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Hellos and Goodbyes
Our planned cycling of Harriet impersonators is causing some pangs. One regular reader Mary Meriam writes: “I understand Alicia’s [A.E. Stallings] days are numbered with you, Harriet. What a pity!” We couldn’t agree more.
Though we fashioned Harriet to change personalities every three to four months, facing the switchover is difficult. How will we distract ourselves from family or work without….
Steve Burt’s link-laced posts—guided tours of the history of poetry and of his encyclopedic mind. (Where did he come up with Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance,” an ace he flashed when Christian Bök proposed a larger wager with meaning?) And what will we do without those wagers, without Christian’s ordering the disorder, championing the randomness and machine poetry of post-post-modernism? (If you’re coming to AWP, you can catch Christian on an audio poetry panel.) We are still coping with Ange Mlinko sneaking away while most of us were on holiday. In case you missed her goodbye, her last think on thinking as it plays out in Pinsky vs. Middleton, here it is .
So yes, Mary Meriam, at some point Alicia will no longer be filing her etymologies, her arresting rationales of rhyme from Greece for us to read first thing in the morning. And Rigoberto Gonzales will no longer be emptying my wallet every Wednesday with a new book pick. But they’re not gone yet! At various times over the next two months, they will be signing off, but they’re always welcome to post and comment. (Major Jackson, who started later, will provide some continuity (and wallet emptying).
I expect, though, that Daisy Fried and Reginald Shepherd are already helping ease the transition. We first met Daisy through her funny, biting essays for Poetry, which led us to her latest funny, biting book of poetry My Brother is Getting Arrested Again. She’s sure to entertain and incite. And Reginald Shepherd is sure to endear with the same schooled, civil lessons on poetry you can find on his blog. His five books of poems are wonderful, too. Welcome to both of you.
Here they are in their own words:
From Daisy Fried:
I grew up in Albany but then went to college in the Philly area, WHERE I have lived since 1989—near the Italian Market for almost 15 years now. I’m voting for Dennis Kucinich in the Pennsylvania primary, a primary which doesn’t matter a rat’s ass to the outcome anyway. Maisie Quinn is my one-year-old daughter and Jim Quinn is my husband—a fiction writer and former journalist; Mister Buster is our middle-aged cat. I make a very good chicken stew and any popularity I have amongst my friends is almost entirely a result of my chocolate mousse. Long ago (mid-90s) I was a journalist for local weeklies and (on a sporadic freelance basis) for various local and national publications but that was kind of long ago. I try never to have a full-time job (and haven’t since 1997), which means no health insurance either, but let’s just hope for the best. I don’t have a TV; watch my Netflix on my Dell laptop with speakers plugged in. I go to anti-war demonstrations when there are any. Cheers, Daisy
From Reginald Shepherd
I grew up in New York City tenements and housing projects and since my mother’s death when I was fifteen I’ve lived in every region of the country except the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the West Coast, unless Iowa doesn’t count as part of the Great Plains. It was cold and windy enough, and it is west of the Mississippi. Now I live in Pensacola, Florida, with my partner, Robert Philen, a cultural anthropologist who is about the best person in the world in every regard. It’s very conservative and dull here; usually it’s warm, though we’re having a pretty cold winter this year. But not compared to the Bronx, Boston, Iowa, Chicago, or upstate New York, to name a few places I’ve lived. I spend most of my time in my house, reading, listening to music (I’m obsessed with music), and wasting time on my computer, except when I’m in a doctor’s office, which I am too often these days (I was diagnosed with cancer last year, which was a real shock), or looking for organic produce at Wal-Mart (there’s more than you’d think). Robert and I love to cook, and we’re very good–I make a really good pot of coq au vin. I gained a lot of weight when I moved down here (no walking, more eating), but I’ve lost about seventy pounds in the past year or so, for which I’m very proud of myself. (Exercise is more effective than dieting.) I spent a lot of time in school after spending too much time out of school, and taught for many years. Now I’m sort of a freelance writer and teacher. If it weren’t for Robert, I’d probably be wearing an orange vest trying to sell copies of the local paper at intersections. Oh, and I really like parentheses. (Just my little quirk.)
Peace and Poetry, Reginald