Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Despite mostly shuttling back and forth between the warmth of my bed and the space heater near my desk, I spent some time this past weekend with what will likely be book #9. There are a couple mss in similar stages of completion but the other needs far more editing and work than this on, which is therefore a little closer to being a real, actual thing.  This one FEED, is the one about mothers and daughters and disordered eating. It includes the newly finished swallow series, the Hansel & Gretel poems, and the imaginary daughter pieces.  What still feels to need some work is the hunger palace, the third section, which still makes me feel way too self-conscious. 

It's more lyric-essayistic and less prose poem-y, but it forms somewhat the heart of the book.  Maybe because it's personal.  Maybe because I feel too close to it or not close enough.  Maybe because it's more serious and less "poetic" than the other section of the book.  I don't trust it. I have a harder time trusting myself on how good or bad it is. Or even if it makes sense at all.

This was my first read through on the whole gathered manuscript together and I wound up swapping a couple sections--I initially thought to end it with the hunger palace, but I think the imaginary daughter pieces are better and a little more reflective of the book as a whole.  That means the book as a whole  begins with the spider that ate the fly in the swallow poems and the boxes full of museum specimens in that last poem. Which feels appropriate.  Also the fairy tale-is plump pieces follow swallow nicely, since the latter border on the surreal at points. Luckily, I hashed out the order in each individual section when I was composing those, so there won't be much re-organizing in each section happening.

I think once I nail down the hunger palace and do a final polishing, the book will be ready to start sending out this summer. Summer seems like a really far away thing right now, but I am counting down the days...

Monday, January 28, 2019

the writer & the librarian

In the midst of my quandary over the Ph.D, I came across this article on the dynamics of being a writer and a librarian at the same time. The joke being of course that it's wonderful to have a job where you are surrounded by books.  But also tragic in that you will probably never have time to read even a fraction of what you want.  Depending which area of the library you work in, there are other things to do.  Most of my days are spent lately processing reserve items and interlibrary loans. Much of the rest is planning or plotting with my boss on A of R stuff.  Occasionally there will be some time left at the end of the day for press or writing or art pursuits and this time varies depending on the time of year--the beginning of the semester and busy programming times are a beast, but there are lulls in between.  Since I work evenings, I do have a bit more discretionary time when things are deader for my own stuff (when it's hopping in the afternoon, there is much more running to and fro, even if you're not actually on the circ desk itself.)  That free time did help me in being able to pursue my own work--editing & submitting poems, proofing dgp galleys, designing covers or collages.  That quiet stretch of 7pm-10pm when very little is happening besides the occasional jammed printer.

As I've mentioned, I did not start out with the specific aim of spending the last 20 years in libraries. Sure, I loved libraries--a lot.  Had spent a good amount of my childhood getting really excited about weekly journeys to the tiny school library and plotting what to check out.  Regular trips to the tiny Cherry Valley Public one, at that time, shoved into a storefront, with it's crooked cramped aisles and it's rack of Sweet Valley High's near the front door. If you asked my child and adolescent self what I most enjoyed, library visits would have been in the top 5.  (probably along with choosing horror movies at the video store and building blanket forts--even better getting books to read in blanket forts.)

While I spent many lunch hours browsing in the wood shelved lined junior high library where I first learned to use a card catalog, I never quite warmed to our high school library--a sterile, beige and orange Breakfast Club-like monstrosity with the books locked in a cinder block walled off area to prevent theft (not sure why they thought that was a huge problem.) The library in North Carolina was shiny and huge, and I probably never made it past the first floor that semester, having found the periodical section and the lit magazines, which I would peruse between classes whenever I was in the vicinity between classes.  When I moved back to the midwest, I spent all my time in the RC library when I wasn't in class--reading or studying and occasionally napping in the basement. DePaul's Library was also huge, and while I don't remember spending as much time onsite, I began checking out contemporary work by poets there, and hauled them back to my apartment in my backpack.

By the time I was finishing up my degree, and had decided not to pursue the academic career I'd been plotting, it slowly began to creep into my head that libraries might be a viable career option, but there were actually many things still on the table at that point. Before I decided to move back to Rockford, I interviewed at the Newberry for some sort of digitization job that went to someone with more photo experience, but did get asked back for a page job that would have paid pennies (luckily or unluckily I had already decided to leave Chicago.)  When I arrived there, I tried to get work in all sorts of places --newspapers, museums, bookstores, general temp work.  I landed two jobs over that summer that turned out to be horrible--one selling advertising space in a movie theater brochure and the other as a production assistant at a small local paper.  One I was just plain bad at, the other working for a middle aged tyrant who treated his staff horribly. I quit both rather swiftly.  In the fall, I interviewed with the school district for a library paraprofessional position  and landed at an elementary school, where I spent the next year and a half before coming back to Chicago and starting at Columbia. It was as fulfilling as it was exhausting, paid hardly anything, and I pretty much ran the library with monthly visits from a district librarian. Rather than herding 4-5 classes a day through story time and checkout, CC was a much slower, calmer environment.  I've been there ever since.

As an English major, I always loved the research part--the collecting and amassing the information--I could do the digesting and writing part--and do it well--but it wasn't my favorite part. I would usually do a whole bunch of research and then procrastinate on the the writing--even in grad school, where many an overnight produced reasonably good essays and papers. Creative projects on the other hand, were much more fun.  Over the past two decades I delved in to a number of subjects that produced really fun projects--urban legends and ghost stories, victorian texts, sideshow and circus history, fairy tales...last year it was the Slender Man stabbing and the Ariadne myth. Even now I am working on a couple more research-intensive projects--one on the Murder Castle and one on doomed Hollywood starlets. Like the author of the article says, it's great to be your own reference librarian...

Even outside the library, I appreciate the value working CC has added to my life--not only was I able to get my MFA at half-off, but it surrounds me with a lot of creative like-minded people I'd likely not find elsewhere. And the students are always a sort of inspiration and energy (though sometimes exhausting.) And my visual arts pursuits were sparked wholly here--both in the impetus to create and display work, and endless supply of discarded materials,  and in the ability to take summer workshops at Book & Paper back in the day.  If I am going to be forced to work anywhere for 40 hours a week to actually pay my rent and buy groceries, I would want it to be here more than anywhere else...

And the work in libraries in general, as I mentioned in the last couple of entries, has produced some non-creative library-related writing projects. Not only books/articles on curated learning, but on library artists-in-residence programs and artists experiences within them.  I"m currently working on an article on traditional and non-traditional at exhibits in libraries and hope to finish it soon. I also have notes and plans for some sort of library-related memoir project.

