poetry

all there is

I will be heading to Provincetown, MA for a weeklong stay at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in exactly 27 days.

Did I mention that here? Most of the handful of people who read this blog know this already, but for those of you (Scotty, perhaps?) who don’t follow me on Twitter or talk to me with any regularity: I got the scholarship to the Dean Young workshop. I’m incredibly excited, and nervous, and overwhelmed, and intimidated. Part of me wonders how on earth I managed to snag one of the seven spots in this workshop. Part of me is so proud of myself for having pushed so hard to grow beyond what I’ve started to call my “lazy writing” voice. And still another part of me is just filled with awe that sheer dumb luck was in my favor for this one.

I have loved Young’s work since I read “Triage” in 2007 – I think it was in American Poetry Review. These are the lines that got me:

“Groups of same-thinkers praying
which seems okay unless you study history
where such behavior’s often preparatory
to raving, attack, more slaughter.”

I’m now, of course, on a Young kick, desperate to consume as much of his catalog as possible before I get there. I most recently read The Foggist (google search wants me to call it “The Foggiest”), Young’s chapbook from 2009 through the Hollyridge Press Chapbook Series, and it was delightful: inventive, playful and full of surprises. My vote for best poem in the collection goes to “Drunker Etc.”, a single-stanza examination of seemingly disjointed thoughts, which contains the absolute truest line I’ve ever read:

“Finally you realize your teacher’s an animal too.”

How incredibly wise and obvious, and yet something so many of us fail to consider. It makes me think about Amanda Palmer and the feminist response to Evelyn Evelyn, how we want our celebrities and role models to represent something specific without considering who they are as people. It reminds me why I am grateful to have befriended some of my teachers, so that I do not always put them up on pedestals (and therefore am not crushed if/when they fall from those pedestals). And it also helps me remember that I shouldn’t be too intimidated by Young when I head up to Provincetown – after all, he is just an animal, too, right?

2 thoughts on “all there is”

  1. Hey that’s great! I’m going to miss being just next door to you by a few weeks – I’ll be at a poetry workshop with Marge Piercy in Wellfleet just a few weeks later. Isn’t it great to feel yourself and your poetry growing? Have a great workshop!
    Jennifer aka magpiedays from #poettues

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