Sunday, December 14

Sunday, December 7


Saturday, December 6

you are not made of metaphors

this poet came to perform this week, at my little university in this little Indiana town. 

...okay, neither the town nor the university is all that little.

Sarah Kay, famous for these poems, that TED talk.

I keep thinking about this poem, "The Type." wondering who I am.

last Tuesday, in a long, narrow chair-filled faculty lounge at the Purdue Memorial Union, she performed several pieces, some from her new book, some moving and poignant, some sappy and silly, some in between. it was very fun.

we were discouraged from making recordings ourselves, but you, if you were not there (or if you were), can, thanks to this internet wonderland, find and watch recordings of some of the same poems performed at other venues, at other times.

a story full of time-skips, summers, expanse

"No Matter the Wreckage"
which made me wonder about men as ships and women as sailors, so seeming backwards.

"Private Parts"
as I doodled all over this bit of scrap paper (black ink courtesy my own pen, pink courtesy a pen borrowed from the nice fellow-who-accompanied-me-to-this-poetry-performance) I made notes on idea from this poem: "corners sanded away, the parts that once only fit one person."

now that I'm blogging about it, I had to look up the real bit of poetry I was trying to capture at the corner of this doodling. it's more specific. it's more evocative. it's real and if you listen, you'll hear the line, just there:
and the years have spread us like dandelion seeds, sanding down the edges of our jigsaw parts that used to only fit each other.
I of course want to take the idea of that--the kernel of memory of touch and meeting and change--and run with it through a lot of stretching, complicated thought-work. will identities always be settling, smoothing? what does this mean for eternity, for unity? does who we are ever stop losing uniqueness? will this time, these years, ultimately lead to inevitable mass conformity? does it ever work backwards? can we hope for getting sanded into less-smooth, less-conforming, more-particular pieces? why or why not?


these poems I've linked weren't all, of course.

the piece about South Africa was very sad.

the one she said she'd never performed before--"Dragons"--was intense.

of course that toothpaste + bicycle tire love letter made us laugh.

I have work to do, other than poetry and other than blogging. but I keep thinking.


being sanded.

Sunday, November 30

Sunday, November 23


Sunday, November 16

Friday, November 14

me, words, now

this is the nine hundred and fortieth post, if blogger's internal number-tickers are to be trusted.

I'm writing it from the chair in the corner by the western-most window of this coffeeshop on Main Street. that hot chocolate mug has been empty for hours. my Modern Rhetoric midterm has been finished and officially turned in for forty-eight minutes, if the time-stamps on my email account are to be trusted.
the ambient music sounds a little bit like bleating ducks. 

these photos are miscellaneous snapshots. do they have anything to do with each other?

I sat underneath this Einstein painting on Wednesday for a good span of time, reading about the history of writing instruction, taking notes on noetic fields and closed systems.

are all photographs art, automatically? photographs of non-photographic art seem like they shouldn't be art, themselves. too many layers, that would be.
but who am I to say? meta-art sounds cool.

meta-everything. documentation-as-art. ephemera-as-art. breakfast-as-art. breathing-as-art.

this is the nine hundred and fortieth post. it doesn't have a real title, yet. 

I have Sunday sketches scheduled into January, but my weekly rambly writings might go on hiatus at any moment. you won't miss them too much, eh?

they won't be gone very long, I hope. but as of this frosted Friday evening, I'm giving myself permission to fudge the blog-every-week routine.

Sunday, November 9

breath or else

Friday, November 7


starting this week I've had my students doing reading presentations with selections from our textbook Convergences (it's an old book, but look, it does have one of those publisher-sponsored companion websites--full of dead or dying links).

I had each student choose a piece to practice and measure and then read aloud to our class. it's my way of forcing them to 1. actually pay some attention to that textbook they paid a non-insignificant chunk of money for and 2. think about literacy and reading from a more auditory and external perspective, not just a visual/mental/internal one. will it work? so far nobody has complained too terribly much.

our first two presentations were on Thursday.

one student began with this piece by David Brooks.

thought-provoking. guilt-inducing.

next, his fellow student abridged Matt Snyders' write-up of one week at the Mall of America and threw up a little powerpoint to go along with the story.

we cringed. we laughed.

presentations next week will include excerpts from Richard Rodriguez's "Gangstas." there might be costumes.

it's an old textbook, compiled of articles that exist in many other media incarnations--books, articles, photography collections, poems, comics, reviews. seeing how the students abridge and adapt these pieces for a potentially very bored audience is going to be very fun.

if my class didn't already hear too much from me every day of the week, I'd be tempted to read something to them as well, to join in the project. something from David Eagleman's Sum, perhaps. or one of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales.

our adaptations in class are pretty simple. but they're leading into our last unit on media, where we might have room for talking about re-mediation of all kinds. book-to-film-to-comic-to-stage-to-radio-to-thesis-to-interpretive-dance and everything.

maybe I will show them some of these, from the marvelous and very sweet-seeming Yulin Kuang, one of the brains behind Shipwrecked Comedy.

isn't that lovely? all of it--the voice, the light, the wide outdoors and cozy twosome?


postscript 1:
in my poking around after details on Marina Keegan the other month
, I came across this rather fantastic channel featuring the Yale spoken-word-poetry group. does Purdue have an organization like this? should we start one? eh, friend Priya?

postscript 2:
and did I ever mention The Moth? someday I'll perform a story for The Moth. but which one?  

Sunday, November 2