Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of day / End of year

Last of the winter light here in the living room, John and I sitting on the sofa, reading our Christmas books -- mine, Di Piero's Chinese Apples , John going though Salgado's Africa. I like Di Piero for his combination toughness and vulnerability, his originality, the tighness of his lines. John loves Salgado's photographs but says this one is a hard book to browse through, "rips your heart out." He stops to show me this one, and this one. "Look at that; nobody can match him; he's the best there is." The dog is lying between us, old girl, snoring/purring away. She loves nothing more than being between the two of us.

It's a nice quiet end of day -- one more before year's end. I have to work tomorrow, and then we are meeting friends for an early dinner at a local restaurant and come back here for bubbly and to comfort Greta from the fireworks. We cleaned a bit for that, so it's nice to just sit here, watching the seagulls fly in from the Pacific.

It's been a momentous year for us -- Nathaniel getting married, a trip to Ireland, a new deck, a new job for me, some health issues, a few minor victories in my art and John's but not the big ones either of us have hoped for. It's hard to just sum it up, like that. It's just another day, another year, really.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Figured Dark

Many years ago I went through a period where I lost interest in poetry. Then I happened to pick up one of those “World’s Favorite Poems” anthologies and to open it to Blake’s “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,” and I was hooked again. With all the arguments over poetics and the thousands of trendy and conventional poems published every day, it’s easy to forget the original impulse to poetry and why you fell in love with it in the first place.

Last week I read Greg Rappleye’s new book Figured Dark. Greg gets as involved as anyone in the blogosphere in arguments over poetics, but what I love about his poetry is that he seems to forget about all that when he sits down to write, and to sink into a place deep within himself, maybe within all of us. His poems make me remember what made me love poetry in the first place. Here’s a link to “Figured Dark,” the title poem of the book. Somehow it brings together Whistler’s Nocturne, Chet Baker’s music and morphine, archaeology and breasts and fireflies, and makes it all feel utterly natural. Not to mention the gorgeous sound of my new favorite word, Cremorne!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

December, Life and Death and Everything Else

With blogs, as with email, the more often you write, the more you can get away with the quotidian details: what you had for breakfast, who called, the weather, what you are wearing, your recipe for French Provincial vegetable soup. If you only blog every once in a while, your posts seem to have more portent. You start getting shyer. Is anyone going to want to read this? Do I really have anything to say?

Twenty-seven years ago today John Lennon was murdered. Other bloggers were talking about What They Were Doing then. I remember I brought in the SF Chronicle and there it was in the headline. I remember friends being pissed off that I didn't want to stand outside on a prayer vigil. But what was the point? He was already dead. In any case, if you want to know what I was doing then, I was having a miscarriage. Well, a long time ago, wasn't it?

So holidays. Grinning and bearing it here. At this stage of my life, I've done more than my share of cooking and all, and so sometimes I'd like to just hide under the covers and wait for all of it to pass. Not going to happen, so deep breath, and deal with it, Diane. (At this moment, I'm sitting on my couch with my sweet dog Greta snuggled up against me. You know everything seems fine when your dog loves you.)

Meantime, thanks to Jilly Dybka's blog, I read this and following in the New York Times Book Review:

No contemporary poet is famous, but some are less unfamous than others. That’s because the poetry world, like most areas of American life, has its own peculiar celebrity system — and if the rewards of that system rarely involve gift suites filled with swag from Jean Patou, they remain tempting enough to keep grown writers hustling. The problem is, poetic stardom is an unpredictable business. Good writing doesn’t guarantee a reputation; bad writing doesn’t guarantee oblivion; nor can grace, money or nimble careerism entirely explain why Poet X reads to overflowing auditoriums, whereas Poet Y reads to his cats. Maybe it’s simply the case that, as William Munny remarked in “Unforgiven,” “deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”

Anyone who knows me the least little bit knows why I identify with the above.

In other news: my niece in Texas just had a baby. Hurray! A girl named Sydney. And we are making plans to go to Port Clyde, Maine, for another niece's wedding in May. A week on the Maine coast! I'm really looking forward to it.

Cold here. Don't you Midwesterners and Northeasterners laugh, but it has been in the 40s. I don't deal well with cold, so that's quite enough.