Visiting with Emily Dickinson in a D.C. Museum

From Claudia Emerson, a poem about visiting with Emily Dickinson in a Washington D.C. museum. First Emerson describes a talk given about the reclusive Dickinson, and why that might be, and then: On display: one of her beloved nephew Gilbert's boyhood suits, velveteen, and beside it the contents of his morning's pocket—a bullet's spent casing,Continue reading “Visiting with Emily Dickinson in a D.C. Museum”

Stupid F*!’&ing Bird: To wake Chekhov from the dead

The big winner this week in theater awards for 2014 in Los Angeles was a Russian playwright who's been dead for over a century. Well, not exactly, but writer Aaron Posner's brilliantly free adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull did win the L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for best ensemble, direction, and writing. It's just spectacular,Continue reading “Stupid F*!’&ing Bird: To wake Chekhov from the dead”

A weekend on the PCT with pinyons and snow: 2015

Having just fallen in love, so to speak, with the pinyon pine, I'm distressed to learn that the species may fall prey to "forest mortality" in the Southwest (as discussed a few weeks back here).

What can be done — if anything? Are these forests doomed, or — ?

With my young nephew Eli Huscher went back to the Walker Pass area of the PCT this past week to explore this question. I'm not a scientist and have no answers as of yet, but I think it's an important question. 

I'll begin with a picture of the tree that inspired this new-found devotion. (The pinyon's not the most spectacular of trees — but in the harsh desert landscape of the Mojave, it's a hero.)

Pinyonpine

Okay, the rest of the pics I'll put below the fold — please enjoy!

Mary Oliver: on “the traction” of poetry (On Being)

On Being, with Mary Oliver:   With my pencil I traveled to the moon and back, probably a few times. I had trouble with the Resurrection so I would not join the church. I think that life is much more interesting with a spiritual part. I spent a lot of times [walking around in theContinue reading “Mary Oliver: on “the traction” of poetry (On Being)”

Rant of the Year (2014): Emma Stone in “Birdman”

You know what's painful? Meaninglessness is painful. It really is. Life is absurd, to have so much for such a long time, then nothing, and it's painful to know that none of us can escape that fate.  Plus, here in the crowded 21st century, we cannot help but notice that the more there are ofContinue reading “Rant of the Year (2014): Emma Stone in “Birdman””

Listen (a poem about a dog, by Miller Williams)

Listen  I threw a snowball across the backyard. My dog ran after it to bring it back. It broke as it fell, scattering snow over snow. She stood confused, seeing and smelling nothing. She searched in widening circles until I called her.  She looked at me and said as clearly in silenceas if she had spoken, I know it's here,Continue reading “Listen (a poem about a dog, by Miller Williams)”

The unsayable: Rilke (snow in the desert)

Give thanks to Kurt Harvey, for sharing this photo of mountains near Tucson this new year to Google+'s California and Western Landscapes community , and for the words that follow from Rilke: Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a spaceContinue reading “The unsayable: Rilke (snow in the desert)”

2014 Poem of the Year: “A Moment in a Room”

Of course yours truly "achange" has not read a thousandth of the poems published this year, and this poem I submit below as poem of the year doesn't even come from 2014. But it's great, it's by Tennessee Williams, and it's never been published before, I don't believe. It comes from a magisterial biography ofContinue reading “2014 Poem of the Year: “A Moment in a Room””

On the work of writing: Kent Haruf

A beautiful little essay/autobiography from the late Kent Haruf, which Granta generously makes available on-line. As the modest Haruf says, he devoted himself to writing like an acolyte, which no doubt has everything to do with the quality of his work: A couple of favorite passages: On inwardness: I learned to live completely inwardly in thoseContinue reading “On the work of writing: Kent Haruf”