Hello Dear Ones,
I have been coming back, if not to normalcy--it's too soon for a word like that--at least to some familiar rhythms these last weeks. I've been camping at Baker Lake, where I've been going since I was a 7 years old, and grilling on the back patio. We went up to Whidbey Island for the week and I sat on a chair reading William Meredith poems while my children mastered bikes (two weeks ago, neither could manage; now, they're both daredevils). I've been planning my classes, obv, and I participated in my first (online) MFA retreat whereat Peter Hawkins (Yale) spoke movingly about Dante, and Carolyn Forche, so earnest and helpful and wise, told us about poetic habits. What a crew these writers are!
Also, that third review I was telling you about last time appeared! It's in a place called EcoTheo Review and you can read the whole thing here. There's much to admire in this review and I'm grateful both to its editors and to its writer, who says things like
Willett whirs and waxes rhapsodic, yet never writes from disembodied fancy. He converses with what he classifies knowing that, if we’re lucky, our understanding falls within the margin of error.
But to live, Willett suggests, is to try and find the proper words.
I think that's the best takeaway I've seen. That grappling after words for the ineffable is why there is a plane ascending off the edge of the cover: it gets outside our frames, outside our catch, but is still, somehow within view if not within reach.
Lastly, I turned in my first draft of the completed Festus for Edinburgh. What a monumental labor it has been, but what joys I've known en route! The volume is, at present 700 pages long! We'll see how page size in the final book affects that number, but it'll be a brick in any case. I'll share with you the pub date as soon was I have one, though the copy-editor and I will be finalizing things over the next few months, at least till February, I'd say.
Don Paterson, The Poem: Lyric, Sign, and Metre
This'll be the answer to "what are you reading these days?" for the next bit. It, too, is 700 pages long and dense and wonderful. I met Paterson at a reading in London some 6 years ago or so; he's terrific. Get Landing Light, if you don't know his work.
Okay Lovelies, we'd better call it there. The kids are going back to school soon, and I'm teaching at least one of my three classes in person this term. So...a lot is about...to...happen. Fingers crossed and prayers appreciated.