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“Houses have crumbled in my memory as soundlessly as they did in the mute films of yore.” —Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory ~ Miss Romano’s fourth grade class was gathered on the rough green carpeting listening to a small blonde girl with a turned up nose recite from memory “I Hate Homework” by Shel Silverstein. The year was 1993. The place was Floris Elementary in Northern Virginia. I was dressed entirely in black. As the little cherub was finishing, “Homework oh homework you’re last on my list. / I simply don't see why you even exist,” I stood up, indicating my readiness to Romano with the stoicism of a samurai readying for battle. The cherub finished. The class applauded mechanically and hushed. “Yes, Sarah? You’re ready?” “Yes,” I said to Romano, [...]

First, I want to say it is an honor to be blogging with so many great minds and poets. Some of you I’ve met in person, and many of you I haven’t. I hope to get to know all of you, at least virtually. It will be fun to see where blog goes. Now, onto my first post! I’ve been reading through Allen Grossman’s The Sighted Singer in the last few weeks. The book is actually a combination of two works: a series of conversations Grossman had with Mark Halliday and Grossman’s own summa (literally) on poetry. Much like the Angelic Doctor himself, Grossman provides many interesting terms, definitions, and distinctions that are worth pursuing. Even better, Grossman and Halliday often disagree, and this back-and-forth opens the terms up even [...]

I worry about graduate students. When intention, and goals, and focus outstrip the accidental, the possibility of falling into exactly what you need to trip over, you ought to take stock: what do you just allow to happen? Some students will say, "Easy for you. You have a job." They're right. But I never planned my lifeever, and I think anyone who knows me, knows this is true. I'm not advocating that any one be as accidental as I am, but there needs to be some carelessness. The true power of money, or fame or talent is that it gives wiggle room for carelessness. I've been poor most of my life—sometimes dangerously so, and what I felt most deprived of was the right not to give a rat's ass. A [...]