Also, I did once vow to organize a poetry collection via Dewey Decimal and it may yet still happen. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

warming up the water

I've been giving more thought to yesterday's post about Ph.D temptations and mid-life crises and more and more am convinced that these feelings I am having have less to do with the idea of enrolling in a doctoral program and all the attendant demands it would entail, including putting stress on the very fragile system of work and creative time balance, and more to do with that brief spark I felt when looking into it.  That rush of planning and future prospects.  The idea of something entirely new and interesting. And a little bit ridiculous.

Sort of like I'm swimming in a warm, comfortable bath, and then getting a rush of hot water, and I hadn't realized how cool the current water had grown.  There are always things to look forward to--writing projects, art things, library programming and endeavors, but maybe these have, in the last two years, grown comfortable, but there is less seeking, less striving.   Yes, I am working on new books & projects.  Yes, there are wonderful new publications on the horizon. But these are what I do, who I am, & while and like doing them very much, and want badly to continue to do so, a new sparkly appears on the horizon and there was a weird rush that took me aback.  One that I suspect had less to do with the actual thing (which grows more unlikely each day after the more I think about it. ) but moreso, the spectre of it that was glowing there for a bit.  I wondered if this what compels monogamous lovers to want to cheat on even their best relationships. Maybe we are not meant to be comfortable and complacent.

I am also very conscious of my own tendencies to want to escape--those crazy impulses to move to New Orleans (which I love, but feel at this current point in life  not a wise move.)  Is the rush a desire to run away from something, and if it is, what exactly is it? What may look like running toward something may also look a lot like running away from something else. The fact that is was so ridiculous and foolish made it even more appealing in that moment.

This is all even sillier given that I am a creature of habit and don't really want things upsetting my balance.  My routines, my way of life. So even if it's a horrible idea, my thoughts then turn to how to inject that same impulse back into my life,  to warm up the water I am in.  To channel that rush back into where I already am instead of running off to do something that will only set me more off balance and likely add more stress to my life.  I don't know what that looks like, but it's an interesting idea.

Whether that's a new project or a new creative endeavor or a new genre or medium or even just a new outlook on existing things...we shall see...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

I had a weird moment midweek where something that seemed like a crazy idea seemed also like a totally do-able thing. But what was worse, was that the spectre of the thing seemed for a second to strike an old spark and sense of purpose I haven't felt in a while, and certainly not in the past couple of years. I was so enamored of that feeling, I had to separate that feeling in itself from the thing that inspired it (which seemed far more riduculous in the light of day) and parse out what it was that was touching those connectors and what might be a better way to do that. (than this thing, which was, as I said, crazy).

About  15 years ago, I had been working in libraries for a few years and reached a point where I had a couple options.  I could pursue my MLIS degree, and therefore cement my career as a librarian, which would probably bump my pay and career possibilities by a bit, but I'm nor sure by THAT much, or get my MFA in writing poetry.  Since I've always determined not to do things for the sake of money alone, I went with the latter.   I also wasn't sure I wanted to be in libraries permanently, or follow a traditional library career path, since while I enjoy them greatly in a general sense, the profession itself has never been a draw. I wanted to be a writer, so it seemed more important to focus things and center myself there. And while I had both negative and positive experiences therein, the overall takeaway was that it was worth it for the work and progress I made while getting it.

Also, many of my friends have since found their library grad educations sort of boring, basic, and uninspiring.  A necessary step-stone, but little else.  Prone to being largely out of date even a few years out of graduation.  Also weilded by the worst and most inept of the profession in many cases as a reason you should take them seriously--that degree, much like the MFA, when you really should not. That MLS, non MLS conflict seemed to permeate all corners of the profession, and at times I've felt it and brushed it off.  In a lot of things I've been reading, people have been questioning the necessity, especially given it seems you are expected to go into hock for a degree, much of which you could have learned in practice on the job.

Any temptation to go back to school for that particular reason has faded over the years.  For one, I'm not sure I would, at this age, make a good student.  It was hard to play that role in something I was passionate about a decade ago, let alone now and in a subject where, sure, some of it will be interesting and new, but most will likely be knowledge I've already gleaned professionally on the job. Also money (I have none and my student loans are already crazy).  Also time (I can barely keep myself afloat).   Also, even if I got the degree, I would mostly likely have to leave Columbia to pursue degreed career options elsewhere, a place I feel I belong and a department I feel like I belong in. I've also said that most likely when I leave CCC, unless I were laid off or fired, it will be to work entirely for myself with the press or other writing or art endeavors.

But I've also felt the sting of not being taken seriously in the workplace for not being a degreed librarian.  Also overstepping invisble boundaries.  Being ignored and treated shittily. For being too much sometimes.  (Though truthfully my boss  (who is both a dept. head and degreed) says this might be because we're, ya know, women. Or work in Access Services vs Reference or some other dept. The people who basically make sure the doors are open and things in their places, but god forbid we try to have an impact on the workplace beyond that.

All of this less interesting backstory, but one that applies as we've navigated our way through our A of R endeavors, how they are accepted and received, how seriously they have been taken in the past.  How many obstacles there were to get things rolling., or hell, to even get things off the ground. We're in a far better and hopeful place now, but I'm still a little resentful sometimes at how hard it was to be taken seriously or listened to, whatever the factors at play.

I've mentioned before some library-related writing projects we've been trying to pin down, some more scholarly content about libraries and artmaking and creative communities.  About self-directed learning, and the role of the academic library not only as a place that supports the sort of learning that happens in the classroom via materials and resources, but that also be an intellectual center in and off itself. How the library serves as a connection point for self-directed learning, but also a nexus of a community that in turn radiates out into greater campus and arts communities.  Things have been sort of bonkers with our staffing issues and anything not absolutely crucial has been set aside, but we're hoping to return to these pursuits when we've filled department positions that take some of the load off.

One of my co-workers is currently in grad school and we were joking about Ph.D programs in Library Science at our last department meeting--why anyone would ever do that when it seemed mostly, at this point unecessary in the field and more likely to just make you overqualified for most positions in the library sector? Afterward I decided to google programs and people experiences. And the more I looked at it, the more appealing it seemed as a possibility, particularly one distance learning one that looked to be very research-focused.  Granted, I have no idea what I would do professionally with such a degree--whether it would open or close more doors, and hell, I'm looking for a way OUT of the library workforce eventually. But the idea of working on a thesis on something I am kind of passionate about seemed like a really exciting idea. At least for a few hours. I read everything I could--program descriptors, blogs about current student experiences.  Thesis abstracts. Looked up what people did with the degree--crossovers in teaching and research and libraries.

