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Wednesday, August 6, 2008


First things first: you don't even want to KNOW where I am, what my view is like, or what birds I've heard, not to mention the doe and fawn I passed on the way to my study this morning at 6 am as I anticipated 11 hours of total quiet and solitude. 

Nope, I don't think so.  But nevertheless, here I am on my undisclosed island--a castaway among castaways. 

I'm mostly doing research for my next book of poems, but one of my fellow islanders is spending her time here scuba diving; she's checking up on the sea urchins (mostly their gonads), hoping that through her observations she can help to impose stricter limits on harvesting. 

There goes the ferry horn . . .

What am I researching? Mostly stuff about big vs. small. I didn't realize--or hadn't fully comprehended--that there are an infinite number of universes. Oh, and I found out what a micron is (.0001  centimeter). I've also been reading about gemstones and enjoying some vacation Bible school activity websites. 

To counter all this weightiness, I'm dipping into (right before my head starts  to spin) poetry 180, a grand collection of, you guessed it, 180 poems (one per day of school) aimed at high school students who find reading poetry akin to when "my brother has his foot on the back of my neck in the swimming pool." 

I mean, I like to be challenged, read a poem several times and still not get it (and never get it, cuz getting isn't the point), maybe do a little research about a painting or look up the word viaticum. But sometimes it's also nice to understand a poem on the first try. I'll even go so far as to agree with Collins that "clarity is the real risk in poetry." 

This isn't my first read-through, but my copy's been in storage for 4 1/2 years, so it might as well be a brand new book (though it now has that terrible old, musty basement smell--yuck!).  My favorites so far: Christina Pugh's "Rotary," Marc Petersen's "What I Would Do," Joseph Millar's "Telephone Repairman," and Lucia Perillo's "Skin." 

This is a great beach read--I kid you not. You might think summer is for Danielle Steele and Tom Clancy, but these are poems to savor with you toes in the sand, a cold lemonade in your beach chair cup holder, a bag of bing cherries (in your satchel, of course). 

Is that another float plane landing? Gawd, those things are noisy. 

While we're being all relaxed and summery, it's a good time to check out Poetry Net's August poet: Erika Meitner!

Time to go out on the patio and eat a few of those cherries. Hey, where'd my lemonade go? 

Happy reading!


rams said...

I'd add "The Swan at Edgewater Park" by Ruth L. Schwartz.

And hey, we're sorry about the plane.

No, really.

Martha Silano said...

"Swilling whatever it is swans swill / Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud . . . " Thanks, rams--this is definitely my kind of beach reading!

All quiet here except for the swallows.

Peter said...

"clarity is the real risk in poetry."

--I like that idea.

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Kimberlee said...

Lucia Perillo has a great poem about crows being like little Elvises. Check it out sometime. :)

I never thought of clarity being a risk... but it is interesting.

Martha Silano said...

Kimberlee--I read that Perillo poem right after I posted. It is just stunning; I can't get over how she describes a teenage girl's skin. It's an amazing poem--and the crows are great.