How is there always so much happening? Every time I sit down to pen you a missive, I think O, I’ll just jot a short note and then am interrupted with the thought But you must tell them about that and O and that too. I suppose it is the work of a newsletter to, you know, cast the news, but yeesh. One likes a dusting of snow, rather than a dumping.
In any case, here’s the haps in the weeks since we last spoke:
Relief Journal put together their Year in Poetry 2020 featuring some very fine poets—Christian Wiman, Natalie Diaz, etc —and guess who they let sneak in the back door? The Elegy Beta just makes the top ten list about which they had this to say:
In the epic coda of this book, Willett riffs on Rilke, weighing earthly matters against unseen glories that wriggle free from the names we give them. Willett’s desire to balance momentary reality and eternal presence doesn’t just show up in this title poem. On every page, he proves a reliable guide to the delightfully unfathomable nature of existence.
Check out the whole list here
Next, I went on the radio, just before the holiday, to discuss Christmas poems with my friends John and Kathy at WORD-FM Pittsburgh. I read from Alan Jacobs’ edition of For the Time Being by WH Auden.
You can listen to the interview here
But mostly, I wanted to tell you about my annual Year-in-Review post. There, I gathered stray bits from 2020 and share reflections about teaching, publishing, family. Warning: pictures of me on the beach ahead!
And finally, I'm reading poems in The Round at Fremont Abbey with some great artists (painter, musicians) on Friday, January 22nd. It's online and by donation (which means free, if you want) Grab a ticket here
That poem atop this message is the one I was telling you about in the last missive, from Mockingbird.
See what I mean? Okay.
Many blessings, friends.