I went to bed that night, really intrigued with this crazy idea and the possibilities therein. I woke up more realistically, but with the feeling that it had been a long time since I had been that excited by a future possibility, however reckless or unlikely to be a good idea.  Then I realized I need to figure out why that was. Why that feeling?  Why that particular thing evoked that feeling?  My tiny mental spin-out right before Christmas had been spun around the idea that, at this age, how the only things you have to look forward to on a macro level are bad--death, disease, loss.  Sure, there are still good things, and I am always looking forward to new books and projects and adventures, but those seem smaller-scale compared to what you potentially lose going into the second half of your life.   You were always buildIng, adding, and now begins the substraction. This has everything to do with losing my mom and also not entirely just that.

I joked the next day when talking it out maybe this was a temptation toward my own version of a mid-life crisis--instead of buying a boat or dating people remarkably younger than than me, I was thinking about a Ph.D. I mean, why not if it made me feel like I had a little more purpose.  All crazy since I've built my life to always make sure I have purpose, that I've grounded myself in things I am passionate about.  Around the time I turned 40, I always laughed and said I'd surely by-pass midlife malaise by making sure to do things right the first time.   But low and behold, a few years later, it seems it's found me at least a little bit. I have a slightly hectic, but immensely fufilling life, but still that little bit of sparkle distracted me for a moment in a good way.

Since I'm not sold on those kind unrealistic Ph.D dreams, I'm now set into trying to figure out WHY that sparked what it did and how to achieve that on a more realistic level.  Is it the inquiry, which I can do just as well outside a program and much cheaper on my own. And no doubt will continue to pursue inside or outside of that.  Or can I parlay this into other arenas, writing or publishing or artmaking, all of which I am already doing.  Into my existing work at the library--our programming and projects?

For a second, there was a sparkle there I haven't seen in a while, so WHY?  Granted, it may not even be possible.  I was going down the Ph.D track once before twenty years ago and decided against it (I got into NIU's Lit program, and abandoned a couple other in progress applications.)  I couldn't see myself teaching or doing scholarly work in lit and wanted to devote myself to writing creatively.  This feels different, the work I would do more applicable to real world things and libraries than studying Bronte novels and then spending my years teaching composition classes, noble but not the goal. Many of the candidates I e-stalked in the desired program did not have an MLS degree, but possibly not having one could work against me, even with 20 years of experience. Also, would what seems shiny now be really boring after a while. And I have no idea what I might be getting into, how to balance current pursuits I very much want to keep doing, with this new potential endeavor. If that balance is even possible.

It's all moot b/c the porgram I'm most interested in isn't taking applications til next year anyway and I'm not about to throw myself wily nilly into anything, but we'll see what happens and if time makes this more or less appealing as a possibility. There are many things I could do that may spark the same feeling and be much less expensive, exhausting, and much more realistic...

the game of life

At our old school board game night yesterday I wound up playing LIFE, a game I had not touched pretty much since I was a teenager and would play it with my parents.   Like Monopoly, it was somehow a contentious endeavor, and I just remember games ceasing over arguments.  These were the years I was quick to fight with both parents, but especially my mother.  It seemed like we played board games a lot, it being the late 80's early 90's, having no cable, and there being no such thing as, ya know,  the internet.

The version I was playing today was a little more updated, but I was amazed at how strict and stringent the path and how few choices you actually had.   You did get to choose whether or not you went to college (and were saddled with student loans as such), but nonetheless, you had to get married, children weren't mandatory but you usually landed on one, and you had to not only buy a first house, but also a bigger one at some point., whether you actually had the money or not.  I think what gave me a little bit of vertigo was the thought that at 15, I played this game having no idea what actual life would bring. It probably, given what I saw around me, would not have seemed odd. Of course, you'd get a job, get married, have children. Get a house.  A bigger house.

Nearly 30 years later of course, my LIFE game path would have been immensely different from anything found in a board game. I would have went to college, then grad school,  but I would have chosen a career in the arts, and therefore, not the cozy salaries of the card options--accountants, lawyers, doctors.  I would have bypassed marrying, purchasing a house, having children--things I neither really wanted nor, in the case of the house, afforded.  We joked that there should be more options, like keep renting a place to live or or fill your tiny plastic car with cats.  Or even start your own business.

The goal, the game being ever so American of course, was to rush to the finish line (retirement or death) with as much cash in hand as you could. Along the way, things like taxes and other players lawsuits, taking your money away.  Which seems like a sad way to live, and a sad thing to live for.  The most exciting square to land on might have been the ones that said you wrote a book or won a Nobel.

What I would love to see is something more realistic.  Like, yes, you choose to be a writer or artist and live on very little, but oops, the electric bill is late to the point of shut-off.  Or oops, looks like you over-drafted your Chase account account.  Oops, that dude you just fell for is married. But look, you wrote a book.  You probably won't get to retire, but you do get an an anxiety disorder and a closet of pretty dresses.  :)

Friday, January 25, 2019

the poet's zodiac

I've finally reached the point where I've completed slightly more than half of the poet's zodiac series.  While last year brought the spring and summer sections, I skipped over fall and went straight to winter, mostly because I was feeling in quite a bleak, wintery mood before the holidays and it seemed appropriate.  As such, the poems are a little darker, no matter the sign and I realized when I posted one of the remaining new summer ones on instagram, what a difference a season makes.

Truthfully, I've been circling the drain the past couple of months and trying to keep myself afloat, but I'm still writing, so I guess that's good. It does not help that we've been slapped with a polar vortex and a load of snow on the ground and these are always the hardest months for me.   Still, even though its full of longing, the capricorn one I posted today was a brighter spot in what these poems are becoming...enjoy...

flashback fashion: ever so laura ashley

My mother always told the story of how this photo happened..After I was born, that she won some sort of sitting with some fancy shmancy photographer and her bestie bought me the dress, which was inordinately expensive for baby clothes but absolutely exquisite.  Given that most likely it only fit for a tiny sliver of time, also absolutely tragic, but the high-end photography makes this one of the few pics from my infant years to not be a curling snapshot on yellowed vintagey film.  These there are a ton of--me crawling the green shag of our trailer chasing after our pekingese. Me lolling super blonde and diapered on a plaid blanket in the yard.  Toddling between my mom and cousins at Disney World.  It's hard to believe my hair was ever that light, since by the time I started school, it had darkened to what I'm guessing (outside the ever-imposing greys) the shade my hair would be now.

