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Monday, February 15, 2010

Interviewing Poets

I have a new job: interviewing poets for Fringe magazine. I have already done some interviews for Umbrella, and found it a fascinating job. You get to ask all the poets you admire how they do what they do! And what poetry means to them, what poetry can do, who their favorite poets are. It's a license to be nosy. It's like taking a workshop. It's like speed dating. It's a chance to make new friends. It's the water cooler of the po-biz. I could go on, but I'll save it for the interviews.

Coming up next week, an interview with poet Cheryl Dumesnil, whose book In Praise of Falling won the Agnes Lynch Starret Prize. Coming in Umbrella: an interview with Eliot Khalil Wilson, author of The Saint of Letting Small Fish Go. And next for Fringe ... I think I'll wait to announce who the big-name poet is. Stay tuned.

This is so much fun!

Facebook and poetry

I just posted a status update on Facebook about how it has widened my horizons, both in terms of poetry and friendship, and in making new friends among poets. A lot of people complain about social networking sites (mostly about Facebook) and how distracting it is for poets and writers. I have found it the contrary. It's so easy for me to switch between screens when I'm working on something and want to take a little break from the hard process of thinking through a poem or a scene. I take a little break with whatever's been recently posted at Facebook and find links to articles, poems, poets, essays, books, and groups. I may follow one for a little, read something that informs or inspires, and return to the work.

I have made many poet friends, swapped books, learned new techniques, found new poetry markets, and enjoyed a general sense of support and community.

Even if Facebook decides to change their interface every few weeks, or people post annoyingly repetitive things, it's worth it.

I've made friends there without whom I could not do. There's really been nothing like it before for poets and people to connect.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic mania

I told myself I wouldn't, I couldn't spare the time this year away from writing, no, not turning on the Olympics ... and OMG, did you see the Russian skating pair? The American woman who got the Gold for freestyle skiing? Hear about the young man who died practicing for the luge?

I can't stay away from this stuff, not after so many years of studying ballet, trudging to class mornings and nights when I didn't feel like it, performing when I didn't feel like it (I never felt like it!), and enjoying hip, knee, ankle, and toe joints that ache all the time thanks to a LOT of injuries. All in the name of perfection, which of course never arrived for me. I wasn't even on the same coast as perfection, let alone the same city, or the right body.

So watching these young athletes is thrilling because I know what they have to put into it just to get to the Olympics, let alone excel there. To hear the commentators analyzing the tiniest of mistakes, and themselves being thrilled out of their seats when perfection really does show up, is a lesson in what art and athletics require: dedication, love, and passionate, unreasoning addiction to a form.

Let us be Olympians of poetry and writing, or at least watch the Olympian poets and marvel!