what I'm reading

what I'm reading

I've been burying myself in poetry. It's like I'm coming back to life where I didn't know I wasn't alive. Of course there I'm thinking of Lousie Glück's Averno, her take on Persephone, which I am also reading:

if your soul died, whose life

are you living and
when did you become that person?

You don't have to work hard to read poetry. It's easy. I've got poetry books scattered in the house and car. Pick up the first one you see while you're waiting for water to boil or when you hide for a few minutes in your bedroom. Download a big fat collected volume to your phone. Read it before you fall asleep instead of looking at Instagram. You'll have better dreams. 

Alice Oswald
 read from Falling Awake at the 92nd Street Y a couple weeks ago. Frank Bidart also read (just finished his Desire--yasssss*) and he, a master in his late 70s, said it was one of the best readings he'd ever seen. My heart was pounding.

Oswald trained first as a classicist and then as a garden designer. When she decided she couldn't be a poet, mom and gardener at the same time she dropped her day job. But to read her poems is to be seated behind these frames: the gardener's eye for the growth, decay, rot and wonder found in the natural world, the classicist's preoccupation with the oldest and truest stories, and whatever sudden, terrible knowledge about time and mortality we get from parenting. 

I heard her read this one first on NPR (worth your time) and later that night at the reading, which was really so great. No one laughed at stuff that's not funny just to prove they got it and I ran into** Anne Carson. I try to imitate Oswald's low, British accented voice when I read this to my kids. Slow down at "heart's thick accent" and skip the normal reading affectation.


I heard a cough
as if a thief was there
outside my sleep
a sharp intake of air

a fox in her fox-fur
stepping across
the grass in her black gloves
barked at my house

just so abrupt and odd
the way she went
hungrily asking
in the heart's thick accent

in such serious sleepless
trespass she came
a woman with a man's voice
but no name

as if to say: it's midnight
and my life
is laid beneath my children
like gold leaf



I made this one, Warm Soil, for spring. I am really digging it. Photo by 👑 Missy Prince, one of my favorites.   



Do you have the Freedom app on your phone? If not, get it and fulfill the New Year's resolution you've been making for ten years to read instead of staring at your screen, frittering away your what's left of your time. It will change your life. 


* Unf, I love this--makes me think of Knausgaard:

When Borges’ “I” confesses that Borges falsifies and exaggerates it seems to do so to cast aside falsity and exaggeration, to attain an entire candor unobtainable by Borges.

This “I” therefore allows us to enter an inaccessible magic space, a hitherto inarticulate space of intimacy and honesty earlier denied us, where voice, for the first time, has replaced silence.

**I actually almost fell on her and then I saw her face and recognized her. Her eyes are more alive than any grown adult's. She smiled and made a joke. Omg she is so charming. I love her now more than ever.