Baby pictures are strange, to know that that flesh was so new. And barring the theory that every cell in your body is on the regular replaces, still the same skin, the same eyes, probably that same weird whorl on top of my head if my hair were short.  Of course, I don't remember this dress, my first memories happening a bit later,  but over the years I think it may be one of my favorites--from that pale whispy blue to the neutral floral--totally something I would totally wear today, even in baby doll-like cut.  Definitely very Laura Ashley, maybe a little Gunne Sax...

Note:   I did have that owl well into my childhood, but I'm pretty sure he was falling apart and my mom threw him out.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

dgp cover love | graphics edition

I mentioned before the holiday that I've definitely been feeling a bit more graphically oriented in terms of covers, and these are three recent original designs.  I often realize that there is quite a bit of cross-over in the designs I do for the library programs and the designs I do for the library (you'd definitely see similarities in my poster fro our upcoming Strange Fevers promos, which involve a similar style that I am adoring for the last couple of months.)  I'm particularly lovng the contrast of flatter images on top of textured backgrounds, which actually started with these collages last summer.

the most exquisite drug

In about mid-February, we are coming up on the 20th anniversary of my very first acceptance for a poem--two of them actually, appearing in consecutive issues. . I'd had college lit mag poems aplenty, and used to send to an org called Quill Books that at times seemed like a good resource with a writer's advice magazine.  But I'm pretty sure the point was to include your poem for the $25 it cost for the anthology.  But I still felt like I lacked a "real" publication--ie one who the editors were a) not out to make money on me, and b) the editors were people I did not know. But meanwhile, at 24, I was sending a lot of work out as fast as I could lick those SASE's and in February of 1999, came what I had so desperately been seeking.  It was not, of course, Poetry or the New Yorker, but a tiny, local feminist lit mag. but as happy as I was, you'd have thought it was the New York Times. 

It was amazing how quickly my day could change --I'd just been grocery shopping, so I was cranky and my arms tired from carrying my haul for three blocks back to my tiny LP apartment, and had stopped by the mailboxes in the lobby on my way back in.  I'm pretty sure I let out an audible squeal when I opened the envelope. It was a really small,saddle-stapled publication with a tiny circulation, but good god, it went so far in finally making me feel like a writer--a real one.  With poems in books and everything. It would still be a couple years before I discovered the wide world of internet journals, so this was singular and big.  I carried that acceptance around with me in my journal for awhile, and later, put it in a scrapbook from those very early years when things were novel enough to need a scrapbook for. Even though I haven't pulled it out in a while I still remember exactly what the paper looked like, Rhe scrawl of acceptance and poem titles on an otherwise form slip of paper.. 

Moon Journal, of course, would go onto publish quite a few more of my poems in their issues, and my very first chapbook, The Archaeoloist's Daughter..  I still have every issue I appeared in squirreled away somewhere. This was the very beginnings of my internet browsing, but I think my knowledge of it was totally analog.  I remember a tiny mention of the journal and address for submissions on a newsletter that accompanied a rejection for a local anthology I'd sent work for.

It was good timing, considering I had spent the previous winter writing and submitting like mad and finally something had come from it.  While I still was uncertain of what the future held, my Ph.D applications and future job plans in flux,  I felt like I knew for sure my life would include writing and publishing.  It sort of sealed the deal and hooked me on the most exquisite drug ever.   Within a few years, I'd be publishing widely, both online and in print, but even though every acceptance is exciting in it's way, somehow that very first one made me feel like I was finally a writer--that I could do this crazy thing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

some thoughts on workshops

For some reason, this time of winter--this grey snowy weather and the beginning of the spring term-- always reminds me of my very first poetry workshop as an undergrad. I had taken a fiction workshop my second semester at RC (see my earlier post on the Hemingway/Faulkner debate) but this was the first time I actually showed anyone the poems I'd been writing and they were bad. At the time, surely, I thought they were genius.  I'd gone from writing spare, skinny minimalist poems with social messages at 19 to writing Dickinson-esque rhyming pieces at 21.  In that, they were good, I can rhyme really adeptly and have a decent ear for rhythm.  But they were so bad, but actually pretty decent for bad poems.  Or maybe good in their badness.
Mind you, at this point, I hadn't a clue what contemporary poetry looked like of any persuasion. Also, the other work in the class was similarly bad, but in different ways.  Much of it looked like the sort of verse you would expect a group of 20 year olds to be writing. There was a lot of goth style lyrics, a lot of diary entries. It was a night class, so every week I would bring my stack of workshop poems home and  delve in enthusiastically while I ate dinner, filling my mom in on whatever had been said or written about my terrible poems (which I'm sure was super boring for her).  As with my grad school experience, there wasn't much agreement or knowledge on what a poem was supposed to do or how to do it, so I doubt my carefully made notes on other poems made much of a difference.  But I made them every week, usually right away, and then would wait impatient for the next week's class. I'm pretty sure I was using a typewriter then to bang out drafts.  On some, you can see my liberal use of correction tape and white-out  Somewhere in my files I still have pretty much all of these pieces, some photocopies, some on the original filmy typing paper.  I wouldn't really start hanging out in the computer labs on campus until my final year and typing up poems there.

I think the big difference here was how nice we all were about our awful poems.  Even the professor, who sat through our horrible verse weekly and was encouraging--to some more than others. We would take each piece on it's merits (what little there were) and try to help the author achieve something they were going for--whatever that was.  And maybe grad school is supposed to be more excising and honestly cruel, but I never felt like I was under attack in that undergrad workshop--no one laid into anyone else, and we all hobbled along with our faulty verse and at the end went our ways.  As far as I know, no one but me went on to do poetry professionally, but at least a couple I suspect still write in secret.

I know that criticism helps you become a better artists, but I often wonder how much workshops as they currently are structured snuff  a lot of people out. There were times in my first couple of years where I felt not merely that I was being criticized, but explicitly attacked.  I watched other classmates walk out of class and burst into tears.  Some people are serious assholes and workshops give them a chance to really lay into other people's work to settle out petty differences and  jealousies.  Some of the most interesting work in my program came from people who walked away entirely after the experience.

