Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"I CAN'T!" Notes on resistance in life and writing...

Resisting the paparazzi. July 4, 2014
My darling daughter, Stella, is twelve and a half now, prone to the vagaries of tween moods and whims, with a little extra spice from the "typical" stubbornness commonly exhibited by people (especially adolescents) with Down syndrome. When she is asked to do something and doesn't want to, which happens with alarming frequency, she has taken to protesting, "I CAN'T!" in a voice harsh with impatience.

I know how Stella feels. There are so many things I "should" do--or even "want" to do--that provoke serious resistance in me. Whether it's exercise, or eating right, or the proverbial cleaning my room, I feel like I'm twelve and a half and find myself having to be my own parent--or, worse, just giving in to the "can'ts" and not doing anything.

Writing, unfortunately, is one of these things. Although I identify as a "writer" and a "teacher of writing," and there is nothing like the feeling of being lost in language and in the flow of creation, I admit that I do not always see putting words on the page as a fun and exciting activity.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ah, Summer! Taking the Virtual Blog Tour...

Summer is half over already (or something like that), and all of the "real work" I was gonna do has yet to be done. Instead, I have been teaching (2 online classes in June), parenting (more on that later), and plunging into a healthy new lifestyle of plant-based food and regular exercise. Oh, and recovering from one heck of an academic year, both for myself and my kids. As I have learned many times over the years, I really need a deadline, and a metaphorical cattle prod, to get words down on the page and out in the world.

So I was delighted to be invited by a dear and long-time friend, April Lindner, to participate in a "virtual blog tour," aimed at giving more exposure to blogs that readers may not have seen before. It's been quite awhile since I've posted (yikes!), so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to get Saint Nobody up and running again--in hopes of revving up my own writing. This is the first in a series on various subjects I've saved up since my last post--time to put it out there.

First, meet April, the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped from Able Muse Press and Skin from Texas Tech University Press.  She also has written three young adult novels—JaneCatherine, and the forthcoming Love, Lucy, all published by Poppy. With R. S. Gwynn, she co-edited Contemporary American Poetry, in Longman’s Penguin Academics series.  A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, she lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

April and I were classmates in the PhD program in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati many moons ago. We read drafts of each others' poems in workshops, were roomies at my first-ever AWP Conference (Pittsburgh '95), and walked together for our doctoral hooding ceremony in 1998. It's been wonderful to see April from time to time at AWP and the West Chester Poetry Conference near her home in the Philly area. I've been a fan of her poetry for years, and have watched her career as a YA novelist with admiration ever since my niece, Mary, devoured the signed copy of Jane I gave her in 2012. I'll be posting a poem of April's, which I've used often in my classes, later in the week.

The next component of the blog tour meme is a quick "self-interview." Because this post is already fairly long, I will answer briefly here, and elaborate a bit in future posts.

1. What am I currently working on?

Sunday, September 01, 2013

I Take Your T-Shirt to Bed Again

And by now it has almost lost its scent—
your scent, as when you were here and turned
towards the wall while I pressed my body
into your body and sighed, “You smell like candy”
into your t-shirted back. Yes, the smell is yours
the shirt warmed by your lean torso, tufted
and delicious. I’ve washed my clothes in your soap,
but that wasn’t it—there must be something sweet your pores
pour forth. In three days you will be here and we will drink
from and with each other, sleep in close quarters,
naked, awake to heat and singing cells and slickness. But now,
 too tired even to please myself, I breathe the shirt that covers
my pillow and dream—our yes and yes and yes opening and opening—

----Amy Lemmon

Published in The Best American Poetry 2013 (Scribner, 2013)
Originally published in Vitrine:a printed museum

Monday, February 18, 2013

best american poetry....and best of the net!

I'm getting some great poetry news so far in 2013. My poem "I take your T-shirt to bed again..." was selected for The Best American Poetry 2013, which will be published by Scribner in September. I've written for the Best American Poetry blog several times, but this is the first time my work will actually appear in that estimable annual collection.

Furthermore, Gerry LaFemina's poem "Bright Windows," which I selected for the Summer 2012 issue of Ducts.org, was chosen for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology! That should be online later this month, I hear. I'll post again when it's out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rilke is my litany

The place we rip open again and again
that always heals—that’s God.
We are all sharp-edged from our need
to know; He is spread out, serene.

Even the pure and blessed libations
He takes into His world in just
one way: by staying motionless,
never controlling the way things turn out.

Only the dead drink
from that spring that we can hear,
when the god signals to them, silently.

Just the noise of it reaches us.
And the lamb begs for its bell
out of its quieter instinct.

 Sonnets to Orpheus, Part II, #16
Trans. David Young

Monday, June 18, 2012

bOB always remembered

Bob's birthday is today. He would be 47, or as he always put it (to his younger siblings), "entering his 48th year." In some ways, it's good that his birthday is near Father's Day--we sort of "get it over with," feel all the heaviness and hardness around the same time. Which is not to say it doesn't pop up on a regular basis at other times, but this has been a tough week. Fortunately, Bobby, Stella, and I are surrounded with love.

Photos from 2010: Bob and Bobby on Memorial Day Weekend at one of Bob's favorite places, the Pompanuck Farm Institute. And with Stella in Chicago, spring break, reflected in a mirrored sculpture.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

happy spring!

For the first time in years (and the first time ever for the kids), we spent Easter in Ohio. I had forgotten how beautiful our family home on the Pike is in springtime--the new green leaves and grass, the bird sounds, the flowering dogwood outside my bedroom window. And the sun shone every day, for at least part of the time.

It is truly a time of renewal after the long dark winter. Wishing joy and new life to all!