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Showing posts from September, 2017

First Loves and New Loves and, You Know, Grading

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Well, I'm back. Sort of. I mean, I never really left -- my husband did, for storm work in Florida, and it sent me into a kind of only-the-essentials mode, so blogging was low on my list of priorities. 
I've been trying to keep up with reading and writing in addition to my school duties, but all three took a hit during the month of September. I probably read the most -- it was easier to do when sitting in a car waiting for my daughter to emerge from soccer practice or at night when I was attempting to exercise my dog (he will only give me the ball and let me throw it if I pretend to ignore him -- if I ask for it or even demand it there's no way in hell he's giving it to me. We have an odd working relationship.)
I've just finished Louise Glück's Faithful and Virtuous Night. I love returning to her voice -- I haven't read her work in years -- but I have to say that my heart still rests with The Wild Iris, which I love with that weird inclination I have for al…

You're a Bad Drunk, World. Go Sleep it Off.

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The first week of the academic year went relatively smoothly, although when yesterday came around I was massively under-prepared and so didn't eat much all day OR have a dinner plan for the kids pre- or post- soccer practice. The result was that I was exhausted by 9 p.m., but for all of that chaos, it was still a good day. While it's still too early to confirm any first impressions, the students in my classes are really engaged this year and it's not been an uphill battle to get them to participate in discussion. (And that can really make all the difference. Talking "at" a silent crowd is really, like, the worst. Particularly if they're a silently hostile crowd.)
I teach three classes back to back on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that makes for a day without much room for error. I just need to prepare more on Monday and Wednesday nights to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The week was made a little more unusual and crazy by 1) my mother taking a spill down…

Rest and Renewal, Receiving Good News, and Misguided Girls in Coffee Shops

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"Be happy; you're writing from the privilege
of all your wits about you in your old age,
under the thorn acacias by the noon sea,
the light on all the places you have painted
and hope to paint with the strenuous accuracy
of joy, the village houses, the streets untainted
by any history, by any thought or shadow
on the blank canvas except from the sky;
be grateful that each craft stays hard to do.
In what will be your last book make each place
as if it had just been made, already old,
but new again from naming it."
-- from "The Prodigal" by Derek Walcott
Sure, this little ars poetica at the end of "The Prodigal" is the poet speaking to himself at the end of an illustrious career, and there are few parallels I can draw between the speaker of these lines and myself, but the passage serves as this lovely reminder of the joy found in the act of creation. And that in the end, we fight death by giving birth, over and over again, with new poems and new paintings, or whatev…