I often feel the moment workshop came closest to being useful was when we went around the room talking about what we regarded as a successful poem.  Everyone's answers were different, and offered so much in the way of how to view and comment upon their work.  We had to shut the conversation down to move onto that week's critiques due to time, but I wanted more of that in my MFA program and less of the thrashing about blindly.  If a group of ten people all have highly different ideas of what poetry is supposed to do, what poetry even is, how can you speak the same language when you talk about it.

I think about this when I consider workshops now.  Considering my MFA hangover the first few years out of the program, I'm not sure I would want to endure a workshop ever again, as a participant or as a facilitator, but still in my head is the idea of a dream workshop that takes these things into factor somehow. Where people can grow instead of being shut down.

Monday, January 21, 2019

the world we live in vs. the world we imagined

Today, one of the things I most wanted to see and yet feared to see happened--Kamala Harris officially threw her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination and as always, I was excited at the possibility of a woman winning the presidency, much less a woman of color and a non -nonsense woman at that.  The kind of woman I would want at the helm of the country.  If this were even three years ago, I would have loved to see Harris in office more than Clinton.  Would have thought that as a younger candidate with more energy and a large swathe of demographics backing her, she could be sparkly and presidential in the way Obama was.  That she could win by a landslide over whatever reactionary  republican they managed to put up against her.  That it was finally time for a woman in the oval office and she might be the greatest chance of getting there.

But then 2016 happened and now I have very little faith left.  Faith in a country that is, if you lift up its rocks and boards, not only super racist and xenophobic, but also super sexist and mysogynistic. That all of these things have now been emboldened and normalized by the current regime and are somehow stronger.  Sort of like all the cockroaches that had been lurking in the shadows the past couple decades are now convinced its acceptable to move out into the daylight with the rest of us.  Every headline is a testament to this--the Catholic high school students who mocked an NA elder, the Brett Kavanaughs of the world, pretty much everything #45 does and says and tweets with his ridiculous fat fingers.

I see that Harris is running and my first rush is the same old excitement I would have had a decade ago, but then a dread.  That it will not be enough.   That democrats are too divided between the extremes and the status quo (basically the Bernies vs. the Hillarys )   I'm still convinced that there are better people in this country than just the 50 percent that did not vote Trump--but that they were too busy listening to the Democrat forces tearing each other down and apart--Bernie bros I am looking at you here.) If there is too much division in the party--then we still lose.   Because while most liberal people are liberal in their own ways and degrees--with some things more important than others (health care, climate change, education)-- bigots and liars and mysogynists are willing to get behind whoever espouses their warped values and is the most hateful.  So Harris will be too liberal, or not liberal enough. They will fight it all out in the primaries, and even if she gets the nomination, the damage suffered there could make her lose later on.

I wish this weren't the world I lived in.  But I think that November morning two years ago took any sort of hope out of me for the political system at all. I can cast my vote for whoever is on the opposing side of hate, but I can't control what others do or don't do, and it's terrifying to think, unless the Republicans are all in jail by then (which is a distinct possibility) , that it could easily happen again.

(I write this knowing that in two years I might look back and see that I was so, so wrong.  I hope to god I am..)

the devil made me do it

I always laugh at how pretty much my entire knowledge of all things biblical come from two or three very specific places.  One was a copy of a children's illustrated version, given as a gift to us around the time my sister was born. My mother, whose other nightime rituals involved singing the cucaraca song to our horror and giggling delight, would regularly read first few pages of this often.  Over and over again, mostly because outside of some little goldens and a badly battered mother goose, it was all we had in the way of material til we were old enough to read ourselves.  I do remember she once skipped ahead to Noah and the arc, which was it's own sort of traumatizing, but at least involved animals.  As for Adam and Eve, I think my child brain could never understand why it was Eve's fault the serpent tempted her. So every time she read it was another meditation on wtf?

Later my sister would accompany a friend to church and youth groups (a pro Bush problematic non-denominational one at that), but me, my biblical knowledge pretty much ceased at Adam & Eve and the fateful flood.  Fast forward 20 years and my senior seminar is, of all things, devoted to Paradise Lost. A tricky tangle of footnotes even if you are a religious scholar, but absolute horror for me.  So thus, I came away from it mostly with a version of Satan's fall from, of course, his side of the story and the idea of him as a highly sympathetic character.  A couple year's later, I took a seminar in at Depaul and revisited the same text to fill a period requirement (Shakespeare was full) .  My third great source of religious mythology is , of course, multiple seasons of Supernatural, which has yielded vast amounts of info on the occult over the years as well as a whole lot of the bible.

I've been fangirling the past few weeks over the Fox series Lucifer, which is now on Netflix and due for a new season there, which interestingly paints Lucifer as not only a sympathetic character, but also an inherently good one.  Punished for disobeying, yes.  But put in hell to punish the wicked, not be wicked himself. It's basically a buddy cop show where they are solving crimes, but, ya know, with Satan. (it does not hurt that everyone on the show is ridiculously attractive..ahem,)  Somehow, it had completely slipped my radar til it landed on Netflix, so I'm looking forward to what they do with a new season.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

1930's chic

When I was in Rockford over the holiday, my sister and I  spent some time looking for some ridiculous photos of matching outfits holidays past and uncovered my paternal grandmother's high school yearbook in one of my dad's boxes--a thinly bound volume with actual photos glued in using rubber cement.  Near some of the entries was my grandmother's neatly handwritten details on what was to become of these women-mostly notes on them either getting married straight-away or going off to teachers and business colleges (her plan was the latter).  Somewhere along the route she met my grandfather and according to my dad, never finished. This seems a little sad to me given her obvious propensity for writing and documenting--she seems like she'd have made an excellent teacher or librarian (which in the late 30's was all you could hope for career-wise as a woman.) By the end of the decade, she would have already given birth to my oldest uncle and soon another 5 children over the two decades, with my dad somewhere in the middle of it.

What struck me also flipping through was the photos and how stylish the dresses.  As someone whose highschool yearbook boasts mostly people in preppy button downs or sporty sweatshirts and pegged jeans, I am super jealous.  I've often said 30's and early 40's style are my favorites and here was a huge array of things I would die to have in my close-- day dresses, tiny florals, peter pan collars.  I actually love the softness of 30's styles more than the boxy lines that would follow in the next decade. Sadly, my generous 21st Century body it would never, even at it's thinnest, fit into most of the tiny dresses of tiny depression-era women, so instead of actual vintage, I have to seek out contemporary pieces with vintage lines and details. Eshakti is good for this, as well as occasional finds at Modcloth and Lindy Bop.

