Flamingos, Finding Form, Jake, etc.

They are not lawn ornaments. They are real.


I'll be teaching my students the villanelle today . . . rather, my students will be learning about the villanelle and I will show them examples of various villanelles that are effectively using the form.

I have crafted a handful of villanelles in my writing lifetime and they all stink, so with all things like this, I am reasonably concerned about how to go about this endeavor.

They've been really keen with the forms, my students. One of them asked, after showing them examples of well-known poets who broke form, what's the point of writing the form if they're going to break it so severely (I'm paraphrasing, of course). Well, what is the point? My own thoughts--it's important to own the form. Don't let the form own you. If you need the initial scaffolding of, say a pantoum in this particular example, then recognize what the pantoum provides but don't limit what you can provide.


Our dog, Jake, is very sick. Here is a recent picture of the distinguished gentleman:

Our kids (well, at least one of them) loves him, but right now, we know he's been severely hobbling around. Sometimes when we take him out for a walk, he'll lose his balance and drag his hind legs. He's putting extra weight on his front paws and it looks like one of his shoulders is giving out. His teeth are rotting and his eyesight is gone. And just recently he's been displaying incontinence. This last bit is definitely surprising to us. Jake would howl and cry before even thinking about going to the bathroom in the house, but now . . . now I just think he can't keep it together any longer. Oh, poor Jake.



Melody Gee, a Kundiman fellow, has a new book out with Perugia Press entitled Each Crumbling House. It's a lovely book and you should pick up a copy.

Other good news for Kundiman fellows--Matthew Olzmann recently won a Kresge Arts Fellowship!


To Do: Install parents' towel rack, patch drywall, tighten toilet roll holder, trim parents' shrubs. Notice that all this stuff is for my parents. So, yes we get babysitting, but it's not free. I have to do the IT stuff with their lousy computers AND I have to do all their home repairs. I am an ungrateful son.

Current Spin:


A cover of Animal Collective's "My Boys."


Oliver de la Paz