Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Detail of My Door

Oh how to describe what the yoohoo I've done here. Ahem. A deck of cards, gluestick, and collage pictures, then the idea of dividing my poem "Walking Up To It All The Time" into 52 segments. After I had the cards all pasted, with the lines on them, I went to the photocopy place which was having a mad sale and made giant photocopies (2 to an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet.) The blow ups couldn't make giant cards (unless I paste them to cardboard which I still might do,) so I taped them to the glass of my studio door. I like the playing card size better, but these give me pleasure too.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Life Changing Heading Photo to Arrive Later Today

Meanwhile, I have been restored by a two night stay on a gorgeous farm on Lopez Island with two other writers where lo! we wrote and ate very well and walked and WROTE and communed with each other but only in the evenings because at other times we WROTE! which is to say that I wrote and felt myself a writer writing, a poet inside a poem, miraculously inside the music of a poem, and this is what I wish for every poet. Amen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Overhead Projector, A Eulogy

My big worry with being away from schools for this week is that Hamilton International Middle School is going to do away with the pile of overhead projectors behind the yellow do not cross tape in the library before I get a photograph of them.

Overhead projectors work great for displaying a poem on a transparency - want to comment on the poem in writing on the page but not wreck the transparency for the next class? Slip it under the roll of transparent plastic already there and write on THAT. Overhead projectors have always sat on tables or carts, mostly wheeled carts, that put them at just the right height for writing on standing in front of the class.

A few years ago a student wrote an ode to the overhead projector that he read to the class complete with affectionate gestures toward the overhead projector.

My father told me that once at Boeing a visiting luminary was giving a talk, complete with bullet points on a transparency projected on an overhead projector that had a ladybug crawling around inside it. He was far more interested in the course of the ladybug than the course material.

I remember going to a concert in about 1969 somewhere small at the Seattle Center. The dazzling psychodelic light show involved petri dishes of oil set on the glass of an overhead projector. Food coloring out of an eye dropper splashed into the petri dishes projected on the far wall in the darkened room - we saw colors, man.

Objects placed on the overhead projector and projected gain mythical importance.
The group Monochrom recorded, apparently more than once, a pop song called "Farewell to the Overhead" in 2005. Worth a listen for the pronunciation of "photosynthesis" and to annoy your housemates.

Overhead projectors look like prehistoric beings, and now they're going extinct too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Miracle on 45th Street

Last night, I slogged soggily (my dripping nose) to the poetry reading at Open Books (one of only TWO poetry-only bookstores in the US and probably the UNIVERSE.) After hearing the ever humorous, humble and brilliantly bent poet Rebecca Loudon read from Radish King, my internal antiviral attack squad, obviously reinvigorated by the poems, kicked in and, reader, I am cured. Rebecca also read from Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home, which, from the comma in the title through the very last letter poem, may, and probably was, also responsible for the happy turn-about in my condition. Ron Starr, poet of dextrous text combinations and the mysterious magic square, also had a voice in my recovery, reading from his new book, A Map by a Dim Lamp.
(If you go to AMBADL link and scroll further down, you will find Rebecca Loudon's first and most red book, Tarantella, which, while she did not read from it last night, possesses curative qualities, particularly when read loudly aloud.)
Sugar-soaked valentine love to all from me here at the new blogger.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Get Ready to READ ALOUD!

Community School Olders’ Reading
Kirkland Park Place Books
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Get to know your poem:

Read through your poem saying ONLY the vowel sounds (if silent, DON’T say!)
Read through your poem saying ONLY consonant sounds (if silent, DON’T say!)
Circle verbs, imagine those actions, then imagine as you read the poem
Underline phrases that make a picture in your mind (images) and
PICTURE THESE! Picture each image as you read your poem
Say each line of your poem 5-6 times in a row in a loud voice while
moving your whole body (jumping jacks, marching)

Warm up your instruments (your body & your voice):

