Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wintry mix

I've been watching way, way too much tennis lately.

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Last night I went to the "Three Girls and Their Buddy" concert in Indianapolis: Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller. I really enjoy all four musicians, and having them all on the same stage was just tremendous fun, & seemed to be fun for them as well. They sat in a row, and took turns -- first Emmy played a song, then Patty, then Shawn, then Buddy -- with varying amounts of chiming-in from the others. Wonderful stuff, though not as much pure collaboration as I'd hoped for -- it was like they were often a little hesitant to step into one another's songs (although Buddy Miller did play guitar on pretty much everything). When they did join together wholesale, it was often luminous, as in Patty Griffin's song "Mary" -- the second song of the encore & the last song of the night. I always forget how much I love Patty Griffin. She's such a tiny little person, and so much music comes out of her -- it seems like every cell of her body must be made purely out of music.

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Ridiculously cold outside: 8 degrees now, at ten pm, and dropping. We have a wind chill advisory that says it's going to feel like twenty below tonight. I'm not budging from my (drafty, but relatively warm) house. I have a heavy sweater, two blankets, and a hat on, a cat keeping my feet warm, and tennis on my TV. Not half bad, when it comes down to it.

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Spent about an hour at Starbucks today, drinking one of their new skinny caramel lattes (verdict: not half bad; I prefer a white chocolate mocha with lots of whipped cream, but that's about 500 calories more than the skinny latte) and revising a poem. There was someone else there working on poems too, a young man who I guessed to be an MFA student (he was about that age and had that air about him). It always makes me happy to see people reading or writing poetry in public, for some reason. Although part of me wants to go up to them and introduce myself, which would be really obnoxious. Poetry can create community, but not that much of one, heh.

When I revise, now, I try to keep in mind something that D.A. Powell said in the revision workshop I had with him a couple years ago, quoting from Rachel Zucker: "Revise towards strangeness." I like that a lot and it's something I need to push myself to do. Maybe I'll print it out in big letters on a piece of paper and hang it on my wall.

Revision is difficult for me, but satisfying. When I get up from first-drafting a poem, I feel unsettled, anxious, excited. When I get up from revising, I feel like I've accomplished something, like I've taken a good deep breath. I don't mean just tinkering and editing here, of course: I mean really revising, digging back into a poem and altering it substantially. Re/vision. Seeing it again, seeing it more clearly. Sometimes seeing it more in focus, sometimes stepping back and seeing it larger.

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This week one of my poems got into the hands of someone I never dreamed it would get into the hands of. (Not a poet.) More on this later, perhaps, and then again maybe not.


Jilly said...

Please do spill it.


I'm glad Buddy Miller is starting to get his due. Julie Miller too.

I didn't intend to rhyme.

reality writes said...

ooh the suspense!

Also, I wanted to see that concert, but it hasn't swung my way yet!


Anne said...

Jilly: Indeed! Julie Miller wasn't there, but she got mentioned from the stage when Buddy played one of her songs. (One of the others said she writes a good song, and he said yeah, she cleans a good litterbox too. Apparently they have nine cats!)

Emily: They're not doing a whole lot of dates together, but I hope you get a chance!

Erin said...

Patty Griffin's 'Free' cracks me in two. She's remarkably charged in concert for being such a tiny person.

matthew said...

i will be waiting in dc for the concert as well--need some music to rattle these old bones