Saturday, September 27, 2008

saved by the Mel

What a lovely day to be caught in the rain (or at least drizzle and fog). I've been car-sitting for a friend who's overseas for a month--I get to use the car in exchange for moving it on the alternate-side parking days. When he dropped it off my friend noted that the automatic windows were temperamental and had stopped working, leaving them stuck open. "They always start up again eventually," he assured me. Unfortunately, though, they didn't start up again, no matter how many times I tried, and by the end of the week there was heavy rain in the forecast. When the deluge began on Thursday night, I was out on the street trying to cover the windows with garbage bags and electrical tape. You can imagine how well that worked.

So today I used the car to take Bobby to a birthday party and drop Stella off at Dad's. The car wasn't totally waterlogged, fortunately, but I did get a wet behind from the seat (and so did Stella). I went to lunch at a lovely cafe in Long Island City, savoring salade nicoise, cafe au lait, and pain au chocolat, chuckling over the latest issue of The Onion, and generally clearing my head of some muck and gunk that had built up for a few days.

Afterwards I started up the car again, intending to swing by Socrates Sculpture Park. Immediately one of the best vocal renditions of all time came on WNYC: Mel Torme's "Lullaby of Broadway." I snapped my fingers, bopping and singing along, as I made my way up Jackson Avenue. At a stop sign on a side street, I idly pressed the window control button, as I had so many times the past few days in a futile attempt to get the windows to close. This time, the window went right up. I pushed the other three buttons. The other three windows went up, too!

Maybe it was driving around a bit, charging the battery. Maybe it was hitting some bump that got some shorted-out wire in the system to reconnect. But I like to think it was Mel, the Velvet Fog at his scat-cat best, filling the little car with his special brand of electricity on a foggy day in L.I.C.

hard times come again no more

After hours of "YouTubing" various musical selections (with a heavy emphasis on one of my faves, Rufus Wainwright), I found this gem. The Stephen Foster song, penned just before the Civil War, is powerful in its simplicity--I first became aware of it in a version by Syd Straw and John Doe on Syd's album Surprise. This version, with a very young Rufus, his mom Kate and aunt Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, and others I have yet to identify, is simultaneously goosebump-inducing and healing. Enjoy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

this lovely book

Vicki is sharing with us the cover for her beautiful book, This Lovely Life. From all appearances, it will be almost as beautiful outside as inside. Almost.

She has also, miraculously, been blogging in the wake of her unthinkable loss. Some of the entries chronicle the painstaking process of revising her manuscript for publication. Six passes, she says! Brava, brave Vicki!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

two full green hours--TONIGHT!

In case you're in NYC this evening and looking for something to do...
You’re Invited to a Poetry Book Party

Come Celebrate This Full Green Hour: An Anthology by the One O’Clock Poets


Thursday, September 18, 2008

7:00-9:00 p.m.

Teachers and Writers Collaborative
520 Eighth Avenue (between 36th and 37th Streets), Suite 2020, New York City
For directions please visit:

This Full Green Hour, published by Sonopo Press, will be available for purchase.
Light refreshments will be served.



“The poems of Castro, Lemmon, Moore, Poole, Poreba, and Stern riff off one another most delightfully through subject matter and syntax. These Magnificent Six have accomplished something amazing—a dynamic and tangential conversation through poems, each voice intelligent, nuanced, distinct.”
—Denise Duhamel

“A disarmingly playful spirit of generous camaraderie is at the heart of this anthology. Boldly, it intersperses the work of six distinctive poets in such a way that we not only get to know the individual voices, but are also let in on their poetic conversation…. This hour is indeed a full one.”
—Elaine Equi

“These six poets lead the reader to moments of delicious tension and exhilarating discoveries.”
—Scott Hightower

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I. Am. So. Tired. I can't believe I still haven't posted yet on the BAP blog. I'm in the middle of it. As soon as I finish, I can go to bed. Ahhhhhh.

Monday, September 08, 2008

mad for BAP!

This is the THIRD TIME I HAVE TRIED TO POST THIS! Dang Mozilla Firefox. Please go to the Best American Poetry blog, not only because I am a guest blogger this week, but because I am in such fantastic company (including pals Bruce, Denise, Jilly, Jimmy, Moira, Reb, et al.) that I am humbled.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

random notes

It's the second week of classes here at FIT, hence the blog-silence. Just too much to do, to think about, to compose and type and disseminate. The kids are having a bit of trouble getting used to the back-to-school routine, which means Mom has to stay up with them until they finally settle down (which has, unfortunately, been more like 10:30 or 11).

The good news: 1) Thanks to Stella's respite worker Krystal, we've found an afterschool program, where she will go three days a week (Krystal works there, so she'll have a pal to acclimate her, and someone to bring her home). She'll make friends, do homework, and generally keep the learning going after school hours.
2) I love my classes! I'm teaching two sections of Creative Nonfiction, one online Creative Writing class, and a brand-new course, Poetry Writing, that my colleague Stan and I created. All of them are chock-full of eager, bright, and energetic people who are diving right in to explore the writing process (and, of course, reading some great stuff as examples and inspiration).
3) I have a new favorite band: FLEET FOXES. The Rolling Stone blog says, "Think CSNY performing Pet Sounds." I've become obsessed with their harmony-laden, acoustic-based, folk-and-pop influenced stuff, so much so that I paid someone about double face value for tickets to one of their sold-out NYC shows in October. Go to YouTube and check out "White Winter Hymnal," then listen to the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby," and you'll see what I mean. (I actually played them at the same time and realized that both songs are not only in the same key, but nearly the same tempo.)
4) WFUV is playing Andrew Bird right now. RIGHT NOW. (Well, they were when I started this post.)
5) The new exhibit at the Museum at FIT opens tonight: GOTHIC: Dark Glamour, and I'm going to the opening! The exhibit opens in tandem with the release of the book of the same name, a collection of essays edited by Valerie Steele (one of my personal heroes) and Jennifer Park. There are a whole series of special events connected with the book and show, including a Tim Burton film fest, and two literary readings of gothic works, classic and contemporary. In a bit I will be donning my version of "gothic"--all black, of course, rather subdued, and no dramatic makeup--can't wait to see what the rest of the crowd is wearing!