Did I mention I saw John Waters the other day? I'm 99% sure it was him -- he does live here, and I know for sure he was in town for the film festival a couple weeks ago, so it would almost be surprising not to see him.
Readings tonight by Katherine Vaz and Olga Broumas (who is working on a translation into Greek of the Kunitz poem "The Layers," so she read that poem in English and in Greek, and then some new & uncollected work of her own), and a slide talk by the painter Joel Janowitz, whose work I liked a great deal. Then Doug Powell & a couple other poets from the class & I wandered downtown to look at tacky tourist things and buy fudge. Good times.
Tomorrow morning we are supposed to do our morning writing outside, so I plan to get up a bit early and head for the beach. Then tomorrow after class I have my individual instructor conference. Those can be a bit difficult, even -- especially! -- with a good teacher; at best, I usually come away thinking that I have a lot of work to do but that it is work that's worth doing, and at worst I come away thinking that I really cannot write for shit. I'm looking forward to it, but I expect to feel pushed a bit. So afterwards I am going to treat myself to a nice dinner at Napi's. Then Robin Becker reads tomorrow night, which should be good.
Any of you who are reading these little updates and thinking that you'd like to come here for a workshop someday: DO IT. I'm serious. It is so worth it. They get so many amazing teachers here, and the students seem to be of very high caliber -- everyone in my class is a better poet than I am in some way or other, I think, and I don't always feel that about a summer workshop. We have a couple people with MFA's, everyone is well-read and experienced and serious about their work, and all in all it is a group that challenges me to stay at their level. Which is good, it's really good, it's what I need. And this town, what can I say about Provincetown, it's a magical place. There is no other town quite like it. In a perfect world I would stay here for at least a week and a half -- at least a couple days before the workshop & a couple days after it -- to enjoy the town just for itself. Because the workshop is requiring a lot of my time. But it's good. I mean, this morning I wrote four pages of new material. I seldom write that much in one day, much less in the MORNING! And I am getting what I wanted from this, what I needed. It's challenging me artistically and emotionally, and I needed that. There are some hard things about it, but hard in good, growth-producing ways.
I think that Hunter O'Hanian mentioned something at orientation about FAWC working to start a low-residency MFA writing program. I know they're starting a low-res MFA visual art program in connection with, um, UMass I think? I forget who. So maybe he was just talking about that and in my addled brain I heard him say something about a writing MFA. But if they really do start up a low-res program here, I believe I will have to apply. In fact I will think that it is a sign that there was a reason I did not apply to low-res programs before -- I was waiting for this one to come along. To come here twice a year and have my butt kicked for a week ... heaven. And imagine the faculty they'd likely put together! Mark Doty, Robin Becker, Marie Howe, other folks who teach here often.
Okay. I got poems to type up and maybe edit just a bit. And I want to be in bed before midnight -- I'd like to get up at 7, get out of here by 8:30 and on the beach by 9. Earlier if possible.
By the way the bit of poetry-shaped writing I posted earlier is certainly fair game for commentary -- it's EXTREMELY first-draft, and it's about 1/3 of what I wrote this morning. I may read the last section of it at the student reading on Thursday evening, or I may read something I haven't written yet -- we'll see.