Wednesday, March 30, 2005


This bird, still damp feathered, scared, and not quite ready to soar is venturing from the nest. Thanks, Robert, for this blog's first real posting. I hope Of Looking At A Blackbird will become a lively (chirping!) place in days to come. [Enough with the bird metaphor, Diane.]

I am back at work after a blessedly quiet four-day weekend. Not much to say about that.

Have heard, however, that Robert Creeley died today. I don't know enough about him to compose a tribute, but I am saddened as I know that he and his work were very important to many.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Turning Off the Radio / Packing Up for AWP

I can't resist the invitation to join this blog. I've packed my bag for Vancouver in my usual travel-light style: one carry-on bag with enough empty space to allow me to come home with a pile of new books. The prospect of heading off for a weekend of a couple dozen poetry readings and warehouse-size rooms full of thousands of books is rather intimidating. Will I discover one new poet who will change my life? Well, I guess that's expecting too much. I keep thinking of what Philip Larkin said in his statement on poetry and pleasure:
But if the medium is in fact to be rescued from among our duties and restored to our pleasures, I can only think that a large-scale revulsion has got to set in against present notions, and that it will have to start with poetry readers asking themselves more frequently whether they do in fact enjoy what they read, and, if not, what the point is of carrying on. And I use "enjoy" in the commonest of senses, the sense in which we leave a radio on or off.
How many books of poetry do I read that really make me want to leave the radio on? Looking at the couple dozen poetry books that just happen to be stacked on my desk, how many? I do love Eavan Boland's Against Love Poetry, but that's from 2001! The truth is that the books I've read this year that have really haunted me aren't poetry, but W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz and Seymour Hersh's investigative reporting in Chain of Command. If I discover one book this weekend that stays with me, I'll consider the trip a success. But I'd like to know what books people have read during the past year they've truly loved.


This would be a great birthday present, if this worked!