Lyrically, though, Sean's range seems much more jazzy. Don't get me wrong, Norman's musical, but it's a different kind of music--bluegrass vs. jazz. You know there's a tonal difference just by the simple presence of a banjo. Anyway, Sean has these "Singer" poems scattered here and there throughout the book which serve as an anchor for the structure of the book. I think they're necessary because the disparate monologue voices he has throughout the book could overwhelm a structure, I think.

I don't know much about V. Penelope Pelizzon apart from hearing her read (VERY well) on The Fishouse. And I'm not sure she reads much from NOSTOS on that site. What I do know is that I've had the book on my shelf for some time and had been meaning to get to it but parenting happened.


Papatya sent me a handful of short stories to read and I'm afraid I've only read one, but what a one it was! I thoroughly enjoyed Anthony Doerr's story "The Shell Collector". And I'm talking about the individual story, not the book. Now I'm going to have to track down that book. He's very list-y, which is right up my alley.


Okay, I'm through with being literary--time to goof around a bit. I posted this video on FB because I like it so much, so I'll post it for you here. Current spin:

Donora. "I Think I Like You." The hula-hoopster is Lauren. She's not part of the band.

Oliver de la Paz