A peek of my favorite actual vintage dresses (see more here)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

bloody crossings, flaring winds

In MFA school, I once took a class devoted to Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, & Sharon Olds. This week, when Mary Oliver died, it found me thinking of her work and why perhaps she's never been a favorite. I should be drawn to her work as someone who likes nature in poems and women poets in general.  I greatly appreciate endlessly her long and stable career....and that use of nature, which is always lush and descriptive, and beautifully attenuated to sound. But but like many poets of her generation & style, there was always, the pat wrap up.  The I came, I saw, I had an epiphany of so much verse.  Compare it to Louise Gluck, who does it less, but still sometimes, or Jorie Graham, who barely does it at all.

Which is not to say, there isn't something still to be appreciated in this sort of work.  In honor of her passing, below is my favorite Oliver piece.

Wolf Moon

by Mary Oliver

Now is the season
of hungry mice,
cold rabbits,
lean owls
hunkering with their lamp-eyes
in the leafless lanes
in the needled dark;
now is the season
when the kittle fox
comes to town
in the blue valley
of early morning;
now is the season
of iron rivers,
bloody crossings,
flaring winds,
birds frozen
in their tents of weeds,
their music spent
and blown like smoke
to the stone of the sky;
now is the season
of the hunter Death;
with his belt of knives,
his black snowshoes,
he means to cleanse
the earth of fat;
his grey shadows
are out and running - under
the moon, the pines,
down snow-filled trails they carry
the red whips of their music,
their footfalls quick as hammers,
from cabin to cabin,
from bed to bed,
from dreamer to dreamer.

notes & things | 1/19/2019

The past couple weeks have been heavy with the winter blues and a bug that knocked me on my ass last weekend worse than any in a decade, and so was thus spent shivering and fevery in bed and in the aftermath sniffling and coughing all week long. Queue the usual January malaise. Add in some weird dreams about my mom and I've been off kilter much of this month. This weekend is predicted to be a particularly wintery one and already there is a lot of snow of the sort I was hoping we'd be able to somehow slip out from under winter without and yet, here it is. So I am determined to drink tea and make soup and not go outside during the entire three day weekend.  Tuesday brings the usual semester hours and my earlier-in-the-day studio hours which are always more productive and sane.

I did finish up the swallow series and get more of a start on my (as yet untitled) doomed Hollywood starlet set of poems (using as inspiration my Black Dahlia and Hollywood sign ghost research I've been doing the past couple of years.)  Starting my day in the studio will also regulate that useful writing schedule again, which has been in flux since mid December and more scattershot recently after breaking for the holiday.

 I'm still in the progress of navigating sites away from Tumblr.  The dgp site, which used to land on the domain page it always has and feed into Tumblr now just lets you navigate from that very first page. For the past few years, it took you to a news page that I really only populated with new releases anyway and never much news.  We always had some Tumblr followers, but it was never our primary source of social media traffic, so I'm not sure I'll see a difference in how people get to the shop portion.  The info pages are now in the shop proper (and actually make sense since people are occasionally in the online store and try to find submission guidelines and such in there, and now can instead of going back out of the Shopify site. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to do with wicked alice, less important since I'm going to be doing issues, but I still need a launch/info page that is ideally not Tumblr. I'm just really tired of having to appeal things when their bots deem any nudity adult content, which its very obviously not. I feel like since platforms come in and out of vogue anyway, and less people have been using tumblr as a social media option anyway (even the Library has nixxed Tumblr)  they may have just put a nail in their own coffin.

Preparations are underway on a new batch of chaps and the Mansion anthology, plus getting the December releases out into the world. I'm still working on some of the last 2018 releases, but a couple of the first of the 2019 books have been hitting the site as well and this year is looking very auspicious. I will not be able to go to AWP this year due to work (we are still down 40 percent of our positions in the library)  and money issues (I haz none on the disposable income front),  but keep an eye out for some author organized events that are in the works and that I'll be providing books for.

In the Library, in addition to getting mad disrespected in a committee meeting this week that left me furious, preparations are humming along for spring events , including our Strange Fever's colloquium. (see poster above), plus some fun little things in February like a rom com trivia night, a collage pendant workshop I've been shopping supplies for, and our Surrealist love letter reading.  We're still working on developing the idea for our Artists & Scholars Colloquium in early April that condenses much of what we usually do across the span of a semester into a single intensive day. (which will either be amazing or an utter nightmare--not yet sure which..lol)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

new digs...

Since the tumblr platform is a little ridiculous and overzealous in it's porn-seeking bots and post flagging (and somehow thought that this radio ocularia collage was on the level of Jenna Jamison)  Since I don't want to have to appeal every 5 minutes if I have a nude statue in a collage, I've decided to migrate all the stuff currently hosted on Tumblr over to blogger sites.  I've loved blogger since I moved to this space in 2005, but so much fancy (and free) design capabilities are available now. (our Crypto Soc. and A of R Pages are blogger pages.)  So I'm working on moving my personal portfolio page, and dgp's general info pages over to this platform in the next few weeks.  (the shop itself is hosted elsewhere and won't be changing, just how you get directed from the domain to there will be different.)

I thought about doing this for efficiency sake a few months ago, so had a blank site ready to go, but I spent last night migrating the necessary content over to the new page and it's looking rather spiffy...This is basically one arm that comes off my domain itself for my own writing and art projects, so it includes links to books, published works, interviews, reviews, and such..

see the results here.https://kristybowenwork.blogspot.com/?zx=40d199a92300d5da..

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

writing & art bits | January

The last few hours of 2018 brought this interview/publisher profile in the Kenyon Review (courtesy of Kristina Marie Darling), wherein I discuss literary citizenship, the benefits of editorial work for writers, and how to change the world one book at a time.

Preparations are nigh on the Mansion anthology of Slender Man inspired writings (due in February), in which I have a few pieces from my own project, necessary violence.  (and look for that project itself, complete with accompanying artwork from Becky Webster later this year.)

You can still get pieces of the swallow series into your mailbox on a weekly basis (I took a break for the holidays, but watch for the next installment this Friday)  This particular series is the final piece in the  puzzle that is a new longer book manuscript, FEED.

Some poems from the science of impossible objects have made their way into the brand new edition of Birdfeast.

The very first object in the Books & Objects series of 2019 will be debuting next week--a sweet little accordian book of the animals postcards.  They are available by subscription, but I will also make a few standalone copies available in the shop.