Stretch your uvula, neck circles, shoulder circles, arm stretches
Tongue twisters:
You know you need unique New York
ToyBoats ToyBoats ToyBoats ToyBoats ToyBoats ToyBoats ToyBoats
Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers
“Ah” from toes to head
Sing and dance along with the radio in a loud voice


Dress as you, the poet. Spiff up AND be COMFORTABLE!
Get to know your poem
Warm up your instruments


This is the handout I made this morning to give to 5th and 6th graders who will be reading their poems aloud tomorrow night. When and if I follow my own advice, I give a better reading. I have also discovered that repeating the lines over and over is a great revision tool. Ciao for now.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Petrodvoritz: photo by Todd Lininger

Acronymble at Hamilton Middle School:

Letters: FTFMN

Forgotten Titans follow monkey news.
fried turkey feathers minus nutrition
Friends triumphed, found marginal niceness.

Letters: APAINJ

Assorted painters argued in New Jersey
astonished panthers ambled
into natural Jell-O

Letters: TORPPQ

to order ravioli,
press Pound Q

Territorial ordinary raddiccio
pretended placid quietness

Letters: AILKPI

Abalones incubated licorice
keeping particular "Ikes"

Astonishingly, I like keeping peace indexes

Letters: XDUOW

Expecting disaster, Ulysses
offered wine.

Excellent doodles unfurled odd words.

Xenophobic ducks understood other worlds.

Letters: AUOLGA

Actually, umbrellas open like growing angels.

Letters: AVMVNDL

Authentic Vulcan maps
virtual Neptunian direction lessons.

Aspirin volunteered Monday
victuals never denied licorice.

Are violins made valuable?
Not during Lent.

The coolest thing about the Acronymble Game is that kids (above are MY acronymbles) use their vocabularies in a fuller way than if you say, "let's write something using all your good words." (guaranteed to result in: I like my friend. He is nice.)

Yesterday, the sixth graders wrote credo poems based on Roque Dalton's "Like You". Here is mine:

Like You

Like you, I love to move my pen across the white page
to discover and create my thoughts.

Like you, I lose patience with leaders who do not
hear me, but I keep speaking and writing.

I believe poetry is meaningful as a way of life.

I believe your walnut skin, olive skin, pink skin,
ebony skin is a beautiful part of you and
that what we have in common runs deeper
than the shapes of our noses and lips,
the differences in our age and outfits.

Like you, I love my life and feel joy in my senses.

Like you, I am upset by unfair decisions
and distressed when someone I love is ill
or dies.

I believe we can do better by this earth
and be more careful with each other.

Like you, I work every day to
live up to what I believe.

-Laura Gamache

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Royal Villa at Knossos, Isle of Crete.
Not actually composed of tiny digital rectangles.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tikki tikki tembo
no sa rembo
cherry berry muchi
blank blank blank _embo

saw TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO in the window at Elliott Bay Bookstore and said this in response, though the fourth line came out too. (100% true to the page I'm sure.)

And what is my thesis here, students? Love your mind. Pay attention. Who knows what tricks you're going to find yourself capable of if you just keep walking forward? Do what you love, practice what you love, who the fuck cares if you're any good at it? This my dears is none of your dang business, and cut the snickering about the f word.

Tom Waits on the radio (KEXP) yesterday, that great song about breaking up done as a weather report over the blues riffs. So funny and painful. The sky clear, air biting (this is an actual weather report, no subtext.)

Yesterday afternoon we went to see Labarinto del Fauno at the Majestic Bay Theater. I love the Majestic Bay Theater's view from the upper level where the refreshment stand is always closed. I love the brass boat cleat door handles and the extraterrestrial space ships with fiber optics spewing that hang overhead. The movie offered too realistic gruesome war cruelties but that was the point, the way we turn from that, a child turns from that into fantasy.

Morning in the dark house, light just beginning to define the window boundaries. Last night the last night for awhile for the peeled grape moon to brightly brightly break my sleep.

Train horn, not whistle, in the distance. Took a sounds class from David Mahler, former director of the now-defunct Volunteer Park Conservatory Orchestra, who explained the difference.