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Memoir

On Poetry and Loss, Part 2

May 10, 2011
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I sometimes think African American “cool” and Irish humor developed out of an awareness of the truth that life is not merciful.

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On Poetry and Loss

April 27, 2011
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The handling of such overwhelming material is first and last, a question of form. Grief, loss, outrage, must be made portable.

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Terms, Truth, Sun Sparrows: A Very Important Lesson from My Father

March 21, 2011
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I tell my students that education can do the work of evil: it can make a bunch of aleatory systems with PHDs think they have a right to be superior to the Rocky Weils of this world. They can make a son misunderstand the wisdom of his own father. They stink of torture and snobbery, they are rank with the odor of exclusion and bias, and we call this “truth” or “Dogma” or “terminology.”

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The Book Bag

March 15, 2011
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The weirdest things survive. I lost my parents and some of those friends also died: Eric, who introduced me to vampire comics and Henry Miller novels, his brother Greg who netted the biggest trout I ever caught, Huey who threw a good fast ball, and liked jamming with me on the piano.

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Look What God Can Do!

March 9, 2011
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No one wants to appear childlike and vulnerable to others, but everyone (everyone who seeks out new experiences, anyway) wants to feel that way–along with love, awe is the one of the emotions people seek most deeply. And for writers, whose job is to express the inexpressible, the hidden, these two aims can feel at odds.

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Ur Poems: Sarah V. Schweig

February 25, 2011
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The first poem I ever loved was The Raven. Specifically, one line from the poem haunted me when I was young, and still does: “The silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”

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Meditation on Milosz

February 22, 2011
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We must always be as careful with nostalgia as we are with most forms of vulgarity: it is too close to the whore’s heart, and can be used by politicians to promote a “purity,” an Edenic return that supports the most vile sense of the volk.

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Dispatch after emerging from the post-AWP hangover: or My first AWP

February 15, 2011
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At a party last Thursday night after a full day at this year’s AWP conference, I broke one of my own absolute rules – never, under any circumstances resort to quoting The Big Lebowski.

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The other thing grammar is good for

January 24, 2011
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Grammar can be a brutal, brutal thing.

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Meditation on Apollinaire

January 12, 2011
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I must describe the physical sensation this poem had on me. It was a hot and humid day, and the house was full of fans whirring, and flies buzzing, and no one was home.

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The Bookshelf

January 4, 2011
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In books rowed up on the shelf you see, for the first time, your own death.

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Portland

March 25, 2010
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I’m sitting up in bed, or on the couch, as it were, where I have been trying to sleep off the slew of vodka-and-tonics I downed last night at our Sand Paper Press reading here in Portland.  Shawn Vandor, whose Fire at the end of the rainbow was just reviewed over at Dossier, and I […]

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Big Sur, Elephant Seals, Hector Viel Temperley

March 5, 2010
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When you drive south through Big Sur, you must stop and see the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas. There were huge males on the beach on Tuesday, maybe 15 feet long, with doe-like black eyes and crumpled snouts that look like a baby bird has perched on their faces.

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Nothing to say

February 25, 2010
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I have nothing to say today, or nothing specific, only miscellany, no fashion thing has occurred to me. Here you have an image of Ferula scorodosma, the plant whose dried sap is used to make asafoetida, a rather pungent spice.

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Spam Folder Amateur Gemology

February 21, 2010
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Says that the Russians once anchored here and hunted sea-otter before the first Yankee trader rounded the Horn, or the first Rocky Mountain trapper thirsted across the “Great American Desert” and trickled down the snowy Sierras to the sun-kissed land. No; we are not resting our horses here on Humboldt Bay.

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Tangent

February 17, 2010

On fourth of July, alone in my kitchen and the sound of distant fireworks. I drink cheap Merlot, watch the dark break and enter through the windows. I am all over the Internet, but would rather be all over someone else: a tangent. A tanager. Today, by the river I saw a scarlet tanager. Had […]

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