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Dying to do so April 27, 2010: Once I went to the graveyard in Worcester, Massachusetts and found Elizabeth Bishop and thanked her for her poems and stood around starting to feel sentimental except for the fact that, despite it’s being a perfectly clear blue-sky day, it began to snow heavy wet snow drops and my driver worried about getting me to Boston on time, so we had to [...] by

The Place That Inhabits Me April 23, 2010: I’d like to join the shout out parade with a bit of praise of my own.  I’m just back from participating in a terrific reading at Mrs. Dalloway’s, one of the East Bay’s most fantastic independent bookshops.  The reading was a celebration of the newly released anthology, The Place That Inhabits Is: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed [...] by

Question and Answer: The Top Five April 21, 2010: I've been on the road much of this spring giving readings from my new anthologies and newest collection of poetry.  Three very different books for often radically divergent audiences.  At the end of the majority of these readings, I’ve conducted a question and answer session.  Every once in awhile someone asks a new question, but for the most [...] by

a wreath, a bugle, a monument: the written word April 15, 2010: I’m moved by Lihn Dinh’s most recent post. Thank you for commemorating this tragedy, and by marking it with such beautiful poems. Just this evening I heard myself repeating the phrase, “The power of the written word.  The power of the written word.” I’d said it in reference to Jack Trice, a black football player for Iowa State [...] by

In Praise of the Academy and So On April 13, 2010: The grandson of German immigrants, a first generation college kid from a farm in Wisconsin, and the granddaughter of a Black professor walk into a student union in Central Iowa to read literature out loud.  It sounds like a joke.  But we’re completely serious.  We’ve been doing this all week (all of our adult lives, really).  Visiting [...] by

It happens for some people April 11, 2010: The conversation started when I said I am happy my third book is going to be published so soon after its completion rather than four years after I’d finished writing it.  Hearing this, the charmed and charming poet said, “Good grief, don’t say such horrible things.”  The charmed and charming poet was under the impression that I was [...] by

The episode in which I prepare to hug everyone else April 8, 2010: AWP.  Harriet readers, by now, are familiar with the fact that this is the week of the annual conference during which America's writers group their collective ambitions and anxieties in one US city.  It's the week of the smiling and nodding; the week of not remembering who you've just spoken to until you're four steps away from that person; the [...] by

the episode in which I hug everyone April 3, 2010: Since my arrival in NYC on Thursday I have hugged at least 30 great, and new, and new great American writers. And tomorrow I have a few more to add to my list.  I’ve only been in public about 18 hours total, so that adds up to more than two love encounters an hour. I have the scent of America’s poetry scene on my skin, and the words of [...] by

“into the shining dark” April 1, 2010: I began my stint as a member of the Harriet community by writing a column on Lucille Clifton, how amazing she was, what a spectacular poet and reader.  Tonight I’ll be going to a PSA event at which her life and legacy will be honored. And so again, I begin my stint as a member of the Harriet community writing about Lucille Clifton. I was [...] by

A Few Prompts Drawn From Wandering/Home July 31, 2009: [caption id="attachment_4516" align="aligncenter" width="273" caption="Two poets at Faulkner's pad (C. Dungy and Major Jackson in Oxford, MS)"][/caption] As I feared when I packed my life into boxes this spring, plenty is still lost to the inside of paper-walled containers.  My copy of Flight to Canada must still be boxed up in cardboard, [...] by