Well the gallery show in LA was a hit! In one of those strange twists my life sometimes takes, I found myself at a bottle-service-only rooftop bar in Beverly Hills, let in my two huge, besuited security men who must have been models by day (this is LA, after all) between actual velvet ropes to confrere with the headlining artist. And what a show! Dealing in nuclear issues, government secrecy, the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, it also features a daring and striking aesthetic (those stark images are made from the most tonally-sensitive instrument available, and are technically photographs, but only just).
Then I gave my paper on Scottish travel literature to no little fanfare (well, kind of a little fanfare) at Biola, where I also chanced to meet the wonderful Paul Willis, who read to us from his new volume, and Karen Swallow Prior, who somehow made all of us literary types fall more in love with books.
But remember how I thought the train ride back was going to be…oh what did I call it in my last letter … “the cherry on top”? It wasn’t. I didn’t change my clothes or take a walk for 37 hours. View was pretty though.
And then, we had Conor Sweetman, editor at Ekstasis Magazine out to SPU for a visit. Conviviality ensued. All in all, quite a month, albeit one in which I did very little writing, consumed as I was with prep for my new Lewis-Tolkien class (a joy!) and with, well, all of the above.
Ronnie Martin / From the Womb of the Morning
I’ve been listening this guy’s blips and bleeps for almost 30 years, but this is the best thing he’s ever done.
Wilco / Ode to Joy
I put this record on while my family was resting at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island for the kids’ Spring Break and my wife just loved it. Somehow, having someone to share it with made me love it more than I had done.
Brett McCracken / The Wisdom Pyramid
I had seen this in draft before its publication, but it’s the sort of book one needs to return to again and again. CS Lewis says something like “most people don’t need to be told new things; they need to be reminded of things they already know.” Strong reminders here.
Edward Hirsch / The Heart of American Poetry
This new book features 40 mini-essays on individual American poems; an attempt to define the country’s unique literary shape and contribution. I’ve met Ed before, but it was nice to see him at the Elliott Bay reading just now.
Here is a video from the conversation I had with Joel Heng Hartse for Image about music criticism feat. singer John Van Deusen (look out for a cameo from Julian of Norwich; also Weezer)
And here is me reading a poem from Phases at Fremont Abbey.
For National Poetry Month, I stopped by the station at WORD FM to chat with my friends John and Kathy. I read a Ukraine War poem and one about Spring. Listen here.