At Viewpoint School, we have “5Up,” a lunchtime series of short talks by members of the school community–students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends.  I gave one in February, and it recently went up on the school’s YouTube channel.  Because I speak about a friend from high school, a lot of people from McDonogh School have viewed it.  That makes me happy, but in my mind the target audience is students who are in high school now.  My hope is that they will approach their daily lives with care for how their words and deeds will be remembered many years from now–and with certainty that some of what they do and say will be remembered.  (Just not necessarily the parts they expect.)

1372262495176“The Door Was Open and the House Was Dark” (from Granta) shows you how good even the minor poems of a tremendous poet can be.

Random bullets of not having posted on the blog in months (RBONHPOTBIM):

  • My poem “The Fear of the Dark” appeared on Slate a few weeks ago.
  • (Wow!)
  • We’re busy receiving and reading applications for the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.  We pushed back the deadline for scholarship applications to mid-March, but apparently we didn’t get the word out widely enough, because by mid-March we had received far fewer applications than usual.  So we’ve extended the deadline again, to April 1.  If you applied for financial assistance by March 15, rest assured that we are reading your application carefully (and we noticed that you got it in early, too).
  • Regular admissions are rolling; we recommend that you apply by April 1, but will continue to accept applications until all workshops are filled.  We keep workshops small (about 12).
  • Poetry faculty this year are Jane Hirshfield, Linda Gregerson, Major Jackson, and David St. John.
  • (Wow!)

My poem “Storm” appeared in the December 31, 2012, issue of The New Republic, embedded in Paul Starr’s review of The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver.

Other poems in the issue: Benjamin Glassman’s “Sentimental Death Text Variation” and Allison Lemnos’ “Waiting in the Midwest.”  I so admire poetry editor Henri Cole’s choices for TNR; I’m utterly delighted to be in their company!


apropos of my post about MasterChef awhile back, I wanted to share Andrea Siegel’s New York Times Magazine piece “The Life Lessons Hidden in Reality TV.”  I particularly liked the first section, on Survivor, although I think I’ve seen maybe one episode during its many seasons–it’s about the utter inability of most of us to be anyone other than who we are, even when we know what our weaknesses are and that they are going to get us thrown off the island.

My sister recently reminded me of Will Rogers’s dictum “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”  It’s worth remembering.  Of course, I immediately went into a meeting and said something that, in retrospect, would have been better left unsaid.  Fortunately, the corollary to Rogers’s principle is that if you regret what you didn’t shut up about, you can always say so.  No lasting harm done.


Natasha Trethewey!

I was fortunate to work with her as her Fellow in her workshop at Bread Loaf in 2007.  She’s a striking poet and a gracious presence.  An exciting choice!

“Envy and Kindness” is the title of tonight’s USC MPW student-faculty reading.  This series, curated by Niree Perian, lands at LACMA’s Brown Auditorium tonight at 7:30 PM.  Reading will be faculty member Judith Freeman and students Richard Mathiasen, Leonard Pung, Elizabeth Inglese, Matt Ackels, and Fadi Bayaa.

(Image is Matisse’s “La Gerbe,” created for the Los Angeles garden of Frances and Sidney Brody, and now in the collection of LACMA.)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.