Monday, January 14, 2019

going analog

Over the past couple of years, I've been working more digitally than not when it comes to collages. Since I spend a great deal of time in front of a computer for all other sorts of reasons, it make sense that some artmaking would happen.  I do a lot of cover designs and library graphic work working with photo editing software, and many times, something I do will spark a new series of collages (for example, last years murder mystery poster led to the hunger palace collages, which then led to the cryptotaxonomy zine pieces. I like the neatness and exactness of working digitally, as well as being able to use the entire internet as your toolbox in terms of images..need a creepy doll's head?  A toy horse?  and octopus?  Google and ye shall receive.  My collages also wind up neater--no wayward scissors or glue smears or random cat footprints.  I've been saving my analog efforts for things like painting and printmaking, but doing most of my collage on the screen. 

Paper is different.  You have to work with what you have. But as we talked about after last year's Art on the Cheap panel, sometimes this leads you places you might not otherwise go. Over the holiday break, I cut into a stack of Time magazines from the 1960's which I knew would be ripe with clippable things and while it feels limiting in some ways, I think those limitations cause me to actually be more creative with what I do have.  Perhaps the closest analogy I think of is writing poems with formal constraints and how much magic can happen that wouldn't otherwise. So I'm collaging and I don't have a shoe, but I have a breadbox or a vacuum cleaner or a woman's head.  What happens when you put all these things together.? When you have to put these things together because there really isn't anything else on the table in front of you?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

glamorous decay

One summer in the mid-90's, I spent the entire three months reading Faulkner and Hemingway in front of a fan to keep cool. In a fiction workshop the previous semester, the instructor, who was a rude mansplainy alumni dude had set these two up as dichotomies--you were either a Faulkner or a Hemingway and your style was either short, brisk and to the point, or long and rambling.  About midway through the semester, he decided that I was definitely more Faulkner-like and said that I would make a far better poet than a fiction writer.  I was annoyed at the time, but I wish I could say he was wrong.  My exploits in fiction, from what I remember,  were mostly loosely structured stories conveyed by long rambling beautiful sentences you would get entirely lost in and lose track of the plot.  Sort of like a poem.

That summer I set out to see what he was talking about. It was ungodly hot and occasionally the power at my parents' house would fail and you'd find me outside on the deck with a candle for light, spread out on a sheet as dusk came around, headphones blasting Mazzy Star in my ears still reading to escape the heat inside the house. While I find Hemingway highly problematic, I was less exacting in those years, so I read A Moveable Feast at least twice--and longed to be in that "Paris in the twenties" world. So very different from my 90's midwestern world, which did not seem ripe for offering much in the ways of culture or interest.   Sure, there were my classes--where I was studying writers and taking workshops--and there were near weekly trips to the Barnes & Noble with my sister, where we would load up on all the midlist cast-off bargain books.  There were plays--those I participated and worked on for the college and in the community.  There was a tiny professional theatre long since closed downtown and yearly Shakespeare at the community college we attended in the fall.  But it all felt very short of scratching the itch that reading something like Hemingway forged.  I wanted more.

Last week, I stumbled upon this Lit Hub piece and giggled at it's accuracy (as someone who feels my literary expectations were forged by Hemingway and his ilk, and as someone who loves the aesthetics, if not the prices, of Anthropologie.) I used to get the catalog proper, but now settle for occasionally browsing their instagram.  While I can neither afford, nor fit into their clothes, there is still something appealing about the visuals, but it never occurred to me that this desire for a certain picturesque could have it's roots in my interpretation of what that "writing lifestyle" looks like. Perhaps the only familiar counterpoint to the modernists might be my beloved Sylvia, who also forged in my head a certain sort of literary life, but hers was mired first in college and Oxford and then in her country house, and then tragically ending in the Yeats apartment.  This world was filled with writing and babies and romantic treachery, but in many ways was a continuation of that Hemingway legacy, which no doubt formed her as much as it forms writers today.  This was probably also true of the Beats, and perhaps even moreso since they were mostly men, bent on that certain spirit of boho heroism ala Hemingway.

And if we ourselves have interalized that ideal literary life as writers--culture has done so tenfold--movies, television( see Lives of the Poets )  Even recently I was watching that delightfully creepy series YOU, where the female lead is a poetry MFA student, and things like that always seem, at best, like a slightly askew reflection of what being a writer is actually like. In this case a little more believable (the struggle to balance a social life with creative life, imposter syndrome, always money problems). But still a little off in its depiction of how "fame" in the lit world works.

Indeed, if the culture at large were asked to imagine a poet, they would not see most of us with our day jobs and our piles of unvanquished laundry but moreso the traveling flaneuse, who never had to work to earn money, but somehow it was always available. Who had long, winding days to sleep til the afternoon and then bang away at a typewriter til night, when we would then hang out at readings and bars and carouse with other writers until dawn.  We wouldn't have children, or electric bills, or anything getting in the way of our brilliance.  And yet, I don't think I've ever met the sort of writer, even the highly successful ones who actually earn money from writing, whose life would even begin to approach the one the world would imagine for us. Ditto on the general assumptions made about writers, poets especially,  My favorite being the highschool acquaintance I ran into at a wedding about a decade later who,  when he found out I was a poet, jokingly asked "Why? Are you depressed?" Or the ex who read my first book and asked if I had ever contemplated suicide (seriously, the fever almanac is not that dark, honey)

Nevertheless, the fantasy, while untenable, is still a beautiful one. I guess I'm totally okay if you like to picture me roaming about the house all day, bottle of tequila in hand waiting for inspiration to strike.  I do have plenty of peeling plaster (my apartment needs a paint job stat) and more than a few flowing, whsipy sundresses worthy of an Anthropologie catalog...But more often my writing happens lately in a flurry of moments while I'm waiting for books to print in the studio, scrolling idly through instagram,  and sucking my iced latte through a straw.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

32 and 44...

Everyone on the Facebooks is doing that thing where you post your oldest profile pic and your newest and there's supposed to be some weird slightly ageist skirting comparison of how you looked then versus how you look now. Nevertheless, offensive language aside, I was curious and did it and it got me thinking about time.  I don't think I look different physically all that much..the first profile pic I actually used my face for was already a few years old when I posted it, from around 2006-2007 (I didn't have a smart phone until 2014, so selfies weren't my thing and I just didn't have many photos I liked. )

So what you have is a girl (she feels like a girl) of around 32, probably so drawn looking because of her the demands of working full time and tackling an MFA program I was never having much of a good time in.  Add in a disastrous relationship with someone it took years to untangle from (someone who was married and a supreme sociopath / compulsive liar).  The press was a couple years old and gaining steam and I was on the verge of my first book coming out, but just as adrift in this thing called poetry as I ever am.  If you'd asked me then, I would have told you I was happy, but comparatively, I look back and think I was foolish to think so.

