I was in music class once and started crying. I was in a music class in college and the professor played this aria called “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s Norma sung by Maria Callas.
We were studying it in class, and when she played the recording for the first time, it was so beautiful that I started to tear up; I started crying. I was having a moment and looked down at my desk so people would not see.
I got to curate and be part of an amazing poetry reading this past Saturday: an Earth Day 2018 poetry reading at The Cabin.
It featured nine local poets (Catherine Kyle, Rachel Murphy, Amanda Rich, Hannah Rodabaugh, Ruth Salter, Daphne Stanford, Elena Tomorowitz, and Tessy Ward) and Rena Ashton (educational director of Zoo Boise). They read poetry and essays about nature and conservation.
Last month, I was writer-in-residence at the Bown Crossing branch of the Boise Public Library. I typed poetry onto a sculpture called Vox Poplar (“for the people”) that includes a typewriter and a roll of paper embossed with cottonwood trees.
Recently, I got to spend two weeks at Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of the National Park Service’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program. This post contains a bunch of pictures I took of the wildflowers and geological features I saw — like lava tubes and cinder gardens — while I was writing about the park.
It was a normal day of camp. The first day actually. Half a dozen third and forth graders were bent over a picture of my mother in her serious Twiggy years as a teenager.
Their task was to invent a character portrait for the woman in the photo, and they were doing a typical job of it.
Already they had decided:
- She had one neon green eye and one neon gray eye which both glowed in the dark as she slept in her red velvet bedroom.
- She was a professional murderer who invited people over to tea only to stab them when they were not looking.
- She ate chocolate covered crickets, blood crickets, and human finger cheese.
This is when things got weird. They also decided:
- She lived in a decrepit, old mansion haunted by a friendly ghost named Hari Cari and an evil, haunted doll named Annabelle.
That is when things changed, though we did not know it at first.
John Keats was someone for whom, and around whom, my life revolved for a certain period of time in my early twenties. And because we don’t often acknowledge who we were or have been enough when we think of who we are, I want to tell our story.
By our story, I mean both I and Keats story and I and poetry’s story, for they intersect quite a bit.
A few years ago, I went through a period where I could not write.
I was severely depressed for over a year and lived in a kind of waking agony. And because sadness is about the absence of what you love and value, I could not write.