Wednesday, September 18, 2013



I'm posting this a little earlier in the week than usual as I'm off for a few days. I'm heading to Kaslo to one of Holley Rubinsky's Writing Retreats. This time I get the little cabin in the field!

“will you want me when I ask you
                        to vacuum the stairs
            with the hose attachment?”
                                    Ian Williams

I have never subscribed
to the theory of attachment
I joke with my mother
about how she didn’t breastfeed me
so we didn’t bond.
Enough already. For years
I tried to detach myself
from her and what good
did that do? Built more
scar tissue. Now I can’t
even bleed.

“a poetry manuscript of a young man from Gaza, a sand hourglass,
and poem beginnings that flap like wings in my head.”
Ghassan Zaqtan

            But of what kind of wings do you speak,
            Ghassan? Insect—bird—butterfly,
            perhaps angel wings if you think
            that possible, wings on an airplane,
            chicken wings on your dinner plate,
            do you have a wingman,
            are you somebody’s? Do my questions
            put you in a flap, draw a line in the sand,
            I’m asking because I want to know
            as I chase my own words that
            disrupt the sky of my mind like a sandstorm,
            hour after lonely, beautiful hour.

“somewhere in this poem I could
tell you again the language binary
of computers is the same as that of poems”
                        Jennifer Maiden

            Mr. Crawford’s math class introduced me
            to the concept of binaries. The meeting
            did not go well. All those ones,
            chasing me around the room.
            Honestly, I’d rather have stripped
            naked in gym class than spent
            time on this. Oh wait—I did
            strip naked in gym class. That
            didn’t go well either. Now I discover
            all this somehow relates to poetry?
            That’s just fucked, and somewhere
            in this poem I’m going to tell you that.

“Light wants to fill dark with itself
            and have it still be dark
            so light can still be filling it.”
                        Alan Shapiro

I wanted to go to the dark side
but when I knocked, no one answered
there were bitten fingernails all around
the doorstep, obviously no one was home
I sang and sang but dropped the tune
I carried from a great height into
—where else—the abyss, or so
the abbess told me after I collected
my things,—one must always have
things when going to the dark side—
straightened my shoulders, my teeth,
my hair, and left for parts unknown.

“He howls with such fury and clarity
            I must believe him.”
                                    Brenda Shaughnessy

            Oh, that clock.
            that infernal, obnoxious,
            inconceivably (sorry!) ill-timed
            clock. The clock that
            does not tick—it clangs
            in a very Big Ben-esque
            way, wakes you up
            when you know you really
            just want to sleep in,
            and if you try to silence it
            —well. That clock
            will not be silenced.

The back of the card has this to say about the subjects in the picture:

The Doukhobor Historic Village
Castlegar, British Columbia

Handicrafts by Peter and Marie Oglow. Doukhobor ladles are
handcrafted from solid pieces of wood. These ladles make and (sic) ideal
practical or decorative gift. These ladles are a traditional utensil and each
one is created to keep the tradition alive.
Marie Oglow is seen here spinning yarn by hand. She later weaves this
yarn into cloth on a hand loom.

“The mountains are dreams rising from the lake.”
                                                David W. McFadden

            Note that the woman
            is afforded two lines—half
            that of her husband,
            her work deemed less
            and not worthy of complete
description. No mention of jams
and jellies made and stacked in
jars like jewels. No word of all
the magical food she prepares.
And those mountains behind her?
They set an example.
Keep her strong.

(February Sun is a poem by Victoria BC poet, Wendy Morton)

“may you stumble at last upon some band of Inuit
            hauling their catch of seal across the ice”
                                                James Pollock

            Almost a full moon. August, the
            caddis flies still sneaking in
            to get at the lights, the days shorter.
            My friend tells me of her trip to Labrador,
            of children and laughter and icebergs,
            the ice cold as a missed meeting.
            Imagine a piece of it coming away
            from its larger self, floating out to sea,
            the sea a giant drink complete
            with ice cube. Slaked thirst. Bottomless.

One of my many postcard poem friends, JI Kleinberg, posted this about the August adventure.

ModPo is happening again! Ten weeks of delving into Modern and Contemporary American Poetry with Professor Al Filreis through the University of Pennsylvania. It's a MOOC, offered through Coursera, same one I did last year but amazingly, there's still so much to be learned. The interaction on the forums is much less daunting this year, to me anyway. Today I was involved in a rousing discussion about William Carlos Williams' Danse Russe

And finally, in other poetry news, if you live in Cascadia make a note of the these dates: May 2–4, 2014, Cascadia Poetry Conference in Seattle. More details to follow. I'm determined to get to this one.

But first, Kaslo. 



Anonymous said...

As a lover of Australian poetry, I was disapponted that this site did not do justice to Jennifer Maiden's beautiful and interesting poetic exploration of her idea that poetry is of the same binary nature, including in its varied double forms (such as rhyme, alliteration, simile and metaphor)as those processes which form the nature of computer technology. This is why early forms of memory-aiding oral verse narrative were so binary in form, and why both poetry and computer technology are so in tune with universal processes. I also like a poet like Maiden being unafraid to think about such things, at the same time as being unafraid of the political power figures she also includes in her work. The poems by the blog writer here are well worth reading in their own right and she doesn't need to under-rate Maiden's poetry or Maiden's concepts.

Linda Crosfield said...

Okay, Anonymous. I appreciate you taking the time to write. Very thoughtful remarks. You are responsible for a forthcoming blog post. Stay tuned.

Carla Braidek said...

Thanks to the comments by Anonymous I am going to check out Jennnifer Maiden's poetry. I would likely not have done this simply by reading the epigraph. But there lies the joy of the epigraph - taking the words of one author out of context and allowing yourself the freedom to envisage something else entirely, something related only perhaps by the sound of a word or the scent of an image the original author created. Thanks Anonymous and Linda.

Linda Crosfield said...

Thanks, Carla. I just ordered a copy of LN, for the record. Way to boost sales, Nony!