Fast forward to a couple years back when my current pic was taken.  Not only am I a few pounds lighter and a few shades blonder, but, at least then, I was pretty happy and I believe that happiness more (granted this was pre-Trump era and before my mom got sick--both things that have made the past two years a bit rougher. )   I've written several more books, moved into the studio and finished the MFA. Better clothes, better relationship, a few more cats. All in all, things have worked out pretty well for that 32 year old now on the crest of 45.  I don't mind aging in itself (it's more the weird disconnect between how you feel on the inside vs.  what is happening on the outside.  I worry I will forever feel like I'm 25 and be walking around in an 80 year old's body (if I'm lucky).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

more is more is more

With all the Marie Kondo mania happening on social media, I sometimes can't help thinking that while I like things neat and visually appealing at home where I relax, I also tend to ascribe to the " more is more" philosophy than the opposite.  I've known about the Art of Tidying Up book for awhile, and have been trying to fold my cardigans neatly and upright and have mosly been unsuccessfull. . I am usually a careful weeder. Also a careful buyer--and am pretty specific in my tastes, whether its my dishware and kitchen utensils or my shoes.

About 5 years ago I did a major deep clean on the apartment, emptying drawers and cabinets and actually, things have been pretty smooth and unchaotic since  (though for some reason, I seem to suffer a genetic predisposition to a messy linen closet. Half used shampoos and scented lotions abound and the next thing you know you cant open it without an avalanche of towels and toilet paper hitting you in the head. )  While at times there might be clothes strewn around the bedroom, cat hair on the floor, and paper stacks on my desk, otherwise my apartment is pretty well organized with a place for everything (whether it finds it's way to that place immediately is up for grabs.).

A couple years back, I attempted to weed the poetry bookshelves and tossed out a lot of random AWP acquired freebies and books by po-biz creepers and people I don't like (either their personality or their work.) My fiction shelves still need a good organizing, but I keep mostly things I really want to read again at some point and borrow the rest from the library.  On the Netflix show, I would get a little anxious when people took on books, especially since, for us writerly types, books are more sentimental than happenstance. I'd easily give up the small dvd collection in my tv cabinet, or even the 200+ of cd's I haven't listened to in years before I would start in on the books. So I'll keep my bulky copy of The Critical Tradition procured in grad school.  The copy of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from the sixties I bought at a flea market.  My crumbly first edition of Anais Nin's Delta of Venus bought my very first foray at the Printer's Row Book Fair. When I look at an old copy of The Sound and the Fury, I remember reading all his work one hot college summer seated in front of a fan I kept lugging room to room and even outside.

I do try to get rid of things I don't want expeditiously and don't let them linger--gifts that missed the mark. Random giveaways. things that re temporarily functional but sort of ugly. Promotional mugs, for example go in the trash pretty quickly.  But then again, one of my least favorite things my mother ever gave me 20 years ago, a ridiculously pricey Longaberger tea basket is a humorous solace now daily in her absence..so really you never know what you should keep or will need in the future. I am this way about art supplies most since the very thing I toss tends to be the thing about a month later I really desperately need and have to start over. So I am especially hesitant there.

In the very first episode of the show, the woman in the bad marriage piles her clothes on her bed and is aghast at how much she has and I laughed and thought "Hah!'  I could never do this, mostly since the clothes would submerge the bed and I might not find it for years.  It would take far more time and energy than I have. But every season, I'm good at tossing out what is damaged or ill fitting or just not that flattering when I switch things out.  By the end of the year, I've tossed at least a fraction of what I own  Clothes, perhaps even more than books, are my major vice and where I spend lot of my my tiny disposable income, usually on sale or thrifting, but my wardrobe is stored in about 4 large underbed bins of seasonal  things, a rack of dresses, a closet filled with skirts, blouses, shoes, and unmentionables. Plus three drawers of sweaters in the hallway built-in.  I do wear all of it..not always often, but I try to make sure I use things at least once a season, more if it's something I paid a lot for (the Ralph Lauren leopard dress gets a lot of wear.).  Some of my faves come out 4-5 times a year.  And I am totally okay with this.  Yes, obviously no one needs that many coats, but I paid for and carefully chose ever single one, Why should I be made guilty for the bit of joy they give me (espc. since they are my winter coping mechanism--and far, far better than self-medicating with too much chocolate and alcohol).?

What broke my heart was the people who gave up portions of collections they obviously put work into procuring--the baseball card guy and his wife with her love of Christmas The younger dude with all his sneakers. No, you don't need them, but do you WANT them?  It's one thing to get rid of random lidless tupperware and mugs from your bank, but a treasured collection is a very different animal. My two biggest collections outside of books and clothes are my vintage bags and midcentury dishes. While my dishes perish to occasional breakage anyway, I'm less attached.  But if you tried to take away a beaded purse, you'd be prying from my cold dead fingers.

I've usually agreed with the people who say it's easy for the bougier among us to worship the "less is more" because, well, if they throw something out they find they need later, it's easy to replace it. Also, it's real easy to be neat if you're boring and have as much personality as a white sock--ie no pesky collections or interests clogging up your closets and shelves. . As for me,  I'm keeping my stuff, becuase I wouldn't exactly have brought it into my home if it didn't bring me joy.  And it certainly wouldn't have stayed...

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

breton's birthday

Over the past few years, we've done a few different things in the Library centered around Andre Breton's Birthday mid-February to celebrate the father of surrealis, or maybe more surrealism in general.  The first year, we had a big installation on the first floor about Surrealism with interactive collages  collages and cross-out writing opportunities.  Last year, a reading with some MFA poetry & prose students and a collage making station on the 1st Floor.  This year, we are doing a reading of Surrealist Love Letters on Valentines Day that should be great fun. I'm hoping to round up some features readers and do an open-mic the second half of the the evening.

While my tastes run more toward Dali and Cornell in terms of Surrealists, I usually try to highlight work beyond Breton himself--with displays and info on all of the Surrealists, including the women, many of who never get their proper due. Also, art from today with it's roots in Surrealism--whether visual or literary.