Laurels | Carter’s Little Pill

This is kickass. It’s a lot like what I’m feeling right now. Time is moving too fast and too slow and the things that you should do don’t get do. The gardens of the dead, or the gardens associated with the dead, are some of the most heart-rending places in the world.

from Laurels by Julie Carter

I would take it somewhere else to die. I know

that it takes the acid of deep Ohio soils but I
have killed the others–mowed them or let them

drown in burdock–before the pink beads of their
flowers could pop open like peppermints, spiraling

out in red and white. Because my husband
gave me three and I killed two. Because he

gave me three and nothing sent me to the back
yard and the yellowjackets and the yellowsun to guard

them and two died …

via Laurels | Carter’s Little Pill

A little encouragement goes a long way

And flattery goes even further. Thanks to Harry and Aditi, I’ve been encouraged to keep writing on this blog. So I will.

Today I’ve got two things I want to share with you all. The first is that round here we’ve been sleeping with the Canadian covers. When I tell you why you will all want to move here, but I caution you: what you think of as balmy round here is a little different for two main reasons. (1) We are (literally) Hemingway’s (Bahama) islands in the (Gulf) stream, which means that all temperatures here must be imagined in terms of wetness — wet and cool in the winter, wet and hot in the summer. and (2) WE HAVE NO HEATING SYSTEMS. Except in our cars.

That said, this past week’s average temperature at night has been about 60 degrees F (16 C). (I can hear you now: that’s nothing!! I’d kill for 60!!) Fine, but then add the wind chill (our cold fronts are not still, but arrive on the backs of northern winds), dewpoint and humidity, and then remember: *no heat*. And for most people, no woolly sweaters — just cotton hoodies, unless you’ve been living, like me, in the far far north. All my Canuck friends and transplants are freezing. So think again.

I love it!! The tourists, not so much.
Continue reading

Rob Mackenzie’s Virtual Book Tour Begins

Over on Very Like A Whale

Very Like A Whale is tickled pink to serve as the launching pad for Rob Mackenzie’s De-Cabbage Yourself Experience, his virtual book tour for The Opposite of Cabbage, his debut collection from Salt Publishing. You, of course, have either already purchased his stirling collection or are about to do so.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautifully-crafted collection of poems which is infused with a whole range of desirables – intelligence, humor, satire, the surreal, the poignant and Scotland, to name but a few. We asked Rob ten questions about The Opposite of Cabbage. He answers half here and will be back towards the end of his tour to answer the other half. Thanks for being here, Rob!

I thought about offering to be a stop on Rob’s virtutour, and thought for some time about it, and then completely forgot. As things turned out, though, it’s probably a good thing I forgot. May found me swamped with work as usual — I seem to enjoy overexerting myself; ever since I plunged into depressions during the long Canadian summer vacations from university (April to September, no kidding) I’ve tried to keep myself busy so that I don’t think myself into a spiral, and now it’s June I have the biggest project I’ve ever taken on in my private life (curious? Check here and here — and if you want to book tickets and accommodations, check either website at the end of the month!) and little things like blogging are slip-sliding away.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be following Rob’s tour as closely as I possibly can. Go, Rob, go!

Christine Klocek-Lim on Static

Thanks to Nic, I had the pleasure of reading the following post on Christine Klocek-Lim’s blog November Sky, and was struck by how much I agree with her.

November Sky Poetry: Sonnets and Static

I recently bought Jack Gilbert’s new book, “The Dance Most of All,” and on first glance it seems to be more of the same. He’s one of my favorite poets and I’m certainly looking forward to reading his new poetry (it’s all so comfortable), yet I can’t help feeling as though he discovered one way to do something and hasn’t varied since then. His poems all look the same: like a herd of horses, they’re different colors and even breeds and beautiful, but still, all HORSES. I’ve noticed that other poets tend to do this, never changing that one style that works, that brings them recognition and awards. It’s a trap.

Both beginners and old-hands fall into this trap, in which there are two sides. On one side you write only for yourself, on the other you write only for other people. The best work of any poet straddles the sharp line in-between: where you understand how much information a reader needs to relate to your poem and you also understand that you must push the boundary of sameness and move into artistry. Continue reading

PFFA’s Seven/Seven

We wanted to have some fun.

So Annie suggested we write seven poems in seven days every month, starting on the seventh.

Several of us took up the challenge.  This month, I’m returning full-time to academia, so I got sidetracked. 

Still. I thought I’d share a little of the work I’ve done so far. It’ll flash up and disappear, in time, because, you know, this is a blog and one day I might want to publish one of them, but in the meantime.

Here: watch this space.