Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Workshop by Billy Collins
I might as well begin by saying how much I like the title.
It gets me right away because I’m in a workshop now
so immediately the poem has my attention,
like the Ancient Mariner grabbing me by the sleeve.
And I like the first couple of stanzas,
the way they establish this mode of self-pointing
that runs through the whole poem
and tells us that words are food thrown down
on the ground for other words to eat.
I can almost taste the tail of the snake
in its own mouth,
if you know what I mean.
But what I’m not sure about is the voice,
which sounds in places very casual, very blue jeans,
but other times seems standoffish,
professorial in the worst sense of the word
like the poem is blowing pipe smoke in my face.
But maybe that’s just what it wants to do.
What I did find engaging were the middle stanzas,
especially the fourth one.
I like the image of clouds flying like lozenges
which gives me a very clear picture.
And I really like how this drawbridge operator
just appears out of the blue
with his feet up on the iron railing
and his fishing pole jigging—I like jigging—
a hook in the slow industrial canal below.
I love slow industrial canal below. All those l’s.
Maybe it’s just me,
but the next stanza is where I start to have a problem.
I mean how can the evening bump into the stars?
And what’s an obbligato of snow?
Also, I roam the decaffeinated streets.
At that point I’m lost. I need help.
The other thing that throws me off,
and maybe this is just me,
is the way the scene keeps shifting around.
First, we’re in this big aerodrome
and the speaker is inspecting a row of dirigibles,
which makes me think this could be a dream.
Then he takes us into his garden,
the part with the dahlias and the coiling hose,
though that’s nice, the coiling hose,
but then I’m not sure where we’re supposed to be.
The rain and the mint green light,
that makes it feel outdoors, but what about this wallpaper?
Or is it a kind of indoor cemetery?
There’s something about death going on here.
In fact, I start to wonder if what we have here
is really two poems, or three, or four,
or possibly none.
But then there’s that last stanza, my favorite.
This is where the poem wins me back,
especially the lines spoken in the voice of the mouse.
I mean we’ve all seen these images in cartoons before,
but I still love the details he uses
when he’s describing where he lives.
The perfect little arch of an entrance in the baseboard,
the bed made out of a curled-back sardine can,
the spool of thread for a table.
I start thinking about how hard the mouse had to work
night after night collecting all these things
while the people in the house were fast asleep,
and that gives me a very strong feeling,
a very powerful sense of something.
But I don’t know if anyone else was feeling that.
Maybe that was just me.
Maybe that’s just the way I read it.
You can listen to him read this poem here.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art today and fell in love with the work of Hernan Bas. (I was mildly appalled to Google him and find out that he is a year younger than me. I have been feeling a bit of an "age-to-output ratio" depression lately, but I won't blather on about it, because it's obvious and boring) I will, however, blather on and on about Hernan Bas...
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
FUN CONTEST AND CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF HER NOT YET RELEASED BOOK THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY AND A MIXED TAPE OF MUSIC THAT INSPIRED THE WRITING OF THE BOOK!
So here is the contest. It is twofold.
1. In the comments section or via email, tell me your favorite thing(s) about summer-- by way of HAIKU! For those who don't know, a haiku is a poem made up of three lines, of five, seven, and five syllables.
2. Spread the word about the contest on your own blog or tell a friend or something, and tell me all about your efforts when you submit your entry.
bathing suit tan lines
i do not mind them at all
in fact i like them
I mentioned this contest on my blog ___! (insert blog name here)
See how easy that was? And it took all of two minutes. You can do it too!
You have until April 20th. You can email me your summer haiku at jenny at jennyhanwrites dot com. Or, leave it here in the comments. I will publish the lucky winner's poem on this blog, or I won't, if maybe you are shy and don't want me to.
Good luck, dear readers!
xoxo Jenny Han
peel off in long see through sheets
like glue hands of yore
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
by Jeffrey McDaniel
Please: be kind to boners. Nothing
ruins an evening quicker than catching
a glimpse of a demoralized boner
sobbing into his foreskin. Remember
the boner is always half full. Most
boners sleep upside down in caves,
ready to flutter into the world
at the dropp of a bra strap. Boners
move in packs—rarely will you see one
wandering alone in a train station.
Look closer and you’ll usually find
a second boner bobbing nearby. But
it’s the lone boner, the Oswald boner,
you must watch out for. Whatever
you do, don’t challenge it. Don’t
stare it directly in the eye.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Then, I told him he could play his Nintendo DS until he fell asleep (I'm the Auntie, I get to do things like that instead of forcing him to go to bed at a reasonable hour like a responsible adult should). After about 20 minutes I heard his cute little voice calling my name, "Auntie, I'm bored. Will you read me another chapter?" What! Unlimited Nintendo DS is this kids dream in life! And he wants me to read him more of this silly book! Uh, okay. So I read him two more chapters and then turned off the lights.
The next day I expected him to have lost interest in the book, but no! He finds me and his Grandma sitting outside and walks over with the book and says, "Auntie. Read." Well, okay then. As a teacher, I could not help but insist that he summarize what had already transpired so as to catch Grandma up. His summary was succinct and precise. I love this kid! Did I mention he is in Special Education and diagnosed ADHD? Grumble, grumble, stupid school system, grumble. Anyway, I finish the book, and he loves it. He wants the next one in the series. We go to the book store (this is a kid who got to play hooky from school to hang out with me becuase I was only in town for a few days and I told him I would take him anywhere he wanted and we went to the bookstore). Unfortunately, the series is out of print.
Instead, I bought us a copy of Boyds Will Be Boyds: Get Well Soon or Else by Sarah Weeks, who will be my teacher next Fall.
My mother was driving, so as soon as I got in the car I started reading to him (as a nerdly little kid I trained myself to be able to read in a moving car and not get sick). The book starts right in the middle of a conversation between the protagonist and Fink, about how they do not want to see their teacher in a nightgown. Through the conversation it is revealed that they are thinking about this because of their upcoming 5th grade, week-long, camping trip. At about the third page it provides a few sentences of exposition about who the main charatcer is and what his relationship is to Fink. From the backseat I hear, "Auntie, that sentence you just read should have been the first sentence. Becuase when it started I didn't know who was talking or who he was talking to. But now I know they're friends. So, it should have said..." And then, from memory, he recites the sentence I just read and creates a seemless transition to the first paragraph of the book. It was an awesome revision.
Did I mention he's brilliant?
Now, I don't think I will tell my teacher that a 9 1/2 year old kid revised her work, but I do know that his words have certainly answered the question I posed last week about how to start the first chapter of my novel!
Thanks, dude. Auntie loves you.