Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Barn Owl Review!

Barn Owl Review #2 was just announced. It's to debut at AWP 2009. I won't be there except between its covers. The issue has poems by a great cast, some of them old friends of mine -- Hi, Kelli, Seth, Patrick, Brent, Jeannine, Rebecca, Steve, Susan, Steven!

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Making my way through Amy Tan's memoir, The Opposite of Fate. I do love a good writer memoir. I've got a whole shelf of them now, and Tan's is right up there with Anne Lamott's, Stephen King's and Annie Dillard's in insights about the writing life. Makes me feel less alone in my lonely work. Tan's view is that one becomes a writer more by happenstance and -- well, the opposite of fate. Luck. I know that every single day of my writing life, a lot of serendipity goes into the mix of words and topics.

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Happy birthday, Kelli Russell Agodon! (Yesterday, the big four-oh.) To celebrate, we should all go out and buy a copy of Small Knots to keep or give away to the next friend having a birthday.

Friday, January 09, 2009

In a new Terrain

It may sound like I've taken off on a cross-country hike, and in a literary sense that may be true ...

I have two poems in the new issue of Terrain: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments. It's one of my favorite publications, combining literature and concerns about the environment and the way we live in it. Simmons B. Buntin publishes and edits this wide-ranging review. Happily he chooses to include poetry and art in the chorus of commentary and reflection. His essay "The Literal Landscape" in the new issue is thought-provoking for poets as well as writers of memoir. He states the case for the conjunction of landscape and literature thus:

"Regardless of its specific geography, however, landscape is frequently the defining feature of memoir. While it is not possible to craft memoir completely absent of landscape, in modern literary memoir landscape usually plays a critical role."

As poetry is akin to memoir in so often being centered on intimate personal experience, I think the statement applies well to poems. How often does a poem fail for lack of specific context, or landscape, however minute or vast?

I'm especially happy to have these two poems, "Designer" and "O Beautiful," selected for Terrain, as they approach the subject from the two very different angles that interest me, architecture and our relationship with wild animals.