Saturday, May 20, 2006

Carl Phillips

Really nice, lengthy article on Carl Phillips from the Riverfront Times -- thanks to Jilly Dybka over at Poetry Hut Blog for this one. (If you don't visit the Poetry Hut, I recommend it; Jilly does a great job of collecting interesting poetry-related articles from all over the place.)

Phillips will be teaching at the Fine Arts Work Center the week I'm there, so I will at least get to hear him read, and I hope to get a chance to chat with him a bit. I know two people who'll be in his workshop, so with any luck I'll get to hear a lot about how it goes. I haven't picked up his newest book yet; I'll probably buy it out there.

What I like about reading his work is the idea that it's okay to write these long, convoluted, syntactically complicated sentences in a poem -- something I've tried to steer myself away from, as I have a tendency to get long and convoluted (or at least overly parenthetical) myself; maybe it's time to try giving myself free rein and see where it goes. Maybe I will try to write a two-page poem that is all one sentence, just to see what happens. Muahaha (evil laughter).

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I bought myself an adorable little portable USB hard drive today. 80GB of storage, which is four times the size of my laptop's hard drive. Now I just need to stay in the habit of backing stuff up religiously. If you store your writing on computer (or your photos, or music, or whatever) please, please back it up somewhere. You won't ever regret it.

(I also have one of those cute little USB flash drives, about the size of a pack of gum, which holds every poem I have ever written. This just boggles my little middle-aged mind. It's a wonderful feeling, though, when I'm packing the cats down to the basement for a tornado warning, to know that all I have to do is stick that puppy in my pocket and no matter what blows through, I will still have all my words. I used to worry what would happen if I had to evacuate and didn't have time to pack up the half-dozen fat three-ring binders that held typed copies of all my poems, or what if my house burned down when I wasn't home, etc. It is also nice to be able to take everything with me when I travel. You young people who take technology more for granted probably find yourselves amused by how mind-boggled I am by this stuff. But I started writing back when electric typewriters were relatively new technology. So being able to keep some 1300+ poems on a doohickey the size of a pack of gum... I think I have to go lie down now.)

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Today, I hate horse racing. Prayers for Barbaro.


Garbo said...

I back you up, so to speak, on the vital necessity of backing up your creative work. When my house burned, my deepest grief came from my belief that all my words had burned up. Fortunately, I had enough unburned fragments to piece it all back together but that took months of computer scanning and retyping. I back up even my first drafts on CD-R disks daily, which takes two minutes. Unless I haven't written anything, in which case it takes zero minutes. There's a new goal for me: always having something to back up.

Ross White said...

I'm a fanatic backer-upper as well. I use a 128 MB USB flash drive, which I keep attached to my keychain. Every so often, I'll be out in the wild and have an idea which simply must be written immediately, and I'm able to save it to the flash drive.

If you're in need of some fine backup software, I use Allway Sync, a free program that let's you back up a whole folder or drive with one click.

LitByFire said...

I don't know how to back up my hard drive. Whose workshop are you taking at FAWC?

Anne said...

Garbo, good plan. I got nervous about using CD's when I started reading that they often deteriorate after just a few years -- you might want to consider using the CD's for your daily backups but then maybe doing monthly or quarterly backups onto a more permanent medium. I do remember when your house burned -- and that panic of thinking all the writing was gone. Not a happy thing.

Ross, thanks for the software tip! I may check it out. I don't use anything fancy for my backups, I just copy the files I want to save (and trust myself to keep track of what's new between one backup and the next). Something more sophisticated might be worth trying.

C., I am taking D.A. Powell's workshop on "Writing the Body." I've never taken two summer workshops from the same teacher before, but I suspect he probably has more than a week's worth of stuff to teach me. :) (Last year's was on "Vision and Revision," so it's not like it will be the exact same workshop, either.)

Anonymous said...

have a great time. I'm envious. :) And thanks for the link.

I also have all my writing on a thumb drive. When the tornadoes came through and I was in the basement I kept it in my pocket haha.