Monday, May 26, 2008

Cuteness Overload

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
'nuff said.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A rescue

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Alas, two other eggs were lost when this nest toppled from atop our log pile in the woodshed.

Meredith has seen the mother robin.

I'm sorry, mother robin. I'm really really sorry.

This guy

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
. . . has been keeping me really busy.


I've got a reading this week. Here's the info:

Central Washington University

Tuesday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.
Oliver de la Paz
Author of two collections of poetry: Names Above the Houses and Furious Lullaby. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and Names Above the Houses was a winner of the Crab Orchard Award Series.
Location: Mary Grupe Center

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More on the Long Poem

I'm looking specifically at North American long poems and I'm leaning towards more contemporary works, though the Moderns are okay.

So far your contributions:

Nathaniel Mackey--"Song of the Andoumboulou"
James Merrill--"The Book of Ephraim"
Mark Strand--"Dark Harbor"
H.D.--"Helen in Egypt"
Anthony Hecht--"The Transparent Man"
Ann Carson--"Glass Essay" or "Autobiography of Red"
T.S. Eliot--"The Four Quartets"
Harriet Mullen--"Muse & Drudge"
Alice Notley--"The Descent of Alette"
Rita Dove--"Thomas & Beulah"
Wallace Stevens--"Notes for a Supreme Fiction"
Gertrude Stein--"Tender Buttons"
G.C. Waldrep--"The Batteries"
Walt Whitman--"Song of Myself"
Allen Ginsberg--"Howl"

What about:

Claudia Rankine--"Don't Let Me Be Lonely"
Galway Kinnell--"The Book of Nightmares"
Ezra Pound--"The Cantos"
John Berryman--"The Dreamsongs"
Derek Walcott--"Omeros"

And then there's the whole issue of what's teachable in a span of 10 weeks (we're on the quarter system here at WWU). . .

Now, these would be great books for a lit seminar, but this course is going to be taught as a workshop. What then? How do you teach a sustained meditation on a subject, keeping in mind the complexities of graduate student life?


Workshopping a long poem . . . I remember there were folks in my grad school days that would bring in excerpts of their long poems for workshop. We wanted to smack those people upside the head.


Lovely, lovely Killarney Clary. We're reading her in my prose poem class. No, she's not easy to pin down . . . especially on the heels of Edson and Simic collections. But man I dig her work.


Bruce Beasley: "How's it going man?"

Me: "Good, 'cept I'm not writing."

Bruce Beasley: "That's okay. I mean, how're you going to write with all your new responsibilities?"

Me: "Yeah, you're right."

Bruce Beasley: "Very few poets can write when they have new babies in the house . . . except Sylvia Plath. Don't be like Sylvia Plath."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Planning ahead

I've been asked to be a poet for a number of panel proposals for the upcoming Chicago AWP conference in 2009. Funny that I phrase it that way, since I haven't quite felt like a poet for awhile. I've been a father and a teacher for the better part of a month, and I'm feeling a little out of sorts.

My ruminations on my title have me "chewing" on other things as well--genre, for instance. I'm teaching a graduate level class on the prose poem . . . a form (form?) at which I'm supposedly expert. Whomever has said such things has probably got the wrong guy. What can I tell you about the prose poem? That it's shorter than a short story? That sometimes there's no story? Maybe that often there's no plot in them and that they're given to economy in their language? To me, a prose poem is like pornography--I know it when I see it. I suppose that makes it difficult for me to feel like I'm imparting knowledge on my grad students . . . that I'm creating more issues for them as up and coming writers.

And now, I've been asked to propose a course for next year's graduate students and I've decided to teach a seminar on the long poem. How's that for messing with some heads?


Speaking of long poems, do we still highly regard the work of James Merrill? If I were to teach a course on the long poem, should I include The Changing Light at Sandover?

Additionally, there are a number of contemporary poets who are in the midst of a long-poem project that's yet to be completed. Brenda Hillman, for example, is still working on a poetic sequence involving the "primary" elements--earth, wind, fire, water. So far, I think she's dealt with water and wind . . . not sure, though. And Marvin Bell's Dead Man poems. I don't think he's quite finished with that project yet, despite what he tells the public.

Who else?


My parents visited last weekend, spelling us some relief. It's still work to have company over, but having folks who can handle a baby at a restaurant really helps us relive our personhood.


I want to see Iron Man, but free time is at a premium these days.


What's up?