Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rambling, Reviews, Radio

I know, I know. I've been a bit under the weather, and a bit busy, and a bit distracted. Sometimes I think I'm trying to live about three different lives all at once. I am a Gemini, so you'd think I'd be used to that... *grin*

Insert standard "hey, I'm behind on email again" disclaimer here... I need to just take the laptop to the library or a coffeehouse or something and catch up without all the distractions that surround me at home! (you know -- cats, guitars, falling asleep on the couch...)

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Breach continues to make its way out into the world. FYI, copies are still available from Finishing Line Press. I'm holding on to most of my author copies so I'll have something to sell at a couple of upcoming readings, but I'd be willing to sell or barter a few of those as well, if you'd rather get one from me than order from the press.

My mom forwarded me an email from a friend of hers to whom she sent a copy, saying she really enjoyed Beaches. I was amused. :)

A couple of reviews (reviewlets?) from bloggers with somewhat different takes on it:
I read Anne Haines' Breach. I enjoyed a number of the poems, including "Let X Equal..." and "Arrival". I very much appreciated the number of nonce forms that Haines used; the unexpected repetition (read: music) was wonderful.

I'm not sure what to make of the fact that I felt it was too easy to see her real life in many of the poems. I know that's a detractor, for me, that I feel I can't inhabit in the poem, that there's no wiggle room for understanding. I wish I knew what to do with that. I wonder how I would have responded, had I not read her blog. (Had I not read her blog, I would not have read her book, so...)

Also, I was a little confused about the theme of the book. There was plenty of ocean imagery and many "breach" references and that tied a lot together but there were a number of poems with other topics that I couldn't fit in.

(from Mary Alexandra Agner)

A fair critique; a lot of my poems are "that kind of poetry" -- you know, the ones that look autobiographical even if they aren't so much (and I will say that some of the poems in the chapbook are more fictional than others). I recognize that that isn't everybody's cup of tea, for sure. As I've said before, I think I flunked irony and postmodernism. ;) And while I can point to a couple of recurring themes and the ways in which I think pretty much all the poems tie together, it's certainly not what you'd call a tightly-themed chapbook. (I'm working on one of those now, actually, and am enjoying a very different experience of the writing/composing process.) Thanks, Mary, for a thoughtful reading!
There's so much poetry out there that attempts the lyrical contemplation-of-life verse. And yes, while life does deserve contemplation, most of this type of poetry is not very good. (I'm also thinking of times when my students attempt lyrical verse -- they, too, stumble). So, it's more than just a relief when one finds a poet who is successful with lyrical poetry -- it's a great cause of celebration.

Yes, I am speaking directly of Anne Haines', fellow blogging comrade, and poet, new chapbook, Breach (recently published by Finishing Line Press). Anne tackles all the big "matters" of life without being condescending. Whether she pictures a narrator looking for whales the day before September 11, 2001, or she writes about love stories in foggy Provincetown, Anne succeeds to capture the mystery of life, without melodrama, without sentiment. My favorite poem is the honest, "Dx," a work that explores the world of a medical diagnosis: "You say that you live as if/you're dying, just in case/No, you die/as if you're living."

(from Karen J. Weyant)
Karen is the second person who's pointed to "Dx" as a favorite, which surprises me; it's a poem that didn't really stand out for me personally, but felt like it fit into the "dancing with boundaries" theme I was generally aiming for, so I included it. I think the thing I like about publication is the opportunity to step outside of your own feelings about your poems and try to look at them from other points of view, like a singer listening to her own recorded voice. Even if you don't get feedback or reviews, just looking at your own poems in a journal or a chapbook can make them feel like someone else's, in a weird way, and it's easier to be objective about them. Or a little bit objective anyway. Anyway -- thanks, Karen!

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And thank you, Tina Fey. You've single-handedly made this election season bearable.

The debate sketch on tonight's SNL was absolutely dead-on. Brilliant. Besides of course Tina Fey's killer impersonation of Palin, they managed to portray Biden's response to the "same-sex benefits" question in such a way that, while, quoting his actual response almost verbatim, exposed the hypocrisy in the whole "we believe in equality but we don't support gay marriage nonono" position very nicely. You betcha!

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“…to understand what happens at the edges – the most important thing there is in drawing – is everything. … When space is divided, the action is at the edge.” – artist Michael Mazur (interviewed in Provincetown Arts, 2008)

I think if I'd had that quote a year ago, it might have become the epigraph for Breach.

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On Monday I'll be recording a few poems for the radio. I'll let y'all know what the airdates will be once I find out for sure.

2 comments:

Karen J. Weyant said...

...and also liked your poem on Rattle's home page today! :)

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