Showing posts from May, 2015

My Morning Reading: Marina Tsvetaeva and Sarah B. Boyle

This week has featured more reading than writing, but I'm okay with that. (Babysteps towards art-making, right?) I've vacillated between internet essays and the Bloodaxe Books' collection of Tsvetaeva essays, Art in the Light of Conscience , as well as Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva. And honestly, I'm disappointed in Dark Elderberry Branch . Its subtitle is "A Reading by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine," and I'd hoped for more by two such well known and fairly well respected writers. They've excerpted bits and pieces of Tsvetaeva's poems as well as bits and pieces of her nonfiction scribbling -- from essays to letters -- but the sole commentary on these bits and pieces comes at the end of the collection in an essay/afterword by Kaminsky.  I'm left frustrated with the feeling that there's too little substance here. I really don't want to say that, because I was excited about the book when I found it, but the

Finding and Maintaining Optimism

It's been a week of recovery! And Plan-Making Lite, meaning that I'm beginning to think of the best way to tackle all of the things I'd like to do with these next few teaching-free months. My summer class was under-enrolled and didn't run, which is probably more good fortune for me than bad: I'll have less money, but now I can use the next month (the one where my children are still in school) to do prep for the fall at a leisurely pace, and to work on the things that I'm feeling starved for, like reading and writing. And exercise -- even the simplest kind, such as walking through my neighborhood or stretching. And sleep. Lots of sleep. I've begun reading this week, as a kind of segue between Disaster Semester and Disaster Semester Prevention Planning, Lynda Barry's Syllabus . It's really marvelous. Lynda Barry is one of my new favorites. I discovered her via my colleague D.W., who studied with her at University of Wisconsin-Madison (and is actu

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

I went to sleep at two in the morning on Sunday night after grading until I was cross-eyed and when I got ready for bed I checked my email and I had a message from a student who said I have emailed you twice in the last month and have not received a response- please get back to me about my questions and so I stayed up another half hour because I felt the need to write her back and prove with a screen shot that yes, I'd forgotten to send her a reply to an email she sent that past Tuesday but I'd only received one email from her since early April, and I DID reply to the one from April, and I could tell that when I woke up two hours later with the alarm and the beginning of a migraine and the non-sleeping Vampire Toddler it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day. At breakfast Little Miss Talkalot decided she was too tired to eat breakfast and then The Boy decided that he was too tired to eat breakfast and then Vampire Toddler decided she wanted to eat Pir

The Big Poetry Giveaway 2015: The Results! With Pictures! And Exclamation Points!

I held the drawing for the blog's Big Poetry Giveaway on Saturday, but because of life and children and grading and sunshine I wasn't able to get to the computer to post the results (and recap the excitement of the drawing!) until now. First, in preparation for the drawing, I attempted to gather all of the books I'll be mailing out tomorrow (or Tuesday or Wednesday, because let's be honest, the end of the semester never goes smoothly or as anticipated): As you might be able to tell, I wasn't successful with my gathering. Ooh, quick, let's play, "Which part of the Big Poetry Giveaway 2015 is missing?"  I'll wait.  . . . Yes, that's it! It's The Black Sea by Stephanos Papadopoulos. I left the copy I was giving away at the office (I've since picked it up), but for the sake of the photo I substituted with Papadopoulos' first book, "Lost Days," the cover of which -- fun fact -- features a fine painting by his